The effect of isolation and history on colonization patterns of plant species in secondary woodland



Colonization success of woodland originating after 1850 was determined for seventeen forest plant species having different dispersal strategies. Colonization rate of the studied endo-and exozoochorous species apparently was considerable higher than that of species having short distance dispersal like myrmecochores and species lacking dispersal mechanisms. The occurrence of eight species in this young forest habitat was related to the distance to the nearest source patch (DNS), as well as to the age of the young patches and to their former land use. DNS calculated to old, existent and occupied source patches affected most analysed species. Only Ilex aquifolium L. had a significant higher occurrence in woodland originating before 1916 than in those originating after 1916. Former land use showed significant effects for three species. Although colonization rate and effects of studied parameters on occurrence were different for the studied species, no clear differences were found between different dispersal groups. The consequences of these results for the understanding of colonization processes of the species studied is discussed.