Hedgerows as habitat corridors for forest herbs in central New York, USA


P.L. Marks (fax 607-255-8088; e-mail plm6@cornell.edu).


1 Samples from 32 hedgerows (c. 6 m wide, with full-grown trees) in central New York included 39 forest herb taxa, comprising nearly 70% of the forest herb taxa found in adjacent forest samples.

2 We sampled three types of hedgerow. Two types were attached to forest: remnant hedgerows (n = 14), and regenerated hedgerows (n = 11) that had grown up spontaneously between open fields in the last 50 years. There were no significant differences between remnant and regenerated hedgerows in the richness or abundance of forest herbs, presumably indicating colonization of regenerated hedgerows. Such colonization implies that hedgerows serve a corridor function.

3 The species composition of forest herbs in hedgerows attached to forest stands showed a strong affinity with that of the adjacent stand, both for remnant and regenerated hedgerows.

4 There was a distance effect within hedgerows. Richness of forest herbs and similarity of composition to forest declined with distance along the hedgerow from forest, implying colonization from the adjacent attached stand.

5 The third type of hedgerow sampled, isolated remnants (n = 7), was not lower in richness or abundance of forest herbs than hedgerows attached to forest.