Applied Vegetation Science

Cover image for Vol. 18 Issue 3

July 2015

Volume 18, Issue 3

Pages 357–540

  1. Commentary

    1. Top of page
    2. Commentary
    3. Research Articles
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      Step carefully, there is an elephant in the room: human trampling as threat or treat in conservation (pages 357–358)

      Rasmus Ejrnæs

      Article first published online: 9 JUN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/avsc.12174

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      The impact from tourism, e.g. trampling, may be a real concern in nature reserves. Conradi et al. (2015, this issue) studied disturbance effects on grassland vegetation along paths in a nature reserve and found only small negative effects. It is suggested that human disturbances may even be beneficial when mimicking natural processes. Left image shows elephant shaped open woodland (photo Rasmus Ejrnæs), right image shows human-shaped Estonian wooded meadow (photo Meelis Pärtel).

  2. Research Articles

    1. Top of page
    2. Commentary
    3. Research Articles
    1. Impacts of visitor trampling on the taxonomic and functional community structure of calcareous grassland (pages 359–367)

      Timo Conradi, Katharina Strobl, Anna-Lena Wurfer and Johannes Kollmann

      Article first published online: 24 FEB 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/avsc.12164

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      We investigated the long-term effects of visitor trampling on calcareous grassland composition and diversity along transects perpendicular to hiking trails. Using information on conservation status and functional traits of the plant species, we showed that the conservation value of the study grassland was only marginally affected beyond the immediate impact on the trails and identified plant traits responsive to trampling.

    2. Grassland restoration by seeding: seed source and growth form matter more than density (pages 368–378)

      Emer A. Walker, Julia-Maria Hermann and Johannes Kollmann

      Article first published online: 8 DEC 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/avsc.12153

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      This field experiment tests effects of seed source (regional wild vs cultivar) and seeding density of one matrix grass and three forb species, and of grass growth form, on establishment and flowering of target species and suppression of invasive species on calcareous gravel. Cultivars tend to flower more, but establishment and invasive suppression is better in regionals – here, especially tussock grasses.

    3. Evaluating restoration potential of transferred topsoil (pages 379–390)

      William M. Fowler, Joseph B. Fontaine, Neal J. Enright and Willa P. Veber

      Article first published online: 12 FEB 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/avsc.12162

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      We evaluated the ecological restoration potential of topsoil transfer by comparing germinant density and species composition of soil seed banks before and after transfer in a glasshouse trial. Following transfer, germinant densities were lower, composition shifted towards annuals, and the need for fire-related cues (heat, smoke) was reduced. Our findings identify directions for future work to further refine restoration prescriptions.

    4. Limitations to the use of facilitation as a restoration tool in arid grazed savanna: a case study (pages 391–401)

      Zouhaier Noumi, Mohamed Chaieb, Richard Michalet and Blaise Touzard

      Article first published online: 16 FEB 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/avsc.12158

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      The goal of this study was to determine to what extent positive interactions (facilitation) among plants may be used as a restoration tool in an arid, grazed region (Southern Tunisia). Contrary to the predictions that facilitation is a successful restoration technique, our results always showed negative interactions (competition) between Acacia tree and two neighbours in all water and grazing conditions.

    5. Flower functional trait responses to restoration time (pages 402–412)

      Letícia Couto Garcia, Marcus Vinicius Cianciaruso, Danilo Bandini Ribeiro, Flavio Antonio Maës dos Santos and Ricardo Ribeiro Rodrigues

      Article first published online: 4 MAR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/avsc.12163

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      A highly diverse species pool seems to promise to increase richness and functional diversity of tree species. Flower functional diversity of trees could be achieved after two decades of restoration, but non-trees remained far from reference values, even after a five-decade period in highly-fragmented landscapes. Our adaptation of indicator value method may be used for other ecosystem types.

    6. Recovery of plant diversity in restored semi-natural pastures depends on adjacent land use (pages 413–422)

      Marie Winsa, Riccardo Bommarco, Regina Lindborg, Lorenzo Marini and Erik Öckinger

      Article first published online: 13 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/avsc.12157

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      We assessed how adjacent land use influences restoration success in previously abandoned semi-natural pastures. Our results indicate that restoration success, in terms of plant community recovery, is higher in pastures situated adjacent to an intact grassland that can act as a population source than in pastures surrounded by crop fields.

    7. Both farming practices and landscape characteristics determine the diversity of characteristic and rare arable weeds in organically managed fields (pages 423–431)

      Roser Rotchés-Ribalta, José Manuel Blanco-Moreno, Laura Armengot, Lourdes Chamorro and Francesc Xavier Sans

      Article first published online: 9 DEC 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/avsc.12154

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      Characteristic arable weeds have dramatically declined in arable cropping systems due to land-use management and changes in agricultural landscape. The decline of some species has been so sharp that they have become rare. Our broad survey on organic fields reflects that adequate fertilization and the presence of autumn-sowing cereals in the crop rotation enhance their persistence.

    8. Detecting long-term losses at the plant community level – arable fields in Germany revisited (pages 432–442)

      Stefan Meyer, Erwin Bergmeier, Thomas Becker, Karsten Wesche, Benjamin Krause and Christoph Leuschner

      Article first published online: 15 MAR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/avsc.12168

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      Agricultural intensification in Europe has caused dramatic biodiversity losses in arable fields. Our new approach using phytosociological syntaxa and a semi-permanent plot design quantifies these losses on the plant community level. The currently used set of phytosociological associations is inadequate to describe present-day arable plant assemblages. We show that the concept of residual plant communities provides a useful methodological supplement.

    9. Ecological disturbance regimes caused by agricultural land uses and their effects on tropical forest regeneration (pages 443–455)

      Isela Zermeño-Hernández, Moisés Méndez-Toribio, Christina Siebe, Julieta Benítez-Malvido and Miguel Martínez-Ramos

      Article first published online: 11 FEB 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/avsc.12161

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      We proposed an index to quantify the ecological disturbance produced by different agricultural land uses types. This ecological disturbance index (EDI) predicts several regeneration variables as well as or better than direct measurements of the site condition at time of abandonment. EDI can be useful to identify in a fast and inexpensive way biodiversity-friendly agricultural land uses in human-modified landscapes.

    10. Indirect effects of land-use legacies determine tree colonization patterns in abandoned heathland (pages 456–466)

      Sebastian Kepfer-Rojas, Kris Verheyen, Vivian Kvist Johannsen and Inger Kappel Schmidt

      Article first published online: 11 APR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/avsc.12169

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      Many factors can determine tree encroachment in unmanaged heathlands. We examine the interacting effects of land use legacies, distance from sources and vegetation structure (overstory and understory). Colonizing species responded differently to these factors depending on life-history traits. Colonization by small-seeded species was hindered by competition with grasses mediated by nutrient availability whereas large-seeded species were not affected.

    11. Stand management to reduce fire risk promotes understorey plant diversity and biomass in a semi-arid Pinus halepensis plantation (pages 467–480)

      María N. Jiménez, Erica N. Spotswood, Eva M. Cañadas and Francisco B. Navarro

      Article first published online: 15 DEC 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/avsc.12151

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      This paper shows how restoration thinning and vegetation treatments (clearing and ploughing) used to reduce fire risk can modify the understorey vegetation in pine plantations on previous croplands, increasing plant diversity and/or biomass. However, it does not lead to recruitment of species that are typical of the native forests, and stand management should be coupled with active restoration techniques.

    12. Predicting historic forest composition using species lists in presettlement land survey records, western New York (pages 481–492)

      Chris P. S. Larsen, Stephen J. Tulowiecki, Yi-Chen Wang and Andrew B. Trgovac

      Article first published online: 2 MAR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/avsc.12165

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      Presettlement land survey records (e.g. GLO) contain two types of independent data: bearing trees and species lists. We show that species in the lists are correlated with species in the bearing trees. The correlations are strongest when the listed species are rank weighted by their position in the list, though still significant when species in the list are equally weighted.

    13. Plant beta-diversity is enhanced around grassland–forest edges within a traditional agricultural landscape (pages 493–502)

      Ryohei G. Ohara and Atushi Ushimaru

      Article first published online: 2 MAR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/avsc.12166

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      In traditional agricultural satoyama landscapes, the edges between rice fields and secondary forests are widely maintained as seminatural grasslands by mowing. Beta-diversity in grassland and forest-floor communities bordering edges was high in studied satoyama landscape, although alpha-diversity was not consistently high around edges. Maintenance of environmental heterogeneity among grassland–forest edges should be prioritized for biodiversity conservation in agricultural ecosystems.

    14. Floods reduce the prevalence of exotic plant species within the riparian zone: evidence from natural floods (pages 503–512)

      Joe Greet, J. Angus Webb and Roger D. Cousens

      Article first published online: 29 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/avsc.12156

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      We present evidence that flooding reduces the prevalence of terrestrial taxa (often exotic weeds) within riparian zones. Our study provides further evidence to support the use of managed floods to reduce the prevalence of terrestrial exotic taxa along regulated rivers. More generally, we demonstrate how natural experiments conducted around unregulated flow events can be used to inform environmental flow management.

    15. Human legacies differentially organize functional and phylogenetic diversity of urban herbaceous plant communities at multiple spatial scales (pages 513–527)

      Anna L. Johnson, Erica C. Tauzer and Christopher M. Swan

      Article first published online: 24 DEC 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/avsc.12155

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      While many studies have described patterns of biodiversity at the scale of entire cities, we know much less about how processes of community assembly vary within cities. We surveyed plant diversity in vacant lots in Baltimore, MD, US, and demonstrate that human land-use legacies explain more variation in composition and diversity than environmental and spatial gradients in this system.

    16. What lies beneath: detecting sub-canopy changes in savanna woodlands using a three-dimensional classification method (pages 528–540)

      Jolene T. Fisher, Ed T.F. Witkowski, Barend F.N. Erasmus, Penelope J. Mograbi, Gregory P. Asner, Jan A.N. van Aardt, Konrad J. Wessels and Renaud Mathieu

      Article first published online: 16 FEB 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/avsc.12160

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      Using airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), we show a low intensity use communal rangeland has a great woody vegetation structural diversity than a neighbouring private protected area. A 3D woody vegetation structural classification was necessary to detect fine-scale, and particularly sub-canopy, change in these semi-arid savannas and should be used in preference of a 2D vegetation classification for monitoring.