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A case with blue gentian blues: roadside-cutters creating neo grasslands as refugia for endangered Gentianella campestris


  • Ari-Pekka Huhta ,

  • Pasi Rautio

A-P. Huhta (, Botanical Museum, Univ. of Oulu, PO Box 3000, FI–90014 University of Oulu, Finland. – P. Rautio, Finnish Forest Research Inst., Kaironiementie 54, FI–39700 Parkano, Finland.


In this paper, we report how roadside cutting affect individuals of field gentian Gentianella campestris, a highly cutting tolerant grassland herb, and if roadsides could serve as refugia for this endangered species. Injured plants produced four times more branches located close to the ground and the plants were more than two times heavier compared to the uninjured ones. No differences in final reproductive parameters between the injured and uninjured plants were observed. Unsuccessful and slow allocation of belowground resources to reproductive organs to be the reason for the overcompensation injured plants, when measured in vegetative biomass, but not in reproductive output. However, because the injured plants either fully compensated, or even overcompensated, the damage in all parameters, our results suggest that substitutive habitats, such as the roadside in question, may provide temporary safe-sites for some species, and from these refugia they may disperse back to their original, restored habitats in the future.