Alternative stable states in a wet calcareous dune slack in The Netherlands
Article first published online: 24 FEB 2009
2002 IAVS - the International Association of Vegetation Science
Journal of Vegetation Science
Volume 13, Issue 1, pages 107–114, February 2002
How to Cite
Adema, E. B., Grootjans, A. P., Petersen, J. and Grijpstra, J. (2002), Alternative stable states in a wet calcareous dune slack in The Netherlands. Journal of Vegetation Science, 13: 107–114. doi: 10.1111/j.1654-1103.2002.tb02027.x
- Issue published online: 24 FEB 2009
- Article first published online: 24 FEB 2009
- Received 7 June 2001; Revision received 16 November 2001; Accepted 30 November 2001.
- Microbial mat;
- Multiple stable state;
- Pioneer species;
- van der Meijden (1996) for phanerogams;
- Schaminée et al. (1995) for syntaxa
Abstract. Evidence is presented for the occurrence of alternative stable states in a wet calcareous dune slack on the Frisian island of Texel, The Netherlands. An early pioneer stage (0.5 kgm−2 total standing crop) and a more productive later successional stage (2.9 kg m−2) occur side by side, with sharp boundaries between them. The pioneer vegetation has been recorded at the site for more than 62 yr. These features indicate the occurrence of a positive-feedback mechanism that has led to alternative stable states.
Analyses of ground and surface water composition, and decalcification depths, indicated that hydrologically the study site can be characterized as a flow-through slack, with exfiltration of calcareous groundwater on one side and infiltration of surface water on the other side of the slack. These differences in hydrological conditions have led to distinct differences in environmental conditions within the dune slack. The occurrence of the two successional stages can, however, not be explained by differences in hydrological conditions since both stages occur side by side in the centre of the dune slack. It is, therefore, more likely that biotic interactions are the cause of the vegetation pattern. Three possible mechanisms for feedback processes are discussed: (1) enhanced nitrogen loss; (2) sulfide toxicity and (3) nutrient accumulation in internal cycle.