• Abandonment;
  • Israel;
  • Life form;
  • Secondary succession;
  • Seed dispersal.
  • Feinbrun-Dothan & Danin (1991).

Abstract. Previous studies on secondary succession in abandoned agricultural land in the Mediterranean area were carried out by the chronosequence method, including data from different sites. A unique opportunity to study secondary succession arose from a situation in which different parts of one homogeneous East-Mediterranean vineyard were abandoned for 5, 8, 15 and 35 yr, and did not suffer from any disturbance subsequently. Most of the perennial species that colonized the abandoned vineyard were fleshy fruited species, which apparently were dispersed by birds from the surrounding maquis into the vineyard. These bird-dispersed species were the first to be established, and were the dominant plant group according to dispersal modes. The abandoned vine plants and their supporting columns provided the birds with perching and feeding sites, enhancing the arrival of bird-dispersed species regardless of their life forms. Under these conditions the most important attribute that affected vegetation dynamics was seed dispersal mode. Trees were among the first to colonize in the vineyard, implying that no facilitation was needed for their establishment. Annual plant species were the only species to disappear during succession. Almost all perennial species which had arrived persisted in the vineyard, and no replacement of perennial species was found. The rate of succession was rapid, as expressed by the short time (8–15 yr) needed for the stabilization of species composition, for growth to average height of late succession trees, and for reaching high cover of the invading perennial species in the abandoned vineyard. The secondary succession described above differs from that in the western Mediterranean by the absence of perennial species replacement and its rapid rate. The possible causes are discussed.