Changes in Mediterranean plant succession: old-fields revisited
Article first published online: 24 FEB 2009
1996 IAVS - the International Association of Vegetation Science
Journal of Vegetation Science
Volume 7, Issue 4, pages 519–526, August 1996
How to Cite
Debussche, M., Escarré, J., Lepart, J., Houssard, C. and Lavorel, S. (1996), Changes in Mediterranean plant succession: old-fields revisited. Journal of Vegetation Science, 7: 519–526. doi: 10.2307/3236300
- Issue published online: 24 FEB 2009
- Article first published online: 24 FEB 2009
- Received 13 February 1995; Revision received 18 October 1995; Accepted 2 December 1995.
- Life form;
- Species richness;
- Space-for-time substitution;
- Species turnover
- Tutin et al. (1964–1980).
Abstract. Old-field plots used for a study of succession in Mediterranean France were revisited after 12–14 yr. Our aims were: (1) to verify if predicted patterns of species richness, turnover and composition are confirmed; (2) to compare the development in disturbed plots with that in undisturbed ones; (3) to discuss the impact of management changes.
In undisturbed plots species richness and turnover decreased with successional age. Floristic composition changed in a way consistent with the predicted successional development in most plots. Therophytes decreased and phanerophytes increased; anemochorous species decreased and endozoochorous species increased, as expected. In plots disturbed since the first analysis richness decreased with successional age, but generally remained higher than in undisturbed plots. Floristic composition, species turnover and an increase in therophytes indicated changes towards younger successional stages. Thus, disturbance changed succession but not much. This is probably linked with the regeneration abilities typical of mediterranean species, e.g. resprouting. At the landscape scale, richness did not change and species turnover was low.
The plots studied were situated in two distinct locations. One had not been disturbed between the two observation periods, while the other is a mosaic of undisturbed and disturbed sites. Observations fitted predictions much more closely at the undisturbed location.
We conclude that permanent plot studies are powerful in identifying successional trends and can also provide additional insights into the effects of disturbance some of the mechanisms underlying the dynamics of diversity.