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Keywords:

  • Area;
  • Connectivity;
  • Dispersal strategy;
  • Edge species;
  • Interior species;
  • Isolation;
  • Pattern;
  • Regression analysis
  • van der Meijden et al. (1990)

Abstract. For 312 forest patches on sandy soils in the Netherlands, effects of fragmentation are studied of forest habitat in the past on the present occurrence of forest plant species. Using regression techniques, the numbers of forest edge, interior, zoochorous and anemochorous species, as well as occurrence of 24 individual species were related to patch area and connectivity measures. Connectivity was defined as the amount of forest habitat around patches within three zones up to 1000 m. Plant categories were distinguished by habitat type and dispersal mechanism. The results showed that number of total species and number of species of all habitat and dispersal categories increased with area. The occurrence of ten individually studied species were also positively related to area. Most of them were interior species. The number of zoochorous species increased with increasing connectivity. Also occurrence of ten individually studied species were affected by connectivity. Interior zoochorous species showed the highest percentage of affected species. The relationship of interior, animal-dispersed plants to connectivity can be explained by the limited distances covered by their dispersal agents (forest birds and ants) in a non-forest habitat. Also, some anemochorous plants appeared to be affected by connectivity, especially those with heavy seeds and potentially short distance dispersal. As not all species within a certain dispersal or habitat category react similar to area or isolation, it is suggested that differences in underlying processes of fragmentation such as local extinction and colonization need more focus.