Vegetatio

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 59–72

Development of species diversity in some mediterranean plant communities

  • C. Houssard
  • J. Escarré
  • F. Bomane
Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF00121018

Cite this article as:
Houssard, C., Escarré, J. & Bomane, F. Vegetatio (1980) 43: 59. doi:10.1007/BF00121018

Summary

Plant communities in the Mediterranean region have been analyzed with the emphasis on community processes regulating diversity trends. We want to know how several mechanisms that contribute to the maintenance or to the modification of species diversity, act: (i) in different communities, during an ecological succession (from old fields to forests), and (ii) in forest communities throughout the year. Some of these mechanisms were investigated through difference in stratification, life-form, phenology, dispersal agent, and microenvironmental gradient.

The paper censists of two parts. The first one deals with the relationship between structural and biological diversity in conjunction with succession stages leading to a Quereus pubescens forest. It is concluded that diversity, however it is measured, fluctuates during the succession: it increases initially (15 years after abandonment) and also in later stages when trees appear in the fields; it decreases after 20 years when Brachypodium phoenicoides dominates and in the latest stages of the succession studied. These trends may be interpreted in relation to the evolution of life form and dispersal agents spectra during the succession.

The second part concerns community-structure and biological diversity in relation to the organization of two Quercus pubescens forests. It appears that the species richness in the understory of the forests, may be explained by: (i) the tendency of the modal height of species foliage distribution to oceupy different positions, (ii) the quasicomplete asynchronism in the major phenophases of the dominant species, (iii) different horizontal patterns of species distribution along a light gradient.

These schemes are discussed in relation to ecological hypotheses on diversity in relation to succession, and to community organization.

Keywords

Deversity Porest French mediterranean region Old-fields Phenology Solar radiation Stratifloation Structure Succession 

Copyright information

© Dr. W. Junk b.v. Publishers 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Houssard
    • 1
  • J. Escarré
    • 1
  • F. Bomane
    • 1
  1. 1.Centie d'études phytosociologiques et écologiques Louis EmbergerC.N.R.S.Montpellier CedexFrance

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