, Volume 162, Issue 2, pp 233-245

Partitioning floristic variance in Norwegian upland grasslands into within-site and between-site components: are the patterns determined by environment or by land-use?

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This study presents a quantitative partitioning of the variance infloristic data from grazed semi-natural vegetation of summer farms inRøldal, western Norway. The data consist of 189 taxa recorded in 1074-m2 sample plots within 10 summer farms with differentland-use histories. Thirty-five environmental variables were recorded,includingaltitude, slope, radiation, geology, soil chemistry, and past and presentland-use. A series of (partial) canonical correspondence analyses (CCAs) wereused to partition the total variation into within-farm and between-farmcomponents, and to investigate the explanatory power of different groups ofenvironmental and land-use variables at the two scales. The results show that:(1) although local gradients are of overriding importance for floristiccomposition, landscape-scale processes also contribute significantly to theobserved patterns; (2) the measured land-use and environmental factors accountfor comparable amounts of compositional variance at the two scales; and (3)evenif the relative contributions of the two classes of explanatory variables arecomparable, details differ, showing that broad-scale environmental and land-usepatterns are not just scaled-up versions of the fine-scale patterns or viceversa. These results support a multi-process view of vegetation patterns.