Plant distribution patterns related to species characteristics and spatial and temporal habitat heterogeneity in a network of ditch banks
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- Geertsema, W. & Sprangers, J. Plant Ecology (2002) 162: 91. doi:10.1023/A:1020336908907
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In this study we investigated the relationship between the distributionpatterns of a number of herbaceous plant species and the isolation and age ofhabitat patches. The study was conducted for a network of ditch banks in anagricultural landscape in The Netherlands. Thirteen plant species were selectedrepresenting contrasting dispersal and seed bank characteristics. Isolation ofhabitat patches was determined by the distance to the nearest occupied patchandby the number of occupied patches in circles of increasing radius around thepatches. Age was the number of years since the creation of the ditches. In amultiple logistic regression model the separate effects of age of the habitatand the spatial variables were analyzed. A number of habitat variables wereusedto correct the effect of habitat quality. We concluded that distributionpatterns of plant species were mainly determined by habitat quality and thepresence of seed sources at short distances (< 25 m). Thisconclusion was independent of the dispersal characteristics of the species.Mostspecies had higher occupation frequencies in older than younger ditch banks.Only species with persistent seeds had comparable occupation probabilities inolder and younger habitat patches, indicating the importance of the soil seedbank as a source of colonization after large-scale disturbances. The effect ofage and management on the occupation probabilities of the species was oftendiminished in the regression model, probably due to correlation between somehabitat variables and the age of the patches.