The influence of management history and habitat on plant species richness in a rural hemiboreal landscape, Sweden
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- Cousins, S.A. & Eriksson, O. Landscape Ecol (2002) 17: 517. doi:10.1023/A:1021400513256
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We explored patterns of plant species richness at different spatialscales in 14 habitats in a Swedish rural landscape. Effects of physicalconditions, and relationships between species richness and management historyreaching back to the 17th century were examined, using old cadastralmaps andaerial photographs. The most species-rich habitats were dry open semi-naturalgrasslands, midfield islets and road verges. Alpha diversity (species richnesswithin sites) was highest in habitats on dry substrates (excluding bedrock withsparse pines) and beta diversity (species richness among sites) was highest inmoist to wet habitats. Alpha and beta components of species richness tended tobe inversely related among habitats with similar species richness. Managementhistory influenced diversity patterns. Areas managed as grasslands in the17th and 18th century harboured more species than areasoutside the villages. We also found significant relationships between speciesrichness and soil type. Silt proved to be the most species-rich topsoil(10–20 cm) in addition to thin soils top of on green- orlimestone bedrock. The variation in species richness due to local relief orform of thesite also showed significant relationships, where flat surfaces had the highestnumber of species. In contrast, no significant relationship was found betweenspecies richness and aspect. Our study suggests that present-day diversitypatterns are much influenced by management history, and that small habitat,e.g., road verges and midfield islets, are important for maintaining speciesrichness.