Biodiversity and Conservation

, 17:3531 | Cite as

Habitat preferences and distribution characteristics are indicative of species long-term persistence in the Estonian flora

  • Marek Sammul
  • Tiiu Kull
  • Kaire Lanno
  • Merit Otsus
  • Merike Mägi
  • Silja Kana
Original Paper

Abstract

Large-scale changes in regional floras provide direct information about changes in biodiversity through time and enable the evaluation of conservation targets. We compared the distribution ranges in 2004 of Estonian native terrestrial flora with the distribution ranges before 1970, using the Atlas of Estonian Flora. Relative persistence was related to species endemism, commonness, occurrence at its border of the global distribution range, main habitat type, sensitivity to human impact, life-form, conservation category, and Red List category. A literature-based database of the flora of Estonian habitat types was used to evaluate relative persistence of the flora of different habitats. Changes in the flora are largely dependent on human activities. The decrease in mire and grassland habitats and the increase in forests are reflected in the persistences of related species. Flora of mire habitats decreased the most. The fact that an almost ten-fold decrease of grasslands has not resulted in as large a decrease in the ranges of grassland species could serve as evidence of the extinction debt of these habitats. We also found a greater decrease among habitat specialists than habitat generalists and lower average persistence of the species of species-rich habitats. Our data show that current prioritization of species for conservation is in concordance with needs, as reflected in the changes in the range of species. However, conservation has not been entirely successful: the decrease of protected species continues. Our simple method for summarizing large databases was effective for the evaluation of large scale effects of conservation actions.

Keywords

National flora Distribution ranges Eutrophication Land-use change Large-scale changes Long-term changes Monitoring Species persistence 

References

  1. Andersson L (2002) Mapping nature protection values—a habitat-wise presentation of regional variation in rare and vulnerable species. Svensk Bot Tidskr 96:313–322Google Scholar
  2. Andersson L, Martverk R, Külvik M, Palo A, Varblane A (2003) Woodland key habitat inventory in Estonia 1999–2002. Regio Publishing, TartuGoogle Scholar
  3. Bakker JP (1989) Nature management by grazing and cutting. Kluver Academic Publishers, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  4. Balmer O (2002) Species lists in ecology and conservation: Abundances matter. Conserv Biol 16:1160–1161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Balmford A, Bennun L, ten Brink B, Cooper D, Côte IM, Crane P et al (2005) The Convention on Biological Diversity’s 2010 target. Science 307(5707):212–213PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bernes C (ed) (1994) Biological diversity of Sweden—a country study. Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, Monitor 14Google Scholar
  7. Brooks TM, Mittermeier RA, Mittermeier CG, da Fonseca GAB, Rylands AB, Konstant WR, Flick P, Pilgrim J, Oldfield S, Magin G, Hilton-Taylor C (2002) Habitat loss and extinction in the hotspots of biodiversity. Conserv Biol 16(4):909–923CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chapin FS, Zavaleta ES, Eviner VT, Naylor RL, Vitousek PM, Reynolds HL, Hooper DU, Lavorel S, Sala OE, Hobbie SE, Mack MC, Díaz S (2000) Consequences of changing biodiversity. Nature 405:234–242PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cousins SA, Eriksson O (2001) Plant species occurrences in a rural hemiboreal landscape: effects of remnant habitats, site history, topography and soil. Ecography 24:461–469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dupré C, Ehrlén J (2002) Habitat configuration, species traits and plant distributions. J Ecol 90:796–805CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ellenberg H (1974) Zeigerwerte der Gefässpflanzen Mitteleuropas. Scripta Geobot 9:1–122Google Scholar
  12. Ellenberg H, Weber HE, Düll R, Wirth V, Werner W, Paulisen D (1991) Zeigerwerte von Pflanzen in Mitteleuropa. Scripta Geobot 18:1–248Google Scholar
  13. Englisch M, Karrer G, Wagner H (1991) Bericht über den Zustand des Waldbodens in Niederösterreich. Forstl Bundesversuchsanst/Amt der Niederösterr. Landesregierung, WienGoogle Scholar
  14. Eriksson O (2000) Functional roles of remnant plant populations in communities and ecosystems. Global Ecol Biogeogr 9:443–449CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Eriksson O, Cousins SA, Bruun HH (2002) Land-use history and fragmentation of traditionally managed grasslands in Scandinavia. J Veg Sci 13:743–748CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fischer M, Stöcklin J (1997) Local extinctions of plants in remnants of extensively used calcareous grasslands 1950–1985. Conserv Biol 11:727–737CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Flora of Estonian SSR 1953–1984. Eesti NSV Floora, vol I-XI. Tallinn, ValgusGoogle Scholar
  18. Fojt W, Harding M (1995) Thirty years of change in the vegetation communities of three valley mires in Suffolk, England. J Appl Ecol 32:561–577CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hanski I (2000) Extinction dept and species credit in boreal forests: modelling the consequences of different approaches to biodiversity conservation. Ann Zool Fenn 37:271–280Google Scholar
  20. Hanski I, Ovaskainen O (2002) Extinction debt at extinction threshold. Conserv Biol 16:666–673CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hedin J (2003) Metapopulation biology of Osmoderma eremita—dispersal, habitat quality and habitat history. PhD thesis. Department of Ecology, Lund UniversityGoogle Scholar
  22. Helm A, Hanski I, Pärtel M (2006) Slow response of plant species richness to habitat loss and fragmentation. Ecol Lett 9:72–77PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Henle K, Lindenmayer DB, Margules CR, Saunders DA, Wissel C (2004) Species survival in fragmented landscapes: Where are we now? Biodiv Conserv 13:1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Honnay O, Jacquemyn H, Bossuyt B, Hermy M (2005) Forest fragmentation effects on patch occupancy and population viability of herbaceous plant species. New Phytol 166:723–736PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hutchings MJ (1991) Monitoring plant populations: census as an aid to conservation. In: Goldsmith FB (ed) Monitoring for conservation and ecology. Chapman & Hall, LondonGoogle Scholar
  26. Ikonen I (ed) (2004) Fogur er hlíðin. Fair is the blooming meadow. TemaNord 2004:564. Nordic Council of MinistersGoogle Scholar
  27. Ilomets M (2005) Eesti soode taastamine – vajadused, printsiibid, hetkeseis (Restoration of Estonian mires—needs, principles and present state). In: Sammul M, Lõhmus A (eds) Ecological Restoration. Year-Book of the Estonian Naturalists’ Society 83, pp 72–95Google Scholar
  28. Jalas J, Suominen J (1972) Atlas Florae Europaeae. Distribution of vascular plants in Europe. 1. Pteridophyta (Psilotaceae to Azollaceae). Committee for Mapping the Flora of Europe, Societas Biologica Fennica Vanamo, HelsinkiGoogle Scholar
  29. Karrer G (1992) Österreichische Waldboden- Zustandsinventur. Teil VII: Vegetationsökologische Analysen. Mitt Forstl Bundesversuchsanst 168:193–242Google Scholar
  30. Karrer G, Killian W (1990) Standorte und Waldgesellschaften im Leithagebirge Revier Sommerein. Mitt Forstl Bundesversuchsanst 165:1–244Google Scholar
  31. Krug A (1993) Drainage history and land use pattern of a Swedish river system – their importance for understanding nitrogen and phosphorus load. Hydrobiol 251:285–296CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kukk T (1999a) Eesti taimestik (Vascular plant flora of Estonia). Teaduste Akadeemia Kirjastus, Tallinn-Tartu (in Estonian with English summary)Google Scholar
  33. Kukk Ü (1999b) Protected plants of Estonia. EPMÜ Keskkonnakaitse Instituut, TartuGoogle Scholar
  34. Kukk Ü (2003) The distribution of Ligularia sibirica (L.) Cass. in Estonia and changes in its population. Biul Ogrodow Botanic 12:11–22Google Scholar
  35. Kukk T, Kull K (1997) Puisniidud (Wooded Meadows). Estonia Maritima 2:1–249Google Scholar
  36. Kukk T, Kull T (eds) (2005) Atlas of the Estonian flora. Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences of the Estonian University of Life Sciences, TartuGoogle Scholar
  37. Kukk T, Sammul M (2006) Loodusdirektiivi poollooduslikud kooslused ja nende pindala Eestis (Area of seminatural Natura 2000 habitat types in Estonia). In: Sammul M (ed) Year-Book of the Estonian Naturalists’ Society 84, pp114–158Google Scholar
  38. Kull K, Zobel M (1991) High species richness in an Estonian wooded meadow. J Veg Sci 2:711–714CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kull T, Hutchings MJ (2006) A comparative analysis of decline in the distribution ranges of orchid species in Estonia and the United Kingdom. Biol Conserv 129:31–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Kull T, Kukk T, Leht M, Krall H, Kukk Ü, Kull K, Kuusk V (2002) Distribution trends of rare vascular plant species in Estonia. Biodivers Conserv 11:171–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Laasimer L (1965) Eesti NSV taimkate (Flora of the Estonia). Valgus, TallinnGoogle Scholar
  42. Leht M (ed) (1999) Eesti taimede määraja (A guide of Estonian plants). EPMÜ ZBI, Eesti Loodusfoto, TartuGoogle Scholar
  43. Lilleleht V (ed) (1998) Eesti punane raamat. Ohustatud seened, taimed ja loomad (Red data book of Estonia. Threatened fungi, plants and animals). Teaduste Akadeemia looduskaitse komisjon, Tartu (in Estonian with English summary). Available online at http://www.zbi.ee/punane/
  44. Lõhmus A, Kohv K, Palo A, Viilma K (2004) Loss of old-growth, and the minimum need for strictly protected forests in Estonia. Ecol Bull 51:401–411Google Scholar
  45. May RM, Lawton JH, Stork NE (1995) Assessing extinction rates. In: Lawton JH, May RM (eds) Extinction rates. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  46. McCollin D, Moore L, Sparks T (2000) The flora of a cultural landscape: environmental determinants of change revealed using archival sources. Biol Conserv 92:249–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Metsakaitse (1999) Metsakaitse- ja metsauueduskeskus. Aastaraamat Mets′99. Yearbook: Forest ′99. OÜ PaarGoogle Scholar
  48. Myers N (1979) The shrinking ark: a new look at the problem of disappearing species. Pergamon Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  49. Paal J (1997) Eesti taimkatte kasvukohatüüpide klassifikatsioon (Classification of Estonian vegetation site types). Tartu Ülikooli Botaanika ja Ökoloogia Instituut, Tallinn (in Estonian)Google Scholar
  50. Pajula R (2006) Kui palju on Eestis soid (How much mires are there in Estonia)? Eesti Loodus 1:14–19Google Scholar
  51. Pärtel M, Kalamees R, Reier Ü, Tuvi E-L, Roosaluste E, Vellak A, Zobel M (2005) Grouping and prioritization of vascular plant species for conservation: combining natural rarity and management need. Biol Conserv 123:271–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Pavlik BM, Barbour MG (1988) Demographic monitoring of endemic sand dune plants, Eureka Valley, California. Biol Conserv 46:217–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Piessens K, Hermy M (2006) Does the heathland flora in north-western Belgium show an extinction debt? Biol Conserv 132:382–394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Preston CD, Pearman DA, Dines TD (2002) New atlas of the British and Irish flora. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  55. Pullin AS, Knight TM, Stone DA, Charman K (2004) Do conservation managers use scientific evidence to support their decision-making? Biol Conserv 119:245–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Riis T, Sand-Jensen K (2001) Historical changes in species composition and richness accompanying perturbation and eutrophication of Danish lowland streams over 100 years. Freshwater Biol 46:269–280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Römermann C, Tackenberg O, Jackel A-K, Poschlod P (2008) Eutrophication and fragmentation are related to species’ rate of decline but not to species rarity: results from a functional approach. Biodivers Conserv 17:591–604CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Ryttäri T, Kukk Ü, Kull T, Jäkäläniemi A, Reitalu M (eds) (2003) Monitoring of threatened vascular plants in Estonia and Finland—methods and experiences. The Finnish Environment 659, HelsinkiGoogle Scholar
  59. Sala OE, Chapin FSI, Armesto JJ et al (2000) Global biodiversity scenarios for the year 2000. Science 287:1770–1774PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Sammul M, Lõhmus A (eds) (2005) Ecological restoration. Year-Book of the Estonian Naturalists’ Society 83, Estonian Naturalists’ Society, TartuGoogle Scholar
  61. Sammul M, Kull K, Kukk T (2000) Natural grasslands in Estonia: evolution, environmental and economic roles. In: Viiralt R, Lillak R, Michelson M (eds) Conventional and ecological grassland management. Estonian Grassland Society, TartuGoogle Scholar
  62. Smart SM, Clarke RT, van de Poll HM, Robertson EJ, Shield ER, Bunce RGH, Maskell LC (2003) National-scale vegetation change across Britain; an analysis of sample-based surveillance data from the Countryside Surveys of 1990 and 1998. J Environ Manag 67:239–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Smart SM, Bunce RGH, Marrs R, LeDuc M, Firbank LG, Maskell LC, Scott WA, Thompson K, Walker KJ (2005) Large-scale changes in the abundance of common higher plant species across Britain between 1978, 1990 and 1998 as a consequence of human activity: tests of hypothesised changes in trait representation. Biol Conserv 124:355–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Smart SM, Thompson K, Marrs RH, Le Duc MG, Maskell LC, Firbank LG (2006) Biotic homogenization and changes in species diversity across human-modified ecosystems. 273:2659–2665Google Scholar
  65. Sokal RR, Rohlf FJ (1995) Biometry, the Principles and practice of statistics in biological research, 3rd edn. WH Freeman and Co, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  66. Soulé ME (1987) Viable populations for conservation. Cambridge Unviersity Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  67. Statistics Estonia (2007) Metsavaru metsade inventeerimise statistilise valikmeetodi (SMI) alusel (Forest resources according to statistical inventory). Available: http://pub.stat.ee/px-web.2001/dialog/varval.asp?ma=KK51&ti=METSAVARU+METSADE+INVENTEERIMISE+STATISTILISE+VALIKMEETODI+%28SMI%29+ALUSEL&path=../Database/Keskkond/06Loodusvarad_ja_nende_kasutamine/08Metsavaru/&search=METS&lang=2. Cited 17.01.2007
  68. Sutherland WJ, Pullin AS, Dolman PM, Knight TM (2004) The need for evidence-based conservation. TREE 19:305–308PubMedGoogle Scholar
  69. Tamis WLM, Van’t Zelfde M, van der Meijden R, Groen CLG, de Haes HAU (2005) Ecological interpretation of changes in the dutch flora in the 20th century. Biol Conserv 125:211–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Tikka PM, Koski PS, Kivelä RA, Kuitunen MT (2000) Can grassland plant communities be preserved on road and railway verges? Appl Veg Sci 3:25–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Tilman D, May RM, Lehman CL, Nowak MA (1994) Habitat destruction and the extinction dept. Nature 371:65–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Van der Veken S, Verheyen K, Hermy M (2004) Plant species loss in an urban area (Turnout, Belgium) from 1980 to 1999 and its envronmental determinants. Flora 199:516–523Google Scholar
  73. Viiralt R, Lillak R (2006) Rohumaade põllumajandusliku kasutuse ajalooline areng. Rohumaaviljeluse ja rohumaateaduse areng ning edendajad Eestis. In: Bender A (ed) Eritüübiliste rohumaade rajamine ja kasutamine I. Eesti Vabariigi Põllumajandusministeerium. Jõgeva Sordiaretuse Instituut, Tartu Ülikooli KirjastusGoogle Scholar
  74. von Numers M, Korvenpää T (2007) 20th century vegetation changes in an island archipelago, SW Finland. Ecography 30:789–800CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Willems JH (1983) Species composition and above ground phytomass in chalk grassland with different management. Vegetatio 52:171–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Wilson EO (1992) The diversity of life. Allen Line, LondonGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marek Sammul
    • 1
  • Tiiu Kull
    • 1
  • Kaire Lanno
    • 1
  • Merit Otsus
    • 1
  • Merike Mägi
    • 1
  • Silja Kana
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Botany, Institute of Agricultural and Environmental SciencesEstonian University of Life SciencesTartuEstonia

Personalised recommendations