The Association of Dispersal and Persistence Traits of Plants with Different Stages of Succession in Central European Man-Made Habitats
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Traits related to seed dispersal, clonality and bud bank affect the success or failure of plant species. Using data from 13 successional seres in various human-made habitats the spectra of traits associated with dispersal and persistence were compared to determine the traits that can be used to predict the occurrence of particular plant species at each stage in a succession and how the importance of these traits changes over time. Differences in the traits of species associated with primary and secondary successions were also studied. Species with seeds that are dispersed by water (hydrochory) decreased in abundance during the course of succession. Species with a splitting main root, monocyclic and dicyclic shoots also decreased in abundance. Species capable of forming a potential below-ground bud bank, hypogeogenous rhizome and retaining a long-term connection with clonal offspring increased in abundance. The results indicate that seed dispersal is more important in determining the species composition in the early stages of succession whereas bud banks and clonal traits are more important in the later stages and for colonizing a locality. Primary and secondary seres did not remarkably differ in the trait spectra of the species present indicating that these trends occur in both types of succession.