Advertisement

Folia Geobotanica

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 231–247 | Cite as

Reinforced Traditional Management is Needed to Save a Declining Meadow Species. A Demographic Analysis

  • Lotta Wallin
  • Brita M. SvenssonEmail author
Article

Abstract

The changes in agricultural practices during the last century have led to a drastic decrease in the number of traditionally managed hay meadows. Also, traditional management practices are often applied more cursorily in the remaining meadows. In combination with an increase in aerial anthropogenic nitrogen deposition, this has led to a loss of biodiversity. To investigate whether the current management is sufficient for maintaining viable populations of a typical meadow plant, Succisa pratensis, we experimentally reinforced the raking and mowing parts of the traditional management over four years in a two-by-two factorial experiment in three traditionally managed wooded hay meadows on the Baltic island of Gotland, Sweden. We found decreased litter and hay production in two of the three studied meadows as a result of our treatments. Plant sizes and asymptotic population growth rates (λ) of S. pratensis increased, particularly in plots receiving the combined raking and mowing treatment. Stochastic long-term population growth rates (λ s ) increased under the reinforced management: projected population sizes 50 years into the future showed a three-fold increase in raked plots and a 17-fold increase in plots that were both raked and mown. Because we found positive responses even in these seemingly well-managed meadows we conclude that it is essential that management is carried out more thoroughly to ensure viable population sizes. Our conclusion applies to most semi-natural grasslands receiving anthropogenic nitrogen, or where traditional management practices are less rigorously applied. We also suggest using biomass estimation instead of vegetation height as a measure of management strength.

Keywords

Anthropogenic nitrogen Matrix population models Mowing Raking Stochastic growth rate Succisa pratensis 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the managers of the meadows for sharing this wonderful habitat with us: Ingrid and Anders Lingvall, Lars-Göran Söderström and Helen Eriksson, and Ardre hembygdsförening. Also, great thanks to the field assistants: Lotta Borg, Katrine Bruntse, Therese Eriksson, Ellen Flygare, Karin Jakobsson, and Monia Lindeberg. The study has been funded by a grant from Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research to B.M.S., and from Bjurzons, Extensus, E. Hellgrens, Helge Ax:son Johnsons, P.O. Lundells, B. Lundmans, and Tullbergs scholarships to L.W. The manuscript has been improved by comments from Hamish Avery, Bengt Å. Carlsson, Johan Ehrlén, Håkan Rydin, Jon Ågren, and three anonymous reviewers. All are gratefully acknowledged.

Supplementary material

12224_2012_9123_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (9 kb)
Table S1 Matrix transitions for Succisa pratensis populations in the Bölske, Kullands and Mullvalds meadows, for all treatments (control, C; raking, R; mowing, M; raking + mowing, RM). Data is based on pooled matrices 2003–2006. i = stage in year t +1, j = stage in year t. The figures correspond to the following stages: 1: seedling, 2: juvenile, 3: small vegetative, 4: large vegetative, 5: small flowering, and 6: large flowering. In bold are transitions that contributed the most to the increased population growth rates in treated plots compared to the control (LTRE, see the article) (PDF 9 kb)

References

  1. Adams AW (1955) Succisa pratensis Moench. J Ecol 43:709–718CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anonymous (1976) Inventering av änges- och lövmarker (Inventory of wooded hay meadows and deciduous woodlands on Gotland). Länsstyrelsen i Gotlands Län, VisbyGoogle Scholar
  3. Anonymous (1991) Ängs- och hagmarker på Gotland 1991. Del 4. Södra Gotland (Seminatural grasslands on Gotland 1991. Part 4. Southern Gotland). Länsstyrelsen i Gotlands Län, VisbyGoogle Scholar
  4. Anonymous (1992) Ängs- och hagmarker på Gotland 1992. Del 3, Mellersta Gotland (Seminatural grasslands on Gotland 1992. Part 3. Middle Gotland). Länsstyrelsen i Gotlands Län, VisbyGoogle Scholar
  5. Anonymous (2004) Återinventering av gotländska ängen (Reinventory of wooded hay meadows on Gotland). Rapport nr 3 från Länsstyrelsens miljöenhet, Länsstyrelsen i Gotlands Län, VisbyGoogle Scholar
  6. Berendse F (1999) Implications of increased litter production for plant biodiversity. Trends Ecol Evol 14:4–5PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brys R, Jacquemyn H, Endels P, De Blust G Hermy M (2005) Effect of habitat deterioration on population dynamics and extinction risks in a previously common perennial. Conservation Biol 19:1633–1643CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bühler C, Schmid B (2001) The influence of management regime and altitude on the population structure of Succisa pratensis: implications for vegetation monitoring. J Appl Ecol 38:689–698CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bullock JM, Franklin J, Stevenson MJ, Silvertown J, Coulson SJ, Gregory SJ, Tofts R (2001) A plant trait analysis of responses to grazing in a long-term experiment. J Appl Ecol 38:253–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Caswell H (1996) Analysis of life table response experiments II. Alternative parameterizations for size- and stage-structured models. Ecol Modelling 88:73–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Caswell H (2001) Matrix population models: Construction, analysis, and interpretation. Ed. 2. Sinauer, Sunderland, MAGoogle Scholar
  12. Caswell H, Brault S Read A, Smith T (1998) Harbor porpoise and fisheries: an uncertainty analysis of incidental mortality. Ecol Appl 8:1226–1238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Colling G, Matthies D (2006) Effects of habitat deterioration on population dynamics and extinction risk of an endangered, long-lived perennial herb (Scorzonera humilis). J Ecol 94:959–972CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Crone EE (2001) Is survivorship a better fitness surrogate than fecundity? Evolution 55:2611–2614PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Croneborg H (2001) Gotländska ängar. En katalog över slåttermarker i hävd på Gotland år 2001 (Wooded hay meadows on Gotland. A catalogue of traditionally managed hay meadows on Gotland in 2001). Länsstyrelsen i Gotlands Län, VisbyGoogle Scholar
  16. Dentener FJ (2006) Global maps of atmospheric nitrogen deposition, 1860, 1993, and 2050. Data set. Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center, Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Available at: http://daac.ornl.gov/
  17. Ehrlén J, Syrjänen K, Leimu R, Garcias MB, Lehtilä K (2005) Land use and population growth of Primula veris: an experimental demographic approach. J Appl Ecol 42:317–326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ekstam U, Forshed N (1996) Äldre fodermarker (Old hay meadows and pastureland). Naturvårdsverket, StockholmGoogle Scholar
  19. Ekstam U, Forshed R, Mattson M, Porsne T (1984) Ölands och Gotlands växtvärld. En ekologisk och kulturhistorisk flora (Plants on Gotland. An ecological and cultural flora). Bokförlaget Natur och Kultur, StockholmGoogle Scholar
  20. Ekstam U, Aronsson M, Forshed N (1988) Ängar: Om naturliga slåttermarker i odlingslandskapet (Hay meadows: On natural hay meadows in the cultural landscape). Lts förlag. Naturvårdsverket, StockholmGoogle Scholar
  21. Foster BL, Gross KL (1998) Species richness in a successional grassland: Effects of nitrogen enrichment and plant litter. Ecology 79:2593–2602CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Franzén D, Eriksson O (2003) Patch distribution and dispersal limitation of four plant species in Swedish semi-natural grasslands. Pl Ecol 166:217–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gotelli NJ, Ellison AM (2004) A primer of ecological statistics. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, MAGoogle Scholar
  24. Grime JP (1977) Evidence for the existence of three primary strategies in plants and its relevance to ecological and evolutionary theory. Amer Naturalist 111:1169–1194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Grime JP (2001) Plant strategies, vegetation processes, and ecosystem properties. Wiley & Sons, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  26. Grime JP, Hodgson JG, Hunt R (1988) Comparative plant ecology: A functional approach to common British species. Unwin Hyman, LondonGoogle Scholar
  27. Horwitz CC, Schemske DW, Caswell H (1997) The “importance” of life history stages to population growth: prospective and retrospective analyses. In Tuljapurkar S, Caswell H (eds) Structured population models in marine, terrestrial and freshwater systems. Chapman and Hall, New York, pp 247–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hultén E, Fries M (1986) Atlas of North European vascular plants north of the tropic of cancer. Koeltz Scientific Books, KönigsteinGoogle Scholar
  29. Jacquemyn H, Brys R. Hermy M (2003) Short-term effects of different management regimes on the response of calcareous grassland vegetation to increased nitrogen. Biol Conservation 111:137–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Jongejans E, de Kroon H (2005) Space versus time variation in the population dynamics of three co-occurring perennial herbs. J Ecol 93:681–692CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kukk T, Kull K (1997) Puisniidud (Wooded meadows). Estonia Marit 2:138–146Google Scholar
  32. Kull K, Zobel M (1991) High species richness in an Estonian wooded meadow. J Veg Sci 2:715–718CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lee M, Manning P, Rist J, Power SA, Marsh C (2010) A global comparison of grassland biomass response to CO2 and nitrogen enrichment. Philos Trans, Ser B 365:2047–2056CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lennartsson T (2000) Management and population viability of the pasture plant Gentianella campestris: the role of interactions between habitat factors. Ecol Bull 48:111–121Google Scholar
  35. Lennartsson T, Oostermeijer JGB (2001) Demographic variation and population viability in Gentianella campestris: effects of grassland management and environmental stochasticity. J Ecol 89:451–463CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Levin L, Caswell H, Bridges T, DiBacco C, Cabrera D, Plaia G (1996) Demographic responses of estuarine polychaetes to pollutants: life table response experiments. Ecol Appl 6:1295–1313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lienert J (2004) Habitat fragmentation effects on fitness of plant populations – a review. J Nat Conservation 12:53–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lindborg R, Ehrlén J (2002) Evaluating the extinction risk of a perennial herb: Demographic data versus historical records. Conservation Biol 16:683–690CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lucas RW, Forseth IN, Casper BB (2008) Using rainout shelters to evaluate climate change effects on the demography of Cryptantha flava. J Ecol 96:514–522CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Martinsson M (1999) Böisårkar u daldargras – Naturvärden och vård i gotländska odlingslandskap (Natural assets and conservation in the cultural landscape on Gotland). Länsstyrelsen i Gotlands län, VisbyGoogle Scholar
  41. Milberg P (1995) Soil seed bank after eighteen years of succession from grassland to forest. Oikos 13:432–440Google Scholar
  42. Morris WF, Doak DF (2002) Quantitative conservation biology: theory and practice of population viability analysis. Sinauer, Sunderland, MAGoogle Scholar
  43. Mossberg B, Stenberg L (2003) Den nya nordiska floran (The new Nordic flora). Wahlström & Widstrand, StockholmGoogle Scholar
  44. Münzbergová Z (2006) Effect of population size on the prospect of species survival. Folia Geobot 41:137–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Quinn GP, Keough MJ (2002) Experimental design and data analysis for biologists. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Ramula S (2008) Population dynamics of a monocarpic thistle: simulated effects of reproductive timing and grazing of flowering plants. Acta Oecol 33:231–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Rice WR (1989) Analyzing tables of statistical tests. Evolution 43:223–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Schleuning M, Matthies D (2008) Habitat change and plant demography: assessing the extinction risk of a formerly common grassland perennial. Conservation Biol 23:174–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. SMHI (2006) Weather and water, no 5. Sveriges meteorologiska och hydrologiska institut, NorrköpingGoogle Scholar
  50. Stevens CJ, Duprè C, Dorland E, Gaudnik C, Gowing DJG, Bleeker A, Diekmann M, Alard D, Bobbink R, Fowler D, Corcket E, Mountfort JO, Vandvik V, Aarrestad PA, Muller S, Dise NB (2010) Nitrogen deposition threatens species richness of grasslands across Europe. Environm Pollut 158:2940–2945CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Svensson BM, Carlsson BÅ (2005) How can we protect rare hemiparasitic plants? Early-flowering taxa of Euphrasia and Rhinanthus on the Baltic island of Gotland. Folia Geobot 40:261–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Vergeer P, Rengelink R, Copal A, Ouborg NJ (2003b) The interacting effects of genetic variation, habitat quality and population size on performance of Succisa pratensis. J Ecol 91:18–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Vergeer P, Rengelink R, Ouborg NJ, Roelofs JGM (2003a) Effects of population size and genetic variation on the response of Succisa pratensis to eutrophication and acidification. J Ecol 91:600–609CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Wahlman H, Milberg P (2002) Management of semi-natural grassland vegetation: evaluation of a long-term experiment in Southern Sweden. Ann Bot Fenn 39:159–166Google Scholar
  55. Wallin L, Avery HRD (2007) A timesaving, accurate method for locating and re-locating plants in ecological field studies. Ecol Inform 2:367–372CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wallin L, Svensson BM, Lönn M (2009) Artificial dispersal as a restoration tool in meadows: sowing or planting? Restor Ecol 17:270–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Warren J, Christal A, Wilson F (2002) Effects of sowing and management on vegetation succession during grassland habitat restoration. Agric Eco-Syst Environm 93:393–402CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Watkinson AR, Ormerod SJ (2001) Grasslands, grazing and biodiversity: editors’ introduction. J Appl Ecol 38:233–237CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Wiedermann MM, Gunnarsson U, Ericson L, Nordin A (2009) Ecophysiological adjustment of two Sphagnum species in response to anthropogenic nitrogen deposition. New Phytol 181:208–217PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Wissman J (2006) Grazing regimes and plant reproduction in semi-natural grasslands. PhD Thesis No. 2006:40, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, UppsalaGoogle Scholar
  61. Zobel M (1992) Plant species coexistence – the role of historical, evolutionary and ecological factors. Oikos 65:314–320CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant Ecology and Evolution, Evolutionary Biology CentreUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.ChristchurchNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations