Folia Geobotanica

, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp 117–135 | Cite as

High Plant Diversity of Grasslands in a Landscape Context: A Comparison of Contrasting Regions in Central Europe

  • Dana Michalcová
  • Milan Chytrý
  • Vilém Pechanec
  • Ondřej Hájek
  • Jan W. Jongepier
  • Jiří Danihelka
  • Vít Grulich
  • Kateřina Šumberová
  • Zdenka Preislerová
  • Anne Ghisla
  • Giovanni Bacaro
  • David Zelený
Article

Abstract

Some regions and habitats harbour high numbers of plant species at a fine scale. A remarkable example is the grasslands of the White Carpathian Mountains (Czech Republic), which holds world records in local species richness; however, the causes are still poorly understood. To explore the landscape context of this phenomenon and its relationships to diversity patterns at larger scales, we compared diversity patterns in grasslands and other vegetation types in the White Carpathians with those in nearby regions lacking extremely species-rich grasslands, using data from vegetation plots and flora grid mapping of entire landscapes. Although small-scale species richness of grasslands and ruderal/weed vegetation of the White Carpathians was higher than in the nearby regions, the number of grassland and ruderal/weed species in the regional flora of the White Carpathians was not. Diversity of forests was not higher in this region at any scale. Thus the remarkably high local species richness of the White Carpathian grasslands does not result from a larger grassland species pool in the region, but from the fine-scale co-occurrence of many grassland species in this landscape, which results in the formation of grassland communities that are locally rich but with similar species composition when comparing different sites (i.e. high alpha but low beta diversity). This pattern can be partly attributed to the large total area of these grasslands, which reduces random extinctions of rare species, low geological diversity, which enables many species to occur at many sites across the landscape, and high land-cover diversity, which supports mixing of species from different vegetation types.

Keywords

Alpha diversity Beta diversity Czech Republic Species pool Species richness White Carpathians 

Supplementary material

12224_2013_9173_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (187 kb)
ESM 1(PDF 187 kb)

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Copyright information

© Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dana Michalcová
    • 1
  • Milan Chytrý
    • 1
  • Vilém Pechanec
    • 2
  • Ondřej Hájek
    • 1
  • Jan W. Jongepier
    • 3
  • Jiří Danihelka
    • 1
    • 4
  • Vít Grulich
    • 1
  • Kateřina Šumberová
    • 4
  • Zdenka Preislerová
    • 1
  • Anne Ghisla
    • 5
  • Giovanni Bacaro
    • 6
  • David Zelený
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Botany and ZoologyMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of GeoinformaticsPalacký UniversityOlomoucCzech Republic
  3. 3.ZO ČSOP Bílé KarpatyVeselí nad MoravouCzech Republic
  4. 4.Department of Vegetation Ecology, Institute of BotanyAcademy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicBrnoCzech Republic
  5. 5.Fondazione Edmund Mach, Research and Innovation Centre, Department of Biodiversity and Molecular EcologyGIS and Remote Sensing UnitS. Michele all’AdigeItaly
  6. 6.BIOCONNET, BIOdiversity and CONservation NETwork, Department of Environmental Science „G. Sarfatti“University of SienaSienaItaly

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