Species composition and above ground phytomass in chalk grassland with different management

Abstract

During the last decades chalk grasslands lost their agricultural importance in the greater part of their distribution area in W Europe. Due to their botanical richness a number of chalk grassland sites were established as Nature Reserve. As a consequence of the semi-natural character of these grasslands an appropriate management is necessary to maintain or to re-create this vegetation including a great number of rare and endangered species.

This paper deals with the results of three different management practices, viz. mowing in autumn, sheep grazing and abandoning, of a medium term (8–11 yr) permanent plot experiment. Sheep grazing was considered the best management since it resulted in the highest number of species, phanerogams as well as bryophytes, and the highest number of characteristic chalk grassland species. Abandoning resulted in a decrease in species number and a dominance of a few species only.

The changes in species number are related to the above ground biomass. Under the canopy in the abandoned plot light intensity and the Red/Far-red ratio are very low, which partly explains the decrease in species number as such conditions are not favourable to seedling emergence and survival.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Bakker, J. P., Dekker, M. & de, Vries, Y., 1980. The effect of different management practices on a grassland community and the resulting fate of seedlings. Acta Bot. Neerl. 29: 469–482.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Barkman, J. J., 1966. Systematiek en gegevens van de kenmerken en de standplaats. In: J., Landwehr, Atlas van de Nederlandse Bladmossen. K.N.N.V., Amsterdam.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Barkman, J. J., Doing, H. & Segal, S., 1964. Kritische Bemerkungen und Vorschläge zur quantitativen Vegetationsanalyse. Acta Bot. Neerl. 13: 394–419.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Braun-Blanquet, J., 1964. Pflanzensoziologie 3e Aufl. Springer, Wien-New York.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Braun-Blanquet, J. & Moor, M., 1938. Verband des Bromion erecti. In: Prodromus der Pflanzengesellschaften 5: 1–64. S.I.G.M.A., Montpellier.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Ellenberg, H., 1974. Zeigerwerte der Gefässpflanzen Mitteleuropas. Scripta Geobot. 9. Univ. Göttingen.

  7. Ellenberg, H., 1978. Vegetation Mitteleuropas mit den Alpen 2. Aufl. Ulmer, Stuttgart.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Grime, J. P., 1979. Plant strategies and vegetation processess. Wiley, Chichester.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Grubb, P. J., 1977. The maintenance of species-richness in plant communities: the importance of the regeneration niche. Biol. Rev. 52: 107–145.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Heukels, H. & Ooststroom, S. J.van, 1975. Flora van Nederland, 17 ed. Noordhoff, Groningen.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Huston, M., 1979. A general hypothesis of species diversity. Amer. Natur. 113: 81–101.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Kruijne A. A., de Vries D. M. & Mooi H., 1967. Bijdrage tot de oecologie van de Nederlandse graslandplanten. Versl. Landbouwk. Onderz., 696. L.H., Wageningen.

  13. Margadant, W. & During, H. J., 1976. Voorlopige tabellen. Beknopte blad-en levermossenflora van Nederland. K.N.N.V. Hoogwoud.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Meusel, H., Jäger, E. & Weinert, E., 1965. Vergleichende Chorologie der Zentraleuropäischen Flora I. Fischer, Jena.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Meusel, H., Jäger, E., Rauschert, S. & Weinert, E., 1978. Vergleichende Chorologie der Zentraleuropäischen Flora II. Fischer, Jeha.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Müller, T., 1966. Die Gebüsch-, Saum-, Troeken-und Halb-trockenrasengesellschaften. In: Der Spitzberg bei Tübingen. Ludwigsburg. pp. 428–475.

  17. Oberdorfer, E., 1970. Pflanzensoziologische Exkursions Flora für Süddeutschland. 3e Aufl. Ulmer, Stuttgart.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Oberdorfer, E., 1978. Suddeutsche Pflanzengesellschaften II. Gustav Fischer Verlag, Stuttgart-New York.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Pottier-Alapetite, G., 1943. Recherches phytosociologiques et historiques sur la végétation du Jura central et sur les origines de la flore jurassienne. S.I.G.M.A. comm. 81. Tunis.

  20. Reichhoff L., 1974. Untersuchungen über den Aufbau und die Dynamik des Orchideen-Halbtrockenrasens im Naturschutzgebiet ‘Leutratal’ bei Jena/Tübingen. Mitt. Sekt. Geobot. Phytotax. Biol. Gesellsch. D.D.R. pp. 115–125.

  21. Rosén, E., 1980. Application of permanent sample plots for conservation of vegetation on the alvar heath of Öland. Phytocoenosis 7: 317–332.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Rosén, E., 1982. Vegetation development and sheep grazing in limestone grasslands of South Öland, Sweden. Acta Phytogeographica 72, Uppsala, 180 pp.

  23. Scherrer, M., 1925. Vegetationsstudien im Limmattal. Veröff. Geob. Inst. Rübel 2, 116 pp.

  24. Silvertown, J., 1980. Leaf-canopy-induced seed dormancy in a grassland flora. New Phytol. 85: 109–118.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Stebler, F. G. & Schröter, C., 1893. Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Matten und Weiden der Schweiz, 10. Landw. Jrb. Schweiz, 6: 95–212. Bern.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Thomas, A. S., 1063. Further changes in vegetation since the advent of myxomatosis. J. Ecol. 51: 151–183.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Wells, T. C. E., 1971. A comparison of the effects of sheep grazing and mechanical cutting on the structure and botanical composition of chalk grassland. In: E., Duffey (ed.), The Scientifle management of Animal and Plant communitles for conservation. pp. 497–515. Blackwell Scientific Publ. Oxford.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Westhoff, V. & Held, H. A.den, 1969. Plantengemeenschappen in Nederland. Thieme, Zutphen.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Westhoff, V. & Maarel, E.van der, 1973. The Braun-Blanquet approach. In: R. H., Whittaker (ed.), Ordination and Classification of Communities. Handb. Vegetation Science 5: 617–726. Junk, The Hague.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Willems, J. H., 1973. Limestone grassland vegetation in the central part of the French Jura, South of Champagnôle (dept. Jura). Proc. K. Ned. Akad. Wet. Ser. C., 76: 231–244.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Willems, J. H., 1980a. Limestone grasslands in North-West Europe. Thesis, Utrecht. 144 pp.

  32. Willems, J. H., 1980b. An experimental approach to the study of species diversity and above-ground biomass in chalk grassland. Proc. K. Ned. Akad. Wet. Series C, 83: 279–306.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Willems, J. H., 1982. Phytosociological and geographical survey of Mesobromion communities in Western Europe. Vegetatio 48: 227–240.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Wolkinger, F. & Plank, S., 1980. Dry grasslands of Europe. Chalk grasslands. Inst. Umw. Wiss. Öster. Ak. Wiss., Graz (Final version), 50 pp.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Wijk, R.van der, Margadant, W. D. & Florschütz, P. A., 1959–1969. Index Muscorum, I.A.P.T., Utrecht. Vol. I–IV

    Google Scholar 

  36. Zimmerman, R., 1979. Der Einflusz des kontrollierten Brennens auf Esparcetten-Halbtrockenrasen und Folgegesellschaften im Kaiserstuhl. Phytocoenologia 5: 447–523.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Additional information

Plant nomenclature follows Heukels & Van Ooststroom (1975) for phanerogams, Margadant & During (1976) and van der Wijk et al. (1969) for bryophytes, and Westhoff & den Held (1969) for syntaxa.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Willems, J.H. Species composition and above ground phytomass in chalk grassland with different management. Vegetatio 52, 171–180 (1983). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00044994

Download citation

Keywords

  • Chalk grassland
  • Diversity
  • Experimental plot
  • Grazing
  • Management
  • Mowing
  • Phytomass
  • Succession