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Population structures and individual performances of Trillium grandiflorum in hedgerow and forest habitats

Abstract

In agricultural landscapes, linear habitats, such as hedgerows at field margins increase structural connectivity among forest patches, potentially providing dispersal corridors for forest herbs. The spatial structure of linear habitats, however, also results in edge effects and perturbations that can influence the individual and population performance of forest plants. This study compares the stage structure and components of growth and reproduction of 14 Trillium grandiflorum populations in hedgerows and forests. Hedgerow Trillium tended to grow faster and, when mature, produced more flowers and more ovules per flowers than forest Trillium, a pattern possibly associated to differences in nutrients and light availability between the two habitats. Seed production and germination rate, however, did not differ between hedgerows and forests. At the population level, seedlings and juveniles were proportionally less abundant in hedgerows than in forests. Although well-established plants can thrive in hedgerows, reduced recruitment may eventually limit the capacity to establish new populations and therefore hamper migration along hedgerow-corridors. Considering the strategies by which plants persist in linear habitats becomes particularly relevant at a time when species are expected to be much in need of dispersal corridors because of climatic stress.

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Acknowledgments

This study was supported by NSERC and FQRNT grants to S. de Blois. We are grateful to F. Beauregard, B. Gélinas, and V. Paul for assistance with field work, data collection and analysis, and to land owners for their kind cooperation and interest. The comments of three reviewers greatly contributed to enhance the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Reto Schmucki.

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Schmucki, R., de Blois, S. Population structures and individual performances of Trillium grandiflorum in hedgerow and forest habitats. Plant Ecol 202, 67–78 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11258-008-9460-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11258-008-9460-8

Keywords

  • Agricultural landscape
  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Forest herb
  • Habitat corridor
  • Plant demography
  • Plant migration