Do forest-dwelling plant species disperse along landscape corridors?
- 531 Downloads
Woody corridors in fragmented landscapes have been proposed as alternative habitats for forest plants, but the great variation in species-specific responses blurs the overall assessment. The aim of this study was to estimate the dispersal success of forest-dwelling plants from a stand into and along an attached woody corridor, and to explain the observed patterns from the point of view of species’ dispersal traits and corridor properties. We sampled 47 forest–corridor transects in the agricultural landscapes of southeastern Estonia. Regionally common forest-dwelling species (observed in at least 10 % of seed-source forests) were classified on the basis of their ecological response profile—forest-restricted species (F-type) and forest-dwelling generalists (G-type). Species richness and the proportion of F-type species decreased sharply from the seed-source forest core to the forest edge and to the first 10–15 m of the corridor, while G-type species richness remained constant throughout the transect. Corridor structure had a species-specific effect—F species were promoted by old (≥50 years) and wide (≥10 m) corridors, while G species were supported by young and narrow corridors with ditch-related soil disturbances. Moderate shade (canopy cover <75 %) was optimal for all forest-dwelling species. Large dispersule weight, and not seed weight, dispersal vector or Ellenberg’s indicator values, was the trait that differentiated F species from G species. We conclude that most woody corridors are only dispersal stepping-stone habitats for habitat generalist species, and not for specialists. Only century old corridors can relieve the dispersal limitation of forest-restricted species.
KeywordsCorridor habitat Dispersal mode Dispersal limitation Forest plant dispersal Niche space Plant functional type
- Ahti T, Hämet-Ahti L, Jalas J (1968) Vegetation zones and their sections in northwestern Europe. Ann Bot Fenn 5:169–211Google Scholar
- Aunap R (2011) Eesti atlas. Avita, TallinnGoogle Scholar
- Ellenberg H, Weber H, Düll R, Wirth V, Werner W, Paulissen D (1991) Zeigerwerte von pflanzen in Mitteleuropa. Scr Geobot 18:1–248Google Scholar
- Leht M (2010) Eesti taimede määraja. Eesti Loodusfoto, TartuGoogle Scholar
- Littell RC, Milliken GA, Stroup WW, Wolfinger RD (1996) SAS® system for mixed models. SAS Publishing, CaryGoogle Scholar
- Paal J, Degtjarenko P, Suija A, Liira J (2012) Vegetation responses to long-term alkaline cement dust pollution in Pinus sylvestris-dominated boreal forests: niche breadth along the soil pH gradient. Appl Veg Sci. doi:10.1111/j.1654-109X.2012.01224.x
- Vellend M, Verheyen K, Flinn KM, Jacquemyn H, Kolb A, Van Calster H, Peterken G, Graae BJ, Bellemare J, Honnay O, Brunet J, Wulf M, Gerhardt F, Hermy M (2007) Homogenization of forest plant communities and weakening of species: environment relationships via agricultural land use. J Ecol 95:565–573CrossRefGoogle Scholar