Plant Ecology

, Volume 214, Issue 3, pp 455–470 | Cite as

Do forest-dwelling plant species disperse along landscape corridors?

Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Corridor habitat Dispersal mode Dispersal limitation Forest plant dispersal Niche space Plant functional type 

References

  1. Aavik T, Augenstein I, Bailey D, Herzog F, Zobel M, Liira J (2009) What is the role of local landscape structure in the vegetation composition of field boundaries? Appl Veg Sci 11:375–386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ahti T, Hämet-Ahti L, Jalas J (1968) Vegetation zones and their sections in northwestern Europe. Ann Bot Fenn 5:169–211Google Scholar
  3. Aunap R (2011) Eesti atlas. Avita, TallinnGoogle Scholar
  4. Baeten L, Hermy M, Van Daele S, Verheyen K (2010) Unexpected understorey community development after 30 years in ancient and post-agricultural forests. J Ecol 98:1447–1453CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bailey S (2007) Increasing connectivity in fragmented landscapes: an investigation of evidence for biodiversity gain in woodlands. Forest Ecol Manag 238:7–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Baudry J, Bunce RGH, Burel F (2000) Hedgerows: an international perspective on their origin, function and management. J Environ Manag 60:7–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bélanger L, Grenier M (2002) Agriculture intensification and forest fragmentation in the St. Lawrence valley, Québec. Canada. Landscape Ecol 17:495–507CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bengtsson J, Nilsson SG, Franc A, Menozzi P (2000) Biodiversity, disturbances, ecosystem function and management of European forests. Forest Ecol Manag 132:39–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bierzychudek P (1982) Shade-tolerant temperate forest herbs: a review. New Phytol 90:757–776CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bossuyt B, Hermy M, Deckers J (1999) Migration of herbaceous plant species across ancient-recent forest ecotones in central Belgium. J Ecol 87:628–638CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Brunet J (2007) Plant colonization in heterogeneous landscapes: an 80-year perspective on restoration of broadleaved forest vegetation. J Appl Ecol 44:563–572CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Brunet J, Valtinat K, Mayr ML, Felton A, Lindbladh M, Bruun HH (2011) Understory succession in post-agricultural oak forests: habitat fragmentation affects forest specialists and generalists differently. Forest Ecol Manag 262:1863–1871CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Brunet J, De Frenne P, Holmström E, Mayr ML (2012) Life-history traits explain rapid colonization of young post-agricultural forests by understory herbs. Forest Ecol Manag 278:55–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Corbit M, Marks PL, Gardescu S (1999) Hedgerows as habitat corridors for forest herbs in central New York, USA. J Ecol 87:220–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Davies ZG, Pullin AS (2007) Are hedgerows effective corridors between fragments of woodland habitat? An evidence-based approach. Landsc Ecol 22:333–351CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. de Blois S, Domon G, Bouchard A (2002) Factors affecting plant species distribution in hedgerows of southern Quebec. Biol Conserv 105:355–367CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Deckers B, Hermy M, Muys B (2004) Factors affecting plant species composition of hedgerows: relative importance and hierarchy. Acta Oecol 26:23–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ellenberg H, Weber H, Düll R, Wirth V, Werner W, Paulissen D (1991) Zeigerwerte von pflanzen in Mitteleuropa. Scr Geobot 18:1–248Google Scholar
  19. Flinn KM, Vellend M (2005) Recovery of forest plant communities in post-agricultural landscapes. Front Ecol Environ 3:243–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gilbert-Norton L, Wilson R, Stevens JR, Beard KH (2010) A meta-analytic review of corridor effectiveness. Conserv Biol 24:660–668PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Graae BJ (2000) The effect of landscape fragmentation and forest continuity on forest floor species in two regions of Denmark. J Veg Sci 11:635–892CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Harper KA, MacDonald SE, Burton PJ, Chen J, Brosofske KD, Saunders SC, Euskirchen ES, Roberts D, Jaiteh MS, Esseen P-A (2005) Edge influence on forest structure and composition in fragmented landscapes. Conserv Biol 19:768–782CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hermy M, Honnay O, Firbank L, Grashof-Bokdam C, Lawesson JE (1999) An ecological comparison between ancient and other forest plant species of Europe, and the implications for forest conservation. Biol Conserv 91:9–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hill MO, Roy DB, Mountford JO, Bunce RGH (2000) Extending Ellenberg’s indicator values to a new area: an algorithmic approach. J Appl Ecol 37:3–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Honnay O, Bossuyt B, Verheyen K, Butaye J, Jacquemyn H, Hermy M (2002) Ecological perspectives for the restoration of plant communities in European temperate forests. Biodivers Conserv 11:213–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jacquemyn H, Butaye J, Hermy M (2003) Impacts of restored patch density and distance from natural forests on colonization success. Restor Ecol 11:417–423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Jamoneau A, Sonnier G, Chabrerie O, Closset-Kopp D, Saguez R, Gallet-Moron E, Decocq G (2011) Drivers of plant species assemblages in forest patches among contrasted dynamic agricultural landscapes. J Ecol 99:1152–1161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Leht M (2010) Eesti taimede määraja. Eesti Loodusfoto, TartuGoogle Scholar
  29. Liira J, Sepp T (2009) Indicators of structural and habitat natural quality in boreo-nemoral forests along the management gradient. Ann Bot Fenn 46:308–325CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Liira J, Lõhmus K, Tuisk E (2012) Old manor parks as potential habitats for forest flora in agricultural landscapes of Estonia. Biol Conserv 146:144–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Littell RC, Milliken GA, Stroup WW, Wolfinger RD (1996) SAS® system for mixed models. SAS Publishing, CaryGoogle Scholar
  32. Lõhmus A, Kull T (2011) Orchid abundance in hemiboreal forests: stand-scale effects of clear-cutting, green-tree retention, and artificial drainage. Can J Forest Res 41:1352–1358CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. McCollin D, Jackson JI, Bunce RGH, Barr CJ, Stuart R (2000) Hedgerows as habitat for woodland plants. J Environ Manag 60:77–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Niemelä J (2001) The utility of movement corridors in forested landscapes. Scand J Forest Res 3:70–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 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
  36. Riitters KH, Coulston JW, Wickham JD (2012) Fragmentation of forest communities in the eastern United States. Forest Ecol Manag 263:85–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Roy V, de Blois S (2006) Using functional traits to assess the role of hedgerow corridors as environmental filters for forest herbs. Biol Conserv 130:592–603CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Roy V, de Blois S (2008) Evaluating hedgerow corridors for the conservation of native forest herb diversity. Biol Conserv 141:298–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Schmucki R, de Blois S (2009) Population structures and individual performances of Trillium grandiflorum in hedgerow and forest habitats. Plant Ecol 202:67–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sitzia T (2007) Hedgerows as corridors for woodland plants: a test on the Po Plain, northern Italy. Plant Ecol 188:235–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Tilman D, May RM, Lehman CL, Nowak MA (1994) Habitat destruction and the extinction debt. Nature 371:65–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Van Couwenberghe R, Collet C, Lacombe E, Gégout J-C (2011) Abundance response of western European forest species along canopy openness and soil pH gradients. Forest Ecol Manag 262:1483–1490CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Vellend M, Verheyen K, Jacquemyn H, Kolb A, Van Calster H, Peterken G, Hermy M (2006) Extinction debt of forest plants persists for more than a century following habitat fragmentation. Ecology 87:542–548PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 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
  45. Verheyen K, Honnay O, Motzkin G, Hermy M, Foster DR (2003) Response of forest plant species to land-use change: a life-history trait-based approach. J Ecol 91:563–577CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Vojta J, Drhovská L (2012) Are abandoned wooded pastures suitable refugia for forest species? J Veg Sci 23:880–891CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wehling S, Diekmann M (2008) Factors influencing the spatial distribution of forest plant species in hedgerows of north-western Germany. Biodivers Conserv 17:2799–2813CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wehling S, Diekmann M (2009) Importance of hedgerows as habitat corridors for forest plants in agricultural landscapes. Biol Conserv 142:2522–2530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Whigham DF (2004) Ecology of woodland herbs in temperate deciduous forests. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 35:583–621CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Ecology and Earth SciencesUniversity of TartuTartuEstonia

Personalised recommendations