Long-term effects of scrub clearance and litter removal on the re-establishment of dry alvar grassland species

J.P. Bakker, E. Rosén, W.A. Ozinga, M. Bretfeld, T. Feldt, J. Stahl

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Many characteristic dry alvar grassland species disappear after cessation of livestock grazing as a result of encroachment by Juniperus communis. We studied the re-establishment of these species after scrub clearance with and without the removal of the layer of litter and mosses in long-term (14 years) permanent plots. Most of the species belonging to the community species pool of dry alvar grassland species before clearance were found in permanent plots between 2 and 14 years after the clearance. A large part originated from vegetative spread of already occurring species in the established vegetation in the surroundings. Only a small part of the long-term persistent soil seed bank resulted in the re-establishment of alvar species. There was no significant difference in the traits soil seed bank, seed weight and long-distance dispersal by wind, dung or fur of animals of established and non-established species. Removal of litter and mosses positively affected the re-establishment of alvar species
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-30
JournalAnnales Botanici Fennici
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2012



  • northwest european flora
  • life-history traits
  • chalk grassland
  • seedling recruitment
  • limestone grassland
  • plant-communities
  • bryophyte layer
  • establishment
  • dispersal
  • emergence

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