Plant distribution patterns related to species characteristics and spatial and temporal habitat heterogeneity in a network of ditch banks

W. Geertsema, J.T.C.M. Sprangers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this study we investigated the relationship between the distribution patterns of a number of herbaceous plant species and the isolation and age of habitat patches. The study was conducted for a network of ditch banks in an agricultural landscape in The Netherlands. Thirteen plant species were selected representing contrasting dispersal and seed bank characteristics. Isolation of habitat patches was determined by the distance to the nearest occupied patch and by the number of occupied patches in circles of increasing radius around the patches. Age was the number of years since the creation of the ditches. In a multiple logistic regression model the separate effects of age of the habitat and the spatial variables were analyzed. A number of habitat variables were used to correct the effect of habitat quality. We concluded that distribution patterns of plant species were mainly determined by habitat quality and the presence of seed sources at short distances (< 25 m). This conclusion was independent of the dispersal characteristics of the species. Most species had higher occupation frequencies in older than younger ditch banks. Only species with persistent seeds had comparable occupation probabilities in older and younger habitat patches, indicating the importance of the soil seed bank as a source of colonization after large-scale disturbances. The effect of age and management on the occupation probabilities of the species was often diminished in the regression model, probably due to correlation between some habitat variables and the age of the patches
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-108
JournalPlant Ecology
Volume162
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Keywords

  • vegetation
  • ditches
  • habitats
  • distribution
  • canal plantations
  • canal banks

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