Plant survival in dynamic habitat networks in agricultural landscapes

W. Geertsema

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


<strong><FONT FACE="Arial" SIZE=3><p>Key words</strong> : agricultural landscapes, colonization, ditches, extinction, field experiments, habitat fragmentation, habitat dynamics, herbaceous plant species, management agreements, metapopulations, linear landscape elements, population dynamics, seed bank, seed dispersal, simulation model</p><p>The research described in this thesis aims at better understanding the relation between survival of plant species and the fragmentation and dynamics of habitat in networks of linear landscape elements in agricultural landscapes. This knowledge can be used to increase the effectiveness of management agreements that aim at better protection of botanical diversity of agricultural landscapes. Herbaceous perennial plant species were studied in a network of ditches with fragmented and dynamic habitat.</p><p>Field studies in an agricultural area in the north of the Netherlands showed that the occupation and colonization probabilities decreased and the extinction probabilities increased with increasing spatial isolation of habitat patches. These results did not differ considerably between species with contrasting dispersal or seed bank characteristics. The results of a simulation model were consistent with these observations on the short term (5 years). Long term simulations (250 years) clearly showed that the effect of landscape fragmentation and dynamics on the survival probability of plant species differed considerably between species with contrasting colonization strategies.</p><p>Three alternative scenarios for increasing the effectiveness of conventional management agreements were compared using the simulation model. A further increase of the habitat quality created by the management agreements was not effective, but longer contract times for management agreements were advantegeous for the survival of species on the landscape scale. By far the strongest positive effect was found when management agreements were spatially clustered in one part of the landscape instead of distributed randomly over the landscape.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Opdam, Paul, Promotor
  • Kropff, M.J., Promotor, External person
Award date19 Apr 2002
Place of PublicationS.l.
Print ISBNs9789058086242
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • landscape
  • plant ecology
  • dispersal
  • habitats
  • plants
  • diversity
  • simulation models
  • nature conservation
  • agriculture
  • netherlands
  • flora
  • colonization
  • population dynamics
  • cultural landscape
  • networks
  • habitat fragmentation

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