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Modelling the effects of landscape pattern and grazing regimes on the persistence of plant species with high conservation value in grasslands in south eastern Sweden

Cousins, S; Lavorel, Sandra; Davies, Ian

Description

Semi-natural grasslands in Sweden are threatened by land-use change and lack of management with attendant risk to their biodiversity. We present a model to explore the effects of grazing frequency and intensity on plant species persistence, and the relative effects of grassland size and pattern. We used a landscape modelling platform, LAMOS (LAndscape MOdelling Shell), to design a landscape model of vegetation dynamics incorporating the effects of local succession, dispersal and grazing...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorCousins, S
dc.contributor.authorLavorel, Sandra
dc.contributor.authorDavies, Ian
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-13T22:37:24Z
dc.date.available2015-12-13T22:37:24Z
dc.identifier.issn0921-2973
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/77084
dc.description.abstractSemi-natural grasslands in Sweden are threatened by land-use change and lack of management with attendant risk to their biodiversity. We present a model to explore the effects of grazing frequency and intensity on plant species persistence, and the relative effects of grassland size and pattern. We used a landscape modelling platform, LAMOS (LAndscape MOdelling Shell), to design a landscape model of vegetation dynamics incorporating the effects of local succession, dispersal and grazing disturbance. Five plant functional groups (PFG), representing various combinations of persistence and dispersal character, light requirements and disturbance responses, were defined to model species dynamics. Based on old cadastral maps three different landscapes were designed representing specific time-layers, i.e., a historical (17th to 18th century), a pre-modern (1940s) and a present-day landscape. Simulations showed that a threshold was crossed when grasslands decreased in area to about 10-30% of the modelled area, and as a consequence the biomass of grassland-specific PFGs was strongly reduced. These competition sensitive groups did not persist in the model even with intense grazing in the present-day landscape, where grasslands occupy 11% of the total area. However, all grassland species would have been able to persist in the historical landscape, where grasslands occupied 59% of the total area, even without grazing. Our results suggest that continuous but low-intensity grazing is more positive for grassland PFGs than discontinuous but highly intensive grazing. This effect was particularly strong when the frequency and/or intensity of grazing dropped below a threshold of 20%. Simulations using three landscape maps designed to explore effects of further fragmentation and habitat loss showed that the spatial pattern of remaining grasslands is important for the persistence of grassland-specific PFG. The model presented here is an advance towards more realistic grazing models to explore the effects of prescribed grazing and landscape fragmentation on the persistence species or plant functional groups.
dc.publisherKluwer Academic Publishers
dc.sourceLandscape Ecology
dc.subjectKeywords: conservation status; disturbance; ecosystem modeling; grassland; grazing management; land use change; persistence; Sweden Disturbance; LAMOS; Land use; Landscape history; Modelling; Plant Functional Groups; Semi-natural grassland
dc.titleModelling the effects of landscape pattern and grazing regimes on the persistence of plant species with high conservation value in grasslands in south eastern Sweden
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.description.refereedYes
local.identifier.citationvolume18
dc.date.issued2003
local.identifier.absfor050104 - Landscape Ecology
local.identifier.ariespublicationMigratedxPub5950
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationCousins, S, Stockholm University
local.contributor.affiliationLavorel, Sandra, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationDavies, Ian, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage315
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage332
local.identifier.doi10.1023/A:1024400913488
dc.date.updated2015-12-11T09:36:33Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-0037810243
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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