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Grassland plant diversity in relation to historical and current land use

Gustavsson, Eva (2007). Grassland plant diversity in relation to historical and current land use. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Uppsala : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880 ; 2007:106
ISBN 978-91-85913-05-3
[Doctoral thesis]

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About 150 years ago agriculture was drastically reformed and around 90% of the formerly vastly distributed semi-natural grasslands, i.e. unfertilised and uncultivated grasslands, have since then disappeared. Accordingly, grassland plant diversity has declined due to abandonment, changed management methods and habitat loss. Grasslands are species rich as a result of a long management history; the management providing niches for a variety of organisms. Current diversity patterns are thus a result of historical and current land use in combination. This thesis explores some of the connections between historical land use and grassland vascular plants. Two studies concerns the habitat level, i.e. local conditions for grassland plants, two studies the landscape level, i.e. habitat patches in relation to neighbouring patches. In the first study, grassland plant diversity was found to be strongly correlated to 18th and 19th century land use, more so than to current land use. Furthermore, the particular sequence by which one land use changed into another from the 18th century until the mid 20th century was an important predictor of plant diversity. In the second study, detailed comparison of 18th century and current grassland management revealed that current grassland management lacks several ecological factors that the literature deems important for grassland plant reproduction. The third and the fourth study explore how plant species richness in specific grasslands is related to the surrounding landscape by studying how current, 19th and 20th century grassland connectivity and area are reflected in current species richness of grassland plants. They revealed that the response of grassland plant diversity to different fragmentation components can differ widely between two superficially similar landscapes, although historical components were important in both landscapes for explaining current diversity patterns. Moreover, the direction of livestock movement within the pre-industrial landscape appears to have been an important determinant regarding the functional connectivity between different grassland patches. Given the strong correlation between historical agricultural practices and current plant diversity patterns, this thesis discusses this diversity as a biocultural heritage. The historical aspects of grassland diversity ought to be taken into account in conservation and restoration measures.

Authors/Creators:Gustavsson, Eva
Title:Grassland plant diversity in relation to historical and current land use
Series Name/Journal:Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
Year of publishing :2007
Number of Pages:27
ALLI. Eva Gustavsson, Tommy Lennartsson, Marie Emanuelsson 2007. Land-use more than 200 years ago explains current grassland plant diversity in a Swedish agricultural landscape. Biological Conservation 138 47-59 II. Eva Gustavsson, Anna Dahlström, Marie Emanuelsson, Tommy Lennartsson, Manuscript. Are necessary ecological factors missing in current grassland management? III. Eva Gustavsson, Kristina Bylund, Tommy Lennartsson, Submitted Manuscript. Grassland plant diversity in relation to current and historical habitat fragmentation IV. Eva Gustavsson, Tommy Lennartsson, Kristina Bylund, Weronika Linkowski, Manuscript. Is functional connectivity overlooked in landscape restoration? Fragmentation today and in the past in two Swedish agricultural landscapes
Place of Publication:Uppsala
ISBN for printed version:978-91-85913-05-3
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agrovoc terms:grasslands, land-use, grassland management, botanical composition, biodiversity, endangered species, landscape conservation, plant ecology, history
Keywords:semi-natural grassland, land-use history, extinction debt, grassland management, fragmentation, connectivity, species-to-area relationship, biocultural heritage
Permanent URL:
ID Code:1562
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Ecology
(S) > Dept. of Ecology
Deposited By: Eva Gustavsson
Deposited On:25 Sep 2007 00:00
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 10:12

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