We used matrix population models to analyse spatial and temporal variation in the demography of the Siberian primrose (Primula nutans ssp. finmarchica var. jokelae), an early successional species of seashore meadows in the Gulf of Bothnia. We compared the dynamics of populations in habitats that were partially overgrown by woody shrubs with those in open ones. The major threat to the populations was the invasion of the habitat by woody plants, as population growth was very sensitive to a change in the transition from a sterile rosette to a flowering one and this transition occurred less frequently in overgrown meadows. This transition also had the greatest contribution to the differences in population growth rates between habitats. Although the invasion of shrubs negatively influenced population growth rate, most populations are still expected to persist and only two small populations out of eleven examined populations were expected to disappear within 50 years. However, with proper habitat management the problem of coarse-scale interactions, such as asymmetric competition for light with shrubs, can be substantially alleviated.
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