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1 December 2006 Long-term dynamics of the hemiparasite Rhinanthus angustifolius and its relationship with vegetation structure
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Questions 1. How are the long-term dynamics of the root hemiparasite Rhinanthus angustifolius related to vegetation structure, grassland management and climate? 2. Does R. angustifolius have a long-term impact on standing crop and community composition?Location: A formerly fertilized grassland, part of a larger brook valley system in the nature reserve ‘Drentsche Aa’, near Groningen, The Netherlands.Methods: Vegetation development has been monitored since 1973 in 54 permanent plots in nine management regimes without fertilizer application.Results: 1. The hemiparasite established when standing crop was less than 600 g.m−2 and performed best under annual haymaking using machinery. Since its appearance, the population fluctuated stochastically, with two peaks. Coinciding collapses in six adjacent grasslands and comparison with an integrated climatic index suggest that the population collapses are induced by spring drought. 2. We did not find a relationship between total standing crop and R. angustifolius cover. Cover of grasses was negatively related to the abundance of the hemiparasite in the same and the previous year. Forb cover tended to increase with the parasite.Conclusions: R. angustifolius shows stochastic population fluctuations, mainly determined by spring drought, to which this species is probably highly vulnerable because of its parasitic and annual life style without a persistent seed bank. The hemiparasite also shows long-term relationships with grass cover (negative) and forb cover (positive), but it seems to have no lasting impact on standing crop.Abbreviations: AC = Autocorrelation; CC = Cross-correlation coefficient; Loef S = Study site within Drentsche Aa nature reserve.Nomenclature: Zuidhoff et al. (1996).
Els Ameloot, Kris Verheyen, Jan P. Bakker, Yzaak De Vries and Martin Hermy "Long-term dynamics of the hemiparasite Rhinanthus angustifolius and its relationship with vegetation structure," Journal of Vegetation Science 17(5), (1 December 2006).[637:LDOTHR]2.0.CO;2
Received: 13 December 2005; Accepted: 1 June 2006; Published: 1 December 2006

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