Translator Disclaimer
1 February 2008 Scale-dependence of vegetation-environment relationships in semi-natural grasslands
Author Affiliations +
Abstract

Questions: Which environmental and management factors determine plant species composition in semi-natural grasslands within a local study area? Are vegetation and explanatory factors scale-dependent?

Location: Semi-natural grasslands in Lærdal, Sogn og Fjordane County, western Norway.

Methods: We recorded plant species composition and explanatory variables in six grassland sites using a hierarchically nested sampling design with three levels: plots randomly placed within blocks selected within sites. We evaluated vegetation-environment relationships at all three levels by means of DCA ordination and split-plot GLM analyses.

Results: The most important complex gradient determining variation in grassland species composition showed a broad-scale relationship with management. Soil moisture conditions were related to vegetation variation on block scale, whereas element concentrations in the soil were significantly related to variation in species composition on all spatial scales. Our results show that vegetation-environment relationships are dependent on the scale of observation. We suggest that scale-related (and therefore methodological) issues may explain the wide range of vegetation-environment relationships reported in the literature, for semi-natural grassland in particular but also for other ecosystems.

Conclusions: Interpretation of the variation in species composition of semi-natural grasslands requires consideration of the spatial scales on which important environmental variables vary.

Nomenclature: Lid & Lid (1994) except for Betula pubescens agg. (which includes B. pubescens and B. verrucosa) and Hieracium spp. (which includes all Hieracium species except H.umbellatum).

Inger Auestad, Knut Rydgren, and Rune H. ØKLAND "Scale-dependence of vegetation-environment relationships in semi-natural grasslands," Journal of Vegetation Science 19(1), (1 February 2008). https://doi.org/10.3170/2007-8-18344
Received: 18 October 2006; Accepted: 1 May 2007; Published: 1 February 2008
JOURNAL ARTICLE
10 PAGES

This article is only available to subscribers.
It is not available for individual sale.
+ SAVE TO MY LIBRARY

SHARE
ARTICLE IMPACT
RIGHTS & PERMISSIONS
Get copyright permission
Back to Top