Whether road verge vegetation can be manipulated to resemble traditionally managed grassland has been much debated. This short-term study compared management effects on road verge and pasture vegetation in western Norway. We quantified vegetation change and explored whether it occurred along underlying environmental gradients. We found management-related variation in species richness and vegetation physiognomy, but high resistance in species composition prevented directional changes in vegetation dynamics. Initial differences between the habitats indicated historical management effects on traditionally managed pastures and road verges. Given proper management, road verges may have a nature conservation potential. Moreover, their linear structure may enable fine-scale mosaic management that allows the coexistence of a wide range of grassland species.
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Vol. 48 • No. 4