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31 March 2008 Opposite responses of vascular plant and moss communities to changes in humus form, as expressed by the Humus Index
Arnault Lalanne, Jacques Bardat, Fouzia Lalanne-Amara, Thierry Gautrot, Jean-François Ponge
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Abstract

Question: Does the distribution of plant species found in forests correlate with variation in the Humus Index (based on a ranking of humus forms) and, if so, do the species exhibit different responses according to phyletic lineages?

Location: Paris Basin, France, with a temperate Atlantic climate

Methods: Mosses and vascular plants (herbs, ferns) were inventoried in two broad-leaved forests with contrasting soil conditions, where 15 and 16 sites were investigated, respectively. Variety of stand age and prevailing soil conditions were analysed in 5 plots and 20 subplots in a grid at each site. Mantel tests were used to estimate correlations between the Humus Index and plant species richness, taking into account spatial autocorrelation.

Results: The local (plot, subplot) species richness of moss communities increased with the Humus Index, i.e. when humus forms shifted from mull to moder. The reverse phenomenon was observed in vascular communities. The opposite response of these two plant groups could be explained by opposite strategies for nutrient capture which developed in the course of their evolutionary history.

Conclusions: Although not necessarily causative, the Humus Index predict fairly well changes in species richness which occur in forest vegetation, provided that phyletic lineages and geographical position are taken into consideration.

Nomenclature: Rameau et al. (1989); Hill et al. (2006); Lambinon et al. (1999).

Arnault Lalanne, Jacques Bardat, Fouzia Lalanne-Amara, Thierry Gautrot, and Jean-François Ponge "Opposite responses of vascular plant and moss communities to changes in humus form, as expressed by the Humus Index," Journal of Vegetation Science 19(5), 645-652, (31 March 2008). https://doi.org/10.3170/2007-8-18431
Received: 4 June 2007; Accepted: 1 November 2007; Published: 31 March 2008
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