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3 September 2019 Badlands, Seed Banks, and Community Disassembly
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Soil seed banks are a key component of ecological resilience as they provide a temporal reserve for plant species richness and diversity. Soil seed banks depend on on-site reproduction, seed longevity, and seed immigration for maintenance. When immigration of seeds is lost due to a change in land use or a disturbance, such as fragmentation, seed banks rely on on-site reproduction and longevity for maintenance. Within a fragment without seed immigration, seed banks become vulnerable to extinction debt leading to community disassembly over a long time scale. Therefore, we investigated how long-term fragmentation impacts community disassembly in seed banks. Seed bank samples were taken from grassland fragments (sod tables, n = 28) and from the surrounding area (matrix, n = 28). Seed banks were germinated, and emerging plants were identified. We found that community disassembly was not predictable in regard to species identity, and specialist (P < 0.001) and perennial (P < 0.001) species were lost from fragments. However, seed banks in fragments maintained a similar grass-to-forb ratio compared with the surrounding vegetation. Therefore, the ability of seed banks to provide ecological resilience may be limited after long-term fragmentation and land managers may need to reseed specialist species and perennials into grassland fragments.

© 2019 The Society for Range Management. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Lora B. Perkins, Kelsey R. Ducheneaux, Gary Hatfield, and Scott R. Abella "Badlands, Seed Banks, and Community Disassembly," Rangeland Ecology and Management 72(5), 736-741, (3 September 2019).
Received: 30 October 2018; Accepted: 10 May 2019; Published: 3 September 2019

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