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Consequences of habitat fragmentation for plant species do we know enough?

  • Habitat fragmentation is one of the most important causes for the decline of plant species. However, plants differing in phylogeny, habitat requirements and biology are likely to respond differently to habitat fragmentation. We ask whether case studies on the effects of habitat fragmentation conducted so far allow generalizations about its effects on the fitness and genetic diversity of populations of endangered plant species. We compared the characteristics of plant species endangered in Germany whose sensitivity to habitat fragmentation had been studied with those of the endangered species that had not been studied. We found strong discrepancies between the two groups with regard to their taxonomy and traits relevant to their sensitivity to habitat fragmentation. Monocots, graminoids, clonal, abiotically pollinated and self compatible species were underrepresented among the studied species, and most study species were from a few habitat types, in particular grasslands. We conclude that our current knowledge of the effects of habitatHabitat fragmentation is one of the most important causes for the decline of plant species. However, plants differing in phylogeny, habitat requirements and biology are likely to respond differently to habitat fragmentation. We ask whether case studies on the effects of habitat fragmentation conducted so far allow generalizations about its effects on the fitness and genetic diversity of populations of endangered plant species. We compared the characteristics of plant species endangered in Germany whose sensitivity to habitat fragmentation had been studied with those of the endangered species that had not been studied. We found strong discrepancies between the two groups with regard to their taxonomy and traits relevant to their sensitivity to habitat fragmentation. Monocots, graminoids, clonal, abiotically pollinated and self compatible species were underrepresented among the studied species, and most study species were from a few habitat types, in particular grasslands. We conclude that our current knowledge of the effects of habitat fragmentation on plant populations is not sufficient to provide widely applicable guidelines for species management. The selection of species studied so far has been biased toward species from certain habitats and species exhibiting traits that probably make them vulnerable to habitat fragmentation. Future studies should include community-wide approaches in different habitats, e.g. re-visitation studies in which the species pool is assessed at different time intervals, and population-biological studies of species from a wide range of habitats, and of different life forms and growth strategies. A more representative picture of the effects of habitat fragmentation would allow a better assessment of threats and more specific recommendations for optimally managing populations of endangered plants.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Thilo Heinken, Ewald Weber
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ppees.2013.05.003
ISSN:1433-8319
Parent Title (English):Perspectives in plant ecology, evolution and systematics
Publisher:Elsevier
Place of publication:Jena
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2013
Year of Completion:2013
Release Date:2017/03/26
Tag:CSR-strategies; Naturally rare species; Plant conservation; Recently rare species; Species traits; Taxonomic position
Volume:15
Issue:4
Pagenumber:12
First Page:205
Last Page:216
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Biochemie und Biologie
Peer Review:Referiert