Lichen species richness is highest in non-intensively used grasslands promoting suitable microhabitats and low vascular plant competition

Boch, Steffen; Prati, Daniel; Schöning, Ingo; Fischer, Markus (2016). Lichen species richness is highest in non-intensively used grasslands promoting suitable microhabitats and low vascular plant competition. Biodiversity and Conservation, 25(2), pp. 225-238. Springer 10.1007/s10531-015-1037-y

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Lichens are very sensitive to habitat changes and their species richness is likely to decline under intensive land use. Currently, a comprehensive study analyzing lichen species richness in relation to land-use types, extending over different regions and including information on habitat variables, is missing for temperate grasslands. In three German regions we studied lichen species richness in 490 plots of 16 m2 representing different land-use types, livestock types, and habitat variables. Due to the absence of low-intensity pastures and substrates such as woody plants, deadwood and stones, there were no lichens in the 78 plots in Schorfheide-Chorin. In the two other regions, the richness of lichen species was 45 % higher in pastures than in meadows, and 77 % higher than in mown pastures, respectively. Among the pastures, the richness of all lichen species was on average 10 times higher in sheep-grazed pastures than in the ones grazed by cattle or horses. On average, the richness of all lichen species increased by 3.3 species per additional microhabitat. Furthermore, the richness of corticolous lichens increased by 1.2 species with 10 % higher cover of woody plants, lignicolous lichen species richness increased by 4.8 species with 1 % higher cover of deadwood, and saxicolous lichen species richness increased by 1.0 species with 1 % higher cover of stones. Our findings highlight the importance of low-intensity land use for lichen conservation. In particular, the degradation of grasslands rich in microhabitats and the destruction of lichen substrates by intensification, and conversion of unfertilized pastures formerly grazed at low intensity to meadows should be avoided to maintain lichen diversity.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Plant Ecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

Boch, Steffen; Prati, Daniel and Fischer, Markus

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

0960-3115

Publisher:

Springer

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

04 Apr 2016 14:32

Last Modified:

04 Apr 2016 14:32

Publisher DOI:

10.1007/s10531-015-1037-y

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Biodiversity Exploratories, Conservation biology, Dry grasslands, Grassland management, Land use, Temperate grasslands

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.78415

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/78415

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