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Department of Biogeography

Prof. Dr. Carl Beierkuhnlein

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Heubes, J; Beierkuhnlein, C; Retzer, V; Schmidtlein, S: Remnant plant populations: The history and future of selected semi-natural grassland species in the "Frankenalb"
Poster, 37th Annual Conference of the Ecological Society of Germany, Switzerland and Austria (GfÖ) , Marburg: 2007-09-10 - 2007-09-14


Land-use change is among the most important drivers of the present and expected decline in biodiversity (Sala et al. 2000). Since 1850 when landscapes in Central Europe attained their highest level of ecological and land-use diversity during the pre-industrial period, semi-natural grasslands declined over all of Europe. This study reveals the ability of eleven focal semi-natural grassland species (Anthyllis vulneraria, Centaurea scabiosa, Cirsium acaule, Dianthus carthusianorum, Juniperus communis, Ononis repens, Pulsatilla vulgaris, Sanguisorba minor, Scabiosa columbaria, Thymus pulegioides, Trifolium montanum) to build up Remnant Plant Populations (sensu Eriksson 1996) and thus the ability to resist extinction. Their present-day distribution can only be explained by considering the historical land-use management. However, a simple risk-extinction model predicts that none of these populations will survive this century. Remnant Plant Populations are important not only for conservation biology but also increase ecosystem stability (Eriksson 2000).

Eriksson O. (1996) Regional dynamics of plants: A review of evidence for remnant, source-sink and metapopulations. Oikos 77 (2):248-258.
Eriksson A. & Eriksson O. (2000) Population dynamics of the perennial Plantago media in semi-natural grasslands. J.Veg.Sci. 11 (2):245-252.
Sala OE et al. (2000) Biodiversity - Global biodiversity scenarios for the year 2100. Science 287 (5459):1770-1774.

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