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Effects of area and isolation of woodland patches on herbaceous plant species richness across Great Britain

Petit, Sandrine; Griffiths, Leila; Smart, Simon S.; Smith, Geoff; Stuart, Rick C.; Wright, Simon. 2004 Effects of area and isolation of woodland patches on herbaceous plant species richness across Great Britain. Landscape Ecology, 19 (5). 463-472. 10.1023/B:LAND.0000036141.30359.53

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Abstract/Summary

Richness of Ancient Woodland Indicator plant species was analysed in 308 woodland patches that were surveyed during the Countryside Survey of Great Britain carried out in 1998. The Countryside Survey recorded vegetation plots and landscape structure in 569 stratified 1 km sample squares and developed a remotely-sensed land cover map of the UK. Using these datasets, we tested the hypothesis that Ancient Woodland Indicator species richness in woodland fragments was limited by patch area, shape and spatial isolation and that woodland patches located in the lowland region of Great Britain would respond differently than those in the upland region. The variation in Ancient Woodland Indicator species richness in the British lowlands (n = 218) was mainly explained by patch area and two measures of connectivity, the length of hedgerows and lines of trees in the 1 km square and the area of woodland within 500 m of the vegetation plot. By contrast, variation in Ancient Woodland Indicator species richness in the British uplands (n = 90) was related to Ellenberg scores of the vegetation communities sampled – a surrogate for habitat quality – and no significant effect of spatial structure was detected. It therefore appears that the degree of fragmentation of woodland in the British lowlands limits the distribution of Ancient Woodland Indicator species, while in the uplands, failed colonisation is a matter of habitat quality rather than a result of landscape structure.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1023/B:LAND.0000036141.30359.53
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biodiversity
CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biogeochemistry
CEH Sections: _ Earth Observation
_ Ecosystem Assessment & Forecasting
_ Environmental Chemistry & Pollution
ISSN: 0921-2973
Additional Keywords: Ancient Woodland Indicator species, connectivity, dispersal corridor, fragmentation, hedgerows, landscape structure, monitoring, species-area relationship, radioecology
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 14 Feb 2013 12:37 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/21251

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