Species richness of small woodlands on the western Carpathian foothills

  • Dzwonko Z
  • Loster S
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Abstract

Sixty-six small woodland islands (0.008–2.16 ha) isolated in the agricultural landscape of the Wierzbanówka valley (western Carpathian foothills) were investigated. Analysis of historical cartographic material showed that 60 woodland islands are most probably the remnants of ancient woodlands. Among them both woodlands associated with more than one type of soil, and those with homogeneous soil conditions, were identified; the latter were divided into two groups differing in the period of isolation and anthropogenic pressure. These three groups of woodlands were analysed statistically using 12 independent variables (area, shape, distance to the nearest large woodland, mean distance to the five nearest woodland islands, cover of tree-and shrub layer, and others) and 20 dependent variables (number of all species, number of species of different growth forms, mode of dispersal, and phytosociological characters). The number of species was found to be related to habitat diversity, area, shape, isolation, and cover of tree and shrub layers. Compared with the more recently isolated and less disturbed woodlands, those isolated for longer periods and more anthropogenically disturbed were found to have fewer species, including fewer harbaceous species, woodland species, species of the Querco-Fagetea class, and also tree and shrub dyszoochores, as well as herbaceous endozoochores and myrmecochores. On the other hand, significantly more non-woodland species, species of the Molinio-Arrhenatheretea class, and tree anemochores were present here.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Agricultural landscape
  • Forest island
  • Habitat diversity
  • Isolation
  • Species number
  • Species-area relationship
  • Vascular plant

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Authors

  • Zbigniew Dzwonko

  • Stefania Loster

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