Publication details

Understanding the extreme species richness of semi-dry grasslands in east-central Europe: a comparative approach


ROLEČEK Jan ČORNEJ Illja Illič TOKARJUK Alla Ilarionivna

Year of publication 2014
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Preslia
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Field Ecology
Keywords disjunct distribution; environmental history; forest-steppe; hemiboreal forests; meadows; mowing; Prut-Siret interfluve; relict species; site conditions; species coexistence; Romania; Czech Republic; Transylvanian Plateau; Ukraine; White Carpathians
Description We report new sites of extremely species-rich semi-dry grasslands in the foothills of the Eastern Carpathians in the south-western Ukraine. Using comparison with other sites with extremely species- rich semi-dry grasslands in the peri-Carpathian region and beyond, we show that these grasslands share many important features, including similar species composition, occurrence of species with disjunct distributions, site conditions, landscape context, long history of human influence and traditional management practice. We suggest that continuity on a large (Pleistocene-Holocene) time scale and regularly practiced management that reduces the asymmetry in competition (typically mowing and absence of fertilizer application) may be the crucial factors responsible for the extremely high local species richness in east-central European semi-dry grasslands. We also suggest that this richness largely originates from an ancient pool of species of Eurasian forest-steppe and hemiboreal forests.

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