Publication details

Rapid decreasing of a selected plant species distribution within recent decades as an illustration of gradual local extinction of low-productive wet meadow species in Central Europe



Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journal of Landscape Ecology
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords biodiversity; plant extinction; degradation of wetlands; nature protection
Description This study provides an illustration of the contemporary extinction trend of a selected wet grassland species, Pedicularis sylvatica, within a region of the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands, Czech Republic. Historically, it was a relatively common species in the study region, but it has been severely reduced in recent decades due to the abandonment of the traditional management of the grasslands, or inappropriate management practices, including extensive drainage, fertilisation, and liming. Low precipitation in recent years, a depleted soil seed bank, inbreeding in small, isolated populations, the inability to germinate, and the emergence of seedlings can also play an important role. After personal resurvey, P. sylvatica was not confirmed on 28 % of the localities where it was documented between two and 20 years ago. In a selected south-eastern subregion, only one of 19 localities persist nowadays. A steep decrease of local subpopulations of P. sylvatica points to the holistic problem of both the low-productive wet meadow species’ extinctions and their habitat collapses in central Europe. Without proper protection and management, it is likely that low-productive wet meadows will continue to decline and, in the next few decades, only a fraction of today's already faint frequency will remain within a few higher-elevated subregions.

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