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Do vegetation patch spatial patterns disrupt the spatial organization of plant species?

AuthorsAlados, Concepción L. ; Navarro, Teresa ; Komac, Benjamin ; Pascual, Virginia; Martínez, F.; Cabezudo, B. ; Pueyo, Yolanda
KeywordsBeta diversity
Detrended Fluctuation Analyses
Spatial patterns
Issue DateJun-2009
CitationEcological Complexity 6(2): 197-207 (2009)
AbstractThe mechanisms that structure plant diversity and generate long-range correlated spatial patterns have important implications for the conservation of fragmented landscapes. The ability to disperse and persist influences a plant species’ capacity for spatial organization, which can play a critical role in structuring plant diversity in metacommunities. This study examined the spatial patterns of species diversity within a network of patches in Cabo de Gata Natural Park, southeastern Spain. The objectives were to understand how the spatial heterogeneity of species composition (beta diversity) varies in a structured landscape, and how the long-range spatial autocorrelation of plant species is affected by the spatial configuration of patches. The mechanisms underlying the spatial distribution of plants acted at two scales. Between patches, spatial variation in species distributions was greater than that expected based on spatial randomization, which indicated that movement among patches was restricted. Within patches, diffusion processes reduced spatial variability in species distributions, and the effect was more prominent in large patches. Small patch size negatively influenced the long-range spatial autocorrelation of characteristic species, whereas inter-patch distance had a stronger effect on species frequency than it had on the disruption of spatial organized patterns. The long-range spatial autocorrelation was evaluated based on the dispersal abilities of the species. Among the 106 species evaluated, 39% of the woody species, 17% of the forbs, and 12% of the grasses exhibited disrupted long-range spatial autocorrelation where patches were small. The species that are more vulnerable to the effects of fragmentation tended to be those that have restricted dispersal, such as those that have short-range dispersal (atelechoric), e.g., Phlomis purpurea, Cistus albidus, Teucrium pseudochamaepytis, Brachypodium retusum, and the ballistic species, Genista spartioides. Helianthemum almeriense is another vulnerable species that has actively restricted dispersal (antitelechory), which is common in arid regions. Wind dispersers such as Launaea lanifera were less vulnerable to the effects of fragmentation. Long-distance dispersers whose persistence depends on facilitative interactions with other individuals, e.g., allogamous species such as Thymus hyemalis, Ballota hirsuta, and Anthyllis cytisoides, exhibit disrupted long-range spatial autocorrelation when patch size is reduced.
Description11 páginas, 4 figuras, 3 tablas.-- El PDF del artículo es su versión post-print.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecocom.2008.10.015
Appears in Collections:(IPE) Artículos
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