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Identifying plant traits: A key aspect for species selection inrestoration of eroded roadsides in semiarid environments

AutorBochet, E. ; García-Fayos, P.
Palabras claveSeed mucilage
Root traits
Seed mass
Erosion-productivity gradient
Fecha de publicaciónoct-2015
CitaciónEcological Engineering 83: 444-451 (2015)
ResumenSelecting suitable species for revegetation purposes represents a great challenge for practitioners and scientists, especially in semiarid regions where restoration projects often yield unsuccessful results. Sofar, little attention has been paid to plant traits related to species success in roadside ecosystems.We aimed at (1) identifying plant traits associated with species success on four roadside situations that span a gradient of productivity and erosion stress and (2) providing an ecological base for selecting suitable species on the basis of their functional traits, applied to semiarid environments. We tested the general hypothesis that trait distribution of successful roadslope colonizers results from a filtering process which is mainly controlled first by seed availability and dispersal and then by plant competition on north-facing roadfills and by environmental harshness on south-facing roadcuts. We analyzed the contribution of 10 plant traits selected as regards the prevailing limiting processes acting along the erosion-productivity gradient in semiarid roadslopes to species colonizing success. A large database of 296 species × 10 traits based on leaf, seed and root measurements is provided. Abundance in the neighbouring vegetation, ability of diaspores to long-dispersal and non-random trait filtering through abiotic and biotic filters, all influenced roadslope community assembly. Along the stress-productivity gradient, we observed strong shifts in the traits associated to species success. At the most productive end, species success was associated to a competitive-ruderal strategy (herbaceous successful species with high SLA and low LDMC values) and, at the harshest end, species success was related to seed resistance to removal by runoff and to resistance to drought (seed mucilage secretion and low index of seed susceptibility to removal). We provide an ecological basis for selecting suitable species on the basis of morphological and functional plant traits, which is potentially of great benefit to practitioners and policy makers involved in roadside restoration in semiarid environments.
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoleng.2015.06.019
Identificadoresissn: 0925-8574
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