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Effect of grass litter on seedling recruitment of the critically endangered Cistus heterophyllus in Spain

AutorNavarro-Cano, J. A.
Palabras claveBrachypodium retusum
Seedling emergence
Plant conservation
Fire ecology
Fecha de publicaciónnov-2008
CitaciónFlora. Morphology, Distribution, Functional Ecology of Plants 203(8): 663-668 (2008)
ResumenCistus heterophyllus Desf. is an Iberian-north African endemic plant species with only one wild population left in Spain. A sowing experiment under controlled conditions was designed to assess both the seedling emergence rate and the growth fitness of C. heterophyllus on a litter layer of Brachypodium retusum (Pers.) Beau., which forms dense carpets around the remnant population of C. heterophyllus. In order to test the physical effects of B. retusum litter on Cistus seedling recruitment, six sowing treatments in pots were compared that combined three doses of litter (0, 0.6 and 1.1 kg m−2) and different physical locations of the seeds (above, below the litter layer or within a litter–peat mixture). B. retusum litter interfered with the seedling recruitment of C. heterophyllus, negatively affecting both seedling emergence and their early growth. Such an effect was more severe when the seeds were located above a 0.6 kg m−2 litter layer, although seedlings from seeds sown under the litter showed a growth reduction ranging from 58% to 100% compared to the no-litter treatment. A significant negative effect of the litter–peat mixture on the number of leaves, leaf size and number of branches of seedlings was also inferred. These data provide experimental evidence on the serious threat that B. retusum litter represents for the conservation and regeneration of the last population of C. heterophyllus in Spain.
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.flora.2007.10.008
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