Grassland Fragmentation

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Biodiversity Conservation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (12 May 2022) | Viewed by 4944

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
GEKKO - Grupo de Estudios en Conservación y Manejo, Departamento de Biología, Bioquímica y Farmacia, Universidad Nacional del Sur, San Juan 670, Bahía Blanca 8000, Argentina
Interests: conservation of grasslands; plant diversity; coastal ecosystem; habitat fragmentation; environmental education

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Guest Editor
GEKKO - Grupo de Estudios en Conservación y Manejo, Departamento de Biología, Bioquímica y Farmacia, Universidad Nacional del Sur, San Juan 670, Bahía Blanca 8000, Argentina
Interests: conservation of grasslands biodiversity; ecology and adaptive management of invasive alien species

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
GEKKO - Grupo de Estudios en Conservación y Manejo, Departamento de Biología, Bioquímica y Farmacia, Universidad Nacional del Sur, San Juan 670, Bahía Blanca 8000, Argentina
Interests: conservation; fragmentation; plant diversity; environmental education

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Fragmentation of natural environments is one of the causes most cited as responsible for the loss of biological diversity; however, its effects are often less conspicuous than those of other forces of environmental alteration and particularly difficult to separate from habitat loss. Fragmentation has been extensively studied in forest ecosystems, in which the most common process is the transformation of the passage into a matrix of savannas or shrubs that surrounds and isolates forest remnants. Much less is known about the consequences of the subdivision of natural grasslands, despite the extension and the delicate state of conservation of these environments. To what extent does grassland fragmentation affect biodiversity in these environments? Which components of biological diversity are particularly vulnerable? What are the main edge effects? How does grassland fragmentation interact with other factors of environmental alteration such as biological invasions and changes in the dynamics of disturbances? What is people's perception of this highly transformed ecosystem and its conservation? This Special Issue addresses the causes, extent and effects of grassland fragmentation and the main challenges this problem poses for research and conservation.

Dr. Alejandra L. Yezzi
Dr. Sergio M. Zalba
Dr. Ana J. Nebbia
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • habitat fragmentation
  • natural grasslands
  • biodiversity
  • edge effects
  • conservation

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Editorial

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2 pages, 187 KiB  
Editorial
Grassland Fragmentation: Introduction to the Special Issue
by Alejandra Yezzi, Ana Nebbia and Sergio Zalba
Diversity 2023, 15(4), 489; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15040489 - 26 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1154
Abstract
The fragmentation of natural environments is one of the most cited causes of the loss of biological diversity, and consequently it has received a great deal of attention from the scientific community for decades [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Grassland Fragmentation)

Research

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25 pages, 3504 KiB  
Article
Examination of Forest Steppe Species in the Case of Areas Where Traditional Cultivation Was Abandoned
by Orsolya Szirmai, Dénes Saláta, Károly Penksza, Judit Schellenberger and Szilárd Czóbel
Diversity 2022, 14(7), 561; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14070561 - 14 Jul 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1514
Abstract
The thousands of kilometers of forest steppes in Eurasia belong to the most threatened ecosystems thanks to habitat loss. We have limited knowledge on the recolonization ability of forest steppe species to date, which is the reason we examined the textural and structural [...] Read more.
The thousands of kilometers of forest steppes in Eurasia belong to the most threatened ecosystems thanks to habitat loss. We have limited knowledge on the recolonization ability of forest steppe species to date, which is the reason we examined the textural and structural changes in these species during secondary succession in areas of different former land use. The species number, cover, and diversity of forest steppe species, especially those of the Festuco-Brometea group, became significant for all three types in the oldest fallows. The number and proportion of forest steppe species have been steadily increasing in abandoned vineyards and arable land, indicating that forest steppe species are able to rapidly recolonize. The increase in the number and cover of forest steppe species in abandoned grasslands reveals that the replacement of the species pool of these grasslands is not necessarily accompanied by degradation, but also by the appearance and spread of valuable natural species if the habitat is sufficiently patchy. The proportions of habitat categories level off in abandoned vineyards and arable land as abandonment progresses. The cover rates of disturbed habitats species were negligible for all three types for the third decade after abandonment, indicating a change in the quality of the species pool. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Grassland Fragmentation)
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14 pages, 3115 KiB  
Article
Verges as Fragments of Loess Grasslands in the Carpathian Basin and Their Festuca Species
by Szilárd Szentes, Zsuzsanna Sutyinszki, Tímea Kiss, Attila Fűrész, Dénes Saláta, Zsuzsanna Harkányiné Székely and Károly Penksza
Diversity 2022, 14(7), 510; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14070510 - 24 Jun 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1530
Abstract
Loess vegetations of the Carpathian Basin have been ploughed for a thousand years. Therefore, loess steppes of verges of the Transdanubia have nearly disappeared. Therefore, in Hungary, it is also important to find out the composition of loess vegetation. The aims of our [...] Read more.
Loess vegetations of the Carpathian Basin have been ploughed for a thousand years. Therefore, loess steppes of verges of the Transdanubia have nearly disappeared. Therefore, in Hungary, it is also important to find out the composition of loess vegetation. The aims of our study were to date the age of the sample verges and explore types of verges. Is there a correlation between the types, location, expanse and vegetation types of the verges? Which of the coenologically important species of the genus Festuca occur in the verges and patches of loess grassland? The studies were carried out in three areas. We examined the age of the verges and their natural condition. Floristic and coenological surveys were applied to analyse the diversity of the verges. Inflorescence morphological analysis of the dominant Festuca species in the vegetation was carried out by analysing 25 parameters. Our results showed that not only the age of verges was valuable and natural. Most of the loess species did not appear in old verges. Consequently, we should not rely only on the age of the verges to make hypotheses about its natural condition and vegetation. Based on the coenological data, there were two types of verges, which were the interspaced verge and the border verge. Based on the diversity assessment from the survey, data of the interspaced verge showed the highest diversity value, the diversity value was higher than 4. Among the studied taxa, Festuca pseudovina was separated clearly as a homogeneous group. The morphotaxonomic parameters were not enough for species identification of F. valesiaca and F. callieri, but they were not enough for F. rupicola neither, so the examination of the sclerenchyma is required. Overall, in contrast to the previous hypothesis, the age of the grassland fragments is not the most important factor, but rather their location, size, the number of species and the diversity are adapted to them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Grassland Fragmentation)
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