Folia Geobotanica

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 41–55 | Cite as

Variability of seedling recruitment under dominant, moss, and litter removal over four years

  • Iva Špačková
  • Jan Lepš


In a four-year removal experiment we investigated the effect of removing a dominant species (Nardus stricta), the litter layer and moss layer on species composition of established vegetation and on numbers and species composition of seedlings. The experiment was conducted in an oligotrophic wet meadow (Molinion with some features ofViolion caninae according to phytosociological classification). After four years of the experiment, the redundancy analysis (RDA) did not reveal any changes in the composition of the established plant community. Seedling numbers and their species composition, however, varied significantly both among treatments and over years. Whereas the differences between treatments were mainly in total seedling numbers, the years differed in both seedling numbers and relative representation of individual species. In particular,Myosotis nemorosa seedlings highly increased their abundance in a favourable year 1995 constituting one third of all the seedlings found, whereas in other years their abundance was between 4% and 10%. The effects of year and treatment were not additive (significant year × treatment interaction). This means that plots under different treatments are differently affected by climatic conditions of individual years. The greatest increase of seedling recruitment was observed in the plots with the moss layer removed. Microsites with high seedling recruitment persisted in the plots for no more than two years.

Why the established vegetation composition does not differ among treatments even after four years, despite the relatively pronounced and immediate response of seedlings? The number of species with regular seedling recruitment is limited. They are mostly perennials, and consequently, it might take even longer than four years before recruitment limitation affects the population size of established plants.


Community structure Competition Safe site Small-scale processes Species coexistence 


Kučera & Váňa (2003) Rothmaler (1976) 


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Copyright information

© Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Biological SciencesUniversity of South BohemiaČeské BudějoviceCzech Republic
  2. 2.Institute of EntomologyAcademy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicČeské BudějoviceCzech Republic

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