Relationship between litter produced by Calamagrostis epigejos and seedling recruitment of mesic meadow species in mountain conditions

Abstract

Calamagrostis epigejos produces a large amount of litter in patches dominated by this expansive species in degraded meadows. Two studies were carried out in the area of the Central Sudetes Mountains (SW Poland). The goals of these surveys were to address the following questions: How do active manipulations regarding the removal of necromass and C. epigejos tillers, as well as seeding of additional species, influence the meadow species seedling recruitment? How is the organic matter decomposed in the consecutive stages of mountain grassland degradation caused by C. epigejos expansion? How do environmental factors influence litter decomposition? The results of the research showed a significant influence of C. epigejos necromass on the recruitment of mesic meadow species. The influence is connected with the emergence of a mechanical barrier to seedlings, which impedes their sprouting. No relation was found between the degradation stage and the rate of necromass decomposition. The study showed the influence of some environmental factors on the rate of necromass decomposition – in the case of C. epigejos there was a negative impact of exchangeable magnesium forms, whereas in the case of mixed meadow plant litter there was a positive effect of nitrogen and C:N ratio, and negative correlations with Ellenberg’s light and soil humidity indices.

Abbreviations

DCA:

Detrended Correspondence Analysis

NMDS:

Non-Metric multidimensional analysis

PCA:

Principal Components Analysis

r:

Pearson correlation coefficient

RDA:

Redundancy analysis

Rs:

Spearman correlation coefficient

SD:

Standard Deviation

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Pruchniewicz, D., Żołnierz, L. Relationship between litter produced by Calamagrostis epigejos and seedling recruitment of mesic meadow species in mountain conditions. COMMUNITY ECOLOGY 18, 149–156 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1556/168.2017.18.2.4

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Keywords

  • Arrhenatheretalia order
  • Decomposition process
  • Degradation of vegetation
  • Environmental factors
  • Expansive species