Semi-natural grasslands under impact of changing land use during last 30 years: Trollio-Cirsietum community in the Liptov region (N Slovakia)

Abstract

Significant transformation of agriculture took place in Central Europe during the second half of the 20th century. The paper reviews the nature and consequences of this process in terms of grassland management and land use changes in the Liptov region (N Slovakia) and their impacts on plant communities of fen meadows (Caricion davallianae, Caricion fuscae), wet meadows (Calthion) and mesophilous grasslands (Arrhenatherion, Cynosurion). We studied in detail the changes in structure of the rare plant community Trollio-Cirsietum (Kühn 1937) Oberd. 1957 that occurred between the first period (1974–1983) and the second period (2002–2003). We recorded the decrease in abundance of species characteristic for permanently wet and fen meadows (alliances Calthion and Caricion davallianae) and the increase in abundance of characteristic species of seasonally dried, mesophilous and thermophilous meadows and mesophilous fringes (classes Molinio-Arrhenatheretea, Festuco-Brometea and alliances Molinion caeruleae, Bromion erecti and Trifolion medii). In the second studied period, a large group of mesophilous and thermophilous species appeared as new in this wet-meadow community. A cumulative impact of different factors, especially drainage and intensification of surrounding grasslands as well as abandonment of the community can represent reasons responsible for observed changes. Regardless identified changes, the community still maintains its typical character in significant proportion of the studied sites and hosts a high number of threatened plant species.

Abbreviations

T-C:

Trollio-Cirsietum (Kühn 1937) Oberd. 1957.

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Correspondence to L. Halada.

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Halada, L., Ružičková, H., David, S. et al. Semi-natural grasslands under impact of changing land use during last 30 years: Trollio-Cirsietum community in the Liptov region (N Slovakia). COMMUNITY ECOLOGY 9, 115–123 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1556/ComEc.9.2008.S.16

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Keywords

  • Community structure changes
  • Fens
  • Intensification of agriculture
  • Mesophilous grasslands
  • Rural landscape
  • Trollio-Cirsietum
  • Wet meadow