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Plant diversity in hedgerows and road verges across Europe

(2020) JOURNAL OF APPLIED ECOLOGY. 57(7). p.1244-1257
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Abstract
Linear landscape elements such as hedgerows and road verges have the potential to mitigate the adverse effects of habitat fragmentation and climate change on species, for instance, by serving as a refuge habitat or by improving functional connectivity across the landscape. However, so far this hypothesis has not been evaluated at large spatial scales, preventing us from making generalized conclusions about their efficacy and implementation in conservation policies. Here, we assessed plant diversity patterns in 336 vegetation plots distributed along hedgerows and road verges, spanning a macro-environmental gradient across temperate Europe. We compared herb-layer species richness and composition in these linear elements with the respective seed-source (core) habitats, that is, semi-natural forests and grasslands. Next, we assessed how these differences related to several environmental drivers acting either locally, at the landscape level or along the studied macro-ecological gradient. Across all regions, about 55% of the plant species were shared between forests and hedgerows, and 52% between grasslands and road verges. Habitat-specialist richness was 11% lower in the linear habitats than in the core habitats, while generalist richness was 14% higher. The difference in floristic composition between both habitat types was mainly due to species turnover, and not nestedness. Most notably, forest-specialist richness in hedgerows responded positively to tree cover, tree height and the proportion of forests in the surrounding landscape, while generalist richness was negatively affected by tree height and buffering effect of trees on subcanopy temperatures. Grassland and road verge diversity was mainly influenced by soil properties, with positive effects of basic cation levels on the number of specialists and those of bioavailable soil phosphorus on generalist diversity. Synthesis and applications. We demonstrate that linear landscape elements provide a potential habitat for plant species across Europe, including slow-colonizing specialists. Additionally, our results stress the possibility for land managers to modify local habitat features (e.g. canopy structure, subcanopy microclimate, soil properties, mowing regime) through management practices to enhance the colonization success of specialists in these linear habitats. These findings underpin the management needed to better conserving the biodiversity of agricultural landscapes across broad geographical scales.
Keywords
hedgerows, landscape connectivity, linear landscape elements, macro-environmental gradient, microclimate, multiscale analysis, plant colonization dynamics, road verges, SPECIES RICHNESS, SOIL-PHOSPHORUS, FOREST, CONNECTIVITY, CORRIDORS, CONSERVATION, HABITAT, QUALITY, EUTROPHICATION, BIODIVERSITY

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MLA
Vanneste, Thomas, et al. “Plant Diversity in Hedgerows and Road Verges across Europe.” JOURNAL OF APPLIED ECOLOGY, vol. 57, no. 7, 2020, pp. 1244–57, doi:10.1111/1365-2664.13620.
APA
Vanneste, T., Govaert, S., De Kesel, W., Van Den Berge, S., Vangansbeke, P., Meeussen, C., … De Frenne, P. (2020). Plant diversity in hedgerows and road verges across Europe. JOURNAL OF APPLIED ECOLOGY, 57(7), 1244–1257. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.13620
Chicago author-date
Vanneste, Thomas, Sanne Govaert, Willem De Kesel, Sanne Van Den Berge, Pieter Vangansbeke, Camille Meeussen, Jörg Brunet, et al. 2020. “Plant Diversity in Hedgerows and Road Verges across Europe.” JOURNAL OF APPLIED ECOLOGY 57 (7): 1244–57. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.13620.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Vanneste, Thomas, Sanne Govaert, Willem De Kesel, Sanne Van Den Berge, Pieter Vangansbeke, Camille Meeussen, Jörg Brunet, Sara A. O. Cousins, Guillaume Decocq, Martin Diekmann, Bente J. Graae, Per-Ola Hedwall, Thilo Heinken, Kenny Helsen, Rozália E. Kapás, Jonathan Lenoir, Jaan Liira, Sigrid Lindmo, Kathrin Litza, Tobias Naaf, Anna Orczewska, Jan Plue, Monika Wulf, Kris Verheyen, and Pieter De Frenne. 2020. “Plant Diversity in Hedgerows and Road Verges across Europe.” JOURNAL OF APPLIED ECOLOGY 57 (7): 1244–1257. doi:10.1111/1365-2664.13620.
Vancouver
1.
Vanneste T, Govaert S, De Kesel W, Van Den Berge S, Vangansbeke P, Meeussen C, et al. Plant diversity in hedgerows and road verges across Europe. JOURNAL OF APPLIED ECOLOGY. 2020;57(7):1244–57.
IEEE
[1]
T. Vanneste et al., “Plant diversity in hedgerows and road verges across Europe,” JOURNAL OF APPLIED ECOLOGY, vol. 57, no. 7, pp. 1244–1257, 2020.
@article{8656156,
  abstract     = {Linear landscape elements such as hedgerows and road verges have the potential to mitigate the adverse effects of habitat fragmentation and climate change on species, for instance, by serving as a refuge habitat or by improving functional connectivity across the landscape. However, so far this hypothesis has not been evaluated at large spatial scales, preventing us from making generalized conclusions about their efficacy and implementation in conservation policies.

Here, we assessed plant diversity patterns in 336 vegetation plots distributed along hedgerows and road verges, spanning a macro-environmental gradient across temperate Europe. We compared herb-layer species richness and composition in these linear elements with the respective seed-source (core) habitats, that is, semi-natural forests and grasslands. Next, we assessed how these differences related to several environmental drivers acting either locally, at the landscape level or along the studied macro-ecological gradient.

Across all regions, about 55% of the plant species were shared between forests and hedgerows, and 52% between grasslands and road verges. Habitat-specialist richness was 11% lower in the linear habitats than in the core habitats, while generalist richness was 14% higher. The difference in floristic composition between both habitat types was mainly due to species turnover, and not nestedness. Most notably, forest-specialist richness in hedgerows responded positively to tree cover, tree height and the proportion of forests in the surrounding landscape, while generalist richness was negatively affected by tree height and buffering effect of trees on subcanopy temperatures. Grassland and road verge diversity was mainly influenced by soil properties, with positive effects of basic cation levels on the number of specialists and those of bioavailable soil phosphorus on generalist diversity.

Synthesis and applications. We demonstrate that linear landscape elements provide a potential habitat for plant species across Europe, including slow-colonizing specialists. Additionally, our results stress the possibility for land managers to modify local habitat features (e.g. canopy structure, subcanopy microclimate, soil properties, mowing regime) through management practices to enhance the colonization success of specialists in these linear habitats. These findings underpin the management needed to better conserving the biodiversity of agricultural landscapes across broad geographical scales.},
  author       = {Vanneste, Thomas and Govaert, Sanne and De Kesel, Willem and Van Den Berge, Sanne and Vangansbeke, Pieter and Meeussen, Camille and Brunet, Jörg and Cousins, Sara A. O. and Decocq, Guillaume and Diekmann, Martin and Graae, Bente J. and Hedwall, Per-Ola and Heinken, Thilo and Helsen, Kenny and Kapás, Rozália E. and Lenoir, Jonathan and Liira, Jaan and Lindmo, Sigrid and Litza, Kathrin and Naaf, Tobias and Orczewska, Anna and Plue, Jan and Wulf, Monika and Verheyen, Kris and De Frenne, Pieter},
  issn         = {0021-8901},
  journal      = {JOURNAL OF APPLIED ECOLOGY},
  keywords     = {hedgerows,landscape connectivity,linear landscape elements,macro-environmental gradient,microclimate,multiscale analysis,plant colonization dynamics,road verges,SPECIES RICHNESS,SOIL-PHOSPHORUS,FOREST,CONNECTIVITY,CORRIDORS,CONSERVATION,HABITAT,QUALITY,EUTROPHICATION,BIODIVERSITY},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {7},
  pages        = {1244--1257},
  title        = {Plant diversity in hedgerows and road verges across Europe},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.13620},
  volume       = {57},
  year         = {2020},
}

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