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Germination and survival of endangered Pulsatilla grandis (ranunculaceae) after artificial seeding, as affected by various disturbances

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Pulsatilla grandis is a rare and endangered species in Central Europe. A field experiment was set up to test the effects of disturbances on its germination and survival rates after artificial seeding. Disturbances were simulated by the following treatments: burning, hoeing, and removal of vegetation. The germination percentage decreased rapidly with time, to only 2% in 2-year-old fruits. The germination rate of fresh fruits was the highest in hoed plots (29.2 ± 12.9%), followed by removedvegetation plots (21.8 ± 17.3%) and burned plots (1.8 ± 2.2%). No germination was observed in control plots. The survival rate of seedlings was monitored over the next 5 years. In the year following the treatment, all the seedlings survived in the burned plots; in the hoed and in removed-vegetation plots, survival rates were 38.5 ± 2 and 55 ± 27%, respectively. Approximately half of them were alive after 5 years. Grassland vegetation in burned quadrates recovered very quickly, whereas in other disturbed plots the numbers of species and vegetation cover were very limited in the first year, but recovered in the following two years. In-seeding was successful as a short-term solution. As a long-term solution the traditional management procedures (mowing) must include a wider area and create disturbances by opening gaps within the closed grassland sward.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, University of Maribor ; 2: Department of Biology, University of Maribor ; 3: Faculty of Agriculture, University of Maribor ; 4: Centre for Cartography of Flora and Fauna ; 5: Department of Plant Sciences, Tel Aviv University


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