Seed and microsite limitation in Rheum nobile, a rare and endemic plant from the subnival zone of Sino-Himalaya

Song, B. and Stöcklin, Jürg and Zhang, Z.-Q. and Yang, Y. and Sun, H.. (2013) Seed and microsite limitation in Rheum nobile, a rare and endemic plant from the subnival zone of Sino-Himalaya. Plant Ecology & Diversity, 6 (3-4). pp. 503-509.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A6184114

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Background: Species persistence, particularly in monocarpic species, depends on the successful recruitment of individuals. An understanding of the factors that limit the recruitment of rare monocarpic plant species is therefore vital for their conservation. Aims: To identify the factors limiting the recruitment of Rheum nobile, a rare and highly specialised monocarpic giant herb endemic to the high eastern Himalayas. Methods: Seed sowing (seeds added or not added) and seedling transplanting experiments were conducted in disturbed (vegetation removed) and undisturbed plots in the vicinity of established populations of R. nobile to explore the mechanisms of recruitment limitation. Four levels of photosynthetically active radiation (0, 15, 30 and 50 μmol m−2 s−1) and two sowing positions (beneath and above grass litter or moss layer) were manipulated in the laboratory to determine how ground cover limited seedling emergence. Results: Seed addition increased seedling recruitment. Disturbance significantly increased seedling emergence and establishment. Seed germination significantly decreased with the reduction of light availability, but 31.7% of all seeds germinated in complete darkness. Seedling emergence was close to zero when seeds were sown on top of a layer of grass litter or moss, but rose to 34.5% when the seeds were sown beneath such layers. Conclusions: Our results indicate that the recruitment of R. nobile is limited by a combination of seed and microsite availability. Therefore, in order to conserve this species, we suggest adding seeds to suitable sites and implementing soil disturbances in existing populations to create suitable microsites.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Pflanzenökologie (Körner)
UniBasel Contributors:Stöcklin, Jürg
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:13 Nov 2017 14:03
Deposited On:06 Dec 2013 09:35

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