Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Disturbance Can Benefit Some Rare Forest Plants

Date:
June 1, 2001
Source:
Society For Conservation Biology
Summary:
While human disturbances can destroy ecosystems, new research shows that a little disturbance can be good for forest plants with small ranges. Called endemics, these species are often a conservation priority and this is the first study of how human disturbances affect them.

While human disturbances can destroy ecosystems, new research shows that a little disturbance can be good for forest plants with small ranges. Called endemics, these species are often a conservation priority and this is the first study of how human disturbances affect them.

"Forest destruction is a reality and finding that forests subject to human use can support endemic plants is good news," says Michael Kessler of the Albrecht-von-Haller- Institut fur Pflanzenwissenschaften in Gottingen, Germany, who reports this work in the June issue of Conservation Biology.

Kessler studied 650 plants that were both relatively common and easy to identify at 16 forest sites in the Bolivian Andes. The plants ranged from being widespread to endemic. At each site, Kessler compared areas with varying levels of human disturbance, including mature forest with little or no disturbance; moderately disturbed forest (where the original canopy layer was intact but there had been some logging, grazing or burning); and severely disturbed forest (such as secondary forest in areas that had been clearcut).

To his surprise, Kessler found that moderately disturbed forest had more endemic plant species than adjacent mature forest. However, severely disturbed forest had fewer endemic plants and was dominated by bracken ferns and other opportunistic pioneers that colonize cleared areas.

Why would moderate human disturbance be good for endemic plants? Endemics are more vulnerable to invasion by non- native species and apparently do not compete as well as widespread species. Kessler hypothesizes that endemics depend on natural disturbances (such as tree falls, flooding and landslides) to keep widespread species from dominating them, and so can also benefit from some human disturbance.

"My observation suggests that moderate use of tropical forests may be compatible with the conservation of endemic plant species," says Kessler. However, he cautions that not all endemic plants benefit from moderate disturbance, and that endemics do not benefit from severe disturbances such as clearcuts or extensive removal of canopy trees. Moreover, preserving undisturbed forests remains important because they often have more biodiversity than disturbed forests.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society For Conservation Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society For Conservation Biology. "Disturbance Can Benefit Some Rare Forest Plants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 June 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010529234600.htm>.
Society For Conservation Biology. (2001, June 1). Disturbance Can Benefit Some Rare Forest Plants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010529234600.htm
Society For Conservation Biology. "Disturbance Can Benefit Some Rare Forest Plants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010529234600.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins