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.

Related Articles


"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 October 24, 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 October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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