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ABSTRACT: Pulsatilla patens (L.) Mill. (Ranunculaceae) is a threatened plant which in Fennoscandia favours south-facing, warm slopes of pine-dominated esker forests. The cessation of cattle grazing, modern forestry practices, and especially efficient fire prevention have resulted in closure of undergrowth vegetation in these forests. Using generalized linear models (GLM), we studied the relationships between habitat factors (covers of field and ground layer and amount of litter) and the population structure of P. patens in 48 populations in Finland in order to identify favourable conditions for regeneration. The largest populations occurred at sites with intermediate values of both ground and field layer. The number of juvenile plants was also highest at intermediate values of ground layer. Dense moss layer and abundant litter had a negative effect on the flowering of P. patens. In conclusion, creation and maintenance of habitat heterogeneity to prevent the closure of undergrowth vegetation is of paramount importance for the successful reproduction of P. patens.

Category: Papers Genetic diversity
Authors: Kalliovirta, M. et al.
Publication Year: 2006

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