Changes in plant community diversity and management effects in semi-natural meadows in southern Sweden

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)


The objectives of this thesis were to: 1) survey the vegetation in semi-natural meadows in south-central Sweden, 2) discern meadow vegetation changes in eight semi-permanent plots between studies performed in the 1960s and in 1990, 3) experimentally investigate the effects of variations in management intensity in one dry and one mesic meadow, 4) experimentally investigate the effects of different management practices or absence of management on species dynamics in meadow vegetation.

1. In the survey of meadows nine plant communities were recognised, ranging from wet to dry. The most obvious difference between investigated years was the decrease in plant community diversity. Thus two wet-moist plant communities found in the earlier study were missing in 1990, and one had more or less disappeared.

2. The comparison of semi-permanent plots studied in the 1960s and again in 1990 revealed changes in the vegetation within the plant communities. These were, e.g. increased cover of vascular plants, increased cover and number of graminoids, and increased cover of species with primary habitats others than grassland as well as decreased cover of species supposed to be favoured by mowing. Furthermore, considerable species dynamics were found.

3. Dry meadow vegetation was more prone to changes than mesic meadow vegetation, both in plots where the present management was simulated, as well as in totally unmanaged plots. Both raking and grazing had positive effects on species abundance in the mesic meadow. In the dry meadow raking had both positive and negative effects on species abundance, whereas grazing had almost only negative effects. When management was abandoned species richness declined, more so in the mesic meadow were several species disappeared already after one year of abandonment.

4. The mesic meadow was highly dynamic at the smallest scale studied (0.01 m2), e.g. the vegetation turnover index was twice as high at the 0.01-m2 scale as at the larger scales. Species dynamics increased if management was intensified, as well as when it was abandoned. However, in the most intensively managed plots, the increased species dynamics was due to the appearance of species, whereas in unmanaged plots it was due to the disappearance of species.


  • Anna-Carin Linusson
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology


  • Plant ecology, Vegetation, Species diversity, Management intensity, Community diversity, Ordination, Växtekologi
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date1999 Jun 11
  • Plant Ecology and Systematics, Lund University
Print ISBNsISBN: 91-7105-112-0
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 1999-06-11 Time: 10:15 Place: N/A External reviewer(s) Name: Poschlod Philipps, Peter Title: Prof Affiliation: Marburg, Germany --- The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Plant Ecology and Systematics (Closed 2011) (011004000)