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Aim Grasslands of varying land-use intensity and history were studied to describe and test species richness and compositional patterns and their relationships with the physical environment, land cover of the surrounding landscape, patch geometry, and grazing. Location The mainland of Norway. Methods We utilized data from the Norwegian Monitoring Programme for Agricultural Landscapes, which recorded vascular plants from 569 plots, placed within 97 monitoring squares systematically distributed throughout agricultural land on the Norwegian mainland. We identified four grassland types: (i) moderately fertilized, moist meadows; (ii) overgrown agricultural land; (iii) cultivated pastures and disturbed ground; and (iv) natural/unfertilized and outfield pastures. Results Soil moisture and grazing measures were found to be important in explaining species compositional variation in all grassland types. Richness patterns were best explained by complex and differing combinations of environmental indicators. Nevertheless, negative (nitrogen and light level) or unimodal (pH) responses were similar across grassland types. Vegetation plots adjacent to areas historically and/or currently dominated by mires, forests, or pastures, as well as abandoned and overgrown grasslands, had a slightly higher species richness. Larger grasslands surrounding the vegetation plots had slightly less species than smaller grasslands. Conclusions This study demonstrates that data from a national monitoring programme on agricultural grasslands can be used for plant ecological research. The results indicate that climate-change-related shifts along moisture and nutrient gradients (increases) may alter both species composition and species richness in the studied grasslands. It is likely that large and contiguous managed (grass)land might affect areas perceived as remnants, probably caused by the transformation to homogeneous (agri)cultural landscapes reducing edge zones, which in turn may threaten the species pool and richness. The importance of land use and land-cover composition should be considered when planning management actions in extensively used high-latitude grasslands.

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Pollinerende insekter er i tilbakegang over store deler av verden. Denne globale nedgangen forventes å ha uheldige konsekvenser for biomangfold, økosystemtjenester og matproduksjon i fremtiden. Norge har utarbeidet en pollinatorstrategi hvor målet bl.a er å sikre levedyktige bestander av polline-rende insekter for å opprettholde pollinering i matproduksjon. Denne rapporten gir en bred oversikt over forskningsbasert kunnskap om faktorer som påvirker pol-linatorer og pollineringstjenester i ulike landskap, samt en oversikt over ulike modeller for å predi-kere forekomst av pollinatorer.

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Ifølge Norsk rødliste for arter (Artsdatabanken 2015) er per 1. august 2015 377 karplanter i fastlands-Norge truet. For en sjettedel av disse, hovedsakelig fjellplanter, er klimaendringer nevnt som den viktigste trusselen. Overvåking av forekomst og utbredelse av disse artene og relevante naturtyper er viktig for bevaring og forvaltning av det biologiske mangfoldet. Dette er spesielt viktig i de mest sårbare landskapene, som den alpine og arktiske sonen.

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Norway, Ecosystem assessment, Ecosystem condition, Ecosystem state, System for Assessment of Ecological Condition, Norge, Økosystemvurdering, Økosystemtilstand, Økologisk tilstand, System for vurdering av økologisk tilstand, Fagpanelmeto-den

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Water resources and associated ecosystems are becoming highly endangered due to ongoing global environmental changes. Spatial ecological modelling is a promising toolbox for understanding the past, present and future distribution and diversity patterns in groundwater-dependent ecosystems, such as fens, springs, streams, reed beds or wet grasslands. Still, the lack of detailed water chemistry maps prevents the use of reasonable models to be applied on continental and global scales. Being major determinants of biological composition and diversity of groundwater-dependent ecosystems, groundwater pH and calcium are of utmost importance. Here we developed an up-to-date European map of groundwater pH and Ca, based on 7577 measurements of near-surface groundwater pH and calcium distributed across Europe. In comparison to the existing European groundwater maps, we included several times more sites, especially in the regions rich in spring and fen habitats, and filled the apparent gaps in eastern and southeastern Europe. We used random forest models and regression kriging to create continuous maps of water pH and calcium at the continental scale, which is freely available also as a raster map (Hájek et al., 2020b; https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4139912). Lithology had a higher importance than climate for both pH and calcium. The previously recognised latitudinal and altitudinal gradients were rediscovered with much refined regional patterns, as associated with bedrock variation. For ecological models of distribution and diversity of many terrestrial ecosystems, our new map based on field groundwater measurements is more suitable than maps of soil pH, which mirror not only bedrock chemistry but also vegetation-dependent soil processes.

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Aims Understanding fine-grain diversity patterns across large spatial extents is fundamental for macroecological research and biodiversity conservation. Using the GrassPlot database, we provide benchmarks of fine-grain richness values of Palaearctic open habitats for vascular plants, bryophytes, lichens and complete vegetation (i.e., the sum of the former three groups). Location Palaearctic biogeographic realm. Methods We used 126,524 plots of eight standard grain sizes from the GrassPlot database: 0.0001, 0.001, 0.01, 0.1, 1, 10, 100 and 1,000 m2 and calculated the mean richness and standard deviations, as well as maximum, minimum, median, and first and third quartiles for each combination of grain size, taxonomic group, biome, region, vegetation type and phytosociological class. Results Patterns of plant diversity in vegetation types and biomes differ across grain sizes and taxonomic groups. Overall, secondary (mostly semi-natural) grasslands and natural grasslands are the richest vegetation type. The open-access file ”GrassPlot Diversity Benchmarks” and the web tool “GrassPlot Diversity Explorer” are now available online (https://edgg.org/databases/GrasslandDiversityExplorer) and provide more insights into species richness patterns in the Palaearctic open habitats. Conclusions The GrassPlot Diversity Benchmarks provide high-quality data on species richness in open habitat types across the Palaearctic. These benchmark data can be used in vegetation ecology, macroecology, biodiversity conservation and data quality checking. While the amount of data in the underlying GrassPlot database and their spatial coverage are smaller than in other extensive vegetation-plot databases, species recordings in GrassPlot are on average more complete, making it a valuable complementary data source in macroecology.

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Questions Which environmental factors influence fine-grain beta diversity of vegetation and do they vary among taxonomic groups? Location Palaearctic biogeographic realm. Methods We extracted 4,654 nested-plot series with at least four different grain sizes between 0.0001 m² and 1,024 m² from the GrassPlot database, covering a wide range of different grassland and other open habitat types. We derived extensive environmental and structural information for these series. For each series and four taxonomic groups (vascular plants, bryophytes, lichens, all), we calculated the slope parameter (z-value) of the power law species–area relationship (SAR), as a beta diversity measure. We tested whether z-values differed among taxonomic groups and with respect to biogeographic gradients (latitude, elevation, macroclimate), ecological (site) characteristics (several stress–productivity, disturbance and heterogeneity measures, including land use) and alpha diversity (c-value of the power law SAR). Results Mean z-values were highest for lichens, intermediate for vascular plants and lowest for bryophytes. Bivariate regressions of z-values against environmental variables had rather low predictive power (mean R² = 0.07 for vascular plants, less for other taxa). For vascular plants, the strongest predictors of z-values were herb layer cover (negative), elevation (positive), rock and stone cover (positive) and the c-value (U-shaped). All tested metrics related to land use (fertilization, livestock grazing, mowing, burning, decrease in naturalness) led to a decrease in z-values. Other predictors had little or no impact on z-values. The patterns for bryophytes, lichens and all taxa combined were similar but weaker than those for vascular plants. Conclusions We conclude that productivity has negative and heterogeneity positive effects on z-values, while the effect of disturbance varies depending on type and intensity. These patterns and the differences among taxonomic groups can be explained via the effects of these drivers on the mean occupancy of species, which is mathematically linked to beta diversity.

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På oppdrag av Landbruks- og matdepartementet, har NIBIO gjort en vurdering av forskningen på fire fagområder i reindriften; 1) Kunnskapsgrunnlaget for å vurdere oppnåelsen av bærekraften i reindriften, 2) Klimaendringenes betydning for reindriften, 3) Mulige klimatilpasningsstrategier for reindriften, og 4) Langsiktige konsekvenser av endringer i arealbruk og utbygging for reindriften. Fakta og innspill er hentet inn gjennom litteratursøk, dokumentanalyser og intervjuer med sentrale informanter fra reindriftsnæringen. Effekter av klimaendringer og arealinngrep for reindriften avdekkes gjennom en blanding av biologisk grunnforskning, anvendt forskning i reindriftsområdene, tradisjonell/erfaringsbasert kunnskap og samfunnsforskning. Det må fokuseres på en helhetlig tilnærming for å belyse effekter og sammenhenger mellom ulike drivkrefter på beitegrunnlaget og for å synliggjøre kumulative effekter av arealinngrep på best mulig måte.

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Motivation Assessing biodiversity status and trends in plant communities is critical for understanding, quantifying and predicting the effects of global change on ecosystems. Vegetation plots record the occurrence or abundance of all plant species co-occurring within delimited local areas. This allows species absences to be inferred, information seldom provided by existing global plant datasets. Although many vegetation plots have been recorded, most are not available to the global research community. A recent initiative, called ‘sPlot’, compiled the first global vegetation plot database, and continues to grow and curate it. The sPlot database, however, is extremely unbalanced spatially and environmentally, and is not open-access. Here, we address both these issues by (a) resampling the vegetation plots using several environmental variables as sampling strata and (b) securing permission from data holders of 105 local-to-regional datasets to openly release data. We thus present sPlotOpen, the largest open-access dataset of vegetation plots ever released. sPlotOpen can be used to explore global diversity at the plant community level, as ground truth data in remote sensing applications, or as a baseline for biodiversity monitoring. Main types of variable contained Vegetation plots (n = 95,104) recording cover or abundance of naturally co-occurring vascular plant species within delimited areas. sPlotOpen contains three partially overlapping resampled datasets (c. 50,000 plots each), to be used as replicates in global analyses. Besides geographical location, date, plot size, biome, elevation, slope, aspect, vegetation type, naturalness, coverage of various vegetation layers, and source dataset, plot-level data also include community-weighted means and variances of 18 plant functional traits from the TRY Plant Trait Database. Spatial location and grain Global, 0.01–40,000 m². Time period and grain 1888–2015, recording dates. Major taxa and level of measurement 42,677 vascular plant taxa, plot-level records. Software format Three main matrices (.csv), relationally linked.

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Springs are ecosystems influenced by the exposure of groundwater at the Earth's surface. Springs are abundant and have played important, highly interactive ecological, cultural, and socio-economic roles in arid, mesic, and subaqueous environments throughout human evolution and history. However, springs also are widely regarded as being highly threatened by human impacts. Cantonati et al. (2020a) recommended increased global awareness of springs, including basic mapping, inventory and assessment of the distribution and ecological integrity of springs. We conducted a preliminary global analysis on the ecological integrity of springs by reviewing information on the distribution, ecohydrogeology, associated species, kinds and intensity of human uses, and level of ecological impairment of spring ecosystems. We reviewed information on an estimated 250,000 spring ecosystems among 78 countries across much of the world. Available literature on spring ecological integrity is sparse, widely scattered, and spatially erratic, with major gaps in knowledge. We report large differences in the quality and extent of information among countries and continents, with only moderate data availability even among developed countries, and limited information across most of the developing world. Among countries with available data, ecological impairment of springs is everywhere rampant, sometimes exceeding 90% in developed regions. Impairment among Holarctic nations is generally negatively related to distance from human development, elevation, and latitude, but such patterns are less evident in Africa, Australia, and South America. Declining trends in ecosystem condition, compounding threat factors, and spring-dependent population declines, extirpation, and extinctions of plants, invertebrates, fish, and herpetofauna are widely reported. Overall, available information indicates a global crisis in spring ecosystem integrity, with levels of ecosystem impairment ranging from Vulnerable to fully Collapsed. The threats to aquifers and the ecological integrity of springs vary spatially. Many springs are impaired by local impacts due to flow diversion, geomorphic alteration, land use practices, recreation impacts, and the introduction of non-native species. These threats can be reduced through education, rehabilitation of geomorphology and habitat quality, and species reintroductions if the supporting aquifer remains relatively intact. However, springs also are widely threatened by regional to global factors, including groundwater extraction and pollution, as well as climate change. Such coarse-scale, pre-emergence impacts negatively affect the sustainability of spring ecosystems and the aquifers that support them. Improving understanding and stewardship of springs will require much additional systematic inventory and assessment, improved information management, and reconsideration of basic conservation concepts (e.g., habitat connectivity), as well as cultural and socio-economic valuation. Substantial societal recognition, discussion, and policy reform are needed within and among nations to better protect and sustainably rehabilitate springs, their supporting aquifers, and the spring-dependent human and biotic populations that depend upon them.

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Understanding the factors that determine species’ resistance to environmental change is of utmost importance for biodiversity conservation. Here we investigated how the abundances of marshland species are determined by niche properties and functional traits. We re-surveyed 150 vegetation plots that were first surveyed in 1973 in order to explore species abundance changes over time. We found that the mean water level in the habitats of most studied species decreased significantly from 1973 to 2012. Nine of 17 target species were identified as abundance decreasing species and the other eight as abundance increasing species. The comparisons of seven plant characteristics (niche position water level, plant height, and five leaf traits) showed that the decreasing species had a significantly higher value of optimum water level and marginally significantly lower leaf N contents and specific leaf area (SLA) than those in increasing species. The stepwise regression analysis showed that optimum water level and leaf N were the best predictors of abundance changes of marsh plant species, as well as that the effect of optimum water level was stronger than that of leaf N. Our findings demonstrated that niche properties may be important for forecasting changes in wetland plant communities over time.

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Questions Have species richness and composition in subarctic vegetation changed over the past ca. 90 years? Are compositional shifts linked to changes in land management or climate? Are observed changes associated with vegetation type, life form, or habitat preference? Location Rybachy and Sredny Peninsulas, NW Russia. Methods We resurveyed vegetation ca. 90 years after the first sampling in 1927–1930 to study changes in species richness, abundance and composition. Because of missing plot‐related environmental measurements we used a weighted averaging approach calculating relative changes in species‐specific optimum values for different environmental gradients represented by species indicator values to identify compositional change in relation to the environment. Changes in species composition were visualised using detrended correspondence analyses. Significances of observed changes in species richness and frequency were evaluated using restricted permutation tests. A χ2 test was used to test if observed changes in abundances were related to species’ life form and habitat preferences. Results Species composition has changed significantly over the past ca. 90 years, as indicated by significant changes in species’ frequencies and values of optima for the environmental gradients temperature, moisture, nutrients and light. Species richness decreased significantly, in particular in nitrophilous and wet growing vegetation. Species typical for grazed grasslands and meadows and species of wet habitats became less abundant, while dwarf shrubs and forest species increased. Conclusions Land abandonment, in combination with climate change, is likely to have caused the observed changes in the subarctic vegetation of NW Russia. Shifts in the species dominance ratios and interspecific competition (e.g. for reallocated nutrients) after land abandonment may have been promoted by the subsequent change towards a warmer climate, facilitating the regrowth of previously open meadows with grazing‐intolerant tall herbs, forest herbs and dwarf shrubs. This study illustrates clearly the long‐term effects of land‐use change, the consequences of which are still visible even after almost one century in the subarctic.

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Questions Which environmental variables are most important in determining plant species composition in subarctic springs? Do observed patterns differ between typical wetland and general matrix‐derived species? Location Helocrenic (seepage) springs, Northern Norway. Methods We sampled 49 helocrenic spring sites, measuring environmental variables (water temperature, water pH, electrical conductivity, discharge volume, geographic position) and recording all species present. We performed a partial canonical correspondence analysis (pCCA) to determine the relative importance of water quality, spatial, and climatic variables for patterns in species composition and to compare the differences in these patterns between wetland and matrix‐derived species. Results We found that climatic and water quality variables were almost equally important in determining species composition in subarctic springs, with climatic variables explaining 26.62% of variation in species composition and water quality variables explaining 26.14%. Spatial variables explained the least variation (21.53%). When looking at the variables individually, altitude (10.93%) and mean summer temperature (9.25%) explained the most variation. The trend was the same for matrix‐derived species and wetland species, with climatic variables explaining the most variation (matrix‐derived: 27.26%; wetland: 24.42%), followed by water quality (matrix‐derived: 26.40%; wetland: 24.13%) and spatial variables (matrix‐derived: 24.87%; wetland: 16.27%). The main difference between matrix‐derived species and typical wetland species was that the spatial variables explained less variation for wetland species. Conclusions The close relationship of species composition (total vegetation as well as separated into wetland and matrix‐derived species) with climatic and water quality conditions indicates a sensitivity of subarctic springs to future climate change. In combination with altitude, which was found to be the most important individual variable, it is likely that the future distribution of spring species tracking climate change will be limited by the occurrence of suitable spring habitats, especially at high altitudes.

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Beiting og slått har skapt noen av de mest artsrike økosystemene i Nord-Europa, men slike tradisjonelle driftsformer har blitt mindre vanlige i det 20. århundre. Denne endringen er en viktig drivkraft for påfølgende gjengroing som kan ha dramatiske konsekvenser for det biologiske mangfoldet, kanskje spesielt i kombinasjon med klimaendringer.

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Hagemarkskog er en unik og estetisk vegetasjonstype med høy verdi for husdyrbeiting og biologisk mangfold. Den oppstår i gårds- og seternære skogsområder som over lang tid har vært nyttet til husdyrbeiting, og ulike former for høsting av trevirke. Som følge av utviklingen i landbruket der mange gårdsbruk og setre er nedlagt, er hagemarkskogen nå blitt et sjeldent syn i det norske kulturlandskapet.

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I denne rapporten presenteres resultater fra den systematiske overvåkingen av karplanter som er en del av det nasjonale programmet «Tilstandsovervåking og resultatkontroll i jordbrukets kulturlandskap» (3Q). Vi identifiserte fire plantesamfunn: Naturbeitemark/utmark, moderat gjødslet beitemark/fukteng, gjengroende jordbruksareal, kulturbeiter/forstyrret mark. For alle plantesamfunnene bortsett fra kulturbeiter/forstyrret mark fant vi en gjengroingstendens med økt innslag av skogsarter eller sene suksesjonsarter og hvor engartene forsvinner. I gruppen kulturbeiter/forstyrret mark har vi derimot registrert en mer intensiv bruk av arealene. Viktige arter for humler og bier går tilbake i alle de fire plantesamfunnene vi har identifisert. Andelen av truede arter og fremmede arter med høy økologisk risiko er relativt lav i rutene. Selv om tilbakegangen er negativ for mange arter knyttet til naturbeitemarker finnes det forvaltningstiltak som kan bedre forholdene for flere av artene som er i tilbakegang.

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Abstract: GrassPlot is a collaborative vegetation-plot database organised by the Eurasian Dry Grassland Group (EDGG) and listed in the Global Index of Vegetation-Plot Databases (GIVD ID EU-00-003). Following a previous Long Database Report (Dengler et al. 2018, Phyto-coenologia 48, 331–347), we provide here the first update on content and functionality of GrassPlot. The current version (GrassPlot v. 2.00) contains a total of 190,673 plots of different grain sizes across 28,171 independent plots, with 4,654 nested-plot series including at least four grain sizes. The database has improved its content as well as its functionality, including addition and harmonization of header data (land use, information on nestedness, structure and ecology) and preparation of species composition data. Currently, GrassPlot data are intensively used for broad-scale analyses of different aspects of alpha and beta diversity in grassland ecosystems.

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Beite opprettholder kulturlandskapet og gir ofte rom til mange og iblant sjeldne planter. Gjengroing i forbindelse med beiteopphør truer dette artsmangfoldet og forekomsten av arter som er avhengige av et åpent landskap.

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Globally accelerating trends in societal development and human environmental impacts since the mid-twentieth century1–7 are known as the Great Acceleration and have been discussed as a key indicator of the onset of the Anthropocene epoch6 . While reports on ecological responses (for example, changes in species range or local extinctions) to the Great Acceleration are multiplying8,9 , it is unknown whether such biotic responses are undergoing a similar acceleration over time. This knowledge gap stems from the limited availability of time series data on biodiversity changes across large temporal and geographical extents. Here we use a dataset of repeated plant surveys from 302 mountain summits across Europe, spanning 145 years of observation, to assess the temporal trajectory of mountain biodiversity changes as a globally coherent imprint of the Anthropocene. We find a continent-wide acceleration in the rate of increase in plant species richness, with five times as much species enrichment between 2007 and 2016 as fifty years ago, between 1957 and 1966. This acceleration is strikingly synchronized with accelerated global warming and is not linked to alternative global change drivers. The accelerating increases in species richness on mountain summits across this broad spatial extent demonstrate that acceleration in climate-induced biotic change is occurring even in remote places on Earth, with potentially far-ranging consequences not only for biodiversity, but also for ecosystem functioning and services.

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Changes in the local flora of mountains are often explained by climate warming, but changes in grazing regimes may also be important. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether the alpine flora on summits in the Tatra Mts, Poland and Slovakia, has changed over the last 100 years, and if the observed changes are better explained by changes in sheep grazing or climate. We resurveyed the flora of 14 mountain summits initially investigated in the years 1878–1948. We used ordination methods to quantify changes in species composition. We tested whether changes in plant species composition could be explained by cessation of grazing and climate change, and whether these factors have influenced shifts in Ellenberg’s plant ecological indicator values and Raunkiaer’s life forms. Changes in alpine flora were greater on lower elevation summits, and lower on summits less accessible for sheep. More accessible summits were associated with a decrease in mean values of plant species’ light ecological indicator values over time, and a concurrent increase in temperature and nitrogen ecological indicator values. No significant relationships were found between accessibility for sheep and changes in Raunkiaer’s life-forms. Greater accessibility for sheep (meaning high historical grazing pressure) led to greater compositional changes of mountain summits compared with summits with low accessibility. Our results suggest that cessation of sheep grazing was the main factor causing changes in the species composition of resurveyed mountain summits in the Tatra Mts, while climate change played a more minor role.

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GrassPlot is a collaborative vegetation-plot database organised by the Eurasian Dry Grassland Group (EDGG) and listed in the Global Index of Vegetation-Plot Databases (GIVD ID EU-00-003). GrassPlot collects plot records (relevés) from grasslands and other open habitats of the Palaearctic biogeographic realm. It focuses on precisely delimited plots of eight standard grain sizes (0.0001; 0.001; ... 1,000 m²) and on nested-plot series with at least four different grain sizes. The usage of GrassPlot is regulated through Bylaws that intend to balance the interests of data contributors and data users. The current version (v. 1.00) contains data for approximately 170,000 plots of different sizes and 2,800 nested-plot series. The key components are richness data and metadata. However, most included datasets also encompass compositional data. About 14,000 plots have near-complete records of terricolous bryophytes and lichens in addition to vascular plants. At present, GrassPlot contains data from 36 countries throughout the Palaearctic, spread across elevational gradients and major grassland types. GrassPlot with its multi-scale and multi-taxon focus complements the larger international vegetationplot databases, such as the European Vegetation Archive (EVA) and the global database “sPlot”. Its main aim is to facilitate studies on the scale- and taxon-dependency of biodiversity patterns and drivers along macroecological gradients. GrassPlot is a dynamic database and will expand through new data collection coordinated by the elected Governing Board. We invite researchers with suitable data to join GrassPlot. Researchers with project ideas addressable with GrassPlot data are welcome to submit proposals to the Governing Board.

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Question In recent decades, high‐latitude climate has shown regionally variable trends towards warmer and moister conditions. These changes have been predicted to cause afforestation or shrubification of open tundra, increases of warmth‐demanding southern species and plant groups favoured by increased moisture, and decline of species and habitats that are dependent on snow cover. In this study, we explore temporal changes in northern tundra upland plant communities along regional gradients and in local habitats. We ask how vegetation changes are linked with long‐term trends in regional climate and grazing pressure. Location Northern Europe. Methods In 2013–2014, we resurveyed a total of 108 vegetation plots on wind‐exposed and snow‐protected tundra habitats in three subareas along a bioclimatic gradient from the northern boreal to the arctic zone. Vegetation plots were originally sampled in 1964–1967. We related observed vegetation changes to changes in temperature, precipitation and grazing pressure, which all showed regionally variable increases over the study period. Results We found a significant increase of the evergreen dwarf shrub Empetrum nigrum subsp. hermaphroditum in snow‐protected communities and a prominent decrease of lichens throughout the study area. No evidence for extensive tree or larger shrub (Betula spp., Salix spp. or Juniperus communis) encroachment despite climatic warming trends was found. Among studied communities, most pronounced changes in vegetation were observed in snow‐protected boreal heaths on small isolated uplands, where community composition showed low resemblance to the original composition described decades ago. Changes in plant communities correlated with changes in summer and winter temperatures, summer precipitation and reindeer grazing pressure, yet correlations varied depending on region and habitat. Conclusions Northern tundra uplands vary in their resistance to on‐going climate change and reindeer grazing. Isolated treeless heaths of boreal forest–tundra ecotone appear least resistant to climate change and have already shifted towards new community states.

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Mountain vegetation is often considered highly sensitive to climate and land-use changes due to steep environmental gradients determining local plant species composition. In this study we present plant species compositional shifts in the Tatra Mts over the past 90 years and discuss the potential drivers of the changes observed. Using historical vegetation studies of the region from 1927, we resurveyed 76 vegetation plots, recording the vascular flora of each plot using the same methodology as in the original survey. We used an indirect method to quantify plant species compositional shifts and to indicate which environmental gradients could be responsible for these shifts: by calculating shifts in estimated species optima as reflected in shifts in the ecological indicator values of co-occurring species. To find shifts in species composition, focusing on each vegetation type separately, we used ordination (DCA). The species optimum changed significantly for at least one of the tested environmental gradients for 26 of the 95 plant species tested; most of these species changed in terms of the moisture indicator value. We found that the strongest shifts in species composition were in mylonite grassland, snowbed and hygrophilous tall herb communities. Changes in precipitation and increase in temperature were found to most likely drive compositional shifts in vegetation resurveyed. It is likely that the combined effect of climate change and cessation of sheep grazing has driven a species composition shift in granite grasslands communities.

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Blomster bruker insekter for reproduksjon og frøsetting, samtidig som insekter bruker blomster som næringskilde for pollen og nektar. Tap av blomsterrike vegetasjonstyper som beiter og villenger, er blant de største truslene for villblomster og –bier.

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Successional dynamics in plant community assembly may result from both deterministic and stochastic ecological processes. The relative importance of different ecological processes is expected to vary over the successional sequence, between different plant functional groups, and with the disturbance levels and land-use management regimes of the successional systems. We evaluate the relative importance of stochastic and deterministic processes in bryophyte and vascular plant community assembly after fire in grazed and ungrazed anthropogenic coastal heathlands in Northern Europe. A replicated series of post-fire successions (n = 12) were initiated under grazed and ungrazed conditions, and vegetation data were recorded in permanent plots over 13 years. We used redundancy analysis (RDA) to test for deterministic successional patterns in species composition repeated across the replicate successional series and analyses of co-occurrence to evaluate to what extent species respond synchronously along the successional gradient. Change in species co-occurrences over succession indicates stochastic successional dynamics at the species level (i.e., species equivalence), whereas constancy in co-occurrence indicates deterministic dynamics (successional niche differentiation). The RDA shows high and deterministic vascular plant community compositional change, especially early in succession. Co-occurrence analyses indicate stochastic species-level dynamics the first two years, which then give way to more deterministic replacements. Grazed and ungrazed successions are similar, but the early stage stochasticity is higher in ungrazed areas. Bryophyte communities in ungrazed successions resemble vascular plant communities. In contrast, bryophytes in grazed successions showed consistently high stochasticity and low determinism in both community composition and species co-occurrence. In conclusion, stochastic and individualistic species responses early in succession give way to more niche-driven dynamics in later successional stages. Grazing reduces predictability in both successional trends and species-level dynamics, especially in plant functional groups that are not well adapted to disturbance. bryophytes; burning; Calluna vulgaris; coexistence; conservation management; determinism; disturbance; grazing; heathland; randomization test; stochasticity; vascular plants.

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Habitat loss is one of the primary environmental causes of biodiversity decline across scales; locally to globally. Ecological restoration is acknowledged as an important tool to counteract this negative trend. The semi-natural calcareous sand dune meadows in south-western Norway are known for their high species diversity, much like similar habitats of high conservation value across Europe today. The recent cessation of grazing has caused a decline in several endangered species associated with these habitats due to the advancement of secondary succession. We conducted a long-term restoration experiment in semi-natural dune meadows over 16 years to examine if current trends in biodiversity loss could be reversed and at what time-scale restoration measures take effect. Three treatments were applied; mowing annually, mowing bi-annually, and a control (no mowing). In fields mown annually species richness increased significantly over time. However, the response was slow and significant effects were first seen after year 10. Fields mown bi-annually also showed a similar trend but the response was more variable. Several characteristic meadow species were favoured by annual mowing while they declined in the control fields. Principal component analysis (PCA) revealed a compositional shift, indicating the re-arrangement/-establishment of typical meadow vegetation in the mown sites, contrasting the further successional development in the control. Our results demonstrate the importance of long-term data in supporting good evidence-based management. Annual mowing is effectively restoring this unique habitat, but restoration efforts need to be sustained over many years to show positive effects.

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Stadig flere nordmenn bor og jobber i byer og tettsteder. Behovet for nye bygninger er derfor stort, noe som medfører at grønne områder her er under konstant utbyggingspress. Samtidig har slike områder flere viktige funksjoner som ofte oversees i areal- og utbyggingsprosesser.

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Methods: In 2009, we resurveyed three plant sociological studies up to 85 years after the first surveys. Vegetation data were recorded from 1m2 non-permanently marked plots, and soil pH was measured. We applied restricted permutation tests to evaluate whether observed changes in vegetation (species richness, occurrence frequency, coverage) and in soil pH were significant and independent of plant community type. We compared species co-occurrences over time to study changes in species composition and to identify the species most likely causing these changes. Results: Total number of species and average number of species per plot has not changed and are 75 and 9, respectively. Occurrence frequency changed significantly for 34% of the 64 species tested (11 species increased, 11 decreased). Species cover decreased significantly for 27% of the species and increased for one species. Observed changes in frequency and cover are not significantly related with species’ functional groups or species affiliated with moist or dry habitats. Polygonum viviparum, Saxifraga cernua and Alopecurus borealis have changed most in co-occurring with other species. Soil pH increased significantly from 6.4 to 6.8. Conclusions: Our results suggest that the strong climatic warming in the High Arctic over the past decades has contributed to significant changes in the vegetation studied on Svalbard over the past 85 years. Internal community re-structuring and the overall stability in species richness may be explained by time-delayed responses of well-established communities, and/or by a limited size of the species pool in the area.

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Background: Resurveying historical vegetation plots has become more and more popular in recent years as it provides a unique opportunity to estimate vegetation and environmental changes over the past decades. Most historical plots, however, are not permanentlymarked and uncertainty in plot location, in addition to observer bias and seasonal bias, may add significant errors to temporal change. These errorsmay havemajor implications for the reliability of studies on long-term environmental change and deserve closer attention of vegetation ecologists. Methods: Vegetation data obtained from the resurveying of non-permanently marked plots are assessed for their potential to study environmental change effects on plant communities and the challenges the use of such data have to meet. We describe the properties of vegetation resurveys, distinguishing basic types of plots according to relocation error, and we highlight the potential of such data types for studying vegetation dynamics and their drivers. Finally, we summarize the challenges and limitations of resurveying non-permanently marked vegetation plots for different purposes in environmental change research. Results and conclusions: Re-sampling error is caused by three main independent sources of error: error caused by plot relocation, observer bias and seasonality bias. For relocation error, vegetation plots can be divided into permanent and non-permanent plots, while the latter are further divided into quasi-permanent (with approximate relocation) and non-traceable (with random relocation within a sampled area) plots. To reduce the inherent sources of error in resurvey data, the following precautions should be followed: (i) resurvey historical vegetation plots whose approximate plot location within a study area is known; (ii) consider all information available from historical studies in order to keep plot relocation errors low; (iii) resurvey at times of the year when vegetation development is comparable to the historical survey to control for seasonal variability in vegetation; (iv) retain a high level of experience of the observers to keep observer bias low; and (v) edit and standardize data sets before analyses.

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Aim Previous research on how climatic niches vary across species ranges has focused on a limited number of species, mostly inv asive, and has not, to date, been very conclusive. Here we assess the degree of niche conservatism between distant populations of native alpine plant species that have been separated for thousands of years. Location European Alps and Fennoscandia. Methods Of the studied pool of 888 terrestr ial vascular plant species occurring in both the Alps and Fennoscandia, we used two complementary approaches to test and quantify climatic-niche shifts for 31 species having strictly disjunct populations and 358 species having either a contiguous or a patchy distribution with distant populations. First, we used species distr i- bution modelling to test for a region effect on each species’ climatic niche. Second, we quantified niche overlap and shifts in niche width (i.e. ecological amplitude) and position (i.e. ecological optimum) within a bi-dimensional climatic space. Results Only one species (3%) of the 31 species with str ictly disjunct populations and 58 species (16%) of the 358 species with distant popula- tions showed a region effect on their climatic niche. Niche overlap was higher for species with strictly disjunct populations than for species with distant populations and highest for arctic–alpine species. Climatic niches were, on average, wider and located towards warmer and wetter conditions in the Alps. Main conclusion Climatic niches seem to be generally conserved between populations that are separated between the Alps and Fennoscandia and have probably been so for 10,000–15,000 years. Therefore, the basic assumption of species distribution models that a species’ climatic niche is constant in space and time – at least on time scales 10 4 years or less – seems to be largely valid for arctic–alpine plants.

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Background & Aim: Land-use regimes and their changes, as well as landscape heterogeneity are key determinants of the distribution and composition of species in cultural landscapes. In European agricultural landscapes, habitat loss due to both abandonment and intensification of agriculture fields are major causes for the decline of species diversity. Landscapes that are diverse in habitats and species are important to maintain basic ecosystem functions and services as, for instance, pollination or habitat preservation. In Norway, semi-natural species-rich habitats, such as agricultural grasslands, often occur in mosaics with forests and crop fields. This research studies key information for design of conservation plans focused on these habitats, addressing how landscape structure and land-use history affect the distribution, richness and composition of species in species-rich grasslands across geographical regions. Material & Methods: We recorded vegetation (species occurrence and cover) in agricultural grasslands with varying intensity and type of use from 569 plots of 8 x 8 m size systematically distributed throughout Norway (from 64 to 78 °N latitude). To identify the most important driving factors of species diversity and composition we explored the combined effects of historic and current land-use and the spatial landscape configuration of nearby land cover types (e.g. minimum distance to or area of neighbouring wetland, forest, cultivated land) taking into account the effects of grazing, elevation, and moisture conditions. Non-metrical multidimensional scaling (NMDS) was applied to identify the most important drivers of species composition. We used Generalized Additive Mixed Models to test the relationship of these drivers with patterns in species richness. Main results & Interpretations: NMDS revealed species composition to be explained most by the distance to surface cultivated land and transportation corridors (r=0.905, p<0.001 and r=-0.982, p<0.001; 1. NMDS axis) as well as shape of the patch in which the vegetation plot is embedded (patch shape) and grazing intensity (r=0.988, p<0.001 and r=-0.952, p<0.001; 2. NMDS axis). Observed patterns in species richness were statistically significantly linked to the combined effects of elevation, grazing intensity, historical land-use, patch shape, distance to transportation corridors and forest, and area of nearest wetland. Our results demonstrate the importance of a variety of factors influencing the species composition and richness in Norwegian grasslands. We found that both the landscape element harbouring the observed plot and also the surrounding landscape structure and intensity of land-use are important determinants of species diversity. The fact that distance to more intensively managed agricultural land is one of the strongest explanatory facts signals how effects of agricultural management practices reaches outside the field itself and into adjacent landscape elements. This suggests that the entire landscape needs to be taken into consideration when management of a particular habitat patch is planned.

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Background: Studies quantifying and comparing the variation and degree of compositional stability of vegetation and what determines this stability are needed to better understand the effects of the projected climate change. Aims: We quantified long-term vegetation changes in different habitats in northern Europe by exploring changes in species co-occurrences and their links to diversity and productivity gradients. Methods: We re-sampled vegetation in 16 arctic, mountain, and mire sites 20 to 90 years after first inventories. A site-specific change in species assemblages (stability) was quantified using species co-occurrences. We tested if the observed changes were significantly greater than would be expected by chance using a randomisation test. Relationships between patterns in vegetation stability and time between surveys, numbers of plots, or species diversity and proxies for productivity were tested using regression analysis. Results: At most sites, changes in species co-occurrences of vascular plants and bryophytes were greater than expected by chance. Observed changes were not found to be related to gradients in productivity or diversity. Conclusions: Changes in species co-occurrences are not strongly linked to diversity or productivity gradients in vegetation, suggesting that other gradients or site-specific factors (e.g. land-use, species interactions) might be more important in controlling recent compositional shifts in vegetation in northern Europe.

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Springs are characterized by consistent thermal and hydrologic conditions, which enable use of spring-inhabiting organisms as sensitive indicators of biogeochemical changes in their catchments. We hypothesized that bryophytes would show a stronger response than vascular plants to changes in spring water quality because submerged bryophytes do not take up compounds from the soil. We analyzed species responses to interannual changes in spring water quality (discharge, water temperature, electrical conductivity, and pH) in 57 forest springs over 4 consecutive years. We calculated interannual turnover in species composition for bryophytes and vascular plants with the Bray–Curtis dissimilarity index. We applied regression analysis to test interannual changes in species composition of the taxonomic groups over time, and we used 2-sided t-tests to compare year-to-year changes in species composition between bryophytes and vascular plants. We used boosted regression tree (BRT) models to quantify the relative importance of different physicochemical variables and Pearson linear correlation to quantify short-term changes in vegetation relative to changes in spring-water pH. For both groups, interannual changes in species composition were significantly positively related to time scale. Bryophytes did not show a significantly stronger response than vascular plants to interannual changes in the environment. Alterations in pH and conductivity explained most of the observed interannual changes in species composition of both groups, whereas changes in water temperature and discharge were less important. However, responses of single species to environmental change may be delayed, resulting in inertia at the community and ecosystem scales. Hence, longer time periods need to be considered for a better understanding of response times of the vegetation of European forest springs to changes in spring water quality.

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Phytosociological studies can be an important tool to detect temporal vegetation changes in response to global climate change. In this study, we present the results of a resurvey of a plot-based phytosociological study from Sikkilsdalen, central Norway, originally executed between 1922 and 1932. By using a detailed phytosociological study we are able to investigate several aspects of elevational shifts in species ranges. Here we tested for upward and downward shifts in observed upper and lower distribution limits of species, as well as changes in species optima along an elevational gradient, and related the observed range shifts to species traits that could explain the observed trends. More species shifted upwards than downwards, independently of whether we were investigating shifts in species\" upper or lower distribution ranges or in species optima. However, shifts in species upper range margins changed independently of their lower range margins. Linking different species traits to the magnitude of shifts we found that species with a higher preference for prolonged snow cover shifted upwards more in their upper elevational limits and in their optima than species that prefer a shorter snow cover, whereas no species traits were correlated with the magnitude of changes in lower limits. The observed change in species ranges concord both with studies on other mountains in the region and with studies from other alpine areas. Furthermore, our study indicates that different factors are influencing species ranges at the upper and lower range limits. Increased precipitation rates and increased temperatures are considered the most important factors for the observed changes, probably mainly through altering the pattern in snow cover dynamics in the area.

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1. In the face of a rapidly changing environment, long-term studies provide important insights into patterns of vegetation and processes of change, but long-term studies are rare for many ecosystems.2. We studied recent vegetation changes at a fine scale in a Sphagnum-dominated bog in south Sweden by resurveying part of the bog 54 years after the original phytosociological survey. We used an indirect approach to identify changes in vegetation composition in relation to environment because of a lack of permanent sampling units. By applying a weighted averaging technique, we calculated relative changes in species optimum values for different environmental gradients as represented by indicator values for light, temperature, pH, moisture and nutrients.3. Species composition of the mire vegetation has changed significantly over the past five decades, as indicated by significant changes in species frequencies and species optima for the gradients examined. Species with lower indicator values for moisture and light and higher indicator values for nutrients have become more frequent on the mire. In particular, species of trees and dwarf shrubs increased in frequency, whereas typical mire species decreased (e.g. Trichophorum cespitosum (L.) Hartm.) or disappeared fromthe study site (e.g. Scheuchzeria palustris L.).4. Synthesis. Composition of the mire vegetation is found to be dynamic at different temporal and spatial scales. Increased air temperature and nutrient availability in south Sweden over the past few decades may have augmented productivity (e.g. tree growth), resulting in drier and shadier conditions for several species. This study successfully demonstrated the applicability of an indirect approach for detecting long-term vegetation change at a fine scale. This approach is an effective way of using historic and modern phytosociological data sets to detect vegetation and environmental change through time.

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Understanding the driving forces affecting species occurrences is a prerequisite for determining the indicator suitability of crenic plants. We analysed 18 environmental variables in a two-step approach, evaluating their ability to explain the species composition of 222 springs on five siliceous mountain ranges, in central Germany and north-west Czech Republic (49.9°–50.8°N, 10.6°–12.8°E). First, we identified the significant environmental variables in three subsets of spatial, hydrophysical and hydrochemical variables using a forward-selection procedure. We then performed a partial canonical correspondence analysis (pCCA) to estimate the influence of each subset alone, as well as in combinations. We also used a multiple response permutation procedure (MRPP) to compare the five regions with respect to the dissimilarity of their vegetation composition and environmental variables. Hydrochemical factors played a fundamental role in determining the plant community of the investigated springs. Spatial factors, in particular altitude, were correlated with the hydrochemical factors, but were less important. Hydrophysical factors played only a marginal role. More precisely, species occurrence was mainly driven by a gradient of nutrient availability, which in turn reflected the acidity status. This gradient was primarily represented by high Al, Cd, and Mn concentrations in acidic crenic waters, high Ca and Mg concentrations were encountered in circumneutral springs. By comparing the five regions we could show that there are spatial patterns in the vegetation of springs, which provide valuable ecological information on the water quality. We therefore suggest that biomonitoring approaches to vegetation are suitable for revealing the acidity status of springs and their forested catchments.