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Natural and human-impacted diversity of bryophytes along an elevational gradient on an oceanic island (La Palma, Canarias)

Abstract : Bryophytes have been proposed as ideal indicators of ecosystem change, because they are important components of forest integrity, and considerable research indicates that some groups are sensitive to the changes associated with specific human disturbances. Bryo-phyte richness and abundance have been found to vary predictably along elevational gradients , but the role of human impacts on these distribution patterns remains unclear. The aim of this study is to explore the impact of human disturbance on the elevational patterns of bryophyte diversity, along an elevational gradient. Along the gradient we collected three datasets in the following sites: preserved (P), forest track roadsides (R) and disturbed by agriculture/silviculture practices (D). Two survey plots of 100 m 2 were established at every 200 m elevational step for each sites P, R, D, and in each plot bryophytes were sampled in a stratified manner. At each plot we recorded all species on available substrates and estimated their percentage cover. Our results showed that species number did not differ among studied sites, but that species diversity pattern differs among the three gradient types and species life strategy composition along the elevational gradient showed a clear response to the disturbance of mature communities. We conclude that human impact has strongly changed the elevational pattern of diversity, and that these changes vary depending on the ecological and taxonomical group considered.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, October 27, 2020 - 1:15:04 PM
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Raquel Hernández-Hernández, Jürgen Kluge, Claudine Ah-Peng, Juana María González-Mancebo. Natural and human-impacted diversity of bryophytes along an elevational gradient on an oceanic island (La Palma, Canarias). PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2019, 14 (4), pp.e0213823. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0213823⟩. ⟨hal-02979894⟩

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