Succession following the abandonment of traditional management practices can pose severe consequences for the conservation of semi-natural dry grassland communities. In the present study, we investigated whether the quantity of floral resources changes during succession of semi-natural dry grasslands and how this is related to pollinator richness and the number of pollination interactions at the community level. We addressed this issue by quantifying floral resources (i.e., number of flowers, nectar volume and number of pollen grains) and monitoring pollination interactions in dry grassland communities at different stages of succession, defined as the total cover of plant species of forest edges. The relationship between the quantity of floral resources and cover of plant species of forest edges was significantly hump-shaped, i.e., regardless of the type of floral resource, all peaked at intermediate values of cover of plant species of forest edges. The richness of animal-pollinated plants in bloom also showed a hump-shaped relationship with the cover of plant species of forest edges, while the richness of pollinator species and the number of pollination contacts were indirectly related to the cover of plant species of forest edges, as they were significantly associated with the number of flowers and the richness of animal-pollinated plants in bloom. Results suggest that succession of dry grasslands after abandonment may affect a crucial function in terrestrial ecosystems, namely animal-mediated pollination. Nevertheless, the conditions of early succession, which could be achieved by the presence of scattered shrubs, could ultimately be favourable for the pollination function in dry grasslands.

Patterns of floral resources and pollination interactions along dry grassland succession

Fantinato, Edy;Lorenzato, Leonardo;Buffa, Gabriella
2023-01-01

Abstract

Succession following the abandonment of traditional management practices can pose severe consequences for the conservation of semi-natural dry grassland communities. In the present study, we investigated whether the quantity of floral resources changes during succession of semi-natural dry grasslands and how this is related to pollinator richness and the number of pollination interactions at the community level. We addressed this issue by quantifying floral resources (i.e., number of flowers, nectar volume and number of pollen grains) and monitoring pollination interactions in dry grassland communities at different stages of succession, defined as the total cover of plant species of forest edges. The relationship between the quantity of floral resources and cover of plant species of forest edges was significantly hump-shaped, i.e., regardless of the type of floral resource, all peaked at intermediate values of cover of plant species of forest edges. The richness of animal-pollinated plants in bloom also showed a hump-shaped relationship with the cover of plant species of forest edges, while the richness of pollinator species and the number of pollination contacts were indirectly related to the cover of plant species of forest edges, as they were significantly associated with the number of flowers and the richness of animal-pollinated plants in bloom. Results suggest that succession of dry grasslands after abandonment may affect a crucial function in terrestrial ecosystems, namely animal-mediated pollination. Nevertheless, the conditions of early succession, which could be achieved by the presence of scattered shrubs, could ultimately be favourable for the pollination function in dry grasslands.
2023
60
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/5046008
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