Ecotones as indicators: Boundary properties in wetland-woodland transition zones

Brownstein, G., Johns, C., Fletcher, A., Pritchard, D. and Erskine, P.D. (2015) Ecotones as indicators: Boundary properties in wetland-woodland transition zones. Community Ecology, 16 2: 235-243. doi:10.1556/168.2015.16.2.11

Author Brownstein, G.
Johns, C.
Fletcher, A.
Pritchard, D.
Erskine, P.D.
Title Ecotones as indicators: Boundary properties in wetland-woodland transition zones
Journal name Community Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1588-2756
Publication date 2015-12-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1556/168.2015.16.2.11
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 16
Issue 2
Start page 235
End page 243
Total pages 9
Place of publication Budapest, Hungary
Publisher Akademiai Kiado Rt.
Language eng
Subject 1105 Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
2303 Ecology
Abstract Ecotones, representing the transition zones between species or communities, have been suggested as focal points for detecting early shifts in vegetation composition due to anthropogenic impact. Here we examined if changes in ecotone location or properties can be used as reliable indicators of hydrological change in temperate wetland communities. We examined 38 woodland-wetland-woodland transitions, distributed across four sites with different anthropogenic disturbance histories and hydrological traits. We tested whether: 1) the ecotones are associated with environmental gradients, and 2) the location or properties of these ecotones change with disturbance history. Well-defined ecotones were associated with steep gradients in soil depth and soil moisture. Most ecotones showed a change in vegetation from hydrophytic to dryland species. There was also some evidence that in highly disturbed sites the link between ecotones and environmental gradients was less apparent. By sampling across boundaries we can better understand the factors controlling the distribution of species. This allows us to make better predictions about the impacts of anthropogenic change in wetland communities. By investigating the transitions between different vegetation communities we were able to highlight key indicators that could be used to monitor these ecologically sensitive and diverse wetland communities.
Keyword Anthropogenic impact
Beta diversity
Functional groups
Vegetation monitoring
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation Publications
Official 2016 Collection
Sustainable Minerals Institute Publications
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