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Urban Power Line Corridors as Novel Habitats for Grassland and Alien Plant Species in South-Western Finland.

Lampinen J, Ruokolainen K, Huhta AP - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: The results imply that old corridors on dry soils and steep slopes characterized by a history as open areas and pastures are especially suitable for grassland species.Corridors suitable for alien species, in turn, are characterized by productive soils and abundant light and are surrounded by a dense urban fabric.The results have implications for grassland conservation and invasive alien species control in urban areas.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.

ABSTRACT
Regularly managed electric power line corridors may provide habitats for both early-successional grassland plant species and disturbance-dependent alien plant species. These habitats are especially important in urban areas, where they can help conserve native grassland species and communities in urban greenspace. However, they can also provide further footholds for potentially invasive alien species that already characterize urban areas. In order to implement power line corridors into urban conservation, it is important to understand which environmental conditions in the corridors favor grassland species and which alien species. Likewise it is important to know whether similar environmental factors in the corridors control the species composition of the two groups. We conducted a vegetation study in a 43 kilometer long urban power line corridor network in south-western Finland, and used generalized linear models and distance-based redundancy analysis to determine which environmental factors best predict the occurrence and composition of grassland and alien plant species in the corridors. The results imply that old corridors on dry soils and steep slopes characterized by a history as open areas and pastures are especially suitable for grassland species. Corridors suitable for alien species, in turn, are characterized by productive soils and abundant light and are surrounded by a dense urban fabric. Factors controlling species composition in the two groups are somewhat correlated, with the most important factors including light abundance, soil moisture, soil calcium concentration and soil productivity. The results have implications for grassland conservation and invasive alien species control in urban areas.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Map of the study plots in electric power line corridors in Turku, south-western Finland.The map is based on open access cartographic material [24] and the coordinates of the study plot, compiled with QGIS version Chugiak 2.4.0 [25].
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pone.0142236.g001: Map of the study plots in electric power line corridors in Turku, south-western Finland.The map is based on open access cartographic material [24] and the coordinates of the study plot, compiled with QGIS version Chugiak 2.4.0 [25].

Mentions: The study area is located in south-western Finland, on the northern edge of the hemiboreal vegetation zone [23]. The study was conducted in a 43 kilometer long and approximately 26 meter wide 110 kV power line corridor network in the city of Turku (Fig 1). The corridors cross various habitats surrounding the city center, such as cultivated or abandoned fields on clay soil, sub-xeric heath forests on shallow soils, urban roads and suburban areas. The land in the corridors is owned mostly by the city, but managed by the local electric company. Corridor management follows a 3-year cycle, so that each year one third of the network is cut clear of any vegetation higher than 3 meters. The produced woody debris is mostly left on the corridor floor.


Urban Power Line Corridors as Novel Habitats for Grassland and Alien Plant Species in South-Western Finland.

Lampinen J, Ruokolainen K, Huhta AP - PLoS ONE (2015)

Map of the study plots in electric power line corridors in Turku, south-western Finland.The map is based on open access cartographic material [24] and the coordinates of the study plot, compiled with QGIS version Chugiak 2.4.0 [25].
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4643934&req=5

pone.0142236.g001: Map of the study plots in electric power line corridors in Turku, south-western Finland.The map is based on open access cartographic material [24] and the coordinates of the study plot, compiled with QGIS version Chugiak 2.4.0 [25].
Mentions: The study area is located in south-western Finland, on the northern edge of the hemiboreal vegetation zone [23]. The study was conducted in a 43 kilometer long and approximately 26 meter wide 110 kV power line corridor network in the city of Turku (Fig 1). The corridors cross various habitats surrounding the city center, such as cultivated or abandoned fields on clay soil, sub-xeric heath forests on shallow soils, urban roads and suburban areas. The land in the corridors is owned mostly by the city, but managed by the local electric company. Corridor management follows a 3-year cycle, so that each year one third of the network is cut clear of any vegetation higher than 3 meters. The produced woody debris is mostly left on the corridor floor.

Bottom Line: The results imply that old corridors on dry soils and steep slopes characterized by a history as open areas and pastures are especially suitable for grassland species.Corridors suitable for alien species, in turn, are characterized by productive soils and abundant light and are surrounded by a dense urban fabric.The results have implications for grassland conservation and invasive alien species control in urban areas.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.

ABSTRACT
Regularly managed electric power line corridors may provide habitats for both early-successional grassland plant species and disturbance-dependent alien plant species. These habitats are especially important in urban areas, where they can help conserve native grassland species and communities in urban greenspace. However, they can also provide further footholds for potentially invasive alien species that already characterize urban areas. In order to implement power line corridors into urban conservation, it is important to understand which environmental conditions in the corridors favor grassland species and which alien species. Likewise it is important to know whether similar environmental factors in the corridors control the species composition of the two groups. We conducted a vegetation study in a 43 kilometer long urban power line corridor network in south-western Finland, and used generalized linear models and distance-based redundancy analysis to determine which environmental factors best predict the occurrence and composition of grassland and alien plant species in the corridors. The results imply that old corridors on dry soils and steep slopes characterized by a history as open areas and pastures are especially suitable for grassland species. Corridors suitable for alien species, in turn, are characterized by productive soils and abundant light and are surrounded by a dense urban fabric. Factors controlling species composition in the two groups are somewhat correlated, with the most important factors including light abundance, soil moisture, soil calcium concentration and soil productivity. The results have implications for grassland conservation and invasive alien species control in urban areas.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus