Temporal changes in the island flora at different scales in the archipelago of SW Finland

A1 Journal article (refereed)

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Hannus JJ, von Numers M
Publication year: 2010
Journal: Applied Vegetation Science
Journal acronym: APPL VEG SCI
Volume number: 13
Issue number: 4
Start page: 531
End page: 545
Number of pages: 15
ISSN: 1402-2001


Question: How have species richness and vegetation patterns changed in a group of islands in the northern Baltic Sea over a 58-yr period of changing land use and increasing eutrophication?Location: A group of 116 islands, the Brunskar subarchipelago, in SW Finland.Methods: A complete survey of vascular plant species performed in 1947-1949 by Skult was repeated by our group using the same methodology in 2005-2007 (historical versus contemporary, respectively). DCAs were performed and total number of species, extinction-colonization rates, species frequency changes and mean Ellenberg indicator values for light, moisture and nitrogen and Eklund indicator values for dependence of human cultural influence were obtained for each island and releve.Results: Species richness has declined on large islands and increased on small islands. The increase in number of species on small islands is driven by a strong increase in frequency of shore species, which in turn is induced by more productive shores. The decrease in species richness on large islands is related to overgrowth of open semi-natural habitats after cessation of grazing and other agricultural practices.Conclusions: After the late 1940s, open habitats, which were created and maintained by cattle grazing and other traditional agricultural activities, have declined in favour of woody shrub and forest land. Shores have been stabilized and influenced by the eutrophication of the Baltic Sea, and the vegetation has become more homogeneous. This development, resulting in lower species diversity, poses a challenge for the preservation of biodiversity both on a local and on a landscape level.


Anthropogenic impacts, Cattle grazing cessation, Ellenberg-values, Island biogeography, Land use change, Long-term change, Nestedness, Releve survey, Vascular plant richness

Last updated on 2020-28-01 at 04:05