Population dynamics of the climate-sensitive endangered perennial Ferula sadleriana Ledeb. (Apiaceae)

Bertalan Lendvay, T. Kalapos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ancient plant species surviving in isolated small populations are particularly vulnerable to extinction, therefore understanding their population dynamics is necessary for conservation. The iteroparous perennial relic endemic Ferula sadleriana Ledeb. (Apiaceae) is restricted to seven distant localities in the Carpathian Basin, where it inhabits rocky hills. We monitored the species' largest population on the Pilis Hill, Hungary, over 14-19 years (depending on trait) between 1979 and 2010, and relationships were sought between climatic properties and population attributes. The population of 4000±1509 emergent individuals underwent large interannual fluctuations, with the vegetative stage displaying sevenfold and the reproductive stage twenty-eight-fold differences. Spring and early summer precipitation had a marked influence on abundances and seed set. Alternating years of high and low counts of reproductive plants suggest costs of reproduction that most probably incur prolonged dormancy and retrogression to the vegetative stage. Seed set was positively influenced by number of reproductive plants over years and by plant size within a year. Ungulates nullify yearly reproductive output by grazing on reproductive individuals. This is particularly intense in dry summers, when reproductive output is already low. The strong precipitation response of abundance, absence of clonal propagation and soil seed bank, and geographical isolation of the populations place F.sadleriana at considerable risk under an increasingly variable and extreme climate. Management should seek to maintain the species' original habitat mosaic (potentially compensating for climate variation), minimize grazing damage and anthropogenic disturbance, and establish ex situ conservation programs to provide propagules for eventual reintroduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-151
Number of pages14
JournalPlant Species Biology
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Fingerprint

Ferula
Apiaceae
population dynamics
seed set
climate
grazing
habitat mosaic
retrogression
climate variation
dormancy
reintroduction
vegetative growth
seed bank
summer
ungulate
reproductive performance
extinction
fold
conservation programs
disturbance

Keywords

  • Grazing damage
  • Polycarpic perennial
  • Population monitoring
  • Prolonged dormancy
  • Relic endemism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

Cite this

Population dynamics of the climate-sensitive endangered perennial Ferula sadleriana Ledeb. (Apiaceae). / Lendvay, Bertalan; Kalapos, T.

In: Plant Species Biology, Vol. 29, No. 2, 2014, p. 138-151.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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