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Authors Dite, Z; Suvada, R; Toth, T; Jun, PE; Pis, V; Dite, D
Author Full Name Dite, Zuzana; Suvada, Robert; Toth, Tibor; Jun, Pavol Elias; Pis, Vladimir; Dite, Daniel
Title Current Condition of Pannonic Salt Steppes at Their Distribution Limit: What Do Indicator Species Reveal about Habitat Quality?
Source PLANTS-BASEL
Language English
Document Type Article
Author Keywords alkali soils; electrical conductivity; extreme edaphic conditions; habitat naturalness; indicator species; organic carbon; total nitrogen; sodium adsorption ratio
Abstract Little is known about the suite of ecological conditions under which characteristic species may continue to develop under the pressure of recent habitat deterioration. We aimed to determine the niche of three indicator species of the priority habitat Pannonic salt steppes and to find out how their vegetation composition, land use, and soil chemistry mirror the current condition of their typical habitat. A plot-based vegetation survey was conducted in degraded and in pristine (reference) inland salt steppes in East-Central Europe. We confirmed decreased habitat quality at their northern geographical limit. Most of the sites there showed a strong prevalence of generalists (e.g., Elytrigia repens) and lack of specialists, both resulting from lowered habitat extremity and inappropriate land use (abandonment). A small proportion of plots (19%) were in the same good condition as the reference vegetation in the central area. Soil analyses revealed that the studied halophytes are able to persist on desalinized soils if the land use is suitable. The occurrence of the annual Camphorosma annua (Amaranthaceae) was driven largely by abiotic stress; grazing alone is insufficient for its long-term persistence, while the perennial Artemisia santonicum (Asteraceae) and Tripolium pannonicum (Asteraceae) have higher survival chances as they are able to coexist with generalists. Overall habitat quality can be reliably determined from the analyzed ecological conditions of indicator species. The outcomes of the presented work are relevant for conservation practice and can serve as a quick tool for assessing the current stage of other grassland habitats.
Author Address [Dite, Zuzana; Dite, Daniel] Slovak Acad Sci, Inst Bot, Plant Sci & Biodivers Ctr, Dubravska Cesta 9, Bratislava 84523, Slovakia; [Suvada, Robert] Adm Slovensky Kras Natl Pk, State Nat Conservancy Slovak Republ, Hamosiho 188, Brzotin 04951, Slovakia; [Toth, Tibor] Ctr Agr Res, Res Inst Soil Sci & Agr Chem, Herman O Ut 15, H-1022 Budapest, Hungary; [Jun, Pavol Elias] Slovak Univ Agr, Dept Environm & Biol, Tr A Hlinku 2, Nitra 94976, Slovakia; [Pis, Vladimir] Soil Sci & Conservat Res Inst, Gagarinova 10, Bratislava 82713, Slovakia
Reprint Address Dite, Z (corresponding author), Slovak Acad Sci, Inst Bot, Plant Sci & Biodivers Ctr, Dubravska Cesta 9, Bratislava 84523, Slovakia.
E-mail Address zuzana.dite@savba.sk; robert.suvada@sopsr.sk; tibor@rissac.hu; pavol.elias.jun@gmail.com; vladimir.pis@nppc.sk; daniel.dite@savba.sk
Funding Agency and Grant Number VEGA Scientific Grant Agency of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research, and Sport of the Slovak Republic [2/0001/20, 1/0047/2019]
Funding Text The study was financially supported by the VEGA Scientific Grant Agency of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research, and Sport of the Slovak Republic, no. 2/0001/20 (D.D. and Z.D.) and 1/0047/2019 (P.E.).
Publisher MDPI
Publisher City BASEL
Publisher Address ST ALBAN-ANLAGE 66, CH-4052 BASEL, SWITZERLAND
29-Character Source Abbreviation PLANTS-BASEL
ISO Source Abbreviation Plants-Basel
Publication Date MAR
Year Published 2021
Volume 10
Issue 3
Article Number 530
Digital Object Identifier (DOI) 10.3390/plants10030530
Page Count 19
Web of Science Category Plant Sciences
Subject Category Plant Sciences
Document Delivery Number RE3VI
Unique Article Identifier WOS:000634085700001
Plants associated with this reference

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