An Empirical Test Of Neighbourhood Effect And Safe-Site Effect In Abandoned Mediterranean Vineyards

Juliane Ruhl, Juliane Rühl, Martin Schnittler

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5 Citations (Scopus)


The importance of both neighbourhood effect and safe-site effect for the colonization of Mediterraneanold fields by woody plants was investigated. Using a transect approach, we recorded colonization of 21species of woody plants on abandoned, terraced vineyards on Pantelleria Island (Sicily) in dependencefrom neighbouring terraces in older succession stages (Maquis) and available safe sites for seedlingestablishment (former crop plant, terrace wall). With a paired design of four treatments, includingpresence/absence of adjacent older successional stages, and North-/South-facing slopes, a neighbourhoodeffect could be shown for both expositions if the transect started from an adjacent field with a moreadvanced succession stage. The safe-site effect was clearly detectable on N-facing terraces in the vicinityof both remaining crop plants and wall bases, while on S-facing terraces it was observed only under cropplants. It was most pronounced for zoochorous species. Underlying mechanisms are passive facilitation(especially former crop plants are used as shelter and perches by animals dispersing seeds) as well asactive facilitation due to improved site conditions. Both the neighbourhood effect and the safe-site effectact in synergy and can considerably accelerate the pace of succession.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-78
Number of pages8
JournalActa Oecologica
Publication statusPublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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