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The influence of hydrological regime and grazing management on the plant communities of a karst wetland (Skealoghan turlough) in Ireland

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Abstract:

Question: What is the influence of hydrological regime, soils and management on the plant community composition and species richness of Skealoghan turlough (groundwater dependent calcareous wetland).

Location: Skealoghan turlough, County Mayo, Ireland.

Methods: Percentage cover of vascular plants and bryophytes were recorded, and data on hydrological regimes, soils and management were collected. Data were analysed using multivariate statistical techniques.

Results: A total of 69 species of vascular plants and mosses were recorded. Cluster analysis grouped the samples into two separate communities, the Cirsio-Molinietum and the Ranunculo-Potentilletum anserinae plant communities. The plant community composition and species richness followed a main gradient down into the turlough basin, but also varied with microtopography, resulting in a mosaic of vegetation types.

Conclusions: The biodiversity and conservation value of the site is linked to the heterogeneity in its physical environment in which hydrology, soils and grazing management all play critical roles.

Keywords: DIVERSITY; GRAZING MANAGEMENT; GROUNDWATER; HYDROLOGY; WETLAND

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3170/2007-7-18390

Publication date: February 1, 2008

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