Demographic properties of an outlier population of Orchis militaris L. (Orchidaceae) in England

Hutchings, Michael (1998) Demographic properties of an outlier population of Orchis militaris L. (Orchidaceae) in England. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 126 (1-2). pp. 95-107. ISSN 1095-8339

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Abstract

Orchis militaris L. underwent a catastrophic decline in range and plant numbers in the British Isles around the end of the nineteenth century, and was long thought to be nationally extinct. A small number of colonies have been discovered since then, including one in Buckinghamshire, which has been recorded annually almost every year since its discovery in 1947. This paper presents an analysis of the demography and behaviour of this population using census data which have been collected annually from 1977 to 1995. Yew trees which shaded the site occupied by the orchids were removed in 1984 and 1989, and the growth of the herb layer has been strongly constrained by active management since 1989. Since the start of this period of intensive management, the annual gains and losses of plants in the population have become more pronounced, but in most years there has been a net gain in the number of plants. The number and proportion of the emergent plants which flower each year has increased considerably since 1986, and the age structure, which was dominated by older plants prior to 1984, has since become dominated by younger plants, reflecting the increased rate of recruitment and lack of a corresponding increase in mortality. Analyses are presented to show changes in behaviour in consecutive years between the pre-1984 and post-1986 management eras.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: census; habitat management
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Biology and Environmental Science
Depositing User: Michael Hutchings
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 21:22
Last Modified: 30 Jul 2012 12:31
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/30981
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