|Kroel-Dulay, G - INST ECOL & BOT, HUNGARY|
|Kovacs-Lang, E - INST ECOL & BOT, HUNGARY|
Submitted to: Ecological Society of America Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 8, 1999
Publication Date: August 8, 1999
Citation: KROEL-DULAY, G., KOVACS-LANG, E., PETERS, D.C. THE IMPORTANCE OF LANDSCAPE SCALE PROCESSES IN THE VEGETATION OF SAND GRASSLANDS ALONG A CLIMATIC GRADIENT IN HUNGARY. 84TH ANNUAL MEETING, ECOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA. 1999. ABSTRACT P. 270. Technical Abstract: A sharp gradient in the diversity and productivity of sand grasslands exists within 200 km in the Central European forest-steppe transition zone in Hungary. Our objective was to investigate the relative importance of climate and landscape-level processes in explaining these changes in grasslands. We were particularly interested in the importance of a forest mosaic located in the north that does not exist in the south. We used an individual plant-based simulation model (ECOTONE) to evaluate the effects of climate and factors associated with forest cover on grassland dynamics for two sites at the ends of the gradient. Climate was found to be less important than forest factors in explaining differences in vegetation. Incorporating factors associated with higher forest cover (ie., increased relative humidity, availability of different species) as well as indirect effects of climate (higher soil organic matter) into the model produced results similar to observed vegetation. Our results demonstrate that landscape-level processes can magnify climatic differences, and can contribute to the development of sharp gradients in vegetation, particularly at transition zones.