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      Cultural heritage and biodiversity conservation – plant introduction and practical restoration on ancient burial mounds

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          Abstract

          Linking the conservation of cultural heritage and natural values provides a unique opportunity for preserving traditional landscapes and receives an increased awareness from stakeholders and society. Ancient burial mounds are proper objects of such projects as they are iconic landscape elements of the Eurasian steppes and often act as refugia for grassland specialist species. The aim of this project was to reintroduce grassland plant species to burial mounds for representing them as cultural monuments with the associated biodiversity for the public. The effectiveness of seed sowing, transplanting greenhouse-grown plants and individuals from threatened populations on burial mounds in Hortobágy National Park, Hungary was tested. The following questions were answered: (1) which method is the most effective for species introduction? (2) which species can establish most successfully? (3) how does management affect the species establishment rates? It was found advisable to use a combination of seed sowing and transplanting greenhouse-grown plants. Sowing was found as a cost-effective method for introducing large-seeded species, whilst introduction of greenhouse-grown transplants warranted higher establishment rates for a larger set of species. Transplanting adult individuals was more reliable regardless of management regimes, however this method is labour-intensive and expensive. Intensive management, like mowing with heavy machinery and intensive grazing, should be avoided in the first few years after introduction. The authors highlighted the fact that introducing characteristic grassland species on cultural monuments offers a great opportunity to link issues of landscape and biodiversity conservation. This project demonstrated that, by the revitalisation of cultural monuments, cultural ecosystem services can also be restored.

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          Most cited references 41

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          Assessing, mapping, and quantifying cultural ecosystem services at community level

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            How successful are plant species reintroductions?

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              Pollination, seed set and seed predation on a landscape scale.

              We analysed the combined effects of pollination and seed predation on seed set of Centaurea jacea in 15 landscapes differing in structural complexity. In the centre of each landscape, a patch of Centaurea plants was established for standardized measurements of flower visitation, seed predation and seed set. Both the number of flower-visiting bees and the proportion of flower heads damaged by seed predators increased with landscape complexity, which was measured as the proportion of semi-natural habitats. The mean number of seeds per flower head did not increase with the proportion of semi-natural habitats, presumably because of the counterbalancing effects of pollination and seed predation. For a subset of undamaged flower heads, the number of seeds per flower head was positively correlated with the number of flower visits. Further reasons for the unexpected failure to detect a correlation between landscape complexity and seed set appeared to be changes in flower-visitor behaviour and the contrasting responses of honeybees and wild bees to habitat context. Landscape analyses at eight spatial scales (radius of landscape sectors, 250-3000 m) showed that different groups perceived the landscape at different spatial scales. Changes in pollinator numbers could be explained only at small scales (up to 1000 m), while the seed predators also responded to large scales (up to 2500 m).
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Conservation
                NC
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-3301
                1314-6947
                January 05 2018
                January 05 2018
                : 24
                : 65-80
                Article
                10.3897/natureconservation.24.20019
                © 2018

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