Recovery of a plant community in the central Anatolian steppe after small-scale disturbances


FOLIA GEOBOTANICA, vol.56, pp.241-254, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 56
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s12224-021-09404-9
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Agricultural & Environmental Science Database, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Geobase, DIALNET
  • Page Numbers: pp.241-254
  • Keywords: Central Anatolian steppe, Disturbance, Growth form, Recovery, Resilience, Vegetation, OLD-FIELDS, VEGETATION, DIVERSITY, BIODIVERSITY, ECOSYSTEM, ECOLOGY, FIRE, ENCROACHMENT, GERMINATION, GRASSLANDS
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


How plant communities in Anatolian steppes recover after disturbances has remained unknown. To study the effects of small-scale disturbances on plant communities of the central Anatolian steppe, we established thirty-two plots 1 x 1 m in size in a natural steppe near Ankara (Turkey). The plots were subjected to mowing or hoeing treatments representing low- and high-intensity disturbance, respectively. Some plots were left untreated to serve as the control. The plots were sampled for three consecutive years to investigate changes in species occurrence, cover and biomass under various disturbance frequencies and intensities over time. The vegetation was able to recover within a few months, particularly in the growing season after mowing treatments, but the recovery level of the vegetation was lower after hoeing, especially when it was applied with high frequency. Species richness and cover of annual herbs increased with moderate disturbance frequencies in both disturbance types whereas perennial herbs were negatively affected by the hoeing disturbance, but not by the mowing disturbance. Both types of disturbance had a significant negative effect on plant aboveground biomass in the plots. The results partly support the intermediate disturbance hypothesis. High-level resilience to small-scale disturbances was observed, possibly due to adaptations of Anatolian steppe plants to natural and anthropogenic disturbances.