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SCALETOOL IntroductionDriversBiodiversityPolicies and managementConnectivity and protected areas
From species traits to dispersal distances Simulation of genetic data Population Viability Sex-biased dispersal Biodiversity scaling Perspectives for landscape scale management Conservation strategies at appropriate spatial scales
 

From species traits to dispersal distances

Key policies: EU Green Infrastructure Strategy; Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC; Common Agricultural Policy (CAP); EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020.
It is important that land-use policy and management practices in the EU consider the abilities of plants and animals to disperse among patches of habitat. Effective conservation planning will require information on species' potential dispersal distances in order to assess the connectivity of local populations in landscapes, as well as for predicting the arrival of invasive species in isolated patches, and species range shifts under global change scenarios.

Trait databases including dispersal data for various species can be found here.

We analysed statistical relationships between species traits and their dispersal distances, based on published literature and databases, as well as data collected by SCALES partners. We found that it is possible to achieve at least rough dispersal distance estimates for plants from easily-measurable traits. We have successfully predicted typical maximum plant seed dispersal distances using easily obtainable trait data, such as dispersal mode (syndrome) and growth form, as well as species taxonomy. We have provided an R function "dispeRsal" to predict maximum dispersal distances for users' own datasets, which can be downloaded from http://www.botany.ut.ee/dispersal. For more information see Tamme et al. (2014): Predicting species' maximum dispersal distances from simple plant traits (Ecology 95: 505-513).

Management of fragmented landscapes should take into consideration the dispersal capabilities of significant plant species, including rare species. If distances between fragments greatly exceed the typical maximum dispersal distances, green corridors should be designed in order to create stepping stones.


Average maximum dispersal distances (m) of plant species using different dispersal modes


References

Tamme, R., Götzenberger L., Zobel M., Bullock J.M., Hooftman D.A.P., Kaasik A., and Pärtel M. (2014) Predicting species' maximum dispersal distances from simple plant traits. Ecology 95: 505-513.
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