[en] alpine species ; heatwave ; population viability analysis
[en] Extreme climatic events like the 2003 summer heatwave and inappropriate land management can threaten the existence of rare plants. We studied the response of Eryngium alpinum, a vulnerable species, to this extreme climatic event and different agricultural practices. A demographic study was conducted in seven field sites between 2001 and 2010. Stage-specific vital rates were used to parameterize matrix population models and perform stochastic projections to calculate population growth rates and estimate extinction probabilities. Among management regimes, spring grazing and land abandonment decreased vital rates and population growth, while autumn grazing and late mowing had positive effects on population viability. The 2003 heatwave reduced fecundity rates and survival rates. Only spring grazed sites presented considerable extinction risk. Stochastic projections showed that an increased frequency of 2003-like events may exacerbate extinction risk, but extinction probability depends mainly on land management regimes. To better conserve E. alpinum populations, we recommend conversion of presently spring grazed and abandoned sites to late mowing or autumn grazing.
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS ; Conseil Général de l'Isère, Région Rhône-Alpes ; French Ministry of Research