[en] Viola calaminaria ; reproductive success ; population history
[en] Demographic studies that monitor population dynamics are an essential component in establishing conservation strategies. The conventional view that human disturbance results in negative effects to species and habitats is countered by the fact that some anthropogenic activities result in the origin of new habitat opportunities for species. Faced with an increase in European restoration programs, studies that assess the variability in traits conferring reproductive success among populations is particularly relevant to rare species conservation and further improves our knowledge to achieve restoration success. In the present study, we evaluated reproductive success variation (flower density, percent fructification and seed set) in Viola calaminaria, a rare endemic metallophyte, in relationship to population origins (ancestral or recent habitat), plant density and habitat structure. Results indicated that seed set varied significantly among ancestral and recently established populations, with recent populations exhibiting increased seed set (P < 0.05). Habitat structure did not influence species reproductive success. A positive significant correlation was detected between vegetative and flower density (P < 0.001). Results suggested that population origin (ancestral or recent) and local vegetative density was more important than habitat structure on reproductive success in V. calaminaria. In addition, we demonstrated that V. calaminaria populations distributed in habitats recently created by anthropogenic activity exhibited similar or higher reproductive success than populations from ancestral sites. These results are noteworthy as they show that anthropogenic activities can create new favourable habitats for some rare species.
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS