Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Biology

Supervisor(s)

Dr. Zoë Lindo

Abstract

Little native grassland remains in North America due to land-use changes. Conversion to agriculture is a common means of loss. This fragmentation creates edges in the landscape and associated edge effects. Grassland plant communities are susceptible to edge effects, directly via dispersal and indirectly through environment. This study took place in Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada, in a landscape of agriculture, forest, rural development, and patches of grassland restored by Nature Conservancy Canada. I examined restored grassland edges bordering forest and crops. An intensive study at a single site identified spatial and soil environmental influences on plant diversity and composition. I also sampled vegetation at six replicate restored grassland sites bordering both forest and crops to find patterns. Environment and space explained plant composition, but plant traits did not. Site attributes can likely explain edge effects case by case. Distinguishing between site and temporal effects will be important for future studies.


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