INSTYTUT DENDROLOGII

POLSKIEJ AKADEMII NAUK

76: 81-89

Grzegorz Iszkuło, Emilia Pers-Kamczyc, Dorota Nalepka, Mariola Rabska, Łukasz Walas, Monika Dering
Postglacial migration dynamics helps to explain current scattered distribution of Taxus baccata

Dendrobiology 2016, vol. 76: 81-89

http://dx.doi.org/10.12657/denbio.076.008

Full text (pdf)

Abstract: 

Taxus baccata L. has a scattered distribution and the decline of yew woodlands is observed across the entire species range. Passively protected populations in the central and northern part of their distribution are declining without human intervention. However, the establishment of new yew populations is observed in habitats that have been significantly transformed by humans. The following question need to be answered: why do yews find better in environmental conditions that have been strongly modified by humans compared to natural systems? The Quaternary history might be the key to understand the current yew situation. As suggested by palaeobotanical studies, pollen of T. baccata was observed at optima of the interglacials, but in subsequent periods, it has been displaced by that of other shade-tolerant species. Pollen diagrams indicate that after the last glaciation, the yew did not appear earlier than other shade-tolerant species and did not have the opportunity to become common in occurrence, as in previous interglacial periods. As a result, yews occur only as relict populations within environmental islands where the competition with other shade-tolerant species is low. The negative human impact on yew is well-documented, but limitations resulting from the biology of this species are also very important. T. baccata is a species whose current scattered distribution may explain the Quaternary history. Yew situation is better in artificial conditions because people reduce competition from other trees species and deer pressure. Possible positive impact of human on yew distribution in the past is also discussed. The current biological condition of this species suggests the need for active protection.

Keywords: yew, endangered species, Quaternary, human impact, competition

     

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