Ecological network analysis in modeling of plant population dynamics

Grażyna Łaska, Aneta Sienkiewicz



One of the most popular tools used in the process of modeling are ecological networks. Population dynamics of threatened plant species – Pulsatilla patens (L.) Mill. and commonly occurring taxon – Carex digitata L., was modeled using the package STELLA. The population of P. patens was studied in the years 2009-2011, at 16 sites, while the population of C. digitata was observed in the years 1987-2015, at the two sites in the natural and secondary oak-hornbeam forest Tilio cordatae-Carpinetum betuli Tracz. 1962 in the Supraśl Forest Division, Knyszyńska Forest. The input parameters for model construction were changes in the number of individuals and calculated on their basis birth and death rates. The proposed mathematical model of population dynamics implies that the probability of P. patens becoming a threatened species, evaluated on the basis of changes in the number of individuals is small, however it increases for C. digitata (in particular in the anthropogenically disturbed community). The results of simulations show that P. patens makes dynamically developing population characterized by an increase in the number of individuals with time in the period studied, disregarding the effect of natural and anthropogenic disturbances. In both C. digitata communities studied, a decrease in the number of individuals in the period studied is noted, and the rate of the decrease is much higher in the anthropogenically disturbed community, which means that the population is dynamically ageing.


population models; STELLA modeling; Pulsatilla patens (L.) Mill.; Carex digitata L.; probability of extinction; guidelines for protection

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