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Dynamics and viability analysis of transplanted and natural lady's slipper (Cypripedium japonicum) populations under habitat management in South Korea

Cho, Yong‐Chan, Kim, Han‐Gyul, Koo, Bon‐Yeol, Shin, Jae‐Kwon
Restoration ecology 2019 v.27 no.1 pp. 23-30
Cypripedium japonicum, chlorophyll, flowering, habitat conservation, humidity, leaf morphology, leaves, monitoring, population viability, soil, understory, vegetation, viability, South Korea
To assess the effectiveness of conservation‐based transplantation of the endangered orchid (Cypripedium japonicum), we compared the morphology, physiology, stem‐count change, and population viability of natural versus transplanted populations undergoing habitat management (repeated removal of competing understory vegetation) between 2009 and 2015 in South Korea. The restored site had lower transmitted light and soil humidity than the natural site. The natural and transplanted populations differed in leaf morphology and total chlorophyll content (natural: 1.00 ± 0.04, restored: 0.53 ± 0.06). No recruitment occurred during the monitoring period. Population viability tended to decrease in the restored population (λG = 0.97, μ = −0.05, σ² = 0.036) and increase in the natural population (λG = 1.07, μ = 0.03, σ² = 0.075). The repeated removal of competing understory vegetation had different effects on leaf traits, abundance, and reproductive properties of the endangered orchids in both populations. Notably, habitat management increased the stem count and flowering rate in natural C. japonicum but did not increase the fruit‐setting rate. Thus, despite repeated habitat management efforts (removal of competing understory vegetation), we conclude that the population viability of transplanted populations of the endangered orchid C. japonicum had poor long‐term viability compared with naturally occurring populations, a difference that is mainly attributed to inappropriate transplant‐site selection.