Publication details

Trends in species diversity and composition of urban vegetation over three decades



Year of publication 2004
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journal of Vegetation Science
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Field Botany
Keywords Biotic homogenization; Indicator value; Phytosociology; Plant invasion; Ruderal vegetation; Synanthropic; Temporal trend
Description Question: What was the change in diversity of urban synantropic vegetation in a medium-sized Central European city during the period of increasing urbanization (1960s-1990s)? Location: The city of Plzeň, an industrial centre of the western part of the Czech Republic. Methods: Sampling of various types of synanthropic vegetation, conducted in the 1960s, was repeated by using the same methods in the 1990s. This yielded 959 relevés, of which 623 were made in the 1960s and 336 in the 1990s. The relevés were assigned to the following phytosociological classes: Chenopodietea, Artemisietea vulgaris, Galio-Urticetea, Agropyretea repentis and Plantaginetea majoris. Total number of vascular plant species, evenness index J, number of alien species (classified into archaeophytes and neophytes), and mean Ellenberg indicator values for light, temperature, continentality, moisture, soil reaction, and nutrients were obtained for each relevé. Results: From 1960s to 1990s, there was a significant decrease of species richness and diversity in synanthropic vegetation. The proportion of archaeophytes decreased in most vegetation types, indicating the contribution of this group of species, often confined to specific rural-like habitats, to the observed impoverishment of ruderal vegetation. The proportion of neophytes did not change between the two periods. Comparison between 1960s and 1990s indicated a decrease in light, temperature, moisture, soil reaction and nutrient indicator values in some vegetation types. In both periods, Artemisieta, Galio-Urticetea and Chenopodietea formed a distinct group harbouring more species than Agropyretea and Plantaginetea. Neophytes, i.e. recently introduced species, were most represented in the early successional annual vegetation of Chenopodietea, rather than in perennial vegetation of the other classes. Conclusions: Synanthropic vegetation of Plzeň exhibited a general trend of decrease in species diversity.
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