Nowadays, urban areas play a crucial role in biodiversity conservation and habitat protection despite the constant pressures on which these habitats are subjected. They may even host relatively new plant communities due to the peculiar ecosystem where they vegetate. The port of Trieste (NE Italy) is characterized by a mixed mosaic of intensely human impacted areas (where commercial activities are still ongoing) flanked by abandoned areas where vegetation persists or has spontaneously recovered. In this study, we sampled the whole port area through a stratified random sampling by placing multiscalar nested plots in four different habitats (strata) previously identified by photo-interpretation. Plant species richness and abundance were assessed in each plot. Each species was then classified as native or alien and patterns of species richness and complementarity were compared among habitats. Results show that there is a significant difference in species richness patterns among habitats, while observed patterns are likely to vary at different spatial scales. As expected, urban plots account for most of the alien species in the sampling, while wooded plots cope better with invasion, accounting for a lower alien/native ratio. These results highlight how habitat diversity enhances biodiversity in urban areas and how it could provide an effective filtering effect able to reduce the spread of alien species. In addition, we provide further evidence for the use of multi-scale approaches in order to study the complex relationships between spatial heterogeneity and plant species richness.

Diversity patterns of alien and native plant species in Trieste port area: exploring the role of urban habitats in biodiversity conservation

TORDONI, ENRICO
;
NAPOLITANO, ROSSELLA;NIMIS, PIERLUIGI;CASTELLO, Miris;ALTOBELLI, ALFREDO;MARTELLOS, Stefano;BACARO, Giovanni
2017

Abstract

Nowadays, urban areas play a crucial role in biodiversity conservation and habitat protection despite the constant pressures on which these habitats are subjected. They may even host relatively new plant communities due to the peculiar ecosystem where they vegetate. The port of Trieste (NE Italy) is characterized by a mixed mosaic of intensely human impacted areas (where commercial activities are still ongoing) flanked by abandoned areas where vegetation persists or has spontaneously recovered. In this study, we sampled the whole port area through a stratified random sampling by placing multiscalar nested plots in four different habitats (strata) previously identified by photo-interpretation. Plant species richness and abundance were assessed in each plot. Each species was then classified as native or alien and patterns of species richness and complementarity were compared among habitats. Results show that there is a significant difference in species richness patterns among habitats, while observed patterns are likely to vary at different spatial scales. As expected, urban plots account for most of the alien species in the sampling, while wooded plots cope better with invasion, accounting for a lower alien/native ratio. These results highlight how habitat diversity enhances biodiversity in urban areas and how it could provide an effective filtering effect able to reduce the spread of alien species. In addition, we provide further evidence for the use of multi-scale approaches in order to study the complex relationships between spatial heterogeneity and plant species richness.
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https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11252-017-0667-0
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11368/2899627
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