Species richness of vascular plants along the climatic range of the Spanish dehesas at two spatial scales

Jose M. Garcia del Barrio, Rafael Alonso Ponce, Raquel Benavides, Sonia Roig


Aims of study: The goals of this paper are to summarize and to compare plant species richness and floristic similarity at two spatial scales; mesohabitat (normal, eutrophic, and oligotrophic dehesas) and dehesa habitat; and to establish guidelines for conserving species diversity in dehesas.
Area of study: We considered four dehesa sites in the western Peninsular Spain, located along a climatic and biogeographic gradient from north to south.
Main results: Average alpha richness for mesohabitats was 75.6 species, and average alpha richness for dehesa sites was 146.3. Gamma richness assessed for the overall dehesa habitat was 340.0 species. The species richness figures of normal dehesa mesohabitat were significantly lesser than of the eutrophic mesohabitat and lesser than the oligotrophic mesohabitat too. No significant differences were found for species richness among dehesa sites. We have found more dissimilarity at local scale (mesohabitat) than at regional scale (habitat). Finally, the results of the similarity assessment between dehesa sites reflected both climatic and biogeographic gradients.
Research highlights: An effective conservation of dehesas must take into account local and regional conditions all along their distribution range for ensuring the conservation of the main vascular plant species assemblages as well as the associated fauna.

Keywords: Agroforestry systems; mesohabitat; non-parametric estimators; alpha richness; gamma richness; floristic similarity; climatic and biogeographic range.

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2014231-04521

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