Roadside verges and cemeteries: Comparative analysis of anthropogenic orchid habitats in the Eastern Mediterranean

Fekete, Réka and Löki, Viktor and Urgyan, Renata and Süveges, Kristóf and Lovas-Kiss, Ádám and Vincze, Orsolya and Molnár, V. Attila (2019) Roadside verges and cemeteries: Comparative analysis of anthropogenic orchid habitats in the Eastern Mediterranean. Ecology and Evolution, 9 (11). pp. 6655-6664. ISSN 2045-7758, ESSN: 2045-7758


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Several important habitats have become threatened in the last few centuries in the Mediterranean Basin due to major changes adopted in land-use practices. The consequent loss of natural and seminatural orchid habitats leads to the appreciation of small anthropogenic habitats, such as cemeteries and roadside verges. Colonization of cemeteries and roadside verges by orchids has long been known, but no study to date compared the suitability of these two anthropogenic habitats for orchids. Therefore, in this paper our aim was to survey cemeteries and roadside verges and to compare these two habitats regarding their role in conserving Mediterranean terrestrial orchids. We conducted field surveys in three Mediterranean islands, Cyprus, Crete, and Lesbos, where both cemeteries and roadside verges were sampled on a geographically representative scale. We found a total of almost 7,000 orchid individuals, belonging to 77 species in the two anthropogenic habitat types. Roadside verges hosted significantly more individuals than cemeteries in Crete and Lesbos, and significantly more species across all three islands. Our results suggest that although cemeteries have a great potential conservation value in other parts of the world, intensive maintenance practices that characterized cemeteries in these three islands renders them unable to sustain valuable plant communities. On the other hand, roadside verges play a prominent role in the conservation of Mediterranean orchids in Cyprus and Greece. The pioneer status of roadside verges facilitates their fast colonization, while roads serve as ecological corridors in fragmented landscapes.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: ECOLOGY; DIVERSITY; Biodiversity; CONSERVATION; VEGETATION; Greece; LANDSCAPE; grassland; Orchidaceae; Cyprus; seed dispersal; refuges; roadsides; burial spaces; TURKISH GRAVEYARDS;
Subjects: Q Science / természettudomány > QH Natural history / természetrajz > QH301 Biology / biológia
Q Science / természettudomány > QH Natural history / természetrajz > QH359-425 Evolution (Biology) / evolúció
Q Science / természettudomány > QK Botany / növénytan
Depositing User: MTMT SWORD
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2020 05:44
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2020 05:44

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