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Research Paper | April 1, 2013

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Exploring agroecosystem floristic and vegetation diversity in a Mediterranean landscape

Sofia Spanou, Argyro Tiniakou, Theodoros Georgiadis

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J. Bio. Env. Sci.3(4), 11-25, April 2013

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Abstract

A floristic and vegetation study of the agroecosystems of east Attiki prefecture (Greece) was performed and constitutes the first investigation into this type of ecosystems for this area. A data set of permanent plots encompassing vegetation in agroecosystems and fields of the area was established. This data set was classified using cluster analysis to identify vegetation differences between the different cultivation types. The ecological interpretation of the sites covered by agroecosystems was based on classic analysis of the chorological and life-form spectra of the plant taxa recorded from these sites, Böhling’s ecological indicator values of certain plant species and plant – substrate relation. The diversity indices of these agroecosystems were also measured and compared with the ones of the natural vegetation of the surrounding area. Temporal changes of the agroecosystems’ plant species were also studied. Our results revealed five different types of cultivation vegetation with different substrate preferences and different plant diversity values. The contribution of agroecosystems to the areas’ plant diversity proved to be significant. Open dry fields were found to be the richest and most temporally heterogeneous agroecosystems. Conclusively, the maintenance and conservation of the agroecosystems of the study area is strongly suggested since they prove to be a significant diversification agent who helps to avoid the loss of the high Mediterranean biological diversity. Additionally, under certain conditions, indicator plant species found in agroecosystems may be used to monitor environmental changes on the area.

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