The Hitchhiker's guide to island endemism: Biodiversity and endemic perennial plant species in roadside and surrounding vegetation

Journal article
(Original article)


Publication Details

Author(s): Irl S, Steinbauer M, Epperlein L, Harter D, Jentsch A, Pätz S, Wohlfart C, Beierkuhnlein C
Journal: Biodiversity and Conservation
Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publishers
Publication year: 2014
Volume: 23
Journal issue: 9
Pages range: 2273-2287
ISSN: 0960-3115
Language: English


Abstract


Roadsides are habitats with very specific environmental conditions, often substantially differing from their natural surroundings. However, roads can have a positive effect on local vascular plant species richness. Endemic species on oceanic islands are considered to be less disturbance-adapted than native non-endemics and thus should be negatively affected by roads. Islands provide optimal conditions for testing this, as they possess a large share of clearly defined endemic species. This study focuses on a comparison of endemic plant species in roadside and surrounding communities and the interacting effects of elevation, vegetation type and trade wind-induced precipitation differences. We applied 96 circular plots with 50 m radius along two elevational gradients on the eastern (humid) and western (dry) slope of La Palma, Canary Islands, ranging from 100 to 2,400 m. Interestingly, we found roads to have a significant positive effect on endemic richness and the percentage of endemics as well as the same tendency for plant species richness after correcting for elevation and precipitation. Endemic species turnover was relatively high. The opening of cliffs during construction and, not to be overlooked, the protection from disturbances such as fire and omnipresent introduced herbivores (mainly rabbits or goats) probably leads to a positive effect of roads on endemics. In addition, many endemics might profit from species-specific dispersal capabilities well suited for roadside conditions. However, we do not argue for the use or even construction of roads for nature conservation but suggest protecting existing endemic populations because natural areas have a higher conservation value.



FAU Authors / FAU Editors

Steinbauer, Manuel Prof. Dr.
Professur für System-Paläobiologie


External institutions
German Aerospace Center / Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR)
Universität Bayreuth


How to cite

APA:
Irl, S., Steinbauer, M., Epperlein, L., Harter, D., Jentsch, A., Pätz, S.,... Beierkuhnlein, C. (2014). The Hitchhiker's guide to island endemism: Biodiversity and endemic perennial plant species in roadside and surrounding vegetation. Biodiversity and Conservation, 23(9), 2273-2287. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10531-014-0722-6

MLA:
Irl, Severin, et al. "The Hitchhiker's guide to island endemism: Biodiversity and endemic perennial plant species in roadside and surrounding vegetation." Biodiversity and Conservation 23.9 (2014): 2273-2287.

BibTeX: 

Last updated on 2018-03-12 at 20:50