Patterns of floristic diversity in semi-natural coastal vegetation of Lebanon and implications for conservation
Source: Biodiversity and Conservation, Volume 14, Number 4, April 2005 , pp. 903-915(13)
Abstract:The current understanding of the status of the vegetation in Lebanon is largely derived from herbarium data and associated floristic studies produced by early 20th century field botanists. In common with other areas in the Mediterranean, the Lebanese coastline is highly threatened by unregulated development, yet current patterns of species richness along the Lebanese coastal zone are little studied. The objective of this study was to assess the floristic richness of the Lebanese coastal zone and to provide baseline information for conservation planning. For this purpose, permanent sample plots (6 m × 100 m) were established in 26 selected vegetation communities in coastal habitats. Monthly field collections of plant specimens were undertaken between October 1999 and July 2000. A total of 441 species were collected and identified. None of the recorded species are currently considered globally threatened, but two are Lebanese endemics (Matthiola crassifolia Boiss. & Gaill., Origanum ehrenbergii Boiss.). Species richness varied between communities, ranging from six species in a littoral limestone pavement community to 113 in an abandoned terrace community. The similarity between communities, based on Sorensen indices, was low and a large number of species were recorded only once. Cluster analysis showed a grouping of different communities within locations in some instances and the clustering of similar community types regardless of location in others. Species richness in riparian and littoral communities consisted mostly of habitat non-specific species. The low community similarity, patchy species distribution, and predominance of habitat non-specific species all point to the need to complement in situ conservation measures with ex situ conservation.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, The American University of Beirut, P.O. Box 11-0236, Beirut, Lebanon, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 2: Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, The American University of Beirut, P.O. Box 11-0236, Beirut, Lebanon, 3: Royal Botanic Gardens, TW9 3AB, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK , 4: Centre for Plant Diversity and Systematics, Plant Science Laboratories, The University of Reading, P.O.Box 221, RG6 6AS, Whiteknights, Reading, UK, 5: Fairchild Tropical Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road, Coral Gables, 33156-4296, Miami, FL, USA,
Publication date: April 2005