Plant diversity in a changing agricultural landscape mosaic in Southern Transylvania (Romania)

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


Traditional agricultural landscapes represent mosaics of land use covers that often support high species diversity. Many Eastern European countries contain large areas of High Nature Value (HNV) farmland. However, these landscapes are likely to change under current EU regulations and global market pressure, with potentially negative consequences for biodiversity. The conservation value of Romania's grasslands is widely recognized, but the potential conservation value of other parts of the landscape mosaic has not been assessed to date. For this reason, we sought to assess patterns of plant diversity across the entire landscape mosaic. We sampled vascular plants at 139 sites (comprising 8 plots of 1m2/ha) in forest (n=23), grassland (n=57) and within the arable mosaic (n=59). To examine potential differences in species richness and composition between these land cover types, we used analysis of variance and detrended correspondence analysis. We also modeled total species richness, richness of HNV indicator plants and richness of arable weeds in response to variables representing topography as well as structural and configurational heterogeneity. Species composition differed strongly between grassland, the arable mosaic and forests. Richness was highest in grasslands, but surprisingly, the arable mosaic and grassland contributed similarly to the cumulative number of recorded species. Models of species richness revealed a wide range of responses of plant groups to topographical conditions and to structural and configurational heterogeneity, which often differed between land use types. Plants were affected by conditions measured at both local (1ha) and landscape (50ha) scales. Noting the substantial, and hitherto under-recognised, contribution of the agricultural mosaic to regional-scale plant diversity, we recommend consideration of the entire landscape mosaic in future conservation schemes.

ZeitschriftAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
Seiten (von - bis)350-357
Anzahl der Seiten8
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 01.2015