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Composition and structure of the flora in intra-urban railway areas

Wrzesień, Małgorzta, Denisow, Bożena, Mamchur, Zvenyslava, Chuba, Maria, Resler, Ija
Acta agrobotanica 2016 v.69 no.3 pp. aa.1666
air temperature, anthropogenic activities, atmospheric precipitation, cities, ecosystems, environmental factors, environmental indicators, flora, green infrastructure, habitat preferences, hemicryptophytes, indigenous species, invasive species, longevity, multivariate analysis, ordination techniques, pH, perennials, pollination, railroads, salinity, seed dispersal, seeds, soil properties, species diversity, wind, Poland, Ukraine
Railway areas are considered as large greenspaces and are recognized important in improving the biodiversity and dynamic of urban flora. In this study, we examined the flora composition and diversity along intra-city railway lines in Lublin, SE Poland and Lviv, W Ukraine. The flora has been analyzed in terms of species composition (multivariate ordination techniques), life span, life form, type of pollination mode, seed dispersal, life strategy sensu Grime, hemerophoby, urbanity degree, and in terms of habitat preferences using ecological indicator values. The multivariate analysis (CCA) clearly revealed that abiotic factors (topographical), weather elements (annual precipitation and air temperature), and soil attributes (moisture, trophy, pH, salinity) differed between two cities and impacted on the differences in railway flora composition. Plants growing on the intra-urban railway areas are mainly hemicryptophytes/perennials, C, CR, CRS-strategists, insect-, self-, or wind-pollinated, reproducing by seeds and mainly dispersed by wind. Intra-urban railway areas are predominated by native species, however the participation of invasive alien species is higher than their proportion in domestic floras. The share of invasive species is greater in railway areas of Lviv, ca. 12% (45 species) compared to 8% in Lublin (36 species). Spontaneous flora in intra-urban railway areas represent distinct adaptations to unique urban-industrial ecosystems with different degree of anthropogenic disturbance.