The urban heat island and the features of the flora in the Lublin city area, SE Poland.
Various forms of human activity in large cities contribute to the creation of a specific climate and new environmental conditions for plants. One of the most important results is the so-called atmospheric urban heat island (UHI). The aim of this study was to compare the thermal conditions in the Lublin City center with those of suburban areas, and so confirm the existence of the UHI and then analyze the influence of thermal conditions on features of the flora. The analysis of the air temperatures was based on data from 2000 to 2014 provided by meteorological stations in the Lublin City center and its nearest surroundings. Floristic data were collected during field studies between 2012-2014 and included species richness and frequency, life forms, and synecological groups of the flora and its elements. The thermal requirements of species were defined on the basis of ecological indicator values (EIVs). Our research confirmed the presence of the UHI in the Lublin City center. Over the study period, the mean temperature in the city center was by 0.87°C higher than that in the suburban areas. The largest differences in mean annual air temperature between the city center and the suburbs were recorded in 2007 and 2011-2013. In total, 552 species were recorded, including six life-form and synecological groups, 246 thermophilous and 436 heliophilous species. The species richness, proportion of therophytes, alien, thermo- and heliophilous species decreased with distance from the city center. The thermal conditions expressed by the EIV L and T ranged from L=4.5, T=3.8 in the city center, to L=3.1, T=3.4 in the suburbs. An ordination analysis facilitated determination of the relationships between characteristics of the flora, the EIV values, and land use classes. An increasing level of anthropopressure was found to be positively correlated with thermal conditions and the flora traits.