Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

Plant diversity along the urban-rural gradient and its relationship with urbanization degree in Shanghai, China.

Abstract

Urbanization is one of the major causes for plant diversity loss at the local and regional scale. However, how plant species distribute along the urban-rural gradient and what the relationship between urbanization degree and plant diversity is, is not very clear. In this paper, 134 sample sites along two 18 km width transects that run across the urban center of Shanghai were investigated. We quantified the spatial patterns of plant diversity along the urban-rural gradient and measured the relationship between plant diversity and urbanization degree, which was calculated using a land use land cover map derived from high spatial resolution aerial photos. We recorded 526 vascular plant species in 134 plots, 57.8% of which are exotic plant species. Six spatial distribution patterns of species richness were identified for different plant taxa along the rural to urban gradient. The native plant species richness showed no significant relationship to urbanization degree. The richness of the all plants, woody plants and perennial herbs presented significant positive relationship with urbanization degree, while the richness of annual herbs, Shannon-Wiener diversity and Heip evenness all exhibited a negative relationship to urbanization degree. Urbanization could significantly influence plant diversity in Shanghai. Our findings can provide insights to understand the mechanism of urbanization effects on plant diversity, as well as plant diversity conservation in urban areas.