Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Prunus lusitanica L.: an endangered plant species relict in the central region of mainland Portugal.

Abstract

Prunus lusitanica L. is a paleotropical relic species with an Ibero-Maghrebian distribution, which is presently considered as an endangered species, recognized by the Natura 2000 Network (92/43/EEC) as a priority habitat for conservation in Europe. The mountains in the Portuguese mainland central region offer the best location for this species to occur. The main objective of this study is to measure the current conservation status of the communities of P. lusitanica, through the collection of field data, such as the number of existing individuals of each population and their location, which will then be comparatively analyzed based on the previous literature, published at least 15 years ago. Soil characterization analysis was carried out and the main threats to conservation were identified. As a result, a decline of approximately 40% was observed in the number of individuals and in the quality of their habitat. The main threats to their conservation were found to be the seasonal occurrence of rural fires and the expansion of invasive species, such as Acacia dealbata Link and Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle. Finally, we present the main management methodologies that should be considered for the valorization of this important vegetational relic in the central region of mainland Portugal.