Pattern of urban flora in intra-city railway habitats (Alexandria, Egypt): a conservation perspective.
Intra-city railway areas are deemed large greenspaces and are believed to be key in enhancing the diversity and dynamics of urban flora. In the current study, the floristic composition and diversity along intra-city railway and tram tracks in Alexandria were surveyed. The floristic composition of the plant communities in relation to environmental factors, ecological indicators, and level of human impact was analyzed using multivariate analysis two-way indicator species analysis (TWINSPAN) for classification and detrended correspondence analysis (DECORANA) for ordination. The multivariate ordination techniques (CCA) revealed differences in the environmental factors and climatic factors influencing the floristic composition of the railway and tram track habitats. Tram tracks suffered higher human impact while maintaining higher vitality and cover compared to train tracks. Species recorded were mainly therophytes, followed by phanerophytes and hemicryptophytes dominated by native species; however, invasive species' contribution was higher compared to surrounding regions. The number of invasive species was greater in railway areas compared to tram track areas (19 and 15, respectively). The occurrence of two endemic species (Sinapis allionii and Sonchus macrocarpus) with limited national distribution highlights the importance of these habitats as valuable refuge areas for rare and endangered species worthy of conservation action.