Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

First survey of the vascular and cryptogam flora on Bulgaria's ancient mounds.

Abstract

This work represents the first study of the floristic diversity on Bulgaria's ancient mounds. The objective of this research was to assess the importance of the mounds for the preservation of the native vascular and cryptogam flora. Our sampling design included 111 ancient mounds distributed throughout the country. We recorded a total of 1059 vascular plants, 58 bryophytes and 61 lichen taxa. Despite their small area, the mounds were shown to preserve nearly a quarter of the Bulgarian flora. The vegetation cover on the mounds included 61% perennials indicating a long-term persistence and stability. The majority (98%) of the established vascular plants were native species. Although the conservation significance of the vascular plant species were not common, we recorded 2 critically endangered, 9 endangered and 14 Balkan endemics during the present study. The lichen Arthopyrenia salicis was recorded for the first time in Bulgaria and a new locality of the rare bryophyte Ceratodon conicus was discovered. The established compositional difference between plots from the northern and southern slopes of the mounds (88.95%) is a testament to the high local habitat diversity. The prevalence of species characteristic for Festuco-Brometea suggests that the mounds preserve fragments of native grasslands and steppes. The variation in cover of agricultural and other human modified areas in the mounds' immediate surroundings did not substantially affect their species richness. We argue that the ancient mounds should be taken into consideration in future green space planning.