Dry Grassland Types in the Prespa National Park (Nw Greece), Including the Southernmost Occurrence of the Priority Habitat Type “Pannonic Sand Steppes” (Code 6260)Hacquetia

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Authors
Georgios Fotiadis, Michael Vrahnakis, Yannis Kazoglou, Ioannis Tsiripidis
Year
2014
DOI
10.2478/hacq-2014-0013
Subject
Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics / Forestry / Plant Science

Text

171

HACQUETIA 13/1 • 2014, 171–189

Abstract

A recently completed project on the Natura 2000 sites of Prespa National Park revealed that the area hosts 49 habitat types according to the EU classification, of which eight have a narrowly restricted distribution in

Greece. The priority habitat type “*6260 Pannonic sand steppes” is reported here for the first time for Greece.

The new locality represents its southernmost occurrence on the Balkan Peninsula. The aim of this paper therefore is to describe the Greek stands of this habitat type, investigate the factors affecting its occurrence and discuss the associated conservation issues. This is based on a total of 87 relevés sampled for this study and 8 additional relevés from the literature. The relevés were classified by applying TWINSPAN and ordinated using Detrended Correspondence Analysis (DCA). Six vegetation units could be distinguished. One of these corresponds to the habitat type *6260 and was found exclusively on inland sand dunes. Syntaxonomically, we assigned this unit to the alliance Sileno conicae-Cerastion semidecandri s.l. of the class Koelerio-Corynephoretea.

Its occurrence in the study area seems to be determined by climatic factors, as well as by the sandy substrate, while anthropogenic disturbances such as grazing also appear to be beneficial to some degree. Apart from the Koelerio-Corynephoretea, another five grassland classes were distinguished in the national park, namely the

Thero-Brachypodietea, Stellarietea mediae, Festuco-Brometea, Daphno-Festucetea and Juncetea trifidi.

Key words: Habitats Directive, Koelerio-Corynephoretea, phytosociology, Sileno conicae-Cerastion semidecandri, syntaxonomy.

Izvleček

Nedavno končani projekt o območjih Natura 2000 v Narodnem parku Prespa je pokazal, da je na območju po

EU klasifikaciji 49 habitatnih tipov, od katerih jih je osem z ozko razširjenostjo v Grčiji. Pojavljanje prednostnega habitata “*6260 Panonske stepe na peščenih tleh” v Grčiji objavljamo prvič. Nova lokacija predstavlja najjužnejše pojavljanje na Balkanskem polotoku. Namen članka je opisati sestoje tega habitatnega tipa v Grčiji, preučiti dejavnike, ki vplivajo na njegovo pojavljanje in razpravljati o vprašanjih, povezanih z njegovim ohranjanjem. Raziskava temelji na 87 vegetacijskih popisih in 8 dodatnih popisih iz literature. Popise smo numerično obdelali s pomočjo TWINSPAN klasifikacije in z uporabo korespondenčne analize z odstranjenim trendom (DCA). Ločili smo šest vegetacijskih enot. Ena ustreza habitatnemu tipu in smo jo našli le na celinskih peščenih sipinah. Sintaksonomsko smo jo uvrstili v zvezo Sileno conicae-Cerastion semidecandri s.l. in razred Koelerio-Corynephoretea. Njeno pojavljanje v preučevanem območju je pogojeno s klimatskimi dejavniki in peščeno podlago, antropogene motnje, kot na primer paša, pa do neke mere nanjo vplivajo pozitivno.

Poleg travišč razreda Koelerio-Corynephoretea smo v parku našli še pet travišč iz razredov Thero-Brachypodietea,

Stellarietea mediae, Festuco-Brometea, Daphno-Festucetea in Juncetea trifidi.

Ključne besede: Habitatna direktiva, Koelerio-Corynephoretea, fitosociologija, Sileno conicae-Cerastion semidecandri, sintaksonomija.

Dry grAsslAnD types In the prespA nAtIonAl pArK (nW greece), IncluDIng the southernmost occurrence of the prIorIty hAbItAt type “pAnnonIc sAnD steppes” (coDe 6260)

Georgios FOTIADIS1,*, Michael VRAHNAkIS2, Yannis kAzOGLOU3 &

Ioannis TSIRIPIDIS4 1 Department of Forestry and M. N. E., TEI of Sterea Ellada, Mpakogianni str., karpenissi, 36100, Greece, gfotiad95@ gmail.com 2 Department of Forestry and M. N. E., TEI of Thessaly, Terma Mavromihali str., karditsa, 43100, Greece, mvrahnak@ teilar.gr 3 Society for the Protection of Prespa (current address: Municipality of Prespa), 53077, Greece, ykazoglou@gmail.com, 4 School of Biology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, P. O. Box 104, 54124, Greece, tsiripid@bio.auth.gr

DOI: 10.2478/hacq-2014-0013

Hacquetia 13/1 • 2014, 171–189 172 1. INTRODUCTION

The recently accomplished project to record, assess and map the rangeland and forest habitat types of the Natura 2000 sites of the National

Park of Prespa (“Ethnikos Drymos PresponGR1340001” and “Ori Varnounta-GR1340003”) revealed an exceptional diversity of plant species and habitats. The national park hosts 49 habitat types (19 more than those recorded in 2000), 70 vegetation types and more than 2,100 vascular plant species (almost 30% of the Greek flora) with 194 considered as important according to

Annex II of the Habitats Directive (Vrahnakis et al. 2011). Seven habitat types are of conservation priority according to Annex I of the Directive 92/43/EEC (Habitats Directive); they occupy 26% (11,000 ha) of the total area of the national park. Eight of the recorded habitat types have quite restricted distribution in Greece. In the previous report on habitat types of the national park in 2000 (Dafis et al. 2001), three grassland priority habitat types (indicated with “*”) from a total of 31 types had been documented. The new mapping in 2011 revealed four dry grassland priority habitat types (*6210, *6220, *6230 and *6260) occupying an area of 8,754 ha.

The present study expands the work carried out during the recent mapping of the national park (Vrahnakis et al. 2011) by means of additional phytosociological sampling. Most importantly it reports for the first time the occurrence of the phytosociological order Festuco-Sedetalia acris Tx. 1951 (sensu Dengler 2001 et seq.) and the priority habitat type *6260 (Pannonian sand steppes) in

Greece. Therefore, this study specifically aims to describe the floristic composition and ecology of the Greek stands of the Festuco-Sedetalia acris, as well as investigate its differentiation from other dry grassland vegetation types occurring in the same national park. Furthermore, the factors determining the occurrence of this regionally rare habitat type are explored and conservation recommendations are made. 2. Study area