|Title (Primary)||Florix, an index to assess plant species in floodplains for nature conservation – Developed and tested along the river Danube|
|Author||Stammel, B.; Damm, C.; Fischer-Bedtke, C.; Rumm, M.; Gelhaus, P.; Horchler, P.; Kunder, S.; Foeckler, F.; Scholz, M.|
|Page From||art. 109685|
|Topic||T5 Future Landscapes|
|Keywords||Vascular plants; Riparian vegetatio;n Traits; Ecological indicators; (Danube) floodplain|
|Abstract||Natural floodplains are ecosystems with a diverse mosaic of habitats and site conditions, but also highly threatened due to anthropogenic pressures. Plant species occur in all habitat types and can indicate their value for nature conservation. To improve sustainable management of rivers and floodplains, several indices such as the River Ecosystem Service Index (RESI) have been developed. However, there are so far no assessment schemes for the entire range of floodplain plants. The common assessment approaches like biological integrity, achievement rates or threatened species (Red list), applying to other species groups or other ecosystems, are not appropriate in floodplains. Legal obligations and the need to restore floodplains clearly call for an index assessing the ecological value in a reference area which can be combined with a 5-scale assessment in accordance to established assessments like RESI or the Water Framework Directive.
Five typical characteristics describing vascular plants’ adaptation to floodplain habitats were identified. These can be derived from published data sets available for all species in Germany. We checked these indicators for multicollinearity and selected three of them: species number, hydrodynamic indicators, nature conservation indicators. Species number highly correlate with habitat indicators and geographic occurrence. For the selected three indicators we determined thresholds to group habitats and their indicator rate to five classes (very low to very high value for nature conservation). These thresholds are valid for the river Danube and for the habitat types scrutinized in this study.
The Florix approach was sensitive in data sets testing active against former floodplains and protected against unprotected areas: For the entire reference region ‘Danube floodplain’, Florix values were higher in the active floodplain and in the protected areas. Only the habitat type ‘water bodies’ showed better scores for habitats in the former floodplain, for ‘softwood forests’ the status of being part of a protected area had no effect. Florix results were validated in two case studies differing in land use intensity. The region with dominant agricultural use showed significantly lower values than that with a higher portion of forests and grasslands.
Florix can be used for a floristic conservation status assessment at single habitat level or for the entity of a study region in comparison to a reference region. It allows to identify main pressures and to complement a habitat-type based evaluation. To achieve higher comparability, we should strive for a generalized monitoring in Europe like it is common in aquatic ecosystem monitoring.
|Persistent UFZ Identifier||https://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=20939&ufzPublicationIdentifier=26817|
|Stammel, B., Damm, C., Fischer-Bedtke, C., Rumm, M., Gelhaus, P., Horchler, P., Kunder, S., Foeckler, F., Scholz, M. (2022):
Florix, an index to assess plant species in floodplains for nature conservation – Developed and tested along the river Danube
Ecol. Indic. 145 , art. 109685