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1 July 2014 Bryophyte Ecology and Conservation in the Troodos Mountains, Cyprus
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Abstract

Kaufmann, S. & Berg, C. 2014. Bryophyte ecology and conservation in the Troodos Mountains, Cyprus. — Herzogia 27: 165–187.

In comparison with other Mediterranean islands, only little is known about the bryophyte flora of Cyprus. Based on data from about 1000 bryophyte samples in the Troodos National Forest Park in spring 2010, we attempt to determine (1) the main characteristics and importance of the bryophyte flora of the Troodos Mountains, (2) the ecological variables responsible for the occurrence of bryophytes, (3) the contribution of the bryophyte flora to nature conservation concepts and, (4) current and future threats to the bryophyte flora of the area. The Troodos National Forest Park contains a substantial proportion of the primary Mediterranean coniferous forests. We collected bryophyte presence and ecological data in 172 ten square meter data plots. We found 113 bryophyte species; most of them were slightly basiophytic, mesophile to slightly drought resistant and moderate thermophilous. Some species, like Fissidens kosaninii, Grimmia ungeri, Oncophorus dendrophilus, Orthotrichum ibericum, Orthotrichum tortidontium, Syntrichia handelii or Zygodon catarinoi are biogeographically interesting, because they can be considered as European endemics. The species number per plot depends on the structural diversity of the plots, and shows some correlation with altitude and slope inclination. Species composition is mainly explained by altitude and the macro-exposition of the habitat. Mean annual precipitation and the Aridity Index are important as well, but collinear with altitude. It is evident that the bryophytes in the Troodos Mountains prefer northerly expositions and locations of higher humidity. Sheltered microclimates enable the bryophytes to colonize areas with lower humidity. The Troodos Mountains represent a highly isolated, extraordinary hotspot for bryophytes, with importance for the whole eastern Mediterranean basin. All habitats in the Troodos National Forest Park belong to protected habitats of the EU Habitats Directive. Our results contribute to the characterization of these habitats. We could not find any substantial anthropogenic threat for the bryophyte flora in the Troodos Mountains. Forest fires and global warming are the most important threat for the bryophyte flora. An upward shift of the species can be assumed, but our results further suggest the possibility that bryophytes move to cooler, north-exposed microhabitats. This underlines the importance of relief, habitat diversity and structural variety for bryophyte conservation strategies.

Stefan Kaufmann and Christian Berg "Bryophyte Ecology and Conservation in the Troodos Mountains, Cyprus," Herzogia 27(1), 165-187, (1 July 2014). https://doi.org/10.13158/heia.27.1.2014.165
Accepted: 1 May 2014; Published: 1 July 2014
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