Pal RW, Csete S, Botta-Dukát Z et al: Composition and Diversity of Lawn Flora ... (2013)

Pál RW, Csete S, Botta-Dukát Z, Pinke Gy
Composition and Diversity of Lawn Flora in Differently Managed Village Yards – A Case Study from Southwestern Hungary
Folia Geobotanica 48(2): 209-227

Traditionally managed village yards have been disappearing from the Central-European countryside. Their lawn flora is likely to provide a unique habitat for many plants that are adapted to this environment. Composition of lawn flora was investigated in differently managed village yards (i.e., regularly mown and regularly trampled yards, poultry yards, paved yards) in southwestern Hungary. The main goal of the study was to detect the impacts of these different management regimes on the composition and diversity of the vegetation. In total, 240 1-m2 plots were sampled in 60 yards ranging from 80 m2 to 5,000 m2 in size. In the redundancy analysis, eight significant variables (degree of southness, slope, age, total size of yards; mowing, trampling and grazing regime; and the number of dogs) explained 16 % of the total variation in species data. The most diverse flora across yards was detected in the paved ones, and their stands also proved to be the most compositionally distinctive. In contrast, presence of domestic animals can contribute to local species loss as well as to a decrease in within-yard-type variability. These results highlight the importance of certain anthropogenic disturbances in maintaining high plant diversity, but also underline the crucial role of small-scale land management practices in rural environments.