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Does Protection Really Matter? A Case Study from Central European Oak Forests

1
Department of Botany, Institute of Environmental Biology, University of Wrocław, Kanonia 6/8, PL-50-328 Wrocław, Poland
2
Museum of Natural History, University of Wrocław, Sienkiewicza 21, PL-50-335 Wroclaw, Poland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2020, 12(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12010006
Received: 2 December 2019 / Revised: 16 December 2019 / Accepted: 18 December 2019 / Published: 20 December 2019
In the face of a rapidly changing global environment, detailed research into the actual role of protected areas (PAs) in preventing the destruction of ecosystems and the loss of biodiversity became particularly important. Using 304 phytosociological relevés of oak forests from SW Poland, we monitored their state of preservation reflected by the share of synanthropes (Ws-c index) in relation to (i) duration of protection, (ii) status of protected area, (iii) main topographic factors, and (iv) bedrock type. We show that the Ws-c index of studied forests depends primarily on the habitat conditions, especially bedrock type, while both the duration and status of protection are not relevant. The most disturbed are forests developing on serpentine substrates regardless of whether they are protected or not. Within the rest of the investigated sites, the Ws-c index is significantly lower and does not meaningfully differ between protected and unprotected areas. On the one hand, our results suggest that the fact of establishing protection does not ensure a favourable state of conservation of forest communities. On the other hand, well-preserved forest communities can also be expected outside PAs what makes them an important target for nature protection in the future. View Full-Text
Keywords: conservation status; forest communities; monitoring; natura 2000 sites; nature reserves; neophytes; protected areas; synanthropes conservation status; forest communities; monitoring; natura 2000 sites; nature reserves; neophytes; protected areas; synanthropes
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Reczyńska, K.; Świerkosz, K. Does Protection Really Matter? A Case Study from Central European Oak Forests. Diversity 2020, 12, 6.

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