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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle

Plant Endemism Centres and Biodiversity Hotspots in Greece

1
Division of Plant Biology, Laboratory of Botany, Department of Biology, University of Patras, 26504 Patras, Greece
2
Department of Ecology and Systematics, Faculty of Biology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Panepistimiopolis, 15701 Athens, Greece
3
Department of Ecology, School of Biology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
4
Bakkevej 6, DK-5853 Ørbæk, Denmark
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Ettore Randi
Biology 2021, 10(2), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10020072
Received: 3 December 2020 / Revised: 11 January 2021 / Accepted: 17 January 2021 / Published: 20 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Conservation Biology and Biodiversity)
Aiming to cope with the provisions of Aichi Biodiversity Targets, EU Biodiversity Strategy and EU Green Deal, we conducted the first nationwide, phylogenetically informed identification of vascular plant diversity hotspots and endemism centres in Greece. By this, we identified the most important factors that shaped them, and assessed the effectiveness of the Special Areas of Conservation of the Natura 2000 network in safeguarding them. Qualitative and quantitative results are provided and presented in thematic maps and relevant diagrams, highlighting areas of conservation importance, and identifying current protection scheme gaps. Simultaneously, our work contributes to national efforts for drafting Natura 2000 sites Management Plans, as well as to the MAES implementation in Greece.
Biodiversity hotspots (BH) cover a small fraction of the Earth’s surface, yet host numerous endemics. Human-induced biodiversity loss has been increasing worldwide, despite attempts to halt the extinction crisis. There is thus an urgent need to efficiently allocate the available conservation funds in an optimised conservation prioritization scheme. Identifying BH and endemism centres (EC) is therefore a valuable tool in conservation prioritization and planning. Even though Greece is one of the most plant species-rich European countries, few studies have dealt with the identification of BH or EC and none has ever incorporated phylogenetic information or extended to the national scale. Consequently, we are unaware of the extent that Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) of the Natura 2000 network efficiently protect Greek plant diversity. Here, we located for the first time at a national scale and in a phylogenetic framework, the areas serving as BH and EC, and assessed the effectiveness of the Greek SAC in safeguarding them. BH and EC are mainly located near mountainous areas, and in areas supposedly floristically impoverished, such as the central Aegean islands. A critical re-assessment of the Greek SAC might be needed to minimize the extinction risk of the Greek endemics, by focusing the conservation efforts also on the BH and EC that fall outside the established Greek SAC. View Full-Text
Keywords: biodiversity conservation; CANAPE; conservation prioritization; ecosystem services; EU biodiversity strategy; GIS analysis; MAES indicators; Mediterranean flora; phylogenetic endemism; taxonomic diversity biodiversity conservation; CANAPE; conservation prioritization; ecosystem services; EU biodiversity strategy; GIS analysis; MAES indicators; Mediterranean flora; phylogenetic endemism; taxonomic diversity
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kougioumoutzis, K.; Kokkoris, I.P.; Panitsa, M.; Kallimanis, A.; Strid, A.; Dimopoulos, P. Plant Endemism Centres and Biodiversity Hotspots in Greece. Biology 2021, 10, 72. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10020072

AMA Style

Kougioumoutzis K, Kokkoris IP, Panitsa M, Kallimanis A, Strid A, Dimopoulos P. Plant Endemism Centres and Biodiversity Hotspots in Greece. Biology. 2021; 10(2):72. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10020072

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kougioumoutzis, Konstantinos; Kokkoris, Ioannis P.; Panitsa, Maria; Kallimanis, Athanasios; Strid, Arne; Dimopoulos, Panayotis. 2021. "Plant Endemism Centres and Biodiversity Hotspots in Greece" Biology 10, no. 2: 72. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10020072

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