Studies on the impact of agricultural practices on plant diversity provide important information for policy makers and the conservation of the environment. The aim of the present work was to evaluate wild plant diversity across the agroecosystems in two contrasting regions of Bulgaria; Pazardzhik-Plovdiv (representing agroecosystems in the lowlands) and Western Stara Planina (the Balkan Mountains, representing agroecosystems in the foothills of the mountains). This study conducted a two-year assessment of plant diversity in different types of agricultural and forest ecosystems, representing more than 30 land use types. Plant diversity, measured by species number, was affected by the land use type only in Pazardzhik-Plovdiv region. More pronounced was the effect of the groups of land use types on the diversity, measured by the mean species number per scoring plot. Climatic conditions, measured by 19 bioclimatic variables, were the most important factor affecting plant species diversity. Six bioclimatic variables had a significant effect on the plant diversity, and the effect was more pronounced when the analysis considered pooled data of the two regions. The highest plant diversity was found on grazing land with sparse tree cover, while the lowest one was in the land use types representing annual crops or fallow. The study also established a database on weed species, relevant to agriculture. A number of common weeds were found in the Pazardzhik-Plovdiv region, while the most frequent species in the Western Stara Planina region were indigenous ones. Overall, the natural flora of Western Stara Planina was more conserved; eleven orchid species with conservation significance were found in the pastures and meadows in that region. The present study is the first attempt in Bulgaria to characterize the plant diversity across diverse agroecosystems representing many different land use types and environmental conditions. The results can contribute to nature conservation, biodiversity, and the sustainable use of plant resources.
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