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Key Scottish Environment Statistics 2013

This publication aims to provide an easily accessible reference document which offers information on a wide range of environmental topics. It covers key datasets on the state of the environment in Scotland, with an emphasis on the trends over time wherever possible. The data are supplemented by text providing brief background information on environmental impacts, relevant legislation and performance against national and international targets.

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Changes in Plant Species Richness: 1990-2007

Mean number of vascular1 plant species per 1km square2

Changes in Plant Species Richness: 1990-2007

Plant species diversity is one measure of botanical composition that can provide an indication of changes in habitat quality: a decline in the number of vascular plant species can signal a decline in habitat quality. Changes are often associated with land management and atmospheric pollution. Effects of climate change may become evident in the future.

The Countryside Survey 20073 reported changes between surveys in 1998 and 2007 of 195 1km sample squares. Plant diversity, in terms of the number of vascular plant species recorded, was estimated from plots placed within each square.

Vascular plant diversity declined between 1998 and 2007 across the majority of habitats, with significant changes4 to plant species richness in seven broad habitats. There was a 23% decrease in plant species richness in fen, marsh and swamp, and a 18% decrease in species richness in broadleaved, mixed and yew woodland. The habitats that did not show significant changes in species richness were bracken, dwarf shrub heath and arable and horticultural.

Source: Countryside Survey 2007 / Metadata

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