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.
Email: Callum Neil