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Effects of Road Disturbance on Plant Biodiversity

Authors: Sheng-Lan Zeng, Ting-Ting Zhang, Yu Gao, Zu-Tao Ouyang, Jia-Kuan Chen, Bo Li, Bin Zhao


Urbanization and related anthropogenic modifications cause extent of habitat fragmentation and directly lead to decline of local biodiversity. Conservation biologists advocate corridor creation as one approach to rescue biodiversity. Here we examine the utility of roads as corridors in preserving plant diversity by investigating roadside vegetation in Yellow River Delta (YRD), China. We examined the spatio-temporal distribution pattern of plant species richness, diversity and composition along roadside. The results suggest that roads, as dispersal conduits, increase occurrence probability of new settlers to a new area, meanwhile, roads accumulate the greater propagule pressure and favourable survival condition during operation phase. As a result, more species, including native and alien plants, non- halophyte and halophyte species, threatened and cosmopolitic species, were found prosperous at roadside. Roadside may be a refuge for more species, and the pattern of vegetation distribution is affected by road age and the distance from road verge.

Keywords: Road Construction, Native and alien species, Plant diversity conservation, Road disturbance

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