The detection of thermophilous forest hotspots in Poland using geostatistical interpolation of plant richness

Marcin Kiedrzyński, Janina Jakubowska-Gabara


Attempts to study biodiversity hotspots on a regional scale should combine compositional and functionalist criteria. The detection of hotspots in this study uses one ecologically similar group of high conservation value species as hotspot indicators, as well as focal habitat indicators, to detect the distribution of suitable environmental conditions. The method is assessed with reference to thermophilous forests in Poland – key habitats for many rare and relict species. Twenty-six high conservation priority species were used as hotspot indicators, and ten plant taxa characteristic of the Quercetalia pubescenti-petraeae phytosociological order were used as focal habitat indicators. Species distribution data was based on a 10 × 10 km grid. The number of species per grid square was interpolated by the ordinary kriging geostatistical method. Our analysis largely determined the distribution of areas with concentration of thermophilous forest flora, but also regional disjunctions and geographical barriers. Indicator species richness can be interpreted as a reflection of the actual state of habitat conditions. It can also be used to determine the location of potential species refugia and possible past and future migration routes.


biodiversity hotspots; geostatistical interpolation; focal habitats; indicator species; ordinary kriging; Poland; thermophilous forests

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