, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 31-42

The floristics and conservation status of sand-dune communities in Wales

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Abstract

An inventory of the vascular plants, bryophytes, fungi and terricolous lichens recorded within the different sand-dune communities in Wales has been compiled and a summary of the importance of these different taxonomic groups to the ecology and conservation of sand dunes is provided. The total floristic assemblage amounted to 945 species, with vascular plants representing 439 of these. Fungi unexpectedly formed the next most important group with ca. 289 species, followed by bryophytes (171 species) and terricolous lichens (66 species). However, very few of these species are confined to sand dunes. Of the vascular plants only ca. 7 % (32 species) could be classed as either wholly dependent or strongly associated with sand dunes, whereas up to 13% (22 species) of the bryophytes fell within this category. Of the fungi only 4% (10 species) appear to be restricted to sand dunes, but none of the lichen species could be classed as being either limited to, or strongly associated with, this habitat.

Over 9% (91 species) of the total flora are considered to be rare, scarce or endangered within the UK or Europe, and ca. 8% of the vascular plant species are considered to be endemic or near-endemic to Europe. The inventory therefore not only provides an insight in the overall plant diversity of dune systems in Wales, it also gives an indication of the proportion of species that are under threat, and the numbers of species that are more-or-less totally dependent on sand dunes. In the discussion various relevant sand-dune management issues are addressed.