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Detecting the plant species composition and diversity among the farmers’ settlement types in Shanghai

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Urbanization has intensified in developing countries in recent years, resulting in a large number of landless farmers. In China, 87 % of them have relocated from scattered villages to collective housing. This study took Shanghai as a case to explore the differences in plant landscapes between farmers’ settlement types. We randomly sampled 22 plots (made up of 294 subplots), consisting of five traditional villages and 17 modern quarters (four low-rise, six multilayer, four mixed-layer and three high-rise). Plant species composition and diversity were surveyed and analyzed. Results showed that: (a) villages had higher percentages of indigenous species, wild species and fruit and vegetable species than quarters, though there were lower species richness and Shannon’ Diversity at villages than at quarters. (b) The defoliation ratio (based on the number of evergreen species to the number of deciduous species) was lower at villages than at quarters (0.73 vs. 1.21, respectively). (c) Metasequoia glyptostroboides (deciduous) was dominant species for villages and Osmanthus fragrans (evergreen) was dominant species for quarters, while Cinnamomum camphora (evergreen) was common dominant species for villages and quarters. Our research suggests that village landscape has advantages of the conservation of indigenous plant species and the relative balance between daylighting and greening adjacent to buildings. Furthermore, the highest species richness at low-rise quarters shows the advantage of multi-stakeholder participation of developers, property companies and resident farmers driving species diversity.

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This study was funded by two research grants, from the Shanghai municipal project of the Committee of Science and Technology No. 10dz1200403 and the Shanghai municipal major project of the Greening and Amenity Administration No. G102407, respectively. We are very grateful to colleagues, Wang Yuqin and Ye Kang, who helped to ascertain names of recorded plant species. We also give thanks to Meng Chao, Zhu Miaoqing, Hui Nan and Bi Yuwei for their assistant survey on site. We would like to thank Amanda G., Lena R. and Nicole M. from Nature Publishing Group for their professional language editing. Finally, we are grateful to the two anonymous reviewers for their comments to improve the quality of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Yonghong Hu.

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Wang, H., Qin, J., Hu, Y. et al. Detecting the plant species composition and diversity among the farmers’ settlement types in Shanghai. Landscape Ecol Eng 11, 313–325 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11355-014-0255-x

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  • Plant species diversity
  • Dominant species
  • Traditional village
  • Relocated quarter
  • Landless farmer