Exploring the vegetation of the coastal road in Puerto Cisnes, southern Chile: a vascular plant inventory

Pincheira Ulbrich, Jimmy
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BackgroundIn areas of low disturbance, such as the Aysen Region of Chile, the presence of roads can inadvertently facilitate the spread of invasive species. To address this issue, it is imperative to maintain up-to-date biological inventories, as they serve as a primary source of information for the conservation of species and ecosystems. However, the maintenance of systematic inventories of vascular plants in Chile is virtually non-existent, especially outside protected wilderness areas. The data we have come from an inventory of vascular plant species along a stretch of coastal road in Puerto Cisnes (Aysen Region), characterised by a cut slope in the rock. The site is located between mountain ranges, in a region known for its protected wilderness areas and low levels of anthropogenic alteration. The study adopted an observational sampling design, using the road as a transect. For each species identified, the growth substrate, habit and dispersal mode were recorded. A total of 70 species (36 herbs, 23 shrubs and 11 trees) belonging to 42 families were found. The most represented families were Hymenophyllaceae (nine species) and Myrtaceae (four species). We recorded nine introduced species belonging to seven botanical families (Cirsium vulgare (Savi) Ten., Crocosmia crocosmiiflora (Lemoine ex Burb. & Dean) N.E.Br., Cytisus scoparius (L.) Link, Digitalis purpurea L., Lotus pedunculatus Cav., Plantago lanceolata L., Polygonum campanulatum Hook. f., Prunella vulgaris L., Rubus constrictus Lefevre & P.J.Mull). Of these nine species, seven are invasive, while the remaining two species have not been assessed for invasive potential (i.e. Crocosmia crocosmiiflora and Polygonum campanulatum). In particular, Crocosmia crocosmiiflora and Rubus constrictus are new regional records. The majority of species were found growing on the ground (44 species), while a significant proportion were found exclusively on rocky slopes (17 species). According to their seed dispersal mechanism, the most common syndromes were anemochory (32 species) and ornithochory (20 species). Other mechanisms such as mammalochory, ballochory or myrmecochory were less common (less than four species).
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