Data from: Plant community responses to environmentally-friendly piste management in northeast Iran
Erfanian, Mohammad Bagher et al. (2019), Data from: Plant community responses to environmentally-friendly piste management in northeast Iran, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.4sb6383
It is well-known that pistes have adverse effects on alpine ecosystems. Previous studies urged that pistes should be installed and managed in the ways to minimize negative impacts on natural habitats. However, the impacts of this type of management on the plant communities are not widely studied. The aim of this study was to examine species composition and biodiversity changes in an environmentally-friendly managed piste in northeast Iran. This piste has been established in a previously degraded alpine landscape. For the vegetation survey, we sampled 44 within and 28 off-piste plots. Except for the piste management, other environmental factors were similar between the piste and off-piste plots. Dominant species were determined, and variation in community composition of the two areas was visualized. Also, Native species, phylogenetic, and functional Hill diversity of the two areas were compared. The results showed that there was a moderate differentiation in the species composition of the piste and off-piste. Two palatable species (i.e., Bupleurum falcatum and Melica persica) were dominant in the piste and were not recorded in the off-piste. The species diversity calculations results showed that the species diversity of the piste was higher than that of the off-piste. Phylogenetic Hill diversity at the level of frequent and dominant plants showed a similar result. The piste had a higher functional diversity in terms of functional richness, and functional diversity of frequent and dominant plants. Our findings imply, after 10 years, species, phylogenetic, and functional diversity of the piste is significantly improved. Environmentally-friendly piste management (EFPM) induced species composition change that led to emerging species that were absent in the off-piste. We can conclude that EFPM led to restoration of a degraded landscape. Long-term impacts of EFPM are still unknown, therefore, caution should be undertaken regarding the installation of new environmentally-friendly pistes in other areas.
Khorassan Razavi Province
Islamic Republic of Iran