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Estonian Journal of Ecology

The role of railway lines in the distribution of alien plant species in the territory of Daugavpils City (Latvia); pp. 212–225

Full article in PDF format | doi: 10.3176/eco.2013.3.03

Santa Rutkovska, Irēna Pučka, Pēteris Evarts-Bunders, Jana Paidere


The study was performed based on an inventory of alien flora in Daugavpils City. During the field studies all the alien species were recorded applying a regular grid consisting of 344 quadrats of 500 m × 500 m. Data of the 84 quadrats that cover all railway lines in the city were analysed to identify relationships between the distribution of alien plants and the location of railway lines. First the obtained data were compared with the first flora inventory in the city, which was conducted from 1975 to 1983. Comparison of data of the previous inventory and those obtained by us showed that the number of the recorded alien taxa along railways differed: 95 and 38 taxa, respectively. Secondly, some factors affecting the distribution of alien species along railway lines were analysed. Obtained results indicate that the highest concentrations of alien plants occurred in areas where railways are crossing or are located close to the adjacent cultivated and abandoned allotments, areas of private houses or cemeteries. Railway management measures such as topsoil disturbance and application of herbicides were found to be important human-induced factors affecting the distribution of annual alien taxa. The results of geospatial and statistical analyses demonstrated that the geographical distribution of alien species in general did not coincide with railway lines. However, the distribution of three species, i.e. Dracocephalum thymiflorum, Erysimum durum, and Lappula squarrosa, was associated only with railway lines, demonstrating the importance of railway infrastructure elements for the expansion of these species.


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