[en] bryophyte diversity ; geographical information system ; landscape ecology ; spruce plantations ; forest management ; military lands ; nestedness
[en] Geographical information system (GIS) data on landscape features and land use were collected to predict bryophyte diversity and conservation value in order to determine the factors that favour bryophytes at a large geographical scale and propose the relevant conservation measures. Total species diversity and diversity in species of high conservation value were highly correlated, and the landscape features promoting them were the proportion of military lands, steep slopes, and broadleaf woodland. Military lands seemed to be especially important for the conservation of endangered species highly specialized to open habitats maintained by the appropriate level of disturbance. Woodland cover was also as a key factor for bryophyte diversity but landscape heterogeneity, such as steep slopes with a range of contrasting ecological conditions, was required to reach the highest species numbers. The GIS-based approach presented here may help focusing the attention on sites exhibiting the appropriate landscape features in terms of conservation, which is especially relevant in the context of the European network 'Natura 2000' for designating, conserving, and managing the sites of high biological value. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.