Phytosociology, ecology and conservation status of Salvia brachyodon, a narrow endemic of Eastern Adriatic

Salvia brachyodon is an endemic species of the eastern Adriatic, restricted in distribution to only 4 sites in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is severely thretened by abandonment of traditional land use. EnvPro partners from University of Primorska recently published a scientific article describing the phytosociology, conservation status and ecology of this rare plant species, co-authored by EnvPro associates and young researchers.

Through EnvPro’s project ‘‘Conservation of endemic, rare and threatened plant species in Mt. Orjen’’, with University Primorska as a project partner, associates and young researchers of EnvPro, Emina Zečić and Mihailo Jovićević, contributed to research of endemic plant species Salvia brachyodon, working on population data from Mt. Orjen and raising own capacities for plant conservation.

Salvia brachyodon is a (sub)Mediterranean species, endemic to the eastern Adriatic, found in open to semi-open, sunny, dry and shallow calcareous rocky grasslands developed within thermophilic deciduous forests of the associations Aristolochio pallidae-Quercetum pubescentis and Seslerio autumnalis-Fagetum (and their different succession forms). It was the subject of research of our colleagues from University Primorska, who recently published an article ‘‘Phytosociology, ecology and conservation status of Salvia brachyodon (Lamiaceae), a narrow endemic of Eastern Adriatic’’.

This plant has a very limited distribution - it is restricted to Pelješac, Konavle and Orjen mountain. Except Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to some literature data, it was suspected specimens of Salvia brachyodon occur also in Montenegro. But, after extensive search over the border area between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, its presence in Montenegro was not confirmed.

Habitats with Salvia brachyodon are nowadays heavily fragmented, under vegetation succession due to abandonment of traditional land use. But, very small populations of this plant are threatened by other factors, such as fire. Using IUCN criteria, experts from University Primorska estimated Salvia brachyodon as an endangered species (EN). Although the species is strictly protected in Croatia, is on the Red List in Bosnia and Herzegovina but without designated conservation status and is considered endangered in Montenegro, no active conservation measures have been taken so far. We hope that the research done by our colleagues will serve as a basis for taking action towards conservation of Salvia brachyodon.

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