Coelho, M.M.C., Elias, R.B., Kluge, J., Pereira, F., Henriques, D.S.G., Aranda, S.C., Borges, P.A.V., Ah-Peng, C. & Gabriel, R. (2016) Long-term monitoring across elevational gradients (II): an annotated checklist of the vascular plants of the Moveclim transect on Pico Island (Azores). Arquipélago Life and Marine Sciences, 33, 21-44.
Pico Island remains one of the last remnants of natural vegetation in the Azores, including the largest natural protected area; nevertheless, habitat change and the spread of exotic plants are visible, especially in those areas where human presence prevails. Currently, the lowlands are vastly occupied by pastures dominated by exotic herbs/grasses and most forests are dominated by Pittosporum undulatum. This paper aims to: i) review previous botanical studies related to elevational gradients; ii) investigate vascular plants composition and abundance in native vegetation, following an elevational transect (from 10 to 2200 m); and iii) investigate some patterns of the recorded diversity and distribution of vascular plants. Methodology follows a standardized protocol with observations in 100 m2 plots. A total of 88 species were recorded, representing 35% of the indigenous but only 5% of the exotic species previously known from Pico. The richest areas were found between 600 and 1000 m and the areas with the lowest proportion of indigenous species occurred between 1800 and 2200 m. The recorded composition and richness values of endemic and native vascular plants support the high ecological and conservation value of the studied areas and constitute a good basis for long–term monitoring projects.