|Steinbauer, M; Gohlke, A; Mahler, C; Schmiedinger, A; Beierkuhnlein, C: Quantification of wall surface heterogeneity and its influence on species diversity at medieval castles - implications for the environmentally friendly preservation of cultural heritage, Journal of Cultural Heritage, 14(3), 219-228 (2013)|
Historic buildings are important for cultural history and provide a variety of habitats for animals and plants. Especially structural heterogeneity of wall surfaces is percived to support biological diversity. Nevertheless, in traditional approaches goals of biodiversity preservation and monument restoration are perceived to interfere and to be mutually exclusive. As a consequence, priority is often given to constructional restoration accepting the loss of local populations and biodiversity.
At walls of medieval castles, including an experimental restoration project where conventional and less intensive restoration techniques were applied, we relate species composition and richness to wall properties. Especially wall surface structure is quantified using a novel approach. The study focuses on lichens, mosses and vascular plants.
We find species richness to be promoted by wall surface heterogeneity. However, species composition is more affected by restoration approaches than species richness. Lichen composition varies considerably while vascular plants and mosses are less affected by wall properties.
We suggest strategies that are combining both societal targets, the preservation of historic monuments and of species diversity. Careful restoration is capable of supporting both, the maintenance of cultural heritage and of rare and unique anthropogenic habitats. Wall surface heterogeneity needs to be witnessed for both aspects as it affects both species composition as well as the effectiveness of cleaning methods.