Leonova Natalia Alekseevna, Candidate of biological sciences, associate professor, sub-department of botany, plant physiology and biochemistry, Penza State University (40 Krasnaya street, Penza, Russia), email@example.com
Background. Pine forests with dominance of boreal species of herbs and dwarf shrubs is not often found in the Penza region. The author analyzed the current condition of boreal pine forests of the Oka-Don plain within the region, created the vegetation classification system and examined the ecological features of the selected classification units.
Materials and methods. In the Penza region the Oka-Don plain is located in the extreme north-west. The current condition of the boreal pine forests was investigated at route and stationary with conducting geobotanic description on sample plots of 100 (10 × 10) m2. The author classified vegetation taking into account coenotic species groups and analyzed the ecological features of the allocated classification units.
Results. Boreal pine forests were found only on the watershed surfaces between suffusion depressions and occupied considerable areas. All plant communities are changed by economic activities: felling, grazing, and quite frequent fires. Indicators of this association group are Molinia caerulea, Vaccinium vitis-idaea, Vaccinium myrtillus. With high constancy occur: Pinus sylvestris, Vaccinium myrtillus, Vaccinium vitis-idaea, Molinia caerulea, Frangula alnus. A distinctive feature of the boreal pine forests is dominance in the ground cover of dwarf shrubs and green mosses in the substantial absence of evergreen herbs. Only in the boreal pine forests one may find very rare species for the Penza region, such as Rubus nessensis, Ledum palustre, Calluna vulgaris. The allocated associations are quite clearly separated in the first two axes of DCA.
Conclusions. Prolonged economic activity in the Oka-Don lowland within the Penza region has led to a significant transformation of vegetation. A large number of the allocated associations of the boreal pine forests – 8 – is explained by the high mosaic structure in the degree of hydration of natural systems and prolonged anthropogenic impacts on these nature complexes. Analysis of ecological characteristics of the allocated associations by main environmental factors showed that the associations of the boreal pine forests most clearly vary in acidity, richness of nitrogen and the degree of variability of soil moisture.
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