A method of the composing of a regional system of the ecological-coenotic groups (ECG) of plant species is elaborated on the basis of multivariate statistical analysis of large datasets of phytosociological relevés
and Ellenberg's (1996) species ecological indicator values
(Smirnov et al., 2005a
,b). The ECG system of vascular plants for boreal, hemiboreal and temperate forest zones of European Russia is suggested. It is shown that the formed groups differ well according to the ecological and coenotic species traits. The ECG are tested and specified for 1244 vascular plants. The group core species and the intermediate species are defined. The last are close to several groups according to their ecological and coenotic traits. For 15 % of the analyzed species, a priori
ECG given by experts before the analysis was changed.
It is revealed that soil moisture and light supply are the main factors making the greatest contribution into division of all species into the ECG for boreal, hemiboreal and temperate forest zones in European Russia. The contributions of these factors essentially increase from the north to the south. For the northern and the middle taiga, there is a correlation between ECG and species life forms: boreal dwarf-shrubs, evergreen grasses, boreal small herbs, and boreal tall herbs. Raunkier life forms are a significant factor for species division into the ECG in temperate forest zone, but the contribution of this variable is minimal in comparison with other factors.
The ecological-coenotic approach was used for the modelling of forest ground vegetation dynamics at a level of forest stand (Khanina et al., 2006
, in press). A probabilistic algorithm of the modelling (initialization and updating) of a dominant ECG in ground vegetation is offered on the basis of linked information on forest inventory data, phytosociological research and results of forest stand dynamics modelling.
The database FORUS of European Russian forest phytosociological releves (Smirnova et al., 2006
) is enlarged. Scientific publications on the project including a review on modern multivariate methods of plant functional classifications (Smirnov, 2007
) are prepared for Russian and international journals. The ECG species lists are available here