Project of RFBR # 04-04-49446. Report on 2005 (2-nd year of the project)

Diversity of spruce and spruce-fir forests of the European Russia: a problem of identification of climax communities

Leader Olga V. Smirnova

Project Home Page (Russian)

      Structural-dynamic attributes of modern quasi-climax ecosystems were revealed. Effects of these attributies in boreal ecosystems were considered. Classification of south taiga spruce and spruce-fir forests was carried out according to phytosociological releves of quasi natural forests in Kostroma region (more than 500 releves were analysied). The analysis of taxonomic, structural, and succession diversity of vegetation and soils was carried out, and efficacy of the boreal quasi-climax forest indicators was also analysied. A comparison of succession variants of north, middle and south taiga spruce and spruce-fir forests was carried out. The unique type defined in the south taiga spruce and spruce-fir forests was the boreal-nemoral forest type. It had not counterparts among the middle and north taiga forest types. The uniqueness was determined by domination of nemoral species in ground vegetation. Values of species richness decreased from tall-herb forest types to green-mosses forest types in the south, middle and north taiga. Species richness per area unit in the richest and in the poorest forest types was the same in the south, middle and north taiga: the average number of vascular plant species per 100 sq. m was about 40 in tall herb communities, and about 8 - in green-mosses ones. Species richness of all forest types in the south taiga was higher than in the same communities in the middle and the north taiga.
      Databases and digital maps on areas of edificator and indicator boreal forest species were developed according to published data, herbarium materials and our own phytosociological researches. Area analysis was carried out. It was shown the potential area of quasi-climax nemoral-boreal forests is greater than modern one, and in historical time these forests were spread on the significant part of a whole forest zone.
      Complex field expeditions to research extant old-growth spruce and spruce-fir forests in the European Russia were carried out. Databases on phytosociological researches were expanded.