Validation of the ecological-coenotic groups of vascular plants for European Russian forests on the basis of ecological indicator values, vegetation releves and statistical analysis (2008)

V.E. Smirnov, L.G. Khanina, M.V.Bobrovsky

      The original approach for finding, testing and analysis of ecological-coenotic plant species groups (ECG) is proposed (Smirnov et al., 2005a,b, 2006a,b) The approach has been tested on the ECG system for the vascular plants of European Russian forests developed earlier by O.Smirnova and L.Zaugolnova with contribution of O.Evstigneev and T.Braslavskaya. The ECG system is an extension of Nitscenko ECG system (1969) and Zozulin historical suites (1970, 1973). The groups were obtained on the base of expert knowledge, and thus their verification by formal methods was desirable step. Ecological and coenotic species features for quantitative analysis were presented as variables of two types: (1) Ellenberg indicator values and (2) species scores derived from ordination of vegetation plots. The ordination was conducted by non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMS) technique and ordination scores for the species were calculated by weighted averaging of the plots coordinates. Further, discriminant analysis and decision trees analysis were used to identify misclassified species in ECG. The procedure was run repeatedly on the whole set of variables and on various subsets of them, with monitoring of results by experts on every step of the analysis. This continued until a position of species in the ECG system fits both statistical results and expert judgment. Such joint expert-statistical approach allowed to greatly improve the ECG system, to put more than 1000 vascular species into the groups and to outline core species and intermediate species.

      The presented here ECG system includes the basic seven groups and regional groups for boreal (northern and middle taiga), hemiboreal and temperate forest zones of European Russia. The regional groups were calculated for all species registered in the regional sample plots data.

      This work was supported by RFBR projects 01-04-49098 (team-leader is Prof. Smirnova, Olga)
and 05-04-49289 (team-leader is Dr. Khanina, Larisa).


Aa tundra-arctic group;
Brboreal group (species of spruce and spruce-fir boreal forests)
Br_k boreal dwarf-shrubs and evergreen herbs group
Br_m boreal small herbs group
G hygrophilous group
Md meadow-steppe and forest edge species group
MDr dry-meadow group
MFr fresh-meadow group
Nm nemoral group (species of temperate broad-leaved forests with oak, lime, elm, etc.)
Nt nitrophylous group (species of Black alder forests)
Olg oligotrophic group (plants of oligotrophic bogs and mires)
Pn piny group (species growing in understorey of pure Scots pine forests)
St steppe group
THboreal tall herbs group
Wt water-marsh group formed by species of coastal and intra-water habitats and bogs

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