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Ecology and syntaxonomy of Colchic forests in south-western Georgia (Caucasus region)

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Název česky Ekologie a syntaxonomie kolchických lesů v jihozápadní Gruzii (Kavkazský region)

NOVÁK Pavel ZUKAL Dominik KALNÍKOVÁ Veronika CHYTRÝ Kryštof ALI Kavgaci

Rok publikování 2019
Druh Článek v odborném periodiku
Časopis / Zdroj Phytocoenologia
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Přírodovědecká fakulta

Klíčová slova Alnion barbatae; Castaneo-Carpinion; Caucasus; Colchis; chestnut-hornbeam forest; environmental factor; Euxinian Province; Georgia; phytosociology; ravine forest; relict; Rhododendro-Fagetalia.
Popis Aim: The aim of the paper is to describe species composition, ecology and syntaxonomy of unique mesophilous forests in Georgian Colchis in the context of the Euxinian forests. Location: SW Georgia, western part of the Caucasus Region, slopes of the Lesser Caucasus (80–990 m). Methods: Forest vegetation was sampled following the Braun-Blanquet approach and basic environmental characteristics were recorded for each relevé (n = 53). The dataset was clustered using modified TWINSPAN and diagnostic species for each cluster were defined by phi fidelity index. Links between the species composition of vegetation and environmental factors were analysed by detrended correspondence analysis. Numerical comparison of the distinguished clusters with previously published associations from northern Turkey was carried out (expanded dataset, n = 173). Results: Among the new relevés, we distinguished three vegetation types subsequently described as new associations: (i) Digitali schischkinii-Carpinetum betuli, chestnut-hornbeam forests of slightly dry sites, with low cover of evergreen shrubs, (ii) Rusco colchici-Castaneetum sativae, chestnut-hornbeam forests with a dense evergreen shrub layer, and (iii) Polysticho woronowii-Ulmetum glabrae, ravine forests with noble hardwood trees and ravine forest specialists. These associations were classified to the alliances of Euxinian forests, the first two to Castaneo-Carpinion and the third to Alnion barbatae. Major turnover in species composition within the dataset followed gradients of rockiness, slope inclination, altitude and mean annual temperature. The analysis of the expanded dataset revealed a decreasing occurrence of Mediterranean species and an increasing number of fern species along an easterly gradient. This change in species composition is likely to be driven by macroclimatic gradients. Conclusions: This paper presents the first numerical comparison of chestnut-hornbeam and ravine forests across central and eastern parts of the Euxinian Province. Our results have highlighted the uniqueness of Georgian Colchic forests, described as new associations, in the context of Euxinian forest vegetation.
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