Magellanic Wetlands: More than Moor
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- Filipová, L., Hédl, R. & Dančák, M. Folia Geobot (2013) 48: 163. doi:10.1007/s12224-012-9143-z
Magellanic wetlands in the Patagonian steppe are unique habitats from the point of view of conservation and agriculture. Little is known about their environmental characteristics and plant communities. Our aim was to describe vegetation variability to improve current classifications and reveal environmental factors correlated with vegetation variability in the meadow wetlands (vegas) of southern Chilean Patagonia and Chilean Tierra del Fuego. Five vegetation types resulted from TWINSPAN classification and subsequent interpretation, based on which four new associations were delimited: Magellanic acidic marshes – the Scirpo cernui-Calthetum sagittatae, Magellanic alkaline wet grasslands – the Samolo spathulatae-Azorelletum trifurcatae, Magellanic tall sedge marshes – the Carici maclovianae-Agrostietum stoloniferae, and Magellanic pastures – the Hordeo lechleri-Trifolietum repentis. The fifth vegetation type, saline wetlands, is the rarest and so far the least known community. Magellanic wetland vegetation forms a gradient from short saline marshes to tall graminoid-dominated communities. They reflect a major soil gradient of pH and organic matter content, along with the content of major elements (N, P, K, Fe, Al). Other important factors are ground water regime and grazing intensity.