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From Mountains to Plains: Ecological Structure of the South Ural (Russia) Fen Vegetation

Abstract

This study focuses on comparing the driving ecological factors and community diversity of fen vegetation from the plain part of the South Ural region with those of the mountain fen vegetation, previously described by us (Ivchenko and Znamenskiy Russian Journal of Ecology 47:453–459, 2016), by means of vegetation data clustering and gradient analysis. The indicator values by several authors (H Ellenberg, E Landolt, LG Ramensky, DN Tsyganov) and WorldClim bioclimatic variables were used to determine the ecological meaning of the gradients. We found that the main gradient for both plain and mountain fen vegetation is the “poor-rich fen” gradient, which depends on local substrate chemical composition. The second gradient is associated with moisture, which tends to increase consistently both from mountains towards plains and across plains from peneplain towards West Siberian Lowland. The moisture gradient proved to be unrelated to precipitation, which increase linearly from plains towards mountains. The community diversity in the mountain part is higher than in the plain part. The fen vegetation of plains and mountains overlap in ordination space but a half of the types described for mountain fen vegetation do not occur on plains, while two types of plain fen vegetation from the West Siberian Lowland are absent on mountains.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Grigory Tyusov (Komarov Botanical Institute of RAS, St.Petersburg) and Tatiana Kurchenko (“Kray Ra” Publishing, Mapping Department, Chelyabinsk) for help with digital maps, Dr. Mikhail Zobkov (Northern Water Problems Institute of the Karelian Research Centre RAS, Petrozavodsk) for help with WorldClim database. We also thank Olga Kislova (Karelian Research Centre RAS, Petrozavodsk), Dr. Evgenia Sokolova (Foreign Languages Institute, Petrozavodsk State University) and Dr. Robert Szava-Kovats (University of Tartu, Estonia) for their indispensable help with language editing. Special thanks for two anonymous reviewers whose valuable comments helped us to improve the manuscript substantially.

The fieldwork was performed with support from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (grant 14-04-00362); ex situ treatment and data processing were funded by the Russian National Research Program, projects 01201458546 and 0221-2017-0048.

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Correspondence to Sergey Znamenskiy.

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Znamenskiy, S., Ivchenko, T. From Mountains to Plains: Ecological Structure of the South Ural (Russia) Fen Vegetation. Wetlands 38, 1269–1283 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13157-018-1048-z

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Keywords

  • Gradient
  • Indicator values
  • Bioclimatic variables
  • Mire
  • Wetland
  • Biogeography