Geographical features of forest vegetation reflected at the level of the lower-rank syntaxa (evidence from the Russian part of the Upper Dnieper basin)

Yu. A. Semenishchenkov



Phytogeographical features of forest vegetation at the level of lower-rank syntaxa were being discussed in literature since the early 20th century (Cajander, 1903; Sukachev, 1926; Braun-Blanquet, 1964; Kral et al., 1975; Kleopov, 1990; Bulokhov, 2003; Ellenberg, 2009), however, phytocoenologists still have no uniform interpretation and geographical maintenance of lower classification units.

Forest vegetation of the European part of Russia is well studied according to Braun-Blanquet approach with association as a system of geographical subassociations. The paper offers the approaches to the reflection of geographical variations of the natural forest vegetation in the basin of the Upper Dnieper (central part of the East European Plain) at the level of lower-rank syntaxa

The syntaxonomy of ass. Fraxino excelsioris–Quer­cetum roboris Bulokhov et Solomeshch 2003 demonstrates regional specificity of East European mesophytic broad-leaved forests. The association is widely spread in the East European Plain. Communities which are distributed in the central southern forest-steppe (the Belgorod and southwest of Kursk regions) are characterized by the presence of mainly thermophilic forest-steppe species. There are three subassociations that are differenced by geographically distinct species complexes. Subass. F. e.–Q. r. crataegetosum curvisepalae Semenishchenkov 2015 represents mesophytic broad-leaved forests with Quercus robur, Fraxinus excelsior, Tilia cordata in forest-steppes of the Central Russian Upland, and is differentiated by Acer tataricum, Crataegus curvisepala, Pyrus pyraster, Scilla siberica, as well as Viola odorata, V. suavis and their hybrids. The forests of the southeast of the Bryansk and the west of the Orel Regions represent the central fragment of the association distribution area in its longitudinal sector. Here species with significant phytogeographical latitudinal markers are not distinguished, and forests are defined as typical subass. F. e.–Q. r. typicum. Ajuga reptans and Galeobdolon luteum could be considered as differential species as they are absent in the forest-steppe. In northern more parts — the southeast of the Kaluga Region — the geographical subass. F. e.–Q. r. stellarie­tosum nemori Semenishchenkov et al. 2015 is established. Species with mainly northern distribution are common. Phytogeographically such species as Stellaria nemorum, Galeobdolon luteum, Matteuccia struthiopteris, Lunaria rediviva distinguish communities of two syntaxa. Development of secondary forests with prevalence of Tilia cordata is character for this part of the association area. Despite the listed floristic distinctions, the mesophytic broad-leaved forests of the described association are characterized by high similarity of coenofloras formed almost exclusively by nemoral mesophytic species determining the structure of communities.

The ass. Vaccinio vitis-idaeae–Pinetum sylvestris Caj. 1921 includes oligotrophic pine forests with diagnostic species Pinus sylvestris, Vaccinium vitis-idaea, Dicranum polysetum, Melampyrum pratense, Ptilium crista-castrensis, Veronica officinalis. Two geographical subassociations limited to different geographical regions are distinguished. The typical subassociation is characteristic of the northwestern sub-taiga part of the basin of the Upper Dnieper. Pine forests with participation of Quercus robur and absence or reduced presence of Picea abies in the southern part of the association area — within the broad-leaved forest zone — are defined as subass. V.–P. quercetosum roboris Bulo­khov et Solomeshch in Bulokhov et Semenishchenkov 2015.

The xeromesophytic oak woods in the basin of the Upper Dnieper belong to the East European ass. Lathyro nigri–Quercetum roboris Bulokhov et Solomeshch 2003. Floristic differentiation of this association from the similar Central European ass. Potentillo-Quercetum is given. These two associations have large blocks of geographically significant differential species that does not allow to consider them as a part of one association.

Associations with the wide distribution areas in the large natural territories mark climatic conditions on a wide phytogeographical gradient. Upon determining associations and subassociations with wide distribution area, ecological information on local features of communities is not lost, as variants reflect differences in local ecological conditions. The variety of narrow regional variants, as a rule, becomes irrelevant on large territories with the strong climatic gradient, but is useful for the inventory of phytocoenotic variety of the small regions.

Under the secondary succession, preservation of typical floristic composition of primary forest communities representing specific associations is not uncommon. The tree species, character for the restoration stage, dominate. The evident domination of such species and an obvious genetic linkage with typical communities of association allows considering the described succession changes in the rank of the facies.

The suggested approach allows to define the chorological content of units of lower syntaxonomical ranks and make regional classification schemes comparable to each other.

Key words: syntaxonomy, forest vegetation, Upper Dnieper basin

Section: Articles

How to cite

Semenishchenkov Yu. A. 2017. Geographical features of forest vegetation reflected at the level of the lower-rank syntaxa (evidence from the Russian part of the Upper Dnieper basin) // Vegetation of Russia. N 30. P. 94–108.

Received February 22 2017


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