Plant Diversity ›› 2023, Vol. 45 ›› Issue (02): 211-218.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2022.08.005

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Ecological and habitat ranges of orchids in the northernmost regions of their distribution areas: A case study from Ural Mountains, Russia

Irina A. Kirillova, Yuriy A. Dubrovskiy, Svetlana V. Degteva, Alexander B. Novakovskiy   

  1. Institute of Biology of Komi Science Centre of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 28 Kommunisticheskaya St., 167982, Syktyvkar, Komi Republic, Russia
  • Received:2022-04-08 Revised:2022-08-22 Online:2023-03-25 Published:2023-06-13
  • Contact: Irina A. Kirillova,
  • Supported by:
    This work was supported by the state task of the Institute of Biology Komi SC RAS [No. 122040600026-9].

Abstract: The Orchidaceae, which is one of the most interesting families of angiosperms, contains a large number of rare species. Despite their acknowledged importance, little attention has been paid to the study of orchids distributed in northern territories. In this study, we determined the syntaxonomical diversity and ecological parameters of orchid habitats in two of Europe's largest protected areas, the Pechoro-Ilychsky Reserve and the Yugyd Va National Park (northeastern European Russia), and then compared our findings to those in other parts of orchid distribution ranges. For this purpose, we studied 345 descriptions of plant communities (releves) containing species from Orchidaceae and defined habitat parameters using Ellenberg indicator values with the community weight mean approach, nonmetric multidimensional scaling (NMS), and relative niche width. We found that orchids were distributed in eight habitat types and 97 plant associations. The largest number of orchid species is found in forest communities. Half of the orchid species under study occur in the mires and rock habitats with open vegetation. Several orchids consistently occur in areas disturbed by human activity. In addition, our study indicates that the main drivers of orchid distribution across the vegetation types are light and soil nitrogen. Our analysis of the ecological parameters of orchid habitats indicates that some orchid species can be classified as habitat specialists that are confined to a relatively narrow ecological niche in the Urals (e.g., Goodyera repens, Cypripedium guttatum and Dactylorhiza maculata). Several other species (e.g. Neottia cordataand Dactylorhiza fuchsia) grow under diverse ecological parameters.

Key words: Orchidaceae, Plant communities, Nature protected areas, Community weight mean, Illumination, Moisture