Moscow scientists noted the high species diversity of plants in the meadows of Polistovsky Reserve
High species diversity and a large number of rare plants were found in Polistovsky Reserve by geobotanists from the Lomonosov Moscow State University and Greenpeace Russia. From the 25th to the 29th of June, they conducted a geobotanical survey of the meadows of the protected area.
Specialists described meadow communities in Polistvsky Reserve buffer zone as part of a large-scale study of grass vegetation in the west of the European part of Russia. During the expedition, the scientists surveyed valuable meadows inhabited by the Red listed plants: Gladíolus imbricátus, Ophioglossum vulgatum (Red Data Book of Pskov region) and Dactylorhíza baltica (Red Data Book of the Russian Federation).
Meadows are unique natural complexes with a high biodiversity, in particular, the meadows of Europe are among the richest types of communities in the world. Meadows provide important ecosystem services, and are habitats for many valuable, rare and protected plant and animal species.
"Meadow communities with high biodiversity and rare, protected species are called "biodiversity hot-spots", in European countries special attention is given to their protection. Previous studies of our scientific group showed that there are unique areas of meadows that could become such "hot spots" in Polistovsky Reserve. For example, in 2014 we discovered meadows with a species richness of more than 70 species of vascular plants per 100 square meters, which is comparable to the species richness of the steppes," - the head of the expedition Oksana Cherednichenko said (PhD, the senior lecturer of the Вepartment of geobotany of the biological faculty of Moscow State University).
During the expedition the specialists carried out 46 geobotanical descriptions of meadow communities in Nesvino, Svinayevo and Plavnitsa areas. Test plots 10*10 meters were laid for the descriptions. On each of them, scientists determined the total foliar coverage(the projection of the above-ground parts of plants on the surface of the soil, expressed as a percentage of the area under consideration) and the foliar coverage of individual species on the Braun-Blanquet cover-abundance Scale; measured heights of the grass for different tiers; assessed the presence of traces of grassy layers; and recorded meetings of rare species. They collected samples of bryophytes and vascular plants that were difficult to determine in field from each site, for subsequent identification in the laboratory.
Polistovsky Reserve scientific department will continue cooperation with Moscow scientists, and, perhaps, Polistovsky nature will surprise the researchers with its richness and diversity again.