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Steciana 2014, Vol. 18(3): doi: /steciana ISSN X THE VEGETATION OF FLOODPLAIN IN MAJĄTEK ROGALIN (CENTRAL WIELKOPOLSKA) ON THE BACKGROUND OF THE APPLIED MANAGEMENT WAY Halina Ratyńska, Ewa Wachowiak H. Ratyńska, E. Wachowiak, Department of Botany, Institute of Environmental Biology, Kazimierz Wielki University, al. Ossolińskich 12, Bydgoszcz, Poland, (Received: January 30, Accepted: April 29, 2014) Abstract. Nearly 200 hectares of grasslands in Majątek Rogalin (the Rogalin Estate) are situated on the Warta River floodplain, about 17 miles south of Poznań. Six positions of protected species have been found here. There are 10 regionally endangered species, while in the whole country eight. Eighty-three plant communities belonging to 15 classes in phyto-sociological terms have been identified. Due to habitat conditions and manner of use, rushes of Phragmitetea rushes (18), Molinio-Arrhenatheretea grasslands (18), and Artemisietea vulgaris herbaceous species (12) are the most abundantly represented. Natural arrangements predominate (nearly 68%), but semi-natural ones (19%) are also numerous. A total of 30 phytocenons (over 37%) are endangered. Following items are directly threatened with extinction (E): poplar riparian forest Populetum albae, herbaceous plants Veronico longifoliae-euphorbietum lucidae, and cnidion meadow Violo stagninae-molinietum caeruleae. Poplar riparian forest is very rare, and 15 associations are counted to rare ones. There have been 33 communities representative for 10 protected habitat types, including three the priority ones. Considering the surface, following meadows dominate: Stellario palustris-deschampsietum cespitosae and Rumici-Alopecuretum pratensis, in which species have been reported. Cnidion meadows are much more abundant (from 29 to 42 species). Natural and cultural values of the area were noticed a long time ago, which was reflected in numerous publications and proposals for protection: Rogalin Landscape Park, nature and landscape area Rogalin Łęgi, Natura 2000 Rogalin Warta River Valley, and together with the Wielkopolski National Park The Special Protection Area Rogalin Refuge. Majątek Rogalin implements the environmental programs, which means that farming is subordinated to nature conservation. Active protection and maintaining the traditional way of management contribute to the preservation of existing natural values. Key words: vegetation, floodplain, Rogalin INTRODUCTION Natural and cultural values of the wide floodplain in the vicinity of Rogalin, in particular Rogalin Oaks the largest stand of old oaks in Europe, have long been recognized. This was reflected in numerous publications and protection proposals (Denisiuk & Szoszkiewicz 1963, Denisiuk 1978, Kasprzak & Pniewski 1978, Dąmbska 1981, Kaczmarek 1992, Król et al. 1993, Łakomiec & Szafrański 1997). As a result, the area was legally protected in 1997 as Rogalin Landscape Park, and it includes the nature and landscape area Rogalin Łęgi (Walczak et al. 2001). Oak trees growing singly or in groups have been protected as natural monuments since The natural qualities of the Park meet criteria of the EU nature refuges. Thus Natura 2000 Rogalin Warta River Valley (PLH300012) and together with the Wielkopolski National Park Special Protection Area Rogalin Refuge (PLB300010) could be created. The research upon vegetation surrounding Rogalin consists of studies involving vegetation in oxbow lakes (Wojtaszek 1989). Many more studies refer to the vegetation cover of the Warta River valley (Szoszkie wicz & Denisiuk 1965, Szoszkiewicz 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, Borysiak 1994, Ratyńska & Szwed 1999, Ratyńska 2001). So far, however, the area of Majątek Rogalin has not had any specific geo-bo- 128 Halina Ratyńska, Ewa Wachowiak tanical recognition. This paper aims to fill this gap. Its purpose is to present the diversity of the flora and primarily vegetation associated with the flood terrace in Majątek Rogalin. It results from both the natural conditions periodic floods and management run for hundreds of years mowing and grazing. Due to historical and cultural values of the described area painted, described, and photographed-clusters of old oak trees and the presence of numerous protected and extinction endangered species, as well as threatened and protected communities, it is extremely important to maintain the old way of management. It is also essential to restore the optimum habitat conditions for wetland birds (Bednorz 1976). GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE STUDY AREA The presented area is situated in the Central-European Lowlands province, sub-province of the Southern-Baltic Lake District, region of Great Valleys Belt, macro-region of Warta-Oder Rivers Ice Marginal Valley, and meso-region of Śrem Basin (Kondracki 1998). Administratively, it is a municipality Mosina with the proximity of Rogalin town near Poznań (Fig. 1). The Property is managed by the Majątek Rogalin Ltd., which has leased the farm since 1993, taken in 1945 from its rightful owners by the Agricultural Property Agency. Relief is related to the Poznań phase of Baltic glaciation era. The Warta Valley was formed by converting the ice chute in the river valley to a width of a few kilometers, accompanied by terraces. The bottom of the Warta River valley is situated at an average height of 56.0 to 62.0 m a.s.l. The valley is almost flat, and the river has got the longitudinal direction (Kondracki 1998). The Warta River, when meandering, formed shallow, floodplain, and no-outflow oxbow lakes of the arcuate shape. Construction of the dam reservoir in Jeziorsko, and its operation since 1992 (even before its complete investment), has changed the hydrological regime of the Warta River and helped to reduce the floods. The Warta River valley consists principally of river sands and gravels from the above-floodplain terraces with layers of sandy silts. Poor quality soils were formed here, developed on mineral grounds or silt-peat soils underlain by loose sands. Over meadow floodplain terrace separated from the upland by a steep slope, there are forested dunes and farmlands associated with the higher-quality soils. Average annual air temperature in Wielkopolska Lowland is about 7.5 C to 8.4 C, the warmest month is July and the coldest January. Compared with other regions of Poland, there is the largest water deficit here. This is a result of relatively small precipitation (less than 500 mm near Śrem, on average). Warm but cloudy days prevail (Woś 1994). According to the geo-botanical division of Poland, studied area belongs to the Wielkopolska-Kuyavian Land and Poznań Gniezno District (Szafer 1972). According to the geo-botanical regionalization by Matuszkiewicz (1993), the analysed fragment of the Warta River valley is located within the Brandenburg-Wielkopolska division. It is the Central-Wielkopolska Land, Śrem District, sub-district of Warta River valley Prosna Estuary Poznań (B.2.2.b). The potential natural vegetation in the valley of the Warta River consists of the flooded riparian forests: Salicetum albae and Populetum albae. They are associated with the valleys of large and medium-sized rivers. Substrate is composed of fertile alluvial soils, mainly sandy, and periodically flooded. Riparian willow settles fragments of alluvium closer to the river bed and more frequently flooded. Riparian poplar can be found in the band closing the immersion zone. Phy- Fig. 1. Location of the study area The vegetation of floodplain in Majątek Rogalin tocenoses of willow and poplar forests are among the most damaged, both within the country and in the area concerned. Actual vegetation consists mainly of grasslands. On the wings of the valley, only small areas are covered with biotopes of fertile currant alder forest Carici elongatae-alnetum. These are the marshy depressions with impeded outflow of water surrounding some of the oxbow lakes. Soil composed the low peat. Currently, the deforested places are dominated by sedges and rushes. In the neighbourhood, riparian ash-alder Fraxino-Alnetum develops on mineralized peat, and riparian elm-ash Querco-Ulmetum typicum develops on brown alluvial soils that are only episodically flooded. Only a small number of patches of these forest communities remained. They are replaced by grassland communities, herbaceous species, including a spectacular veil groups and bushes. Few dune elevations are a habitat of a potential mixed forest Querco roboris-pinetum. The actual vegetation in such places is composed of less demanding groups of grasslands, including psammophilic meadows. Small arable lands are localized at the edge of the described area. In recent years, a significant impact on the vegetation cover (in addition to the human economy) has been exerted by beavers contributing even to the extermination of woody species. MATERIAL AND METHODS Intensive field reconnaissance was conducted in 2004 and then in 2011 for the purpose of agri-environmental program. Collected materials were supplemented in the growing season For part of Majątek Rogalin located on the floodplain, a list of plant communities was drawn up. More prevalent phytocenons were documented using phyto-sociological records. A total of 36 records were made using a commonly accepted method by Braun-Blanquet with modifications by Barkman et al. (1964). Systematics of plant communities is given after Ratyńska et al. (2010). According to the same authors, the emergency state and dissemination of phytocenons was assessed, as well as the classification in terms of their response to anthropogenic influences was performed. A list of the phyto-sociological units and types of habitats important for the European Community (Rozporządzenie ), was also taken into account. To assess the range of vegetation transformation, following indices of anthropogenic changes of vegetation were used (Ratyńska 2003): total synanthropization of vegetation index (Wcsr), that determined the percentage of domestic and anthropogenic phytocenons in a complete list of plant communities expressed as: and index of anthropogenic communities proportion (War): where: znp natural perdochoric communities that are displaced due to human activities, zna natural auxochoric communities that enlarge their area due to human activities, zan anthropogenic communities. There has been no specific floristic recognition. However, the presence of threatened and endangered plants in the country and region attracted some attention (Zarzycki & Szeląg 2006, Jackowiak et al. 2007). The basis of distinctions of plants being the subject to legal protection is the Regulation of the Minister of Environment of 20 January 2012 (Rozporządzenie ). To determine the differences between groups of plant communities, they were ordered according to gradients acting towards them, using the indirect ordination technique that allows for variable analysis based on mutual averaging algorithm such as DCA (Detrended Correspondence Analysis) (Hill & Gauch 1980) in a two ordering axes system. Data from phyto-sociological records were summarized in tables, and then re-transformed from the scale of Braun-Blanquet coverage onto the numeric form according to the scheme proposed by van der Maarel s (1979) in a following way: r 1, + 2, 1 3, 2m 4, 2a 5, 2b 6, 3 7, 4 8, 5 9. Analyses concerning the cleanup methods were performed using MVSP software (Kovach 1999). RESULTS SELECTED FLORISTIC ISSUES Besides clusters of old, monumental oaks, also numerous species of protected and endangered species are the floristic peculiarities of the analysed area. Positions of six species being under legal protection, including two under strict protection (Table 1, Fig. 2A, B), were found. Number of regionally endangered species is 10. Only one of them has a category (EN exposed), while six belong to vulnerable (VU). Nationally, eight species are endangered, most of category V exposed. These plants, except from Myosurus minimus, Oenanthe fistulosa, and Convallaria maialis, are quite common, and their populations are abundant. Moreover, among plant species that are rarely found on the studied area, there are Ranunculus flammula, Sanguisorba officinalis, and Wolffia arrhiza. 130 Halina Ratyńska, Ewa Wachowiak Fig. 2A. Distribution of rare and protected species of plants on the Warta River floodplain area in Majątek Rogalin Fig. 2B. Distribution of rare and protected species of plants on the Warta River floodplain area in Majątek Rogalin Table 1. List of protected and endangered species of plants Species Species protection Regional threat in Wielkopolska Endangered species in Poland Allium scorodoprasum V Cardamine parviflora EN Carex praecox V Cnidium dubium LC V Convallaria majalis * Euphorbia lucida VU Euphorbia palustris LC V Frangula alnus * Gratiola officinalis ** VU Lathyrus palustris V Myosurus minimus V Nuphar lutea * Nymphaea alba * Oenanthe fistulosa VU Populus nigra LC Rumex sanguineus VU Scutellaria hastifolia V Senecio paludosus VU Viola stagnina ** VU E CHARACTERISTICS OF VEGETATION SYNTAXONOMY Eighty-three patches of phytocenons were identified in the study area (Table 3). They belong to 15 classes in phyto-sociological terms. Due to the type of habitat and the way of use, groups of Phragmitetea rush (18), grasslands with Molinio-Arrhenatheretea (18), as well as herbaceous and ruderal with Artemisietea vulgaris (12) entering the non-grazed and not mown meadows and pastures and associated roads, especially at the edge of floodplain, are the most abundantly represented. In the area Radzewice Rogalinek, Wojtaszek (1989) reports, besides Hottonietum palustris, Sagittario-Sparganietum emersi, and Ceratophylletum demersi phytocenoses found within Majątek Rogalin, also following riparian and rush associations in oxbow lakes: Potametum lucentis, Potametum perfoliati, and Equisetetum limosi. *Partial protection of species; **Strict protection of species; EN, E endangered; LC least concern; VU, V vulnerable. The vegetation of floodplain in Majątek Rogalin AUTOGENIC AND ANTHROPOGENIC COMMUNITIES Considering the syngenesis, the natural groups predominate, mainly auxochoric ones (Fig. 3). These are water and rush communities, coastal therophytes, herbaceous species, scrubs, and forests. Together, they constitute nearly 68%. Semi-natural communities mainly grasslands (19%) dominating in terms of occupied area are also numerous. Ruderal phytocenons present mainly along the roads, share a little over 6% of all groups; they occupy a small acreage. A small percentage of xenospontaneous associations is interesting, although their number and occupied area slowly increase. Due to the fact that the fields are present only on the outskirts of the studied area, the segetal communities are very poorly represented and usually vestigial. They accompany small separated crop plots: rye and potatoes. Fig. 3. Share of autogenic and anthropogenic communities on the vegetation of the Warta River floodplain area in Majątek Rogalin THREATENED AND RARE COMMUNITIES Within the floodplain of Majątek Rogalin, belts of three patches of associations directly threatened with extinction, the category E in the country, are found. It is a fragmentary preserved poplar riparian forest Populetum albae, meadow herbaceous species Veronica longifoliae-euphorbietum lucidae, and cnidion meadow Violo stagninae-molinietum caeruleae. In addition, 13 phytocenons are exposed (V), and 15 is of category I with unspecified threat. A total of 30 patches of threatened communities were found, which is more than 37%. Most of the groups represent frequent and common communities. Poplar riparian forest Populetum albae is very rare and 15 phytocenons belong to the rare ones (Table 2). PROTECTED TYPES OF HABITATS There have been 33 plant communities representative for 10 protected habitat types, including three priority categories (Table 3). Code Name of the natural habitat type 1340 Inland salt meadows, pastures and rushes (Glauco-Puccinietalia part inland communities) 2330 Inland dunes with open Corynephorus and Agrostis grasslands 3130 Oligotrophic to mesotrophic standing waters with vegetation of the Littorelletea uniflorae and/or of the Isoëto-Nanojuncetea 3150 Natural eutrophic lakes with Magnopotamion or Hydrocharition type vegetation 3270 Rivers with muddy banks with Chenopodion rubri p.p. and Bidention p.p. vegetation 6120 Xeric sand calcareous grasslands Table 2. Comparison of the number of species and cover factors in chosen groups of plant communities Rushes Herbaceous species Meadows, pastures Cnidion meadows (Violo-Molinietum caeruleae) Grassland communities and ruderal herbaceous plants Communities of treaded places Number of relevés in the field Average number of species per relevé Number of species in the table Constanty and coverage coefficient Phragmitetea Bidentetea tripartiti 2 35, ,6 1 2 Artemisietea , Molinio-Arrhenatheretea , , , Koelerio-Corynephoretea , , Polygono-Poetea annuae 1 1, Festuco-Brometea and Trifolio-Geranietea , Stellarietea mediae , , Others , 132 Halina Ratyńska, Ewa Wachowiak 6430 Hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities of plains and of the montane to alpine levels 6440 Alluvial meadows of river valleys of the Cnidion dubii 91E0 Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae) 91F0 Riparian mixed forests of Quercus robur, Ulmus laevis and Ulmus minor, Fraxinus excelsior or Fraxinus angustifolia, along the great rivers (Ulmenion minoris) Within the floodplain, due to the occupied area and number of typical communities, natural eutrophic lakes with Magnopotamion or Hydrocharition (3150) and Hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities of plains and of the montane to alpine levels (6430) deserve a special attention. Share of the latter increases resulting from the liquidation of some patches of riparian communities by beavers. Cnidion meadows (6440) are in the form of generally small, scattered patches, like phytocenoses of open grasslands. Riparian forests of various types (91E0, 91F0) are preserved only in fragments and show signs of degeneration. Other communities, although important from the biocenosis point of view, are developed on small areas. The remains of xerothermic meadows (6210) are present within Majątek Rogalin at the edge of the Warta River valley. However, due to the far-reaching process of secondary succession and a small area, this hull-shaped community was not included in the list of protected habitat types. Distribution of habitat types, that cover larger and constant areas, is shown on Figure 4. INDICATORS OF ANTHROPOGENIC CHANGES AT PLANTS Primarily pasture-grazing management is performed on the floodplain. Also natural wet biotopes the Warta River oxbow lakes and the remains of riparian forests and riverine wicker are present. Thus, within the vegetation, there is a relatively small share of highly synanthropic communities: ruderal and segetal ones. On the other hand, natural perdochoric groups also constitute low percentage of small quantities and surface. As a result, the total vegetation synanthropisation rate is very high amounting to 87.1%. In turn, the participation rate of anthropogenic communities in vegetation has relatively little value: 40.0%. REVIEW OF SELECTED PLANT COMMUNITIES Detailed study referred mainly to grasslands Molinio-Arrhenatheretea, rush of Phragmitetea, and lawns with Koelerio-Corynephoretea, as well as communities with Artemisietea that evolved after giving up the pasture-grazing management. In total, 28 species were documented using phyto-sociological records. GRASSLAND COMMUNITIES OF MOLINIO-ARRHENATHERETEA CLASS Grassland vegetation dominates in terms of occupied area in the Warta River valley and is of a great economic importance. Within the Majątek Rogalin, 13 plant communities with Molinio-Arrhenatheretea were identified and nine of them were phyto-sociologic
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