Phytogeographical analysis of plant communities along an altitudinal transect through the Kuraiskaya basin (Altai, Russia)
Hoffmann, Matthias H.; Telyatnikov, Mikhail Yu.; Ermakov, Nikolai
A vegetation transect through the Kuraiskaya basin (Central Altai, Russia), situated in the contact zone between 4 major floristic regions, is studied using data from the species' distribution ranges. In this study 267 species were observed in the transect comprising high mountain vegetation, shrub communities, taiga, hemiboreal forests, and different types of steppe communities. Cluster analysis of the species' occurrences and Principal Component Analysis (PCA) of the range type distribution within the relevés revealed phytogeographical influences on the local vegetation pattern. Each vegetation unit observed shows a clear relationship to its respective zonal vegetation. The vegetation belts are quite distinct and are only slightly influenced by other belts. In the contact zone between major belts, plant communities are highly diverse in terms of the number of different species. The application of plant range types to vegetation analysis reflected the main abiotic factors possibly responsible for the differentiation of vegetation. These abiotic factors have been observed both at the northern hemispheric scale and local scales.