Original paper

Phytosociological and ecological description of the high alpine vegetation of NW Iran

Noroozi, Jalil; Hülber, Karl; Willner, Wolfgang

Phytocoenologia Band 47 Heft 3 (2017), p. 233 - 259

78 references

published: Sep 27, 2017
published online: Aug 25, 2017
manuscript accepted: Mar 1, 2017
manuscript revision received: Feb 23, 2016
manuscript revision requested: Feb 27, 2017
manuscript received: Dec 22, 2015

DOI: 10.1127/phyto/2017/0108

BibTeX file

ArtNo. ESP024004703000, Price: 29.00 €

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Abstract Aims: This is the first attempt to describe the diversity of the thorn-cushion and snowbed vegetation of the high mountains of NW Iran. Our main aim was to identify plant communities occurring in these habitats, and to clarify their syntaxonomic position. We also explored the key environmental factors influencing the species composition of these communities. Study area: Sahand Mts. (3707 m a.s.l.), Sabalan Mts. (4810 m a.s.l.) and Bozqush Mts. (3302 m a.s.l.) in NW Iran. Methods: A total of 166 phytosociological relevés were sampled at elevations ranging from 2800 to 3700 m a.s.l. The data set was classified using the TWINSPAN algorithm, and the result of the numerical classification was interpreted through a syntaxonomic system. Floristic differences were evaluated using a Detrended Correspondence Analysis. Results: We distinguished two alliances of thorn-cushion grasslands: Astragalion polyanthi all. nov. on windswept sites (including three associations) and Astragalion sahendi all. nov. on sites with longer snow cover duration (including two associations). Snowbed communities were classified into seven associations and assigned to the previously described alliance Taraxaco brevirostris-Polygonion serpyllacei. Conclusions: The duration of snow cover (i.e. the time of snowmelt) strongly determines the distribution of the studied communities. Among other ecological factors affecting the species composition are elevation, aspect, slope inclination and soil structure. Nomenclature: Flora Iranica (Rechinger 1963–2015) Abbreviation:
 DCA = Detrended Correspondence Analysis Submitted: 22 December 2015; first decision: 23 February 2016; accepted: 1 March 2017


high mountainIranphytogeographyplant communitysnowbedsyntaxonomythorn cushiontime of snowmeltvascular plantsvegetation