Evaluation of artificial agricultural landscapes biodiversity in Stavropol Botanical Garden
Federal State Budget Scientific Institution "North Caucasus Federal Scientific Agricultural Center" 478 Lenin Str., RU355029 Stavropol, Russia
The meadow steppes recreated in the Stavropol Botanical Garden, Russia, by planting sod blocks after more than 40-year period of cultivation have preserved species composition similar to zonal steppes. The aim of our research is to evaluate the restored artificial cultivated land biodiversity. A parallel measurement of species saturation per 100 m², yield, botanical analysis by crops was conducted on model experimental sites and in nature. Systematic and biomorphological flora study, analysis of variance were carried out. Useful plant species were identified. The restored steppes represent a multispecies community including 236 species, 149 genera, and 36 families. It consists of 5 biomorphs which comprise 2.9% of phanerophytes, 3.0% of chamephytes, 74.6% of hemicryptophytes, 14.4% therophytes that have a high degree of similarity in quantity to the steppes of Central Fore-Caucasus. The cenoses are dominated by plants having life cycles of perennial ones which accounts for 81.0%, annuals, and biennials make up 19.0%, cereals and sedges amount to 32 species (13.5%), legumes represent 28 speies (11.9%), mixed herbs are 176 (74.6%). The projective cover of grass stand is 80.0–100.0%, that corresponds 73–109 species per 100 m². An average yield of the restored steppes grass stand is 2.8–3.8 t ha-1. It exceeds the productivity of natural cenoses by 2.1–3.3 t ha-1. The botanical analysis by crops demonstrated that in the grass stands samples of cereals (19.6–43.9%) and mixed herbs (18.3–31.2%) dominated. 18 rare plants are preserved in the cenoses. 171 species have useful properties. The site of the restored meadow steppe is an exposition and serves for sightseeing and educational purposes. Lately, sod blocks planting was widely used in experimental phytocenology and landscape design. Its implementation for natural vegetation restoration on the large areas is time-consuming and expensive compared to the method of cultivated lands, therefore it can be used in small sites as a component of combined options.