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FLORA AND VEGETATION

Flora of vascular plants in the Gorgany Nature Reserve is made up of 5 orders, 79 families, 266 genuses and 451 species.

 

 

Flora

 

The forest vegetation dominates at the reserve (85,5 % of the surface). Coniferous forests dominate here (4524,8 ha), to broadleaved forest sites there belong 1 % of the forest cover (45,7 ha).Quantitative correlations between different taxonomic units in the reserve’s flora are also characteristic for the Middle European flora. Young phylogenetic groups dominate here.

The most numerous group among life forms of plant species are hemicryptophyts (herbaceous perannual plants with a reproduction bud close to the surface) - 271 species, and Phanerophyts (with reproduction bids located high abouve the surface; they are trees and bishes) – 63 species. The smallest group is made up by Chamenophyts (shortgrowing plants: red blbery, heath, blackberry, thyme etc) – 32 species. From the point of view of the soil richness the most numearous and mid-fastidious (242) and fastidious (183) species. The least number is the one of non-fastidious species - 24.

 

The humid climate causes domination of plants which demant mid-humid conditions in the reserve – 338, over-himid conditions – 54 species, and 41 transition ones between those two groups that are components of moist forests and meadows, banks of streams and rivers etc. There are 3 species characteristic for dry areas.

 

Mosses and Lichens

 

The stony debris (screes) are occupied with a rare moss-lichen vegetation: crustose lichens (Lecanora polytropa, Rhizocarpon tinei, Rhizocarpon concretum), and other lichens (Cladonia alpestris, Cladonia sylvatica, Cetraria sp.); and also woth mosses (Andreaea rupestris, Dicranum scoparium, Dicranum polysetum, Pleurozium schreberi, Ptilium crista-castrensis).

The crustose lichens on rocky debris demonstrate an evolution of vegetational development. These are unique Microsystems, which had appeared on the earth over 100 million years ago and taken all together represent an evolution of the plant world and associated animals and microbes. Thik fogs characteristic for the Gorgany support evolution of pioneer plants.

 

Among bryoflora of the Gorgany Nature reserve there are 231 species of bryophites belonging to two divisions: Hepatophyta and mosses (Bryophyta), and 32 species of them (14%) have different category of rarety. Two species (Scapania verrucosa, Brachythecium geheebii) are listed to the Red Book of European of BryophitesAmong bryoflora of the Gorgany Nature reserve there are 231 species of bryophites belonging to two divisions: Hepatophyta and mosses (Bryophyta), and 32 species of them (14%) have different category of rarety. Two species (Scapania verrucosa, Brachythecium geheebii) are listed to the Red Book of European of Bryophites

 

Forests and Trees

 

The territory of the reserve belongs to two geobotanic zones: spruce mountain Carpathian forests and subalpine and alpine crooked woodland and meadows. In terms of vertical zoning they overlao with three vegetation belts:

-          mixed forests with domination of spruce associated to the temporate and cool zone (770 – 1200 m a.s.l.);

-          pure spruce and sedar-spruce forests associated with the temperate-sool thermal zone (1200-1500 – 1600 m a.s.l.)

-          subalpine occupied with mountain pine and scree areas covered with lichens and mosses;

 

The reserve’s largest massifs are occupied with forests where spruce (Picea abies) dominate – 89,1%. Tree stands of mountain pine (Pinus mughus) cover 7,3%, European cembra pine (Pinus сеmbra) - 1,8%, fir (Abies alba), European beech (Fagus sylvatica) and other spcies cover 1,8% of the forested area. The most widely distributed tree stands are the spruce-fir (2377,9 ha) and та beech-fir-spruce (1196,3 ha) ones. Strict change of forests depending on the altitude, climate and soil conditions singles of 17 different forest types, which are a kind of a standard and a reference model |, and if we take into consideration this habitat, we can speak of an almost undisturbed reserve of unchanged natural and spatial complexes of the Ukrainian carpathians.

 

The hightest specimens of beech, fir and spruce for the Ukrainian Carpathians are registered here. The biggest trees of these speacies in the primeval forests reach 53 m in height and over 160 cm in diameter. As for the cembra pine, it is 34 m high and 108 cm in diameter.

 

Upper Tree Line. Crooked Woodland

The upper tree line is a narrow stripe of forest phytocoenocis 8 and more meters high, which is formed on the periphery of the forest zone adjacent to the subalpine and alpine belts. In the reserve it is made up of spruce forest sites, where spruces are characterized by low crowns, and also there are some low Swiss pine specimens. The density of such multi-aged tree stands within the forest belt higher then 1300 – 1400 m a.s.l. is over 0,3. The trees have rather wide root systems which make them resistant to heavy winds. They protect the phytocoenosis located below from avalanches and snow slides, and also protect soils from erosions and mudflows on steep slopes, and have a water protection function by means of penetration of melted snow and transformation  of surface waters into ground ones. The upper tree line has been made up exclusively under the impact of natural factors:  climate (temperature, air humidity, avalanches, wind regime etc.), orographic and aedaphic (availability of stony screes – “gregots”). Nucifraga caryocatactes, by eating Swiss pine seeds and hiding cones in the ground, supports the regeneration process.

 

The relict Swiss  pine-spruce and  spruce-Swiss pine primeval forests  together with fragments of pristine birch communities are substituted by thickets of green alder  (Dushekia viridis) at the wells of the streams and mountain pines  (Pinus mugo) on Yamnenskyi sandstones within the subalpine zone demonstrating a 12,5–10 thousand year history of forest succession and development.