The abundance of Orchidaceae on three calcareous grasslands is studied in relation to floristic composition, environmental and vegetational factors and plant traits (ecological and life forms). The aims are: (i) to identify a group of species that is significantly correlated with the abundance of Orchidaceae or with individual species of orchids on calcareous grasslands; (ii) to study the relationship between traits associated with habitat specialisation, community life forms and the abundance of orchids; (iii) to identify the main environmental and vegetational predictors of the abundance of orchids. A shortlist of species is found to be significantly correlated with the abundance of total orchids, Orchis pauciflora and O. morio. The life forms of the community species do not show any correlation with the orchids, with the exception of Orchis pauciflora, which tends to increase in communities rich in hemicryptophytes and poor in annual species. Analyses of Orchis morio seem to suggest that it has a high level of ecological tolerance. The most important predictors of the abundance of orchids are the substrate reaction (basic) and arid grassland with low herbaceous vegetation cover (i.e. high soil reaction and luminosity values, positive correlation with the cover of lichens and rockiness, negative correlation with tree cover and herbaceous layer). The least favourable sites were the least basic and most superficial and arid sites.
Russian Journal of Ecology – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 15, 2009
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