1067-4136/05/3606- © 2005 Pleiades Publishing, Inc.
Russian Journal of Ecology, Vol. 36, No. 6, 2005, pp. 383–390. Translated from Ekologiya, No. 6, 2005, pp. 421–428.
Original Russian Text Copyright © 2005 by Sal’nikov, Pilipenko.
Research on the anthropogenic transformation of
ﬂora is especially important in the context of
approaches to the problem of the study and conserva-
tion of biological diversity (Gorchakovskii, 1979). This
is essential for the rational use of plant resources, pro-
tection of rare and endangered plant species, and ﬁnd-
ing solutions to many economic problems.
An important task is to study the dynamics of the
ﬂora in cities, where plants are a major healthgiving and
aesthetic component of landscape architecture.
Repeated observations make it possible to reveal trends
in its transformation under the inﬂuence of natural and
anthropogenic factors, and, thus, a variant of biomoni-
toring can be performed.
Astrakhan ﬂoristically belongs to the Afro-Asian
desert region and the Caspian district of the Aralo-Cas-
pian (Turanian) province in the Irano-Turanian region
of the Holarctic zone (Takhtajan, 1978). The ﬂora of
Astrakhan includes plant species of zonal ecological-
ﬂoristic complexes (desert–steppe and desert species),
their edaphic variants (halophilous and psammophil-
ous), and a ruderal adventive component, as well as
azonal and intrazonal complexes.
The study of ﬂora synanthropization is of special
interest as a means to reveal the main directions in the
anthropogenic evolution of vegetation. The anthropo-
chorous component of the Astrakhan ﬂora includes two
components: adventive plants (accidentally distributed
due to human activities) and introduced, or cultivated
plants. Plants growing in Astrakhan may supplement
the ﬂora with new adventive species, and a complete list
of these plants may be useful for analyzing the intensity
of anthropogenic transformation of the vegetation. The
study of adventive species is also important with regard
to the history of the ﬂora: the dynamics of some species
may have a ﬂuctuating pattern, whereas other species
can invade natural phytocenoses (e.g.,
) or become virtually ubiquitous, as is the
case with the roadside species
The development of an economic typology of the
ruderal vegetation is of great importance for the utiliza-
tion of useful ruderal plants and improvement of eco-
logical conditions (Rozenberg
, 1995). A compre-
hensive analysis of the Astrakhan ﬂora will show the
ways to optimize the situation with spontaneous vege-
The ﬂora of Astrakhan is understood as a histori-
cally formed complex combining species of the steppe
and desert zonal groups and intrazonal species of
meadow–bog ecotopes. A major contribution to the
study of this ﬂora was made by S.I. Korzhinskii (1882),
who described 338 plant species in the city and its envi-
rons. Thereafter, no systematic ﬂoristic studies were
performed for more than 100 years.
The inventory of the Astrakhan ﬂora in 2002–2003
revealed 439 species of vascular plants. The basic mate-
rial for this study consisted mainly of personal herbar-
ium collections and long-term ﬁeld observations of the
authors performed in Astrakhan and in its environs,
within 2 km from the conventional city limits. In the
course of these studies, ample herbarium material was
collected, processed, and systematized. Rich herbari-
ums of the Department of Botany, Astrakhan State Uni-
versity, were also used. In addition, ﬂoristic data published
previously were critically reviewed and generalized.
The study covered all districts of the city; both
urbanized and “native” ecosystems were taken into
consideration. Lawns, transport arteries (railroads and
highways), sports areas and playing grounds for chil-
dren, industrial waste dumps, technogenic substrates,
wastelands, garbage dumps, sandy areas, Baer mounds,
and meadow and aquatic plant communities were stud-
ied within city limits. Plant species were determined
Anthropogenic Transformation of Flora in the City of Astrakhan
and Its Environs over the Past 100 Years
A. L. Sal’nikov and V. N. Pilipenko
Astrakhan State University, pl. Shaumyana 1, Astrakhan, 414000 Russia
Received February 25, 2004
—Trends in the anthropogenic transformation of ﬂora in the city of Astrakhan and its environs over
the past 100 years are discussed. In general, the process of ﬂora synanthropization is observed, with natural
aboriginal plant communities being replaced by anthropogenically altered communities.
: urban ﬂora, dynamics of ﬂora, synanthropization, biodiversity.