ISSN 10674136, Russian Journal of Ecology, 2014, Vol. 45, No. 6, pp. 473–479. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2014.
Belarusian Polesie altogether with the Pripyat river
valley is part of the largest in Eastern Europe complex
of wetlands, peatlands and swamps, which cover ca.
(Kondracki 1992, Masing et al. 2010).
Within the area there is the Turov Meadow—one of
the nowadays uncommon wetlands, which are barely
changed by human. It is the best preserved fragment of
the Pripyat river valley, under law protection in the
local scale and a place of international importance as
the Mid–Pripyat State Landscape Zakaznik Ramsar
site (Kozulin et al. 1997, 2002, Samusenko 2000).
Many authors point that natural ecosystems occur
in European river valleys only fragmentarily (Grevil
liot and Muller 2002, Kamp et al. 2004, Krause et al.
2011). Still, their remnants, especially those well pre
served and traditionally managed, are characterized by
high species richness of plants (Norderhaug et al.
2000) and they are refuges for valuable and threatened
taxa (Selinger–Looten et al. 1999, Luoto 2000,
Gerard et al. 2008, St pie 2009). A good example is
, plant common in the Pripyat valley
and endangered in central Europe (Grevilliot and
Muller 2002, Geissler and Gzik 2010).
In the spring the Pripyat river forms backwaters
with riverbed elevations, located above the water level.
Those places, called in this paper ‘periodic islands’.
The article is published in the original.
The aim of the research was to characterize floristic
composition and habitat conditions of the ‘islands’.
The study was carried out in the fragment of natu
ral, riparian meadows, in the rightbank of middle part
of the Pripyat river valley, located close to Turov town
(S Belarus, 52
E, Gomel region, Zhitk
ovichi district) (Fig. 1).
Study area is located in southeastern part of the
‘MidPripyat’ nature reserve, established in 1999 and
covering the area of 90 447 ha and also within the
‘Turov Meadow’ area (500 ha), which has interna
tional protection status and is a Ramsar site (Kozulin
et al. 1997, 2002). The middle part of the river alto
gether with its tributaries belongs to the central part of
the Polesie Lowland. Along that stretch, river is char
acterized by a strong meandering (meandering index
from 2.1 to 2.8), with many distributaries and oxbows.
The slope of the riverbed in the vicinity of Turov is
0.11 m/km and its width varies from 100 to 175 m.
Every year the river valley is inundated during the
spring flood (Mongin and Pinchuk 1999). Appearing
backwaters are widespread and they are characterized
by a relatively low water level (Kozulin et al. 2002).
The flooding period in the Pripyat valley usually lasts
3.5 to 4 months. In the floodplains close to Turov town
water usually remains for 62 days and the water level in
Plant Species Richness of Riverbed Elevations—the Pripyat River
Valley Case Study
, K. ko
and L. Pilacka
Department of Plant Taxonomy and Nature Conservation, University of Gda sk,
Wita Stwosza 59, PL–80–308 Gda sk, Poland
Avian Ecophysiology Unit, Department of Ecology and Vertebrates Zoology, Gda sk University,
Wita Stwosza 59, PL–80–308 Gda sk, Poland; Ornithological Station, Museum and Institute of Zoology,
Polish Academy of Sciences, Nadwi la ska 108, PL–80–680 Gda sk, Poland
Received January 9, 2014
—Flora of the still unchanged or slightly modified floodplains is particularly valuable. Such are the
natural, periodically flooded riparian ecosystems within the Mid–Pripyat river valley in Belarus. Distinctive
elements of that area are ‘periodic islands’, which arise from the most elevated parts of the riverbed during
flooding and have a specific microtopography. The aim of the research was to recognize floristic composition
and ecological conditions of the ‘islands.’ Noted plants were mainly photophilous, by clearly varied in soil
moisture, acidity and fertility requirements.
: species diversity; floodplain area; river; Belarus
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