Soil seed bank of an alpine lichen heath in the Northwestern Caucasus: species richness
Soil seed bank of an alpine lichen heath was studied by sampling a whole 0.49 m2 plot with subsamples of 10x10 cm size. Germination process continued during three years. 18 species were identified in the seed bank. The species composition was similar to our earlier findings. Species area dependence was analysed in series of plots from 0.01 to 0.49 m2. No significant differences were found between floristic diversity of viable seeds in the soil and floristic diversity of aboveground vegetation at the same plot sizes. Cumulative curve of species richness depending on amount of samples showed that ten to twenty samples are enough to reveal most of the species persisting in the seed bank. Differences between years of sampling as well as species richness dependence on amount of samples and total area of sampling are discussed.
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