The terebinth population (Pistacia mutica Fisсh. & C.A. Mey.) in the Besh-Tash valley (South-East Crimea)
Authors: Letukhova V.Ju., Potapenko I.L., Kuznetsov M.E.
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A comprehensive work on the study of rare and protected wood plants on the territory of the Besh-Tash valley (South-East Crimea) was carried out on the instructions of Karadag Nature Reserve administration in 2013. The Besh-Tash valley (approximate area of 15 hectares) is wedged in the territory of the Karadag reserve from the south-west side, but it is not included in its structure. This article describes the material on distribution, abundance, population structure of terebinth (Pistacia mutica) in this area. P. mutica is a Mediterranean relict species of the Tertiary period, included in the Red Books of Russia, Crimea and Ukraine. Terebinth creates rare relict plant communities (formation P. mutica) listed in the Green Book of Ukraine.
In the study area we counted all P. mutica specimens. We determined their taxation parameters, as well as characterized their locality. Based on the literature and our own research age-state classes of P. mutica were characterized for the studied population. As a result, we registered a total number of 3086 specimens of P. mutica: immature (im) – 1259 (40.8%), virginal (v) – 1054 (34.2%), young generative (g1) – 341 (11.0%), middle-age generative (g2) – 372 (12.0%), mature generative (g3) – 60 (2.0%) plants. Senile plants have not been found out. So the age spectrum of the population is normal, not complete (without senile individuals), left-sided with predominance of immature plants. The population density is 206 specimens/ha.
In the Besh-Tash valley P. mutica forms its own dense thickets or it is the component of hemixerophytical oak forests with Quercus pubescens, Juniperus deltoides, rarer Cornus mas, Sorbus torminalis. It also grows in shrub communities with Pyrus elaeagrifolia, Paliurus spina-christi, Prunus spinosa, Rosa corymbifera, Cotoneaster tauricus, Crataegus species, rarer Cotinus coggygria, Clematis vitalba.
The distribution of the terebinth tree by elevation above sea level is analyzed. The great majority of the P. mutica population (97%) in the Besh-Tash valley is concentrated at an elevation of 30–120 m above sea level, so under the most favourable conditions, although some trees grow at an elevation of 173 m above sea level. The great majority of generative plants of P. mutica in the Besh-Tash valley have one trunk (73.8%). They are in a good state, (2.5–8.0 (10.0) m high and a trunk diameter to 32.0 cm). Trees with two or more trunks are also well developed, they have no evidence of anthropogenic damage. These facts may indicate favourable conditions for the growth of P. mutica in the area. The oldest trees are: 210 (h=10.0 m; d=32.0 cm), 200 (h=8.0 m; d=29.5 cm) and 190 (h=8.0 m; d=28.0 cm) years old. They are in a good state. We have also noted another 32 trees older than 100 years. In order to preserve the P. mutica population, its monitoring should be carried out in this area; besides, the oldest trees should be counted for the regular assessment of their phytosanitary status in future.