Academic journal article Estonian Journal of Ecology

Analysis of Some Limiting Ecological Factors on the Example of the Distribution of the Genus Tilia L. Cultivated in Latvia

Academic journal article Estonian Journal of Ecology

Analysis of Some Limiting Ecological Factors on the Example of the Distribution of the Genus Tilia L. Cultivated in Latvia

Article excerpt


The distribution of plants is a result of the interactions between the environment (abiotic and biotic) and plants (Wang et al., 2006). It is well known that the macro-distribution of plants is primarily controlled by climate (Woodward, 1987; Prentice et al., 1992). The distribution of terrestrial plants and animals depends on different environmental factors, among which climate is of particular importance. Climate involves long-term periodical changes of a set of environmental factors such as temperature, precipitation, wind, etc. As a rule, the geographical distribution of species is determined not by a single climatic factor but by a complex of factors (Laivins and Melecis, 2003).

Trees and shrubs of the genus Tilia L. are widely distributed and locally important members of the northern temperate mixed forests (Maurins and Zvirgzds, 2006; Pigott, 2012). The genus includes 23 species and 14 subspecies (Pigott, 2012). In Latvia, only one species grows naturally, namely Tilia cordata Mill., but in plantations 17 species and 3 subspecies have been established. In recent years Tiliaplatyphyllos Scop. has started to grow naturally near plantations (Jursevska and Evarts-Bunders, 2010). Tilia spp. are widely distributed in three isolated regions: East Asia, Europe and West Asia, and North America (Radoglou et al., 2009; Pigott, 2012). They grow in temperate, subtropical, and tropical climates and occur from moist to dry regions (Muir, 1984). From these regions of distribution, the following taxa have been introduced in the territory of Latvia: European and West Asian species T. cordata Mill., T. dasystyla Stev., T. platyphyllos Scop., T. tomentosa Moench; East Asian species T. amurensis Rupr., T. japonica (Miq.) Simonk., T. kiusiana Makino & Shirasawa, T. mongolica Maxim., T. mandshurica Rupr. et Maxim., T. sibirica Fisch. ex Bayer; and North American species T. americana L., T. caroliniana Mill., T. heterophylla Vent. In Latvia also inter-species hybrids T. x euchlora K. Koch, T. x flaccida Host ex Bayer, T. x flavescens A. Braun ex Doll, T. x moltkei Spath, and T. x vulgaris Hayne are encountered.

The representatives of these deciduous trees have become increasingly important in municipal parks of large cities and play a central role as avenue trees (Sukopp and Wurzel, 2000). Growing damages of Tilia were observed in European cities because of the ubiquitous stress factors such as salt and drought (Helsinki, Warsaw, Budapest) (Liesebach and Sinko, 2008). In city greeneries in Central, Eastern, and Northern Europe (Smbo et al., 2003; Sander et al., 2003; Bengtsson, 2005), including in Latvia (Zvirgzds, 1986; Rupais, 1989; Laivins et al., 2009), one of the most widely used tree taxa is T. x vulgaris (Cakstere, 2011).

The natural areas of the species in most cases explain the regularities of their distribution; for example, the distribution of Fagus L. in the world (Fang and Lechowicz, 2006), the distribution of Sorbus torminalis (L.) Crantz (Madera et al., 2013), etc. The introduction and acclimatization of trees is not often described in research works. Certain woody plants, such as Betula pendula Roth in Canadian prairies, are described in acclimatization studies (Rousi et al., 2012). However, the research on the distribution, acclimatization, and winter hardiness of introduced plants in definite territories, as well as on the determining climatic factors, is insufficient.

One of the most significant limiting factors of the distribution of woody plants is their winter hardiness. Accurate prediction of winter hardiness is a key component to the successful cultivation and survival of long-lived woody plants in many regions of the world (Daly et al., 2012). To prognosticate the survival of plants in winter the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) focused on winter hardiness in the 1960s; a map of plants hardiness zones was elaborated (Rehder, 1967; Daly et al. …

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