Boreal Fends & Plants: Conservation from an Ecoregional Perspective.
Locky, David A.
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Ecoregions are large areas of land and water that contain a geographically distinct assemblage of natural communities. They are increasingly being used as a framework for conservation planning across the globe. Within a large western Canadian Ecoregion, I studies the vegetation communities and environmental variables in wooded moderate-rich fens at sites in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. Wooded moderate-rich fens are a common boreal wetland, but among peat land types, are the most likely to have the highest plan species diversity and number of rare species. Total species diversity was greatest in Manitoba, and decreased in a longitudinal trend through Saskatchewan and Alberta. This may be related, in part, to the influence of orographic precipitation at Manitoba sites and to a decreasing gradient of environmental energy. Ten rare species of vascular plants were observed, with most of these in Alberta. Distinct plan communities were associated with all three locations, although bryophyte diversity increased with latitude and longitude, whereas vascular plant diversity decreased. Conservation plans based on Ecoregion boundaries are preferable to political boundaries, but need to account for within-Ecoregion changes in abiotic and biotic conditions. Rarer wetland types may be more appropriate for conservation planning at the Ecoregion scale.