Endangered vegetation communities map
Rare species of plants
The habitats of rare species of plants in the Russian and Mongolian parts of the Baikal basin are visually presented on the map “Rare species of vascular plants” using the cartographic interpretation technique. In order to create this map for the Russian part of the basin, the authors used the lists and characteristics of rare species included in the Red Book of the Russian Federation (Plants and Fungi). In this part of the basin, the map shows the habitats of 31 vascular plants (see the list) with different categories of the extinction risk according to the Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Category 0 (probably extinct, but the possibility of their preservation cannot be excluded) includes Isoetes lacustris. Category 1 (endangered) includes four species: Astragalus olchonensis, Vicia tsydenii, Festuca bargusinensis, and Viola incisa. Category 2 (decreasing in number) also includes four species: Caulinia flexilis, Hedysarum zundukii, Epipogium aphyllum, and Deschampsia turczaninowii. Category 3 (rare) includes 25 species represented by small populations that are currently not endangered and vulnerable. Often, these species are distributed within a limited area or have a narrow ecological amplitude.
For the map of the Mongolian part of the Baikal basin, we used information on the species composition and location of rare species of vascular plants from the electronic version of Mongolian Red Book. Habitats of 51 species are identified including a rare endemic species Saxifraga hirculus, six very rare relics: Adonis mongolica, Vicia tsydenii, Kobresia robusta, Nymphaea tetragona, Lancea tibetica, and Tulipa uniflora, as well as rare relics: Zigadenus sibiricus and Caryopteris mongolica are marked. Altogether, there are 31 very rare and 11 rare species.
The map “Rare species of vascular plants under regional protection” shows the Baikal basin’s habitats of rare species under regional protection in Irkutsk oblast (Red Book of Irkutsk oblast), Buryatia (Red Book of the Republic of Buryatia), and Zabaikalsky krai (Red Book of Chita oblast). Altogether, there are 868 habitats of 201 species of vascular plants listed in the regional Red Books and the Red Book of the Russian Federation. Species in different regions have different status depending on the state of species population. Among the regional species, Lagopsis eriostachya and Isoetes lacustris have Category 0 (probably extinct), while 28 species are endangered (Category 1).
The map “Plant communities requiring protection” uses conventional symbols and is created based on the information from the Green Book of Siberia, Atlas of Irkutsk Oblast, and Electronic Atlas of the Slyudyansky District. According to the Forest Code of the Russian Federation, forests under protection of Group 1 and forests in specially protected territories must be conserved in the Baikal basin because of their economic and social values. These forests serve to protect water resources, preserve the environment, and perform sanitary, hygienic, therapeutic, and other functions. The following communities also require protection due to their scientific importance as standards of indigenous vegetation: the Polygonum bistorta + Carex aterrima and Stemmacantha carthamoides meadows; Rhododendron aureum alpine tundras of the subalpine zone; Filifolium sibiricum, Festuca litvinovii, and Stipa klemenzii - S. Baicalensis - Eremogone capillaries steppes; Ulmus macrocarpa + Spiraea pubescens shrub steppe communities; Betula davurica - Artemisia desertorum + Calamagrostis brachytricha + Carex reventa forest communities; and Carex lasiocarpa + C. pseudocuraica + Iris laevigata marsh communities. Among the protected communities are very rare (Spodiopogon sibiricus; Armeniaca sibirica + Spiraea pubescens), relict (Arundinella anomala + Lespedeza hedysaroides), and unique (Stipa baicalensis + Paeonia lactiflora) communities, as well as communities located on the margins of their habitats (Pinus pumila; Caragana jubata) and reducing their habitat due to a high resource-related importance (Filifolium sibiricum + Phlojodicarpus sibiricus). The maps showing the distribution of rare vascular plant species and plant communities requiring protection can be used in the development of environmental policy aimed at optimizing nature resources management in the Baikal region to protect its biodiversity.