Arid Ecosystems | 2019
Variations in the Botanical Diversity of Forbs–Bunchgrass Steppes of Eastern Mongolia over an 11-Year Period (2008–2018)
The dynamics of the botanical diversity of plain forbs–bunchgrass steppes is analyzed for the period of 2008–2018 based on materials from the biomonitoring of plant cover at the Tumentsogt experimental station (Eastern Mongolia) as part of the scientific program of an integrated Russian–Mongolian biological expedition. Eight permanent test plots of 100 m2 were laid along the transect on the plain between hills in the northeastern part of the experimental station. We analyzed the correlation between the main parameters of the plant communities (the species composition, richness, and saturation; the height and abundance of species; and the density of grass stands) with the meteorological conditions (the heat supply and the amount and distribution of precipitation during the growing period). A combined analysis of phytocenotic and climatic data was performed with nonparametric multidimensional scaling of indirect ordination. Ecotopic fluctuations caused by changes in the amount and regime of precipitation in different years, as well as by the dynamics of the temperature regime, were studied. The species saturation of communities was maximal in years with low ombrothermic indices and lowest in years with high indices. The floristic composition of communities of three–feather-grass steppes includes a flora-cenotic core composed of 23 permanent perennial steppe and forest–steppe species, which provides a relative stability of ecosystems under changing environmental conditions. The dynamics of steppe ecosystems of the East Mongolian steppes is phytocyclic.