Guzyaliya F. Suleymanova, Deputy Director in Science of the National park «Khvalynsky» (Russia, 412787, Saratov region, Khvalynsk town, Oktyabrskaya street, 2b); PhD Student of the Saratov State University (Russia, 410012, Saratov, Astrakhanskaya street, 83); e-mail:
Vladimir A. Boldyrev, Head of the Department of Botany and Ecology of the Biological Faculty in the Saratov State University (Russia, 410012, Saratov, Astrakhanskaya street, 83); e-mail:
Victor A. Savinov, Director of the National park «Khvalynsky» (Russia, 412787, Saratov region, Khvalynsk town, Oktyabrskaya street, 2b); e-mail:

Reference to article

Suleymanova G.F., Boldyrev V.A., Savinov V.A. 2019. Post-fire restoration of plant communities with Paeonia tenuifolia in the Khvalynsky National Park (Russia). Nature Conservation Research 4(Suppl.1): 57–77.

Section Research articles

The paper considers indicators of the dynamics of plant communities with Paeonia tenuifolia before and after fire impact. Studies were conducted in the Khvalynsky National Park (forest-steppe zone of Russia) in 2008–2018. The authors conducted a complex study in burned and unburned plant communities. An assessment of the effects of fire impact and the development of a post-fire action plan were considered in the Protected Area. The plant community Paeonia tenuifolia + Calamagrostis epigejos + Adonis vernalisPotentilla volgarica burned down in 2009. The plant community Paeonia tenuifolia + Stipa pennata + Adonis vernalisAnemone sylvestris was unburned. To characterise plant communities with Paeonia tenuifolia and its coenopopulations, we used standard geobotanical description methods. Sixty seven vascular plant species were part of the post-fire phytocoenosis. Of them, 14 species are included in the Red Data Book of the Saratov region. Changes in the post-fire plant community have occurred in the following order: 1) Paeonia tenuifolia + Calamagrostis epigejos + Adonis vernalis – Stipa pennata (in 2008) → 2) Paeonia tenuifolia + Elymus repens + Stipa pennata + Adonis vernalis + Thalictrum simplex (in 2010) → 3) Paeonia tenuifoliaStipa pennataCalamagrostis epigejos + Festuca valesiaca +Phleum pratense + Poa bulbosa + Prunus tenella (in 2011) → 4) Paeonia tenuifolia + Adonis vernalis + Stipa pennata (in 2015, 2017, 2018). After the fire influence on a plant community, the following changes took place: 1) annuals and ruderal plant species appeared and increased their abundance; 2) the ratio of dominant species has changed. In 2012–2018, the phytocenotic role of Calamagrostis epigejos decreased, while the coverage and abundance of Stipa pennata increased at the same period. The abundance dynamics of Paeonia tenuifolia decreased in 2010, while in 2015–2018, its value gradually increased. The species richness of the post-pyrogenic plant community varied from 20 species in the first post-fire year to 38 species in the last study year. In the first post-fire year, the families Poaceae (six species), Leguminosae plants (three species), Rosaceae plants (three species) occupied the leading positions. During the post-pyrogenic succession, the dominant position of the listed families was not changing. Species of Compositae, Poaceae, Ranunculaceae families prevailed in the unburned plant community. Steppe plants dominated in the post-fire plant community: Stipa pennata, Adonis vernalis, and Paeonia tenuifolia. The leading ecologic-coenotic groups were steppe plants (70%), meadow plants (16%), forest plants (5%), and ruderal plants (9%). Weed-steppe plants were indicators of habitat disturbance by human activities. Among weed-steppe plants, there were Arenaria serpyllifolia, Viola rupestris, Erysimum canescens, Verbascum lychnitis. Gradient analysis of environmental conditions showed that the highest value of the vitality index (IVC = 1.15) corresponds to the best conditions for the growth and survival of the Paeonia tenuifolia population in the post-fire community. In the control site, the vitality index (IVC = 0.85) corresponded to unfavourable conditions for plant development. We studied the age spectra of the natural Paeonia tenuifolia populations in the burned and unburned communities. We showed that both populations were normal, complete, and young. The fire-damaged populations were younger than the populations in the unburned communities. We suggest the need of comprehensive monitoring studies to properly assess the fire effects and subsequent management actions for the vegetation restoration after fire influence.


age spectrum, forest-steppe zone, plant community, plant population, Рrotected Area, pyrogenic succession, rare species, Stipa pennata

Artice information

Received: 20.11.2018. Revised: 25.05.2019. Accepted: 06.06.2019.

The full text of the article

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