Oleg G. Grishutkin, PhD, Researcher of the Laboratory for systematics and geography of aquatic plants in the Papanin Institute for Biology of Inland Waters of RAS (152742, Russia, Yaroslavl region, Mekouzskiy district, Borok settlement, building 109); Senior Researcher of the Joint Directorate of the Mordovia State Nature Reserve and National Park "Smolny" (430007, Russia, Republic of Mordovia, Saransk, Krasnaya Street, 30); e-mail:
Margarita A. Boychuk, PhD, Senior Researcher of the Laboratory of the Wetland Ecosystems of the Institute of Biology of the Karelian Research Centre of RAS (11 Pushkinskaya St., 185910 Petrozavodsk, Karelia, Russia); e-mail:
Galina A. Grishutkina, Senior Researcher of the Joint Directorate of the Mordovia State Nature Reserve and National Park "Smolny" (430007, Russia, Republic of Mordovia, Saransk, Krasnaya Street, 30); e-mail:
Valeria V. Rukavishnikova, Student of the M.E. Evsevyev Mordovia State Pedagogical Institute (430007, Saransk, Studencheskaya Street, 11A); e-mail:

Reference to article

Grishutkin O.G., Boychuk M.A., Grishutkina G.A., Rukavishnikova V.V. 2020. Check-list and ecology of Sphagnum mosses (Sphagnaceae) in the Republic of Mordovia (Russia). Nature Conservation Research 5(3): 114–133.

Section Research articles

Sphagnaceae are an important component of ecosystems. In the forest-steppe zone, where the Republic of Mordovia (Russia) is located, many of these mosses are situated at the edge of the species range. This highlights an importance to research their species diversity and ecology. In this paper, we summarised all available data on Sphagnum species in the Republic of Mordovia. They include literature data, herbarium collections, and results of our own research conducted in 2011–2019. One more task was the compilation of an annotated list of species, analysis of Sphagnum ecology in the Republic of Mordovia. In total, we investigated about 200 mires, swampy and moist lands. We found Sphagnum species on 169 sites where we made 452 geobotanical relevés. We collected and identified about 1450 specimens of Sphagnum species. Of them, 375 specimens are stored in HMNR and GMU. Our study has resulted in an annotated species list containing 26 Sphagnum species, known reliably in the Republic of Mordovia. Such a species diversity is comparable with one in regions of the forest-steppe zone, while the species diversity is lower than in regions of the taiga zone of European Russia. The most frequently occurring species were Sphagnum fallax, S. angustifolium, S. flexuosum, S. squarrosum, S. fimbriatum, S. divinum, S. centrale. Most of the species inhabit transitional mires and bogs. The lower number of species were found in lowland marshes and boggy forests, where Sphagnum mosses are arranged in small clumps and they do not form a solid moss cover. Sphagnum species occur mainly on the terraces of large and medium rivers, as well as on the water-glacial plain. In the other parts of the Republic of Mordovia (landscapes of secondary moraine and erosion-denudation plains), records of Sphagnum species are sporadic. We found quite considerable differences in environmental preferences of Sphagnum species, including habitat illumination, soil moisture, soil trophicity, soil pH, soil nitrogen. The highest variation was noted for Sphagnum fallax dominating in most of the transitional mires and represented by the highest number of specimens from the Republic of Mordovia in herbarium collections. Similar habitat conditions are found for S. flexuosum. The following species prefer poorer soils with higher pH values and lower moisture: Sphagnum fuscum, S. divinum, S. russowii, and a species less demanding on moisture, S. angustifolium. Sphagnum papillosum, S. majus, S. riparium are species with a middle demand on soil nutrition (nitrogen), soil pH and with a higher demand on soil moisture. Sphagnum centrale, S. fimbriatum, S. girgensohnii are species preferring relatively rich soils with low pH values. At the same time, the last mentioned species prefers dryer and shadower habitats. In general, our research conducted on ecology of Sphagnum species is consistent with literature data from other regions with little differences for some species.


bog, boggy forest, environmental factors, plant association, swamp, transitional mire

Artice information

Received: 28.12.2019. Revised: 25.06.2020. Accepted: 13.07.2020.

The full text of the article

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