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BOTANICAL NOTE
Localities of relict species Betula humilis (Betulaceae) in the Upper Nurzec Valley in the North Podlasie Lowland (NE Poland)
 
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Katedra Inżynierii Rolno-Spożywczej i Kształtowania Środowiska, Politechnika Białostocka, ul. Wiejska 45 E, 15-351 Białystok, Polska
Online publication date: 2019-07-01
Publication date: 2019-07-01
 
Fragm. Flor. et Geobot. Pol. 2019; XXVI(1): 161–168
 
ABSTRACT
Betula humilis Schrank (shrubby birch) is among the most endangered shrub species in Poland. All localities are in the eastern and northern parts of the country, where the species reaches the western border of its geographical range in Europe. Betula humilis is disappearing in Poland due to wetland melioration and shrub succession. Over 80% of the localities described in Poland have not been confirmed in the last 20 years. Five new localities of B. humilis in the North Podlasie Lowland were recorded from 2008 to 2019 in the Upper Nurzec Valley (Fig. 1): 1–1.5 km south-west of Pawlinowo village (in the ATPOL GC7146 plot) and 1.5–2 km north-west of Żuki village (ATPOL GC7155, GC156 and GC166). The population near Pawlinowo (locality 1) is currently composed of ~80 individuals (101 individuals were noted in 2010) and is one of the largest populations in north-eastern Poland. Betula humilis grows there within patches dominated by Salix rosmarinifolia and megaforbs. The population at locality 5 is composed of 18 individuals. At the remaining localities, only 1–4 individuals were found, scattered along drainage ditches surrounded by hay meadows. At some of these localities the species is threatened with extinction. It is suggested to remove competitive trees and shrubs (mainly Populus tremula, Betula pubescens and Salix cinerea) in order to maintain the local populations.
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