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Browsing by Subject "curation"

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  • Hällfors, Maria (2010)
    Vegetation maps and bioclimatic zone classifications communicate the vegetation of an area and are used to explain how the environment regulates the occurrence of plants on large scales. Many practises and methods for dividing the world's vegetation into smaller entities have been presented. Climatic parameters, floristic characteristics, or edaphic features have been relied upon as decisive factors, and plant species have been used as indicators for vegetation types or zones. Systems depicting vegetation patterns that mainly reflect climatic variation are termed 'bioclimatic' vegetation maps. Based on these it has been judged logical to deduce that plants moved between corresponding bioclimatic areas should thrive in the target location, whereas plants moved from a different zone should languish. This principle is routinely applied in forestry and horticulture but actual tests of the validity of bioclimatic maps in this sense seem scanty. In this study I tested the Finnish bioclimatic vegetation zone system (BZS). Relying on the plant collection of Helsinki University Botanic Garden's Kumpula collection, which according to the BZS is situated at the northern limit of the hemiboreal zone, I aimed to test how the plants' survival depends on their provenance. My expectation was that plants from the hemiboreal or southern boreal zones should do best in Kumpula, whereas plants from more southern and more northern zones should show progressively lower survival probabilities. I estimated probability of survival using collection database information of plant accessions of known wild origin grown in Kumpula since the mid 1990s, and logistic regression models. The total number of accessions I included in the analyses was 494. Because of problems with some accessions I chose to separately analyse a subset of the complete data, which included 379 accessions. I also analysed different growth forms separately in order to identify differences in probability of survival due to different life strategies. In most analyses accessions of temperate and hemiarctic origin showed lower survival probability than those originating from any of the boreal subzones, which among them exhibited rather evenly high probabilities. Exceptionally mild and wet winters during the study period may have killed off hemiarctic plants. Some winters may have been too harsh for temperate accessions. Trees behaved differently: they showed an almost steadily increasing survival probability from temperate to northern boreal origins. Various factors that could not be controlled for may have affected the results, some of which were difficult to interpret. This was the case in particular with herbs, for which the reliability of the analysis suffered because of difficulties in managing their curatorial data. In all, the results gave some support to the BZS, and especially its hierarchical zonation. However, I question the validity of the formulation of the hypothesis I tested since it may not be entirely justified by the BZS, which was designed for intercontinental comparison of vegetation zones, but not specifically for transcontinental provenance trials. I conclude that botanic gardens should pay due attention to information management and curational practices to ensure the widest possible applicability of their plant collections.