G. Forests

Woods and shrubs of Field elm (Ulmus minor)

Relationships with habitat classifications. EUNIS: G1.A614 Sub-continental field elm woods; PAL. CLASS.: 41.F14 Sub-continental Field elm woods; Bondev (1991): 114 Mixed Flowering ash (Fraxinus ornus), Silver lime (Tilia tomentosa), Field elm (Ulmus minor) forests partly with Maple (Acer campestre).

Conservation status. None.

Category. Endangered [EN – B1 C1 D2 E2 F2 G2 H2 J L1].

General characteristics. Mixed thermophilic woods and shrubs with constant and very often prevailing participation of Field elm (Ulmus minor). They are mainly of secondary origin and occupy field margins, ravines, slopes of heights and dikes in the periphery of arable land. The soils are Phaeozems, Luvisols, Planosols and Chernozems that have developed mainly on loess or limestone. The tree species in this habitat originate from tree shoots and have a shrubby outlook that is a result of felling and collection of wood for household heating. The projective cover of the tree-shrub layer varies between 60 and 90%. Apart from the Field elm co-ediphicators are Carpinus orientalis, Quercus pubescens, Q. cerris, Pyrus pyraster, Paliurus spina-christi, Prunus spinosa, Acer campestre, A. tataricum, Ligustrum vulgare, Rosa spp., etc. Fraxinus ornus and Tilia tomentosa occur relatively frequently on the northern slopes of the loess heights along the Danube and Provadia region. Typical species for the thermophilic oak forests such as Asparagus officinalis, Galium aparine, Lamium garganicum, Myrrhoides nodosa, Poa nemoralis occur occur in the ground synusium. A number of ruderals such as Aegilops neglecta, Avena fatua, Bromus sterilis, Echium vulgare,Logfia arvensis, Pastinaca sativa, Verbena officinalis etc. are also found, as well as species from the adjacent herbaceous communities like (Chrysopogon gryllus, Cichorium intybus, Knautia arvensis, Lolium perenne, Salvia sclarea, S. verbenaca, Vicia cracca etc.). The total projective cover of the herbaceous plants is about 15–40%.

Syntaxonomically the thermophilic woods and shrubs of the Field elm belong to class Quercetea pubescentis, order Fraxino orni-Cotinetalia and alliance Syringo-Carpinion orientalis in North Bulgaria and to order Quercetalia pubescentis-petreae and alliance Carpinion orientalis  in South Bulgaria.

Characteristic taxa.

Distribution in Bulgaria. The forests and shrubs of the Field elm have fragmented distribution in the lowlands, hilly areas and low mountains all over Bulgaria from 50 to 400 m alt.

Conservation importance. Occurring mainly in areas with prevailing arable land, the woods and shrubs with Field elm are an important habitat for a number of animal species (birds, rodents, carnivores, insects, etc.), rare plants (Anemone sylvestris, Himantoglossum hircinum, Limodorum abortivum, Nepeta parviflora, Ophrys sphegodes, Paeonia tenuifolia, Salvia verbenaca etc.), and the fungal species of conservation value, Inonotus ulmicola and Lenzites warnieri.

Threats. Fragmentation, felling, grazing, ploughing, fires.

Conservation measures taken. Parts of the localities are within sites from the European Ecological Network NATURA 2000.

Conservation measures needed. Detailed phytocoenological studies, mapping and monitoring of the localities, management of grazing, fire prevention activities, elaboration of legal instruments to protect rare and endangered habitats.

References. Stefanov 1927, 1943; Stojanov 1941.

Authors: Marius Dimitrov, Alexander Tashev

Woods and shrubs of Field elm (Ulmus minor) (distribution map)