Abundance and occurrence of Danae racemosa growing in Hyrcanian forest understory in relation to static and dynamic environmental variables


  • Morteza Masoudi Tarbiat Modares
  • Hasan Zare Maivan Faculty of Biological Science, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran
  • Ahmadreza Mehrabian




Ecological factors, priority for conservation, habitat management


Danae racemosa L., an endangered species, is an erect, evergreen shrub which grows in shaded forest understory in Hyrcanian forests of Iran. Except for limited knowledge of sporadic occurrence of D. racemosa in unique moist locations, there is not much information about its ecological preferences and environmental requirements. This study investigated the relationship of D. racemosa presence (abundance) and occurrence with static (soil properties and elevation from sea level) and dynamic (climate, precipitation and human disturbance) variables. Plant and soil samples from 21 locations of occurrence (sites) of D. racemosa were collected along the Caspian Sea southern coastline. At each site of occurrence (site), three 100 m2 (10×10 m) plot was set up, and plant biometry and density recorded. Soil samples were taken from depths of 0-25 cm and let to air dry in the lab. Later, dried soil samples were crushed to pass through a 2 mm mesh sieve and analyzed for different physico-chemical properties. Meteorological data over the past 10 years (2009-2019) in the relevant area were obtained from Iran Meteorological Organization. Cluster analysis classified 21 sampling sites into four groups of habitats. Data were analyzed using Principal Component Analysis (PCA) methods and habitats are classified based on environmental factors. Correlation analysis between environmental factors and density showed that soil texture (clay content), precipitation and human activity are the most important factors affecting abundance of D.racemosa. Findings of this investigation are useful in developing D. racemosa habitat protection, restoration and management guidelines as well as necessitates urgency of awareness raising.


Abdelaal, M., Fois, M. & Fenu, G. (2017). The influence of natural and anthropogenic factors on the floristic features of the northern coast of Nile Delta in Egypt. Plant Biosyst. 152. https://doi.org/10.1080/11263504.2017.1302999.

Adel, M.N., Pourbabaei, H. & Daniel, C.D. (2014). Ecological species group – environmental factors relationship in unharvested beach forest in the north of Iran. Ecological Engineering, 1-7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoleng.2014.03.008.

Ahmed, D.A., Fawzy, M., Saeed, N.M. & Awad, M.A. (2015). Effect of the recent land use on the plant diversity and community structure of Omayed Biosphere Reserve, Egypt. Global Ecology and Conservation 4, 26-37. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2015.05.005.

Akbarlou, M. & Nodehi, N. (2016). Relationship between some environmental factors with distribution of medicinal plants in Ghorkhud protected region, Northern Khorasan Province, Iran. Journal of Rangeland Science 6 (1): 63-72.

Akhani, H., Djamali, M., Ghorbanzadeh, A. & Ramezani, E. (2010). Plant biodiversity of Hyrcanian relict forests, N Iran. An overviewof the flora, vegetation, paleoecologyand conservation. Pak.J.Bot., 42: 231-258.

Amissah, L., Mohren, G.M.J., Bongers, F., Hawthorne, W.D. & Lourens Poorter, L. (2014). Rainfall and temperature affect tree species distribution in Ghana. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 30 (5): 435-446. https://doi.org/10.1017/S026646741400025.

Andreasen, C., Streibig, J.C. & Haas, H. (1991). Soil properties affecting the distribution of 37 weed species in Danish fields. Weed Res. 31, 181-187. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-3180.1991.tb01757.

Ashcroft, M.B., French, K.O. & Chisholm, L. A. (2011): An evaluation of environmental factors affecting species distributions. Ecological Modelling 222: 524-531. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2010.10.003.

Badano, E.I. (2005). Slope aspect influences association pattern in the Mediterranean natural of central Chile. – J. Arid Environ. 62: 93–108. https://doi.org/ 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2004.10.012.

Barnes, B.V., Zak, D.R. Denton, S.R. & Spurr. S.T. (1997). Forest ecology. John Willy and sons, 774 pp.

Baker, J.G. (1875): Revision of the genera and species of Asparagaceae. J Linn Soc, 14:508-632. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8339.1875.tb00349.

Bazdid, F. V., Saeidi, S.M., Dey C.D. & Naqinezhad, A. (2017). Environmental factors–ecological species group relationships in the Surash lowland-mountain forests in northern Iran. Nordic Journal of Botany 35: 240–250. https://doi.org/10.1111/njb.01221.

Bower, C.A., Reitemeier, R.F. & Fireman, M. (1952). Exchangeable cation analysis of saline and alkali soils. Soil Sciences, 73: 251-261.

Chahoki, M.A., Jafari, M. & Azarnivand, H. (2007). Relationships between species diversity and environmental factors of Poshtkouh rangelands in Yazd. Iranian J.Paj. Saz. 21 (1), 192–199.

Chuangye, S., Hongxu, R. & Chong, H. (2015): Test the relative importance of biotic and abiotic factors on species distribution A case study in the Yellow River Delta. Acta Ecologica Sinica 35: 59-64. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chnaes.2015.04.007.

Dadamouny, M.A. & Schnittler, M. (2015). Trends of climate with rapid change in Sinai, Egypt. Journal of water and climate change 7 (2). https://doi.org/10.2166/wcc.2015.215.

Dale, M.R.T., Thomas, A.G. & John, E.A. (1992). Environmental factors including management practices as correlates of weed community composition in spring seeded crops. Can. J. Bot. 70, 1931e1939. https://doi.org/10.1139/b92-240.

Davies, K.W., Bates, J.D. & Miller, R.F. (2006): Vegetation characteristics across part of the Wyoming big sagebrush alliance. - Rangeland Ecology & Management 59: 567-575. https://doi.org/10.2111/06-004R2.1.

Dupre, C. & Ehrlen, J. (2002). Habitat configuration, species traits and plant distributions. Journal of Ecology 90:796–805. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2745.2002.00717.

Duraiappah, Anantha, K. & World Resources Institute (2006). Millennium Ecosystem Assessment: Ecosystems and Human-Well BeingdBiodiversity Synthesis. World Resources Institute, Washington, D.C.

Enright, N.J., Miller, B.P. & Akhter, R. (2005). Desert vegetation and vegetation-environment relationships in Kirthar National Park, Sindh, Pakistan. J. AridEnviron. 61, 397–418. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaridenv.2004.09.009.

Forman, R.T.T., Sperling, D., Bissonette, J.A., Clevenger, P., Cutshall, C.D., Dale, V.H., Fahrig, L., France, R., Goldman, C.R., Heanue, K., Jones, A.J., Swanson, F.J., Turrentine, T. & Winter, T.C. (2002). Road Ecology: Science and Solutions. Island Press, Washington, DC, 504 pp.

Fridley, J. D. (2001). The influence of species diversity on ecosystem productivity: how, where and why? Oikos 93:514–526. https://www.jstor.org/stable/3547100.

Ghahraman, A. (1994). The Chromophytes of Iran. Tehran: Tehran University Publication centre. (4): p.396-405.

Gholizadeh, H., Naqinejad, A. & Chytry, M. (2020). Classification of the Hyrcanian forest vegetation, Northern Iran. Applied vegetation Science, 23: 107-126. https://doi.org/10.1111/avsc.12469

Ghorbani, A., Abbasi, M., Asghari, A., Omidi, A. & Zara Hesari, B. (2015). Compare ecological factors affecting distribution species Artemisia fragrans Willd. And Artemisia austriaca Jacq. in southeastern rangelands of Sabalan. Journal of Rangeland 9 (2): 129- 141. (In Persian).

Hill, M.O. & Gauch, H.G. (1980). Detrended correspondence analysis: an improved ordination technique. Vegetatio 42, 47e58.

Hotelling, H. (1933). Analysis of a complex of statistical variables into principal components. J. Educ. Psychol. 24, 417e441, 498e520.

Kowarik, I. (1990). Some responses of flora and vegetation to urbanization in Central Europe. In: Sukopp, H., Hejny, S., Kowarik, I. (Eds.), Urban Ecology. SPB, Academic, Den Haag, pp. 45-74.

Kowarik, I. (1995). On the role of alien species in urban flora and vegetation. Pages. 85- 103. In: Pysek, P., Prach, K.,Rejm_anek,M.,Wade, P.M. (Eds.), Plant InvasionsdGeneral Aspects and Special Problems. SPB Academic, Amsterdam (Netherlands).

Kouch, Y., Jalilvand, H., Bahmanyyar, M.A. & Pormajidian, M.R. (2007). Ecological distribution of indicator species and effective edephical factors on the Northern Iran lowland forst. Journal of Applied Sicence, 7, 1475-1493.

Lavergne, S., Thuiller,W., Molin, J. & Debussch, M. (2005). Environmental and human factors influencing rare plant local occurrence, extinction and persistence: A 115-year study in the Mediterranean region. Journal of Biogeography, 32, 799–811. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2699.2005.01207.

Mahmoudi, A.A., Zahedi, G.H., & Etemad, V. (2012). The investigation on the relationship between soil physical and chemical properties and succulence of natural and planted saxaul (Haloxylon spp). Iranian Journal of Forest, 4 (4). (In Persian).

Makineci, E., Demir, M. & Yilmaz, E. (2007). Long-term harvesting effects on skid road in a fir (Abies bornmulleriana Mattf.) plantation forest. Building and Environment, 42: 1538-1843. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2006.01.003.

Marzluff, J.M. (2001). Worldwide urbanization and its effects on birds. In: Marzluff, J.M., Bowman, R., Donnelly, R. (Eds.), Avian Ecology in an Urbanizing World. Kluwer, Norwel,19-47.

Mossivand, A.M., Ghorbani, A. & Behjou, F.K. (2017). Effects of some ecological factors on distribution of Prangos uloptera and Prangos pabularia in Rangelands of Ardebil province, Iran. Applied Ecology and Environmental Research 15 (4), 957-968.

Mozaffarian V. (1996). Adictionary of Iranian Plants Names. 6 ed. Tehran: Farhang Mo'aser; p.176.

Naqdi, R., Pourbabaei, H., Heidari, M & Nouri, M. (2014). The Effects of Forest Road on Vegetation and Some Physical and Chemical Properties of Soil, Case Study: Shafarood Forests, District No.2. Iranian Forests Ecology, 2 (3), 49-64 (In Persian).

Naqinezhad, A., Gholizadeh H., Zare M., H. & Hodgson, J. G. (2013): Understory vegetation as an indicator of soil characteristics in the Hyrcanian area, N. Iran. Flora - Morphology Distribution Functional Ecology of plants 208(1):3–12. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11676-015-0019.

Naqinezhad, A., Gholizadeh H., Zare M., H. (2015): A floristic survey of the Hyrcanian forests in Northern Iran, using two lowland-mountain transects. Journal of Forestry Research 26(1):187-199. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.flora.2012.12.002.

Olsen, S. R., Cole, C.V., Watanabe, F. S. & Dean, L.A. (1954). Estimation of available phosphorus in soils by extraction with NaHco3, USDA CIR. 939. U.S. Washington.

Sala, O.E., Chapin, F.S. & Armesto, J.J. (2000). Global biodiversity scenarios for the year 2100. Science 287 (5459), 1770-1774.

Shabani, S., Akbarinia, M. Jalali G.H. & Aliarab, A. (2011). Impact of canopy gaps size on woody species biodiversity in mountainous forest of northern Iran (case study: beech stand of Lalis. Chalous Iranian Journal of Forest and Poplar research, 19: 73-82. (In Persian).

Shaltout, K.H., Hosni, H.A., El-Fahar, R.A. & Ahmed, D.A. (2015). Flora and vegetation of the different habitats of the western Mediterranean region of Egypt. Taeckholmia 35, 45-76. https://doi.org/10.21608/taec.2015.12216.

Shen, X., Yong, G. & Lu, Z. (2013). In Vitro Propagation of Alexandrian Laurel (Danae racemosa L. Moench), a Valuable Ornamental Plant. HORTSCIENCE 48(10):1301–1303.

Simpson, Michael G. (2005), "Asparagales", Plant Systematics, Elsevier Inc., pp. 163–165, ISBN 978-0-12-644460-5

Sternberg, M., & Shoshany, M. (2001): Influence of slope aspect on Mediterranean woody formations: Comparison of a semiarid and an arid site. Ecological Research, 16, 335-345.b. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1440-1703.2001.00393.x

Tamado, T., & Milberg, P. (2000). Weed flora in arable fields of eastern Ethiopia with emphasis on the occurrence of Parthenium hysterophorus. Weed Res. 40 (6), 507-521. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-3180.2000.00208.x

Trombulak, S.C., & Frissell, C.A. (2000). Review of ecological effects of roads on terrestrial and aquatic communities. Conservation Biology 14:18–30. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1523-1739.2000.99084. x

Zarrinkafsh, M. (2002). Forestry soil, interaction of soil and plants regarding ecological factors of forest ecosystems. Tehran, Iran: Research Institute of Forests and Rangeland (In Persian).

Zhang, J. & Dong, Y (2010): Factors affecting species diversity of plant communities and the restoration process in the loess area of China. Ecological Engineering 36(3):345-350.

Zhang, B., Cao, J., Bai, Y., Zhou, X., Yang, S & Hu, L (2013). Effect of rainfall amount and frequency on vegetation growth in Tibetan alpine meadow. Climatic Change, 118: 197-212. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-012-0622-2.




How to Cite

Masoudi, M. ., Maivan, H. Z. ., & Mehrabian, A. . (2022). Abundance and occurrence of Danae racemosa growing in Hyrcanian forest understory in relation to static and dynamic environmental variables. Journal of Wildlife and Biodiversity, 6(2), 1–21. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6501685