Disappearing population of Betula humilis Schrk. on the Maliszewskie Lake, NE Poland
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Biodiv. Res. Conserv. 2015;(37):69–73
Betula humilis Schrk. is an endangered glacial relict inhabiting wet meadows, natural and drained fens. One of its declining populations is located on the Maliszewskie Lake (the Wizna swamp, north-eastern Poland). The goal of the present study was to estimate the number of B. humilis individuals in this locality. In the Maliszewskie Lake population, 59 ramets, grouped into three clusters, were found. Twelve nuclear microsatellite loci were chosen to genotype 52 ramets. The analysis revealed that all the shoots within the single cluster had the same genotypes at the loci considered. This means that each cluster constituted one genetically distinct individual; thus, there were only three individuals of B. humilis in the studied population. The maintenance of the B. humilis population in the Maliszewskie Lake area requires urgent active protection involving removal of the shading vegetation. In fact, the entire Maliszewskie Lake is worthy of protection because of its hitherto unexplained origin and the occurrence of many endangered bird species.