Cultivated woody plants as indicators of ongoing climate change in St. Petersburg, Russia

Gennady A. Firsov, Nadia Bystriakova and Irina V. Belyaeva

In the city of St. Petersburg, in the last three decades a substantial increase has been observed in the mean annual air temperature and in annual precipitation. The response of cultivated plants to the ongoing climate change remain poorly understood. The article reports results of a comparison of the tolerance of woody plants to climate change in St. Petersburg at the beginning of the 21 st century (2001–2018) with the data compiled by E.L. Wolf (1917) for the period 1886–1916. This research was carried out for 593 species and infraspecific taxa from 164 genera belonging to 61 families. Most of the taxa (342 species and infraspecific taxa, 57.5%) perform better in the current climate than in the earlier period, the performance of 232 (39%) species and infraspecific taxa were unchanged, and only 21 species (3.5%) were less able to cope with the current climate. The trend towards a warmer climate makes it possible to expand from Wolf's time the range of geographic regions from which new species of woody plants may be successfully introduced into St. Petersburg. Thus, the number of species and forms that are promising in their winter tolerance for landscaping in St. Petersburg and other cities and towns of Northwest European Russia is expanding.
Skvortsovia: 6(4): 1 — 84 (published on line Dec 23, 2020)