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M. Zebec, M. Idžojtić, I. Poljak, I. Mihaldinec: VARIJABILNOST NIZINSKOG BRIJESTA (Ulmus minor Mill. ... Šumarski list br. 11–12, CXXXIV (2010), 569-580
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SUMMARY: Due to the Dutch elm disease elms (Ulmus L.) have been categorized
as a threatened genus within European flora, so that the protection of
their genetic resources has been set as the main goal of many multilateral European
projects. Due to exceptional sensitivity to the Dutch elm disease, as
well as the high variability of morphological features, special emphasis in
these studies has been put on the research of morphological and genetic variability
of the European field elm, as well as the delimitation of species within

U. minor Mill. sensu latissimo complex. The taxonomic structure of this complex,
despite very intensive research, including combining of morphometric
and molecular-biological methods, still represents an unknown.
In Croatia, the field elm appears in very different ecological conditions,
and it is assumed that populations, especially the ones from climatically contrasting
and geographically remote stands, differ from each other.

Croatian Drava River valley is a place of exceptional natural value and
very high biological and landscape diversity. This area is protected by law by
establishing Regional Park Mura-Drava, which is a part of the future MuraDrava-
Danube Biosphere Reserve. Along the Drava River banks, numeruos
anthropogenic activities took place (gas and oil exploitation, hydroelectric
power plants, hydroregulation by building of dams and canals, excavating of
sand and gravel from river bed). These activities resulted in changes in water
relations and caused tree dieback in lowland forest ecosystems, which had
drastic negative impact on biodiversity of this area. As a consequence of
above mentioned activities, the field elm (Ulmus minor Mill. sensu latissimo)
is threatened twofold. First - by negative human impact and second – by
Dutch elm disease.

Therefore, in this study the variability of five field elm populations (Ulmus
minor Mill. sensu latissimo) from Drava River valley, Northwest Croatia has
been researched: Banov Brod, Gotalovo, Svibovica, Varaždin and Veliko Polje
(Figure 1). Morphometric research of the intra- and interpopulational variability
was done on the basis of 10 morphological leaf traits (Figure 2). Descriptive
statistics and multivariate methods were used. It was concluded that
the analysed morphological traits were very variable. The variability coefficient
for populations in total varied from 17,63 % for number of primary teeth
in the subapical region to 52,94 % for the leaf base asymmetry (Table 1).
There were significant differences among trees within populations and among
populations for all measured leaf traits (Tables 2 and 3), except for two traits