Department of Vegetation Science and Plant Ecology

 Biology faculty

Saint-Petersburg State University  

About Department of Vegetation Science and Plant Ecology

Vegetation Science is an ecological discipline, exploring all aspects of plant community ecology. It is devoted not only to theory and analysis of plant communities, but also to relationships between plants, biodiversity conservation, environment transformation, including influence of human activities, sustainable use of natural resources and landscape planning. Such a wide range of issues makes Vegetation Science biologically and socially significant area of scientific knowledge.

Research studies are concentrated on:

  • types of vegetation in different regions of Russia (tundra, taiga, deciduous forests, steppe, various kinds of meadows and bogs);
  • community structure and dynamics;
  • vegetation patterns and their underlying processes;
  • vegetation diversity and dynamics in natural and anthropogenic landscapes;
  • interactions between plant species in communities of different biomes;
  • sustainable development of certain regions;
  • monitoring and cartography of protected areas vegetation and perspective sites for plants and plant communities conservation;
  • biology and ecology of endangered species;
  • plant reactions to natural and anthropogenic environmental factors;
  • spatial structure of individual organisms and community canopies;
  • urban vegetation and its condition;



Working meeting in Nancy, 2006.

Solving these and similar scientific problems implies cooperation with other disciplines. Vegetation scientists apply knowledge and approaches of floristics, population biology, biomorphology, ecophysiology, biogeography, zoology, mycology, soil science, geology, geomorphology, climatology, mathematics, statistics, modeling, GIS technology, etc. Investigating of plant community ecology can be considered as multidisciplinary research field. Many aspects of Vegetation Science offer good opportunities for joint work of different experts in local and international projects. Department of Vegetation Science and Plant Ecology staff has experience of collaboration with scientists from Finland, Sweden, Norway, USA.

Since the establishment of the Department students are involved in investigations devoted to actual scientific problems. Students tuition is composed of Bachelor Degree and Master Degree. Classical lectures and seminars are combined with modern training courses. Field practices are important part of education. Traditionally summer practical activities are carried out in several geographic points (in Leningrad, Belgorod and Krasnodar regions). Depending on the diploma topic, students pregraduation practice could be implemented in different geographic regions. For example, some of students performed data collection in Saint-Petersburg, Leningrad region, Kola Penninsula, Yamal Penninsula, Caucasus, Amur region and so on.


Student practice and scientific work
at Pasvik State Nature Reserve.
North Russia, Murmansk region.

Summer practice of second-year students. Wet
meadows in Nizhne-Svirsky State Nature Reserve.
North-West Russia, Leningrad region.

Summer practice of second-year students.
Oak forest in State Nature Reserve
, Belgorod region.

Student practice and scientific work
at Caucasian State Biosphere Reserve.
Alpic and subalpic meadows.

Education at the Department of Vegetation Science and Plant Ecology includes lecture courses such as Phytocenology, Classification of Vegetation, Dynamics of Vegetation, Ecology of Plants, Forest Science, Grassland Science, Arctic Vegetation Science, Peatland Science, Vegetation of Steppes and Deserts, Vegetation of the Earth, Diversity of Ecosystems in Russia, Anthropogenic Vegetation and Recultivation of Disturbed Lands, Populational Ecology of Plants, Fundamentals of Plant Biomorphology, Geobotanical Mapping, Landscape Science, Environmental Regulation and Certification, Urban Vegetation and others.


The Department staff includes experts in different fields of Vegetation Science and Plant Ecology with extensive practice of expedition work, scientific research and giving lectures. Nowadays scientists and lecturers team consists mainly of department graduates, assuring continuity of classical University education traditions. Provided lecture courses combine both basic knowledge and most modern information. Lecturers of our department have wide experience of giving lectures in foreighn universities (for example, in France, Sweden, Finland).


Dr. Vladimir N. Sukatshev
The Department of Vegetation Science and Plant Ecology has quite a long history. It is as old as Biological Faculty of Saint Petersburg State University. The Department was founded in 1931 by academician Vladimir Sukatshev who was acknowledged leader and founder of vegetation science in USSR. But students in Vegetation Science (or Geobotany) were trained much earlier (since 1919).

The textbook
on Plant Ecology
by G.I. Poplavskaja

During the twentieth century several world famous scientists worked at the Department, with lot of remarkable scientific works and textbooks published.

Currently the department team keeps the best traditions of fundamental biological investigations, pursues research of important modern problems and applies wide range of methods.