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This paper describes the structure and content of the vegetation database of the Working Group on Dry Grasslands in the Nordic and Baltic Region (code EU-00-001 of the World Metadatabase on Vegetation Databases). The Working Group on Dry Grasslands in the Nordic and Baltic Region has been founded in 2005 and is now a subgroup of the European Dry Grassland Group (EDGG). It aims at collecting all available phytosociological relevés of dry grasslands and related communities (basically the phytosociological classes Festuco-Brometea, Koelerio-Corynephoretea, and Trifolio-Geranietea sanguinei) from the study region (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, NW Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, N Poland, and NE Germany). Presently, 7,675 of an estimated total of 20,000 relevés are available in the database, which is run offline with the program SORT 4.0. The data are mainly used by the members of the Working Group for large-scale consistent classifications, but external proposals for joint analyses are welcome. Overlap(s): EU-DE-001 (3,000); EU-DE-005 (3,200) Countries: DE (45%), DK (2%), EE (16%), FI (2%), LT (2%), LV (8%), NO (4%), PL (5%), RU (1%), SE (14%) Sources: 233 Published: 27% Grey: 22% Synoptic tables: 19% Unpublished: 32% Guilds: Woody: 100% Herbaceous: 100% Bryophytes: 80% Lichens: 80% "Algae": 40% Non-terricolous: 10% Plot sizes: 1-100 m²
In: Dengler, J., Oldeland, J., Jansen, F., Chytrý, M., Ewald, J., Finckh, M., Glöckler, F., Lopez-Gonzalez, G., Peet, R.K., Schaminée, J.H.J. (2012)
[Eds.]: Vegetation databases for the 21st century. Biodiversity & Ecology 4: 319320. DOI: 10.7809/b-e.00114.
Short Database Report
Database Dry Grasslands in the Nordic and Baltic
Jürgen Dengler & Solvita Rūsiņa
Abstract: The Database Dry Grasslands in the Nordic and Baltic Region (GIVD ID EU-00-002) is an initiative of the respective
regional subgroup of the European Dry Grassland Group (EDGG). Its aim is to compile the available published and unpublished
vegetation-plot data of dry grasslands and related syntaxa (mainly vegetation classes Koelerio-Corynephoretea, Festuco-Brometea,
and Trifolio-Geranietea) from the study region (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, NW Russia, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania,
N Poland, and NE Germany). The only requirement for inclusion is that the plot size is between 1 and 100 m². The database is
managed under Sort 4.0, but shall be transferred to TURBOVEG soon. Presently, 7,675 vegetation plots of the estimated 20,000 that
exist within the scope are included. The strength of the database is that data from ten countries (no data available from Belarus yet)
have been harmonised to one plant taxonomic view and that 70% of the plots have data on bryophytes and lichens alongside the
vascular plants. The major aim of the originators of the database is to use it for consistent large-scale classifications. However, the data
are also available for other research purposes upon specific agreement. Finally, EU-00-002 is one of the founding databases of the
emerging European Vegetation Archive (EVA) as it contributes valuable data from a part of Europe where most countries do not have
a national vegetation-plot database.
Keywords: bryophyte; dry grassland; European Dry Grassland Group (EDGG); European Vegetation Archive (EVA); Festuco-
Brometea; Koelerio-Corynephoretea; lichen; Trifolio-Geranietea; vascular plant; vegetation plot; vegetation classification.
GIVD Database ID: EU-00-002
Last update: 2012-07-08
Database Dry Grasslands in the Nordic and Baltic Region
Scope: All available relevés with plot sizes 1-100 m² of dry grasslands and related communities (basically the phytosociological classes Festuco-
Brometea, Koelerio-Corynephoretea, and Trifolio-Geranietea sanguinei) from the study region (Denmark, Faroer, Iceland, Norway, Sweden,
Finland, NW Russia, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, N Poland, NE Germany)
Status: ongoing capture
Period: 1922-2009
Database manager(s): Jürgen Dengler (; Solvita Rūsiņa (
Owner: Working Group on Dry Grasslands in the Nordic and Baltic Region, a subgroup of the European Dry Grassland Group (EDGG)
Web address:
Availability: according to a specific agreement
Online upload: no
Online search: no
Database format(s): Sort 4.0, to be transferred to TURBOVEG soon
Export format(s): Excel
Publication: Dengler, J., Rusina, S., Boch, S., Bruun, H. H., Diekmann, M., Dierßen, K., Dolnik, C., Dupré, C., Golub, V. B., Grytnes, J.-A., Helm,
A., Ingerpuu, N., Löbel, S., Pärtel, M., Rašomavi?ius, V., Tyler, G., Znamenskiy, S. R., Zobel, M. (2006): Working group on dry grasslands in the
Nordic and Baltic region Outline of the project and first results for the class Festuco-Brometea. Ann. Bot. N. S. 6: 128, Rome.
Plot type(s): normal plots
Plot-size range: 1-100 m²
Estimate of existing plots: 20,000
Completeness: 38%
Number of sources: 125
Valid taxa: 1,750
Countries: DE: 45.2%; DK: 2.3%; EE: 16.2%; FI: 1.7%; LT: 1.6%; LV: 8.0%; NO: 4.4%; PL: 5.4%; RU: 1.4%; SE: 13.5%
Forest: 0% Non-forest: aquatic: 0%; semi-aquatic: 0%; arctic-alpine: 0%; natural: 0%; semi-natural: 100%; anthropogenic: 0%
Guilds: all vascular plants: 100%; bryophytes (terricolous or aquatic): 71%; lichens (terricolous or aquatic): 71%; algae (terricolous or aquatic):
71%; non-terricolous taxa (epiphytic, saxicolous, lignicolous): 4%
Environmental data: altitude: 8%; slope aspect: 62%; slope inclination: 57%; microrelief: 3%; surface cover other than plants (open soil, litter,
bare rock etc.): 13%; soil pH: 17%; other soil attributes: 19%; land use categories: 3%
Performance measure(s): cover: 100%
Geographic localisation: small grid (not coarser than 10 km): 75%; political units or only on a coarser scale (>10 km): 25%
Sampling periods: 1920-1929: 1.9%; 1930-1939: 0.1%; 1940-1949: 2.4%; 1950-1959: 1.0%; 1960-1969: 4.4%; 1970-1979: 6.0%; 1980-1989:
2.6%; 1990-1999: 54.7%; 2000-2009: 24.7%
Information as of 2012-07-12; further details and future updates available from
Jürgen Dengler* (
Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology of Plants (BEE), Biocentre Klein Flottbek and Botanical Garden, University of Hamburg,
Ohnhorststr. 18, 22609 Hamburg, GERMANY
Biodiversity & Ecology 4 2012
Solvita Rūsiņa (
Department of Physical Geography, Faculty of Geography and Earth Sciences, University of Latvia, 19 Raina blvd., 1586 Riga,
*Corresponding author
... Pannonian region (i.e., Stipetum tirsae and Brachypodio-Molinietum). However, the type 3 association of the Danthonio-Stipion, the Agrostio-Danthonietum (see Dengler et al. 2012), was 4 assigned to the Chrysopogono-Danthonion. 5 ...
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The European semi-dry grasslands belong to the most species-rich vegetation types of the northern hemisphere and form an important part of habitat mosaics of the forest-steppe zone. However, a comprehensive evaluation of compositional variation and phytosociological classification of these grasslands is still missing. For our syntaxonomic revision, we used a dataset of 34,173 vegetation plot records (relevés) from Central and Eastern Europe which were assigned to the class Festuco-Brometea using the diagnostic species listed in the EuroVegChecklist. To determine the diagnostic species of the orders, we used a TWINSPAN classification of the whole dataset. 15,449 relevés were assigned to the order Brachypodietalia pinnati, which corresponds to semi-dry grasslands. This subset was again classified with TWINSPAN. We established formal definitions for the following alliances: Mesobromion erecti, Cirsio-Brachypodion pinnati (incl. Fragario-Trifolion montani, Agrostio-Avenulion schellianae, Scabioso ochroleucae-Poion angustifoliae and Adonido vernalis-Stipion tirsae), Scorzonerion villosae and Chrysopogono-Danthonion. Another alliance, Armerion elongatae (= Koelerio-Phleion phleoidis p.p.), is transitional towards the class Koelerio-Corynephoretea and its status needs further evaluation. We also established formal definitions of all associations of the Mesobromion and Cirsio-Brachypodion within the study area. Associations were identified using (i) the TWINSPAN classification of the whole order, (ii) TWINSPAN classifications of regionally restricted data sets (usually all Brachypodietalia plots of one country) and (iii) existing national classification schemes. All formal definitions were written in the expert system language of the JUICE program. To get a more complete picture of the floristic similarities and gradients, we performed a DCA ordination of the associations. Our results show that meadow steppes of the forest-steppe zone of Eastern Europe are very similar to semi-dry grasslands of Central Europe.
... Semi-natural grasslands are the result of decades or centuries of low-intensity management and are currently not seeded or ploughed. Semi-natural grasslands contain high levels of biodiversity ( Bullock et al. 2011;Dengler and R?si?a 2012) and are used as low-intensity pastures or hay fields (one late cut per season) or solely managed to receive agri-environmental payments ( Vinogradovs et al. 2018). Arable/cropland is defined as intensively managed farmland used for crop production, ploughed at least one time in the season and usually fertilised. ...
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Throughout the second half of the 20th Century, the area of semi-natural grasslands in the Baltic States decreased substantially, due to agricultural abandonment in some areas and intensification in more productive soil types. In order to halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services provided by grasslands, the LIFE+ programme funded project, LIFE Viva Grass, aims at developing an integrated planning tool that will support ecosystem-based planning and sustainable grassland management. LIFE Viva Grass integrated planning tool is spatially explicit and allows the user to assess the provision and trade-offs of grassland ecosystem services within eight project case study areas in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. In order to ensure methodological adaptability, the structure of the LIFE Viva Grass integrated planning tool follows the framework of the tiered approach. In a multi-tier system, each consecutive tier entails an increase in data requirements, methodological complexity or both. The present paper outlines the adaptation of the tiered approach for mapping and assessing ecosystem services provided by grasslands in the Baltic States. The first tier corresponds to a deliberative decision process: The matrix approach is used to assess the potential supply of grassland ecosystem services based on expert estimations. Expert values are subsequently transferred to grassland units and therefore made spatially explicit. The data collected in the first tier was further enhanced through a Principal Components Analysis (PCA) in order to explore ES bundles in tier 2. In the third tier, Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis is used to target specific policy questions.
... Since its inception, the EDGG has been active in mobilising vegetation-plot data of grasslands for national and international analyses (see Janišová et al. 2017a). As a matter of fact, the Nordic-Baltic Grassland Vegetation Database (NBGVD; Dengler et al. 2006, Dengler & Rūsiņa 2012; see was one of the main roots of the EDGG, as well as a founding member database of the European Vegetation Archive (EVA; Chytrý et al. 2016; see Another early member of EVA that is associated with the EDGG is the Ukrainian Grassland Database (Kuzemko 2012 Dengler et al. 2017; see http://bit. ...
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This report summarizes the activities and achievements of the Eurasian Dry Grassland Group (EDGG) from mid-2016 through to the end of 2017. During this period, the 13th Eurasian Grassland Conference took place in Sighişoara, Romania, and the 14th conference was held in Riga, Latvia. The 10th EDGG Field Workshop on Biodiversity patterns across a precipitation gradient in the Central Apennine mountains was conducted in the Central Apennines, Italy, this time in addition to multi-scale sampling of vascular plants, bryophytes and lichens also including one animal group (leaf hoppers). Apart from the quarterly issues of its own electronic journal (Bulletin of the Eurasian Dry Grassland Group), EDGG also finalised five grassland-related Special Features/Issues during the past 1.5 years in the following international journals: Applied Vegetation Science, Biodiversity and Conservation, Phytocoenologia, Tuexenia and Hacquetia. Beyond that, EDGG facilitated various national and supra-national vegetation-plot databases of grasslands and established its own specialised database for standardised multi-scale plot data of Palaearctic grasslands (GrassPlot).
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Global patterns of regional (gamma) plant diversity are relatively well known, but whether these patterns hold for local communities, and the dependence on spatial grain, remain controversial. Using data on 170,272 georeferenced local plant assemblages, we created global maps of alpha diversity (local species richness) for vascular plants at three different spatial grains, for forests and non-forests. We show that alpha diversity is consistently high across grains in some regions (for example, Andean-Amazonian foothills), but regional 'scaling anomalies' (deviations from the positive correlation) exist elsewhere, particularly in Eurasian temperate forests with disproportionally higher fine-grained richness and many African tropical forests with disproportionally higher coarse-grained richness. The influence of different climatic, topo-graphic and biogeographical variables on alpha diversity also varies across grains. Our multi-grain maps return a nuanced understanding of vascular plant biodiversity patterns that complements classic maps of biodiversity hotspots and will improve predictions of global change effects on biodiversity.
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Assessing biodiversity status and trends in plant communities is critical for understanding, quantifying and predicting the effects of global change on ecosystems. Vegetation plots record the occurrence or abundance of all plant species co‐occurring within delimited local areas. This allows species absences to be inferred, information seldom provided by existing global plant datasets. Although many vegetation plots have been recorded, most are not available to the global research community. A recent initiative, called ‘sPlot’, compiled the first global vegetation plot database, and continues to grow and curate it. The sPlot database, however, is extremely unbalanced spatially and environmentally, and is not open‐access. Here, we address both these issues by (a) resampling the vegetation plots using several environmental variables as sampling strata and (b) securing permission from data holders of 105 local‐to‐regional datasets to openly release data. We thus present sPlotOpen, the largest open‐access dataset of vegetation plots ever released. sPlotOpen can be used to explore global diversity at the plant community level, as ground truth data in remote sensing applications, or as a baseline for biodiversity monitoring. Vegetation plots (n = 95,104) recording cover or abundance of naturally co‐occurring vascular plant species within delimited areas. sPlotOpen contains three partially overlapping resampled datasets (c. 50,000 plots each), to be used as replicates in global analyses. Besides geographical location, date, plot size, biome, elevation, slope, aspect, vegetation type, naturalness, coverage of various vegetation layers, and source dataset, plot‐level data also include community‐weighted means and variances of 18 plant functional traits from the TRY Plant Trait Database. Global, 0.01–40,000 m². 1888–2015, recording dates. 42,677 vascular plant taxa, plot‐level records. Three main matrices (.csv), relationally linked.
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Questions: Vegetation-plot records provide information on presence and cover or abundance of plants co-occurring in the same community. Vegetation-plot data are spread across research groups, environmental agencies and biodiversity research centers, and thus, are rarely accessible at continental or global scales. Here we present the sPlot database, which collates vegetation plots worldwide to allow for the exploration of global patterns in taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversity at the plant community level. - Location: sPlot version 2.1 contains records from 1,121,244 vegetation plots, which comprise 23,586,216 records of plant species and their relative cover or abundance in plots collected between 1885 and 2015. - Methods: We complemented the information for each plot by retrieving environmental conditions (i.e. climate and soil) and the biogeographic context (i.e. biomes) from external sources, and by calculating community-weighted means and variances of traits using gap-filled data from the global plant trait database TRY. Moreover, we created a phylogenetic tree for 50,167 out of the 54,519 species identified in the plots. - Results: We present the first maps of global patterns of community richness and community-weighted means of key traits. - Conclusions: The availability of vegetation plot data in sPlot offers new avenues for vegetation analysis at the global scale.
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This report presents the new collaborative vegetation-plot database GrassVeg.DE (EU-DE-020; which collects vegetation-plot records (relevés) from grasslands and other non-woodland and non-aquatic habitats from Germany to make them accessible for ecological research nationally and internationally. Data from GrassVeg.DE are provided to the European Vegetation Ar-chive (EVA) and, in the future, also to the global database "sPlot". Data providers of GrassVeg.DE retain full copyright of their data and becomd members of the GrassVeg.DE Consortium. Thereby, they profit from their contribution via co-authorships and citations as well as the option to propose own projects using the full GrassVeg.DE or EVA data. In July 2017, the fast-growing GrassVeg.DE data-base contained 3,181 vegetation plots, originating from eight federal states of Germany. In the future, GrassVeg.DE could facilitate the consistent re-classification of the grassland types within the series Synopsis der Pflanzengesellschaften Deutschlands. We conclude the report with a call to contribute own relevés and relevés digitised from the literature to GrassVeg.DE.
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The European Vegetation Archive (EVA) has been developed since 2012 by the IAVS Working Group European Vegetation Survey as a centralized database of European vegetation plots. It stores copies of national and regional vegetation-plot databases on a single software platform. Data storage in EVA does not affect the ongoing independent development of the contributing databases, which remain the property of the data contributors. A prototype of the database management software TURBOVEG 3 has been developed for joint management of multiple databases that use different species lists. This is facilitated by the SynBioSys Taxon Database, a system of taxon names and concepts used in the individual European databases and their matches to a unified list of European flora. TURBOVEG 3 also includes procedures for handling data requests, selections and provisions according to the approved EVA Data Property and Governance Rules. By 30 June 2015, 61 databases from all European regions have joined EVA, contributing in total 1 024 236 vegetation plots from 57 countries, 82% of them with geographical coordinates. EVA provides a unique data source for large-scale analyses of European vegetation diversity both in fundamental research and nature conservation applications. Updated information on EVA is available online at
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The aim of this article is to introduce the dry grasslands of Europe and to report on the activities of the European Dry Grassland Group (EDGG), a network of dry grassland scientists and conservationists. Dry grassland are defined here as herbaceous vegetation types, mostly dominated by grasses, that inhabit climatically or edaphically dry sites. They comprise zonal steppes, alpine dry grasslands above the timberline, azonal/extrazonal dry grasslands on sites where peculiarities of soil or relief prevent forest growth, and semi-natural dry grasslands derived from centuries of low-intensity land use. Dry grasslands in most taxa host a proportion of Europe’s biodiversity that by far exceeds their spatial distribution and some of them are the richest plant communities worldwide at spatial scales < 100 m². Today, both natural steppes and semi-natural dry grasslands of Europe are highly endangered through transformation into arable fields, afforestation, land use intensification or abandonment, eutrophication or biotic invasions. The EDGG with more than 800 members from over 50 countries acts by facilitating information exchange, cooperation and joint projects towards better understanding and more effective conservation of Europe’s dry grasslands. To this end, EDGG organises annual conferences and research expeditions, publishes an online electronic Bulletin, edits Dry Grassland Special Features in international journals, and plays an active role in the science-policy interface.
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