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Application of Vegetation Similarity Measure to Assess Habitat Naturalness: A Description of Plant Stand Syngenesis as a Management Qualifier


This paper represents an extension of a previously published wider conceptual article (Kovář 2007). It introduces an original approach of how to assess the naturalness of a habitat, in connection with the landscape ecological framework and surveillance and monitoring of biodiversity of habitats in Central Europe (Bunce et al. 2005, Bunce et al. 2007). Initially, it was referred to in an oral presentation by the author within the BioHab (Biodiversity and Habitats, EU Fifth Framework programme) workshop, held in Prague (Kovář 2004a). The degree of plant stand similarity, as an expression of different naturalness/syngenesis indicated by the Jaccard index, is used to describe forest management history. This management qualifier can be used especially in countries possessing good phytosociological traditions in vegetation science, with experience in applying habitat classifications and land use planning.
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Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Science, Albertov 6, 128 43 Prague 2, Czech
Republic, e-mail:
Received: 30th March 2012, Accepted: 25th June 2012
This article is dedicated to the memory of Emil Hadač (1914-2003) leading person in
Central-European geobotany and its applications in landscape ecology, and Jaroslava
Zittoví-Kurková (1951-1982) who determined substantial part of bryophytes in this study
This paper represents an extension of a previously published wider conceptual article
(Kovář 2007). It introduces an original approach of how to assess the naturalness of
a habitat, in connection with the landscape ecological framework and surveillance and
monitoring of biodiversity of habitats in Central Europe (Bunce et al. 2005, Bunce et al.
2007). Initially, it was referred to in an oral presentation by the author within the BioHab
(Biodiversity and Habitats, EU Fifth Framework programme) workshop, held in Prague
(Kovář 2004a).
The degree of plant stand similarity, as an expression of different naturalness/syngenesis
indicated by the Jaccard index, is used to describe forest management history. This
management qualifier can be used especially in countries possessing good
phytosociological traditions in vegetation science, with experience in applying habitat
classifications and land use planning.
Key words: phytocenological relevés, field recording, landscape ecological framework,
habitat, biodiversity, management qualifier, degree of naturalness, plant cover syngenesis,
Jaccard index of similarity
Variability of managament practices requires a more detailed system of qualifying the
particular influences on both fragmented and contiguous natural or semi-managed
components within a landscape. Significant differences in management indication and
future needs are clear in e.g. forests (forest floor is artificially changed or not), herb
communities (weeds are eliminated or not), hedgerows (they are directed as functional
barriers against pollution and erosion) or plant assemblages on industrial deposits (assisted
vegetation succession is influenced by substrate toxicity) e.g. Kovář et al. 1997, Kovář
Journal of Landscape Ecology (2012), Vol: 5 / No. 1
In the context of additional habitat qualifying, at a regional level a list of
phytosociological units (associations, and in some cases, alliances) becomes suitable for
indicating the state of the habitat (habitat maturity, habitat naturalness, habitat genesis).
This is also applicable for the Czech Republic and, generally, for Central Europe, where
classical phytosociology was traditionally developed (Braun-Blanquet 1928; Tüxen 1937).
It offers good and relatively detailed knowledge of potential natural conditions in nearly all
of the area (Neuhäuslová et al. 1998). For examples of products derived from/directed to
nature conservation and habitat classification for land use planning, see Moravec et al. 1995
and Chytrý et al. 2001. While a highly-formalised approach (using the COCKTAIL method
for classification of communities) is superior for large-scale vegetation surveys (Bruelheide
et Jandt 1997, Chytrý 2000) it loses indicative values because most of the species
characteristic of that community exhibit significant variations in ecological behaviour at
a continental scale. Informal approaches typical for studies of smaller areas (e.g. river
basin, mountain range or political district) can be compensated by very good field
knowledge of vegetation variability and the relationships between basic vegetation units
and environmental properties, by their authors. Basic vegetation units resulting from
classical procedure in the relevant frame of 1 km2 areas could serve as a good site qualifier
(plant life-forms suitable for GHC identification General Habitat Categories in the sense
of Bunce et al. 2007 - across the scale of continents, e.g. Europe, are not enough to
distinguish fine-scale habitat features which can be highly teritorially specific). In semi-
natural or artificial plant assemblages, such as forests with planted trees or meadows with
sown dominants, we can use phytosociological indices of similarity (syngenetic approach to
naturalness) as management qualifiers to be consistent in the method applied to this level
(Hadač et Sofron 1980). The application of this method in the context of surveillance and
monitoring of habitats has not been published (it was initially presented orally in the
BioHab Prague workshop (Kovář 2004b).
From the viewpoint of macroclimatic conditions, the Czech Republic represents
a forested landscape typical of Central Europe (open vegetation formations such as alpine
meadows, azonal steppes or peatlands are of negligible size). A map of potential natural
vegetation of this area (Neuhäuslová et al. 1998) shows highly structured mosaics of the
original vegetation cover. High diversity of ecosystems is significantly influenced by the
diverse chemistry and physical properties of the geological substrate (sedimentary and
volcanic rocks, basiphilous and acidic material), diverse relief in landforms (an altitudinal
range from 200 to 1600 m), with a dense river network on the hydrological „roof of
Europe“, and climatic features (from suboceanic to semi-continental conditions).
Neolithic impact of mankind is dated approximately to 6500 B.P. and consists of
deforestation, cultivation of crop plants and forest grazing, as well as present-day
environmental pollution and expansion of alien species, introduced both artificially
(Quercus rubra, Pseudotsuga menziesii, Abies grandis, Pinus nigra etc.) and spontaneously
(Robinia pseudoacacia, Ailanthus altissima, Acer negundo etc.). It is estimated that actual
forested cover of the Czech Republic occupies one-third of the whole area; approximately
80 % of these woody stands consist of plantations. Over the last 150 years, the silvicultural
practice of replacing the autochthonous/native (mainly broad-leaved) trees with Norway
Spruce and Scots Pine, has caused impacts such as fragmentation of forest ecosystems as
well as increased storm damage and pest population outbreaks.
Through fieldwork, we are able to identify forests of similar plant composition but with
different history (syngenesis). The problem of interpretation is how to express different
syngenesis of forests when high phytocoenological identity and/or similarity is achieved.
The authors Hadač et Sofron (1980) stated that managed/plantation forests can contain
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plant communities which are typically associated with native semi-natural forest stands. As
the differences between plantation and native forests may be on various hierarchical levels
(in the sense of classical European phytosociology: facies, variant, subassociation,
association, alliance…) and of a different degree, it is desirable to take this fact into
There are three possibilities:
1. climax community (like Quercus petraea in Potentillo-Quercetum or Picea
excelsa in Calamagrostio villosae-Piceetum),
2. planted trees are of the same species as the original species, or locally planted trees
belong to other species, but with similar character, e.g. mesotrophic deciduous tree species,
planted instead of other deciduous species, or conifers instead of other conifer species,
3. planted trees belong to species of quite different ecological character (like Picea
excelsa or Robinia pseudacacia versus Carpinus betulus or Quercus robur).
Point 1 means only a few or no changes in the composition of the shrub and herb layer,
and such communities are usually incorporated in the „natural“ system of plant
communities (it corresponds with relatively high ecosystem stability). Second and third
cases deviate gradually more and more from the natural climax community, with
a decreasing degree of ecological stability. Hadač et Sofron (1980) suggested to use the
Jaccard index of similarity as a formal descriptor of the relative naturalness:
c a - number of species in relevé 1
Qj = -------------- x 100 b - number of species in relevé 2
a + b - c c - number of common species
Vegetation ecologists know that communities belonging to the same association typically
possess a Jaccard index greater than 45 (often over 50). Stands belonging to different
associations, but to the same alliance, usually have an index of 20-35, and communities
with a lower index usually belong to different orders.
We can thus compare the studied forest communities with the nearest similar natural
community, despite the fact that individual trees grow in regular arrangements of rows and
lines (they are planted out). If we know that our landscape types with their plant species
diversity and plant species abundance correspond more-or-less with the phytocenological
level of alliance and/or group of associations, the Czech Republic scores a value in the
middle of the Jaccard index. Hence we have a simple quantitative description for the
assessment of the forest naturalness.
In other words, it is useful to apply this parameter as another important management
qualifier (qualifier of syngenesis) within recording sheets for the forest land cover, e.g., in
the following way:
degree of naturalness Jaccard index
1 more than 45
2 20 - 45
3 less than 20
Journal of Landscape Ecology (2012), Vol: 5 / No. 1
To distinguish in practice between structurally similar but syngenetically different
ecosystems, Hadač et Sofron (1980) suggested a nomenclatural solution - the prefix „culti“
in the latin name of a phytocenological unit (with planted dominant), e.g. Vaccinio myrtilli-
culti-Piceetum (analogically: -culti-Quercetum, -culti-Alnetum, etc.). It is now necessary to
transfer this into the formal nomenclature of habitat (landscape) classification.
Suggestion for evaluating:
degree of naturalness nomenclature abbreviation
1 high cultural habitat (landscape) of high naturalness CN
2 medium cultural habitat (landscape) of semi-naturalness CS
3 low cultural habitat (landscape) of low naturalness CL
The rare effectively protected or untouched forests (more frequent, for instance, in the
Ukrainian Carpathians) which could be declared as truly (syngenetically) natural ones,
might be called natural forests (N).
The same principles could be used for the other habitats systematically influenced and/or
managed by humans, e.g. meadows with sown of preferred species.
Original examples: We take three sets of phytocoenological records with the minimum
number of relevés (5 per each of them) randomly chosen from the higher amount of data –
the subject is represented by alder forests, primarily with original dominant species of (1)
lowland woody stands (Alnus glutinosa) recently often (2) invaded by Alnus incana in
Central Europe which is frequently (3) planted in typically designed geometry (individual
trees in narrow lines and/or rows). We can test impacts of the artificial (3) and spontaneous
(2) changes in the dominant tree on the herb and shrub floors. The second case can be
considered as a consequence of the first one; Alnus glutinosa is the autochtonous species of
prevailing altitudes in the region; Alnus incana behaves as the expansive species supported
in its dispersal by silvicultural planting. The following datasets with recorded species in
relevés include total cover of the stand floors, classes of constancy, variations of
abundance. Locations and dates of recording are added below:
(1) Natural forest dominated by Alnus glutinosa (86 species of the set):
E3 (total cover: 60 90 %): Alnus glutinosa V(4 5), Salix caprea I(+), Padus
racemosa I(2), Salix pentandra I(2), Salix fragilis I(r ), Betula pendula I(r )
E2 (total cover: 5 30 %): Alnus glutinosa V(+ - 1), Frangula alnus II(1 - 3), Salix
triandra I(2), S. pentandra I(2), S. caprea I(2), S. cinerea I(+), S. repens I(+), Padus
racemosa II(1), Viburnum opulus I(+), Rubus idaeus I(+), Sambucus nigra I(+)
E1 (total cover: 95 100 %): Filipendula ulmaria V(1 - 3), Lysimachia vulgaris V(r -
3), Caltha palustris IV(+ - 2), Lycopus europaeus IV(1 - 3), Poa palustris IV(1 - 3), Carex
acutiformis III(1 - 4), Crepis paludosa III(1 - 2), Cirsium oleraceum III(1 - 2), Angelica
sylvestris III(+ - 2), Galium palustre III(r - +), Aegopodium podagraria III(+ - 1), Scirpus
sylvaticus III(r - +), Phragmites australis III(+ - 1), Cirsium rivulare III(+ - 1), Urtica
dioica III(+ - 2), Colchicum autumnale III(+), Carex elongata II(+ - 2), Carex gracilis II(2
- 4), Juncus effusus II(r - +), Deschampsia caespitosa II(+ - 1), Geum rivale II(+ - 1),
Valeriana officinalis II(r - +), Primula elatior II(+ - 1), Senecio ovatus II(r - +), Ficaria
verna II(r - +), Lythrum salicaria II(r - +), Phalaris arundinacea II(+ - 2), Lychnis flos-
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cuculi I(r - +), Ranunculus auricomus II(r - +), Calamagrostis canescens I(5), Anemone
nemorosa I(3), Lysimachia nummularia I(2), Menyanthes trifoliata I(2), Carex brizoides
I(2), Molinia coerulea I(1), Myosotis nemorosa II(+), Solanum dulcamara II(1), Scutellaria
galericulata I(1), Ajuga reptans I(1), Galium aparine I(1), Polygonum bistorta I(+),
Alopecurus pratensis I(+), Equisetum sylvaticum I(+), E. palustre I(+), E. fluviatile I(+),
Athyrium filix-femina I(+), Mentha longifolia I(+), Cirsium palustre I(+), Ranunculus
repens I(+), Milium effusum I(+), Tephroseris crispa I(+), Stellaria nemorum I(+),
Symphytum officinale I(+), Valeriana dioica I(+), Pimpinella major I(+), Cruciata laevipes
I(+), Succisa pratensis I(r ), Dryopteris filix-mas I(r ), Impatiens noli-tangere I(r ),
Pulmonaria officinalis I(r ), Listera ovata I(r ), Dactylis glomerata I(r ), Lapsana communis
I(r ), Chaerophyllum hirsutum I(r ), Sanguisorba officinalis I(r ), Lotus uliginosus I(r ),
Alchemilla acutiloba I(r )
E0 (total cover: 1 10 %): Lemna minor I(1), L. trisulca I(1), Elodea canadensis I(+),
Aulacomnium palustre I(+), Calliergonella cuspidata I(+)
Localities of relevés: 1 – forested wetland along the brook N Nový rybník-pond, 1.5 km W village
Opatov near the town Svitavy, 49°50'3.040"N, 16°28'56.527"E, Northern Moravia, Czech Republic,
25.7.1977; 2 - forested wetland on the bank of pond near the railway station Česká Třebová, close to
the seedling estate Borek, 49°52'50.894"N, 16°27'15.029"E, Eastern Bohemia, Czech Republic,
7.7.1977; 3 forested wetland along the brook Husí krk, 0.5 km SE village Hrádek near the town Ústí
nad Orlicí, 49°57'59.329"N, 16°20'34.284"E, Eastern Bohemia, Czech Republic, 17.6.1979; 4
forested wetland in the depression along railway between villages Semanín and Opatov, 1 km W
fishpond Hvězda, 49°50'39.071"N, 16°28'34.395"E, Czech-Moravian Highlands, Czech Republic,
14.6.2006; 5 forested wetland in the valley Tichá Orlice at small village Zářecká Lhota near the
town Choceň, 49°59'58.299"N, 16°15'3.642"E, Eastern Bohemia, Czech Republic, 26.7.1978.
(2) Semi-natural forest invaded by Alnus incana (spontaneous substitution of the
original Alnus glutinosa)(114 species of the set)
E3 (total cover: 60 80 %): Alnus incana V(4 5), Alnus glutinosa II(1 2), Abies alba
I(2), Fagus sylvatica I(1), Salix pentandra I(2), Picea excelsa I(+), Acer pseudoplatanus
I(r )
E2 (total cover: 5 30 %): Alnus incana IV(+ - 2), Alnus glutinosa V(+ - 1), Sambucus
racemosa III(r - 1), Rubus idaeus II(r 2), Fraxinus excelsior II(r - +), Viburnum opulus
I(1), Picea excelsa I(1), Carpinus betulus I(+), Acer campestre I(r ), Acer pseudoplatanus
I(r ), Euonymus europaea I(r )
E1 (total cover: 70 100 %): Stachys sylvatica IV(r - +), Filipendula ulmaria III(+ - 2),
Lysimachia vulgaris I(+), Oxalis acetosella III(+ - 3), Carex remota III(r - +), Caltha
palustris II(+), Poa palustris III(+ - 1), Chaerophyllum hirsutum IV(r - 3), Crepis paludosa
II(+), Cardamine amara II(+ - 1), Cirsium oleraceum II(1), Angelica sylvestris II(r - +),
Galium palustre II(r - +), Aegopodium podagraria II(r - 1), Cerastium lucorum II(+ - 1),
Polygonatum verticillatum II(+ - 1), Lamium maculatum II(1 2), Scirpus sylvaticus I(+),
Urtica dioica IV(+ - 2), Festuca gigantea II(r - 1), Tussilago farfara II(r ), Juncus effusus
I(r ), Deschampsia caespitosa II(+), Geum rivale I(2), Primula elatior I(+), Senecio ovatus
II(+ - 1), Galeobdolon montanum II(+ - 2), Anemone nemorosa I(3), Lysimachia
nummularia I(1), Molinia coerulea I(+), Myosotis nemorosa III(r - +), Ajuga reptans II(+),
Equisetum sylvaticum II(+ - 1), E. palustre III(+ - 1), Roegneria canina II(+ - 1),
Glechoma hederaceum (r 2), Athyrium filix-femina II(r - +), Circaea lutetiana II(+),
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Mentha longifolia II(+), Cirsium palustre II(r - +), Ranunculus repens III(+ - 2), Melica
nutans II(r - +), Brachypodium sylvaticum II(+ - 1), Milium effusum I(+), Impatiens
parviflora I(+), Stellaria nemorum II(+), Cardamine impatiens II(r ), Carex brizoides I(4),
Succisa pratensis I(r ), Veronica montana I(3), Galium odoratum I(2), Campanula
trachelium I(1), Prunella vulgaris I(r ), Carex sylvatica I(r ), Alnus incana juv. I(+), Abies
alba juv. I(+), Stellaria alsine I(+), S. holostea I(+), Galeopsis bifida I(+), Equisetum
telmateia I(+), Dryopteris filix-mas I(+), D. dilatata I(+), Geranium phaeum I(+), G.
robertianum I(+), Impatiens noli-tangere I(+), Rubus sp. div. I(+), Pulmonaria officinalis
I(+), Euphorbia dulcis ¨I(+), Leucojum vernum I(+), Asarum europaeum I(1), Viola
reichenbachiana II(+), Picea excelsa juv. II(+), Carex digitata II(+), Hypericum
maculatum I(+), Chaerophyllum aromaticum I(+), Epilobium palustre I(r ), Geum
urbanum I(r ), Aruncus sylvestris I(r ), Ranunculus lanuginosus I(r ), Cuscuta epithymum
I(r ), Rorippa sylvatica I(r ), Carduus crispus I(r ), Veronica beccabunga I(r )
E0 (total cover: 1 80 %): Plagiomnium undulatum II(+ - 2), Brachythecium velutinum
I(4), Pohlia nutnas I(2), Polytrichum commune I(1), Dicranum scoparium I(1), Dicranella
heteromala I(+), Pleurozium schreberi I(+), Lophocolea heterophylla I(+), Eurhynchium
hians I(+)
Localities of relevés: 1 – linear forested wetland along the brook 0,3 km SW settlement Presy, near
village Přívrat, district Ústí nad Orlicí, 49°55'44.638"N, 16°23'7.444"E, Eastern Bohemia, Czech
Republic, 18.6.1977; 2 forested wetland along the brook approx. 1.5 km NW Černý rybník-pond
near village Opatov, district Svitavy, 49°49'35.816"N, 16°27'36.808"E, Northern Moravia, Czech
Republic, 23.7.1977; 3 forested wetland in the Vecha river floodplain 1 km W Volovets, approx. 50
km W Uzhhorod, 48°43'00"N, 23°11'00"E, Ukraine, 21.7.1998; 4 – forested wetland 2 km NE
Huklyvyi in marginal area of the village Skotarske, 48°44'00"N, 23°16'00"E, Ukraine, 18.7.1998; 5
forested wetland 1 km W village Dolní Libchavy near the hill Horka, district Ústí nad Orlicí,
49°59'50.964"N, 16°22'25.895"E, Eastern Bohemia, Czech Republic, 23.6.1979.
(3) Plantation of Alnus incana on the site of original wetland with Alnus glutinosa
(77 species of the set)
E3 (total cover: 70 90 %): Alnus incana V(4 5), Alnus glutinosa I(+), Salix caprea
II(r - 1), Picea excelsa I(1), Fagus sylvatica I(r )
E2 (total cover: 5 30 %): Alnus incana V(+ - 3), Salix caprea IV(r 1), Salix cinerea
III(+ - 1), Rubus idaeus II(+), Picea excelsa III(r - 1), Acer pseudoplatanus II(+), Sorbus
aucuparia I(+)
E1 (total cover: 60 95 %): Cirsium oleraceum IV(+ - 3), Filipendula ulmaria IV(1 -
2), Caltha palustris III(4 - 5), Athyrium filix-femina IV(r - +), Chaerophyllum hirsutum
III(+ - 2), Juncus effusus III(r - +), Myosotis nemorosa IV(+), Deschampsia caespitosa
IV(+ - 1), Mentha longifolia III(r), Equisetum palustre II(r - +), Poa palustris III(+),
Valeriana simplicifolia II(1 2), Lysimachia vulgaris II(1 2), L. nummularia II(+), Crepis
paludosa II(+), Equisetum sylvaticum II(r - +), Cirsium palustre II(r - +), Ranunculus
repens II(+ - 1), Geum rivale II(+ - 2), Hypericum maculatum II(r - +), Carex rostrata I(+),
Valeriana officinalis I(+), Cardamine amara I(+), Carex sylvatica I(+), Lycopus europaeus
II(+), Equisetum fluviatile I(+), Paris quadrifolia I(+), Dryopteris dilatata I(1), Glechoma
hirsuta I(r ), Alnus incana juv. I(+), Abies alba juv. I(r ), Symphytum cordatum I(r ),
Glyceria plicata I(+), Galium palustre I(r ), Epilobium palustre I(r ), Urtica dioica II(+),
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Anemone nemorosa II(1 2), Festuca gigantea II(+ - 1), Brachypodium sylvaticum II(1
2), Calamagrostis canescens I(2), Ajuga reptans II(+), Poa nemoralis I(2), Stachys
sylvatica I(1), Alchemilla acutiloba I(r ), Scrophularia nodosa I(+), Rubus idaeus juv. I(1),
Primula elatior II(+), Angelica sylvestris I(1), Impatiens parviflora I(+), Galeobdolon
montanum I(2), Milium effusum I(1), Heracleum sphondylium I(+), Geranium robertianum
I(r ), Veronica chamadrys I(+), Knautia drymeia I(1), Fragaria moschata I(+), Melica
nutans I(+), Cirsium rivulare I(+), Senecio ovatus I(+), Tephroseris crispa I(+), Geum
urbanum I(+), Ficaria verna I(+), Molinia coerulea I(r ), Colchicum autumnale I(r ),
Trifolium medium I(r )
E0 (total cover: 0 20 %): Climacium dendroides III(r 2), Plagiomnium undulatum
II(+ - 2), Pleurozium schreberi I(+), Cirriphyllum piliferum II(+), Rhytidiadelphys
squarrosus I(+)
Localities of relevés: 1 - forest plantation, 2 km NW village Přívrat near the town Česká Třebová,
49°55'57.511"N, 16°23'3.198"E, Eastern Bohemia, Czech Republic, 14.6.2006; 2 - forest plantation,
1.5 km W village Opatov near the town Svitavy, at the brook parallel to the railway, 49°49'42.966"N,
16°28'25.879"E Northern Moravia, Czech Republic, 20.6.2002; 3 forest plantation, coast of the
lake Sinevir, 50 km NE the town Khust, 48°29'18"N, 23°37'42"E, Ukraine, 20.7.1998; 4 – forest
plantation, plain close to mountain range, 5 km E Mukachrevo, 48°27'00"N, 22°43'00"E, Ukraine,
18.7.1998; 5 forest plantation, lowland 5 km S Maishofen, 47°22'00"N, 12°48'00"E, Austria,
Calculation of Qj (Jaccard index) in the case of comparison (1) and (2) i.e., natural elder
forest with Alnus glutinosa, and transformed wetland forest invaded by Alnus incana is 25.
(number of common species: 40). Value of Qj when we compare invaded stand with
plantation of the same dominant Alnus incana is 39 (number of common species: 54), and
comparison of cultural forest (originated by human handling with seedlings of Alnus incana
on places of the original forest with Alnus glutinosa) and natural wetland forest exhibits 31
(number of common species: 39).
Using the above mentioned scheme in the naturalness categories both comparisons of
influenced forest stands with natural woody wetlands take places within medium cultural
habitat“ (Qj is 25 spontaneous ivasion of Alnus incana and 31 plantation). I seems to be
curious because of logical assumtion that artificial human impact, i. e., planting of
alochtonous seedlings of Alnus incana is deeper intervention for the ecosystem than
spontanous proces of invasion. In spite of this assumption the value of Jaccard index of
similarity is higher at plantation compared. The reason could consist in practice of
foresters: on the average, they doun´t select always the optimal ecotopes for the introduced
Alnus and original herb layer survives without radical changes (we can analogize according
to Hadač et Sofron 1980: Culti-Alnetum incanae). The opposite case could be represented
by spontameous expansion of Alnus incana introduced into the landscape as described
above. „Landscape archipelagos“ of wetlands being occupied by this species could serve as
sources of penetration into the most suitable microhabitats and „natural“ choice of the
optimal conditions for next spreading may result in partial extinction of the original species
pool of herbal storey (and consequently in lower value of Jaccard similarity in relation to
original communities). When we compare both types of secondary forest dominated by
Alnus incana the highest value of Qj is logical consequence of the presence of the same
woody dominant, however, it doesn´t exceed the frontier of the expected close similarity
which indicates the difference between both ways of the stand syngenesis.
Journal of Landscape Ecology (2012), Vol: 5 / No. 1
The work has been supported by the EU FP5 project EVK2-CT-2002-20018. I would like
to thank all the colleagues from the international project team for their valuable scientific,
logistic and friendly interactions leading to the unique collective result, under the leadership
of Bob Bunce and Rob Jongman. Thanks are also given to the IALE for its long-term
interdisciplinary background for the work in landscape science.
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Full-text available
Both science and policy require a practical, transmissible, and reproducible procedure for surveillance and monitoring of European habitats, which can produce statisticsintegrated at the landscape level. Over the last 30years, landscape ecology has developed rapidly, and many studies now require spatial data on habitats. Without rigorous rules, changes from baseline records cannot be separated reliably from background noise. A procedure is described that satisfies these requirements and can provide consistent data for Europe, to support a range of policy initiatives and scientific projects. The methodology is based on classical plant life forms, used in biogeography since the nineteenth century, and on their statistical correlation with the primary environmental gradient. Further categories can therefore be identified for other continents to assist large scale comparisons and modelling. The model has been validated statistically and the recording procedure tested in the field throughout Europe. A total of 130 General Habitat Categories (GHCs) is defined. These are enhanced by recording environmental, site and management qualifiers to enable flexible database interrogation. The same categories are applied to areal, linear and point features to assist recording and subsequent interpretation at the landscape level. The distribution and change of landscape ecological parameters, such as connectivity and fragmentation, can then be derived and their significance interpreted.
Different methods were tested in order to classify vegetation in large relevébased data sets. These methods were applied to 3907 reléves of oatgrass meadows (Arrhenatherion) and Gentian-hairgrass swards (Mesobromion) in central Germany. Four methods were used: minimum variance clustering (URLOCI 1967), number of character species in the Braun-Blanquet system, Twinspan (HlLL 1979), and the species group method developed in Göttingen (BRUELHEIDE 1995). Although some details differed, all four methods yielded satisfactory assignment results for both alliances. Differential species which make up the assignment criteria for the resulting vegetation units are obtained by the last two methods only. The species group method uses more species as differential criteria than Twinspan, and therefore assigns only well-characterized stands to a vegetation unit. The species selected by Twinspan result in a higher degree of assignment but have the disadvantage that more relevé]s are misclassified. As a result, the species group method is especially suited for processing large databases and for extracting unambiguous assignment criteria for various uses like mapping vegetation in the field.
The current methods of phytosociological vegetation classification are divided into two major types: imperfectly formalized approaches, which build classifications without explicit description of the classification process, and formalized approaches, which aim at precise definitions of classification criteria and algorithms, thus yielding repeatable classifications. These two approaches are not antagonistic as each of them is better applicable in different situations. As a rule, the imperfectly formalized approach is invaluable in fine-scale classifications at the landscape level, whereas the formalized approach is superior for large-scale vegetation surveys. In this paper, application of the formalized methods of vegetation classification in phytosociology is reviewed. First, classification criteria used in vegetation classification are evaluated. Second, possibilities for formalizing the phytosociological field sampling procedure are discussed, including the sample plot choice, spatial arrangement and size. Third, formalized approaches to data analysis are reviewed, including concepts of character species, sociological species groups, fidelity, hierarchy of classification units, deductive classification method, numerical classification, and nomenclature rules. Finally, recent developments of formalized classification are summarized with respect to large-scale vegetation surveys, phytosociological databases, analysis of large datasets and expert systems.
It is suggested that communities of cultivated forests can be incorporated into the system of “natural” wood communities either as facies, variants or subassociations, if they differ below the association level; if they differ on the association level, a new association is suggested, with the prefix “culti-” before the planted dominant tree species. Most of our planted forest communities differ on the level of association or less; the communities ofRobinia are the exception. The authors agree withJurko (1963) in classifying them as individual associations, alliances, order and class.
The primary objective of this Handbook is to describe the methodology appropriate for coordinating information on habitats in order to obtain statistically robust estimates of their extent and associated changes in biodiversity. Such detailed rules are necessary if surveillance; i.e., recording information at a point in time; is to be repeated subsequently as monitoring, otherwise real changes cannot be separated reliably from background noise. The BioHab procedure will also map all Pan-European classifications, such as EUNIS, where possible, as a basis for their surveillance and monitoring throughout Europe. The basis of the General Habitat Categories is the classification of plant Life Forms produced by the Danish botanist Raunkiaer early in the 20th century. These Life Forms e.g. annuals or trees, transcend species. They are based on the scientific hypothesis that habitat structure is related to the environment. The BioHab General Habitat Categories cover the pan-European region (except Turkey) with 130 GHC¿s derived from 16 Life Forms (LF¿s). They have been field tested in all the environmental zones in Europe. Variation within a General Habitat Category is then expressed by environmental and global qualifiers, which are combinations of soil humidity, nutrient status, acidity and other habitat characteristics. Important additional information is given by adding codes from predefined lists of site and management qualifiers.
2001: Habitat Catalogue of the Czech Republic -Agentura ochrany přírody a krajiny ČR
  • M Chytrý
  • T Kučera
  • M Kočí
CHYTRÝ, M., KUČERA, T., KOČÍ, M., (EDS.), 2001: Habitat Catalogue of the Czech Republic -Agentura ochrany přírody a krajiny ČR, Praha [in Czech].