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Biogeographic patterns of base-rich fen vegetation across Europe

By Borja Jiménez-Alfaro, Michal Hájek, Rasmus Ejrnaes, John Rodwell, Paweł Pawlikowski, Eddy J. Weeda, Jarmo Laitinen, Absjørn Moen, Ariel Bergamini, Liene Aunina, Lucia Sekulová, Teemu Tahvanainen, François Gillet, Ute Jandt, Daniel Dítě, Petra Hájková, Gilles Corriol, Hanna Kondelin and Tomás E. Díaz

Abstract

International audienceQuestions: What is the distribution of base-rich fen vegetation and the specia- list species along European biogeographic regions? How do the gradients in spe- cies composition correlate to geography and climate at continental scale? What are the implications of such patterns for the classification of these habitats?Location: Fifteen countries of Central, Western and Northern Europe.Methods: We compiled a vegetation plot database of base-rich fens and related communities including vascular plants and bryophytes. The initial data set with 6943 plots was filtered according to the presence of specialists using discriminant analysis. We used DCA to analyse the correlation of species composition with geography and climate, and kriging interpolation for mapping gradients in the study area. Modified TWINSPAN was used to detect major vegetation groups. The results of the whole data set (plot size 1–100 m2) were compared with those obtained from two subsets with plots of 1–5 m2 and 6–30 m2.Results: Most of the specialists were distributed among all the biogeographic regions, but many were more represented in the Alpine than in the Atlantic, Boreal and Continental regions. Variation in species composition was mainly correlated to temperature, precipitation and latitude in the three data sets, showing a major gradient from (1) alpine belt fens characterized by spring species to (2) small sedge fens mainly distributed in mountain regions and (3) boreo-temperate fens reflecting waterlogged conditions.Conclusions: Base-rich fen communities are widely distributed across Europe- an biogeographic regions, but the Alpine region can be considered as the compositional centre of this vegetation type. Large-scale gradients of species composition are mainly explained by climate, while the influence of latitude is probably correlated to increasing water table in the boreo-temperate regions. These gradients can be better understood by differentiating three major vegeta- tion types, which should be considered when establishing classification systems of base-rich fens in Europe

Topics: Wetland, Vegetation classification, Species composition, Gradient, Habitats directive, Fen, Climate, Diagnostic species, [SDE.BE]Environmental Sciences/Biodiversity and Ecology
Publisher: 'Wiley'
Year: 2014
DOI identifier: 10.1111/avsc.12065
OAI identifier: oai:HAL:hal-00927299v1
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