Classification of Wetland Forests and Scrub in the Western Balkans

A paper published in Diversity

Wetland forests and scrub (WFS) are conditioned by the strong impact of water. They consist of various vegetation types, depending on many factors such as type and duration of flooding, water table level and its fluctuation, river current strength, substrate ability to retain water, etc.
WFS vegetation has been insufficiently studied in the Balkan Peninsula, especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina. By means of numerical classification, we aimed to classify Western Balkans WFS at the alliance level, and to identify the main underlying ecological gradients driving the variation in species composition. The dataset containing all published and available unpublished relevés from Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina was first classified using the EuroVegChecklist Expert System in Juice software in order to assign the corresponding class to each of the relevés. Relevés were subsequently analyzed within each of the four WFS classes (Alno glutinosae-Populetea albae, Salicetea purpureae, Alnetea glutinosae and Franguletea). Cluster analysis resulted in eight alliances, Salicion albae, Salicion triandrae, Salicion eleagno-daphnoidis, Alno-Quercion, Alnion incanae, Alnion glutinosae, Betulion pubescentis and Salicion cinereae, while one cluster could not be assigned with certainty. Edafic factors were found to be the most important factors determining the floristic composition and syntaxa differentiation of WFS in the study area.

Paper available here