The species pool hypothesis has been proposed as one of the possible explanations for the local species richness of plant communities. For testing and validating this theory, it is of crucial importance to determine the dimension of the regional pool, which is the reservoir of species that are potentially able to exist in a community.
The main purpose of this study was to develop and test different methods for the determination of the regional species pool. Two regions in Sweden served as study areas, Öland and Uppland. In both regions, three different vegetation types were treated: dry calcareous grasslands, coastal meadows and deciduous forests. For the determination of the regional pool two main groups of methods are proposed: 1) six ecological approaches, based on Ellenberg species indicator values, and 2) two phytosociological approaches, based on the occurrence of species in different syntaxa in the framework of the Braun-Blanquet system. The different screening methods were tested using Sørensen's index expressing the similarity between the community species pool and the regional species pool. Two types of error were recognized which may result in low index values.
For the six ecological methods Sørensen's index values were below 50%. The methods differed considerably from each other in accuracy, due to large differences in errors of both types. The phytosociological methods resulted in higher similarity values of up to almost 70%. The two approaches differed in error type but gave similar results.