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Prediction of Vegetation Succession in Human-Disturbed Habitats Using an Expert System

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Abstract

Detailed information, both quantitative and observational, on the course of vegetation succession in various human-disturbed habitats in Central Europe was used to construct an expert system named SUCCESS. Using the system, it is possible to predict tentatively the sequence of seral stages and dominant species exchange in successional seres initiated on bare ground and lasting up to 50 years. Simple information on geographical position, type of substratum, relief, moisture, nutrient content, character of surrounding vegetation, and size of the disturbed area is taken into consideration to predict site-specific succession in the particular habitats. The expert system is supposed to help landscape managers, nature conservationists, and environmental impact assessment experts in decision-making procedures to take into account the development of vegetation in man-made sites. Moreover, it also summarizes scientific information on the pattern of vegetation change in human-disturbed habitats in the geographical area considered.

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