To what extent do Mediterranean dwarf shrub species of phrygana and mountain habitats form distinct annual growth rings and are therefore suitable for further studies on the dynamics of phrygana? How are growth ring numbers and species turnover of dwarf shrub communities distributed along an altitudinal gradient of ca. 1800 m? Is the age distribution of dwarf shrub populations in high-mountain areas different from that in the lowlands? Which environmental factors control the beta-diversity of East Mediterranean dwarf shrub species and communities?