Journal of Vegetation Science

Cover image for Vol. 27 Issue 3

Early View (Online Version of Record published before inclusion in an issue)

Chief Editors: Alessandro Chiarucci, Valerio Pillar, with Milan Chytrý, Meelis Pärtel (Chair of the Editors)

Impact Factor: 3.709

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2014: 2/65 (Forestry); 25/204 (Plant Sciences); 31/145 (Ecology)

Online ISSN: 1654-1103

Associated Title(s): Applied Vegetation Science


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  1. Research Articles

    1. How plot shape and spatial arrangement affect plant species richness counts: implications for sampling design and rarefaction analyses

      Behlül Güler, Anke Jentsch, Iva Apostolova, Sándor Bartha, Juliette M.G. Bloor, Giandiego Campetella, Roberto Canullo, Judit Házi, Jürgen Kreyling, Julien Pottier, Gábor Szabó, Tsvetelina Terziyska, Emin Uğurlu, Camilla Wellstein, Zita Zimmermann and Jürgen Dengler

      Version of Record online: 24 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12411

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      How does the spatial configuration of sampling units influence recorded plant species richness values? We sampled fine-grain plant composition data in grasslands of six West Eurasian countries (2688 micro-quadrats per site) and aggregated them to sampling units of different spatial configuration. While rectangles were only negligibly richer than squares, discontinuous sampling units showed much higher richness, depending on the degree of spatial separation. Species-extent relationships (SERs) describe this increase in recorded richness with decreasing compactness and follow a power law.

    2. Measuring ecological specialization along a natural stress gradient using a set of complementary niche breadth indices

      Marta Carboni, David Zelený and Alicia T.R. Acosta

      Version of Record online: 18 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12413

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      We tested for variation in ecological specialization along the sea-inland gradient in Mediterranean coastal dune communities. We quantified specialization based on a set of complementary indices. Specialist species tended to dominate the most stressful habitats in terms of both resource use and ecological impact. Nevertheless, we also found mismatches among indices, suggesting that considering multiple niche dimensions is important.

    3. Fertilization triggers 11 yr of changes in community assembly in Mediterranean grassland

      Antonio Gazol, Jaime Uria-Diez, David Elustondo, Jordi Garrigó and Ricardo Ibáñez

      Version of Record online: 18 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12409

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      We evaluate 11 yr of changes in community assembly patterns following a fertilization event and grazing cessation in species-rich Mediterranean grasslands. We found rapid changes in species composition characterized by the establishment of more productive plant communities that resulted in an increased asymmetric competition for light and a reduction in species richness. Eleven yr after fertilization, communities are still recovering.

    4. Biotic disturbance facilitates range shift at the trailing but not the leading edge of lodgepole pine's altitudinal distribution

      Katherine M. Renwick, Monique E. Rocca and Thomas J. Stohlgren

      Version of Record online: 28 APR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12410

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      We re-sampled long-term ecotone transects to examine the interactive effects of climate change and mountain pine beetle disturbance on tree mortality and recruitment at the range margins of lodgepole pine. Results suggest that both range margins would remain stable in the absence of disturbance, but mountain pine beetle may accelerate an upward shift of the lower range margin.

    5. Soil degradation and feedback processes affect long-term recovery of tropical secondary forests

      Siew Chin Chua, Benjamin S. Ramage and Matthew D. Potts

      Version of Record online: 15 APR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12406

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      This study examined the dynamics and regeneration of older tropical secondary forests. We adopted a process-based approach to understand the drivers of community assembly in these forests, by characterizing the existing site conditions and using that to model seedling recruitment. We found that land use history could initiate a series of events that have long lasting effects on tropical succession. The photo shows a representation of the open vegetation (class O) found in the regenerating forests of Central Catchment Nature in Singapore, even after more than 60 years of natural regrowth.

    6. Comparing an exotic shrub's impact with that of a native life form analogue: Baccharis halimifolia L. vs Tamarix gallica L. in Mediterranean salt marsh communities

      Guillaume Fried and F. Dane Panetta

      Version of Record online: 15 APR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12407

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      Improved understanding of the impacts of exotic shrubs on invaded communities can be gained by comparisons with the impacts caused by native shrubs. Our study showed that Baccharis halimifolia has higher impacts than Tamarix gallica. Species richness declined linearly with increasing cover of Baccharis, while an impact threshold at 86% cover was found, above which native vegetation cover declines rapidly.

    7. The impact of non-reproductive plant species on assessments of community structure and species co-occurrence patterns

      Brandon S. Schamp, Lonnie W. Aarssen, Gillian S.J. Piggott and Sneha K. Dante

      Version of Record online: 15 APR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12408

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      Ecological theories are built from census data, which include plants that don't achieve reproduction. These data may poorly reflect where species can successfully grow and which species they can grow with. We show that including these plants can strongly alter assessments of plant community structure and species co-occurrence patterns.

    8. Isolated trees as nuclei of regeneration in tropical pastures: testing the importance of niche-based and landscape factors

      Géraldine Derroire, Richard Coe and John R. Healey

      Version of Record online: 30 MAR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12404

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      Attributes of isolated trees in dry tropical pastures influence the functional composition of the woody plants establishing under their crowns. Trees with crowns casting little shade and deciduous leaf phenology favour plants with drought tolerance traits. Zoochorous trees have more plants of zoochorous species underneath. In contrast, taxonomic identity of establishing plants is poorly explained by the isolated trees' attributes.

    9. Disentangling canopy and soil effects of a savanna tree species on its understorey

      Fathia Abdallah, Richard Michalet, Jean-Paul Maalouf, Saad Ouled-Dhaou, Blaise Touzard, Zouhaier Noumi and Mohamed Chaieb

      Version of Record online: 20 MAR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12402

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      We assessed short-term canopy and long-term soil effects of a savanna tree species, Acaccia tortilis on its understory, comparing understory performances both between trees and open areas, and between the northern and southern sides of the trees? Understorey differences between trees and open areas were mostly due to long-term soil effects, whereas differences below trees were due to short-term effects.

      Photo legend: Acaccia tortilis open savanna in southern arid Tunisia.

    10. Grassland root functional parameters vary according to a community-level resource acquisition–conservation trade-off

      Florian Fort, Pablo Cruz, Eric Lecloux, Leandro Bittencourt de Oliveira, Ciprian Stroia, Jean-Pierre Theau and Claire Jouany

      Version of Record online: 20 MAR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12405

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      This study has for objective to test how do soil depth gradient and fertility changes influence communities’ below-ground parameters on a long-term experiment set on a French temperate grassland. Our results support the hypothesis that fertile communities are dominated by acquisitive species and highlight the fact that soil depth has a strong effect on functional parameters.

    11. The interaction between elevational gradient and substratum reveals how bryophytes respond to the climate

      Daniel Spitale

      Version of Record online: 18 MAR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12403

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      Why does bryophyte richness increase along the elevational gradient? Eight elevational gradients and three different substrata were examined in spruce forests in the Italian Alps. Temperature was the most important predictor of species richness but substrata strongly affect the response. The species assemblages on the forest floor, being less subject to climatic variability than deadwood and tree trunks, could be less affected by the climate change.

    12. Response of tree species diversity to disturbance in humid tropical forests of Borneo

      Nobuo Imai, Hiromitsu Samejima, Malcom Demies, Atsushi Tanaka, John Baptist Sugau, Joan T. Pereira and Kanehiro Kitayama

      Version of Record online: 17 MAR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12401

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      We found the intermediate disturbance hypothesis (IDH) pattern in humid tropical forests of Borneo. But, conformity to the IDH varied with disturbance index used (aboveground biomass, pioneer's abundance, and average wood density). Our meta-analysis found that the IDH pattern varies depending on rainfall regime within tropical biomes;a clearer unimodal pattern occurs with decreasing rainfall.

    13. Model-based assessment of ecological community classifications

      Mitchell B. Lyons, David A. Keith, David I. Warton, Michael Somerville and Richard T. Kingsford

      Version of Record online: 15 MAR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12400

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      Multivariate community data are increasingly being analysed with model-based methods, and here we demonstrate some of their attractive properties for community classification diagnostics. Estimated predictive performance of generalised linear models, fit to multivariate species data, was used to (1) choose the best partitioning among multiple competing clustering solutions, (2) identify characteristic species, and (3) automatically merge clusters via iterative pruning.

    14. Invasive exotic shrub (Rhamnus cathartica) alters the timing and magnitude of post-dispersal seed predation of native and exotic species

      Kristina J. Bartowitz and John L. Orrock

      Version of Record online: 14 MAR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12397

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      We found that the presence of R. cathartica altered seed removal of native and invasive species, and the unique phenology of R. cathartica provided cover that generated novel, previously undocumented temporal shifts in consumer pressure. Our work highlights how predicting and ameliorating effects of invasive plants may require considering temporal dynamics that are currently poorly understood.

    15. Spatial and temporal patterns of herbaceous primary production in semi-arid shrublands: a remote sensing approach

      Lisandro J. Blanco, José M. Paruelo, Martín Oesterheld and Fernando N. Biurrun

      Version of Record online: 26 FEB 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12398

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      We decomposed normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) data from MODIS (pixel size: 250 m) into woody (W) and herbaceous (H) components. We calibrated the relationship between field estimates of herbaceous aboveground primary production (ANPP) and the H component of NDVI. Our model was able to estimate herbaceous ANPP from NDVI time series, in areas where herbaceous and woody plant components coexist.

    16. Woody species composition in an African savanna: determined by centuries of termite activity but modulated by 50 years of ungulate herbivory

      Colleen L. Seymour, Grant S. Joseph, Milton Makumbe, Graeme S. Cumming, Zacheus Mahlangu and David H.M. Cumming

      Version of Record online: 14 FEB 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12393

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      Large termite mounds, created over centuries, are associated with distinct woody-plant species composition relative to the surrounds. We found, however, that herbivory over only decades can reduce this contrast. Grazing and browsing combined reduced woody plant species cover more than grazing alone. Grazing alone saw a 12-fold higher cover of a bush encroaching indicator species than grazing and browsing combined.

    17. Interacting effects of grazing and habitat conditions on seedling recruitment and establishment

      Anna Kladivová and Zuzana Münzbergová

      Version of Record online: 11 FEB 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12395

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      We followed seedlings of dry grassland, asking what is the effect of grazing on seedling recruitment and establishment and to what extent is the effect grazing dependent on local habitat conditions. In our study, grazing had a positive effect on seedling recruitment. We also found that varying habitat conditions on small spatial scales can modify the impact of grazing management.

    18. Understanding clonal plant competition for space over time: a fine-scale spatial approach based on experimental communities

      Hugo Saiz, Anne-Kristel Bittebiere, Marie-Lise Benot, Vincent Jung and Cendrine Mony

      Version of Record online: 7 FEB 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12392

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      With this study we analyzed the effect of initial composition of species differing in clonal growth (guerilla – intermediate - phalanx) on the spatial dynamics of an experimental community over 5 yr. We found that guerilla and phalanx species maintained the same dynamic over time, while intermediate species modified their dynamic depending on their neighbors, suggesting more adaptability. The photo is the experimental garden from the univeristy of Rennes.

    19. Community variation in plant traits along copper and cobalt gradients

      Guillaume Delhaye, Cyrille Violle, Maxime Séleck, Edouard Ilunga wa Ilunga, Isaline Daubie, Grégory Mahy and Pierre Meerts

      Version of Record online: 7 FEB 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12394

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      This study shows how plant community's functional traits change from competitive to metal tolerance related strategy along copper and cobalt gradients. Turnover of species is much more important than the intraspecific component of the community's variation in driving these changes. In three out of five studied traits, species with a broader niche did not exhibit larger trait plasticity.


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