Journal of Vegetation Science

Cover image for Vol. 26 Issue 1

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: 3.372

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2013: 3/64 (Forestry); 27/199 (Plant Sciences); 35/141 (Ecology)

Online ISSN: 1654-1103

Associated Title(s): Applied Vegetation Science


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  1. Research Articles

    1. Geographic patterns of lake macrophyte communities and species richness at regional scale

      Janne Alahuhta

      Article first published online: 9 DEC 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12261

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      I studied how local and regional patterns influenced on the community composition and species richness of lake macrophytes. Both local water quality and regional climate patterns contributed to the distribution of different macrophyte functional groups. The latitudinal change in the most significant environmental variables filtered species from growing in the southern lakes of US state Minnesota.

  2. Original Articles

    1. The effects of hemiparasitic plant removal on community structure and seedling establishment in semi-natural grasslands

      Andreas Demey, Pieter De Frenne, Lander Baeten, Gorik Verstraeten, Martin Hermy, Pascal Boeckx and Kris Verheyen

      Article first published online: 8 DEC 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12262

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      We studied the effect of 2 grassland hemiparasites on individual species in the established phase and in the establishment phase. Based on our observations, we propose an exciting new hypothesis: that species with persistent clonal spread are more vulnerable to parasitism because once attached, resources are potentially drawn from a whole network of interconnected ramets.

    2. Environmental variation as a key process of co-existence in flood-meadows

      Wanja Mathar, Till Kleinebecker and Norbert Hölzel

      Article first published online: 4 DEC 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12254

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      Based on an 8-year study, we show that the functional composition of flood meadows varies considerably. However, changes rather oscillate due to recurring flood and drought events that effect functional groups differently. We emphasise that, environmental fluctuations and disturbances, enabling the coexistence of species with contrasting ecological requirements are a key factor for the preservation of plant biodiversity in flood-meadows.

    3. Ecological controls on post-fire vegetation assembly at multiple spatial scales in eastern North American boreal forests

      Juliette Boiffin, Isabelle Aubin and Alison D. Munson

      Article first published online: 28 NOV 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12245

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      We investigated ecological controls on post-fire vegetation assembly at multiple spatial scales in boreal forests of Quebec. Unlike what was previously found for western North American boreal forests, habitat characteristics rather than fire severity exerted the dominant control on post-fire vegetation assembly. We attribute these results to the low depth of burn typical of eastern North American boreal fire regime.

      Photo : Burned plot in the boreal forest surrounding Chibougamau, Quebec, Canada

    4. Disturbance legacies and paludification mediate the ecological impact of an intensifying wildfire regime in the Clay Belt boreal forest of eastern North America

      Aurélie Terrier, Martin P. Girardin, Alan Cantin, William J. de Groot, Kenneth Agbesi Anyomi, Sylvie Gauthier and Yves Bergeron

      Article first published online: 27 NOV 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12250

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      We investigated the impact of a changing climate from 1971 to 2100 on fire regime and vegetation dynamics of the Clay Belt boreal forest using the Canadian Fire Effects Model. Results suggested that fire danger will increase significantly during the 21st century. Dominance of open black spruce Sphagnum forests was projected however to remain in future landscapes.

    5. Shrub cover regulates population dynamics of herbaceous plants at individual shrub scale on the Mongolian steppe

      A. Koyama, T. Sasaki, U. Jamsran and T. Okuro

      Article first published online: 27 NOV 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12253

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      We show that shrubs shape herbaceous plant communities via density-dependent variation in the effects of microsites. Shrubs regulate population dynamics of herbaceous-plants by modifying seed and plant distributions at the individual-shrub scale, and the extent of individual-shrub effects vary with shrub density. Our results suggest that density-dependent variation in the effects of a single shrub can contribute to community diversity.

    6. Post-grazing and post-fire vegetation dynamics: long-term changes in mountain bogs reveal community resilience

      Peter J. Clarke, David A. Keith, Ben E. Vincent and Andrew D. Letten

      Article first published online: 27 NOV 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12239

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      Sphagnum mires in the Australian alps show varying levels of resilience to wildfires and cattle grazing over 50 yr. There was evidence of floristic convergence within a decade of fire, but convergence was slower where fires were intense. Recovery after cattle removal was much slower, with increases of Sphagnum only beginning to stabilise 40–50 yr after cessation of grazing.

    7. A model of plant community dynamics based on replacement networks

      Julio M. Alcántara, Pedro J. Rey and Antonio J. Manzaneda

      Article first published online: 27 NOV 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12252

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      When a tree dies, the space it occupied can be overtaken by individuals of some of the species that recruited beneath. Such replacement processes form a complex network that can drive temporal changes in species abundance. We use real replacement networks in a mathematical model demonstrating that knowing replacement network structure is fundamental to understand plant community dynamics and stability.

  3. Research Articles

    1. Inter-annual fluctuations in rainfall shift the functional structure of Mediterranean grasslands across gradients of productivity and disturbance

      Carlos P. Carmona, Norman W.H. Mason, Francisco M. Azcárate and Begoña Peco

      Article first published online: 25 NOV 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12260

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      We examined the changes in functional structure of plant communities associated to interannual fluctuations in water availability across spatial gradients of resource availability and grazing. Increased rainfall had contrasting effects on assembly processes in stressful habitats, where increased rainfall promoted niche complementarity, and productive habitats, where, especially in the absence of disturbance, it increased trait convergence.

    2. Community assembly in a tropical cloud forest related to specific leaf area and maximum species height

      Wenxing Long, Brandon S. Schamp, Runguo Zang, Yi Ding, Yunfeng Huang and Yangzhou Xiang

      Article first published online: 25 NOV 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12256

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      We found that tropical dwarf forests were deterministically assembled according to SLA and Hmax. Low SLA species were more overrepresented in plots with lower temperature. The role of Hmax was not driven by variation in temperature or relative humidity, but may play a role in competition among plant species. We found that patterns of community assembly changed with plot size.

  4. Original Articles

    1. Propagule abundance and richness are equivalent or higher in communities restored with local ecotypes relative to cultivars of dominant species

      Jason E. Willand, Sara G. Baer and David J. Gibson

      Article first published online: 25 NOV 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12257

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      This study addressed a poorly understood potential effect of using cultivars in ecological restoration, specifically on the abundance and supply of propagules for community assembly. We found no consistent negative effect of dominant grass cultivars on propagule supply, suggesting that local ecotypes could result in more seedling germination and richness in the seed rain.

  5. Forum

  6. Original Articles

    1. Resource availability shapes fire-filtered savannas

      Vinícius de L. Dantas, Marco A. Batalha, Helena França and Juli G. Pausas

      Article first published online: 22 NOV 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12247

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      Fire-filtered savannas are dominated by a fire-resistant flora. These savannas can be functionally, structurally and floristically patchy. We showed that vegetation mosaics within these savannas are primarily driven by resource availability, particularly soil texture, sorting species according to their resource and growth strategies. Our results support that fire-filtered savanna mosaics are shaped by overlapping gradients of resources across the landscape.

  7. Research Articles

    1. Disentangling the drivers of understorey species richness in eutrophic forest patches

      Cord Peppler-Lisbach, Linda Beyer, Nadine Menke and Andrea Mentges

      Article first published online: 21 NOV 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12249

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      We determined the relative effects of driving factors on species richness of eutrophic forest patches and found considerable differences between different species groups. Richness of specialists was driven by soil heterogeneity, direct area effects and isolation whereas these factors hardly affected generalists and open habitat species. We conclude that large, well-connected habitat patches play an important role with respect to conservation.

  8. Original Articles

    1. Differential effects of contrasting phenotypes of a foundation legume shrub drive plant–plant interactions in a Mediterranean mountain

      Patrick Al Hayek, Jean-Paul Maalouf, Alex Baumel, Magda Bou Dagher-Kharrat, Frédéric Médail, Blaise Touzard and Richard Michalet

      Article first published online: 15 NOV 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12246

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      Variable effects of different phenotypes of foundation plant species on subordinates across contrasting habitat conditions could be due either to varying environmental conditions or to heritable differences in traits between phenotypes. In a subalpine xerophytic community of western Mount Lebanon we showed that differences in phenotypic effects of Onobrychis cornuta are more likely due to heritable differences in traits between phenotypes.

  9. Forum

    1. Seasonal variation in groundwater depth does not explain structure and diversity of tropical savannas

      L.C.R. Silva

      Article first published online: 15 NOV 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12244

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      Plant life in the savannas of central Brazil has evolved under mesic climatic conditions on nutrient-impoverished soils that could otherwise support forests. In this fire-protected site, nutrient availability is the most important factor limiting the establishment of woody communities. Groundwater levels rarely constrain tree growth in such environments, contrary to what has been recently suggested.

  10. Original Articles

    1. Compositional decoupling of savanna canopy and understory tree communities in Serengeti

      T. Michael Anderson, Thomas Morrison, Deusdedith Rugemalila and Ricardo Holdo

      Article first published online: 15 NOV 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12241

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      The composition of woody plant communities in the understory (<2 m) and canopy layer (>2 m) were surprisingly distinct across Serengeti savanna sites. Compositional similarity between canopy and understory communities decreased with soil bulk density; for top-killed individuals compositional similarity increased with fire return interval. Our research highlights the importance of bottom-up constraints on species decoupling across savanna demographic bottlenecks.

    2. Stochastic processes and crop types shape weed community assembly in arable fields

      Rémi Perronne, Valérie Le Corre, Vincent Bretagnolle and Sabrina Gaba

      Article first published online: 1 NOV 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12238

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      We investigated the effects of crop types in shaping local weed communities, relying on a functional approach on five crop types. Using a null model, we showed that, in 90% of the fields, weeds were randomly assembled. Departures from randomness resulted from shifts in weighted mean values for phenological traits, especially in spring and summer crops.

    3. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Do newcomers stick to the rules of the residents? Designing trait-based community assembly tests

      Eva Breitschwerdt, Ute Jandt and Helge Bruelheide

      Article first published online: 16 OCT 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12235

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      Adding absent plant species of four different scenarios to grassland communities indicated that species with highest degree of co-occurrence had highest survival rates and did not change mean trait distances across all study plots compared to species with highly similar or dissimilar traits and randomly chosen species. Presumably, they shared the same degree of environmental filtering as the resident species.

    4. Phenological transition dictates the seasonal dynamics of ecosystem carbon exchange in a desert steppe

      Gang Huang and Yan Li

      Article first published online: 16 OCT 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12236

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      In the spring-annuals dominant phase (SA), the ecosystem became a weak carbon resource (0.16 ± 0.03 μmol CO2 m−2·s−1) and NEE was positively correlated with community biomass. In the summer annuals and perennials dominant phase (SAP), NEE showed a relatively large carbon release (0.74 ± 0.03 μmol COm−2·s−1) and was negatively correlated with soil temperature.

    5. Pattern and process in the largest primeval beech forest of Europe (Ukrainian Carpathians)

      Martina L. Hobi, Brigitte Commarmot and Harald Bugmann

      Article first published online: 3 OCT 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12234

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      For the first time robust, landscape-scale estimates for the main forest characteristics and structural attributes of a European primeval beech forest based on 314 sample plots distributed systematically over an area of over 100 km2 are presented. The findings together with those from dendroecological analyses suggest that this forest is characterised by a mainly small-scale disturbance regime.

    6. No evidence of facilitation collapse in the Tibetan plateau

      Francisco I. Pugnaire, Lin Zhang, Ruicheng Li and Tianxiang Luo

      Article first published online: 3 OCT 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12233

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      We addressed changes in facilitation intensity along a gradient of strong environmental stress in the central Tibetan Plateau, China. Facilitation intensity increased with severity, with no signs of facilitation collapse even at the edge of plant life. Facilitation expanded the realised niche of some species and was almost as important as climate for their distribution.

    7. Patterns of tree diversity and composition in Amazonian floodplain paleo-várzea forest

      Rafael L. Assis, Torbjørn Haugaasen, Jochen Schöngart, Juan C. Montero, Maria T.F. Piedade and Florian Wittmann

      Article first published online: 30 SEP 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12229

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      In this paper, we examined the botanical foundation for a new and recently proposed floodplain forest category in Amazonia – paleo-várzea. An extensive tree inventory data set was used to compare paleo-várzea tree diversity and composition with other floodplain forests. The current study thus provides the first effort to describe paleo-várzea forest as a forest type based on floristic criteria.

    8. Hints for alternative stable states from long-term vegetation dynamics in an unmanaged heathland

      Johannes Ransijn, Sebastian Kepfer-Rojas, Kris Verheyen, Torben Riis-Nielsen and Inger Kappel Schmidt

      Article first published online: 26 SEP 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12230

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      We present a long-term study (first survey in 1921) of vegetation dynamics on a Danish heathland that has been without management for more than hundred years. Disturbance intensity in the past, rather than soil conditions, explained where grasses expanded. Dwarf-shrubs continued (up to the present) to dominate large parts of the heath where pre-abandonment disturbance intensities were lower.

    9. Primary succession, disturbance and productivity drive complex species richness patterns on land uplift beaches

      Tua Nylén and Miska Luoto

      Article first published online: 22 SEP 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12232

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      We analyse the effects of primary succession, disturbance and productivity on total and functional group species richness in land uplift beach vegetation. Based on extensive observational data, the observed complex richness patterns are created by strongly interacting environmental drivers and by differences in species' adaptive strategies. These differences result in divergent responses to succession, disturbance and productivity.

    10. Performance of late succession species along a chronosequence: Environment does not exclude Sphagnum fuscum from the early stages of mire development

      Anna M. Laine, Sanna Ehonen, Eija Juurola, Lauri Mehtätalo and Eeva-Stiina Tuittila

      Article first published online: 17 SEP 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12231

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      We conducted an experiment to address why high abundance of Sphagnum fuscum is restricted to later stages of mire succession. We found that as long as Sphagnum fuscum is not frequently flooded by nutrient rich water, it can perform even better in the early stages. Although the occurrence of neighbouring plants improved the physiological state, it decreased the abundance.

    11. Reproductive phenology and seed dispersal syndromes of woody species in the Brazilian Chaco

      Fábia S. Carvalho and Ângela L.B. Sartori

      Article first published online: 12 SEP 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12227

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      Our results are unheard of for the Chaco and they disagree with the data reported in the few studies for the same vegetation type. No significant correlations were found between flowering and fructification and the climatic variables studied. Our results provide more complete data about Chaco woody community and contribute for future studies in other dry forests.

    12. Clonal and bud bank traits: patterns across temperate plant communities

      Jitka Klimešová and Tomáš Herben

      Article first published online: 12 SEP 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12228

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      A number of traits of clonal growth are non-randomly distributed among habitat types. Proportion of clonal plants and size of their bud-bank decreases in disturbed habitats. Further, productive habitats host plants with longer clonal spread and short-lived spacers compared to unproductive habitats. As no clonal traits show overdispersion, they do not seem to play a role in niche-based coexistence.

    13. Communities: are they groups of hidden interactions?

      Richard Michalet, Shu-yan Chen, Li-zhe An, Xiang-tai Wang, Yu-xin Wang, Peng Guo, Chen-chen Ding and Sa Xiao

      Article first published online: 4 SEP 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12226

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      In a subalpine community from the Tibet Plateau (China) we quantified indirect interactions at the community and species levels between 54 forb species and the dominant graminoids and shrubs. There were no community-level effects of either dominant but multiple species-levels interactions with significant relationships with community composition. This shows that communities are sets of hidden interactions contributing to community composition.


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