Journal of Vegetation Science

Cover image for Vol. 25 Issue 4

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

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

Impact Factor: 3.372

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2013: 3/64 (Forestry); 27/196 (Plant Sciences); 35/140 (Ecology)

Online ISSN: 1654-1103

Associated Title(s): Applied Vegetation Science


  1. 1 - 48
  1. Original Articles

    1. Recent fire and cattle herbivory enhance plant-level fuel flammability in shrublands

      Melisa Blackhall, Thomas T. Veblen and Estela Raffaele

      Article first published online: 31 JUL 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12216

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      Variability in flammability-related plant traits associated with time since fire and with cattle browsing varies with species identity. However, the majority of the woody species studied in northern Patagonia show higher fuel flammability at recently burned sites affected by cattle. Livestock, by increasing the flammability of post-fire vegetation, may be key agents in altering fire regimes in forest-shrubland mosaics.

    2. Using imaging spectroscopy to predict above-ground plant biomass in alpine grasslands grazed by large ungulates

      Anna K. Schweiger, Anita C. Risch, Alexander Damm, Mathias Kneubühler, Rudolf Haller, Michael E. Schaepman and Martin Schütz

      Article first published online: 31 JUL 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12214

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      Remoteness and heterogeneity of research areas make it difficult to assess vegetation characteristics with in situ sampling. We demonstrate that imaging spectroscopy can overcome this issue even in highly heterogeneous alpine grassland. Site-specific models including ground reference data outperformed regional models and the NDVI and enabled to map plant biomass in high spatial detail.

    3. From facilitative to competitive interaction between Larrea tridentata and Cylindropuntia leptocaulis in the southern Chihuahuan Desert

      A. Flores-Torres and C. Montaña

      Article first published online: 23 JUL 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12213

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      Larrea tridentata facilitates Cylindropuntia leptocaulis establishment. Irrigation experiments showed that adult shrubs were affected when associated with adult cacti. But solitary-dead shrubs and associated-live shrubs were more frequent than expected, and a spatial association was maintained between adult shrubs and cactus of all sizes. This means that the lowered fitness caused by adult interspecific-competition only exceptionally kills the shrub.

    4. Native and exotic plant species respond differently to wildfire and prescribed fire as revealed by meta-analysis

      Christina Alba, Hana Skálová, Kirsty F. McGregor, Carla D'Antonio and Petr Pyšek

      Article first published online: 14 JUL 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12212

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      Wildfire and prescribed fire modify vegetation dynamics worldwide. Due to invasion of many ecosystems by exotic species, it is of concern whether fire alters plant communities in favor of exotics. Using meta-analysis we show that native and exotic species assemblages differentially respond to both wildfire and prescribed fire and further assess how habitat type and time since fire mediate vegetation response.

    5. Observation bias and its causes in botanical surveys on high-alpine summits

      Sarah Burg, Christian Rixen, Veronika Stöckli and Sonja Wipf

      Article first published online: 7 JUL 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12211

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      Re-visitation studies on alpine summits based on historical records are great tools to monitor floristic change. We quantified observer bias using simultaneous independent surveys and found that physical strain to reach and time spent botanizing a summit influenced pseudo-turnover. However, turnover over the past century was three times higher; thus, the ecological signal by far exceeds the methodological bias.

    6. Changes in the species and functional trait composition of the seed bank during semi-natural grassland assembly: seed bank disassembly or ecological palimpsest?

      Kenny Helsen, Martin Hermy and Olivier Honnay

      Article first published online: 4 JUL 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12210

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      We show that during calcareous grassland assembly, a diverse seed bank is formed directly following forest clearance, followed by a gradual loss of species. This species loss is not governed by seed persistence traits but by functional changes in the above-ground community, resulting in one deterministic end state at the trait level, but not at the species level.

    7. Impact of fine-scale edaphic heterogeneity on tree species assembly in a central African rainforest

      Jason Vleminckx, Thomas Drouet, Christian Amani, Janvier Lisingo, Jean Lejoly and Olivier J. Hardy

      Article first published online: 4 JUL 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12209

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      We investigated the impact of a fine-scale soil texture discontinuity on tree species assembly in a Congolese rainforest. Using ordinations and torus-translation tests, we found that communities located on sandy soil were clearly differentiated from those on clayey soil in both the canopy and subcanopy. Our results provide further support for the importance of edaphic heterogeneity in structuring tree communities.

    8. Fire and simulated herbivory have antagonistic effects on resistance of savanna grasslands to alien shrub invasion

      Mariska te Beest, Nokukhanya J. Mpandza and Han Olff

      Article first published online: 2 JUL 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12208

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      Biotic resistance limits invasion success, yet to what extent resistance interacts with disturbance remains unclear. We transplanted seedlings of the alien shrub Chromolaena odorata in savanna grasslands and show that fire reduced seedling survival, whereas small-scale disturbances increased both seedling survival and biomass. We conclude that small-scale disturbances may aid the long-term persistence of woody species invading grasslands.

    9. Below-ground competition drives the self-thinning process of Stipa purpurea populations in northern Tibet

      Juntao Zhu, Lin Jiang, Yangjian Zhang, Yanbin Jiang, Jian Tao, Li Tian, Tao Zhang and Yi Xi

      Article first published online: 29 JUN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12207

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      Above–ground, below–ground and individual mass–density relationships for Stipa purpurea populations were examined along a natural precipitation gradient in Northern Tibet. Our study revealed the mechanisms of population self–thinning for perennial herbs in the extreme environment of Northern Tibet, where below–ground process plays a critical role in regulating population self–thinning.

  2. Special Feature: Vegetation Patterns and their Underlying Processes

    1. Vegetation patterns and their underlying processes: where are we now?

      Aveliina Helm, Rein Kalamees, Martin Zobel and SPECIAL FEATURE EDITORS

      Article first published online: 18 JUN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12206

  3. Original Articles

    1. Holocene fire regimes, vegetation and biogeochemistry of an ecotone site in the Great Lakes Region of North America

      Jesse L. Morris, Joshua R. Mueller, Andrea Nurse, Colin J. Long and Kendra K. McLauchlan

      Article first published online: 10 JUN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12202

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      Using a lake record from the prairie-forest border, we demonstrate that recently developed quantitative and identification techniques for sedimentary charcoal reveal past landscape structure. A key result of our work indicates that when significant shifts in fire regimes occur, these transitions are coincident with changes in dominant fuel sources (herbaceous vs. woody).

    2. Grazing effects on biological soil crusts and their interaction with shrubs and grasses in an arid rangeland

      Solana Tabeni, Irene A. Garibotti, Clara Pissolito and Julieta N. Aranibar

      Article first published online: 10 JUN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12204

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      Evidence suggests that the main biotic factors structuring biological soil crust communities in areas disturbed by grazing are the presence of shrubs and grasses, with opposite patterns across the gradient. There is a relationship of attraction between BSC and shrubs in the vicinity of the settlements, and of repulsion between BSC and both grasses and litter in less disturbed sites.

    3. Water and substrate control of cliff communities: patterns among species and phyla

      Ken Aho, T. Weaver and Sharon Eversman

      Article first published online: 1 JUN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12205

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      This paper identified community shifts on water-substrate gradients on inland US cliffs, by considering phyla and species responses. Water was the most important controlling factor. Hygric sites were occupied by mosses and anthophytes. Lichens dominated xeric sites. While substrate did not affect hygric communities, substrate effects – probably due to different water supplying capacities – were evident on xeric sites.

    4. Distance to seed sources and land-use history affect forest development over a long-term heathland to forest succession

      S. Kepfer-Rojas, I. K. Schmidt, J. Ransijn, T. Riis-Nielsen and K. Verheyen

      Article first published online: 1 JUN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12203

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      Over more than 100 yr of spontaneous heathland to forest succession, distance to seed sources and land-use history had different effects on the community structure of colonizers. Slower colonization rates at formerly cultivated areas were indirectly determined by higher nutrient availability. Dispersal from seed sources had more widespread effects on community structure, albeit more strongly at early stages.

    5. Decline of dry grassland specialists in Mediterranean high-mountain communities influenced by recent climate warming

      Borja Jiménez-Alfaro, Rosario G. Gavilán, Adrián Escudero, José María Iriondo and Federico Fernández-González

      Article first published online: 1 JUN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12198

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      Climate-driven changes in Mediterranean mountains have been rarely assessed. Through a re-visitation study on high-mountain sites sampled in the XX century, we detected temporal patterns of decline in specialists and increase in generalists and total species richness. Altogether. these patterns differ from changes observed in other Mediterranean or Temperate regions.

    6. Do groundwater dynamics drive spatial patterns of tree density and diversity in Neotropical savannas?

      Randol Villalobos-Vega, Ana Salazar, Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm, Mundayatan Haridasan, Augusto C. Franco and Guillermo Goldstein

      Article first published online: 1 JUN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12194

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      Variations in tree density and diversity along topographic gradients in Neotropical savannas are more related to spatial and temporal variations in water table depth than to soil and groundwater nutrient variations. Seasonal water table fluctuations in low elevation sites limit tree density as trees poorly tolerate extended water logging conditions during wet seasons and water deficits during dry seasons.

    7. Distribution and traits of climbing plants in subtropical and temperate South America

      Jaqueline Durigon, Silvia T.S. Miotto and Ernesto Gianoli

      Article first published online: 28 MAY 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12197

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      The flora of extratropical South America holds a distinctive taxonomic and ecological diversity of climbing plants. We showed that floristic patterns found in extratropical climbing flora contrast with those described for tropical regions and that vines constitute a very important climbing growth form at extratropical zones. We also provided evidences that climbing mechanisms may influence climber distribution.

    8. Late Holocene persistence of Abies alba in low-mid altitude deciduous forests of central and southern Italy: new perspectives from charcoal data

      Gaetano Di Pasquale, Emilia Allevato, Anna Cocchiararo, Daniela Moser, Marco Pacciarelli and Antonio Saracino

      Article first published online: 28 MAY 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12196

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      Charcoal data from archaeological sites reveals that Abies alba decline in central and southern Italy happened very recently and was due to human exploitation. A. alba grew in mixed meso-thermophilous forests at low and middle elevation. Thus, this tree should be considered an “anthropic relic” of overexploitation rather than a climatic relic.

    9. Forest disturbance and regeneration: a mosaic of discrete gap dynamics and open matrix regimes?

      George Alan Blackburn, Zulkiflee Abd Latif and Doreen Sandra Boyd

      Article first published online: 27 MAY 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12201

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      A decade of gap dynamics in a broadleaved deciduous forest landscape was characterised using LiDAR remote sensing. This revealed a ‘regime mosaic’ with zones of closed canopy forest, conforming to the traditional spatially-discrete model of disturbance and directional regeneration, juxtaposed with zones of lower tree cover representing an open matrix model with complex patterns of gap expansion, merger and contraction.

    10. Variable effects of termite mounds on African savanna grass communities across a rainfall gradient

      Andrew B. Davies, Mark P. Robertson, Shaun R. Levick, Gregory P. Asner, Berndt J. van Rensburg and Catherine L. Parr

      Article first published online: 26 MAY 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12200

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      By investigating grass communities on and around termite mounds in Kruger National Park, we show that termite activity affects grass assemblages differently across savanna sites, with stronger influences in wetter sites. Through detecting thresholds of change and scaling these up with terrestrial LiDAR data, we further determined that mounds distinctly altered grass communities over ca. 2% of the landscape.

  4. Special Feature: IAVS 2013 Annual Symposium Special Issue

    1. Plant and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF) communities – which drives which?

      Martin Zobel and Maarja Öpik

      Article first published online: 21 MAY 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12191

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      We discuss the validity of four hypotheses describing the mutual relationship between plant and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF communities): Driver hypothesis (AMF drive plant communities), Passenger hypothesis (AMF community follows changes in the plant community) and Habitat hypothesis (both follow changes in abiotic conditions). The null hypothesis for all three states that plant and AMF communities are unrelated.

  5. Original Articles

    1. Changes in plant species richness following reduced fire frequency and drought in one of the most species-rich savannas in North America

      Kyle A. Palmquist, Robert K. Peet and Alan S. Weakley

      Article first published online: 19 MAY 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12186

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      This work documents substantial declines in small-scale plant species richness over 25 yr in one of the most species-rich longleaf pine savannas in North America. We show that reduced fire frequency and long-term drought as measured by PZ index are primarily responsible. Our work suggests that nearly annual fire is necessary for the maintenance of species richness in mesic longleaf pine savannas.

    2. Patterns of phylogenetic diversity are linked to invasion impacts, not invasion resistance, in a native grassland

      Jonathan A. Bennett, Gisela C. Stotz and James F. Cahill Jr.

      Article first published online: 16 MAY 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12199

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      Focusing on Bromus inermis invasion into grassland, we explored the relationship between invasion and community phylogenetic structure. Our results show that biotic resistance is driven by variation in nutrient availability rather than relatedness or phylogenetic diversity. However, phylogenetic structure changed following successful invasion; declines in species from common lineages and increases in species from species-poor lineages increased phylogenetic dispersion.

    3. Fire frequency, agricultural history and the multivariate control of pine savanna understorey plant diversity

      Joseph W. Veldman, Lars A. Brudvig, Ellen I. Damschen, John L. Orrock, W. Brett Mattingly and Joan L. Walker

      Article first published online: 16 MAY 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12195

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      This work unites theory on the controls of local plant diversity, savanna vegetation dynamics, and agricultural legacies using a large-scale dataset and a multivariate framework capable of revealing complex relationships. Results reveal linkages between species richness and vegetation structure (i.e., tree and understory abundance), as well as several underappreciated ways that fire frequency and agricultural history influence understory plant communities.

  6. Special Feature: Vegetation Patterns and their Underlying Processes

    1. Which is a better predictor of plant traits: temperature or precipitation?

      Angela T. Moles, Sarah E. Perkins, Shawn W. Laffan, Habacuc Flores-Moreno, Monica Awasthy, Marianne L. Tindall, Lawren Sack, Andy Pitman, Jens Kattge, Lonnie W. Aarssen, Madhur Anand, Michael Bahn, Benjamin Blonder, Jeannine Cavender-Bares, J. Hans C. Cornelissen, Will K. Cornwell, Sandra Díaz, John B. Dickie, Grégoire T. Freschet, Joshua G. Griffiths, Alvaro G. Gutierrez, Frank A. Hemmings, Thomas Hickler, Timothy D. Hitchcock, Matthew Keighery, Michael Kleyer, Hiroko Kurokawa, Michelle R. Leishman, Kenwin Liu, Ülo Niinemets, Vladimir Onipchenko, Yusuke Onoda, Josep Penuelas, Valério D. Pillar, Peter B. Reich, Satomi Shiodera, Andrew Siefert, Enio E. Sosinski Jr, Nadejda A. Soudzilovskaia, Emily K. Swaine, Nathan G. Swenson, Peter M. van Bodegom, Laura Warman, Evan Weiher, Ian J. Wright, Hongxiang Zhang, Martin Zobel and Stephen P. Bonser

      Article first published online: 15 MAY 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12190

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      We assembled a database including 21 plant traits from 447 961 species-site combinations worldwide. We found that mean annual temperature was significantly more strongly correlated with plant traits than was mean annual precipitation. The relatively low R2 values for precipitation might reflect the weak link between mean annual precipitation and the availability of water to plants.

  7. Original Articles

    1. Glacier foreland succession and the fading effect of terrain age

      Knut Rydgren, Rune Halvorsen, Joachim P. Töpper and Joar M. Njøs

      Article first published online: 14 MAY 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12184

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      We show that terrain age is not the principal factor explaining present-day variation in species composition in Nigardsbreen glacier foreland W Norway. Instead, local environmental variables are the main determinants of species composition. This result emphasises the importance of collecting high-quality environmental data, and to use statistical methods that account for the non-linear successional rates in glacier forelands.

  8. Special Feature: Vegetation Patterns and Underlying Processes

    1. Closing the gap between plant ecology and Quaternary palaeoecology

      Triin Reitalu, Petr Kuneš and Thomas Giesecke

      Article first published online: 12 MAY 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12187

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      Based on selected topics, we show that plant ecology and Quaternary palaeoecology have converged somewhat during recent years. Macroecology is probably the discipline that most easily combines different time-scales. Quantitative vegetation reconstructions provide estimates of tree composition and land cover, suitable for testing hypotheses about long-term vegetation changes. Palaeo-data also hold potential to study the drivers of long-term diversity changes.

  9. Original Articles

    1. Parasitism by Cuscuta chilensis and gender affect how the nurse cushion Laretia acaulis increases diversity in Andean alpine communities

      Wendy M. Ridenour, Ragan M. Callaway and Lohengrin A. Cavieres

      Article first published online: 8 MAY 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12185

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      Laretia acaulis is a dioecious nurse cushion species of the Andes of central Chile that is parasitized by Cuscuta chilensis. Cuscuta infection showed gender preferences, and this infection increased the facilitative effect of Laretia on its community of beneficiaries. This is the first report of how indirect effects of a parasitic plant increase the facilitative effects of a nurse species.

    2. Impacts of altered precipitation, nitrogen deposition and plant competition on a Mediterranean seed bank

      Raúl Ochoa-Hueso and Esteban Manrique

      Article first published online: 5 MAY 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12183

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      The impacts of nitrogen deposition on Mediterranean native forbs could be mediated by competition in unusually wet years. However, the ability of nitrophilous plants to respond to increased nitrogen will depend on phosphorus availability. We predict an overall increase in the dominance of nitrophilous species in semiarid Mediterranean environments where forbs adapted to low-nutrient environments will be replaced by weeds.

    3. Semi-supervised classification of vegetation: preserving the good old units and searching for new ones

      Lubomír Tichý, Milan Chytrý and Zoltán Botta-Dukát

      Article first published online: 5 MAY 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12193

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      Unsupervised clustering yields partitions that are partly inconsistent with previous classifications. Therefore, we introduce the concept of semi-supervised classification which reproduces the existing vegetation units and simultaneously identifies new units among unassigned sites. Example analyses of vegetation-plot data sets demonstrated that semi-supervised variants of clustering algorithms (k-means and PAM) are valuable tools for extending existing vegetation classifications.

    4. Spatial patterns with memory: tree regeneration after stand-replacing disturbance in Picea abies mountain forests

      Jan Wild, Martin Kopecký, Miroslav Svoboda, Jitka Zenáhlíková, Magda Edwards-Jonášová and Tomáš Herben

      Article first published online: 28 APR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12189

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      What are the spatial patterns of trees and recruits after the stand-replacing disturbance in mountain Norway spruce (Picea abies) forests? We found that spruce recruits are tightly clustered, both around disturbance-killed trees and snags that were already dead before the disturbance. Therefore, after self-thinning, the forest will have the same spatial pattern of trees as before the disturbance.

  10. Special Feature: Iavs 2013 Symposiumtartu Special Section

    1. Mathematical contributions to link biota with environment

      J.O. Cerdeira, T. Monteiro-Henriques, M.J. Martins, P.C. Silva, D. Alagador and A.M.A. Franco

      Article first published online: 25 APR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12188

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      Geometric approaches to the Hutchinsonian niche are, nowadays, considered simplistic and less reliable. We show how to improve models that make use of the convex hull to delineate niche boundaries, applying combinatorial mathematics to define iso-suitability regions. Additionally, we devise niche overlap measures seamlessly and consistently with models that decompose the niche into a finite number of measurable iso-suitability regions.

  11. Original Articles

    1. Local and regional long-term diversity changes and biotic homogenization in two temperate grasslands

      L. E. Puhl, S. B. Perelman, W. B. Batista, S. E. Burkart and R. J. C. León

      Article first published online: 16 APR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12179

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      Researchers that conducted a 1968 vegetation-survey gathered young scientists to assess long term changes in functional and floristic diversity in two of the defined grassland communities. Biotic homogeneization and greater diversity changes at both scales occurred only in grasslands exposed to lower abiotic stress. The observed shift in functional composition appeared more associated to climate change than to anthropogenic disturbance.

    2. Inaccessible ledges as refuges for the natural vegetation of the high Andes

      Steven P. Sylvester, Mitsy D.P.V. Sylvester and Michael Kessler

      Article first published online: 10 APR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12176

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      The Andean Puna biome has been burnt and grazed over the past 10,000 years yielding a largely man-made vegetation and making it difficult to deduce the potential natural vegetation (PNV). This study validates the use of zonal vegetation on mountain ledges, only accessible using mountaineering equipment, to infer the PNV in heavily impacted areas where no conservation enclosures are available.

    3. Determinants of fern and angiosperm herb community structure in lower montane rainforest in Indonesia

      Mirkka M. Jones, Daniele Cicuzza, Oliver van Straaten, Edzo Veldkamp and Michael Kessler

      Article first published online: 10 APR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12181

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      Fern and angiosperm herbs differ in physiology and dispersal biology, which affects their global distributions. We compared their local distributions in lower montane forest on Sulawesi. Spore-dispersed ferns generally showed closer vegetation-environment correlations than angiosperms. However, their habitat preferences were similar, suggesting that physiological differences do not cause divergence in fern and angiosperm herb distributions under humid rainforest understorey conditions.

    4. Niche breadth of oligarchic species in Amazonian and Andean rain forests

      Gabriel Arellano, Victoria Cala and Manuel J. Macía

      Article first published online: 10 APR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12180

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      We measured commonness and niche breadth of 1518 species in Amazonian and Andean rainforests in the Madidi Region (Bolivia). Although common species show a variety of distributional patterns, our results provide strong empirical support for the niche breadth hypothesis, which states that common species have broader niches than rare species.

    5. Predicting environmental gradients with fern species composition in Brazilian Amazonia

      Gabriela Zuquim, Hanna Tuomisto, Mirkka M. Jones, Jefferson Prado, Fernando O.G. Figueiredo, Gabriel M. Moulatlet, Flavia R.C. Costa, Carlos A. Quesada and Thaise Emilio

      Article first published online: 10 APR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12174

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      The standard way to map species distribution is to predict species occurrence based on environmental information. Here we tested an upside-down method: predicting environmental conditions based on the flora of a given place. This is relevant in areas with data paucity such as Amazonia, where optimizing information from available data can improve environmental and floristic maps for conservation planning.

    6. Plant species richness of very small forests related to patch configuration, quality, heterogeneity and history

      Monika Wulf and Jens Kolk

      Article first published online: 7 APR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12172

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      We demonstrated, that species richness is mainly predicted by patch quality and heterogeneity while patch configuration had a negligible effect. The number of forest specialists is significantly affected by patch history (= habitat continuity and historical habitat quality). Regardless of the patch size, the number of locally infrequent species increased significantly with historical habitat quality. [Photo: Species rich small forest patch in the Prignitz Region (Jens Kolk)].

    7. Contrasting relationships between clade age and temperature along latitudinal versus elevational gradients for woody angiosperms in forests of South America

      Hong Qian

      Article first published online: 3 APR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12175

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      The phylogenetic niche conservatism hypothesis predicts that the mean family age of plants is positively correlated with minimum temperature. The present study found that the mean family age of woody angiosperms in local forests in South America is positively correlated with minimum temperature for a latitudinal gradient but is negatively correlated with minimum temperature for an elevational gradient.

    8. Gap ecology in the Florida scrubby flatwoods: effects of time-since-fire, gap area, gap aggregation and microhabitat on gap species diversity

      Justin R. Dee and Eric S. Menges

      Article first published online: 21 MAR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12170

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      In the scrubby flatwoods of the Florida Scrub, periodic fire is needed to maintain landscape gaps that are important for the persistence of subordinate herbaceous species. We found positive relationships between gap area, bare sand, and herbaceous species gap occupancy rates. In the most fire supressed areas, gaps were too small and inundated with litter to maintain most herbaceous species.

  12. Special Feature Articles

    1. Mycorrhizal traits and plant communities: perspectives for integration

      Mari Moora

      Article first published online: 19 MAR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12177

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      This paper describes the mycorrhizal traits of plant species which potentially influence plant distribution and community structure. It proposes ways of using these traits for understanding the role of mycorrhizal symbiosis in vegetation dynamics. It suggests considering plant community mycorrhization – community means of mycorrhizal traits weighted by plant species abundances to describe the mycorrhizal trait composition of plant communities.

  13. Original Articles

    1. Comparing bark thickness: testing methods with bark–stem data from two South African fire-prone biomes

      Gareth P. Hempson, Jeremy J. Midgley, Michael J. Lawes, Karen J. Vickers and Laurence M. Kruger

      Article first published online: 12 MAR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12171

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      There has been a recent proliferation of studies on bark thickness, notably as a fire resistance trait. However, cross-study comparisons of relative bark thickness are severely limited by an overlooked dependence of this metric on the shape of the bark thickness-stem diameter relationship. We provide a method to address this issue, and also explore alternative measures for bark thickness comparisons.

  14. Special Feature: Vegetation Patterns and their Underlying Processes

    1. Below-ground opportunities in vegetation science

      Scott D. Wilson

      Article first published online: 20 FEB 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12168

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      New DNA and minirhizotron methods highlight important differences between below- and above-ground parts of vegetation. In temperate ecosystems, plant species richness below ground is about 50% greater than that above ground. Fine roots differ from leaves by having a growing season 40% longer, and by persisting over multiple growing seasons.

    2. Community ecology of absent species: hidden and dark diversity

      Meelis Pärtel

      Article first published online: 20 FEB 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12169

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      We can understand better patterns and their underlying processes in ecological communities if we examine not only present but also absent species. However, there are various types of absences. Hidden diversity comprises species that are absent from our observation: dormant or locally very rare species overlooked by traditional sampling. Dark diversity comprises absent species that constitute the habitat-specific species pool.

    3. What drives plant species diversity? A global distributed test of the unimodal relationship between herbaceous species richness and plant biomass

      Lauchlan H. Fraser, Anke Jentsch and Marcelo Sternberg

      Article first published online: 20 FEB 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12167

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      We propose a global coordinated distributed experiment for herbaceous communities, the HerbDivNet, to test the hump-backed model (HBM), to determine whether scale may influence the HBM, and to explore drivers of plant diversity. We welcome others to join HerbDivNet in the search of new insights to drivers of plant species diversity.

  15. Original Articles

    1. Transition patterns across an evergreen–deciduous broad-leaved forest ecotone: the effect of topographies

      Kun Song, Takashi S. Kohyama and Liang Jun Da

      Article first published online: 28 JAN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12156

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      Ecotone that sensitive to environment variation could enlarge the effect of topography on vegetation differentiation from local to regional scales. This was confirmed by the different transition patterns between the upper and lower hill-slopes across an evergreen-deciduous broadleaved forest ecotone in Eastern China, which is determined by different relative roles of thermal conditions and water availability on the two topographies.

  16. Special Feature Articles

    1. Vegetation change and eco-evolutionary dynamics

      Ove Eriksson

      Article first published online: 28 JAN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12161

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      Eco-evolutionary dynamics encapsulate a feedback between ecology and evolution, acting on short ecological time-scales. Eco-evolutionary dynamics mediated by human niche construction, manifested as new habitats, non-native species, and changing spatial configuration of habitats, are here suggested to affect plant community composition and assembly processes. Eco-evolutionary dynamics should thus become focus of studies in vegetation science.

  17. Special Feature: Vegetation Patterns and their Underlying Processes

    1. Habitat invasion research: where vegetation science and invasion ecology meet

      Petr Pyšek and Milan Chytrý

      Article first published online: 27 DEC 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12146

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      We summarize the main results of recent research on plant invasions in different habitats and vegetation types. It became clear that habitats consistently differ in their level of invasion and some generalizations have already been made. Future research should focus on disentangling the roles of habitat invasibility, propagule presure, alien species pools and interactions between plant traits and habitat properties.


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