Journal of Vegetation Science

Cover image for Vol. 27 Issue 4

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

Impact Factor: 3.151

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2015: 3/66 (Forestry); 34/209 (Plant Sciences); 39/149 (Ecology)

Online ISSN: 1654-1103

Associated Title(s): Applied Vegetation Science

Author Guidelines

Journal of Vegetation Science Author Guidelines


The Journal of Vegetation Science publishes papers on all aspects of plant community ecology, with particular emphasis on papers that develop new concepts or methods, test theory, identify general patterns, or that are otherwise likely to interest a broad international readership. Papers may focus on any aspect of vegetation science, e.g. community structure (including community assembly and plant functional types), biodiversity (including species richness and composition), spatial patterns (including plant geography and landscape ecology), temporal changes (including demography, community dynamics and palaeoecology) and processes (including ecophysiology), provided the focus is on increasing our understanding of plant communities. The Journal publishes papers on the ecology of a single species only if it plays a key role in structuring plant communities. Papers that apply ecological concepts, theories and methods to the vegetation management, conservation and restoration, and papers on vegetation survey should be directed to our associate journal, Applied Vegetation Science.

Acceptance criteria

The journal will consider for publication only manuscripts not previously formally published. Prior posting of a manuscript on an online preprint archive such as ArXiv or bioRxiv is acceptable, as is posting of the preprint on a private website or publication as a component of a thesis or dissertation. We will not consider for publication articles permanently posted in preprint archives associated with specific journals.

To be acceptable, a paper must be of interest to an international readership, even if its immediate scope is local. A paper can be interesting by doing one or more of several things:

• Developing new concepts in understanding vegetation
• Testing concepts applicable to all plant communities
• Adding a particularly well-executed empirical example that is part of a growing literature on a general conceptual issue
• Representing a particularly interesting combination of models, observational data and experiments
• Demonstrating a new and generally useful method
• Presenting a particularly exemplary or thorough analysis, even if the concepts and methods are not novel, and even if it be regional in scope, so long as it:
      - represents the state of the art (methods and statistics) and
      - presents a critical and definitive test for an interesting hypothesis

The questions in the paper can be addressed by many means, including description, experiments, simulations, meta-analysis, inference, extrapolation, etc. There is no limit to the nature of the approach, as long as the work is sound. As a rule of thumb, the journal would accept a paper if at least 66% of vegetation scientists would regard it as having some interest, or at least 10% would regard it as being very interesting.

All submitted manuscripts must comply with our publishing ethics as detailed here.

Authors are strongly encouraged to make their primary data available in appendix tables or data depositories.

Types of papers

Research article
This category includes description, experiment, simulation, theory, description of a new method, or any combination of those. The typical length of ordinary papers is about 8–10 printed pages. The submission of longer papers can be accepted on the basis of a sound explanation given in the cover letter. Shorter papers may be managed and published sooner.

To estimate the article length, note that an average journal page can contain about 800 words for the main text from the Title to the end of References, or a variable number of display items (tables and/or figures) that would be readable when printed together in an A4 page. For instance, a manuscript with 6800 words and a given number of display items fitting in 1.5 A4 pages would use almost 10 journal pages, which is fine for a Research Article. Within this limit, authors are free to distribute the space among text and display items. Online supplementary files may be used for less essential text and/or display items.

Reviews of a topic that produce new ideas / conclusions (and are not merely summaries of the literature) can be published as Syntheses, which may be longer than Research articles, but the length must be justified by the content of interest.

Forum papers are essays with original ideas / speculations / well-sustained arguments, with no new data. They usually contribute to free debate of current and often controversial ideas in vegetation science. There may be criticism of papers published in Journal of Vegetation Science, or (if interesting to our readers) of papers published elsewhere. An Abstract is required, but otherwise the sectional format is flexible. The length of the Forum papers is normally 0.5–4 printed journal pages. The submission of longer Forum papers can be accepted on the basis of a sound explanation given in the cover letter. Forum papers, especially short ones, have high priority in publication.

This includes items that are not scientific papers, e.g. news items, the existence of databases and technical information. Reports are typically two printed journal pages; additional material should be put in electronic appendices. The submission of longer Report papers can be accepted on the basis of a sound explanation given in the cover letter. A report can describe a new or much expanded computer program if this is of interest to vegetation scientists. We can also accept paid advertisements for commercial computer programs. We also carry reviews of computer programs, and authors of new programs are very welcome to submit them for review to the Software Review Editor. [Papers that, whilst mentioning a particular program, are basically descriptions of a new method, can be submitted as Research articles.]

Journal’s policy on criticism and errata

For details of the policy on papers that have a major element criticising a particular paper or body of work, and on responses, also for the policy on errata, click here.


Manuscripts must be written in English (either British or American throughout). They should be concise, because concise papers often make more impact on the reader.

Manuscript structure

Title: This should be strongly directed towards attracting the interest of potential readers.

Author names and addresses: Follow exactly the format in the most recent issue of the journal. Give e-mail addresses for all authors.

Printed journal page estimate: Give the number of words from title to references and estimated size of tables and figures. For example: 6800 words (8.4 pages), table 0.3 pages, figures 1.2 pages, total 9.9 pages.

Abstract: Up to 350 words for Research articles or Synthesis papers (up to 200 for a Forum or Report paper). Include no references. The abstract for Research articles should have named sections, normally: Question(s), Location, Methods, Results, and Conclusions. This structure can be varied when necessary, e.g. for Synthesis use whatever structure is appropriate; for theoretical papers Location is not needed; use Aim(s) instead of Question(s) for papers introducing a new method; for Forum and Report papers an unstructured abstract will be appropriate.

Keywords: There should be 8–12 keywords, separated by semicolons. Most online paper accesses come via searches with Google, Web of Science, etc., rather than by browsing the journal. A paper's hit rate may increase if title-/abstract/keywords are properly prepared. For more information see Wiley Author Services.

Nomenclature: Refer to a source for unified nomenclature of plant species or vegetation units, unless there be few names and their authors are given in the text. Do not use author citation for names in the text if they are given in the nomenclature source. Use the following format:

      Nomenclature Tutin et al. (1968–1993) for vascular plants; Hill et al. (2006) for mosses; Schumacker & Váňa (2000) for hepatics

      Nomenclature Stace (2010) for plants; Rodwell (1991–2000) for plant communities

      Nomenclature Castroviejo et al. (1986–2012) except for Compositae and Gramineae, which follow the Euro+Med PlantBase (, accessed on 4 Apr 2013).

      Nomenclature USDA Plants Database (; accessed on 12 Mar 2014)

Abbreviations: List any that are frequently used in the text.

Running head: Shortened title.

Main text: Indicate new paragraphs by indentation. Avoid footnotes. Variation from the usual Introduction - Methods - Results - Discussion structure is acceptable when appropriate.

Acknowledgements: Keep them brief. References to research projects/funds and institutional publication numbers can go here.

Author contributions: For papers with more than one author, an optional concise statement of authorship may be included informing who designed the research, who collected the data, who developed new methods, and who wrote the manuscript. Use initials to identify the authors.

Citations in the text: Use forms such as: Smith & Jones (2005) or (Smith & Jones 2005); for more than two authors: White et al. (2005); for combinations: (Smith et al. 2005 a, b; Jones 2006, 2010). Citations should be chronological by year, except where there is a list of years for the same author(s), e.g. (Zebedee 1950, 1970; Abraham 1960; Smith et al. 1965, 1974; Zebedee et al. 1969)

References section: Use the formats below. Always give the full name of the journals. For references with up to eleven authors, all authors are listed. If there are twelve or more authors, only the first nine and the last one are listed, while the others are replaced by "(...) &".

Lane, D.R., Coffin, D.P. & Lauenroth, W.K. 2000. Changes in grassland canopy structure across a precipitation gradient. Journal of Vegetation Science 11: 359–368.

Greig-Smith, P. 1983. Quantitative plant ecology. 3rd ed. Blackwell, Oxford, UK.

Whittaker, R.H. 1969. Evolution of diversity in plant communities. In: Woodwell, G.M. & Smith, H.N. (eds.) Stability and diversity in ecological systems, pp. 178–196. Brookhaven National Laboratory, Brookhaven, NY, US.

Blackburn, T.M., Essl, F., Evans, T., Hulme, P.E., Jeschke, J.M., Kühn, I., Kumschick, S., Marková, Z., Mrugała, A., (…) & Bacher, S. 2014. A unified classification of alien species based on the magnitude of their environmental impacts. PLoS Biology 12: e1001850.

Noble, D.L. 1978. Seedfall and establishment of Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir. United States Department of Agriculture [report no. 575], Washington, DC, US.

Wallin, G. 1973. Lövskogsvegetation i Sjuhäradsbygden. Ph.D. thesis, Uppsala University, Uppsala, SE.  

Do NOT list computer programs, personal communications or web-pages under References. EndNote Reference Style File is available in our Author Services.

References to computer programs: Computer programs used should be mentioned in the Methods section, e.g. "performed by DoStats (version 6.2, StatProgs Inc., Springfield, NY, US)" or “performed by Partition (version 3.0,”. Only descriptions of computer programs in refereed journals or in books with an ISBN can be cited in the References section. References to computer programs should never substitute references to proper description of methods performed using these programs. The methods used should be fully described in the text, in an appendix and/or by readily-available references. A reference to a computer program and to “program defaults” is not a substitute.

Unpublished material and web-pages: The References section can contain only material that is published (including early online publications with a DOI) or is a thesis. Indicate all other material as "unpubl." or "pers. comm." (the latter with date and description of the type of knowledge, e.g. "local farmer"), or web-address (add date of accession); "submitted" may be used only if the cited item is in some journal's editorial process, and the reference will have to be removed if the item has not been published (at least in early online view) by that journal by the time proofs are corrected for citing paper.

References in other languages than English
1. References in the languages that use the Latin alphabet are cited in the original language. Optionally, titles of papers, book chapters of books can be followed by an English translation in square brackets. Titles of the journals or books in the citations of book chapters are not translated. The use of translations should be consistent within each paper (e.g. for all citations in the paper, or all citations in less known languages translated and all citations in widespread languages not translated).
      Mucina, L. 1985. Používať či nepoužívať Ellenbergove indikačné hodnoty? Biológia 40: 511–516.
      Mucina, L. 1985. Používať či nepoužívať Ellenbergove indikačné hodnoty? [To use or not to use Ellenberg's indicator values?]. Biológia 40: 511–516.

2. References in the Cyrillic and Greek alphabets are cited in the original language but transliterated to Latin alphabet. Optionally, titles of papers, book chapters of books can be followed by an English translation in square brackets. Titles of the journals or books in the citations of book chapters are not translated. At the end of the citation, the original language is indicated in square brackets.
      Kholod, S.S. 2007. Klassifikatsiya rastitel´nosti ostrova Vrangelya. Rastitel'nost' Rossii 11: 3–15. [In Russian.]
      Kholod, S.S. 2007. Klassifikatsiya rastitel´nosti ostrova Vrangelya [Classification of Wrangel Island vegetation]. Rastitel'nost' Rossii 11: 3–15. [In Russian.]

3. References in the languages that use other alphabets than Latin, Cyrillic and Greek: Titles of papers/chapters/books including book titles in the citations of chapters and also the titles of the journals are translated to English. At the end of the citation, the original language is indicated in square brackets.
      Chiu, C.-A., Lin, H.-C., Liao, M.-C., Tseng, Y.-H., Ou, C.-H., Lu, K.-C. & Tzeng, H.-Y. 2008. A physiognomic classification scheme of potential vegetation of Taiwan. Quarterly Journal of Forest Research 30: 89–112. [In Chinese.]

Manuscript format

Number all pages and all the lines continuously. Use a single-column format. Use scientific names of taxa, and avoid vernacular names. Units of measurement must follow the International System of Units, e.g. mg.m-2.yr-1. The time unit for contemporary phenomena can be 's', 'min', 'hr', 'week', 'mo' or 'yr'. For palaeo-time use 'ka' or 'Ma'; make always clear whether 14C years or calendar years BP (before present) are used. Dates should be in the format: 2 Sep 2010, i.e. with the month as three letters. Months on their own should be in full: September. Country abbreviations are by 2-letter code (but note UK, not GB). Use words rather than symbols where possible, especially in the Title, Abstract and Keywords, e.g. 'beta' rather than 'β'.

Numbers with units of measurement must be in digits, e.g. 3.5 g. Numbers in the text of up to ten items (i.e. integers) should be in words, e.g. "ten quadrats", "five sampling times"; above ten in digits, e.g. "11 sampling times". Use '.' for a decimal point. Thousands in large numbers (ten thousand and higher) should be indicated by a space, e.g. 10 000, but 2000. Symbols for variables and parameters should be in italics (e.g. P).


Numerical results should be presented as either tables or figures, but not both. Tables should be included in the manuscript text file, either embedded in the text or at the end. Table legends should be on the same page as the table to which they refer. The legend should contain sufficient information for the table to be understood without reference to the text of the paper. The first sentence of the legend should comprise a short title for the table. Units should appear in parentheses in the column headings, not in the body of the table. If some part of the table needs to be highlighted (e.g. groups of important species), use background shading (not framing or boldface). For large tables with many empty cells, fill the empty cells with dots to facilitate reading.


Figures in the submitted manuscript should be supplied at the size at which they are intended to be printed: either one-column or full-page width. They may optionally be embedded in the text. Figure legends should be included within the manuscript text file on the same page as the figure to which they refer, to ease the reading by editors and referees. The legend should contain sufficient information for the figure to be understood without reference to the text of the paper. The first sentence of the legend should comprise a short title for the figure.

The definitions of symbols and lines should be given as a visual key on the figure itself, not as a word key (e.g. 'solid bars', 'open circle', 'dashed line') in the legend. Sub-graphs within one figure should be headed with a lowercase letter and a brief heading. Wherever space allows, full labels instead of abbreviations should be used in the figures. Scale bars should be given on microphotographs and maps.

Artwork guidelines are available at The journal welcomes colour figures and plates when information would be lost if reproduced in black and white. Please note there is a charge for colour in print, please promptly post or courier the completed hard copy* of the Colour Work Agreement Form (including payment information) to this mailing address below. Manuscripts where all colour figures will appear in greyscale in print do not require a Colour Work Agreement form.

Customer Services (OPI)
John Wiley & Sons Ltd
European Distribution Centre
New Era Estate, Oldlands Way
Bognor Regis
West Sussex
PO22 9NQ

Free colours will be used in the online version of the journal if printed version will be in black and white. If this option is selected, add a black and white version of the figure to the paper (without counting it on page length) to make sure it is still meaningful when printed without colours.

Electronic appendices

Large figures and tables, raw data, calculation examples, computer program source, extra photographs and similar materials can be published as electronic appendices in online 'Supporting Information‘. This material will not appear in the printed paper, but will be freely available in the Wiley Online Library.

All PDF files in electronic appendices should, so far as is practicable, be prepared in a similar style to the printed/PDF issues of the journal, using similar font types and sizes. A Microsoft Word template file can be found here.

Each electronic appendix in PDF format should start with a reference to the original paper, followed by the appendix caption, for example:
      Supporting Information to the paper Smith, W.R. Assembly rules in a tropical rain forest of central Amazonia. Journal of Vegetation Science. Appendix S1. A list of palm species recorded in the study area.

Written text should be in PDF, and where the reader might wish to extract text (e.g. computer program codes) also in plain text (TXT). Tables should be in PDF and longer tables (>30 rows) additionally in plain text (TXT or CSV) format. Raw data should be in plain text (TXT or CSV) format. Figures and photographs should be in PDF format, including captions. Groups of related items (e.g. a set of figures, or of photographs) can be included in a single appendix. A detailed caption should appear in each appendix.

A list of all appendices with shortened captions should be provided at the end of the paper (after the References section), e.g. "Appendix 2. Photographs of the main types of deciduous forest in the study area-".

So long as text, tables, data, figures and photographs are given in the above formats, other files in any format may be given, e.g. videos, executable programs, functional spreadsheets. Each such file should have a corresponding PDF Appendix describing the file, its format and contents e.g.:
      Appendix S3. Description of the video in Appendix S4, pollination.
      Appendix S4. Video of bee Apis mellifera pollinating Bellis perennis (WMV format), described in Appendix S3.
There should be a reference to the electronic appendices in the main text of the paper, e.g.: (Appendix S4, described in Appendix S3).

Electronic appendices should be submitted for review with the first version of the manuscript, but uploaded as a separate file and designated as 'Appendix for Online Publication Only'. They should not be included as additional pages within the main document.


Technical checklist before manuscript submission

Before submitting your paper, please, check whether your manuscript meets the following requirements:

Topic:  Is suitable for Journal of Vegetation Science. It deals with plant communities or multispecies plant assemblages (not with single species); is of interest to international community of vegetation scientists.
Title:  Is concise and attractive, catches the reader's attention with topical issues or an interesting hypothesis.
Abstract:  Does not exceed to 350 words (fewer for a Forum or Report paper); does not contain references; is divided into named sections (except for a Forum or Report).
Author list:  Follows the current format of the journal, e.g.:

John B. Bush, George Smith & E. Fred Coxon

Bush, J. B. (Corresponding author,
Coxon, E. F. (,2
Smith, G. (

1Ecology Department,Little Marsh University, 11 Main St., Little Marsh, Berkshire, UK;
2Botany Department, Herbicide Manufacturers, P. O. Box 2002, Southend-on-Sea, UK

E-mails given for all authors.

Keywords:  Follow the journal format, e.g. Abies forest; Balkans; Community structure; Deer; Invasive species; Neutral model; Species richness; Zonation.
Nomenclature source and Abbreviations:  Are given if relevant.
Logical structure:  The Introduction states what topics will be addressed, and those topics are addressed by the Methods, Results and Discussion.
Introduction:  Explains why the topic is important or interesting; briefly provides the broader context of the current study; ends with questions, hypotheses or a clear statement of the paper’s aims.
Results:  The claims in the Results section text match what is in the figures and tables.
Table and Figure captions:  Understandable without reading the text. On the same page as the table or figure.
Tables:  Concise, with row and column labels as self-explanatory as possible; contain no vertical lines.
Figures:  Not too many of them, and compact; supplied in the size they will be printed, with all details readable at this size; contain no unnecessary lines (e.g. across a graph, or frames around the graph; to the top and right of a graph); lines and symbols explained in direct language, e.g. * = Litter removed (not: * = LRT or * = Treatment LR or * = Treatment 3); symbol key in the figure itself, not a word key ('dashed line', 'open circles') in the caption.
Electronic appendices:  All appendices (except mathematical ones), large figures & tables, extra photographs and raw data, go here. Format of PDF files prepared in a similar style to the printed/PDF issues of the journal using the journal’s appendix template.

Manuscripts should be submitted at, as Word document (.doc or .docx) or RTF (.rtf), preferably with all tables and figures embedded in a single file. On submission, your paper will be considered by a Chief Editor who will make an initial decision whether to progress your paper. If so, one of the Associate Editors will be selected as Co-ordinating Editor to consider the submitted manuscript further, invite referees if appropriate, and make final decision on acceptance. If your paper is not assigned to a Co-ordinating Editor, you will be advised by email, usually within five days of submission.
In the cover letter please explain briefly why your paper is especially suitable for the Journal of Vegetation Science, e.g. whether it relates to the topics regularly published by the journal.

Conflict of Interest
All authors are required to disclose potential sources of conflict of interest upon submission. Click here for further information.

Accepted Papers
If a paper is eventually accepted, there are several technical and presentation issues that will need to be checked. Authors should check these when they receive the Co-ordinating Editor's response and make necessary modifications (the Co-ordinating Editor and Chief Editors may give directions on such issues). After the paper is acepted, it will be passed via the Editorial Office to the Production Editors. If only minor technical issues remain, the Production Editors may make the changes themselves, perhaps checking with the author first, or asking by a note on the proofs to check the changes. For major changes (e.g. if there are many language problems), the Production Editors will be unable to correct papers for authors, and authors will be given the choice of doing this work themselves, even at this late stage, or having it done at cost. Exceptions to these charges can be made only for ecologists from the developing world. It is quite possible that none of this will apply to a particular paper, but we warn all authors at the submission stage just in case it turns out that it does. Once a paper has been accepted, it will be forwarded to the publisher to proceed with the production

On acceptance, authors will be required to upload their manuscript as one text file and additional high resolution graphics files. The preferred formats are .EPS or .PDF for vector graphics (e.g. line artwork) and .TIFF for half-tone figures. TIFF files should be supplied at a minimum resolution of 300 dpi (dots per inch) at the final size at which they are to appear in the journal. For further information click here.

Authors having colour figures have to fill in the form available here and post a hard copy to: Customer Services (OPI), John Wiley & Sons Ltd, European Distribution Centre, New Era Estate, Oldlands Way, Bognor Regis, West Sussex, PO22 9NQ. Financial support may be available to authors from developing countries who have figures for which colour is essential. For possible financial support contact the Editorial Office.

Graphical abstracts on tables of contents
The journal’s online table of contents includes a summary of what is exciting about the paper in not more than 60 words. It is accompanied by a small, approximately square, image (a photograph, a graph or part of a graph) relevant to the paper. It can be from the paper itself, or related to it. Please ensure that the figure will make sense thumbnail-size, i.e. either with an interesting overall pattern or else a simple graph with large axis lettering. Graphical abstracts will be requested by the Editorial Office if your paper is accepted for publication.

Cover images
Electronic artwork/original photographs of high quality suitable for the cover are welcome. Potential cover images should be submitted to the Editorial Office. Images should be accompanied by a caption and include the name of the photographer or artist. Images should be related to accepted papers. Photographs submitted as cover images can be identical with those submitted for online Supporting Information. For each photograph, the author should make clear whether it is submitted for online Supporting Information, journal cover, or both. Contributors are required to assign copyright of photographs to the International Association for Vegetation Science by UK law.

Full upload instructions and support are available online from the submission site via the 'Get Help Now' button. Please submit covering letters or comments to the editor when prompted online. In case of any problems with submission please send queries to Please send any general submission queries to

Page charges and subscriptions

There are no page charges except for colour figures. However, please consider taking a subscription to Journal of Vegetation Science and/or Applied Vegetation Science: they carry important papers in your field. Subscriptions help us to avoid charges. The personal subscription rates are very reasonable and include membership of International Association for Vegetation Science (IAVS). For those in the developing world, assistance may be available through the IAVS: contact the Secretary (

If a paper is accepted, the author identified as the formal corresponding author for the paper will receive an e-mail prompting her/him to login into Author Services, where via the Wiley Author Licensing Service (WALS) she/he will be able to complete the license agreement on behalf of all co-authors.

For authors signing the copyright transfer agreement

If the OnlineOpen option is not selected the corresponding author will be presented with the copyright transfer agreement (CTA) to sign. The terms and conditions of the CTA can be previewed in the samples associated with the Copyright FAQs below:

CTA Terms and Conditions

OnlineOpen Service

OnlineOpen is available to authors of primary research papers who wish to make their paper available to non-subscribers on publication, or whose funding agency requires grantees to archive the final version of their paper. With OnlineOpen the author, the author's funding agency or institution pays a fee to ensure that the paper is made available to non-subscribers upon publication via Wiley Online Library, as well as deposited in the funding agency's preferred archive. For the full list of terms and conditions, see

Any authors wishing to send their paper OnlineOpen will be required to complete the payment form available from our website at:

If the OnlineOpen option is selected the corresponding author will have a choice of the following Creative Commons License Open Access Agreements (OAA):

Creative Commons Attribution License OAA

Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License OAA

Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial -NoDerivs License OAA

To preview the terms and conditions of these open access agreements please visit the Copyright FAQs hosted on Wiley Author Services and visit here.

If an author select the OnlineOpen option and the research is funded by The Wellcome Trust and members of the Research Councils UK (RCUK), authors will be given the opportunity to publish the article under a CC-BY license supporting authors in complying with Wellcome Trust and Research Councils UK requirements. For more information on this policy and the Journal’s compliant self-archiving policy please visit: