BLACK ALDER DOMINATED FOREST VEGETATION IN THE WESTERN PART OF CENTRAL SLOVAKIA – SPECIES COMPOSITION AND ECOLOGY

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Abstract

In some regions of Slovakia, black alder forest vegetation has not been documented appropriately yet. This paper is the first vegetation study presenting the phytosociological data and measured environmental parameters from the western part of central Slovakia. The data set was classified by using a modified TWINSPAN algorithm, which allowed us to discern floristically and ecologically distinctive plant communities. They correspond to the associations Stellario nemorum-Alnetum glutinosae Lohmeyer 1957 (riparian alder vegetation on mesic to humid sites along small brooks) and Carici acutiformis-Alnetum glutinosae Scamoni 1935 (eutrophic black alder carr forests in the colline zone) with the variants of Ligustrum vulgare and Galium palustre. The community Carici elongatae-Alnetum glutinosae Schwickerath 1933 (mesotrophic to eutrophic alder carr vegetation growing on permanently waterlogged soils), documented only with two phytosociological relevés, was distinguished following expert knowledge. A floristic and ecological pattern of these associations is presented.

The major compositional gradients were interpreted based on Ellenberg’s indicator values and the values of environmental variables recorded during the field sampling in the growing season 2011. The principal component analysis revealed the importance of soil moisture, light availability, portion of open water and soil surface for species composition variability at the association level, whereas the variants of Carici acutiformis-Alnetum glutinosae were sorted along the acidity gradient.

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