The subalpine Pinus mugo-communities of the Carpathians with a European perspective
Šibík, Jozef; Šibíková, Ivana; Kliment, Ján
This paper deals with ecology, syntaxonomy and nomenclature of zonal dwarf pine stands in the Carpathians with respect to other mountain ranges such as the Alps, the Apennines and the Dinarides. For zonal Pinus mugo shrubs of the European mountains, a great number of different and more or less incompatible classification approaches can be found. Numerical analyses of 2,254 relevés have generally confirmed the geographical and ecological differentiation of individual syntaxa, dominated by Pinus mugo s. str. The results correspond with the classical conception of the three main groups of dwarf pine shrubs: a) acidophilous and basiphilous communities of the Pinion mugo Pawłowski in Pawłowski et al. 1928 (the Carpathians, the Rilo-Rhodopean Massifs and species poor communities on siliceous bedrock in the Eastern Alps); b) basiphilous stands of the Erico-Pinion mugo Leibundgut 1948 nom. inv. propos. (the Eastern and South-Eastern Alps, the Dinarides); and c) the Epipactido atropurpureae-Pinion mugo Stanisci 1997 (the Apennines). Each of these groups can be further divided according to altitudinal, edaphic, moisture or geographic gradients. We distinguished four general ecological types: I) a dry, rocky type on basiphilous bedrock; II) a moist type on nutrient-rich soils on basiphilous, as well as silicate bedrock; III) an acidophilous, oligotropic, species-poor type; IV) an oligotropic, wind-swept type at the transition between the subalpine and alpine belt on silicate bedrock. Based on the occurrence of individual floristic elements, geographical variability was classified either at the association or subassociation level. In the European area, 17 associations are distinguished; 6 of them occur in the Carpathians [the Cetrario islandicae-Pinetum mugo Hadač 1956, the Dryopterido dilatatae-Pinetum mugo Unar in Unar et al. 1985, the Rhododendro myrtifolii-Pinetum mugo Coldea 1991, the Adenostylo alliariae-Pinetum mugo (Sillinger 1933) Šoltésová 1974, the Seslerio albicantis-Pinetum mugo (Šoltésová 1974) Šibík in Jarolímek et Šibík 2008, and the Seslerio haynaldianae-Pinetum mugo ass. nov.]. Their floristic characteristics, site conditions and distribution are described in details. The nomenclature of all syntaxa is discussed and revised. Based on the results of numerical analyses, as well as on the comparison of the occurrence of individual floristic elements in the plant communities of the Carpathians and Rila Mts, we can state that the Carpathian phytocoenoses are relatively closer to each other than to similar communities of the Rilo-Rhodopean Massifs. These results are not surprising, since they reflect the historical contexts that affected the vegetation forming in the past. Taking into account the obtained knowledge, the limited vertical distribution (the subalpine belt) of studied phytocoenoses, similar physiognomy, and mutual close syngenetic relationships between individual dwarf pine associations, we confirm their current classification within one order Junipero-Pinetalia mugo Boşcaiu 1971 and one class Roso pendulinae-Pinetea mugo Theurillat in Theurillat et al. 1995.