Vegetation types of thermophilous deciduous forests (Quercetea pubescentis) in the Western Balkans
Stupar, Vladimir; Brujić, Jugoslav; Škvorc, Željko; Črni, Andraž
Syntaxonomy, ecology and distribution patterns of thermophilous deciduous forests of the class Quercetea pubescentis remain understudied in the Western Balkans. Some oak forest types have not been investigated to date in large parts of the region and classification of many traditionally distinguished types has not been critically revised based on numerical data analysis. This is particularly true for the acido-thermophilous communities dominated by Quercus petraea, that are transitional between thermophilous and meso-acidophilous oak forests and were traditionally classified mostly to the class Quercetea roboripetraeae. Numerical analysis of nearly 3000 relevés allowed us to approach these issues. We classified thermophilous deciduous forests of the Western Balkans into six types reflecting the main broad-scale ecological and phytogeographical patterns in species composition within the study area: type 1 – sub-Mediterranean forests dominated by Quercus pubescens and/or Carpinus orientalis; type 2 – sub-Mediterranean and continental Quercus pubescens forests without Carpinus orientalis; type 3 – meso-thermophilous supra-Mediterranean and/or relict communities dominated by Ostrya carpinifolia; type 4 – thermophilous continental forests of deep, neutral to slightly acidic soils dominated by Quercus frainetto and/or Quercus cerris; type 5 – acido-thermophilous continental forests dominated by Quercus petraea and/or Quercus cerris; type 6 – acido-thermophilous northern Dinaric-southern Pannonian Quercus petraea dominated forests. A detrended correspondence analysis revealed that the variation in species composition mainly follows a geographical southwes-northeast gradient, reflecting the broad-scale ecological (macroclimatic and geological) and phytogeographical (turnover of dominant tree species) gradients. There is also a significant role of light regime, which mainly reflects local management practice, level of disturbance and the hemeroby of particular sites. Contrary to most traditional classifications, we place the acidothermophilous forests of the Western Balkans (type 6) into the class Quercetea pubescentis .
quercion frainetto • gradient analysis • quercetea robori-petraeae • quercetalia pubescenti-petraeae • phytosociology • fraxino orni-ostryion • vegetation classification • ordination • quercion petraeo-cerridis • carpinion orientalis • oak forest • quercion roboris