A phytosociological classification of bramble communities in Macaronesia (Azores, Madeira and Canary Islands)
Vicente Orellana, José A.; Fernández de Castro, Carmen; Linares Perea, Eliana; Galán de Mera, Antonio
Aims: Brambles form thorny pre-forest communities that have high floristic diversity and conservation value, providing food and refuge for numerous valuable fauna species. In this paper, a revision of the bramble communities in Macaronesia is presented. We provide a survey of the endemic brambles and review the communities where they appear, using 42 newly surveyed plots and 78 plots from references. Study area: Azores, Madeira and Canary Islands. Methods: Phytosociological plots ranging from 25 to 100 m2 were sampled following the Braun-Blanquet method. Statistical analyses of the data set of 120 plots comprised a similarity dendrogram based on the similarity index of Bray & Curtis, and principal components analysis (PCA). Results: Some new groups can be distinguished from the literature data. We propose a new alliance, Rubion bollei, within the order Rubo bollei-Salicetalia canariensis, with two new associations Diplazio caudati-Rubetum serrae (Madeira) and Gesnouinio arboreae-Rubetum bollei (Canary Islands). Conclusion: The five associations of Macaronesian bramble communities form part of two phytosociological classes (Lauro-Juniperetea in the Azores and PrunoLauretea in Madeira and the Canary Islands), two orders (Ericetalia azoricae in the Azores and Rubo-Salicetalia canariensis in Madeira and the Canary Islands), and three alliances (Scrophulario-Rubion ulmifolii in the Azores and Rubio-Rubion ulmifolii and Rubion bollei in both Madeira and the Canary Islands.