Sand dune vegetation along the eastern Adriatic coast
Šilc, Urban; Mullaj, Alfred; Alegro, Antun; Ibraliu, Alban; Dajić Stevanović, Zora; Luković, Milica; Stešević, Danijela
Questions: What is the current state of knowledge on the distribution of psammophytic vegetation along the eastern Adriatic coast? Which are the main vegetation types and how do they vary from a floristic and ecological point of view? Study area: The eastern Adriatic coast of Croatia, Montenegro and Albania. Methods: We collected all available vegetation relevés (a total of 191, published and unpublished) and historical references of sand dune vegetation from the eastern Adriatic coast. Classification and ordination were performed on the dataset and a syntaxonomical overview of the different plant communities along a seashore-inland zonation and their geographical distribution is presente. Results: The classification of the phytosociological data show eight floristically and ecologically well-defined clusters. The first group of embryonic foredunes comprises of the Cakilo-Xanthietum, Euphorbia paralias community and Eryngio-Sporoboletum, whilst the second group is found on the more stable dunes with Euphorbio paraliae-Agropyretum junceiformis, Medicagini marinae-Ammophiletum australis and Scabiosa argentea-Ephedra distachya communities. The latter is newly described and is found only along the Albanian coast. The number of plant communities is lower than in surrounding countries, particularly on fixed dunes. The presence of the EU habitat type ' Crucianellion maritimae fixed beach dunes' (2210) is newly reported for Albania. Conclusions: Sand dunes are important habitats from a nature conservation point of view and they are endangered due to strong human impact. The protection of sand dune habitat types throughout the study area is urgent, since they are still in good condition in Albania, while sand dune plant communities are fragmented in Croatia and under strong human impact in Montenegro.