BEN # 147
aceska at CUE.BC.CA
Wed Oct 30 04:02:02 EST 1996
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No. 147 October 29, 1996
aceska at freenet.victoria.bc.ca Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2
A NEW START FOR AN OVERVIEW OF PLANT COMMUNITIES OF EUROPE
From: /S=T.SPRIBILLE/OU1=R01F14D03A at mhs-fswa.attmail.com
Dierschke, H. (1992): European Vegetation Survey - ein neuer
Anlauf fur eine Ubersicht der Pflanzengesellschaften Europas.
- Tuexenia 12: 381-383. Gottingen
Considerations to work up a syntaxonomic overview (prodromus) of
the plant communities of Europe have been around since the 20s
already, in other words almost since the beginning of
phytosociology. With the establishment of a private research
institute by Braun-Blanquet in Montpellier (1929), the Station
Internationale de Geobotanique Mediterraneenne et Alpine
(SIGMA), an international commission was put in place which was
to work on the prodromus. Only four years later the first over-
view of coastal communities of the Mediterranean area appeared
(Braun-Blanquet 1933) after which six parts appeared in addi-
tion, concluding with the Class Cisto-Lavanduletea (Braun-
Blanquet et al. 1940).
After the second World War began an intensive phase of field
work, vegetation analysis and synthesis. The number of publica-
tions multiplied almost exponentially, many international sym-
posia and excursions expanded the knowledge and led to the
refinement and unification of phytosociological methods. A new
international centre developed at Stolzenau, later at
Todenmann/Rinteln under the direction of R. Tuxen. With this new
plans were soon discussed for a European prodromus of plant
communities. A first resolution to this end was at the Symposium
on Phytosociological Systematics in Stolzenau in 1964. A two-day
colloquium in 1968 in Todenmann led to a provisional overview of
the state of work in the European countries, and to concrete
work proposals (cf. Dierschke 1971, Tuxen 1972). Also a list of
possible editors of individual classes was put forward (Tuxen
1971). At the Prodromus-Colloquium of 1972 in Todenmann the
first results were presented for discussion.
The first concrete result was a very complete syntaxonomical
bibliography as basis for finding and working up the
phytosociological data which were widely scattered in the
literature. The first paper appeared already in 1971 (Tuxen et
al.); up to the present 39 papers on many classes of vegetation
have been completed. Two years later the first paper on the
prodromus was published (Beeftink & Gehu 1973). The second
initiative ended with a fourth paper, on the Lemnetea (Schwabe-
Braun & Tuxen 1981). With the exception of a few, mostly
species- and community-poor classes (in the mean time also
Littorelletea and Violetea calaminariae) the actual work had not
even begun, or only partially. The reason for this was primarily
the absence of professional, paid specialists. There was cer-
tainly enough expertise, but it was with phytosociologists whose
time was taken up with other projects.
Today there are both positive and negative signs for a new
start. We have available not only considerably better informa-
tion out of regions which were considered little researched only
20 years ago (e.g., France, Italy), but also the beginnings of
syntaxonomical work especially in eastern Europe. At the same
time the number of vegetation releves has gone into the in-
numerable (an estimated 100,000). However it appears that a
synthesis today with help of EDV would be more promising than
the routine handwork of 20 years ago. Nonetheless, the number of
published syntaxa on all different levels, often in regional or
national solo efforts, is scarcely viewable. A European synopsis
must not only examine and bring together a giant data set, but
must at the same time lead to a strongly reduced, viewable
number of syntaxa which are applicable to the widest area and
more strongly abstracted from regional idiosyncracies. Already
the agreement on these basic issues must be viewed with skep-
Despite these difficulties and misgivings a new beginning had to
be attempted. Under the encouragement and direction of S. PIG-
NATTI (following earlier discussion in 1988 in Frascati) a
meeting of interested phytosociologists took place during the
Symposium for International Unification of Vegetation Science in
Warsaw in 1990, followed by another in 1991 in Eger. At this
time it was agreed that a preparatory meeting of representatives
from the most countries possible should be held at Rome at the
beginning of 1992, the results of which are reported here in
brief. The entire project received the name "European Vegetation
A workshop with several keynote presentations as well as na-
tional reports on the syntaxonomic state of work was held at the
Botanical Garden at Rome, led by S. Pignatti and L. Mucina.
Vegetation scientists from the following countries were repre-
sented: Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Finland, Great
Britain, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Rus-
sia, Slovenia, Spain, and Switzerland.
Out of the reports from the individual countries the following
Great Britain (J.S. RODWELL/J.J. HOPKINS)
For a long time there has scarcely been any connection to the
European phytosociology. Recently the interest has become
greater, in part because of the translation of Ellenberg's
central Europe book into English. The urgent need for a
vegetation-scientific reference system especially for natural
conservation questions led to a longer research project with
numerous fully paid scientists. A five-year phase of systematic
(relatively schematic) vegetation sampling began in 1975. Ap-
proximately 35,000 releves were then interpreted on a national
computer database, and ultimately ca. 350 vegetation types,
roughly equating associations, were differentiated (without
syntaxonomic hierarchy). Detailed descriptions with synoptic
tables are summarized in five volumes which are currently in
preparation (Rodwell 1991).
Netherlands (J.H.J. SCHAMINEE)
Since 1988 a state-funded project has been underway with two
fully-paid scientists. 20,000 of the estimated 50,000 releves
have been entered into a database. The data are worked up class
by class and presented in preliminary publications (e.g.,
Schaminee 1988). The final results should appear in five volumes
Austria (L. MUCINA)
Here, too is a research project established with state funding.
In 3 years the encompassing literature was worked through,
though without immediate evaluation of vegetation releves and
tables. A description in text should be published in 1993 in
In other countries (e.g., Germany, France, Poland, Spain,
Czechoslovakia) there is more encompassing syntaxonomical work
in progress [taking place] in various working groups. Since no
paid specialists are available, it is proceeding at a crawl.
Mostly lacking are generally accepted methodical basics and a
The discussion of organizational and financial questions took
much time. L. Mucina presented a detailed organizational plan
with actual syntaxonomical working groups and more central
groups for coordination and control as well as for basic deci-
sions and representation to the outside. The possibilities of
funding were particularly strongly debated. There was agreement
that, at least for the central assignments, including an inter-
national database, only fully paid assistance could be con-
sidered. 10-20 years have to be allowed for the entire project.
In the test phase several widely distributed, not too species-
poor communities should be worked over. The complex Koelerio-
Corynophoretea/Sedo-Scleranthetea/Tuberarietea was proposed for
In conclusion assignments were distributed to smaller groups,
which are to be taken care of within a year:
- working up an overall scientific concept and work programme
with emphasis on usability of results;
- compilation of general syntaxonomical basics (Grundlagen);
- rules for working up tables, text, etc.;
- establishment of a list of the vegetation classes of
- investigation of financial possibilities for a firm work
- checking around in all countries about the present state of
In order to expand the data base, current national programmes
should be supported and encouraged. Lately they have laid the
decisive groundwork for an overview in the framework of Europe.
Beeftink, W.G., Gehu, J.-M. (1973): Prodromus der europaischen
Pflanzengesellschaften. 1: Spartinetea maritimae. - Cramer,
Lehre: 48 p.
Braun-Blanquet, J. (1933): Prodrome des groupements vegetaux. 1:
Ammophiletalia et Salicornietalia medit. - Montpellier: 23 p.
Braun-Blanquet, J., Molinier, R., Wagner, H. (1940): Prodrome
des groupements vegetaux. 7: Classe Cisto-Lavanduletea. -
Montpellier: 53 p.
Dierschke, H. (1971): Stand und Aufgaben der pflanzensoziolo-
gischen Systematik in Europa. - Vegetatio 22 (4-5): 255-
264. The Hague.
Dierschke, H. (1972): Bericht uber das Prodromus-Kolloquium in
Todenmann am 26. Marz 1972. Vegetatio 25 (5-6): 406-408. The
Pignatti, S. (1990): Towards a prodrome of plant communities. -
Journ. Veg. Sci. 1 (3): 425-426. Uppsala.
Rodwell, J.S. (ed.) (1991): British plant communities. Vol. I:
Woodlands and scrub. - Cambridge Univ. Press: 395 p.
Schaminee, J.H.J. (1988): Plantengemeenschappen van Nederland.
2. Lemnetea. - Intern. rapport Rijksinst. Natuurbeheer 88/75.
Leersum: 20 p.
Schwabe-Braun, A., Tuxen, R. (1981): Prodromus der europaischen
Pflanzengesellschaften. 4: Lemnetea minoris. - Cramer,
Vaduz: 141 p.
Tuxen, R. (1971): Vorlaufige Liste von Mitarbeitern am Prodromus
der Europaischen Pflanzengesellschaften. - Vegetatio 24 (1-
3): 23-29. The Hague.
Tuxen, R. (1972): Richtlinien fur die Aufstellung eines
Prodromus der Europaischen Pflanzengesellschaften. -
Vegetatio 24 (1-3): 23-29. The Hague.
Tuxen, R., Bottcher, H., Dierssen, K. (1971): Bibliographia
Phytosociologica Syntaxonomica. 1:Bolboschoenetea maritimi. -
Cramer, Lehre: 25 p.
GRADE 3 PROJECT: WHY DOES MOSS ONLY GROW ON ONE SIDE OF A TREE?
Several weeks ago, Rachel Rayman posted this message on
bryophyte discussion list bryonet-l:
"Hi, My grade 3 teacher asked me to research this ques-
tion. Sites on the web are too complicated. Can anyone
answer the question or point me to a resource? Thx. - R."
Rachel got over twenty answers and did her own observations and
experiments. Results of her project are summarized at the fol-
lowing web page: http://www.interlog.com//moss.htm
POSITION OPEN: SYSTEMATIC BOTANIST / ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATOR
From: ECOLOG-L <ECOLOG-L at UMDD.UMD.EDU>
Department of Biology, Southern Oregon State College seeks
applicants for a full-time, tenure-track assistant professor to
teach systematic botany and environmental education. For posi-
tion description, requirements, salary, and other particulars,
contact http://www.sosc.osshe.edu/biology/jobs.htm or write
SBEE, Department of Biology, Southern Oregon State College,
Ashland, OR 97520 or phone 541-552-6341. SOSC is a four-year
college in the Oregon State System of Higher Education. SOSC is
an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer committed to
the development of an inclusive multi-cultural community.
ETHNOBOTANY RESEARCH - PIT COOKING
From: Mary Ellen Grant <ma_grant at cariboo.bc.ca>
I am a Biology student based out of the University College of
the Cariboo under the supervision of R. David Williams (UCC),
Dr. Gary Bradfield (UBC) and Dr. Nancy Turner (UVIC).
The title of my Directed Studies is "An Ethnobotanical Study:
Utilization and management of plant species by Indigenous
peoples, a local to global view of pit cooking." The objectives
of this study is to compile data from local to global sources.
I would greatly appreciate the support of the readers to guide
me to resources which might be available.
PROVINCIAL MUSEUM OF ALBERTA - WORLD WIDE WEB PRESENTATION
From: Alwynne Beaudoin <abeaudoi at gpu.srv.ualberta.ca>
Sponsored by the Friends of the Provincial Museum of Alberta
Society, the Provincial Museum of Alberta World Wide Web presen-
tation is now "on the air" and can be accessed at:
This site contains over 325 pages of information about the
Museum, including an introduction to the twelve curatorial areas
and the educational programs, information on galleries and
exhibits, and a visit to the Museum Shop. It also contains
general visitor information (dates and times of opening, admis-
sion prices etc.), details of volunteer opportunities, and a
calendar of events.
Submissions, subscriptions, etc.: aceska at freenet.victoria.bc.ca
BEN is archived on gopher freenet.victoria.bc.ca. The URL is:
Also archived at http://www.ou.edu/cas/botany-micro/ben/
More information about the Plantbio