Gradient analysis of vegetation on the south slope of Vitosha mountain, Southwest Bulgaria
Applied Ecology and Environmental Research
Dyakov: Gradient analysis of vegetation on the south slope of Vitosha Mountain, Southwest Bulgaria -1003 -APPLIED ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH 12(4): 1003-1025. Abstract. Detailed analysis of the relationship between vegetation and environment requires a thorough understanding of the environmental processes that influence vegetation. There is an intimate relationship between vegetation concepts' development, mathematical methods of analysis and knowledge of environmental processes.
... l processes. Traditionally most vegetation/environment studies have been done at a single scale of observation. It has been considered important to assess whether the processes that determine community structure and function are similar at different scales or whether the most important processes change with the scale of observation. This study aims to describe in a quantitative manner the vegetation pattern in a localized area and on that basis to test/verify statistically some previously proposed hypothesis and assumption concerning vegetation organization. Describing the coarsest vegetation pattern, ordination and classification analyses were used. The detailed relationships between environmental gradients and vegetation were examined using regression and correlation methods. Obtained results were tested with different statistical tests for their reliability. We found that the basic environmental gradients influencing the local vegetation are elevation and habitat moisture. The correlation between environmental gradients and vegetation increased with the increasing scale of observation. Environmental gradients influencing vegetation most strongly were the same at the different scales. With the increase of sampled area, correlation strength between environment and vegetation also increased. In the future, if possible, all studies of vegetation/environment relationships should be done at different spatial scales. Gathered quantitative information and verified hypothesis in the current study could be very successfully used in the management and conservation of the local and regional vegetation. -1.0 1.5 -1.0 1.0 Elevation Xeric Slope Convexity Legend: Fagus sylvatica-Hepatica nobilis (n=8) Fagus sylvatica-Physospermum cornubiense (n=12) Fagus sylvatica-Galium odoratum (n=13) Fagus sylvatica-Luzula luzuloides (n=23) Fagus sylvatica-Festuca drymeja (n=17) Fagus sylvatica-Corylus avellana-Brachypodium pinnatum (n=15) Pinus sylvestris-Fragaria vesca (n=15) Pinus nigra-Crataegus monogyna (n=5) Quercus cerris-Cornus mas (n=6) Festuca pseudodalmatica-Chamaespartium sagittale (n=4) Galium verum-Thymus glabrescens (n=8) Juniperus sibirica-Vaccinium myrtillus (n=16) Juniperus sibirica-Vaccinium myrtillus-Vaccinium vitis-idaea (n=12) Juniperus sibirica-Sesleria comosa (n=4)