Alpha diversity of vascular plants in European forests

Martin Večeřa*, Jan Divíšek, Jonathan Lenoir, Borja Jiménez-Alfaro, Idoia Biurrun, Ilona Knollová, Emiliano Agrillo, Juan Antonio Campos, Andraž Čarni, Guillermo Crespo Jiménez, Mirjana Ćuk, Panayotis Dimopoulos, Jörg Ewald, Federico Fernández-González, Jean Claude Gégout, Adrian Indreica, Ute Jandt, Florian Jansen, Zygmunt Kącki, Valerijus Rašomavičius & 11 others Marcela Řezníčková, John S. Rodwell, Joop H.J. Schaminée, Urban Šilc, Jens Christian Svenning, Grzegorz Swacha, Kiril Vassilev, Roberto Venanzoni, Wolfgang Willner, Thomas Wohlgemuth, Milan Chytrý

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Aim: The former continental-scale studies modelled coarse-grained plant species-richness patterns (gamma diversity). Here we aim to refine this information for European forests by (a) modelling the number of vascular plant species that co-occur in local communities (alpha diversity) within spatial units of 400 m2; and (b) assessing the factors likely determining the observed spatial patterns in alpha diversity. Location: Europe roughly within 12°W–30°E and 35–60°N. Taxon: Vascular plants. Methods: The numbers of co-occurring vascular plant species were counted in 73,134 georeferenced vegetation plots. Each plot was classified by an expert system into deciduous broadleaf, coniferous or sclerophyllous forest. Random Forest models were used to map and explain spatial patterns in alpha diversity for each forest type separately using 19 environmental, land-use and historical variables. Results: Our models explained from 51.0% to 70.9% of the variation in forest alpha diversity. The modelled alpha-diversity pattern was dominated by a marked gradient from species-poor north-western to species-rich south-eastern Europe. The most prominent richness hotspots were identified in the Calcareous Alps and adjacent north-western Dinarides, the Carpathian foothills in Romania and the Western Carpathians in Slovakia. Energy-related factors, bedrock types and terrain ruggedness were identified as the main variables underlying the observed richness patterns. Alpha diversity increases especially with temperature seasonality in deciduous broadleaf forests, on limestone bedrock in coniferous forests and in areas with low annual actual evapotranspiration in sclerophyllous forests. Main conclusions: We provide the first predictive maps and analyses of environmental factors driving the alpha diversity of vascular plants across European forests. Such information is important for the general understanding of European biodiversity. This study also demonstrates a high potential of vegetation-plot databases as sources for robust estimation of the number of vascular plant species that co-occur at fine spatial grains across large areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1919-1935
JournalJournal of Biogeography
Volume46
Issue number9
Early online date7 Jun 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019

Fingerprint

vascular plant
vascular plants
sclerophyll forests
bedrock
coniferous forests
Alps region
vegetation
expert systems
Eastern European region
Romania
Slovakia
forest types
limestone
evapotranspiration
expert system
land use
coniferous forest
deciduous forest
biodiversity
species diversity

Keywords

  • diversity
  • Europe
  • European Vegetation Archive (EVA)
  • forest vegetation
  • plant community
  • predictive modelling
  • Random Forests
  • species-richness patterns
  • vascular plants
  • vegetation-plot database

Cite this

Večeřa, M., Divíšek, J., Lenoir, J., Jiménez-Alfaro, B., Biurrun, I., Knollová, I., ... Chytrý, M. (2019). Alpha diversity of vascular plants in European forests. Journal of Biogeography, 46(9), 1919-1935. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.13624
Večeřa, Martin ; Divíšek, Jan ; Lenoir, Jonathan ; Jiménez-Alfaro, Borja ; Biurrun, Idoia ; Knollová, Ilona ; Agrillo, Emiliano ; Campos, Juan Antonio ; Čarni, Andraž ; Crespo Jiménez, Guillermo ; Ćuk, Mirjana ; Dimopoulos, Panayotis ; Ewald, Jörg ; Fernández-González, Federico ; Gégout, Jean Claude ; Indreica, Adrian ; Jandt, Ute ; Jansen, Florian ; Kącki, Zygmunt ; Rašomavičius, Valerijus ; Řezníčková, Marcela ; Rodwell, John S. ; Schaminée, Joop H.J. ; Šilc, Urban ; Svenning, Jens Christian ; Swacha, Grzegorz ; Vassilev, Kiril ; Venanzoni, Roberto ; Willner, Wolfgang ; Wohlgemuth, Thomas ; Chytrý, Milan. / Alpha diversity of vascular plants in European forests. In: Journal of Biogeography. 2019 ; Vol. 46, No. 9. pp. 1919-1935.
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abstract = "Aim: The former continental-scale studies modelled coarse-grained plant species-richness patterns (gamma diversity). Here we aim to refine this information for European forests by (a) modelling the number of vascular plant species that co-occur in local communities (alpha diversity) within spatial units of 400 m2; and (b) assessing the factors likely determining the observed spatial patterns in alpha diversity. Location: Europe roughly within 12°W–30°E and 35–60°N. Taxon: Vascular plants. Methods: The numbers of co-occurring vascular plant species were counted in 73,134 georeferenced vegetation plots. Each plot was classified by an expert system into deciduous broadleaf, coniferous or sclerophyllous forest. Random Forest models were used to map and explain spatial patterns in alpha diversity for each forest type separately using 19 environmental, land-use and historical variables. Results: Our models explained from 51.0{\%} to 70.9{\%} of the variation in forest alpha diversity. The modelled alpha-diversity pattern was dominated by a marked gradient from species-poor north-western to species-rich south-eastern Europe. The most prominent richness hotspots were identified in the Calcareous Alps and adjacent north-western Dinarides, the Carpathian foothills in Romania and the Western Carpathians in Slovakia. Energy-related factors, bedrock types and terrain ruggedness were identified as the main variables underlying the observed richness patterns. Alpha diversity increases especially with temperature seasonality in deciduous broadleaf forests, on limestone bedrock in coniferous forests and in areas with low annual actual evapotranspiration in sclerophyllous forests. Main conclusions: We provide the first predictive maps and analyses of environmental factors driving the alpha diversity of vascular plants across European forests. Such information is important for the general understanding of European biodiversity. This study also demonstrates a high potential of vegetation-plot databases as sources for robust estimation of the number of vascular plant species that co-occur at fine spatial grains across large areas.",
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author = "Martin Večeřa and Jan Div{\'i}šek and Jonathan Lenoir and Borja Jim{\'e}nez-Alfaro and Idoia Biurrun and Ilona Knollov{\'a} and Emiliano Agrillo and Campos, {Juan Antonio} and Andraž Čarni and {Crespo Jim{\'e}nez}, Guillermo and Mirjana Ćuk and Panayotis Dimopoulos and J{\"o}rg Ewald and Federico Fern{\'a}ndez-Gonz{\'a}lez and G{\'e}gout, {Jean Claude} and Adrian Indreica and Ute Jandt and Florian Jansen and Zygmunt Kącki and Valerijus Rašomavičius and Marcela Řezn{\'i}čkov{\'a} and Rodwell, {John S.} and Schamin{\'e}e, {Joop H.J.} and Urban Šilc and Svenning, {Jens Christian} and Grzegorz Swacha and Kiril Vassilev and Roberto Venanzoni and Wolfgang Willner and Thomas Wohlgemuth and Milan Chytr{\'y}",
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Večeřa, M, Divíšek, J, Lenoir, J, Jiménez-Alfaro, B, Biurrun, I, Knollová, I, Agrillo, E, Campos, JA, Čarni, A, Crespo Jiménez, G, Ćuk, M, Dimopoulos, P, Ewald, J, Fernández-González, F, Gégout, JC, Indreica, A, Jandt, U, Jansen, F, Kącki, Z, Rašomavičius, V, Řezníčková, M, Rodwell, JS, Schaminée, JHJ, Šilc, U, Svenning, JC, Swacha, G, Vassilev, K, Venanzoni, R, Willner, W, Wohlgemuth, T & Chytrý, M 2019, 'Alpha diversity of vascular plants in European forests', Journal of Biogeography, vol. 46, no. 9, pp. 1919-1935. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.13624

Alpha diversity of vascular plants in European forests. / Večeřa, Martin; Divíšek, Jan; Lenoir, Jonathan; Jiménez-Alfaro, Borja; Biurrun, Idoia; Knollová, Ilona; Agrillo, Emiliano; Campos, Juan Antonio; Čarni, Andraž; Crespo Jiménez, Guillermo; Ćuk, Mirjana; Dimopoulos, Panayotis; Ewald, Jörg; Fernández-González, Federico; Gégout, Jean Claude; Indreica, Adrian; Jandt, Ute; Jansen, Florian; Kącki, Zygmunt; Rašomavičius, Valerijus; Řezníčková, Marcela; Rodwell, John S.; Schaminée, Joop H.J.; Šilc, Urban; Svenning, Jens Christian; Swacha, Grzegorz; Vassilev, Kiril; Venanzoni, Roberto; Willner, Wolfgang; Wohlgemuth, Thomas; Chytrý, Milan.

In: Journal of Biogeography, Vol. 46, No. 9, 09.2019, p. 1919-1935.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Alpha diversity of vascular plants in European forests

AU - Večeřa, Martin

AU - Divíšek, Jan

AU - Lenoir, Jonathan

AU - Jiménez-Alfaro, Borja

AU - Biurrun, Idoia

AU - Knollová, Ilona

AU - Agrillo, Emiliano

AU - Campos, Juan Antonio

AU - Čarni, Andraž

AU - Crespo Jiménez, Guillermo

AU - Ćuk, Mirjana

AU - Dimopoulos, Panayotis

AU - Ewald, Jörg

AU - Fernández-González, Federico

AU - Gégout, Jean Claude

AU - Indreica, Adrian

AU - Jandt, Ute

AU - Jansen, Florian

AU - Kącki, Zygmunt

AU - Rašomavičius, Valerijus

AU - Řezníčková, Marcela

AU - Rodwell, John S.

AU - Schaminée, Joop H.J.

AU - Šilc, Urban

AU - Svenning, Jens Christian

AU - Swacha, Grzegorz

AU - Vassilev, Kiril

AU - Venanzoni, Roberto

AU - Willner, Wolfgang

AU - Wohlgemuth, Thomas

AU - Chytrý, Milan

PY - 2019/9

Y1 - 2019/9

N2 - Aim: The former continental-scale studies modelled coarse-grained plant species-richness patterns (gamma diversity). Here we aim to refine this information for European forests by (a) modelling the number of vascular plant species that co-occur in local communities (alpha diversity) within spatial units of 400 m2; and (b) assessing the factors likely determining the observed spatial patterns in alpha diversity. Location: Europe roughly within 12°W–30°E and 35–60°N. Taxon: Vascular plants. Methods: The numbers of co-occurring vascular plant species were counted in 73,134 georeferenced vegetation plots. Each plot was classified by an expert system into deciduous broadleaf, coniferous or sclerophyllous forest. Random Forest models were used to map and explain spatial patterns in alpha diversity for each forest type separately using 19 environmental, land-use and historical variables. Results: Our models explained from 51.0% to 70.9% of the variation in forest alpha diversity. The modelled alpha-diversity pattern was dominated by a marked gradient from species-poor north-western to species-rich south-eastern Europe. The most prominent richness hotspots were identified in the Calcareous Alps and adjacent north-western Dinarides, the Carpathian foothills in Romania and the Western Carpathians in Slovakia. Energy-related factors, bedrock types and terrain ruggedness were identified as the main variables underlying the observed richness patterns. Alpha diversity increases especially with temperature seasonality in deciduous broadleaf forests, on limestone bedrock in coniferous forests and in areas with low annual actual evapotranspiration in sclerophyllous forests. Main conclusions: We provide the first predictive maps and analyses of environmental factors driving the alpha diversity of vascular plants across European forests. Such information is important for the general understanding of European biodiversity. This study also demonstrates a high potential of vegetation-plot databases as sources for robust estimation of the number of vascular plant species that co-occur at fine spatial grains across large areas.

AB - Aim: The former continental-scale studies modelled coarse-grained plant species-richness patterns (gamma diversity). Here we aim to refine this information for European forests by (a) modelling the number of vascular plant species that co-occur in local communities (alpha diversity) within spatial units of 400 m2; and (b) assessing the factors likely determining the observed spatial patterns in alpha diversity. Location: Europe roughly within 12°W–30°E and 35–60°N. Taxon: Vascular plants. Methods: The numbers of co-occurring vascular plant species were counted in 73,134 georeferenced vegetation plots. Each plot was classified by an expert system into deciduous broadleaf, coniferous or sclerophyllous forest. Random Forest models were used to map and explain spatial patterns in alpha diversity for each forest type separately using 19 environmental, land-use and historical variables. Results: Our models explained from 51.0% to 70.9% of the variation in forest alpha diversity. The modelled alpha-diversity pattern was dominated by a marked gradient from species-poor north-western to species-rich south-eastern Europe. The most prominent richness hotspots were identified in the Calcareous Alps and adjacent north-western Dinarides, the Carpathian foothills in Romania and the Western Carpathians in Slovakia. Energy-related factors, bedrock types and terrain ruggedness were identified as the main variables underlying the observed richness patterns. Alpha diversity increases especially with temperature seasonality in deciduous broadleaf forests, on limestone bedrock in coniferous forests and in areas with low annual actual evapotranspiration in sclerophyllous forests. Main conclusions: We provide the first predictive maps and analyses of environmental factors driving the alpha diversity of vascular plants across European forests. Such information is important for the general understanding of European biodiversity. This study also demonstrates a high potential of vegetation-plot databases as sources for robust estimation of the number of vascular plant species that co-occur at fine spatial grains across large areas.

KW - diversity

KW - Europe

KW - European Vegetation Archive (EVA)

KW - forest vegetation

KW - plant community

KW - predictive modelling

KW - Random Forests

KW - species-richness patterns

KW - vascular plants

KW - vegetation-plot database

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JO - Journal of Biogeography

JF - Journal of Biogeography

SN - 0305-0270

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Večeřa M, Divíšek J, Lenoir J, Jiménez-Alfaro B, Biurrun I, Knollová I et al. Alpha diversity of vascular plants in European forests. Journal of Biogeography. 2019 Sep;46(9):1919-1935. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.13624