2020 Annual report
The main activities of the European Vegetation Survey Working Group over the last year (from June 2019 to June 2020) were the following:
(1) 28th Meeting of European Vegetation Survey was held in Madrid on 2–6 September 2019, hosted by Rosario (Charo) G. Gavilán, Daniel Sánchez-Mata, Alba Gutiérrez-Girón and other colleagues from the Department of Pharmacology, Pharmacognosy and Botany, School of Pharmacy of Complutense University. The main topic was Vegetation Diversity and Global Change, and specific topics were Assessment and conservation of European habitats, High mountain vegetation, Vegetation classification and data management, Aquatic vegetation, Vegetation dynamics and succession in different habitats: from old fields to forests, and Habitat restoration and plant invasions. More than 160 vegetation scientists from 28 countries attended the meeting. Most participants came from Spain (29), Italy (26), Hungary (16), France (10) and Russia (10). Eleven participants from Bulgaria, Egypt, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine received IAVS travel grants. The participants presented 56 talks and 75 posters. Invited key lectures were given by Adrian Escudero (Madrid), Alessandro Chiarucci (Bologna) and Maria Pilar Rodríguez-Rojo (Toledo). A cultural highlight of the meeting was a social dinner with a flamenco show in downtown Madrid. On Friday 6 September, two field excursions were offered, one to the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park, guided by Rosario Gavilán, Alba Gutiérrez-Girón and biologists from the National Park, the other to the landscapes on Miocene bedrock in south-eastern Madrid province, guided by Daniel Sánchez-Mata. EVS thanks the Madrid organizers for a warm welcome and excellent preparation and organization of the programme.
(2) 29th Meeting of European Vegetation Survey was planned to be held in Rome on 4–7 May 2020, hosted by Fabio Attorre, Emiliano Agrillo and colleagues from the Department of Environmental Biology, Sapienza University of Rome, and other Italian institutions. Because of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, EVS Steering Committee with local organizers decided to postpone this meeting to spring 2021. Consequently, the meeting in Bratislava, initially planned for spring 2021, will be postponed to spring 2022.
(3) The European Vegetation Archive (EVA), a centralized vegetation-plot database of the European Vegetation Survey, grew continuously and was increasingly used in different projects. By March 2020, this database consisted of 89 contributing databases containing a total 1,669,239 vegetation plots, of which 87% were georeferenced, and 62% were assigned to phytosociological syntaxa. Of these plots, 60% may be accessed under the semi-restricted regime and 27% under the restricted regime, while the other 13% are open access. EVA data were provided to 100 projects (see their list at http://euroveg.org/…eva-projects). Nowadays there are 54 ongoing EVA projects, of which eight started in the last year. EVA data have been used in 26 journal papers, one book, nine technical reports, one bachelor thesis and 73 presentations at conferences or workshops. Details are available in the EVA Annual Report at http://euroveg.org/…ORT_2020.pdf. An updated list of all publications is available at http://euroveg.org/…publications.
(4) The European Vegetation Classification Committee (EVCC), launched in 2017 and chaired by Wolfgang Willner and Idoia Biurrun, received three proposals of changes in the standard European vegetation classification (EuroVegChecklist). All the proposals were evaluated by specialist committees composed of EVCC members who were specialists in the topic of each proposal. The specialist committees made recommendations, and EVCC opened voting on the proposals in June 2020.
(5) The Wageningen Environmental Research (formerly Alterra), working together with Masaryk University (Brno) for the European Environment Agency under the Framework Service Contract, updated the crosswalks between the revised EUNIS Habitat Classification, European Red List of Habitats, EuroVegChecklist and Habitats Directive Annex I. They also revised and updated the expert system for automatic classification of European coastal habitats, wetlands and man-made habitats. A large group of EVS members was then involved in further revision and improvements of the crosswalks and the expert system for most of the EUNIS habitats. The revised expert system and its outputs were summarized in a multi-author paper, which was submitted to a journal in December 2019.