2014 Annual report
The 23rd annual meeting of European Vegetation Survey (EVS) took place in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on 8–12 May 2014. The meeting was organized by Andraž Čarni from the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, assisted by Nina Juvan, Daniela Ribeiro, Urban Šilc, Renata Ćusterevska and Mirjana Krstivojević, and excursion guides Tomaž Hartman, Mitja Kaligarić, Sonja Škornik and Igor Zelnik. The main topics of the scientific sessions were: (1) Biogeographical patterns and processes in plant communities; (2) Balkan vegetation. During the mid-conference excursions on 9 May and one-day post-conference excursions on 12 May we visited examples of deciduous forests and wet, mesic and dry grasslands in Slovenia. The meeting was attended by 201 regular participants and 14 accompanying persons from 29 countries, which made it one of the largest EVS meetings ever. The participants presented 66 oral presentations and 105 posters. Travel expenses of 15 participants from eastern Europe were partly covered by the IAVS Global Fund. Numerous side meetings took place, such as the Habitat Red List project meeting, European Vegetation Archive + the Braun-Blanquet project meeting, and meeting of the IAVS Working Group for Phytosociological Nomenclature. Following the amendment of the EVS By-laws approved in 2013, by-election of a new EVS member representing southern Europe took place during the EVS Business Meeting held in Ljubljana on 10 May 2014. As there was a tie on the first position, two new members of the EVS Steering Committee were elected: Rosario Gavilán and Francesco Spada.
The EVS activities between the annual meetings in Rome (April 2013) and Ljubljana (May 2014) included:
(1) The European Vegetation Checklist of phytosociological classes, orders and alliances was extensively revised and resubmitted for publication in June 2014. This standard reference work on syntaxonomy of European vegetation was prepared by a team of 33 vegetation scientists from 16 countries.
(2) Technical infrastructure for the European Vegetation Archive, a single data repository of the vegetation-plot observations (relevés) from Europe and adjacent areas, was completed, based on the TURBOVEG 3 software developed by Stephan Hennekens. Several national and regional databases joined EVA. By the time of Ljubljana meeting (May 2014) already 31 databases from 37 countries, containing a total of 553 228 relevés, joined EVA. Of these, 87% contained geographical coordinates; 7% were in the free access regime, 85% in semi-restricted access and 8% in restricted access regime.
(3) An EVS team led by Joop Schaminée, working under contract from the European Environment Agency (EEA), prepared a review of European forest habitat classification. As baseline data for this review, a database of 670 000 European vegetation plots was compiled and used to generate synoptic tables of species composition for 117 phytosociological alliances of forest vegetation. In parallel, synoptic tables were computed for the forest habitat types of EUNIS classification.
(4) A team lead by John Janssen succeeded in an EU tender for a contract to establish a European Red List of Habitats. This project, started in December 2013, includes many EVS members and uses phytosociological knowledge to develop scientifically sound and consistent assessment of threats to European natural and semi-natural habitats.
(5) Several international projects of vegetation survey continuted, including The Braun-Blanquet project (Borja Jiménez-Alfaro, Milan Chytrý, Stephan Hennekens et al.), WetVegEurope (Flavia Landucci, Kateřina Šumberová et al.), and new projects started, many of them supported by the relevé data from EVA, e.g. projects focusing on the coastal dune vegetation (Corrado Marcenò et al.), Alnus and Salix woodlands (Jan Douda et al.), sclerophyllous oak woodlands (Emiliano Agrillo et al.), or fen and bog vegetation (Tomáš Peterka, Martin Jiroušek, Michal Hájek et al.).
(6) Preparation of the Virtual Special Feature “Towards consistent classification of European grasslands” in the journal Applied Vegetation Science continued as a joint initiative of EVS and the IAVS European Dry Grassland Group, with Jürgen Dengler as the senior guest editor. Four papers, all based on international collaboration, have already been published.