2015 Annual report
The 24th annual meeting of the European Vegetation Survey (EVS) took place in Rennes, France, on 4–8 May 2015. The meeting was organized by colleagues from Rennes 1 University, Rennes 2 University and the French Society of Phytosociology, in particular by Anne Bonis and Sebastien Rapinel, assisted by Frédéric Bioret, Jan-Bernard Bouzillé, Bernard Clement, Cloé Levointurier-Vajda and others. The meeting focused on two broad themes, “Typology and process as two complementary facets of vegetation survey and mapping” and “Vegetation in coastal and inland dunes and cliffs”, but presentations on other topics of interest to the European Vegetation Survey were also accepted. There were 41 oral presentations and 51 posters.
The meeting was attended by 141 participants and 11 accompanying persons from 29 countries. The most well-represented countries were France, Russia, Italy, the Czech Republic and Germany. In addition to European countries, vegetation scientists from Algeria, India, Iran, Japan, Turkey and the USA also participated in the meeting. Eleven participants from eastern Europe were provided with travel grants from the IAVS via the IAVS Global Sponsorship Committee to a total amount of 5000 EUR.
The mid-conference excursions on 5 May were guided to the coastal ecosystems of northern Brittany, including cliffs, dunes, heathlands and saltmarshes at Cap d’Erquy, Cap Fréhel, Pointe du Grouin, Cancale and in Bay Mont-Saint-Michel. The wonderful excursion day under sunny yet windy weather was completed by a visit to the famous Mont-Saint-Michel and social dinner in a restaurant with a magnificent view of this medieval monastery on a tidal island surrounded by extensive saltmarshes. The post-conference excursion visited forests and mires in Broceliande Wood in inland Brittany.
There were various activities of the European Vegetation Survey between the annual meetings in Ljubljana (May 2014) and Rennes (May 2015):
(1) The European Vegetation Checklist of phytosociological classes, orders and alliances (EuroVegChecklist) was further revised after the second review.
(2) The European Vegetation Archive (EVA) has made considerable progress. By the time of the Rennes meeting, it comprised 57 databases with a total of 998 265 vegetation plots, 82% of them georeferenced. A data request system has been working since May 2014 and EVA already provided data for 14 international projects focused on vegetation survey or broad-scale ecology.
(3) An EVS team led by Joop Schaminée, working under contract from the European Environment Agency (EEA), prepared a review of European shrubland, heath and tundra habitat classification and provided species constancy tables for these habitats extracted from vegetation-plot databases. Work on European forest habitats started in 2013 also continued by developing formal definitions of the EUNIS forest habitats based on their species composition, compiling distribution maps based on vegetation plots and preparing habitat suitability maps resulting from community distribution modelling.
(4) A three-year project A Red List of European Habitats, funded by the European Commission DG Environment, is running successfully under the leadership of John Janssen and John Rodwell and with participation of many EVS members. A classification of European habitats, based on a modified EUNIS classification, was proposed and standard Habitat Definitions were prepared by experts with a crosswalk to the EuroVegChecklist. National assessments of changes in habitat extent and quality were completed and habitat expert groups have started to work on synthetic European Red List assessments.
(5) 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, Erwin Bergmeier, Wolfgang Willner and Milan Chytrý as guest editors. Five papers have been published so far and work on some others has progressed considerably.
(6) John Rodwell established contacts between the European Vegetation Survey and the European Grassland Federation.