2016 Annual report
The 25th Meeting of the European Vegetation Survey (EVS) took place in Rome, Italy, on 6–9 April 2016. The meeting venue was the Auditorium of the Accademia dei Lincei in the Roman district of Trastevere, a place that has hosted several previous EVS meetings. The organizers were mainly colleagues from the Department of Environmental Biology of La Sapienza University of Rome and other Italian institutions, in particular Emiliano Agrillo, Fabio Attorre, Laura Casella and Francesco Spada.
The scientific sessions of the meeting, held on three full days of 6–8 April, comprised a total of 67 talks, including invited talks by Sandro Pignatti and Francesco Spada, and 72 posters. The presentations focused on habitat typology and conservation, diversity of vegetation types, vegetation history, vegetation dynamics and methods of vegetation survey and analysis. The meeting was followed by a social dinner in Casa Internazionale delle Donne in Trastevere and by one-day field excursion on 9 April, guided by Francesco Spada, to the lowland forest in the State Nature Reserve Tenuta di Castelporziano in the coastal area south of Rome.
The meeting was attended by 215 participants and 21 accompanying persons from 34 countries, which made it the largest meeting in the history of EVS. The most represented countries were Italy (53 participants), Germany (13), Czech Republic (12), Hungary (12), Slovakia (12), Russia (11) and Poland (10). In addition to Europeans there were also participants from Australia, China, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the USA. Nine participants from Egypt, Portugal, the Republic of Macedonia, Russia and Ukraine were supported by IAVS travel grants to a total amount of 5000 EUR.
The term of the EVS Steering Committee elected in 2012 expired in 2016. Following the EVS Bylaws, the election of the new Steering Committee took place at the EVS Business Meeting in Rome on 7 April 2016, organized by the Election Committee consisting of Emiliano Agrillo, Monika Janišová and Borja Jiménez-Alfaro. Of 11 candidates from 9 European countries, most votes were given to Milan Chytrý, John Rodwell, Andraž Čarni, Joop Schaminée and Fabio Attorre, who constituted the new Steering Committee. The Steering Committee elected Milan Chytrý as the EVS Secretary and appointed Emiliano Agrillo as an ex officio EVS Membership Administrator.
The activities of the European Vegetation Survey group between the annual meetings in Rennes (May 2015) and Rome (April 2016) included:
(1) After several years of extensive work of a team of 32 vegetation ecologists from 16 countries led by Ladislav Mucina, the final revision of the European Vegetation Checklist was prepared and the paper was accepted for publication in the journal Applied Vegetation Science in May 2016.
(2) The European Vegetation Archive (EVA) has been growing continuously and increasingly used in research. In April 2016 it contained 65 databases with more than 1.2 million vegetation plots. By that time EVA data were provided to 34 projects (in addition to 5 pilot projects that started before the establishment of the EVA data request mechanism). An EVA report paper was published in early 2016 in Applied Vegetation Science.
(3) An EVS team led by Joop Schaminée, working under contract from the European Environment Agency (EEA), prepared a review of the EUNIS grassland habitat classification and provided species constancy tables for these habitats extracted from vegetation-plot databases. At the same time maps and extensive lists of diagnostic, constant and dominant species were prepared for scrub, heathland and tundra habitats.
(4) Many EVS members participated in a three-year project of the Red List of European Habitats, funded by the European Commission DG Environment and led John Janssen and John Rodwell. This project, which is due to be finished in June 2016, demonstrated the ability of European Vegetation Survey to assist policy makers with providing scientific information in a standardized format on the European scale, based on a combination of expert knowledge, literature and field data.
(5) There are two Special Features on European vegetation types edited by the EVS members in preparation in scientific journals. The Virtual Special Feature “Towards consistent classification of European grasslands” in Applied Vegetation Science is edited by Jürgen Dengler, Erwin Bergmeier, Wolfgang Willner and Milan Chytrý, and a Special Feature on saline vegetation in Phytocoenologia is edited by Erwin Bergmeier and Joop Schaminée.