2023 Annual report
This Report summarizes the activities of the European Vegetation Survey (EVS) Working Group from June 2022 to June 2023.
(1) EVS Conference
The 31st EVS conference was held in Rome, Italy, on 21–25 May 2023. It was organized by colleagues from the Sapienza University of Rome, including Fabio Attorre as a Chair of the Local Organizing Committee and Carlo Fratarcangeli, Dario La Montagna, Michele De Sanctis, Vito Emanuele Cambria, Luca Malatesta, Giuliano Fanelli and Gianmaria Bonari, the latter from the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano. The general theme of the conference was “European Vegetation Survey: Methods and approaches in a changing environment”. There were 150 participants and 1 accompanying person from 26 countries. The most represented countries were Italy (33 participants), the Czech Republic (20), Spain (14), Ukraine (13), Slovakia (9), Croatia (8), Poland (8) and Latvia (7). Ten participants were supported by the IAVS travel grants (6 from Ukraine, 2 from Spain, 1 from Bulgaria and 1 from Slovakia). During three days of conference sessions (22–24 May), participants presented 2 keynote talks (Giuliano Fanelli and Wolfgang Willner), 50 oral presentations and 72 posters. The venue for the oral session was the Hungarian Academy in Rome in Palazzo Falconieri. The venue for the welcome cocktail, poster session and symposium dinner was the Botanical Garden of Rome. Two field excursions were offered on 25 May, one visiting Vico Lake and the Turkey oak forest of Cura di Vetralla (led by Giuliano Fanelli) and the other visiting the Cerveteri Waterfalls (led by Riccardo Guarino and Francesco Spada).
(2) European Vegetation Archive (EVA)
The European Vegetation Archive was managed by the EVA Coordinating Board, which included Idoia Biurrun (ES), Milan Chytrý (CZ), Stephan Hennekens (NL), Florian Jansen (DE), Borja Jiménez-Alfaro (ES), Ilona Knollová (CZ) and Anna Kuzemko (UA). As of March 2023, EVA included 105 databases with 1,960,415 vegetation plots. Of these plots, 89% were georeferenced, and 60% were assigned to phytosociological syntaxa; 70% of plots were accessible under the semi-restricted regime, 19% under the restricted regime, and 11% were open access. In total, EVA data were made available for 178 research projects (including 30 new projects in the last year; http://euroveg.org/…eva-projects). Data from EVA have been used in 10 new journal articles published in the last year and 70 articles since the database was launched in 2014. An updated list of all publications can be found at http://euroveg.org/…publications. Further details are available in the EVA Annual Report at http://euroveg.org/…ORT_2023.pdf.
The ReSurveyEurope database was open for analyses. By May 2023, it included 442 independent datasets containing 79,454 plots with 284,725 observations (i.e. repeated records from the same plots). The highest density of plots is from Denmark, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany and the Czech Republic. The oldest plot observation is from 1911. The mean time span between the first and last sampling is 26 years, while the maximum time span is 97 years. Information about ReSurveyEurope, including the list of datasets and their metadata, was published online: https://euroveg.org/front.resurvey/. Selections from the database were already provided to individual projects based on a standard data request procedure according to the ReSurveyEurope Data Property and Governance Rules. The ReSurveyEurope was coordinated by the board consisting of the elected EVA Coordinating Board members and the ReSurveyEurope initiators Franz Essl, Helge Bruelheide, and Stefan Dullinger.
The database FloraVeg.EU (https://floraveg.eu/) was updated to contain the most recent version of the standard phytosociological classification of European vegetation (EuroVegChecklist) according to the modifications approved by the European Vegetation Classification Committee. In particular, numerous typos in syntaxon names and author citations present in EuroVegChecklist were corrected, while the original name used in the printed version of EuroVegChecklist was preserved. Data on flora were also updated with new ecological datasets. New photographs of both vegetation/habitat types and plant species were added. Acquisition of photographs of vegetation types from the EVS members is in progress, aiming at collecting at least one photo for each alliance of European vegetation (so far, 375 alliances out of 1105 are documented by a photo).
(5) European Vegetation Classification Committee (EVCC)
In February 2023, the EVS Steering Committee appointed nine new members of the European Vegetation Classification Committee: Olivier Argagnon (FR), Frédéric Bioret (FR), Gianmaria Bonari (IT), Svitlana Iemelianova (UA/CZ), Attila Lengyel (HU), Pavel Novák (CZ), Zdenka Preislerová (CZ), Kiril Vassilev (BG) and Denys Vynokurov (UA/SP). Thereafter, in February-March 2023, electronic elections of the new Secretary and Deputy Secretary took place. Four candidates stood for elections. A total of 44 votes were received with these results: Idoia Biurrun (27 votes), Jorge Capelo (11), Flavia Landucci (17) and Wolfgang Willner (28). Based on these results, Wolfgang Willner became the Secretary, and Idoia Biurrun became the Deputy Secretary. Both of them continue in this role from the previous term.
Simultaneously with elections, the EVCC members voted about two modifications of the document Procedures for Updating the Standard European Vegetation Classification, which were proposed by Wolfgang Willner. Both modifications were accepted, and the Procedures document was updated:
38 EVCC members agreed, and 6 disagreed with the addition of paragraph 2.4: “Evaluation by a Specialist Group can be skipped if a proposal fulfils the following criteria: (1) It is based on a publication in an international peer-reviewed journal. (2) The proposal (and the publication it is based on) is co-authored by at least three members of the EVCC. (3) The syntaxonomic revision supporting the proposal covers the vegetation units concerned in their entire European range. (4) The author team includes regional experts from most European biogeographical regions, in which the vegetation units concerned occur. If these criteria are matched, the proposal is automatically recommended and can be put to vote after giving the other EVCC members the possibility to comment on it.”
41 EVCC members agreed, and 3 disagreed with the modification of paragraph 3.1 OLD version: 3.1. Any communication related to the proposals for modification of EuroVegChecklist including voting is done in English, via e-mail or a website designed for this purpose. NEW version: 3.1. Any communication related to the proposals for modification of EuroVegChecklist is done in English via e-mail. Voting is done either electronically or during an online meeting of the EVCC (with the possibility to vote in advance or through a proxy if a member cannot participate in the meeting).
The EVCC so far received 9 proposals to change the EuroVegChecklist classification. Of these, 1 was accepted (coastal sand dune vegetation), 5 were rejected or withdrawn, 2 are in revision and 1 is ready for a vote after evaluation (Quercetea ilicis / Pinetea halepensis).
(6) Special issues
Several Special issues are in preparation based on the materials presented at previous EVS Conferences:
● “The role of vegetation analysis in the restoration of degraded ecosystems” in Rendiconti Lincei, based on the online EVS conference 2021, Guest Editors Michele De Sanctis (IT), Rosario G. Gavilán (ES), Flavia Landucci (CZ), Zygmunt Kącki (PL), Mária Šibíková (SK) and Giuliano Fanelli (IT), 8 papers submitted, 6 accepted, 2 rejected, 5 already published.
● “Species and community variability in vegetation dynamics and plant biodiversity conservation” in Plant Sociology, based on the online EVS conference 2021, Guest Editors Gianmaria Bonari (IT), Silvia Del Vecchio (IT), Fotios Xystrakis (GR) and Federico Fernández-González (ES), 8 papers already published.
● “Plant communities in changing environment” in Biologia, based on the EVS conference in Bratislava 2022, Guest Editors Katarína Hegedüšová (SK), Sándor Bartha (HU), Idoia Biurrun (ES), Milan Valachovič (SK) and Jozef Šibík (SK), 9 papers submitted.
● “Classification and diversity of European forests and forest-fringes” in Vegetation Classification and Survey, based on the EVS conference in Rome 2023, Guest Editors Idoia Biurrun (ES), Pavel Novák (CZ) and Wolfgang Willner (AT), preliminary abstract submission expected by 15 September 2023, manuscript submission by 30 November 2023.
Milan Chytrý, Fabio Attorre, Idoia Biurrun, Anna Kuzemko and Joop Schaminée (EVS Steering Committee)