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Plant communities partially refl ect environmental gradients in humanized landscapes: a case study in the Llobregat delta marshes

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This study took place in a vegetation mosaic of the Llobregat delta (near Barcelona, Spain), which includes both natural and spontaneously restored coastal marshes. We used a dataset comprising vegetation relevés, soil parameters and water table conditions, and explored their correlation. More precisely, we classified the relevés into three phytosociological alliances (namely Phragmition communis, Salicornion fruticosae and Juncion maritimi) combining the previous information available and the use of PCA ordinations. We studied whether these alliances reflect the main operating environmental gradients (conductivity, sodium absorption rate and water table dynamics) using a GLMM (generalized linear mixed model). The PCA reflected a fair distinctiveness of Salicornion and Phragmition, whereas Juncion was a more heterogeneous unit, related to the varying dominance of different plant species. The three alliances exhibited significant differences in environmental variables and therefore the phytosociological ordination reflected at least partially the main operating environmental gradients. However the assemblage of alliances over the gradients varied between locations, suggesting that the initial species pool or plant dispersal capacity to some extent shapes the dynamics of spontaneous restoration in these marshlands.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2013

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  • Phytocoenologia (ISSN 0340-269X) is an international, peer-reviewed journal of plant community ecology. It is devoted to vegetation survey and classification at any organizational and spatial scale and without restriction to certain methodological approaches. The journal publishes original papers that develop new vegetation typologies as well as applied studies that use such typologies, for example, in vegetation mapping, ecosystem modelling, nature conservation, land use management or monitoring. Particularly encouraged are methodological studies that design and compare tools for vegetation classification and mapping, such as algorithms, databases and nomenclatural principles. Papers dealing with conceptual and theoretical bases of vegetation survey and classification are also welcome. While large-scale studies are preferred, regional studies will be considered when filling important knowledge gaps or presenting new methods.

    Phytocoenologia was founded by Reinhold Tüxen in 1973 and is published in collaboration with the International Association for Vegetation Science (IAVS; The journal closely cooperates with various subgroups of IAVS and serves as publication outlet for their workshops as well as for selected sessions of the IAVS Symposia. It contains special sections on “Phytosociological Nomenclature” and “Ecoinformatics”. Guest-edited Special Features that fall within the scope of the journal are also published.

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