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Numerical Analysis of Vegetation Complexes and Community Diversity of Major Coastal Dinaric Mountains

O. Antonić and A. Ž. Lovrić
Journal of Vegetation Science
Vol. 7, No. 1 (Feb., 1996), pp. 73-80
Published by: Wiley
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3236418
Page Count: 8
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Numerical Analysis of Vegetation Complexes and Community Diversity of Major Coastal Dinaric Mountains
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Abstract

This study includes 24 transects on slopes of the Velebit, Biokovo and Orjen mountains, the tallest coastal mountains along the Adriatic Sea, with a very high species richness according to European standards and having the largest regional concentrations of endemics. Within each transect the presence or absence of phytosociological alliances, according to the Zürich-Montpellier School, was interpreted from local studies. The alliance composition of the transects was compared with methods used in numerical syntaxonomy. Three types of vegetation complexes (N. Dinaric inland, transitional and S. Dinaric coastal) were derived from a numerical classification of the transects; they were defined on the basis of their characteristic alliances. The maritime impact affecting the mountains through the river canyons reduces the contrast in vegetation between inland and coastal slopes. The existence of a climatic macrogradient is indicated by seriation of the basic alliance/transect data matrix leading to a diagonal structure, by a gradual shift of the alliance composition within the same vegetational type, and by the distribution of the transects and alliances along the first axis of a Correspondence Analysis ordination. Transect scores on the second ordination axis are negatively correlated with transect vegetational diversity (number of alliances per transect); this axis may reflect a decrease in humidity and temperature range. This interpretation is supported by the result of a comparison of the total mountain vegetational diversity (Mann-Whitney test), which showed that Orjen is the most diverse mountain ridge. The expected correlation between plant community diversity and altitude of the transects is blurred, probably due to the impact of the cold Bora wind and subsequent compression of vegetational zones.

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