Oak-hornbeam forests of central Europe: a formalized classification and syntaxonomic revision

Pavel Novák 1 , Wolfgang Willner 2 3 , Dominik Zukal 1 , Jozef Kollár 4 , Jan Roleček 1 5 , Krzysztof Świerkosz 6 , Jörg Ewald 7 , Thomas Wohlgemuth 8 , János Csiky 9 , Viktor Onyshchenko 10 & Milan Chytrý 1


  1. Department of Botany and Zoology, Masaryk University, Kotlářská 2, CZ-611 37 Brno, Czech Republic
  2. Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research, University of Vienna, Rennweg 14, 1030 Vienna, Austria
  3. Vienna Institute for Nature Conservation & Analyses, Gießergasse 6/7, 1090 Vienna, Austria
  4. Institute of Landscape Ecology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Štefánikova 3, SK-814 99 Bratislava, Slovakia
  5. Department of Vegetation Ecology, Institute of Botany, Czech Academy of Sciences, Lidická 25/27, CZ-602 00 Brno, Czech Republic
  6. Museum of Natural History, Wrocław University, Sienkiewicza 21, 50-355, Wrocław, Poland
  7. Faculty of Forestry, University of Applied Sciences Weihenstephan-Triesdorf, Hans- Carl-von-Carlowitz-Platz 3, D-85354 Freising, Germany
  8. Forest Dynamics, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Zürcherstrasse 111, 8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
  9. Department of Ecology, Institute of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Pécs, 7624 Pécs, Ifjúság útja 6, Hungary
  10. M. G. Kholodny Institute of Botany, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Tereshchenkivska str. 2, 01601 Kyiv

Published: 12 March 2020 , https://doi.org/10.23855/preslia.2020.001

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Oak-hornbeam forests (order Carpinetalia) are a widespread vegetation type in central Europe. As vegetation ecologists focused on them since the pioneering times of vegetation research, many syntaxonomic units are described. However, classification systems used in various central-European countries suffer from inconsistencies and overlaps of the concepts of particular associations. Currently there is no consistent syntaxonomic system based on numerical analysis of vegetation plots that would be valid for the whole of central Europe. Therefore, the main goal of this study is to provide a revised syntaxonomic system of oak-hornbeam forests across central Europe, develop formal definitions of the associations and include these definitions in a classification expert system. We recognized 13 associations, 9 from the alliance Carpinion betuli (central-European oak-hornbeam forests) and four from the alliance Erythronio-Carpinion (Illyrian and northern Italian oak-hornbeam forests). We prepared an expert system that classified 55% of the relevés in a central- European oak-hornbeam forest dataset (n = 6212) at the association level. To stabilize the Carpinion betuli association names, we selected nomenclatural type relevés for associations that have not been typified so far. In addition, two association names (Poo chaixii-Carpinetum and Pseudostellario-Carpinetum) were validated. Ordination revealed the main drivers of species diversity in these forests, including a complex gradient of soil moisture, nutrient availability and geographical position (mainly latitude). Among the climate variables, annual temperature amplitude and mean annual temperature were most closely correlated with species composition.


Carpinetalia betuli, Carpinion betuli, classification expert system, Erythronio-Carpinion, formalized vegetation classification, syntaxonomy, temperate broad-leaved deciduous forests

How to cite

Novák P., Willner W., Zukal D., Kollár J., Roleček J., Świerkosz K., Ewald J., Wohlgemuth T., Csiky J., Onyshchenko V. & Chytrý M. (2020) Oak-hornbeam forests of central Europe: a formalized classification and syntaxonomic revision. – Preslia 92: 134, https://doi.org/10.23855/preslia.2020.001