Vegetation Classification and Survey (VCS) in the first quarter of 2021

Prepared by Jürgen Dengler (VCS Chief Editor)

The palm species Trithrinax campestris in different vegetation types of central Argentina. Photos from Zeballos et al. (2021).

Vegetation Classification and Survey (VCS) has started into its second year. Since VCS applies continuous publishing without aggregating papers in (printed) issues, we have decided that from now on the Chief Editors will present every three months the newly published papers on vegsciblog and select one of these as Editors’ Choice Paper. From the four Editors’ Choice Papers of a year, one will then be selected and presented as the outstanding paper of the volume in the Editorial of the next year.

In the first quarter of 2021, we published four contributions. Apart from our annual Editorial (Willner et al. 2021), in which we highlight the successful first year and the plans for Volume 2, we published two articles in two article types newly introduced in 2021. Janišová et al. (2021) is the first paper in the new article type “VCS Methods”. The authors present a new approach to jointly sample vegetation and detailed information on land use practices in semi-natural grasslands to better understand the driver of plant diversity. Bergmeier & Theurillat (2021) is the first “Short Communication” in the Permanent Section “Phytosociological Nomenclature”. This article type has been introduced to allow publishing formal nomenclatural changes in phytosociology, including, most importantly, validations of syntaxon names that had been in wide use, but never validly published. The authors demonstrate this for some high mountain syntaxa of the Greek island of Crete. Additionally, they also discuss one point of the 4th edition of the International Code of Phytosociological Nomenclature (Theurillat et al. 2021) that might be ambiguous.

Our Editors’ Choice Paper of the first quarter of 2021, however, is by Zeballos et al. (2021). Based on 92 plots from Central Argentina, they classified and characterised the diverse forests, savannas and scrublands in which the palm species Trithrinax campestris occurs. We Chief Editors found the study methodologically sound, comprehensive and presented in an attractive and informative way for readers. It demonstrates that vegetation classification is not something that is mainly applied in rather species poor, mostly anthropogenic vegetation types of Europe, but is also meaningful in natural vegetation types of highly diverse neotropical ecosystems. In fact this paper is already a follow-up to a previous study by the same author team, dealing with seasonally dry subtropical forests in the same region of Argentina (Zeballos et al. 2020).

Last but not least, we would like to remind readers that first authors who are IAVS members are exempt from article processing charges (APCs) in articles that are submitted to VCS during 2021. Please use the remaining nine months to take advantage of this opportunity!