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

By Jürgen Dengler (on behalf of all VCS Chief Editors)

Vegetation at the bottom of a large depression in the Askania-Nova Biosphere Reserve, Southern Ukraine. From the article by Shapoval & Kuzemko (2021).

Vegetation Classification and Survey (VCS) has published four contributions in the third quarter of 2021.

Our Editors’ Choice Paper of the quarter is by Shapoval & Kuzemko (2021). This syntaxonomic study deals with a quite unusual habitat type, called “pody”. These are large, shallow depressions in the European steppe zone. At intervals of 7-12 years they are completely flooded, to become drier and drier in subsequent years, until the next flooding event happens. The authors used a large vegetation-plot dataset from the Ukrainian Grassland Database, which they subjected to unsupervised classification. The resulting nine terminal vegetation units were floristically characterised using phi-coefficients and syntaxonomically interpreted. The authors conclude that the plots of the “cyclic” chronosequence belong to not less than four phytosociological classes: Festuco-Brometea, Molinio-Arrhenatheretea, Isoeto-Nano-Juncetea and Festuco-Puccinellietea. The authors characterise the units by a synoptic table, verbal description and a photo. Moreover, since the units were only invalidly published before, they validate the names according to the International Code of Phytosociological Nomenclature. All in all an exemplary syntaxonomic study with modern methods based on a large dataset as we wish it to see in VCS.

Another syntaxonomic paper in the third quarter was Magnes et al. (2021), who studied the inneralpine dry valleys of Austria on the trails of Braun-Blanquet (1961). While these authors had a much smaller dataset they could still shed new lights on the syntaxonomy of these valuable and declining habitats, which had not been studied on a broader scale since the initial monograph. Similarly, Lübben & Erschbamer (2021) also were on the trails of Braun-Blanquet (1961), but in the Italian Alps and with a focus on vegetation change by explicitly resurveying the old plots. The fourth paper of this summer is a Long Database Report in our Permanent Section “Ecoinformatics” by Gonçalves et al. (2021), which presents a new vegetation-plot database for SW Angola, a region hitherto severely underrepresented in international plot databases.

Finally yet importantly, we would like to inform you that the IAVS Council in its summer meeting has decided to extend the financial support of VCS by another year. Accordingly, first authors who are IAVS members are exempt from article processing charges (APCs) for articles submitted to VCS until 31 December 2022.


  • Braun-Blanquet, J. (1961): Die inneralpine Trockenvegetation. Fischer, Stuttgart, DE
  • Gonçalves, F.M.P., Chisingui, A.V., Luís, J.C., Rafael, M.F.F., Tchamba, J.J., Cachissapa, M.J., Caluvino, I.M.C., Bambi, B.R., Alexandre, J.L.M., (…) & Revermann, R. (2021): First vegetation-plot database of woody species from Huíla province, SW Angola. Vegetation Classification and Survey 2: 109–116.
  • Lübben, M. & Erschbamer, B. (2021): Long term changes of the inner-alpine steppe vegetation: the dry grassland communities of the Vinschgau (South Tyrol, Italy) 40–50 years after the first vegetation mapping. Vegetation Classification and Survey 2: 117–131.
  • Magnes, M., Willner, W., Janišová, M., Mayrhofer, H., Khouri, E.A., Berg, C., Kuzemko, A., Kirschner, P., Guarino, R., (…) & Dembicz, I. (2021): Xeric grasslands of the inner-alpine dry valleys of Austria – new insights into syntaxonomy, diversity and ecology. Vegetation Classification and Survey 2: 133–157.
  • Shapoval, V. & Kuzemko, A. (2021): Syntaxonomy of steppe depression vegetation of Ukraine. Vegetation Classification and Survey 2: 87–108.