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1 June 2014 Succession of Saline Vegetation in Slovakia after a Large-Scale Disturbance
Zuzana Melečková, Daniel Dítě, Pavol Eliáš jun, Vladimír Píš, Dobromil Galvánek
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We studied the vegetation development in the Pannonian salt steppes in SW Slovakia (class Festuco-Puccinellietea) for eight years on permanent plots. The saline grassland was ploughed in 2002 to cultivate wheat and barley, and after two years it was left fallow. An open vegetation structure was typical for the initial stages, dominated by the obligate halophyte Tripolium pannonicum, accompanied by Atriplex littoralis and other annuals. Species richness significantly increased in the subsequent years. From the fifth year of the study, a significant increase of facultative halophytes (e.g. Lotus tenuis, Tetragonolobus maritimus, Agrostis stolonifera) and colonization of some expansive species (Phragmites communis, Calamagrostis epigejos) was observed and accompanied by a decrease in the cover of obligate halophytes (T. pannonicum and Puccinellia distans). Plantago maritima exhibited an opposite trend, and it was the only halophyte that was able to increase its population after the disturbance, due to vegetative propagation by rhizomes which increased the competitiveness of the species. The declining presence of salt-demanding species indicates a strong degradation of the saline vegetation, which might be linked to gradual desalinization of the soil. We conclude that population fluxes after adverse human disturbance and subsequent abandonment are very high, and succession of halophytic communities after such a strong disturbance is very fast, leading to deterioration of the habitat.

© Finnish Zoological and Botanical Publishing Board 2014
Zuzana Melečková, Daniel Dítě, Pavol Eliáš jun, Vladimír Píš, and Dobromil Galvánek "Succession of Saline Vegetation in Slovakia after a Large-Scale Disturbance," Annales Botanici Fennici 51(5), 285-296, (1 June 2014).
Received: 5 August 2013; Accepted: 1 March 2014; Published: 1 June 2014
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