1 June 2017 Factors Affecting Composition of Gravel Bar Vegetation in Middle Reach of a Lowland River
Sonja Škornik, Marija Meznarič, Mitja Kaligarič
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In this study, we investigated plant communities in relation to site-specific morphological properties and sediment structure on gravel bars along the middle Drava River in Slovenia. We sampled 143 plots of 5 × 5 m using species cover-abundance estimates. In addition, we considered the following habitat physical variables: elevation above the water line, texture of the substrate (silt, sand, gravel content) and bar age. Based on TWINSPAN method, we distinguished four vegetation types: (G1) xerophilic and thermophilic ruderal stage; (G2) stage with sparse and herb-rich ruderal vegetation with species of semi-dry grasslands; (G3) initial vegetation stage of frequently disturbed mesotrophic and eutrophic sites and (G4) tall-willow stage. The most important factors determining a bar's vegetation were elevation and gravel content. Our study shows that gravel bars of the middle Drava river system form a suitable habitats for species-rich plant communities. Their diversity is a function of high spatial heterogeneity coupled with the opposing forces of stress and disturbance.

Sonja Škornik, Marija Meznarič, and Mitja Kaligarič "Factors Affecting Composition of Gravel Bar Vegetation in Middle Reach of a Lowland River," Polish Journal of Ecology 65(2), 194-210, (1 June 2017). https://doi.org/10.3161/15052249PJE2017.65.2.003
Published: 1 June 2017
flood disturbance
plant diversity ordination
river ecosystems
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