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Drought effects on the floristic differentiation of Greek fir forests in the mountains of central Greece

Dimitrios A Samaras (1-2)   , Stefanie Gaertner (1), Albert Reif (1), Konstantinos Theodoropoulos (2)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 8, Issue 6, Pages 786-797 (2015)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1214-007
Published: Apr 08, 2015 - Copyright © 2015 SISEF

Research Articles


Greek fir (Abies cephalonica Loudon) grows in montane Mediterranean climates characterized by dry, warm summers. Drought is an important climatic feature of these montane ecosystems as it affects the floristic composition, structure and distribution of plant communities. The Oxia-North Vardousia mountain system is one of the few areas in Greece with an extensive, well-preserved Greek fir forest. This study aims at describing the Greek fir forest vegetation of such area and determining the drought-related factors affecting their floristic composition and differentiation. Vegetation relevés were classified and ordinated. The impact of drought-related variables on the vegetation composition was analyzed. A cluster analysis was used to reveal the most important factor for the discrimination of the main plant communities and to determine the drought threshold between them. Two plant communities that reflect the differentiation of the Greek fir forests in central Greece into xerophytic and mesophytic forest communities were described. Each community was divided into two sub-communities. The elevational distribution of Greek fir forests in the mountains of central Greece follows a drought gradient linked to the two main climatic components of drought, precipitation and potential evapotranspiration. The combination of these two drought-related variables into a suitable humidity index was found to adequately differentiate the xerophytic from the mesophytic forest communities and define their drought threshold.

  Keywords


Abies cephalonica, Aridity, Habitat Differentiation, Humidity Index, Plant Communities, Synecology, Syntaxonomy, Sterea Ellas

Authors’ address

(1)
Dimitrios A Samaras
Stefanie Gaertner
Albert Reif
Chair of Site Classification and Vegetation Science, Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Freiburg, D-79085 Freiburg i.Br. (Germany)
(2)
Dimitrios A Samaras
Konstantinos Theodoropoulos
Laboratory of Forest Botany-Geobotany, Faculty of Forestry and Natural Environment, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, GR-54124 Thessaloniki (Greece)

Corresponding author

 
Dimitrios A Samaras
mail@dimitrios-samaras.net

Citation

Samaras DA, Gaertner S, Reif A, Theodoropoulos K (2015). Drought effects on the floristic differentiation of Greek fir forests in the mountains of central Greece. iForest 8: 786-797. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1214-007

Academic Editor

Paola Mairota

Paper history

Received: Dec 23, 2013
Accepted: Dec 19, 2014

First online: Apr 08, 2015
Publication Date: Dec 01, 2015
Publication Time: 3.67 months

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