, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 111–120

Variability and ecology of the alpine dwarf shrub community Loiseleurio-Cetrarietum

  • Georg Grabherr

DOI: 10.1007/BF00121424

Cite this article as:
Grabherr, G. Vegetatio (1980) 41: 111. doi:10.1007/BF00121424


Variation in the dwarf shrub community Loiseleurio-Cetrarietum from Mt. Patscherkofel, Austria, was investigated using polar ordination, principal component analysis, hierarchical cluster analysis, and multiple correlation analysis. Comparison was made with existing data (relevé tables) from the Alps. In addition to phytosociological methods the canopy structure and the morphological variability of the dominant species Loiseleuria procumbens were studied. The result of the namerical phytosociological analyses yield 3 clusters representing: 1) A dense Loiseleuria carpet, 2) a Loiseleuria carpet damaged by erosion and 3) an open Loiseleuria community on skeletal soils. The first two communities can be combined as one type because of their canopy structure in the form of dense intertwined individual plants and because of the morphological uniformity of Loiseleuria, although in the second group there are species growing on erosion gaps and showing close floristic connections to the third group. The comparison of 140 relevés from the Alps proves that the Loiseleurio-Cetrarietum is characterized only by the dominance of Loiseleuria procumbens while the abundantly occurring lichens change in their species composition along the gradient of wind, and elevation. The open Loiseleuria community at the most extreme habitats (cluster 3) is regarded as a new association. Not only floristic but also physiognomical, morphological and ecophysiological evidence led to this conclusion. The name Gymnomitrio-Loiseleurietum (ass. prov.) is proposed. This plant community shows floristic and ecological correlations to the Diapensia-Loiseleuria-Cesiolichen community known from Scandinavia.


Austria Classification IBP-project Mt. Patscherkofel Loiseleurio-Cetrarietum Morphometrics Numerical methods Ordination Phytosociology 

Copyright information

© Dr. W. Junk b.v. Publishers 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Georg Grabherr
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Botanik der Universität InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria

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