Plant Ecology

, Volume 140, Issue 2, pp 203–220

Beech forest communities in the Nordic countries – a multivariate analysis

  • Martin Diekmann
  • Odd Eilertsen
  • Eli Fremstad
  • Jonas E. Lawesson
  • Erik Aude

DOI: 10.1023/A:1009768225798

Cite this article as:
Diekmann, M., Eilertsen, O., Fremstad, E. et al. Plant Ecology (1999) 140: 203. doi:10.1023/A:1009768225798


In this study we present the first comprehensive multivariate analysis of beech (Fagus sylvatica) forest communities in the Nordic countries. The history of beech and beech forests in Scandinavia are described. In the north, the species is climatically restrained and, at present, restricted to Denmark and the southern parts of Sweden and Norway.

More than 2000 sample plots were compiled, partly from literature, partly from new and unpublished data. The material included more than 20 studies of beech forests, often recorded by different non-standardised sampling designs. Therefore, prior to data analysis, a large number of plots had to be excluded to reduce the heterogeneity of the data. Only such sample plots were considered that showed a predominance of Fagus sylvatica in the canopy, that had a size within the interval of 16–100 m2, and that could be located by geographical coordinates. All species abundance values were transformed into simple species presences, and data from different vegetation layers were merged into one.

A TWINSPAN cluster analysis resulted in 15 types. Three main communities with several sub-communities and varieties can be distinguished: (1) the Fagus sylvatica-Fraxinus excelsior-Stachys sylvatica community on the most basic and fertile soils, (2) the Fagus sylvatica-Corylus avellana-Galium odoratum community on moderately fertile and acid soils, and (3) the Fagus sylvatica-Sorbus aucuparia-Deschampsia flexuosa community on very acid and oligotrophic soils. Synonyms in the recent literature on Nordic beech forests to these communities are given. An ordination with the program DECORANA confirmed the primary significance of soil acidity and nutrient status for community differentiation.p>

Cluster analysis Detrended correspondence analysis Fagus sylvatica Indicator species analysis TURBO(VEG) 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Diekmann
    • 1
    • 2
  • Odd Eilertsen
    • 3
  • Eli Fremstad
    • 4
  • Jonas E. Lawesson
    • 5
  • Erik Aude
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Mathematics, Natural and Computer SciencesUniversity College in GävleGävleSweden
  2. 2.Department of Ecological BotanyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  3. 3.Norwegian Institute of Nature ResearchOsloNorway
  4. 4.Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Museum of Natural History and ArchaeologyTrondheimNorway
  5. 5.Department of Landscape EcologyNational Environmental Research InstituteRøndeDenmark
  6. 6.Department of ForestryDanish Forest and Landscape Research InstituteHørsholmDenmark

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