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Vegetation succession on the dunes near Oostvoorne, The Netherlands; a comparison of the vegetation in 1959 and 1980

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Abstract

The vegetation of a 150 ha coastal dune area in the SW Netherlands was carefully analyzed and mapped at a scale of 1:2500 in 1959 and 1980. About 600 relevés were treated numerically. 127 vegetation types were distinguished, the overlap in community composition between the two years was very small. An intermediate level between this community level and the level of the structural-physiognomic formation was adopted. 56 so-called subformations, in which floristic and structural characters are combined, have been recognized and the overlap was then considerably larger, at least in number of types. Ordination results suggest that in each subset: grasslands, dune slacks, woodlands + scrubs, the first axis reflects floristic differentiation along with progression. The ordination of the entire material shows moisture as the main factor underlying the first axis, zonation as the second and nutrient status as the third factor.

Change in vegetation was detected through a network overlay with 2 300 points for each of which the transition between 1959 and 1980 was scored.

The pattern of change between 1959 and 1980 is apparently multiple pathway in type. This would be one of the few examples of such a pattern to be established on the medium term level of change, which is considered as succession sensu strictu. On an areal basis the change in vegetation is extremely large; even on the subformation level only 15% of the area was found to be unchanged, and on the community level only 4%.

The overall trend is progression with a strong increase in the area of tall scrubs and woodlands. Retrogression also occurs, partly as a result of disturbances such as fire, partly due to local death of a dominant woody species. This latter phenomenon is interpreted against the background of the starting point of the succession; a sudden release of the inner dune area from overgrazing by cattle and a subsequent rapid dune development (outer dunes) on the beach in front of the inner dunes.

Both species and community diversity increased, which is related to both differentiation under progression and to retrogression.

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Nomenclature of phanerogams follows Arnolds & van der Meijden (1976), see Appendix 1 for some infraspecific taxa. Nomenclature of mosses follows Margadant (1960). For lichens see Appendix 1. Nomenclature of syntaxa follows Westhoff & den Held (1969). Basically the nomenclature is the same as in the earlier monograph on the area by van der Maarel & Westhoff (1964).

Research carried out 1980–1981 when the authors were at the Division of Geobotany, University of Nijmegen. We thank the Director of the Foundation Het Zuid-Hollands Landschap, owner of the dune area for providing facilities and a small grant for the fieldwork. Furthermore we thank Madeleine van Mansfelt, then ecologist at the Foundation. Help and hospitality at the Biological Station ‘Weevers’ Duin' of the Institute of Ecological Research, especially from P. van der Aart, J. van Groenendael and D. van der Laan, is also acknowledged. Computer programs were run at the IBM 370-158 system at the University of Nijmegen and the VAX 11-760 system of the Faculty of Science, University of Uppsala. We thank O. van Tongeren for help in Nijmegen and for comments on the manuscript. Finally we thank Märta Ekdahl for typing the manuscript.

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van der Maarel, E., Boot, R., van Dorp, D. et al. Vegetation succession on the dunes near Oostvoorne, The Netherlands; a comparison of the vegetation in 1959 and 1980. Vegetatio 58, 137–187 (1985). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00163874

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