Plant Ecology

, Volume 158, Issue 1, pp 113–122 | Cite as

The phytogeography of Denmark revisited

  • Jonas E. Lawesson
  • Flemming Skov


Patterns of vascular plant diversity in Denmark are examined, based on the most recently published Danish Flora. The highest diversity is found on the major isles of Sjælland, Møn, Falster and Bornholm, but many rare taxa occur in Jylland. Two different cluster analyses suggest a division of Denmark into six phytogeographical regions, which only partly supports earlier, more subjective divisions of Denmark. Our results suggest that north- and northwestern Jylland and the isles of Læsø and Anholt belong to the boreo-nemoral phytogeographical region, due to their high number of northern taxa, which clearly differentiate them from the rest of Denmark, despite the lack of typical boreo-nemoral tree species, such as Pinus sylvestris.

Because the tree component of vegetation often has been changed by man, the classical division of Scandinavia based on a few woody species is inappropriate. We conclude that tree-species oriented approaches are invalid for phytogeographical classifications.

Classification, based on the whole flora, and if possible also involving environmental information, is likely to be more successful and should be addressed in future phytogeographical studies.

Boreo-nemoral Cluster analysis Geomorphology Life forms Nemoral Pinus 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ahti, T. 1983. Lichens. In: South, G. R. (ed.). Biogeography and ecology of the island of Newfoundland. Monog. Biol. 48: 319-360.Google Scholar
  2. Andersson, P. A. 1988. Ordination and classification of operational geographic units in Southwest Sweden. Vegetatio 74: 95-106.Google Scholar
  3. Andersson, P. A. & Weimarck. G. 1996. Floristic patterns and phytogeography of Skane, S Sweden. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis Symbolae Botanicae Upsalienses 31: 239-264.Google Scholar
  4. Birks, H. J. B. 1976. The distribution of European pteridophytes: a numerical analysis. New Phytol. 77: 257-287.Google Scholar
  5. Birks, H. J. B. 1987. Recent methodological developments in quantitative descriptive biogeography. Ann. Zool. Fennici 24: 165-178.Google Scholar
  6. Bradshaw, R. & Holmqvist, B. H. 1999. Danish forest development during the last 3000 years reconstructed from regional pollen data. Ecography 22: 53-62.Google Scholar
  7. Brisse, H. & Granjouan, G. 1974. Classification climatique des plantes. Oecologia Plantarum 9: 51-80.Google Scholar
  8. Carey, P. D., Preston, C. D., Hill, M. O., Usher, M. B. & Wright, S. M. 1995. An environmentally defined biogeographical zonation of Scotland designed to reflect species distributions. J. Ecol. 83: 833-845.Google Scholar
  9. Crovello, T. J. 1981. Quantitative biogeography: an overview. Taxon 30: 563-575.Google Scholar
  10. Dahl, E. 1998. The phytogeography of northern Europe (British Isles, Fennoscandia and adjacent areas). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  11. Hannon, G. E., Bradshaw, R. H. W. & Emborg, J. 2000. 6000 years of forest dynamics in Suserup Skov, a semi-natural Danish woodland. Global Ecol. Biogeog. 9: 101-114.Google Scholar
  12. Hansen, K. 1989a. Heathland, poor fen, and raised bog. Opera Botanica 96: 55-61.Google Scholar
  13. Hansen, A. 1989b. History of the Topographic-Botanical Investigation of Denmark. Opera Botanica 96: 9-11.Google Scholar
  14. Hansen, K. (Ed). 1993. Dansk Feltflora. 1. Ed. 6. Gyldendal, København.Google Scholar
  15. Harte, J. and Kinzig, A. P. 1997. On the implications of species-area relationships for endemism, spatial turnover, and food web. Oikos 80: 417-427.Google Scholar
  16. Hengeveld, R. 1992. Dynamic biogeography. Cambridge studies in ecology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  17. Hill, M.O. 1979. TWINSPAN - A FORTRAN program for arranging multivariate data in an ordered two-way table by classification of the individuals and attributes. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.Google Scholar
  18. Hill, M. O.1991. Patterns of species distribution in Britain elucidated by canonical correspondence analysis. J. Biogeog. 18: 247-255.Google Scholar
  19. Jacobsen, N. K. 1989. Physical geographical features of Denmark. Opera Botanica 96: 13-23.Google Scholar
  20. Jardine, N. 1972. Computational methods in the study of plant distributions. In: Valentine, D. H. (ed.), Taxonomy phytogeography and evolution. Academic Press, London.Google Scholar
  21. Lausi, D. & Nimis, P. L. 1991. Ecological phytogeography of the southern Yukon Territory (Canana). Pp. 35-122. In: Nimis, P. L. & Crovello, t. J. (eds), Quantitative approaches to phytogeography. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, Holland.Google Scholar
  22. Lawesson, J. E. 1994. Some comments on the classification of African vegetation. J. Veg. Sci. 5: 441-444.Google Scholar
  23. Lid, J. 1979. Norsk og svensk flora. Det Norske Samlaget, Oslo.Google Scholar
  24. Looman, J. 1983. Distribution of plant species and vegetation types in relation to climate. Vegetatio 54: 17-25.Google Scholar
  25. McCune, B. & Mefford, M. J. 1997. PC-ORD. Mulitvariate analysis of ecological data, version 3.0. 1997. Oregon, USA, MjM Software Design.Google Scholar
  26. Mikkelsen, V. M. 1989. Cultivated fields. Opera Botanica 96: 73-80.Google Scholar
  27. Moen, A. 1998. Nasjonal atlas for Norge: Vegetasjon. Statens Kartverk, Hønefoss.Google Scholar
  28. Mossberg, B., Stenberg, L. & Ericsson, S. 1992. Den nordiska floran. Wahlström and Widstrand, Stockholm.Google Scholar
  29. Myklestad, Å. & Birks, H. J. B. 1993. A numerical analysis of the distribution patterns of Salix L. species in europe. J. Biogeog. 20: 1-32.Google Scholar
  30. Nimis, P. L., Malyshev, L. I., Bolognini, G. & Friesen, N. 1998. A multivariate phytogeographica analysis of plant diversity in the Putorana Plateau (N Siberia). Opera Botanica 136: 1-72.Google Scholar
  31. Nordiska Ministerrådet 1977. Naturgeografisk regionindelning av Norden. Nordiska Ministerrådet, NUB 1977:34. Stockholm.Google Scholar
  32. Ojeda, F., Arroyo, J. & Maranon, T. 1998. The phytogeography of European and Mediterranean heath species (Ericoideae, Ericaceae): a quantitative analysis. J. of Biogeog. 25: 165-178.Google Scholar
  33. Orloci, L. 1966. Geometric models in ecology. I. The theory and application of some ordination methods. J. Ecol. 54: 193-215.Google Scholar
  34. Pedersen, A. 1961. Planter med nordlig udbredelse i Jylland. Flora og Fauna 67: 26-47.Google Scholar
  35. Pedersen, B. 1990. Distributional patterns of vascular plants in Fennoscandia: a numerical approach. Nordic J. Bot. 10: 163-189.Google Scholar
  36. Petersen, P. M. 1989. Minerotrophic fens and wet meadows. Opera Botanica 96: 31-37.Google Scholar
  37. Preston, C. D. & Hill, M. O. 1997. The geographical relationships of British and Irish vascular plants. Bot. J. Linnean Soc. 124: 1-120.Google Scholar
  38. Proctor, M. C. F. 1967. The distribution of British liverworts: a statistical analysis. J. Ecol.y 55: 119-135.Google Scholar
  39. Quinn, R. M. Lawton, J. H., Eversham, B. C. and Wood, S. N. 1994. The biogeography of scarce vascular plants in Britain with respect to habitat preference, dispersal ability and reproductive biology. Biol. Cons. 70: 149-157.Google Scholar
  40. Rich, T. C. G. & Woodruff, E. R. 1992. Recording bias in botanical surveys. Watsonia 19: 73-95.Google Scholar
  41. Rosenzweig, M. L. 1996. Species diversity in space and time. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  42. Rostrup, E. 1965. Den danske flora. 2. ed. Gyldendal, København.Google Scholar
  43. Sjörs, H. 1963. Amphi-Atlantic zonation, Nemoral to Arctic. Pp. 109-125. In: Löwe, A. & Löwe, D. (eds), North Atlantic biota and their history: Oxford.Google Scholar
  44. Sjörs, H. 1999. The background: Geology, climate and zonation. Acta Phytogeographica Suecica. 84: 5-14.Google Scholar
  45. Tuhkanen, S. 1987. The phytogeographical position of the Faroe Islands and their ecoclimatic correspondences on the other continents: problems associated with highly oceanic areas. Ann. Bot. Fennici 24: 111-135.Google Scholar
  46. Vestergaard, P. & Hansen, K. 1989. Grassland and dune. Opera Botanica 96: 47-54.Google Scholar
  47. Warming, E., 1909. Dansk Plantevækst. 2. Klitterne. Nordisk Forlag. København og Kristiania.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonas E. Lawesson
    • 1
  • Flemming Skov
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Systematic BotanyInstitute of Biological SciencesRisskovDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Landscape EcologyNational Environmental Research Institute of DenmarkRøndeDenmark

Personalised recommendations