Plant Ecology

, Volume 170, Issue 2, pp 203–222

Mountain summer farms in Røldal, western Norway –; vegetation classification and patterns in species turnover and richness

  • V. Vandvik
  • H.J.B. Birks


This paper discusses vegetation types and diversity patterns in relation to environment and land-use at summer farms, a characteristic cultural landscape in the Norwegian mountains. Floristic data (189 taxa) were collected in 130 4-m2 sample plots within 12 summer farms in Røldal, western Norway. The study was designed to sample as fully as possible the range of floristic, environmental, and land-use conditions. Vegetation types delimited by two-way indicator species analysis were consistent with results from earlier phytosociological studies. Detrended correspondence analysis and canonical correspondence analysis show that rather than being distinct vegetation types, the major floristic variation is structured along a spatial gradient from summer farm to the surrounding heathland vegetation. Species richness (alpha diversity) was modelled against environmental variables by generalized linear modelling and compositional turnover (beta diversity) by canonical correspondence analysis. Most environmental factors made significant contributions, but the spatial distance-to-farm gradient was the best predictor of both species richness and turnover. While summer farms reduce mean species richness at the plot scale, the compositional heterogeneity of the upland landscapes is increased, thereby creating ‘ecological room’ for additional vegetation types and species. Within an overall similarity across scales, soil variables (pH, base saturation, LOI, phosphate and nitrogen) differed considerably in their explanatory power for richness and turnover. A difference between ‘productivity limiting’ factors and ‘environmental sieves’ is proposed as an explanation. Species turnover with altitude is relatively low in grasslands as compared to heaths.

(Detrended) (canonical) Correspondence analysis Classification Cultural landscapes Diversity Environmental effects Generalized linear modelling Grazing animal effects Land-use effects Species richness Species turnover 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. Vandvik
    • 1
  • H.J.B. Birks
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BotanyUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  2. 2.Environmental Change Research CentreUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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