We propose a simple method to validate vegetation types in phytosociological tables obtained with the Braun-Blanquet approach. The method is based on fuzzy set theory and it measures the sharpness of a classification of relevés based on degrees of belonging calculated by similarity functions. The idea animating this work is that the validated vegetation types offer non-random species combinations that can be used to model environmental changes taking biodiversity into account. Phytosociological tables are widely available today and the information they contain can be very useful in studying environmental changes at different scales, from local to global.
Anand, M. and L. Orlóci. 1997. Chaotic dynamics in a multispecies community. Environmental and Ecological Statistics 4:337–344.
Andreucci, F., E. Biondi, E. Feoli and V. Zuccarello. 2000. Modeling environmental responses of plant associations by fuzzy set theory. Community Ecology 1:73–80.
Austin, M.P. 1985. Continuum concept, ordination methods, and niche theory. Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 16:39–61.
Austin, M.P. 2004. Vegetation and environment: discontinuities and continuities. In: E. van der Maarel (ed.), Vegetation Ecology. Blackwell, Oxford. pp. 52–84.
Austin, M.P. and T.M. Smith. 1989. A new model for the continuum concept. Vegetatio 83:35–47.
Biondi, E., E. Feoli and V. Zuccarello. 2004. Modelling environmental responses of plant associations: a review of some critical concepts in vegetation study. Critical Review in Plant Sciences 23:149–156.
Blasi, C., M.L. Carranza., R. Frondoni and L. Rosati. 2000. Ecosystem classification and mapping for Italian landscapes. Appl. Veg. Sci. 3:233–242.
Braun-Blanquet, J. 1964. Pflanzensoziologie.Grundzüge der Vegetationskunde. Ed. 3. Springer Verlag, Wien. pp. 865.
Burnaby, T.P. 1970. On a method for character weighting a similarity coefficient, employing the concept of information. J. Int. Ass. Math. Geol. 2:25–38.
Carranza, L., E. Feoli and P. Ganis. 1998. Analysis of vegetation structural diversity by Burnaby’s similarity index. Plant Ecology 138:77–87.
Cox, E. 1994. The Fuzzy Systems Handbook. Academic Press Inc., London.
Dale, M. 1988. Mutational and non-mutational similarity measures: a preliminary examination. Coenoses 3:121–133.
Dale, M.B. 1994. Do ecological communities exist? J. Veg. Sci. 5:285–286.
Feoli, E. 1984. Some aspects of classification and ordination of vegetation data in perspective. Studia Geobotanica 4:7–21.
Feoli, E. and M. Lagonegro. 1983. A resemblance function based on probability: Applications to field and simulated data. Vegetatio 53:3–9.
Feoli, E. and L. Orlóci. 1979. Analysis of concentration and detection of underlying factors in structured tables. Vegetatio 40:49–54.
Feoli, E. and L. Orlóci. (eds). 1991. Computer Assisted Vegetation Analysis. Kluwer, Dordrecht.
Feoli, E. and V. Zuccarello. 1986. Ordination based on classification: yet another solution? Abstracta Botanica 10:203–219.
Ferro G., F. Lucchese and B. Scammacca. 1997. Studio fitosociologico sulla vegetazione segetale del Molise (Italia centrale). Studia Bot. 16:91–133.
Hannah, L., G.F. Midgley and D. Millar. 2002. Climate change-integrated conservation strategies. Global Ecology and Biogeography 11:485–495.
Goodall, D.W. 1964. A probabilistic similarity index. Nature 203:1098.
Goodall, D.W. 1966. A new similarity index based on probability. Biometrics 22:882–907.
Goodall, D.W. 1993. Probabilistic indices for classification - Some extensions. Abstracta Botanica 17:125–132.
Goodall, D.W. and E. Feoli. 1988. Application of probabilistic methods in the analysis of phytosociological data. Coenoses 3:1–12.
Goodall, D.W., P. Ganis and E. Feoli. 1987. Probabilistic methods in classification: a manual for seven computer programs. GEADQ 7, Universita’ degli Studi di Trieste, pp. 50.
Goodall, D.W., P. Ganis and E. Feoli. 1991. Probabilistic methods in classification: a manual for seven computer programs. In: Feoli, E. and L. Orlóci. (eds). Computer Assisted Vegetation Analysis. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp. 453–467.
Jongman, R.H.G., C.J.F. ter Braak and O.F.R. van Tongeren. 1995. Data Analysis in Community and Landscape Ecology. Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge.
Küchler, A.W. and I.S. Zonneveld (eds). 1988. Vegetation Mapping. Kluwer, Dordrecht.
Legendre, P. and L. Legendre. 1998. Numerical Ecology. Second English edition. Elsevier, Amsterdam.
Mirkin, B.M. 1987. Paradigm change and vegetation classification in Soviet phytocoenology. Vegetatio 68:131–138.
Mirkin, B.M. 1994. Which plant communities do exist? J. Veg. Sci. 5:283–284.
Mucina, L. 1997. Classification of vegetation: past present and future. J. Veg. Sci. 8:751–760.
Mucina, L. and M.B. Dale (eds). 1989. Numerical Syntaxonomy. Kluwer, Dordrecht.
Mucina, L. and E. van der Maarel. 1989. Twenty years of numerical syntaxonomy. Vegetatio 81:1–15.
Mueller-Dombois, D. and H. Ellenberg. 1974. Aims and methods of vegetation ecology. J. Wiley, New York.
Orlóci, L. 1978. Multivariate Analysis in Vegetation Research. Dr. W. Junk, The Hague.
Orlóci, L. 2001a. Pattern dynamics: an essay concerning principles, techniques, and applications. Community Ecology 2:1–15.
Orlóci, L. 2001b. Prospects and expectations: reflections on a science in change. Community Ecology 2:187–196.
Orlóci, L., M. Anand and V.D. Pillar. 2002a. Biodiversity analysis: issues, concepts, techniques. Community Ecology 3:217–236.
Orlóci, L., V.D. Pillar, M. Anand and H. Behling. 2002b. Some interesting characteristics of the vegetation process. Community Ecology 3:125–146.
Palmer, M.W. and P.S. White. 1994. On the existence of ecological communities. J. Veg. Sci. 5:279–282.
Pausas, J.C. and E. Feoli. 1996. Environment-vegetation relationships in the understorey of Pyrenean Pinus sylvestris forest. II. A classification approach. Coenoses 11:45–51.
Pignatti, S. 1990. Towards a prodrome of plant communities. J. Veg. Sci. 1:425–426.
Pillar, V.D. 1999. How sharp are classifications? Ecology 80:2508–2516.
Pillar, V.D. and L. Orlóci. 1996. On randomization testing in vegetation science: multifactor comparisons of relevé groups. J. Veg. Sci. 7:585–592.
Podani, J. 1995. Multivariate Data Analysis in Ecology and Systematics. A Methodological Guide to the SYN-TAX 5.0 package. SPB Academic Publishing bv., The Hague.
Podani, J. 2000. Introduction to the Exploration of Multivariate Biological Data. Backhuys, Leiden.
Podani, J. 2005. Multivariate exploratory analysis of ordinal data in ecology: Pitfalls, problems and solutions. J. Veg. Sci. 16:497–510.
Rivas-Martínez, S., F. Fernandez-Gonzalez, J. Loidi, M. Lousa and A. Penas. 2001. Syntaxonomical check list of vascular plant communities of Spain and Portugal to association level. Itin. Geob. 14:5–341.
Rivas-Martínez, S., F. Fernandez-Gonzalez, J. Loidi, M. Lousa and A. Penas. 2002. Vascular plant communities of Spain and Portugal. Addenda to the syntaxonomical check list of 2001. Itin. Geob. 15:5–922.
Roberts, D.W. 1986. Ordination on the basis of fuzzy set theory. Vegetatio 66:123–131.
Rodwell, J.S., S. Pignatti, L. Mucina and J.H.J. Schaminée. 1995. European vegetation survey: update on progress. J. Veg. Sci. 6:579–662.
Roy, K., J.W. Valentine, D. Jablonski and S.M. Kidwell. 1996. Scales of climatic variability and time averaging in Pleistocene biotas: implications for ecology and evolution. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 11:458–463.
Sneath, P.H.A. and R.R. Sokal. 1973. Numerical Taxonomy. W.H.Freeman and Company, San Francisco.
Solomeshch, A.I and B.M. Mirkin. 1999. The innovation period of vegetation classification in the former USSR: a complement to the paper by L. Mucina. J .Veg. Sci. 10:295–296.
Stafford, T.W., H.A. Semkem, R.W Graham, W.F. Klippel, A. Markova, N.G. Smirnov and J. Souton. 1999. First accelerator mass spectrometry 14C dates documenting contemporaneity of nonanalog species in late Pleistocene mammal communities. Geology 27:903–906.
Tobisch, T. and Standovár T. 2005. A comparison of vegetation patterns in the tree and herbs layers of a hardwood forest. Community Ecology 6:29–37.
van der Maarel, E. 1975. The Braun-Blanquet approach in perspective. Vegetatio 30:213–219.
van der Maarel, E. 1981. Some perspectives of numerical methods in syntaxonomy. In: H. Dierschke (ed.) Syntaxonomie. J. Cramer, Vaduz, pp 77–93.
van der Maarel, E. (ed). 2004. Vegetation Ecology. Blackwell Publishers, Oxford.
Wallace, C.S. and M.B. Dale. 2005. Hierarchical clusters of vegetation types. Community Ecology 6:57–74.
Westhoff, V. and E. van der Maarel. 1978. The Braun-Blanquet approach. In: R.H. Whittaker (ed.), Classification of Plant Communities. 2nd ed. Junk, The Hague. pp. 287–399.
Wilson, J.B. 1994. Who makes the assembly rules? J. Veg. Sci. 5:275–278.
Wilson, J.B., R.K. Peet and M.T. Sykes. 1995. What constitutes evidence of community structure? A reply to van der Maarel, Noest and Palmer. J. Veg. Sci. 6:753–758.
Zimmerman, H. 1996. Fuzzy Set Theory and its Applications. 3rd ed.. Kluwer, Dordrecht.
About this article
Cite this article
Feoli, E., Ferro, G. & Ganis, P. Validation of phytosociological classifications based on a fuzzy set approach. COMMUNITY ECOLOGY 7, 99–108 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1556/ComEc.7.2006.1.10
- Fuzzy sets
- Vegetation types