Changes in grassland flora and vegetation caused by inadequate management, primarily under-grazing and grasslands abandonment were studied in the south-east region of Serbia – Mt. Stara Planina, the largest mountain massif of the country. This mountain is one of the major centres of tertiary and endemic-relict plant species that remains in ravines, and glacial relics and mountain endemic species. The paper presents an analysis and comparison of previous (about 30 years ago) and current biodiversity of the most common grasslands, such as: ass. Festuco-Agrostietum vulgaris, Agrostio-Asphodeletum albae, Koelerietum montanae, Agrostietum vulgaris, Festucetum spadiceae, Nardetum strictae, Poetum molinerii-Plantagi-netum carinatae, Poetum violaceae and Seslerietum coerulantis. Both environmental and human impacts on grassland vegetation were discussed and a proposal of sustainable grassland use and management is given.
Berlin, G.A.I., A.-C. Linusson and E.G.A. Olsson. 2000. Vegetation changes in semi-natural meadows with unchanged management in southern Sweden, 1965–1990. Acta Oecol 21:125–138.
Blažková, D. and S. Březina. 2003. Secondary succession in abandoned “poloniny” meadows, Bukovske vrchy Mts., Eastern Carpathians, Slovakia. Thaiszia J. Bot. 13:159–207.
Braun Blanquet, J. 1965. Plant sociology – the study of plant communities. Hafner Publishing Company, New York.
Buckland, S.M., K. Thompson, J.G. Hodgson and J.P. Grime. 2001. Grassland invasions: effects of manipulations of climate and management. J. Appl. Ecol. 38:301–309.
Bullock, J.M., B.C. Hill, J. Silvertown and M. Sutton. 1995. Gap colonization as source of grassland community change: effects of gap size and grazing on the rate and mode of colonization by different species. Oikos 72:273–282.
Ciurzycki, W. 2004. The influence of some environmental factors on the succession dynamics of the Norway spruce on the upper montane belt blades excluded from pastorage in Polish Tatra mountains. Silwan 9:20–28.
Cousins, S.A.O. and O. Eriksson. 2002. The influence of management history and habitat on plant species richness in a rural hemiboreal landscape, Sweden. Landscape Ecol. 17: 517–529.
Djordjeviæ-Miloševiæ, S. 1996. Dynamics of organic production and biomass quality of grasslands of the different altitudes of the Mt. Stara Planina. PhD, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Belgrade.
Flora Europaea 1968–1980. (ed.) T. Tutin, V. H. Haywood, N. A. Burges, D. M. Moore and D. Valentine. University Press, Cambridge.
Flora of Serbia 1970–1986. (ed.) M. Josifoviæ. Serbian Academy of Science and Art, Belgrade. (in Serbian).
Gu, W.D., R. Heikkila and I. Hanski. 2002. Estimating the consequences of habitat fragmentation on extinct risk in dynamic landscapes. Landscape Ecology 17:699–710.
Gustavsson, E., T. Lennartsson and M. Emanuelsson. 2007. Land use more than 200 years ago explains current grassland plant diversity in a Swedish agricultural landscape. Biol. Conserv. 138:47–59.
Hejcman, M., P. Ne〉erkova, V. Pavlu, J. Gaisler, T. Lokvenc and L. Pavlu. 2005. Regeneration of Nardus stricta sub-alpine grasslands in the giant mountains (Krkonoše). Acta Soci. Bot. Poloniae. 74:253–258.
Hellström, K., A.P. Huhta, P. Rautio, J. Toumi, J. Oksanen and K. Laine. 2003. Use of sheep grazing in the restoration of seminatural meadows in northern Finland. Appl. Veg. Sci. 6: 45–52.
Honnay, O., E. Coart, J. Butaye, D. Adriaens, S. Van Glabeke and I. Roldan-Ruiz. 2006. Low impact of present and historical landscape configuration of the genetics of fragmented Anthyllis vulneraria populations. Biol. Conserv. 127:411–419.
Illyés, E., M. Chytrý, Z. Botta-Dukát, U. Jandt, I. Škodová, M. Janišova, W. Willner and O. Hájek. 2007. Semi-dry grasslands along a climatic gradient across Central Europe: vegetation classification with validation. J. Veg. Sci. 18:835–846.
Janssens, F., A. Peeters, J.R.B. Tallowin, J.B. Bakker, R.M. Bekker, F. Filat and M.J.M. Oomes. 1998. Relationship between soil chemical factors and grassland diversity. Plant Soil 202:69–78.
Kahmen, S., P. Poschlod and K.-F. Schreiber. 2002. Conservation management of calcareous grasslands. Changes in plant species composition and response of functional traits during 25 years. Biol. Conserv. 104:319–328.
Kojiæ, M., Mrfat-Vukeliæ, S., Dajiæ, Z., Djordjeviæ-Miloševiæ, S. 2004. Meadows and grazing pastures of Serbia. Institute for agricultural research ‘Serbia’, Belgrade. (in Serbian).
Kojić, M., S. Mrfat-Vukelić, Z. Dajić, S. Ajder and S. Ostojić. 1995. Distribution, major characteristics and further research of the plant community Nardetum strictae sensu lato in Serbia. Bulletin Inst. Bot. Botanic. Garden, University of Belgrade, 28:115–136 (in Serbian).
Kojiæ, M., S. Vrbnièanin, Z. Dajiæ and S. Mrfat-Vukeliæ. 2001. Weed flora of natural grasslands in Serbia. Acta herbol. 10:1–22.
Krahulec, F., H. Skálová, T. Herben, V. Hadincová, R. Wildová and S. Pechácková. 2001. Vegetation changes following sheep grazing in abandoned mountain meadows. Appl. Veg. Sci. 4:97–102.
Lakušić, D. 2005. Relation between species and ecosystem diversity. In: V. Stevanoviæ (ed.), Biodiversity at the onset of the new millennium. Serbian Academy of Science and Art, Belgrade, pp. 75–102. (in Serbian).
Magurran, A.E. 1988. Ecological diversity and its measurement. Chapman and Hall, London.
Mauer, K., A. Weyland, M. Fischer and J. Stöcklin. 2006. Old cultural traditions, in addition to landuse and topography, are shaping plant diversity of grasslands in the Alps. Biol. Conserv. 130:438–446.
Mijoviæ, D. 2006. Nature park of the Mt. Stara Planina, Study of the Institute for Nature Protection, Belgrade.
Mišić, V., Jovanoviæ-Dunjiæ, R., Popoviæ, M., Borisavljeviæ, Lj., Antiæ, M., Diniæ, A., Danon, J., BlaDenèiæ,Z. 1978. Plant communites and habitats of the Stara Planina, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Art, Belgrade. (in Serbian).
Mortimer, S.R., J.A. Hollier and V.K. Brown. 1998. Interactions between plant and insect diversity in the restoration of lowland calcareous grasslands in southern Britain. Appl. Veg. Sci. 1:101–114.
Norderhaug, A., M. Ishe, O. Pedersen. 2000. Biotope pattern and abundance of meadow plant species in a Norwegian rural landscape. Landscape Ecol. 15:201–218.
Őckinger, E., A.K. Eriksson and H.G. Smith. 2006. Effects of grassland abandonment, restoration and management on butterflies and vascular plants. Biol. Conserv. 133:291–300.
Peeters, A. and Z. Dajić. 2006. Grassland management study for the Stara Planina, Mt. Nature Park. Proposals of biodiversity restoration measures. Project report. Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management of the Republic of Serbia.
Pignatti, S. 1982. Flora d’Italia (3 Vol). Edagricole, Bologna.
Poschlod, P. and M.F. Wallis DeVries. 2002. The historical and socioeconomic perspective of calcareous grasslands – lessons from the distant and recent past. Biol. Conserv. 104: 361–376.
Pykälä, J. 2005. Plant species responses to cattle grazing in mesic semi-natural grassland. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 108: 109–117.
Pykälä, J., M. Luoto, R.K. Heikkinen and T. Kontula. 2005. Plant species richness and persistence of rare plants in abandonment semi-natural grasslands in northern Europe. Basic Appl. Ecol. 6:25–33.
Rudmann-Maurer, K., A. Weyand, M. Fischer and J. Stöcklin. 2008 The role of landuse and natural determinants for grassland vegetation composition in the Swiss Alps. Basic Appl. Ecol. 5:494–503.
Sebastiá, M.T. 2004. Role of topography and soils in grassland structuring at the landscape and community scales. Basic Appl. Ecol. 5:331–346.
Stevanović, V., Jovanović, S., Lakušić, D. 1995. Diversity of Yugoslavian vegetation. In: V. Stevanović and V. Vasić (eds.), Biodiversity of Yugoslavia with review of species of the international importance, Faculty of Biology and Ecolibri, Belgrade, pp. 219–241. (in Serbian).
Stohlgren, T.J., D. Binkley, G.W. Chong, M.A. Kalkhan, L.D. Schell, K.A. Bull, Y. Otsuki, G. Newman, M. Bashkin, and Y. Son. 1999. Exotic plant species invade hot spots of native plant diversity. Ecol. Monogr. 69:25–46.
Thompson, K., J. Bakker and R. Bekker. 1997. The soil seedbanks of north west Europe: methodology, density and longevity. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Tracy, B.F. and M.A. Sanderson. 2004. Forage productivity, species evenness and weed invasion in pasture communities. Agricul. Ecosyst. Environ. 102:175–183.
Wellstein, C., A. Otte and R. Waldhardt. 2007. Impact of site and management on the diversity of central European mesic grassland. Agricul. Ecosyst. Environ. 122:203–210.
Westhoff, W. and van der Maarel E. 1973. The Braun Blanquet approach. In: Whittaker, R.H. (ed.). Handbook of Vegetation Science 5. Ordination and Classification of Communities. Junk, the Hague.
Zobel, M., E. van der Maarel and C. Dupré. 1998. Species pool. The concept, its determination, and significance for community restoration. Appl. Veg. Sci. 1:55–66.
About this article
Cite this article
Dajić Stevanović, Z., Peeters, A., Vrbničanin, S. et al. Long term grassland vegetation changes: Case study Nature Park Stara Planina (Serbia). COMMUNITY ECOLOGY 9, 23–31 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1556/ComEc.9.2008.S.5
- Floristic composition