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Newly added:

Frey, W. (2009) [Ed.]: Syllabus of Plant Families - Adolf Engler's Syllabus der Pflanzenfamilien. Part 3: Bryophytes and seedless Vascular plants. 13th ed., IX + 419 pp., Borntreeger, Berlin. Price: 89,00 EUR (hardcover). ISBN 978-3-443-01063-9

Atherton, I., Bosanquet, S., Lawley, M.. (2010) [Eds.]: Mosses and liverworts of Britain and Ireland: a field guide. V + 848 pp., British Bryological Society, Plymounth. ISBN 978-0-9561310-1-0 (paperback). Price: 25.95 GBP

Werger, M.J.A., van Staalduinen, M.A. (2012) [Eds.]: Eurasian steppes. Ecological problems and livelihoods in a changing world (=Plant and Vegetation 6). XVI + 565 pp., Springer, Dordrecht, ISBN 978-94-007-3885-0. Price: 181.85 EUR (hardback) or 142.79 EUR (eBook).

Alphabetical list:

Atherton, I., Bosanquet, S., Lawley, M.. (2010) [Eds.]: Mosses and liverworts of Britain and Ireland: a field guide. V + 848 pp., British Bryological Society, Plymounth. ISBN 978-0-9561310-1-0 (paperback). Price: 25.95 GBP

Baumann, A. (2006): On the Vegetation History of CalcareousGrasslands in the Franconian Jura (Germany) since the Bronze Age – Dissertationes Botanicae 404: 194 pp.

Berg, Ch.,  Dengler, J.,  Abdank, A.,  Isermann, M. [eds.] (2004): Die Pflanzengesellschaften Mecklenburg-Vorpommerns und ihre Gefährdung –Tabellenband, Textband. [Plant communities of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and their vulnerability – Tables volume, Text volume. In German.] Landesamt für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Geologie Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Weisdorn-Verlag Jena. Prices: 19.80 EUR (Tabellenband: 340 pp., ISBN 3-936055-00-9), 59.90 (Textband, 606 pp., ISBN 3-936055-03-3).

Bültmann, H., Fartmann, T., Hasse, T. (Hrsg.) 2006. Trockenrasen auf unterchiedlichen Betrachtungsebenen. Observation scales in dry grasslands – Arbeiten aus dem Institut für Landschaftsökologie Münster 15: 196 pp. Verlag Wolf & Kreuels, Münster.

Bylebyl, K. (2007): Central European dry grasslands: processes of theirdevelopment and possibilities for their maintenance. – Dissertationes Botanicae 406: 142 pp.

Chytrý, M. [Ed.] (2007): Vegetace Českè republiky. 1. Travinná a keříčková vegetace [Vegetation of the Czech Republic. 1. Grassland and Heathland Vegetation. In Czech, with English summaries.]

Chytrý, M. (2009) [Ed.]: Vegetace České republiky – 2. Ruderální, plevolová, skalní a suťová vegetace (Vegetation of the Czech Republic – 2. Ruderal, Weed, Rock and Scree Vegetation) [in Czech, with English summaries]. 520 pp., Academia, Praha. ISBN 978-80-200-1769-7. Price: 565 CZK.

Chytrý, M. (2011) [Ed.]: Vegetace České republiky – 3. Vodní a mokřadní vegetace (Vegetation of the Czech Republic – 3. Aquatic and Wetland Vegetation) [in Czech, with Eng-lish summaries]. 827 pp., Academia, Praha. ISBN 978-80-200-1918-9. Price: 850 CZK (available with 15% discount from http://www.academiaknihy.cz/vegetace-ceske-republiky-3-vodni-a-

Frey, W. (2009) [Ed.]: Syllabus of Plant Families - Adolf Engler's Syllabus der Pflanzenfamilien. Part 3: Bryophytes and seedless Vascular plants. 13th ed., IX + 419 pp., Borntreeger, Berlin. Price: 89,00 EUR (hardcover). ISBN 978-3-443-01063-9

Gibson, D. J. (2009):Grasses and grassland ecology. – VIII + 305 pp., Oxford University Press, Oxford. Hardback: ISBN 978-0-19-852918-7. Price: 70,– GBP. Paperback: ISBN: 978-0-19-852919-4.

Goffinet, B., Shaw, A. J. (2008) [„2009“] [Eds.]: Bryophyte biology. 2nd ed. – XIV + 565 pp., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. ISBN 978-0-521-69322-6.

Jarolímek, I., Šibík, J.(2008) [Eds.]: Diagnostic, constant anddominant species of the higher vegetation units of Slovakia. – 332 pp., Veda Publishing House of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava.

Maarel, E. van der (2008) [“2007”] [Ed.]:Structure and dynamics of alvar vegetation on Öland and some related dry grasslands – Dedicated to Ejvind Rosén on his 65th birthday – Acta Phytogeographica Suecica 88: 98 pp.

Naaem, S., Bunker, D. E., Hector, A., Loreau, M., Perrings, C. (2009) [Eds.]: Biodiversity, Ecosystem Functioning, and Human Wellbeing – an Ecological and Economic Perspective. XIV + 368 pp., Oxford University Press, Oxford. ISBN 978-0-19-954796-8. Price: 39.95 GBP

Nash, T. H.,III (2008) [Ed.]: Lichen biology. 2nd ed. – IX + 486 pp., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. ISBN 978-0-521-69216-8.

Oppermann, R., Beaufoy, G., Jones, G. (2012) [Eds.]: High Nature Value farming in Europe: 35 European countries – experiences and perspectives. – 544 pp., Verlag Regionalkultur, Ubstadt-Weiher. ISBN 978-3-89735-657-3. Price: 49.95 € [outside Germany, it is cheaper to order the book from book@efncp.org for 45 € or 40 GBP + postage from UK]

Royer, J. M. (1991): Synthèse eurosiberienne, phytosociologique et phytoéographique de la classe des Festuco-Brometea (Eurosiberian phytosociological and phytogeographic synthesis of the class Festuco-Brometea) [In French]. – Dissertationes Botanicae 178: 296 pp.

Schneider, S. (2011): Die Graslandgesellschaften Luxemburgs. – Ferrantia 66: 303 pp. + tables, Musée national d’hostoire naturelle Luxembourg, Luxembourg. ISSN 1682-5518. Price: 10.00 € (available from diffusion@mnhn.lu). 

Shipley, B. (2010): FromPlant Traits to Vegetation Structure – Chance and Selection in the Assembly of Ecological Communities. XI + 277 pp., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge . ISBN 978-0-521-13355- 5 (paperback)/978-0-521-11747-0 (hardback). Price: 35.00 GBP (paperback)/75.00 GBP (hardback).

Stace, C.A. (2010): New Flora of theBritish Isles. 3rd ed. XXXIV + 1232 pp., Cambridge Un i v e r s i t y Pr e s s , Camb r i d g e . ISBN 978-0-521-70772-5. Price: 50.00 GBP.

Stuessy, T.F. (2009): Plant Taxonomy – The Systematic Evaluation of Comparative Data. 2nd ed. XX + 539 pp., Columbia University Press, New York. ISBN 978-0-231-14712-5. Price:68.50 GBP.

Vanderpoorten,A., Goffinet, B. (2009): Introduction to bryophytes. – VIII + 303 pp., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. ISBN 978-0-521-70073-3. Price: 24.99 GBP.

Veen,P., Jefferson, R., de Smidt, J., van der Straaten, J. (2009) [Eds.]: Grasslands in Europe of high nature value. – 320 pp., KNNV Publishing, Zeist, Netherlands. ISBN 978-90-5011-316-8.

Werger, M.J.A., van Staalduinen, M.A. (2012) [Eds.]: Eurasian steppes. Ecological problems and livelihoods in a changing world (=Plant and Vegetation 6). XVI + 565 pp., Springer, Dordrecht, ISBN 978-94-007-3885-0. Price: 181.85 EUR (hardback) or 142.79 EUR (eBook).

Wiesbauer, H. (2008)[Ed.]: Die Steppe lebt – Felssteppen undTrockenrasen in Niederösterreich (The steppe is living – rocky steppes and dry grasslands in Lower Austria) [In German]. – 224 pp., Amt der NÖ Landesregierung, St. Pölten, Austria.

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Baumann A. (2006): On the Vegetation History of Calcareous Grasslands in the Franconian Jura (Germany) since the Bronze AgeDissertationes Botanicae 404: 194 pp. J. Cramer in der Gebrüder Borntraeger Verlagsbuchhandlung, Berlin and Stuttgart.  ISBN 978-3-443-64317-1. 50,– €.

The main goal of the study was to reconstruct the development of calcareous grasslands since the Bronze Age in the Franconian Jura. Several issues were addressed in the research: the appropriate archaeobotanical indicators for calcareous grasslands; the dynamics of calcareous grassland area in the research area; have indicators for dry grasslands been present continuously after appearance; are there correlations between the vegetation history and socio-economic developments; are there similarities between the regional history of calcareous grasslands and other regions of Europe.
The book is divided into nine chapters. The first chapter is a summary; the second chapter states the aim and tasks of the research and introduces the reader with the survey area which is located in the region of the Central and Southern Franconian Alb, Bavaria, Germany. 
The third chapter is devoted to Central European calcareous grassland history. It is an excellent overview of the state of art in research of calcareous grassland history in Europe and discusses pros and cons of methods used for this purpose. It gives a detailed insight into development of calcareous grasslands since the Last Glacial. The main conclusion is that calcareous grasslands existed in Central Europe as small-scale habitats before the Neolithic times, and started to increase with introduction of herding by humans, but reached their maximum area in the Middle Ages.
The fourth chapter deals with anthracological analysis of prehistoric settlements in the surroundings of Kallmünz in one of the greatest prehistoric settlements in southern Germany. The main conclusion was that the anthracological analysis confirmed a hypothesis that dry calcareous grasslands were present in Kallmünz during the Bronze Age. The local study was further expanded by pollen record of an alluvial sediment core of the River Naab (including the radiocarbon dating) (Chapter 5); and pedoanthracological study (Chapter 6).  
The last chapter discusses the history of Franconian Alb calcareous grasslands in modern times. The author concludes that the losses of calcareous grasslands have been less dramatic than in the other parts of Germany.  Impressive maps, archive photos and diagrams illustrate these findings.
In conclusion, I highly recommend this book to every person interested in vegetation history (and not only grasslands!) of Europe. You will get a valuable information both on methodological issues and vegetation and landscape history in Central Europe over centuries.
                                                                                                                        Solvita Rusina, rusina@lu.lv, Riga, Latvia

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Berg Ch.,  Dengler J.,  Abdank A.,  Isermann M. [eds.] (2004): Die Pflanzengesellschaften Mecklenburg-Vorpommerns und ihre Gefährdung –Tabellenband, Textband. [Plant communities of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and their vulnerability – Tables volume, Text volume. In German.] Landesamt für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Geologie Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Weisdorn-Verlag Jena. Prices: 19.80 EUR (Tabellenband: 340 pp., ISBN 3-936055-00-9), 59.90 (Textband, 606 pp., ISBN 3-936055-03-3).

This two-volume edition brings the results of the project called “Plant communities of Mecklenburg- Vorpommern and their vulnerability” devoted to the survey of all plant communities of the federal state located in the NE Germany. The data have been collected since 1993 by a large group of authors including not only phytosociologists but also specialists of various taxonomical plant groups, mycologists and zoologists. The first volume contains phytosociological tables and the second volume brings the detailed descriptions of project aims, materials and methods, as well as characteristics of syntaxa, their vulnerability and conservational status. A short (6 pages) introductory chapter is included for English speaking readers with a brief explanation of the authors approaches and with basic information necessary for reading and interpretation of the presented data.
A large phytosociological dataset of 42 207 relevés was used as the basic source for analyses including nearly all published relevés of the studied territory and numerous unpublished relevés from theses and reports.
In spite of the fact that Germany has a long phytosociological tradition, there was no adequate complex and precise methodology defined for such kind of phytosociological syntheses. The authors were forced to develop their own up to date methodological concept based on principles of the traditional Braun- Blanquet school. To perform the analysis of a huge dataset, they accepted a set of elementary principles to make the methods uniform and transparent. Twelve axiomatic definitions were formulated to fulfill this aim. Another condition was the compatibility with the vegetation overviews of the neighbouring regions and an easy application for nature conservation practitioners.
I would like to mention just a few points of the classification approach which I found to be interesting or innovative:  

  • No relevé was excluded according to transitional, fragmentary or successional character, only technical shortcomings (inadequate location outside the studied region, duplicates, incomple or erroneous determination of the relevant species) could serve as a cause for a relevé exclusion.  
  • Prior to the classification, the dataset was divided into three parts including the herbaceous vegetation, vegetation dominated by phanerophytes and cryptogam vegetation. These three structural types of vegetation were classified separately. Thus all vegetation types were included except of insufficiently documented communities such as bramble shrubs and communities of marine macroalgae.  
  • For syntaxa insufficiently positively differentiated from the others at the given hierarchical level, the concept of „central syntaxa“ was adopted and broadened to all hierarchical levels. The central syntaxon should not be understood as a typical or representative one, the main reason was to include the formally unranked relevés lacking relevant diagnostic species into the well defined communities. Only one central syntaxon can be described for each syntaxon of superior rank while diagnostic species of the hierarchical level above served to its characterization.  
  • Species of cryptogam were considered for all vegetation units. For a real estimation of their constancy the „raw value“ was calculated where only relevés including cryptogam data were taken into consideration.
  • For syntaxa with fewer than ten relevés available with complete records of cryptogams, external relevés from the neighbouring regions were used to complete the table for the constancy calculation in order toestimate precisely the diagnostic species.

The resulting classification system includes 26 classes of herbaceous vegetation and 8 classes of woody vegetation devided into 12 subclasses, 70 orders, 6 suborders, 125 alliances and 284 associations. In the tables volume the plant communities are presented in form of synoptic tables. Each class is generally represented by one table except several larger classes or classes with a complicated hierarchical structure (Parvo-Caricetea, Phragmito-Magno- Caricetea, Koelerio-Corynephoretea, Trifolio- Geranietea and Artemisietea vulgaris) which are divided into one table for the superior syntaxa and other (one or more) tables for the associations. In the tables, the species are arranged by their sociological values to the syntaxa of various range ordered hierarchically, the accessorial species being listed at the end of tables. The percentage constancy is given for each species. The marking of sociological values in bold or italic case, shading and frames gives the reader a precise and structured information. However, for the common reader the reading of tables becomes complicated and is almost impossible without a previous deeper study of introductory part in the books. According to the authors, the complete unabridged versions of the tables should be available since 2004 on a CD-ROM at the LUNG (Landesamt für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Geologie Mecklenburg- Vorpommern).
A significant goal of the project was to assess the vulnerability of the individual vegetation types. For this purpose, the authors have developed a comprehensive system for evaluation of both vulnerability and nature conservation value resulting in estimation of priorities in practical conservation measures for individual communities. Thus, the books can serve as a Red Data Book of plant communities in the studied region. This evaluation system is well described in the German introductory part (chapters 3.7 to 3.9) by means of table overviews of exact criteria for asignment of communities to individual categories. This precise although rather complicated system can serve as an inspiration for similar studies for nature conservation purposes. Vulnerability of plant communities was assesed according to three criteria: current distribution, quantitative development since 1960 and threat from human activities. Estimation of comunities’nature conservation value is based on the number of threatened taxa occuring in a given community (weighted by their constancy), degree of human impact and proportional area of this community in the studied federal state compared to its overall area. An easier application of the proposed system is ensured by a useful survey of correspondence between the habitat types and phytosociological associations (Table 37).
Another step to broaden the scope of this phytosociological handbook towards the other biological disciplines is the inclusion of selected mycological and zoological information into each syntaxa characteristics. This type of information has a substantial value in preparation of optimal conservation measures sensitive to all vulnerable species groups and focussing not only on plants.
A highly positive aspect of this publication is the high-quality distribution maps of the syntaxa in the studied area. It combines input information from both floristical and phytosociological databases, visualizing thus not only recent state of community occurrences based on the available records but also their potential distribution derived from occurrence of their character species.
Both volumes contain a huge amount of information obtained through comprehensive and inspiring methods. For readers without knowledge of German some parts could be rather difficult to follow e.g. the description of the classification procedures, or tables with only German names of associations (Table 38). Here, an English translation of figure and table captions would help a lot. Sometimes the organization of tables together with the coding systems are too complex for an easy understanding of their contents. But with a little effort, the books can provide a substantial and valuable source of information of diversity, species composition and natural value of plant communities in the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern federal state. Moreover, it shows us one of possible ways in which the biodiversity surveys can be carried out and managed in other regions. I hope that similar successful projects will resultin similarly valuable publications in the close future.

Monika Janišová, Banská Bystrica, Slovakia

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Bültmann H., Fartmann T., Hasse T. (Hrsg.) 2006. Trockenrasen auf unterchiedlichen Betrachtungsebenen. Observation scales in dry grasslandsArbeiten aus dem Institut für Landschaftsökologie Münster 15: 196 pp. Verlag Wolf & Kreuels, Münster.

The 15th issue of the Arbeiten aus dem Institut für Landschaftsökologie Münster is devoted to the contributions of the 2nd European Dry Grassland Meeting which was organised by the German Arbeitsgruppe Trockenrasen in Münster in August, 2005.
The issue contains 10 articles and 2 short abstracts (another 5 articles were published in Tuexenia No.26 (2006) and their abstracts in English and German are published in this issue, too). The main language of the book is German (the article by M.Janisova is in English) but English summaries are very informative as well as all table and figure captions are in both languages.

The main theme of the meeting Observation scales in dry grasslands is reflected in the book both in diversity of study objects and in approaches authors have applied to their research. Several articles are devoted to lichen ecology and vegetation. H. Bültmann compared lichen-rich vegetation in different stages of natural dune development and described both plant communities and lichen microcommunities. The study reflects the importance of scale in vegetation studies and stresses the fine scale of vegetation complexity. A. Jöhren & H. Bültmann presented interesting results on Cladonia species habitat preferences in Corynephorus grasslands and H. Bültmann outlined important findings about using of plant indicator values in vegetation studies showing that it is not advised to calculate mean indicator values for vascular plants, mosses and lichens but rather they should be calculated separately. Indicator values for 45 lichen species are provided.

Species biology and management was addressed in the article by M.Janišová who analysed population biology of Sesleria albicans  and  Festuca valesiacae. Möhring et al. presented a successful management scheme by horses for plant species Gentiana cruciata and butterfly Maculinea rebeli.

Several important findings are presented by authors studying patterns of species and vegetation diversity. Klimaschewski et al. showed interesting results on species migration into fallow land from the adjacent dry grassland. It was concluded that the migration success depend on the mutual location of fallow land and grassland and from species ability of dissemination. S.Boch & J.Dengler analysed vegetation diversity of Saaremaa Island dry grasslands (synoptic tables included). Hitherto, it is the most comprehensive floristic (including mosses and lichens) and ecological characterisation of dry grasslands of Saaremaa. In another article J.Dengler analysed variability of species density and composition at different spatial scales. He showed in several examples that real vegetation stands do not possess floristic homogeneity and that it should be taken into account in biodiversity studies. Species richness of dry coastal grasslands of the Curonian Spit (relevés are published, too) was studied by Ch. Dolnik, and the main conclusion was that lichens are under-represented and mosses are over-represented in scales less than 1 m2.
In conclusion, the present issue comprises high quality papers containing useful information on dry grassland vascular plant and cryptogam diversity patterns and ideas for methodological approaches in dry grassland studies and is recommendable for every vegetation scientist dealing with grassland vegetation.

Contents (full articles):

Bültmann H. Terricolous lichens in complex dune landscapes of northern Jutland on different observation scales
Jöhren A. & Bültmann H. Edaphic habitat factors of selected Cladonia species in Corynephorus canescens grasslands
Janišová M. Caespitose grasses in dry grassland communities at several organization scales.
Boch S., Dengler J. Floristic and ecological characterisation as well as species richness of the dry grassland communities on the island Saaremaa (Estonia).
Dengler J. Variability of species density and species composition on different spatial scales – exemplary results from dry grasslands and consequences for the sampling setup in biodiversity studies.
Dolnik Ch. Species richness of coastal dry grassland of the Curonian Spit and the Sambian Peninsula on different scales.
Klimaschewski B., Evers Ch., Brandes D. Investigations about migration of Festuco-Brometea and Koelerio-Corynephoretea species into fallow land.
Bammert J.W. Dry grassland vegetation as mosaic and mosaic component – a consideration of methods with two examples from southern Baden.

Bültmann H.  Indicator values of terricolous lichens in dry grasslands: proposal of additions and amendments.

 Solvita Rusina, rusina@lu.lv, Riga, Latvia

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Bylebyl, K. (2007): Central European dry grasslands: processes of their development and possibilities for their maintenance. – Dissertationes Botanicae 406: 142 pp. J. Cramer in der Gebrüder Borntraeger Verlagsbuchhandlung, Berlin and Stuttgart. ISBN 978-3-443-64319.  44,– €.

The monograph represents a doctoral thesis elaborated at the University of Regensburg, Germany. The author had the goal to elucidate the processes of the development and possibilities for the maintenance of Central European dry grasslands. To achieve this goal the author made a contribution to three research directions.
Firstly, she investigated the past processes of the expansion and current processes of species life-history of dry grassland plant species in  Central Europe using the example of Eryngium campestre (analysis of phylogeography using molecular biology methods). The main finding was that the two distribution areas of the species within Germany are clearly separated genetically, and the post-glacial colonization occurred from geographically isolated refugia. The results of this research were published also in a separate paper (Bylebyl et al. 2008). The definition of xerothermophilous species and their post-glacial spreading in Central Europe have been discussed.
Secondly, the author focussed on plant functional traits (characterizing dispersal, establishment and persistence abilities of plant species) and plant strategies as the fundamental approach to understand the vegetation dynamics. The development of trait composition during the four year succession induced by restoration management  was analyzed. More detailed study was devoted to one trait – germination response to fire simulation. Four species out of 10 analysed species showed significant positive reactions to fire simulation.
Finally, the author tried to analyze problems of maintenance of a traditional historical landscape exemplified with the Middle Rhine region. Two novel management practices (controlled burning and tank track management – two tank tracks weighting about 1.5 tonnes were mounted into a steel frame and were drawn by a tractor through shrubby vegetation)) were evaluated and compared to manual clear cutting to restore abandoned vineyards and grasslands (several succession stages were compared). Results showed that the novel practices were cheaper and even more efficient in grassland restoration than conventional management (species diversity was higher). In this respect, the title of the book is somewhat misleading as the main emphasis of the research presented in the monograph is not on the long-term grassland maintenance but the short-term restoration success (four year observations).
The book is divided into nine chapters. Each of them is structured as an independent paper with sections of abstract, introduction, methods, results and discussion. The disadvantage of such an approach is that the reader has to read the same information (e.g. description of the study sites or importance of implementation of novel methods to restore dry grasslands) several times.
The problems comprised are so heterogeneous (from genetical diversity to landscape management) that it is not a surprise that the book lacks integrity and the degree of detailed elaboration is missing in places. Nevertheless, the book is very valuable both for scientists and nature conservation practitioners as a good example demonstrating the importance of integrating different approaches to achieve dry grassland conservation goals.

 

References
Bylebyl, K., Poschlod, P., Reisch, C. 2008. Genetic variation of Eryngium campestre L. (Apiaceae) in Central Europe. Molecular Ecology,  17: 3379-3388.

 Solvita Rusina, rusina@lu.lv, Riga, Latvia

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Chytrý, M. [Ed.] (2007): Vegetace Českè republiky. 1. Travinná a keříčková vegetace [Vegetation of the Czech Republic. 1. Grassland and Heathland Vegetation. In Czech, with English summaries.] 528 pp., Academia, Praha. ISBN 978-80-200-1462-7. 550 CZK.

The monograph presents the modern classification of vegetation of the Czech Republic. The set of 21,794 relevés available in the Czech National Phytosociological Database was used to generate sociological species groups with the Cocktail method. Sociological groups and dominances of selected species were used to generate definitions of associations. Then the associations were grouped into alliances and classes on the basis of the subjective evaluation of their mutual similarity, following the Central European phytosociological tradition. The nomenclature of communities adheres to the rules implemented in the International Code of Phytosociological Nomenclature by Weber et al. (2000). Species composition of associations was compared in synoptic tables, which contain the percentage frequency of the occurrence of species in relevés.
The book is divided into several chapters. The first chapter contains the main facts from the history of the Czech phytosociological studies in the period from 1922 to 2005, the technical procedure of defining vegetation units and practical application of the present system of vegetation. This part of the book is written in Czech and English and contains a bilingual glossary of basic key words, which makes this monograph accessible for people not fluent in Czech.
The next part of the book describes the diversity of vegetation in Czech Republic, its determinants and history and contains some maps with the basic geological formations, mean annual temperature, phytogeographical regions and main potential natural vegetation types. The major part of the book (406 pp., 12 chapters) presents descriptions of 12 classes and 111 associations. They are presented in the following order: alpine heathlands, alpine grasslands on base-poor soils and base-rich soils, subalpine tall-forb and deciduous-shrub vegetation, vegetation of annual graminoids in saline habitats, vegetation of annual succulent halophytes, saline grasslands, meadows and mesic pastures, nardus grasslands and heathlands, pioneer vegetation of sandy and shallow soils, sandy steppes and dry grasslands. Also contained in this part of the book are the synoptic tables for all classes. The description of each association includes diagnostic species, habitats, dynamics, distribution, variants, economic importance and endangerment, and is finished with an English summary. Those descriptions are enriched with maps showing the distribution of the associations as well as pictures of the phytocoenoses.
The strongest point of this monograph is the complete and critical way in which the plant associations are shown. It documents the advances in the knowledge about grassland vegetation diversity in Czech Republic and contains contributions by many accomplished botanists. That is why this work is a valuable and practical tool for the identification of plant communities across Czech Republic. It can also be a source of knowledge for researchers from other regions. Thanks to the contained phytosociological tables and detailed introductions and summaries of the informations concerning each of the associations written in English, this book can be helpful even to a reader with no knowledge of the Czech language. The last thing I would like to bring attention to is the  book’s interesting graphic design and the very logical way it was edited.
                                                                                                                                       B. Juśkiewicz-Swaczyna, Slovakia 
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Chytrý, M. (2009) [Ed.]: Vegetace České republiky – 2. Ruderální, plevolová, skalní a suťová vegetace (Vegetation of the Czech Republic – 2. Ruderal, Weed, Rock and Scree Vegetation) [in Czech, with English summaries]. 520 pp., Academia, Praha. ISBN 978-80-200-1769-7. Price: 565 CZK.

Chytrý, M. (2011) [Ed.]: Vegetace České republiky – 3. Vodní a mokřadní vegetace (Vegetation of the Czech Republic – 3. Aquatic and Wetland Vegetation) [in Czech, with Eng-lish summaries]. 827 pp., Academia, Praha. ISBN 978-80-200-1918-9. Price: 850 CZK (available with 15% discount from http://www.academiaknihy.cz/vegetace-ceske-republiky-3-vodni-a-

Two new volumes of the planned four-volume series of the Czech vegetation have been published recently, one on ruderal and rock vegetation and one on aquatic and semi-aquatic non-woodland vegetation. The first volume, which covers grassland and related communities, including all the dry grasslands, was published in 2007 and reviewed in Bulletin No. 3 (2009, p. 28: Chytrý 2007). Unfortunately, volume 2 is already out of print, but you might find still some copies in book shops. By contrast, a slightly updated second edition of Volume 1 has been published in 2010 and is still available (550 CZK, or 468 CZK from the above mentioned e-shop). Hopefully, edi-tor and publisher will find a way to re-publish also Volume 2.

Volume 2 presents eight vegetation classes with 119 associations, while the thick Volume 3 contains 10 classes with 178 associations. Volume 2 is particularly relevant to dry grassland researchers as it contains the transitions of dry grasslands to ruderal communities (Artemisietea vulgaris), rock communities (Asplenietea trichomanis) and scree communities (Thlaspietea rotundifolii). Each of the syntaxa is described in a detailed text (in Czech, with summaries in English), with extensive and well-structured synoptic tables, lists of diagnostic species, distribution maps, ecological profiles (mainly based on Ellenberg Indicator Values) and many nice and instruc-tive photographs. The classification is based on a com-prehensive national vegetation database and the thorough application of a consistent methodology (which is presented in a concise English methods chapter in each of the volumes).

Without any doubt, the “Vegetation of the Czech Republic” is presently the most advanced example of a country/state overview of all extant plant communities following a consistent modern approach. Therefore, any serious phytosociologist in Europe should have this series on his/her book shelf, in particular as the authors also throughly revised the nomenclature of all treated syntaxa, which makes this series a major reference work in this respect. Luckily, the authors also put an end to the “deductive” approach (and its many derivates), which once emerged in their country, and in doing so followed two other major recent syntaxonomical reference works (Berg et al. 2001, 2004, Willner & Grabherr 2007). The deductive approach (e.g. Kopecký & Hejný 1994) to differentiate vegetation types in “real” syntaxa on the one hand (those having character species of their own) and a wide array of different “basal”, “fragmental” or whatso-ever communities, while looking “logic” at first glance appears to be circular reasoning at closer look and it cre-ates a differentiation (implicitly connected with a valua-tion) where there is no ecological difference (Dengler 2003).

Despite this overall extremely positive evaluation of the series, there are still points that can be criticized and where I would have preferred another solution:
The authors disregarded the syntaxonomic level of order, and treated only associations, alliances and classes. This is not supported by arguments and it is unfortunate as this impedes comparisons with other national overviews and also the application of phytosociological nomencla-ture where the ordinal rank is obligatory (i.e. vegetation classes need to be defined by orders).
The tables in the books do not reflect the full variety of vegetation types in the country as only those relevés have been included that directly matched the COCKTAIL definitions of the units. Thus, the tables suggest that the associations are much crisper than they are. Actually, one could classify 100% of all relevés and still receive reasonably well separated units (see Berg et al. 2001, 2004).
Some vegetation types are completely omitted from the presentation. For example, the very frequent ruderal associations Rubo caesii-Calamagrostietum epigeji and Elymo repentis-Rubetum caesii (see Berg et al. 2004) are not presented under this name nor any other, similar to all associations of acidophilous forest edge-communities of the order Melampyro pratensis-Holcetalia mollis (except the Pteridietum aquilini, which is placed in the Epilobietea angustifolii). All these community types are particularly widespread in the Czech Republic, the Rubo-Calamagrostietum even is shown in extensive stands on the cover photo of Volume 2. From the reading, it is not clear to me why these associations are nevertheless ex-cluded from the presentation. Perhaps the authors had difficulties to develop appropriate COCKTAIL definitions or there was a lack of relevés.
One disadvantage I see is the extreme splitting approach in some vegetation classes, in particular in the water vegetation. For example, while Berg et al. (2001, 2004) needed six associations to cover the full variety of Lemnetea communities, Chytrý (2011) distinguishes not less than 17 (which are more than the total number of diagnostic species in this class!).

References

Berg, C., Dengler, J., Abdank, A. (2001) [Eds.]: Die Pflanzengesellschaften Mecklenburg-Vorpommerns und ihre Gefährdung – Tabellenband. – 341 pp., Weissdorn, Jena.
Berg, C., Dengler, J., Abdank, A., Isermann, M. (2004) [Eds.]: Die Pflanzengesellschaften Mecklenburg-Vorpommerns und ihre Gefährdung – Textband. – 606 pp., Weissdorn, Jena.
Chytrý, M. (2007) [Ed.]: Vegetation of the Czech Repub-lic – 1. Grassland and heathland vegetation [in Czech, with English summary]. – 526 pp., Academia, Praha.
Dengler, J. (2003): Entwicklung und Bewertung neuer Ansätze in der Pflanzensoziologie unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Vegetationsklassifikation [with English summary]. – Arch. Naturwiss. Diss. 14: 297 pp., Galunder, Nümbrecht.
Kopecký, K., Hejný, S. (1974): A new approach to the classification of anthropogenic plant communities. – Vegetatio 29: 17–20, The Hague.
Willner, W., Grabherr, G. (2007) [Eds.]: Die Wälder und Gebüsche Österreichs – Ein Bestimmungswerk mit Tabellen. – 2 vols., 302 + 290 pp., Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, Heidelberg.

Jürgen Dengler, Hamburg, Germany dengler@botanik.uni-hamburg.de

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Gibson, D. J. (2009): Grasses and grassland ecology. – VIII + 305 pp., Oxford University Press, Oxford. Hardback: ISBN 978-0-19-852918-7. Price: 70,– GBP. Paperback: ISBN: 978-0-19-852919-4. Price: 34.95 GBP.

The Grasslands in the widest sense (including shrubland and tundra) occupy 31–43% of the land surface of the Earth. They are crucial for global ecology as well as for human food production. Grasslands are – by definition – mostly dominated by members of the Poaceae, the fourth largest vascular plant family with 7,500 species. This book aims at being a scientific introduction to both the Poaceae and to grasslands from a mainly ecological perspective.
It is organised in ten chapters. The “Introduction” provides some useful terminological definitions as well as global statistics on grassland types, grassland coverage and grassland loss. There you learn, for example, that Benin is the country with the highest proportion of grasslands (93%) and that in North America already 90% of the natural grassland ecosystems have been destroyed (“converted”). The following three chapters deal with “Systematics and evolution”, “Ecological morphology and anatomy” and the “Physiology” of grasses. Futher three chapters, focus on ecology of grasslands on three organisational levels (“Population ecology”, “Community ecology”, “Ecosystem ecology”). Chapter 8 (“World grasslands”) tries to arrange the variety of grassland types occurring all around the globe into a classification system and ends up with five coarse types: A: tropical moist climates (savannahs); B: dry climates; C: moist subtropical mid-latitude climates; D: Moist continental mid-latitude climates; H: highland climates. Additionally, three regional classifications are very briefly outlined (US National Vegetation Classification System; Europe: EUNIS; China). A nice chapter on “Disturbance” highlights the relevance of the intermediate disturbance hypothesis (IDH) for grasslands, and demonstrates how the different factors of disturbance (fire, herbivory and drought) in different intensities and frequencies interact in shaping the diversity of grasslands. The book is concluded with a chapter on “Management and restoration” and an extensive reference list (45 pp.).
All in all, this is an informative book. However, its claim to give a general introduction to grasses and grassland ecology is not fulfilled, as it deals nearly exclusively with North American prairie ecosystems (approx. 90% of the space is devoted to these). In particular, the particularities of the semi-natural grasslands of Europe with their long-standing co-evolution with humankind and their extraordinary conservation value (see book review of Veen et al. 2009 by J. Akeroyd in this Bulletin) is largely neglected (only pp.175–179 are devoted to them). While a European ecologist will learn hardly anything relevant about European grasslands from this book and the global analyses appear to be very rough and preliminary, it is still a useful tool because it demonstrates the very different perspective of North American ecologists when they speak of grasslands, including a deviating terminology. Being aware of this fact, might help European grassland ecologists when submitting research papers to international journals and then being confronted with unexpected comments by referees or editors from the United States.

Nevertheless, it would be desirable to extend this book, which presently rather should be named “Grasses and grassland ecology of North America”, in a future edition to a globally valid compendium. Therefore, I recommend to augment the author list with competent grassland ecologists from other continents.

                                                                      
Jürgen Dengler, Hamburg, Germany (dengler@botanik.uni-hamburg.de)


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Jarolímek, I., Šibík, J. (2008) [Eds.]: Diagnostic, constant and dominant species of the higher vegetation units of Slovakia. – 332 pp., Veda Publishing House of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava. ISBN 978-80-224-1024-3.

The fifth volume of the “Vegetation of Slovakia” deviates from the previous volumes, which have been published since 1995 (Valachovič 1995, 2001, Jarolímek et al. 1997, Kliment & Valachovič 2007), as it is not dedicated to individual vegetation types, but instead provides a complete overview all vegetation types of the country. It consists of two chapters and three “appendices”.

The first chapter is the adaptation of the seminal contribution of Chytrý & Tichý (2003) on the Czech vegetation to the Slovak vegetation. In structure and presentation, it closely follows its precursor. It basically provides information on the Slovak National Vegetation Database (SNVD), explains the methods for establishing diagnostic, constant, and dominant species, and provides a “quality assessment” of the syntaxa used in the “Vegetation of Slovakia”. The SNVD contains 49,459 relevés. The plot size ranges used for classification have been reduced to 50–1,000 m² for forest vegetation, 10–200 m² for shrub vegetation, and (1–) 2–100 m² for herbaceous vegetation, leading to a set of 43,414 relevés that were finally used. Diagnostic species were defined as those species with a phi value above 0.24, but deviating from Chytrý & Tichý (2003), the calculation was done for vegetation units of equalized relevé number, thus avoiding some illogical results of the former approach. For the evaluation of classes and alliances, the authors used three measures: similarity between syntaxa, sharpness index, and uniqueness index.
The three appendices are (i) a list of the Turboveg Codes used for the syntaxa, (ii) an overview of all classes and alliances with their diagnostic, constant, and dominant species, (iii) an alphabetic list of all taxa in the database with information on their overall frequency and indication in which syntaxa they are diagnostic, constant, or dominant.

The second chapter, “A list of vegetation units of Slovakia”, co-authored by the EDGG members Monika Janišová, Daniela Dubravková, Katarina Hegedüšová, and Iveta Škodová, provides the first complete syntaxonomic overview of the country since that of Mucina & Maglocký (1985). It basically consists of a list of accepted names with a few synonyms. Syntaxa in need of nomenclatural or syntaxonomic revision are highlighted. Luckily, in contrast to Chytrý (2007), not only classes, alliances, and associations, but also orders are included here. On association level, there are also a few informal communities listed, but the authors do not provide clear criteria what the difference between an association and such a “community” should be. Regarding the dry grassland vegetation, the overview mostly follows Janišová (2007). It subdivides the Koelerio-Corynephoretea s.l. into three narrow classes Koelerio-Corynephoretea, Festucetea vaginatae, and Sedo-Scleranthetea, even though the analysis of similarity in chapter 1 had indicated that at least the first two are floristically very similar. Within the Festuco-Brometea, the authors follow other recent approaches (e.g. Berg et al. 2004) to define the orders ecologically rather than chorologically. Thus they oppose the meso-xeric order Brometalia erecti to the xeric order Festucetalia valesiacae (including the Stipo pulcherrimae-Festucetalia pallentis).

While, in general, this book is a wonderful source of information, a few aspects appear not completely satisfying to me: (1) The calculation of phi values has been done across all vegetation types, and thus jointly for plots of 1–1,000 m². However, with such a huge range of plot sizes involved, confounding effects of plot size are unavoidable (see Dengler et al. 2009), leading to an overestimation of diagnostic species in vegetation units represented by larger plots compared to those represented by smaller plots. (2) Following the Czech tradition, phi values are unnecessarily presented with one decimal place, which suggests a precision that does not exist, and Fisher’s exact test is used with α = 0.001 to cut down the lists of diagnostic species, without providing a sound statistical reasoning for deviating from α = 0.05 as it is usually applied in ecology. (3) Appendix 3 could have been presented in a clearer and more informative way as a table (compare the “Gesamtklassentabelle” in Berg et al. 2001). (4) It is a pity that phytosociological orders are not considered in the first part of the book. (5) The sequence of syntaxa deviates strongly between the first and second part of the book.

Despite these minor points of criticizm, this book is an important and very useful publication for all phytoscociologists throughout Europe. With it, the Slovaks underline that they, together with the Czech, are the leading nation in modern vegetation classification. We shall be grateful to our Slovakian colleagues for publishing this book in English and for its moderate price as this makes the content widely accessible. This book whets the reader’s appetite for the two final volumes of the series, which will contain grassland and woodland vegetation.

Berg, C., Dengler, J., Abdank, A. (2001) [Eds.]: Die Pflanzengesellschaften Mecklenburg-Vorpommerns und ihre Gefährdung – Tabellenband. – 341 pp., Weissdorn, Jena.

Berg, C., Dengler, J., Abdank, A., Isermann, M. (2004) [Eds.]: Die Pflanzengesellschaften Mecklenburg-Vorpommerns und ihre Gefährdung – Textband. – 606 pp., Weissdorn, Jena.

Chytrý, M. (2007) [Ed.]: Vegetation of the Czech Republic – 1. Grassland and Heathland Vegetation [in Czech, with English summaries]. – 526 pp., Academia, Praha.

Chytrý, M., Tichý, L. (2003): Diagnostic, constant and dominant species of vegetation classes and alliances of the Czech Republic: a statistical revision. – Folia Fac. Sci. Nat. Univ. Masarykianae Brunensis, Biol., 108: 231 pp., Masaryk Univ., Brno.

Dengler, J., Löbel, S., Dolnik, C. (2009): Species constancy depends on plot size – a problem for vegetation classification and how it can be solved
. – J. Veg. Sci. 20: 754–766, Oxford.
Janišová, M. (2007) [Ed.]: Grassland vegetation of Slovak Republic – electronic expert system for identification of syntaxa [in Slovak, with English summaries]. – 263 pp., CD-ROM, Botanický ústav SAV, Bratislava.

Jarolímek, I., Zaliberová, M., Mucina, L., Mochnacký, S. (1997): Rastlinné spoločenstvá Slovenska. 2. Synantropná vegetácia: Bidentetea tripartiti, Polygono arenastri-Poetea annuae, Stellarietea mediae, Artemisietea vulgaris, Galio-Urticetea, Epilobietea angustifolii [in Slovak]. – 416 pp., Veda Vydavasteľstvo Slovenskej Akadémie Vied, Bratislava.

Kliment, J., Valachovič, M. (2007) [Eds.]: Plant communities of Slovakia. 4. High-mountain Vegetation: Mulgedio-Aconitetea, Betulo carpaticae-Alnetea viridis, Elyno-Seslerietea, Carici rupestris-Kobresietea bellardii, Salicetea herbaceae, Loiseleurio-Vaccinietea, Caricetea curvulae, Nardetea strictae [in Slovak, with English summaries]. – 386 pp., Veda Publisher House Slovak Akademy of Sciences, Bratislava.

Mucina, L., Maglocký, Š. (1985): A list of vegetation units of Slovakia. – Doc. Phytosociol. N. S. 9: 175–220, Camerino.

Valachovič, M. (1995) [Ed.]: Rastlinné spoločenstvá Slovenska. 1. Pionierska vegetácia: Asplenietea trichomanis, Thlaspietea rotundifolii, Sedo-Scleranthetea, Koelerio-Corynephoretea, Festuceta vaginatae, Lemnetea, Potametea [in Slovak]. – 184 pp., Veda Vydavasteľstvo Slovenskej Akadémie Vied, Bratislava.

Valachovič, M. (2001) [Ed.]: Plant communities of Slovakia. 3. Wetland Vegetation: Convolvuletalia sepium, Phragmito-Magnocaricetea, Scheuchzerio-Caricetea fuscae, Oxycocco-Sphagnetea, Montio-Cardaminetea, Isoëto-Nanojuncetea, Isoëto-Littoreletea, Charetea fragilis [in Slovak, with English summaries]. – 434 S., Veda Vydavasteľstvo Slovenskej Akadémie Vied, Bratislava.

Jürgen Dengler, Hamburg, Germany

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Goffinet, B., Shaw, A. J. (2008) [„2009“] [Eds.]: Bryophyte biology. 2nd ed. – XIV + 565 pp., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. ISBN 978-0-521-69322-6.

Nash, T. H., III (2008) [Ed.]: Lichen biology. 2nd ed. – IX + 486 pp., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. ISBN 978-0-521-69216-8.

Vanderpoorten, A., Goffinet, B. (2009): Introduction to bryophytes. – VIII + 303 pp., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. ISBN 978-0-521-70073-3. Price: 24.99 GBP.

Bryophytes and lichens are important components in many plant communities, but particularly in dry grasslands (see e.g. Dengler 2005, Löbel & Dengler 2008). Despite the relevance of these non-vascular plant groups in terms of diversity, biomass, function and diagnostic value, many dry grassland researchers still ignore them, probably mostly because they had not treated these groups when they studied at university. Luckily, there are nowexcellent introductions to these groups available.
Here I present three suchbooks from Cambridge University Press. Nash (2008) and Goffinet & Shaw (2008) are edited collections of individual articles written by specialists in the respective field, and both are already in the second edition. By contrast, Vanderpoorten & Goffinet (2009) is a new monographic textbook written bythese two bryologists.
“Lichen biology” is organised in 17 chapters, written bya total of 21 authors from around the world, complemented by an Appendix on “Culture methods for lichens” and a very extensive reference list of nearly 100 pages. The chapters start with the two constituents that make up the lichen symbiosis, photobionts (green algae or cyanobacteria) and mycobionts (fungi), morphology, reproduction, biochemistry and physiology. The chapters 9–16 and thus the majority of the book is on ecological topics s.l. ranging from ecophysiology, through population ecology, the environmental role of lichens, their biogeography to their use as bioindicators for air pollution. The final chapter 17 presents an up-to-date view on the placement of lichenized taxa within the modern phylogenetic system of fungi. The book is well written, but with only relatively few and only black-and-white pictures.
“Bryophyte biology” is similarly organised, with 12 chapters from 20 authors. Here three chapters make the start that elucidate the present-day knowledge of morphology, anatomy, and morphology of the three major taxa that constitute what we used to call bryophytes: the liverworts (Marchantiophyta), the mosses (Bryophyta), and the hornworts (Anthocerothophyta). The following three chapters are on phylogenomics, molecular biology, and physiology. After that, ecological aspects are treated such as drought tolerance of bryophytes (relevant for dry grasslands!), substratum ecology, ecology of bryophytedominated peatlands, and finally population and community ecology of this plant group. The final two chapter are on “species and speciation” in bryophytes and conservation. Like the lichen pendant, the book is well written but mostly consists of text; the references this time are also extensive but provided chapter by chapter instead of a long list at the end.
While the first two books, from their content and form of presentation thus clearly address botanists who already have a strong background in lichenology or bryology, the “Introduction to bryophytes”, while not lacking depth and timeliness, is more accessible to “newcomers”. This is achieved by much more figures, including 16 colour plates, as well as boxes (illustrating certain important aspects and case studies) and a helpful glossary at the end. While with half of the length of Goffinet & Shaw (2008), this book might lack some fine details, the overall picture appears to be even more complete and coherent due to the fact that this is an authored book and not a collection of “independent” articles. For example, in Vanderpoorten & Goffinet (2009) one could find on page 13 four recent suggestions of the phylogenetic position of the three groups summarized under “bryophyte” within the green plants, three of which would suggest that bryophytes are actually not monophyletic and thus should not be considered as one taxonomic group any longer. By contrast, in Goffinet & Shaw (2008), while there is a specific chapter on early land plant evolution, one misses such an instructive presentation, obviously because the chapter authors assumed that the readers are already familiar with that.
In conclusion, “Introduction to bryophytes” is a highly recommendable book both for self study and as companion reading for classes in bryology, and it would be great to have a similar textbook for lichenology, too. The two “Biology” titles are much more of reference handbooks for specialists, e.g. only there one could find such important things like complete taxonomic overviews of all these taxa down to the genera based on the latest phylogenetic studies.

References
Dengler, J. (2005): Zwischen Estland und Portugal – Gemeinsamkeiten und Unterschiede der Phytodiversitätsmuster europäischer Trockenrasen. – Tuexenia 25: 387–405, Göttingen.
Löbel, S., Dengler, J. (2008) [„2007”]: Dry grassland communities on southern Öland: phytosociology, ecology, and diversity. – Maarel, E. van der [Ed.]: Structure and dynamics of alvar vegetation on Öland and some related dry grasslands – Dedicated to Ejvind Rosén on his 65th birthday. – Acta Phytogeogr. Suec. 88: 13–31, Svenska Växtgeografiska Sällskapet, Uppsala.

JürgenDengler, Hamburg, Germany dengler@botanik.uni-hamburg.de

 

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Maarel, E. van der (2008) [“2007”] [Ed.]: Structure and dynamics of alvar vegetation on Öland and some related dry grasslands – Dedicated to Ejvind Rosén on his 65th birthday – Acta Phytogeographica Suecica 88: 98 pp., Uppsala, Sweden. ISBN 978-91-7210-488-4. 400,– SEK [available from: Opulus Press AB, Gamla vägan 40, 77013 Grangärde, Sweden, www.opuluspress.se]

The 88th issue of Acta Phytogeographica Suecica has been dedicated to Ejvind Rosén on his 65th birthday. The volume witnesses Rosén’s “legendary friendship and helpfulness” and celebrates his achievements in ecology and nature management with five papers focussing on the highly interesting and intensively studied dry grasslands of the Swedish island of Öland and two more papers comparing species diversity and fine-scale dynamics in the dry grasslands of Öland with related plant communities of Estonia and Switzerland.
Öland is one of the most titled places of the botanical research, with studies and descriptions dating back to nearly three centuries, as testified by the Linnaeus’ “Ölandic and Gotlandic Journey”, carried out in 1741. To the long tradition of scientific studies on this island is dedicated the first paper of the volume, written by E. van der Maarel, who is co-author, as well, of the biographical notes on Ejvind Rosén introducing the volume.
The second paper, by S. Löbel & J. Dengler, is an in-depth phytosociological review of the dry grassland communities of Öland, with interesting comments on ecological factors and determinants of the outstanding species richness of such communities, compared with similar vegetation types of Central Europe. The third contribution, by A. Helm, P. Urbas & M. Pärtel, broadens the reflections on ecological factors and floristic diversity up to the closely related Estonian alvar grasslands, that turn out to be very similar to those of Öland in terms of species richness and spatial patterns, in spite of the significant floristic differences.
The fourth paper is focussed on the species turnover under different treatments, by R. Huber & E. van der Maarel, who demonstrate how intense light and lack of nutrient could be the main responsible for the high species diversity in alvar grasslands. Keeping on species mobility and frequency dynamics, the fifth paper, by K. Studer-Ehrensberger & D. M. Newbery, highlights the strong correlation between spatial scales and species turnover, with a comparison between the Avenetum of Öland and the Mesobrometum of Egerkingen (Swiss Jura Mts.). The last two contributions, by J. Bakker, E. Rosén & K. Steg and by H. C. Prentice et al., respectively, are focussed on the effects of past land-use on the recolonization (the former) and fragmentation (the latter) by/of alvar species-pools.
On the whole, this volume represents an important compendium of methodological approaches and ecological information on Festuco-Brometea and Koelerio-Corynephoretea dry grasslands, useful to a wide spectrum of research fields: flora, vegetation, small-scale disturbances, spatial patterns, temporal dynamics, inferential analyses, land management... Eje’s passions are served!

R. Guarino

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Naaem, S., Bunker, D. E., Hector, A., Loreau, M., Perrings, C. (2009) [Eds.]: Biodiversity, Ecosystem Functioning, and Human Wellbeing – an Ecological and Economic Perspective. XIV + 368 pp., Oxford University Press, Oxford. ISBN 978-0-19-954796-8. Price: 39.95 GBP.

In the consequence of the Convention on Biological Diversity (Rio de Janeiro 1992) the two concepts of “ecosystem functioning” and “ecosystem services” gained more and more prominence in ecological research, and particularly in the science-policy interface. Basically, they try to link human wellbeing to high degrees of biodiversity and use these findings – in a utilitar-ian view on nature – as justification for the conservation of biodiversity. However, the relationships are not always that simple…

Therefore, the present collection of papers is highly welcome as it presents the state of knowledge in this field of ecological research. It brings together the major authors on that topic, who dominated the scene for the past 1.5 decades. It is organised in four parts with 21 articles, many of which are sharing the same authors in diverse permutations. Part 1 contains “Introduction, background and meta-analyses”. Part 2 then provides the natural sciences perspective (“ecosystem functioning”/EF). Here, inter alia, Petchey et al. give an overview on various measures of functional diversity and how they are related to taxonomic diversity, and Griffin et al. present a meta-analysis how biodiversity affects the stability of ecosystem functions. Part 3 addresses the utilitarian perspective (“ecosystem services”/ES). Among the topics here is the role of biodiversity for ecosystem functions in human-dominated ecosystems in general (Jackson et al.), and for pollination services in particular (Klein et al.). There are also three articles that try to valuate biodiversity and ecosystem services in economic terms (Perrings et al., Barbier et al., Brock et al.). Part 4 (“Summary and synthesis”) finally contains an article on TraitNet (a metadata-base of species trait databases), but, while being an im-portant contribution to ecological research, it is question-able why this should be a summary and synthesis to the book, and a final chapter on the predictability of the effects of global change on biodiversity loss and ecosystem functioning (Naeem et al.). The volume is completed by an extensive reference list of 58 pages.

Overall, this is a valuable though not easily accessible work, as the language is often very technical, and most studies presented are meta-analyses on an abstraction level far from the real biodiversity patterns out there in nature. While such meta-analyses are certainly important to “extract” general “laws” from the idiosyncrasies of many different studies around the world, it seems impor-tant, not to remain at the highly abstract level of these meta-data. Also executive summaries (or abstracts) at the end (or the beginning) of each chapter would have been beneficial for the readers. And finally, after having entered the “cosmos” of ES/EF research, one should not forget that functional diversity is only one aspect of biodiversity, and the utilitarian approach to nature is not the only possible one.

Jürgen Dengler, Hamburg, Germany dengler@botanik.uni-hamburg.de

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Oppermann, R., Beaufoy, G., Jones, G. (2012) [Eds.]: High Nature Value farming in Europe: 35 European countries – experiences and perspectives.544 pp., Verlag Regionalkultur, Ubstadt-Weiher. ISBN 978-3-89735-657-3. Price: 49.95 € [outside Germany, it is cheaper to order the book from book@efncp.org for 45 € or 40 GBP + postage from UK]

This book has been edited by two EDGG members (Guy Beaufoy and Gwyn Jones), whom you might know from EDGG Meetings, and was mainly supported by the European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism (EFNCP; http://www.efncp.org), of which EDGG is an institutional member.
While in the past, nature conservation was mainly focused on natural ecosystems that are largely untouched by humans, like tropical rainforests, only recently the awareness rose that Europe’s traditional agricultural landscapes have a global relevance for biodiversity conservation, while their area is shrinking at a similar pace as that of tropical rainforests. In a recent paper, Wilson et al. (2012) have shown that at spatial scales below 100 m2 no other natural or anthropogenic habitat on Earth is as rich in vascular plants as Europe’s High Nature Value (HNV) grasslands, except a few temperate grasslands in Argentina.
While Veen et al. (2009; reviewed in Bulletin 6: 23) provided already a nice overview of HNV grasslands in Europe, the perspective of the present volume is wider. In addition to grasslands, also heathlands, low-intensity arable fields, permanent crops (vineyards, orchards, dehesas, olive groves), and the various other structures found in traditional agricultural landscapes (walls, hedgerows,…) are covered in the contributions written by more than 100 authors.
The book starts with three introductory chapters, of which the third gives a detailed overview and categorisation of the types of HNV farmland. Then main chapter 4 (334 pp.) provides 35 country treatments (all EU countries + Switzerland + Norway + the countries of ex-Yugoslavia + Albania). Each of these treatments introduces with many photos of landscapes, plants, and animals the diversity of rural landscapes still extant on the territory; maps show the spatial distribution and boxes give the farmers a face who maintain the rural diversity. These little show cases raise optimism that even under the present-day economic framework it is possible to be a successful farmer and nevertheless safeguard the diversity on one’s own land. The final three chapters reflect on experiences and perspectives of HNV farming (Chapter 5: 80 pp.), make suggestions how policies at EU and national level should support HNV farming (Chapter 6: 12 pp.) and provide brief conclusions and an outlook (Chapter 7).
To conclude: the full-colour, hardback volume gives a comprehensive overview of High Nature Value farmland in Europe and with its informative text and its numerous beautiful photos is certainly worth its prize. Let’s hope that many EU politicians read this book and realise that there is an urgent need to change Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) drastically, if we do not want to loose this major ecological and cultural heritage of the continent. Dengler, J. (2012): Europäische Trockenrasen schlagen tropische Regenwälder. Biologie in unserer Zeit 42: 148–149. Veen, P., Jefferson, R., de Smidt, J., van der Straaten, J. (2009) [Eds.]: Grasslands in Europe of high nature value. 320 pp., KNNV Publishing, Zeist. Wilson, J.B., Peet, R.K., Dengler, J., Pärtel, M. (2012): Plant species richness: the world records. J. Veg. Sci. 23: 796–802.

Jürgen Dengler, Hamburg,Germany dengler@botanik.uni-hamburg.de

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Royer, J. M. (1991): Synthèse eurosiberienne, phytosociologique et phytoéographique de la classe des Festuco-Brometea (Eurosiberian phytosociological and phytogeographic synthesis of the class Festuco-Brometea) [In French]. – Dissertationes Botanicae 178: 296 pp. + 8 tables, J. Cramer, Berlin and Stuttgart, Germany. ISBN 3-443-64090-7. 72,– €.

This book comprises the supraregional part of an even more extensive doctoral thesis, defended 1987 at the University of Franche-Comte in Besançon. It is an outstanding and potentially unique publication, as it comprises a synthetic view of a whole vegetation class, covering its global distribution area. If similar attempts have been made in the past, either they dealt with much smaller classes or they were much more superficial.
By contrast, in Royer (1991) the class Festuco-Brometea is covered really in a geographically comprehensive manner, from north Spain to the Lake Baikal. The author very extensively evaluated the then existing literature from the whole area, including many publications in regional journals throughout Europe, many of which are hardly accessible from abroad. A reference list of 44 pages testifies his huge effort and in itself is a valuable source of information for any reader dealing with large-scale classification of dry grasslands.
The book is structured into eight chapters: 1. General characterisation and phytogeographic delimitation of the class; 2. major subdivisions of the class; 3.–7. description of those five orders treated in more detail; 8. floristic relationships to related classes. The author proposes to subdivide the class into eight vicariating orders (from west to east) Festuco-Poetalia ligulatae, Ononidetalia striatae, Brometalia erecti, Festucetalia valesiacae, Scorzonero-Chrysopogonetalia, an unnamed order of Crimea and Caucasus, Helictrotricho-Stipetalia, and Carici-Agropyretalia cristati. These orders and their subdivision are systematically described down to the level of suballiances, providing information on their distribution, ecology, diagnostic species, and referring the relevant literature. These descriptions are accompanied by various maps on the distribution (based on the relevés included in the synoptic tables in the supplement) and schemas elucidating the classification. Royer proposes to subdivide each of these geographically defined orders on the next lower hierarchical level according to ecological conditions into four groups: mesoxerophilous (meadow steppes), xerophilous (feather grass steppes), rupicolous, and (only for the most continental orders) semideserts. When these ecological groups within one order comprised more than one alliance, Royer suggests to establish suborders, such as the Mesobromenalia consisting of the Potentillo-Brachypodion, the Onobrychidion hispanicae, the Mesobromion erecti, and the Gentianello-Avenulion.
The book ends with three very useful appendices: (i) a syntaxonomic overview of all syntaxa down to suballiances, with an enumeration of all association-rank syntaxa that are included (the latter have normally not been checked for nomenclatural correctness or potential identity); (ii) nomenclatural novelties (unfortunately these are only partly valid); (iii) a list of 1,246 vascular plant species, for each of which the diagnostic value within the class and its subunits is given. Most important among the supplements is Table 1 that combines synoptic columns for all distinguishes (sub-) alliances of the Brometalia erecti and the Festucetalia valesiacae in Europe, based on not less than 281 individual sources/syntaxa.
Despite the fact that this book is nearly 20 years old and one may certainly disagree with the author on his concepts for individual syntaxa, his work is still the most important reference with which each new large-scale synthesis of this class has to compete. While it was one of the driving ideas behind the establishment of the EDGG to aim at developing a consistent continent-wide classification of the Festuco-Brometea and related classes, we have to concede that it will take at least several more years until we will be able to present a relevé-based classification scheme that really can out-compete this pioneer work based on comprehensive literature overview and partly on compilation of synthetic tables.
Fortunately, this important book is still available from the publisher. However, it is a pity that its high price (in particular in relation to its rather basic outfit) and perhaps also the French language (without English summaries) probably will prevent the desirable wide distribution among our members.
                                                                                                                                               J.Dengler, Hamburg, Germany
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Schneider, S. (2011): Die Graslandgesellschaften Luxemburgs. – Ferrantia 66: 303 pp. + tables, Musée national d’hostoire naturelle Luxembourg, Luxembourg. ISSN 1682-5518. Price: 10.00 € (available from diffusion@mnhn.lu). 

This publication is the PhD thesis of the EDGG memberSimone Schneider, completed at the University of Trier (Germany). It covers the vegetation of grasslands in Luxembourg, with only 2,500 km² a small country adjacent to the west of Germany. The included vegetation types are semi-natural grasslands mainly of the class Molinio- Arrhenatheretea (74%), but to some extent also Phragmito- Magnocaricetea (Magnocaricion elatae, 8%), Scheuchzerio-Caricetea (Caricion nigrae, 5%), Festuco- Brometea (Bromion erecti, 10%), and Calluno-Ulicetea (Violion caninae, 3%). The analyses are based on 1,206 relevés, of which 793 originate from the literature and 413 were done by the author (the latter mostly on plots of 25 m²).
After a short Introduction and an extremely short Methods part, the main section of the book is devoted to the description of the 31 plant communities (associations, rankless communities and basal communities of higher syntaxa), with a total of more than 170 pages. The community descriptions are very detailed, always structured into the sections Aspekt und Struktur (appearance and structure), Syntaxonomie (syntaxonomy), Artenzusammensetzung und Untergliederung (species composition), Ökologie (ecology), Verbreitung (distribution) and Aspekte des Naturschutzes (aspects of conservation). The part on the dry grasslands (Festuco-Brometea) comprises 10 pages, and all stands from Luxembourg are included in a vegetation type called “Bromion- Verbandsgesellschaft”. The final parts of the book are an again very brief Discussion, a Summary (both in German and in English), the reference list, and a long Appendix with figures and tables (70 pages in total). Here, one finds some maps of the abiotic environment in Luxembourg as well as distribution maps of the communities, the header data of the author’s own relevés and the bibliographic data of the relevés derived from literature. Finally, three huge supplements contain the relevé tables of all associations. The whole book is extensively illustrated with nice colour photographs that illuminate the variety of Luxembourg’s grasslands.
Unfortunately, the author did not sample any environmental data (except slope and aspect), so that she is restricted in her interpretations to calculated mean Ellenberg values, and otherwise derives the rather lengthy descriptions more or less from her field impressions or transfers them from other studies. Statistical analyses are completely absent from the PhD thesis. Also the classification is merely an approach to assign the relevés to syntaxonomic systems established elsewhere. Neither the delimitation of the syntaxa, nor the diagnostic value of species is tested with the own dataset. Moreover, the comparison with the literature is mostly restricted to certain authors who worked in southern and western Germany. From France only some quite old treatments are lands in the neighbour country Netherlands (Schaminée et al. 1996) is completely ignored, as are some more modern German works that objectively tested the diagnostic value of species (e.g. Berg et al. 2004) or the recent high-quality studies in the Czech Republic (Chytrý 2007) or Slovakia (Janišová 2007). In conclusion, the author has provided a detailed and colourful description of the still existing nice grasslands in Luxembourg. It would be thus desirable if she could make this wealth of data available to supra-national analyses with modern statistical methods by registering her database in GIVD (www.givd.info), where Luxembourg still is the only Central European country without any relevé (Jansen et al. 2011).

References Berg, C., Dengler, J., Abdank, A., Isermann, M. (2004) [Eds.]: Die Pflanzengesellschaften Mecklenburg- Vorpommerns und ihre Gefährdung – Textband [in German, with English summary]. – 606 pp., Weissdorn, Jena.

Chytrý, M. (2007) [Ed.]: Vegetation of the Czech Republic – 1. Grassland and heathland vegetation [in Czech, with English summary]. – 526 pp., Academia, Praha.

Janišová, M. (2007) [Ed.]: Grassland vegetation of Slovak Republic – electronic expert system for identification of syntaxa [in Slovak, with English summary]. – 263 pp., CD-ROM, Botanický ústav SAV, Bratislava.

 Jansen, F., Dengler, J., Glöckler, F., Chytrý, M., Ewald, J., Oldeland, J., Schaminée, J. H. J. (2011): Die mitteleuropäischen Datenbanken im Global Index of Vegetation-Plot Databases (GIVD). – Tuexenia 31: 351–367, Göttingen.

Schaminée, J. H. J., Stortelder, A. H. F., Weeda, E. J. (1996) [Eds.]: De Vegetatie von Nederland – Deel 3. Plantengemeenschappen van graslanden, zomen en droge heiden [in Dutch]. – 360 pp., Opulus, Uppsala.

Jürgen Dengler, Hamburg, Germany dengler@botanik.uni-hamburg.de

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Shipley, B. (2010): From Plant Traits to Vegetation Structure – Chance and Selection in the Assembly of Ecological Communities. XI + 277 pp., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge . ISBN 978-0-521-13355- 5 (paperback)/978-0-521-11747-0 (hardback). Price: 35.00 GBP (paperback)/75.00 GBP (hardback).

During the last two decades or so, traits gained more and more relevance in plant ecology (from vegetation, through landscape to macroecological levels). Plant traits and plant functional types are the buzzwords here, and functional diversity (FD) in recent years became nearly as important in fundamental and applied discussions about biodiversity as species (compositional) diversity and phylogenetic diversity (PD). Therefore this book addresses a relevant and up-to-date topic.

In the introductory chapter, the author claims that book would be methodological, theoretical, empirical, and synthetic. Yet, my impression is that the methodological and theoretical parts strongly prevail over the two other aspects. To put it short, the book is mainly about modeling of community assembly based on traits. This modeling is done with Bayesian statistics and the Maximum Entropy approach. Accordingly, the text became highly technical and not easily accessible to “ordinary” plant ecologists, with pages full of mathematical formulas or computer code. While there have been numerous nice studies in recent years using trait-based approaches, the author integrates only a handful of practical examples in the whole book. The second major shortfall of the text is that the author nearly exclusively looks into functional diversity, but largely ignores other dimensions of diversity, even though combining these different aspects such as phylogenetic and functional diversity seems to be a more meaningful approach, particularly when it comes to community assembly. With his final headline Traits are not enough the author himself admits this one-sidedness of his approach to some extent. While this book is certainly a valuable source for those colleagues who are programming simulations on community assembly, its value for a wider audience is much limited through its technical presentation and its lack of a more general synthesis.

Jürgen Dengler, Hamburg, Germany dengler@botanik.uni-hamburg.de 

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Stace, C.A. (2010): New Flora of the British Isles. 3rd ed. XXXIV + 1232 pp., Cambridge Un i v e r s i t y Pr e s s , Camb r i d g e . ISBN 978-0-521-70772-5. Price: 50.00 GBP.

The New Flora of the British Isles by Clive Stace has been referred to as a standard book for identification of wild vascular plants of the British Isles since it first appeared in 1991, and secondly in 1997 (Fröberg 2011). It has received excellent reviews, especially for its information content and organization (e.g. in Systematic Biology, The Irish Naturalist Journal, British Wildlife, Taxon). As compared with other floras, it comprises in a concentrate format the information usually provided in large monographs. Valuable descriptions of the families, genera, and species are to be found in it. Furthermore, it does not repeat the information provided by other floras, and fills the gaps of native and alien species that are not described in the British flora.

Compared to its successor, this third edition contains more than 160 new species, resulting in a total of 4,800 taxa of the British flora, as well as a comprehensive diagnose for crop plants, and all known naturalized or casual aliens. Over 1,600 taxa are illustrated by drawings or black-and-white pictures. The International Code of Nomenclature, and a new molecular system of classification, namely The Linear Angiosperm Phylogeny Group III by Haston et al. (2009) have been used for the revision of classification and nomenclature. Moreover the species frequency and distribution of all taxa were completely revised, and the extinct native taxa and floristic status are mentioned.

A concise and clear introduction explains the content of this book, as it also guides the use of identification keys and interpretation. The inconveniencies and pitfalls of long keys commonly encountered in other floras, when attempting genus identification, are avoided here by splitting the general family keys in shorter supplementary series ones, which facilitate an easiest identification especially for beginners. Species-level identification is facilitated in some cases by multi-access keys (instead of classical dichotomous keys), which prevent users from misidentifications due to the observation difficulties which might arise in case of certain genera (e.g. Cotoneaster, Epilobium, Sorbus). Diagnostic characters emphasize the clear, contrasting, and easy-to-remember differences between couplets, which determine me to strongly recommend the Flora for students’ use. Apart from the morphological characteristics, the book provides anatomical features for critical genera (e.g. Festuca, Juncus). As morphological diagnostic characters relate mainly to flower and fruit, it might cause inconvenience for identification of young specimens. Illustrations increase the value of the Flora mostly by the quality of information and, to a lesser extent, by the image condition. Apart from the keys, the drawings and photographs often highlight critical diagnostic characters. In other cases illustrations supplement the key with information related to obvious differences between species, such as the habitus for Hieracium groups.

Although more experienced reviewers might find few mistakes regarding the content (see Fröberg 2011 for details) the third edition of The New Flora of British Isles is a valuable reference for plant identification, which I recommend to any field botanist. Besides the best appreciation, I would encourage it to be used even in the Eastern Europe as it provides information for a wide range of continental species.

References: Fröberg L. (2011): New Flora of British Isles, third edition. Syst. Biol. 60: 112–113. Haston E., Richardson J. E., Stevens, P. F, Chase, M. W. & Harris, D. J. (2009): The Linear Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (LAPG III): a linear sequence of the families in APG III. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 161: 128– 131.

Monica Beldean, Cluj-Napoca, Romania beldean.monica@yahoo.com 

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Stuessy, T.F. (2009): Plant Taxonomy – The Systematic Evaluation of Comparative Data. 2nd ed. XX + 539 pp., Columbia University Press, New York. ISBN 978-0-231-14712-5. Price:68.50 GBP.

The second edition of Plant Taxonomy was written by Professor Tod F. Stuessy (University of Vienna), one of the most well-known and most published present-day plant taxonomists and Secretary-General of the International Association for Plant Taxonomy (IAPT). This outstanding textbook brings together the history of plant classification with the recent developments due to new high-throughput technologies in genomic analyses, which changed the whole field of plant taxonomy tremendously. It does this in a language one enjoys to read embedded in an attractive layout. The quality and information content of the many figures exceeds the standards of other recent textbooks, despite using only black and white. The book is completed by an enormous, but nevertheless well-selected list of references cited in the text, which coversnot less than 130 pages!

The book starts with the sentence Taxonomy is dynamic, beautiful, frustrating, and challenging all at the same, which can be considered programmatic for the whole presentation. The text is organized in two major parts, comprising five sections and 26 chapters. Part I deals with the Principles of Taxonomy. The first section (36 pp.), The Meaning of Classifiation, introduces the terminology, the relevance of systematics, and the universality of classification. The major second section (93 pp.) is devoted to the Different Approaches to Biological Classification. Here the first four chapters explain the major approaches applied in the history of classification, from the artificial, through the phyletic and phenetic to the cladistic approach, culminating in Chapter 9, which evaluates the three last approaches comparatively. Section 3 (51 pp.) deals with the philosophy of the taxonomic hierarchy and presents the concepts and applications of the hierarchical levels from forms through species to families and beyond. Part II is on Taxonomic Data and consists of Section 4, which describes the various types of data used by taxonomists, from morphology through genetics to ecology (10 chapters, 156 pages), and the final section, which deals with the gathering, storage andpresentation of data (20 pages).

In summary, this is a highly recommendablebook both because of its relevance and its excellent presentation. It should be on the shelf of any serious botanist, be it a taxonomist, who can learn from Stuessy that even in the 21st century taxonomy is much, much more than just applying cladistics to huge genomic datasets, and to the non-taxonomist who gets an easy and well-balanced access to this subject, which might have changed more during the recent two decades than any other biological discipline. The author is an outstanding missionary for his statement that statement that Taxonomy is one of the most important of the biological sciences; indeed, he could convincingly fill this claim of the Epilogue with his vivid presentation in the preceding text. Present-day, open-minded taxonomy is indispensible if biological science is to achieve during the next decades the complete organismic inventory of the planet as a Webbased Encyclopedia of Life (as outlined by Stuessy in his Preface).

Jürgen Dengler, Hamburg, Germany dengler@botanik.uni-hamburg.de

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Veen, P., Jefferson, R.,de Smidt, J., van der Straaten, J. (2009) [Eds.]: Grasslands in Europe of high nature value. – 320 pp., KNNV Publishing, Zeist, Netherlands. ISBN 978-90-5011-316-8. Price: 69.95 €.

This handsome, hard-backed and most readable volume addresses key issues for the conservation of high nature value (HNV) grasslands in Europe at a critical time when agricultural intensification and, more insidious, abandonment of traditional pastoral systems threaten their future. Profusely illustrated and with elegant and spacious layout, it presents case studies of the conservation of biodiversity-rich grassland, many of them projects in Central and Eastern Europe initiated by the Royal Dutch Society for Nature Conservation, supported by the Government of The Netherlands. Here is a valuable overview of European grasslands, showing how rich pockets survive in Western Europe and emphasizing the international importance of more extensive stands, especially of dry grassland, in Eastern Europe.
The book is in three sections. Section 1,
six introductory chapters, covers the origins, development and use of grassland, grasslands as habitats for birds and butterflies, grasslands and climate, and methodology for identification of HNV grassland. Section 2, which begins with an evocative photographic section comparing project areas, has 24 chapters devoted to these national case studies. They are spread across Europe from the Mediterranean region to Scandinavia and western Ireland, from lowland to mountains, and include a wide selection of dry and wet grasslands, wooded meadows and wood-pasture, even limestone pavement, peatland and salt-steppe. Most are drawn from EU countries, but projects from Switzerland, Ukraine, Belarus and Anatolia are included. Section 3 is a chapter on EU policy outlook that seeks to involve farmers, with recommendations for future progress. The book ends with biographical sketches of the 76 contributors and a helpful glossary of geographical and pedological terms. Each chapter has a bibliography and each in the main section has location maps. All have high-quality colour photographs of landscape views and some characteristic plants and animals, especially butterflies (dry grasslands support 63% of European species), birds, amphibians and crickets.
There is much vegetation science but also a strong human element. The examples focus on aspects of maintaining grassland biodiversity and traditional agricultural landscapes – derived from centuries of wise husbandry and sustainable use of natural resources by farming communities – in the face of social change and pressure to industrialize farming. Loss of pastoral tradition is a constant theme. The European Commission does recognize the environmental benefits of grassland, but it is vital that any conflict be resolved between financial incentives for conservation, such as agri-environment schemes for Natura 2000 habitats, and funds such as area payments that may encourage farming intensification.
This book
will be a useful reference work for grassland specialists and other biologists, and appeal to naturalists and enthusiasts for wildlife and landscapes. Its wealth of information is the sort of evidence needed to convince funders, decision-makers and politicians of the ecological, cultural and socio-economic value of Europe’s grassland biodiversity. Fortunately, many farmers and other local people already understand that such natural richness is both their heritage and future.


                                                                                                                   
John Akeroyd, Fundatia ADEPT, Salisbury, UK
jrakeroyd@dsl.pipex.com

 

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 Wiesbauer, H. (2008) [Ed.]: Die Steppe lebt – Felssteppen und Trockenrasen in Niederösterreich (The steppe is living – rocky steppes and dry grasslands in Lower Austria) [In German]. – 224 pp., Amt der NÖ Landesregierung, St. Pölten, Austria. ISBN 3-901542-28-0. 20,– € [orders: post.ru5@noel.gv.at or http://www.noe.gv.at/Umwelt/Naturschutz/Publikationen/Publikationen.wai.html]

The northeastern sector of Austria, i.e. parts of the federal states Lower Austria, Burgenland, and Vienna, belongs to the Pannonian floristic province. This region is famous for its great variety of different continentally influenced dry grassland types, occurring on a wide range of different substrata from limestone through loess and acidic rock outcrops to sandy soils. The reviewed book has been prepared as accompanying title for an exhibition within the framework of an LIFE Nature project of the European Union (“Pannonian Steppes and Dry Grasslands”, see http://www.steppe.at/en/index.html). The sponsorship of the EU made it possible to prepare a quite attractive, hardbound, and full-colour book.
The book consists of 26 chapters, each of which is written by experts of the respective field. The first chapters deal with the Pleistocene in central Europe and how large herbivores may have contributed to the existence of open grasslands then. In the following three chapters, the history of human settlement in the area of NE Austria and its influence on landscape structure are addressed. However, the major part of the book (160 pp., 18 chapters) presents the different groups of organisms inhabiting dry grasslands. Not only well-known groups such as vascular plants, birds, reptiles, and grasshoppers, but also typical dry grassland cicadas, snails, moths, spiders, and even springtails (Collembola) are presented with magnificent pictures and informative text. Unfortunately, bryophytes, lichens, and fungi are not included. The final chapter of the book addresses vulnerability, conservation, and restoration of these endangered habitats.
Despite the more popular style of presentation, I can recommend this book also to scientists as it usually does not lack scientific precision and as it provides access to more specific literature via extensive reference lists at the end of each chapter. With its coverage of so many different groups of organisms, this book holds – as far as I know – a unique position and thus allows specialists of one taxon to retrieve the basic knowledge about other taxa inhabiting the same habitat. It is a pity that this title has been published in German only and not even English summaries and bilingual captions are provided.

 J.Dengler, Hamburg, Germanyr

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