Diversity, variability and habitat characteristics of the communities dominated by Sesleria species (Poaceae) in the Western Carpathians
This study provides a view of vegetation types dominated by Sesleria species in the Western Carpathians (Sesleria caerulea, S. heufleriana, S. tatrae, and S. uliginosa). We also took into account characteristics/traits such as plant life forms, autochthonous status, endemism, and ploidy level occurring within each relevé in our data set. Altitude and Ellenberg indicator values derived for each relevé were considered as well. Eight vegetation types/formations/habitats were recognized in a data set of 942 phytosociological relevés: (1) synanthropic vegetation, (2) rock fissures and screes, (3) alpine grasslands and heaths, (4) mesic grasslands and pastures, (5) springs and fens, (6) forests, (7) xerophilous shrubland, and (8) high-mountain scrubs (krummholz). Results corroborated and clearly emphasized that Sesleria caerulea has the widest ecological amplitude of all studied species because the species occurred among all studied vegetation types. Sesleria tatrae was present only in several vegetation types occurring from montane to alpine vegetation belts in the highest mountains. Sesleria heufleriana and S. uliginosa were recorded only in low-altitude areas. The difference between them lies mainly in the dampness of each locality. Sesleria heufleriana was frequently found in xerophilous communities, whereas S. uliginosa preferred humid habitats of springs and fens.