Relationships between spring vegetation and environmental chemistry in West-Bohemian mineral-spring region

Jitka Laburdová, Michal Hájek

The paper deals with the relationship between vegetation and water chemistry in the West Bohemian spring area (western part of the Czech Republic). Springs in the area have various water chemistry features, with increased metal concentration in some cases, and the relationships between vegetation and environmental chemistry are not yet well known. In the study area, 28 treeless springs were chosen to investigate this relationship. Phytosociological relevés were made at all localities and are presented in this paper. Chemical parameters of water and plant biomass were measured. Water pH appeared to have a highly significant effect on the species composition of the vegetation. The first DCA axis, corresponding to the poor-rich vegetation gradient, correlated with pH and concentration of calcium, magnesium and sodium. Concentration of particular elements in water correlated largely to that in the bryophyte and vascular plant biomass and agreed with the interpretations of the DCA ordination axes of vegetation composition. However, the second DCA axis, corresponding to an increasing occurrence of nutrient-demanding meadow species, only correlated with the N:P ratio in vascular plant biomass, which provided a clear interpretation of this axis in terms of nutrient availability. The revealed relationships between vegetation gradients and water and biomass chemistry are probably of general validity since they were also found in other temperate regions.