Bi9420 Vegetation and habitats of Europe

Faculty of Science
Autumn 2020
Extent and Intensity
2/0/0. 2 credit(s) (fasci plus compl plus > 4). Type of Completion: zk (examination).
Taught online.
prof. RNDr. Milan Chytrý, Ph.D. (lecturer)
Guaranteed by
prof. RNDr. Milan Chytrý, Ph.D.
Department of Botany and Zoology - Biology Section - Faculty of Science
Contact Person: prof. RNDr. Milan Chytrý, Ph.D.
Supplier department: Department of Botany and Zoology - Biology Section - Faculty of Science
Tue 8:00–9:50 D31/238
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is also offered to the students of the fields other than those the course is directly associated with.
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
Course objectives
Characteristics of the major types of European vegetation and habitats are given according to the main biogeographical regions. The focus is on the ecology of dominant species, notably trees, potential natural vegetation of particular regions, biogeographical affinities of the most typical species, history, dynamics and human impact. Conservation applications of the habitat classification are also emphasized, including the European Habitats Directive, EUNIS Habitats Classification and European Red List of Habitats.
Learning outcomes
After finishing this course, the student will:
- be able to identify the main types of European vegetation and habitats in particular biogeographical regions;
- know plant species that are the main dominants of vegetation and habitat types, their ecology and biogeography;
- understand ecological and biogeographical processes that have been shaping European ecosystems and habitat types;
- be familiar with applications of habitat classification in international nature conservation.
  • 1. Introduction: history of European vegetation research, phytosociologial classification system, main literature and other information resources.
  • 2. European habitat classifications and their use: European Habitats Directive (Natura 2000 network), Bern Convention habitats (Emerald network), EUNIS Habitat Classification, European Red List of Habitats.
  • 3. Natural conditions of Europe: effects of abiotic and historical factors on European biogeography, the division of Europe into vegetation-geographical regions.
  • 4. Mediterranean region: sclerophyllous forests, Mediterranean shrublands and grasslands, coastal dunes, cliffs and saltmarshes.
  • 5. Submediterranean region: deciduous and coniferous forests, thermophilous deciduous shrublands, thermophilous grasslands.
  • 6. Southern European mountain systems: altitudinal vegetation belts, vegetation and habitats of the high mountains of the Iberian, Italian and Balkan Peninsulas and of the large Mediterranean islands.
  • 7. Crimean Mountains and Caucasus: steppe, forest-steppe, submediterranean and mountain habitats of Crimea, mountain habitats of the Great and Lesser Caucasus, Euxinian, Colchic and Hyrcanian forests, deserts and semi-deserts of Azerbaijan.
  • 8. Steppe and forest-steppe: zonal types of Eastern European steppe and forest-steppe, forests of the forest-steppe zone, forest-steppe of Romania, Bulgaria and the Pannonian Basin.
  • 9. Alps: historical and current biogeography, altitudinal vegetation belts, mountain forests, habitats of the subalpine and alpine belts.
  • 10. Carpathians: historical and current biogeography of the Carpathians, altitudinal vegetation belts, mountain forests, habitats of the subalpine and alpine belts.
  • 11. Central Europe north of the Alps: Central European broad-leaved deciduous forests, habitats of the Hercynian mountain systems, habitats of the Central European Plain.
  • 12. Atlantic region: oceanic broad-leaved deciduous forests, heathlands, mires, coastal dunes, cliffs and saltmarshes.
  • 13. Boreal region: taiga, mires, habitats of the Scandinavian mountains and Iceland.
  • 14. Arctic region: zonal types tundra.
  • Study materials
    recommended literature
  • JANSSEN, John, John S. RODWELL, GARCÍA CRIADO, Susan GUBBAY, T. HAYNES, Ana NIETO, N. SANDERS, Flavia LANDUCCI, Javier LOIDI, Axel SSYMANK, Teemu TAHVANAINEN, Marcos VALDERRABANO, Alicia ACOSTA, M. ARONSSON, G. ARTS, Fabio ATTORRE, Erwin BERGMEIER, R.-J. BIJLSMA, Frederic BIORET, Claudia BITA-NICOLAE, Idoia BIURRUN, M. CALIX, Jorge CAPELO, Andraž ČARNI, Milan CHYTRÝ, Jürgen DENGLER, Panayotis DIMOPOULOS, Franz Sebastian ESSL, Hans GARDFJELL, Daniela GIGANTE, Gianpietro GIUSSO DEL GALDO, Michal HÁJEK, Florian JANSEN, Jan JANSEN, Jutta KAPFER, Alexis MICKOLAJCZAK, José A. MOLINA, Zsolt MOLNÁR, David PATERNOSTER, Agnieszka PIERNIK, B. POULIN, Benoit RENAUX, Joop H.J. SCHAMINÉE, Kateřina ŠUMBEROVÁ, H. TOIVONEN, Tiina TONTERI, Ioannis TSIRIPIDIS, Rossen TZONEV and Milan VALACHOVIČ. European Red List of Habitats - Part 2. Terrestrial and freshwater habitats. 2016. 44 pp. ISBN 978-92-79-61588-7. doi:10.2779/091372. URL info
  • MUCINA, Ladislav, Helga BÜLTMANN, Klaus DIERSSEN, Jean-Paul THEURILLAT, Thomas RAUS, Andraž ČARNI, Kateřina ŠUMBEROVÁ, Wolfgang WILLNER, Jürgen DENGLER, Rosario GAVILÁN GARCÍA, Milan CHYTRÝ, Michal HÁJEK, Romeo DI PIETRO, Dmytro IAKUSHENKO, Jens PALLAS, Fred J. A. DANIËLS, Erwin BERGMEIER, Arnoldo SANTOS GUERRA, Nikolai ERMAKOV, Milan VALACHOVIČ, Joop H. J. SCHAMINÉE, Tatiana LYSENKO, Yakiv P. DIDUKH, Sandro PIGNATTI, John S. RODWELL, Jorge CAPELO, Heinrich E. WEBER, Ayzik SOLOMESHCH, Panayotis DIMOPOULOS, Carlos AGUIAR, Stephan M. HENNEKENS and Lubomír TICHÝ. Vegetation of Europe: hierarchical floristic classification system of vascular plant, bryophyte, lichen, and algal communities. Applied Vegetation Science. Wiley, 2016, vol. 19, SUPP 1, p. 3-264. ISSN 1402-2001. doi:10.1111/avsc.12257. info
  • Map of the natural vegetation of Europe :scale 1:2 500 000 : explanatory text. Edited by Udo Bohn. Bonn: Bundesamt für Naturschutz, 2003. 655 s. ISBN 3784338372. info
Teaching methods
Lecture if there are at least four students. In the semesters when there are fewer than four registered students, these students follow the lectures on the YouTube channel while the lecturer provides consultations during the semester based on a previous agreement with the students. All the study materials are available at
In the fall semester 2020, teaching will be via the MS Teams channel
Assessment methods
Written with open questions testing the knowledge of ecology, distribution and dominant plant species of the main vegetation formations and habitats of Europe. In case of worsening epidemiological situation, the exam can be oral through a videocall.
Language of instruction
Further comments (probably available only in Czech)
Study Materials
The course can also be completed outside the examination period.
The course is taught annually.
Teacher's information -
If fewer than five students are registered, the course is realized through contactless teaching using the video versions of the lectures at the YouTube channel The contactless teaching can be supplemented by consultations based on a mutual agreement between the teacher and students.
The course is also listed under the following terms Autumn 2010 - only for the accreditation, Autumn 2002, Autumn 2004, Autumn 2006, Autumn 2008, Autumn 2010, Autumn 2011 - acreditation, Autumn 2012, Autumn 2014, Autumn 2016, Autumn 2018, Autumn 2019.
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