Department of Vegetation Ecology

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The Department of Vegetation Ecology deals with spatio-temporal patterns in vegetation at various scales. Our primary research areas are:

  • Ecosystem ecology focuses on flows of nutrients in biomass. This concerns decomposition processes and reciprocal vegetation–environment interactions, namely in soils. The main methodological approach used is field experiments in which site conditions, e.g., precipitation and input of nutrients, are altered. Long-termmonitoring using permanent plots in different types of ecosystems (grasslands, mires) is another approach.
  • Vegetation science focuses on classification and factors influencing diversity and processes in plant communities. Our principal concern is in wetland, grassland, mire and peatbog, and forest vegetation. Our main research area is Central Europe, but we also work elsewhere (Siberia, Brunei...). We are participating on the currently edited monograph Vegetation of the Czech Republic.
  • Historical ecology is quite a new subject. It merges approaches of humanities and sciences, focusing on historical human influence on ecosystems. This integrated research employs various subjects such as history, palynology, anthracology, dendrometry, landscape archaeology, remote sensing, GIS-technologies, and vegetation science. Presently we are dealing with the historical ecology of lowland woodlands in the Czech Republic, creating a solid basis of academic research on this subject.
  • Palaeoecology has already a half-century long tradition in our department. It focuses on the reconstruction of past mainly Holocene vegetation and landscapes, Classical methods are palynology and macrorest analysis, applied in suitable biotopes in various areas of the Czech Republic (Sudeten, Ore Mts. Czech-Moravian Highlands, Southern Bohemia...) and the Slovak and Moravian Carpathians. Long-term focus has also been put on remote Russian and Scandinavian polar areas.

The Palynological laboratory and the Laboratory for analysis of plant and soil material prepare and analyze sampled material.