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Vegetation Databases and Climate Change

University of Hamburg, 24–26  February 2010

The German Working Group on Vegetation Databases is dedicated to the promotion of plot databanks, in order to facilitate application of botanical data, to open up new paths of analysis and to encourage exchange among scientists and practitioners. As a Section of the Network for Phytodiversity (NetPhyD),  we coordinate activities concerning the stimulation, compilation, dissemination and utilisation of vegetation data in Germany and surrounding countries. Since 2002 the Working Group has organized eight annual meetings (click here to find abstracts).

The forthcoming 9th meeting in Hamburg will be focussed on vegetation databases and climate change. Vegetation databanks are an indispensable tool in climate change research that deserves more attention by scientists and decision makers. Their vast legacy of historical and recent co-ocurrence data allow to study vegetation responses to climate at various scales and levels of complexity.

We particularly invite contributions based on vegetation databanks and related archives on the following topics

  • detection of climate-induced changes in community composition and functional traits
  • modelling of species niches
  • modelling of current and future distributions of species and vegetation types
  • separating long-term trends in vegetation composition from methodological artifacts caused by subjective sampling, unequal plot sizes, incomplete relevés etc.
  • disentangling effects of climate change, land use change, eutrophication, and biotic invasions
  • forecasting landscape change
  • estimating vulnerability of species and vegetation types
  • dealing with scenarios, uncertainty, and risk

Both case studies and methodological contributions are welcome.

While databases and climate changes are the major topic of the meeting, as always, we also invite the submission of contributions associated with the general aims of the Working Group, such as the presentation of new methods, new software tools, or new databases. In particular, we invite all persons who host a vegetation database to present its scope and content on a poster. We intend to publish a comprehensive overview of vegetation databases worldwide in the conference volume (see Conference volume and metadatabase in folder Meeting).


154 participants from 30 countries are registered.

click here to download the book of abstracts

Date – Wednesday, 24 February - Friday, 26 February 2010

Venue – Biocentre Klein Flottbek and Botanical Garden, University of Hamburg, Ohnhorststraße 18, 22609 Hamburg, Germany.

Getting there - click here to get information

Language – English.

Keynotes  (click here to read the abstracts)


  • Dr. Niklaus E. Zimmermann, Research Unit Landscape Use Dynamics, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Birmensdorf, Switzerland
  • Dr. Ingolf Kühn, Dept. Community Ecology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Halle (Saale), Germany
  • Dr. Michael C. Rutherford, Kirstenbosch Research Centre, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), Kirstenbosch, South Africa

Contributions – Both oral and poster presentations are invited.

Software and other workshops (for details, see Folder Workshops in Participants' Area, only accessible after registration)

  • How to deal with spatial autocorrelation? (Ingolf Kühn): Wednesday, whole day

  • BIOTA Base (Gerhard Muche and Manfred Finckh): Wednesday afternoon (for details click here)

  • R-applications for vegetation scientists I: Multivariate vegetation analyses, ordination methods (Florian Jansen): Friday afternoon (for details click here)

  • R-applications for vegetation scientists II: Handling spatial data (Jens Oldeland): Friday afternoon & Saturday morning (for details click here)

  • SE European Dry Grassland Vegetation Database: Kick-off workshop (Saturday morning - Monday evening) (for details click here)

Conference publications

We plan a Special Feature in "Applied Vegetation Science" (Impact factor: 1.305) on "Ecoinformatics and Climate Change" for the most outstanding contributions from the meeting that deal with these two aspects. This Special Feature will be guest-edited by J. Dengler, J. Ewald, I. Kühn and R. K. Peet, and we plan to have it published in the last issue of 2010. If you wish to participate in this Special Feature, please, send your abstract as soon as possible to J. Dengler. The abstracts will be evaluated by the guest editors and the chief editors, and the most suitable ones will be invited for submission. The deadline for submission of the manuscripts likely will be 30 April 2010. If you have any questions, do not hesitate the co-ordinating editor, J. Dengler.

Further, we plan a Special Volume of “Biodiversity and Ecology” (ISSN 1613-9801) entitled "Vegetation databases for the 21st century" with contributions from the meeting. Such articles should be submitted not later than 30 September 2010 (extended deadline!) and will be subject to peer review. For details, see folder Conference volume


Catering – Refreshments will be provided during the conference breaks. The participants can have their lunch in the local canteen at their own expenses. For the evenings, we will arrange joint dinners at restaurants for those who are interested (to be paid individually).

Fees - Depending on the amount of financial support we receive for the conference, we possibly will collect a very moderate conference fee at the registration desk, whose precise amount will be announced later (approx. 10 Euros).


Registration & abstract upload – Online on this homepage (closed).

Deadline for registration and abstract submission was:

        17 January 2010

Note that the deadline for abstract submission of oral contributions was 30 November 2009, and contributions submitted later normally will be accepted as posters only. Both personal data and abstracts can be edited online by the participants until 17 January 2010.


Contact/Local Organising Committee

Organization - Jörg Ewald (Chair of the Section “Vegetation Databases” within NetPhyD), Rudolf May (Federal Agency for Nature Conservation), Jürgen Dengler and Manfred Finckh (University of Hamburg).

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