Deschampsia flexuosa snowbed grassland on granitic mountains in the Cairngorms

Watson, Adam; Welch, David; Heslop, Rodney E.F.. 2010 Deschampsia flexuosa snowbed grassland on granitic mountains in the Cairngorms. Plant Ecology and Diversity, 3 (1). 95-99.

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Background: A snowbed community with much Deschampsia flexuosa has long been recognised in Norway, but not hitherto as a separate type in Scotland. Aims: The aim of this study was to check provisional observations that similar vegetation occurred frequently in the Cairngorms massif, and describe its composition, soils and snow-lie. Methods: For seven sites on Cairn Gorm and Ben Macdui, all with substantial extent of this vegetation, vegetation composition was recorded, soil profiles assessed and information assimilated from a separate long-term study of snow patches. Results: Deschampsia flexuosa was predominant in this vegetation and the occurrence of other higher plants was low. The main subsidiary species were bryophytes, indicating that the community was related to NVC U12 in the British classification of vegetation. Soils were free-draining alpine podzols. On average, snow-lie continues from the end of June to mid July, which is later than on snowbed vegetation dominated by Nardus stricta, but earlier than on moss-dominated snowbeds. Conclusions: We suggest that this vegetation is sufficiently distinctive to be considered a separate sub-community of NVC U12. Keywords: Cairngorms; Deschampsia flexuosa; snowbed grassland; snowbed soil; UK vegetation classification

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 2 - Ecological Processes in the Environment
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: UKCEH Fellows
ISSN: 1755-0874
Additional Pages: 11
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Full text is available via the OFFICIAL URL link Click on RELATED URL link for supplementary content which gives full species lists from the releves.
Additional Keywords: vegetation composition, snow patches
NORA Subject Terms: Botany
Ecology and Environment
Earth Sciences
Related URLs:
Date made live: 26 Aug 2010 14:12 +0 (UTC)

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