An ongoing project in cooperation with the Departamento de Ecología of the Universidad de La
Laguna, Tenerife ( Prof. Dr. José María Fernández Palacios und Dr. Rüdiger Otto) focuses on the analyses of the databank with multivariate and statistic methods (Island Ecology and Biogeography Research Group). For first results see this poster and the abstract.
El Hierro has been divided into two research areas according to the vertical zoning of the
Dr. Markus v. Gaisberg has been investigating the flora and vegetation of the lower altitudes
of the island, where one can find coastal vegetation, succulent scrub and rock communities as well as substitute communities in areas disturbed by humans.
Dr. Christian Stierstorfer has been investigating the higher altitudes of El Hierro. On the
southern slopes one can find Canary pine woods above c. 600 m a.s.l., laurel forest (or the Myrica-Erica scrub when degraded) grows on the steep northern slopes above c. 400 m a.s.l. Like in the lower zone the rock communities and the substitute communities (e.g., pastures and ruderal communities) have also been investigated.
The entire distribution of every taxon has been investigated by means of grid mapping
following the 1×1 km² UTM grid (Universe Transverse Mercator projection WGS-84). As a result rather complete lists of the plant taxa for every 1×1 km² square can be processed in a database. Hence distribution
maps for all taxa can be provided (see map example). Furthermore the diversity of the plant communities were documented by almost 1500 phytosociological relevés (method
following the "Zürich-Montpellier School" of Braun-Blanquet). The vegetational surveys were sorted in phytosociological tables and the plant communities hence can be differenciated, named (according to the
synsystematic nomenclature) and ecologically characterized.
The databases were processed by the interactive programmes for floristic data FLOREIN (Subal
1997) and TABEIN (Jahn 1993). This database is rather complete compiling both the chorological-floristic and phytosociological data of the island. With these data numerous further analyses can be made. An example
are the patterns of the core areas of the endemics which allow to advance hypotheses about the evolution under the specific conditions of El Hierro (v. Gaisberg & Stierstorfer 2003, 2005).