The succession of sand vegetation of Lithuanian seacoast [Lietuvos pajūrio smėlynų augalijos sukcesija]. – Botanica Lithuanica, 12(3): 139–156

The paper aims to define the autogenic succession of sand vegetation of the Baltic Sea coast of Lithuania. The succession sequence of plant communities situated in Lithuanian seacoast, located in the direction from West to East, was created. The regularities of sand communities succession were revealed. Only species (Ammophila arenaria, Honckenya peploides, Leymus arenarius, Calamagrostis epigejos) adapted to the growth on dry sand form short-lived thickets on the seashore. The communities situated in different places of foredunes perform different functions: species-poor Leymo-Ammophiletum subas. typicum and Leymo-Ammophiletum subas. petasitetosum communities located on the western slope consist of psammophytes that fasten the drifting sand; the two layer grassland of Leymo-Ammophiletum subas. festucetosum sabulosae located on the top of the foredunes decreases the fluctuations of temperature and humidity; in the two-layer (herb and moss layers) Leymo-Ammophiletum subas. artemisietosum stretching on the eastern slope humus begins to accumulate. In palve the drifted sand is stopped by the abundantly growing Carex arenaria, Corynephorus canescens, Festuca sabulosa, Festuca polesica, solitary, thick groves of Empetrum nigrum, and the continuous cover of moss and lichens. In palve strength of winds and irreciprocal stream is reduced and dispersed by abundantly growing shrubs of Salix rosmarinifolia, Salix daphnoides, and low Pinus sylvestris and Betula pendula trees. In the primary forest communities Pinus sylvestris is abundant in tree layer. In further succession stages Pinus sylvestris gets thinner. In herb layer the dominant plants with wide ecologic range are replaced by plants characteristic to forest communities (Deschampsia flexuosa, Melampyrum nemorosum, Luzula multiflora, Trientalis europea, Majanthemum bifolium), bryophytes get thicker, leaf-litter forms, the amount of humus increases. It was revealed that the edaphic climax of sand vegetation in Lithuanian seacoast corresponds to Leymo-Ammophiletum arenariae, while climatic climax – to Querco-Piceetum communities.

Keywords: succession, endoecogenesis, syngenesis, vegetation, foredune, palve, Curonian Spit, Baltic Sea coast, Lithuania.