Weed vegetation of arable land in Slovakia: diversity and species composition.
Arable fields are among the most widespread habitats in Slovakia, but recently, there have been no studies regarding species composition and structure of weed vegetation in these fields. Therefore, we studied the structure of arable weed vegetation and detected α- and β-diversity. The dataset of 507 phytosociological relevés in different crop types contains 407 plant taxa in 46 plant families. Native plants dominated over aliens, archaeophytes dominated over neophytes, and 14 plants belonged to invasive taxa. The most common species in the dataset were Tripleurospermum perforatum, Cirsium arvense, and Viola arvensis. Weeds were mostly therophytes, b- and a-euhemerobic, competitors, and ruderals, reproducing by seeds and pollinated by insects. The β-diversity of weed vegetation decreased with elevation and temperature and was higher in the Pannonicum than the Carpaticum region. The highest β-diversity was established in fodder+fallow fields, followed by that in cereals and root-crop fields, and the smallest diversity was found in stubble. Beta-diversity increased from spring to summer and slightly decreased again in fall. Detrended correspondence analysis indicated that the major compositional turnover of weed vegetation was related to light, temperature, moisture, and elevation. Weed vegetation constitutes an important habitat in the landscape that provides refuge to many threatened plants, and this vegetation has important functions in the agro-ecosystem food chain.