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SUMMARY: This research describes a new association of spruce with Laserpitium
krapfii(Laserpitio krapfii-Piceetum abietisass. nova). Occurring in
the subalpine belt of northern Velebit, it reaches altitudes between 1,200 and
1,600 m. Here, the association is developed as a permanent stage under the
strong influence of the microclimate of more humid, colder and shadier sites.
Locally, it descends into sinkholes and lower slopes all the way to the beech-
fir forest (Omphalodo-Fagetum). It is generally incorporated within the belt
of pre-alpine beech forest with large white buttercup (Ranunculo platanifoliae-
Fagetum). Some stands are highly productive, but in a large part of the
range the community has a protective character.

The phytocoenosisLaserpitio krapfii-Piceetumhas macro-climatic features
of the prealpine beech forest, in whose belt it is situated. However, its occurrence
is predominantly determined by the microclimate modified primarily
by the relief, altitude and other geomorphological factors (Cindrić 1973). The
average annual temperature of the subalpine belt of northern Velebit is 3.5 °C,
and the average annual precipitation is 1,898 mm (in the period 1961–1990,
data from the State Hydro-Meteorological Institute). The parent material is
made up of limestone breccias and limestone-dolomite blocks which often resurface.
The soil is organogenic and organomineral calcomelanosol in mosaic
with calcocambisol. In relation to calcomelanosols of other forest
communities in the Zavižan area, calcomelanosols in this community are the
richest in total nitrogen and humus content. Martinović (in Cestar et. al.
1977) found neutral reaction and base saturated adsorption complex in the
humus-accumulative horizon and in the cambic horizon in calcomelanosols.
He attributes his finding to the fragmented dolomitized limestones and breccias
which supply the soils with ample quantities of calcium. It is very important
to point this out, because in relation to other spruce associations, the
studied Velebit community is significantly richer in species of the order Fagetalia.
The average soil pH determined in water for the depth layer of 0–5 cm
amounts to 5.50.

Table 1 presents 12 phytocoenological relevés of the association Laserpitio
krapfii-Piccetumwith 140 species of higher plants and 25 moss species. Of
this, 58 species of higher plants and 6 species of moss occur in more than 40