ISSN 1188-603X

No. 354 December 22, 2005 Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2

JOHAN HAVAAS, 1864-1956

From: William Weber []

Do we need to be reminded that the serious amateur plant collector has rarely been given proper credit for his or her work? Peter Raby, in his book on Alfred Russel Wallace, quotes (page 85) Edward Newman's presidential address to the Linnean Society of London in 1854:

"The monographer cannot say to the collector, I have no need of you; the very admission of such a thought is a stumbling- block. . . I wish to be understood as applying this last observation especially and emphatically to the case of the actual collector; to the man who, in whatever station of life, devotes his time, by night and by day; at all seasons, in all weathers; at home and abroad, to the positive capture and preservation of those specimens which serve as the objects for all our observations; he is the real labourer in the field, and if we would keep the lamp of our science constantly burning, it is to him alone that we can look for fuel to feed its flame. . . . Such men do great, permanent and continual good; they tender our science an unquestionable service, and their motives are no more to be called in question than those of the artist or the author, who receives the just reward for his well-directed labours."

A new book detailing in words and excellent color and black and white illustrations the life and work of a quiet, untraveled, Norwegian amateur botanist, has appeared that ought to bring great joy to those of us who have hoped that, at long last, the collector would be given proper appreciation. Here was a man who not only collected vascular plants, lichens, and bryophytes, but taught himself the languages in which he could correspond with the leaders in northern European plant taxonomy. Although little known about him outside of Norway save for his published lichen exsiccati of Norwegian lichens, his collections are highly regarded in the Scandinavian herbaria.

Sevrin Kjerland & Hans S. Haugse. 2005.
Johan Havaas, fjellbonde og vitskabsmann. University of Bergen, Bergen Museum, Bergen, Norway. 206 p., illustrations in black-and-white and color. 28.5 cm x 20.5 cm.ISBN 82-303-0396-7 [Cloth-bound] Price: Norw kr. 395.00 + 280.- postage to North America

Available from:
Universitetet i Bergen, Bergen Museum, Publikumsseksjonen, Harald Harfagres g 1, 5020 Bergen, Norway

"High up on a mountain in the Granvin district in Hardanger lived our country's most distinguished scientist in his environment. Who on earth could believe this? The little mountain farm and its old house hardly looks scientific, much less does its little slight-built man!" - Bergen Aftionblad 10 April 1937 [translated WAW] [This is] "the story of a highly competent, devoted scientist who achieved international fame, but never that recognition which expresses itself in economic security. His life was that of a western Norwegian small farmer, on a mountain farm besides. It is a hard fight to wrestle a kind of livelihood from a poor soil and under difficult circumstances. That Johan Havaas was able, under these circumstances, to teach himself not only the basic facts of cryptogamic botany, but also the foreign languages he needed for his studies, is an almost unbelievable achievement. It is with bitterness one contemplates the wasted abilities, and sadly hopes that today society has provided possibilities for scientific talent to express themselves under better circumstances. On the other hand, due to the inevitable restrictions on his work, Havaas concentrated on a very small area which he studied year after year at all seasons. There is hardly any part of the world of similar size the cryptogamic flora of which has been studied as intensively as the western part of Granvin, and Havaas' three papers, the earlier ones on hepatics and on lichens, and the present one on mosses, together represent an unsurpassed fund of knowledge of a small district." - Knut Faegri, October, 1960.

This beautiful book was made possible by a number of Havaas' neighbors in Granvin, and between them, plus financial help of the local newspapers and historical societies, plus the cooperation of several botanists from the University of Bergen, including Per Joergensen, Tor Toensberg and Geir Flatboe. The result is one of the most lovely, thorough, compassionate and deserved tributes to, of all things, an amateur botanist! There is an especial irony in this, for we are beginning to see that the future of non-specialized field botany is disappearing from our institutions of higher education and must be taken on by the serious amateurs of the future, bless them!

The book 's cover is a tapestry of bark and rock lichens - notably Xanthoria elegans, Dimelaena oreina, and the map lichen (in Norwegian "kart-lav") Rhizocarpon geographicum, framing a fine oil painting of Havaas by Lars Osa. The chapter headings include a foreword, history of Havaas' family and ancestors, his childhood, youth, poetry, his own descriptions of his early botanizing after having done the farm chores, and military service. The design and layout of the work includes end-papers showing the map of the Granvin area, excellent choices of type faces, placement of illustrations, and insets of special charts. These details alone would justify a prize for bookmanship.

Havaas' lichenological beginnings involved contacts with all of the important lichenologists of the day: Blyttt, Norman, Norlin, Nylander, Lang, Th. Fries, Forsell, Magnusson, Malme, Lynge, and Kaalaas. He obtained stipends over the years with Bergens Botanical Museum, and prepared his excellent Lichens Exsiccati Norvegiae, which one still finds cited in many current papers. He also prepared a manuscript of the liverwort flora of Norway and made extensive collections of vascular plants and fungi as well. His collection of Flora Danica in bound volumes occupy a large bookshelf at the Bergen Museum.

The handsomely formatted text is in Norwegian, except for letters in German and English. No matter, the book is a joy for anyone to behold, whatever language one comprehends. There are illustrations on almost every page, many of them photographs taken by Havaas himself. One can see Havaas' farm, houses, family, genealogical records, colleagues, his microscopes, vasculum (and his many pairs of spectacles!), documents and letters concerning important events in his life, his statement of his religious philosophy, correspondence with other botanists, color photographs of many of his specimens, newspaper tributes, and a copy of the document awarding him the gold medal from King Haakon.

Final chapters present the complete history, including all of the correspondence between Bill Culberson and Jens Lillegraven, dealing with the ultimate disposition of Haaas' private lichen herbarium to Duke University, and tributes from around the world in honor of his 90th birthday and, of course, on the occasion of his death at age 92.

The Havaas farm and its buildings have been preserved as an educational museum and shrine containing his personal effects, library, and cases of visible plant specimens that are better suited to such display than the packeted herbarium specimens suitable for research museums.

There can be no grander tribute to the importance to science of a dedicated amateur than this handsome book on Johan Havaas. The fact that the project was undertaken by his farmer friends makes the book a very special one.


From: Milan Chytry [] & Zdenka Otypkova []

[This is an extended summary of the following article: Chytry, M. & Z. Otypkova. 2003 . How large are the plots used for phytosociological sampling of European vegetation? Journal of Vegetation Science 14: 563-570.]

In European phytosociology, variable plot sizes are traditionally used for sampling different vegetation types. This practice may generate problems in current vegetation or habitat survey projects based on large data sets, which include releves made by many authors at different times. In order to determine the extent of variation in plot sizes used in European phytosociology, the authors collected a data set of 41 174 releves with an indication of plot size, published in six major European journals focusing on phytosociology in 1970-2000. As an additional data set, they took 27 365 releves from the Czech National Phytosociological Database (cf. Chytry & Rafajova 2003; see also From each data set, the authors calculated basic statistical figures for plot sizes used to sample vegetation of various phytosociological classes.

The results show that in Europe the traditionally used size of vegetation plots is roughly proportional to vegetation height; however, there is a large variation in plot size, both within and among vegetation classes. The effect of variable plot sizes on vegetation analysis and classification is not sufficiently known, but use of standardized plot sizes would be desirable in future projects of vegetation or habitat survey. Based on our analysis, we suggest four plot sizes as possible standards. They are 4 m2 for sampling aquatic vegetation and low-grown herbaceous vegetation, 16 m2 for most grassland, heathland and other herbaceous or low-scrub vegetation types, 50 m2 for scrub, and 200 m2 for woodlands. It has been pointed out that in some situations, sampling in either small or large plots may result in assignment of releves to different phytosociological classes or habitat types. Therefore defining vegetation and habitat types as scale-dependent concepts is needed.

Historical causes of variation in plot sizes

Current analysis revealed a considerable variation on the releve plot sizes used by European phytosociologists. The origin of this variation may be traced back to the early theory of vegetation science, notably to the minimal area concept (Braun- Blanquet 1913, 1928; Du Rietz 1921). This concept postulated that every vegetation stand inherently possesses some threshhold plot size (i.e., the minimum area). which holds all the important properties of the vegetation type. During the history of phytosociology, several attempts have been made to provide a formal definition of the minimum area, and to develop a method for its exact measurement (Barkman 1968, 1989; Tuexen 1970; Moravec 1973; Dietvorst et al. 1982). All these methods attempted to find a "correct" plot size by measuring change in some vegetation parameter as a function of plot size, but there was no theoretical reason to expect that such "correct" plot size does exist. Current ecology stresses the principle that any scale (e.g., any plot size) can be used to study plant communities and different patterns can be recognized at different scales (Allen & Starr 1982; Allen & Hoekstra 1992; Levin 1992; Peterson & Parker 1998).

Standardization proposal

Sampling procedures in current projects of vegetation survey move towards standardization (Mucina et al. 2000), and there is also an opportunity to standardize plot sizes. Nevertheless, it is difficult to propose standard plot sizes for the whole of Europe due to the high diversity of vegetation types across the continent and variable field methods traditionally used in different countries. The following four plot sizes, which seem to fit closest to the established tradition, may be proposed as standards:

It is clear that this standardization proposal will be impossible to follow where patches of the entire vegetation stand in the field are smaller than the recommended plot size, and no larger patch is available nearby. In such situations, it may be advisable to take a releve in a smaller plot than given above, rather than to refrain from sampling. However, there are no obstacles to using the proposed plot sizes in the vegetation stands, which are sufficiently large.

Literature Cited

Allen, T.F.H. & Hoekstra, T.W. 1992.
Toward a unified ecology. Columbia Univ. Press, New York, NY.
Allen, T.F.H. & Starr, T. B. 1982.
Hierarchy: perspectives for ecological complexity. Chicago Univ. Press, Chicago, IL.
Barkman, J.J. 1968.
Das synsystematische Problem der Mikrogesellschaften innerhalb der Bioz”nosen. In: Txen, R. (ed.) Pflanzensoziologische Systematik, Ber. Int. Symp. Stolzenau/Weser, pp. 21-53, W. Junk, Den Haag, NL.
Barkman, J.J. 1989.
A critical evaluation of minimum area concepts. Vegetatio 85: 89-104.
Braun-Blanquet, J. 1913.
Die Vegetationsverh„ltnisse der Schneestufe in den R„tisch-Lepontischen Alpen. Denkschr. Schweiz. Naturf. Ges. 48: 1-347.
Braun-Blanquet, J. 1928.
Pflanzensoziologie. Grundzge der Vegetationskunde. Springer, Berlin, DE.
Chytry, M. & Rafajov, M. 2003.
Czech National Phytosociological Database: basic statistics of the available vegetation-plot data. Preslia 75: 1-15.
Chytry, M. & Rafajov, M. 2003.
Czech National Phytosociological Database: basic statistics of the available vegetation-plot data. Preslia 75: 1-15. See also:
Dietvorst, P., van der Maarel, E. & van der Putten, H. 1982.
A new approach to the minimum area of a plant community. Vegetatio 50: 77-91.
Du Rietz, G.E. 1921.
Zur methodologischen Grundlage der modernen Pflanzensoziologie. Holzhausen, Wien, AT.
Levin, S.A. 1992.
The problem of pattern and scale in ecology. Ecology 73: 1943-1967.
Moravec, J. 1973.
The determination of the minimum area of phytocoenoses. Folia Geobot. Phytotax. 8: 23-47.
Mucina, L., Schaminee J.H.J. & Rodwell J.S. 2000.
Common data standards for recording releves in field survey for vegetation classification. J. Veg. Sci. 11: 769-772.
Peterson, D.L. & Parker, V.T. (eds.) 1998.
Ecological Scale: Theory and application. Columbia University Press, New York, NY.
Tuexen, R. 1970.
Bibliographie zum Problem des Minimi-Areals und der Art-Areal-Kurve. Exc. Bot., Sect. B, 10: 291-314.



The program JUICE has been developed by Lubomir Tichy, Department of Botany, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic []. It was designed as a Microsoft WINDOWS application for editing, classification and analysis of large phytosociological tables or other ecological data. This software, with current maximum capacity of 65,500 releves in one table, utilises many functions for easy manipulation of table and header data. Various options include classification using COCKTAIL and TWINSPAN methods, calculation of interspecific associations, fidelity measures, average Ellenberg indicator values, preparation of synoptic tables, automatic sorting of releve tables, and export of table data into other applications (text editors, table processors or mapping packages). JUICE is optimised for use in association with TURBOVEG which is the most widespread database program for storing phytosociological data in Europe. However, three other import formats are available for other users. Available connections with other mapping or classification software:

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