The IPR vegetation analysis is a semi-quantitative method developed by Kovar-Eder and Kvaček (2003) to assess zonal vegetation based on the fossil plant record (leaf, fruit, and pollen assemblages). It attempts to incorporate taxonomy, physiognomy, and autecological properties of Cenozoic plants as an objective assessment of the fossil vegetation (see Kovar-Eder & Kvaček 2007, Kovar-Eder et al. 2008). Zonal and azonal plant elements are assigned to thirteen basic taxonomic-physiognomic groups, termed components, defined to reflect key ecological characteristics of an assemblage (Kovar-Eder & Kvaček 2003, 2007, Jechorek & Kovar-Eder 2004, Kovar-Eder et al. 2008). Most recently, Teodoridis et al. (2011) render more precisely the taxonomic-physiognomic grouping: defined were the conifer component (CONIFER), broad-leaved deciduous component (BLD), broad-leaved evergreen component (BLE), sclerophyllous component (SCL), legume-like component (LEG), zonal palm component (ZONPALM), arborescent fern component (ARBFERN), dry herbaceous component (D-HERB), mesophytic herbaceous component (M-HERB). Azonal components, i.e. azonal woody component (AZW), azonal non-woody component (AZNW) and aquatic component (AQUA). The component PROBLEMATIC TAXA includes elements with an uncertain taxonomic-physiognomic affinity (see here). For further analysis, all taxa (but not their abundances) of every single assemblage have to be assigned to those components and their relative proportions have to be calculated.
To characterise zonal vegetation, the following proportions of components are regarded as relevant:
(a) the proportion of the BLD, BLE, and SCL+LEG components of zonal woody angiosperms, where “zonal woody angiosperms” means the sum of BLD+BLE+SCL+LEG+ZONPALM components;
(b) the proportion of the ZONAL HERB (D-HERB+M-HERB) component of all zonal taxa, where “zonal taxa” means the sum of the CONIF+BLD+BLE+SCL+LEG+ZONPALM+ARBFERN+D-HERB+M-HERB components.
The following six zonal vegetation types have been distinguished (Kovar-Eder & Kvaček 2007, table 2; Kovar-Eder et al. 2008, table 4):
(a) zonal temperate to warm-temperate broad-leaved deciduous forests (broad-leaved deciduous forests “BLDF”),
(b) zonal warm-temperate to subtropical mixed mesophytic forests (mixed mesophytic forests “MMF”),
(c) zonal subtropical broad-leaved evergreen forests (broad-leaved evergreen forests “BLEF”),
(d) zonal subtropical, subhumid sclerophyllous or microphyllous forests (subhumid sclerophyllous forests “ShSF”),
(e) zonal xeric open woodlands (open woodland),
(f) zonal xeric grasslands or steppe (xeric grassland).
To find out more about characteristics of vegetation types click here.