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Species list of vascular plants observed on Peberholm 1999–2020

Cite this dataset

Nilsson, Staffan (2022). Species list of vascular plants observed on Peberholm 1999–2020 [Dataset]. Dryad.


Peberholm is a constructed Danish island in the Øresund strait. It was primarily constructed by calcareous clay from the seafloor and is traversed by a highway and a railway. Being constructed from material without a seed bank, Peberholm constituted a good opportunity to study primary succession in an anthropogenic context. In this study, data from a survey of the vascular plant community of Peberholm was studied. The data span a 22-year period, between 1999 and 2020. The development of the flora was analysed with regards to indicators for environmental factors and vegetation types, as well as occurrence of alien species or species of conservation concern. Peberholm experienced a rapid succession during its first 5 years. The effects of the initial ground disturbance quickly wore off, resulting in a relative decline in plant communities associated with ruderal land. These highly anthropogenic habitats were replaced with grasslands. The shrubification also began early on. The rapid initial changes were then replaced with a much slower but also more continuous change, resulting in the development of both more natural grasslands and an increased shrubification. Although several rare or threatened species colonized Peberholm from the beginning, the conservation value of the flora on a whole increased during the succession process of forming more natural vegetation types. The succession process demonstrated at Peberholm has more in common with the succession at urban soils than with naturally occurring primary succession.


The survey of Peberholm was arranged by Lund Botanical Society and conducted by yearly visits to the island, usually five times each year during the main plant season between May and September. Usually, each visit lasted a full workday with 3–5 experienced botanists partaking. Bengt Örneberg initiated the study and took part during the entire period; Staffan Nilsson was responsible for the project 2013–2020. Each year, the island was systematically monitored for vascular plants, resulting in a species list indicating presence and absence for each taxon. For most taxa, voucher specimens have been collected and examined at Lund Botanical Museum. Over the years, several subspecies and hybrids have been registered. However, many of these have not been treated consistently over the years and they are thus excluded from this analysis.