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The ecology and phytosociology of north-western Dinaric heaths of the association Rhododendro hirsuti-Juniperetum alpinae Horvat ex Horvat et al. 1974 nom. corr. prop. as well as the syndynamics and synsystematics of heaths in the Dinaric Alps are discussed. While the structure (physiognomy) of these stands is very homogenous and dominated by few species, the flora is heterogeneous, since ecotonal areas, where heaths are most frequently developed, represent a contact zone of elements of different syntaxa. Due to an abrupt reduction in pasture activities strong encroachments of shrubs and trees have become common, which additionally contribute to the floristic heterogeneity of the heaths. Although the identification and circumscription together with synecology and synchorology of heaths in general are more or less easily understood and straightforward, their floristic affinities, in relation to structure homogeneity and syndynamics, are complicated, which led to the proposal of several synsystematic schemes depending on interpretation of the relationship between flora and structure of stands. Dinaric heaths are classified into three classes, Erico-Pinetea, Vaccinio-Piceetea and Festuco-Brometea and a classification scheme is proposed together with nomenclatorial revision of the analyzed heaths with dwarf ericaceous shrubs and Alpine juniper (Juniperus alpina) in the Dinaric Alps.