Short-term changes occurring in high mountain vegetation were analysed using the data from two Italian sites already part of the GLobal Observation Research Initiative in Alpine environments (GLORIA – central Apennines and southwestern Alps). The study focused on a set of floristic (endemics), structural (life forms) and ecological (thermic vegetation indicator) variables. Vegetation data were collected according to the GLORIA multi-summit standardized method during the last decade. The re-visitation revealed a moderate decrease in regional endemic flora and significant variations in structural and ecological parameters. The increase in caespitose hemicryptophytes in both sites, in suffruticose chamaephytes in the central Apennines and in rosette-forming hemicryptophytes in the southwestern Alps emerged, highlighting the rapid responses of the alpine vegetation to climate warming. The increase in perennial life forms is related with the expansion of graminoids and small woody plants. These life forms seem to be most suitable to face climate warming in Italian summits. The increase in the thermic vegetation indicator exceeds the mean European summits increment, and this is due to the expansion of thermophilic species. Short-term analyses with fine spatial and temporal resolutions are still necessary to improve our understanding concerning species behaviour in high-elevation ecosystems.

Short-term signals of climate change in Italian summit vegetation: observations at two GLORIA sites

STANISCI, Angela;CARRANZA, Maria Laura
2016

Abstract

Short-term changes occurring in high mountain vegetation were analysed using the data from two Italian sites already part of the GLobal Observation Research Initiative in Alpine environments (GLORIA – central Apennines and southwestern Alps). The study focused on a set of floristic (endemics), structural (life forms) and ecological (thermic vegetation indicator) variables. Vegetation data were collected according to the GLORIA multi-summit standardized method during the last decade. The re-visitation revealed a moderate decrease in regional endemic flora and significant variations in structural and ecological parameters. The increase in caespitose hemicryptophytes in both sites, in suffruticose chamaephytes in the central Apennines and in rosette-forming hemicryptophytes in the southwestern Alps emerged, highlighting the rapid responses of the alpine vegetation to climate warming. The increase in perennial life forms is related with the expansion of graminoids and small woody plants. These life forms seem to be most suitable to face climate warming in Italian summits. The increase in the thermic vegetation indicator exceeds the mean European summits increment, and this is due to the expansion of thermophilic species. Short-term analyses with fine spatial and temporal resolutions are still necessary to improve our understanding concerning species behaviour in high-elevation ecosystems.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11695/617
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