Abstract: Mountain ecosystems are vulnerable because of land-use and climate change. In this study, we performed a re-visitation study using historical and newly collected vegetation plots to explore the primary trends in the floristic, ecological, and structural features of Mediterranean Pinus mugo krummholz over past decades. The plant community composition over time (1992 vs. 2016–17) was analyzed by a detrended correspondence analysis followed by a statistical comparison of time steps and an analysis of the contribution of each species to temporal differences. Ecological and structural changes were analyzed by a permutational multivariate analysis of variance followed by a post hoc comparison. We observed relevant changes in the floristic composition, structure, and ecological characteristics of Pinus mugo scrub. Some subalpine and treeline species that characterize the early stages of Pinus mugo succession declined as several warm-adapted species increased. Furthermore, these changes were most likely due to the natural evolution of high-mountain krummholz combined with a thermophilization process occurring in alpine habitats. In contrast, a small group of cold-adapted species also increased, probably because the patchy spatial pattern of Pinus mugo scrubs gives rise to “mesic patches” in a matrix of arid grasslands. The re-visitation approach adopted for long-term analysis in this study can potentially be applied to other mountainous regions to better understand long-term ecological changes in high alpine vegetation.

Long-Term Changes in the Composition, Ecology, and Structure of Pinus mugo Scrubs in the Apennines (Italy)

Carranza, Maria;Evangelista, Alberto;Marchetti, Marco;Stinca, Adriano;Stanisci, Angela
2018

Abstract

Abstract: Mountain ecosystems are vulnerable because of land-use and climate change. In this study, we performed a re-visitation study using historical and newly collected vegetation plots to explore the primary trends in the floristic, ecological, and structural features of Mediterranean Pinus mugo krummholz over past decades. The plant community composition over time (1992 vs. 2016–17) was analyzed by a detrended correspondence analysis followed by a statistical comparison of time steps and an analysis of the contribution of each species to temporal differences. Ecological and structural changes were analyzed by a permutational multivariate analysis of variance followed by a post hoc comparison. We observed relevant changes in the floristic composition, structure, and ecological characteristics of Pinus mugo scrub. Some subalpine and treeline species that characterize the early stages of Pinus mugo succession declined as several warm-adapted species increased. Furthermore, these changes were most likely due to the natural evolution of high-mountain krummholz combined with a thermophilization process occurring in alpine habitats. In contrast, a small group of cold-adapted species also increased, probably because the patchy spatial pattern of Pinus mugo scrubs gives rise to “mesic patches” in a matrix of arid grasslands. The re-visitation approach adopted for long-term analysis in this study can potentially be applied to other mountainous regions to better understand long-term ecological changes in high alpine vegetation.
http://www.mdpi.com/1424-2818/10/3/70/htm
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11695/80043
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