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The rich sides of mountain summits – a pan-European view on aspect preferences of alpine plants
Executive, Universitet. (GLORIA Coordination, Institute for Interdisciplinary Mountain Research, Austrian Academy of Sciences & Center for Global Change and Sustainability, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Austria)
2016 (English)In: Journal of Biogeography, ISSN 0305-0270, E-ISSN 1365-2699Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aim In the alpine life zone, plant diversity is strongly determined by localtopography and microclimate. We assessed the extent to which aspect and itsrelatedness to temperature affect plant species diversity, and the colonizationand disappearance of species on alpine summits on a pan-European scale.

Location Mountain summits in Europe’s alpine life zone.

Methods Vascular plant species and their percentage cover were recorded inpermanent plots in each cardinal direction on 123 summits in 32 regionsacross Europe. For a subset from 17 regions, resurvey data and 6-year soil temperatureseries were available. Differences in temperature sum and Shannonindex as well as species richness, colonization and disappearance of speciesamong cardinal directions were analysed using linear mixed-effects and generalisedmixed-effects models, respectively.

Results Temperature sums were higher in east- and south-facing aspects thanin the north-facing ones, while the west-facing ones were intermediate; differenceswere smallest in northern Europe. The patterns of temperature sumsamong aspects were consistent among years. In temperate regions, thermal differenceswere reflected by plant diversity, whereas this relationship was weakeror absent on Mediterranean and boreal mountains. Colonization of species waspositively related to temperature on Mediterranean and temperate mountains,whereas disappearance of species was not related to temperature.

Main conclusions Thermal differences caused by solar radiation determineplant species diversity on temperate mountains. Advantages for plants on easternslopes may result from the combined effects of a longer diurnal period ofradiation due to convection cloud effects in the afternoon and the shelteredposition against the prevailing westerly winds. In northern Europe, long summerdays and low sun angles can even out differences among aspects. On Mediterranean summits, summer drought may limit species numbers on thewarmer slopes. Warmer aspects support a higher number of colonization events. Hence, aspect can be a principal determinant of the pace of climateinduced migration processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2016.
Keyword [en]
alpine life zone, climate change, Europe, GLORIA, long-term monitoring, slope aspect, soil temperature, species diversity, vascular plants
Keyword [sv]
alpin vegetation, klimatförändring, fjäll, Europa, Jämtland, GLORIA, miljöövervakning, jordtemperatur, artdiversitet, kärlväxter
National Category
Botany Climate Research Environmental Sciences Ecology
Research subject
Miljöövervakningen, Mountain; Miljöövervakningen, Landscape; Environmental Objectives, Reduced Climate Impact; Environmental Objectives, A Rich Diversity of Plant and Animal Life; Environmental Objectives, A Magnificent Mountain Landscape
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:naturvardsverket:diva-6836DOI: 10.1111/jbi.12835OAI: oai:DiVA.org:naturvardsverket-6836DiVA: diva2:1068467
Note

Publikationen behandlar ett antal studieområden i Europa varav ett ligger i Jämtlands län och har inventerats mha regionala miljöövervakningsmedel 2010. Således har Naturvårdsverket bidragit till en liten del.

Available from: 2017-01-25 Created: 2017-01-25 Last updated: 2017-03-13

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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