Contrasting impacts of climate change on the vegetation of windy ridges and snowbeds in the Swiss Alps

Détails

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Etat: Public
Version: de l'auteur
Licence: Non spécifiée
ID Serval
serval:BIB_0DE5C3168E8C
Type
Article: article d'un périodique ou d'un magazine.
Collection
Publications
Titre
Contrasting impacts of climate change on the vegetation of windy ridges and snowbeds in the Swiss Alps
Périodique
Alpine Botany
Auteur(s)
Liberati Loïc, Messerli Swanee, Matteodo Magalì, Vittoz Pascal
ISSN
1664-2201
1664-221X
Statut éditorial
Publié
Date de publication
10/2019
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Volume
129
Numéro
2
Pages
95-105
Langue
anglais
Résumé
The impacts of climate change on alpine summit floras have been widely investigated. However, only few studies included alpine grasslands and generally concluded that snowbeds, with a long snow cover duration and a short growing season, and windy ridges, with a short snow cover duration and strong winter frosts, are the most sensitive alpine grasslands. However, these habitats were mostly investigated in different regions, where local factors (e.g., nitrogen deposition, grazing) can co-vary with climate changes, potentially obscuring differences between habitats. Here, we focused on the Zermatt region (Swiss Alps) to investigate the impacts of climate change in snowbeds and on windy ridges.
Forty-three exhaustive historical plant inventories on windy ridges (acidophilic or basophilic) and 31 inventories in snowbeds (typical or wet) were repeated in quasi-permanent plots after approximately 23 years. Historical and recent records were compared with the Simpson index, Bray-Curtis dissimilarity, a PCA, ecological indicator values and the frequency and cover changes of species.
There was a general increase in α-diversity and a decrease in β-diversity (homogenisation). Most of the new species in the plots were generalists from surrounding grasslands. The plant composition tended to be more thermophilous on acidophilic windy ridges and in typical snowbeds. The flora of acidophilic windy ridges became more similar to that of basophilic windy ridges and more eutrophic. We interpreted this as possibly arising from fertilisation by the aeolian dust deposition coming from the expanding glacial moraine in the valley. In snowbeds, the species indicated increasingly drier conditions, especially in wet snowbeds. Warming climate induces lower snow fall and earlier snowmelt, leading to a shorter snow cover duration. Hence, wet snowbeds are certainly among the plant communities most threatened by climate change in the Alps.

Mots-clé
Plant Science, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Création de la notice
07/10/2019 8:26
Dernière modification de la notice
08/10/2019 6:08
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