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Impact of climate change on alpine vegetation of mountain summits in Norway

(2017) ECOLOGICAL RESEARCH. 32(4). p.579-593
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Abstract
Climate change is affecting the composition and functioning of ecosystems across the globe. Mountain ecosystems are particularly sensitive to climate warming since their biota is generally limited by low temperatures. Cryptogams such as lichens and bryophytes are important for the biodiversity and functioning of these ecosystems, but have not often been incorporated in vegetation resurvey studies. Hence, we lack a good understanding of how vascular plants, lichens and bryophytes respond interactively to climate warming in alpine communities. Here we quantified long-term changes in species richness, cover, composition and thermophilization (i.e. the increasing dominance of warm-adapted species) of vascular plants, lichens and bryophytes on four summits at Dovrefjell, Norway. These summits are situated along an elevational gradient from the low alpine to high alpine zone and were surveyed for all species in 2001, 2008 and 2015. During the 15-year period, a decline in lichen richness and increase in bryophyte richness was detected, whereas no change in vascular plant richness was found. Dwarf-shrub abundance progressively increased at the expense of lichens, and thermophilization was most pronounced for vascular plants, but occurred only on the lowest summits and northern aspects. Lichens showed less thermophilization and, for the bryophytes, no significant thermophilization was found. Although recent climate change may have primarily caused the observed changes in vegetation, combined effects with non-climatic factors (e.g. grazing and trampling) are likely important as well. At a larger scale, alpine vegetation shifts could have a profound impact on biosphere functioning with feedbacks to the global climate.
Keywords
Alpine vegetation, Climate change, Resurvey study, Thermophilization, Cryptogams, LITTER DECOMPOSITION RATES, VASCULAR PLANTS, SPECIES RICHNESS, ARCTIC VEGETATION, GLOBAL CHANGE, RESPONSES, TUNDRA, BRYOPHYTES, ECOSYSTEMS, DIVERSITY

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Chicago
Vanneste, Thomas, Ottar Michelsen, Bente Jessen Graae, Magni Olsen Kyrkjeeide, Håkon Holien, Kristian Hassel, Sigrid Lindmo, Rozália Erzsebet Kapás, and Pieter De Frenne. 2017. “Impact of Climate Change on Alpine Vegetation of Mountain Summits in Norway.” Ecological Research 32 (4): 579–593.
APA
Vanneste, T., Michelsen, O., Graae, B. J., Kyrkjeeide, M. O., Holien, H., Hassel, K., Lindmo, S., et al. (2017). Impact of climate change on alpine vegetation of mountain summits in Norway. ECOLOGICAL RESEARCH, 32(4), 579–593.
Vancouver
1.
Vanneste T, Michelsen O, Graae BJ, Kyrkjeeide MO, Holien H, Hassel K, et al. Impact of climate change on alpine vegetation of mountain summits in Norway. ECOLOGICAL RESEARCH. 2017;32(4):579–93.
MLA
Vanneste, Thomas, Ottar Michelsen, Bente Jessen Graae, et al. “Impact of Climate Change on Alpine Vegetation of Mountain Summits in Norway.” ECOLOGICAL RESEARCH 32.4 (2017): 579–593. Print.
@article{8522565,
  abstract     = {Climate change is affecting the composition and functioning of ecosystems across the globe. Mountain ecosystems are particularly sensitive to climate warming since their biota is generally limited by low temperatures. Cryptogams such as lichens and bryophytes are important for the biodiversity and functioning of these ecosystems, but have not often been incorporated in vegetation resurvey studies. Hence, we lack a good understanding of how vascular plants, lichens and bryophytes respond interactively to climate warming in alpine communities. Here we quantified long-term changes in species richness, cover, composition and thermophilization (i.e. the increasing dominance of warm-adapted species) of vascular plants, lichens and bryophytes on four summits at Dovrefjell, Norway. These summits are situated along an elevational gradient from the low alpine to high alpine zone and were surveyed for all species in 2001, 2008 and 2015. During the 15-year period, a decline in lichen richness and increase in bryophyte richness was detected, whereas no change in vascular plant richness was found. Dwarf-shrub abundance progressively increased at the expense of lichens, and thermophilization was most pronounced for vascular plants, but occurred only on the lowest summits and northern aspects. Lichens showed less thermophilization and, for the bryophytes, no significant thermophilization was found. Although recent climate change may have primarily caused the observed changes in vegetation, combined effects with non-climatic factors (e.g. grazing and trampling) are likely important as well. At a larger scale, alpine vegetation shifts could have a profound impact on biosphere functioning with feedbacks to the global climate.},
  author       = {Vanneste, Thomas and Michelsen, Ottar and Graae, Bente Jessen and Kyrkjeeide, Magni Olsen and Holien, H{\aa}kon and Hassel, Kristian and Lindmo, Sigrid and Kap{\'a}s, Roz{\'a}lia Erzsebet and De Frenne, Pieter},
  issn         = {0912-3814},
  journal      = {ECOLOGICAL RESEARCH},
  keyword      = {Alpine vegetation,Climate change,Resurvey study,Thermophilization,Cryptogams,LITTER DECOMPOSITION RATES,VASCULAR PLANTS,SPECIES RICHNESS,ARCTIC VEGETATION,GLOBAL CHANGE,RESPONSES,TUNDRA,BRYOPHYTES,ECOSYSTEMS,DIVERSITY},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {579--593},
  title        = {Impact of climate change on alpine vegetation of mountain summits in Norway},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11284-017-1472-1},
  volume       = {32},
  year         = {2017},
}

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