Vegetation dynamics at the upper elevational limit of vascular plants in Himalaya View Full Text


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Article Info

DATE

2016-05-04

AUTHORS

Jiri Dolezal, Miroslav Dvorsky, Martin Kopecky, Pierre Liancourt, Inga Hiiesalu, Martin Macek, Jan Altman, Zuzana Chlumska, Klara Rehakova, Katerina Capkova, Jakub Borovec, Ondrej Mudrak, Jan Wild, Fritz Schweingruber

ABSTRACT

A rapid warming in Himalayas is predicted to increase plant upper distributional limits, vegetation cover and abundance of species adapted to warmer climate. We explored these predictions in NW Himalayas, by revisiting uppermost plant populations after ten years (2003–2013), detailed monitoring of vegetation changes in permanent plots (2009–2012) and age analysis of plants growing from 5500 to 6150 m. Plant traits and microclimate variables were recorded to explain observed vegetation changes. The elevation limits of several species shifted up to 6150 m, about 150 vertical meters above the limit of continuous plant distribution. The plant age analysis corroborated the hypothesis of warming-driven uphill migration. However, the impact of warming interacts with increasing precipitation and physical disturbance. The extreme summer snowfall event in 2010 is likely responsible for substantial decrease in plant cover in both alpine and subnival vegetation and compositional shift towards species preferring wetter habitats. Simultaneous increase in summer temperature and precipitation caused rapid snow melt and, coupled with frequent night frosts, generated multiple freeze-thaw cycles detrimental to subnival plants. Our results suggest that plant species responses to ongoing climate change will not be unidirectional upward range shifts but rather multi-dimensional, species-specific and spatially variable. More... »

PAGES

24881

References to SciGraph publications

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    http://scigraph.springernature.com/pub.10.1038/srep24881

    DOI

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep24881

    DIMENSIONS

    https://app.dimensions.ai/details/publication/pub.1030872151

    PUBMED

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27143226


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