Alpine plants in a world of changeVortragender: Dr. Christian Rixen, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL (Homepage)
Alpine plants fascinate us with their diversity and their interesting adaptations to, from a human perspective, extreme environmental conditions. It can be anticipated that those specialized species will respond sensitively to changes in the environment and climate.
In this presentation, I will report from several studies that have investigated how changes in snow cover, elevated atmospheric CO² levels, warmer temperatures and, last but not least, land-use can affect alpine plants and their diversity. For instance, I will demonstrate,
- how the plant diversity of mountain summits has increased in recent decades and centuries probably due to higher temperature and reduced snow cover,
- that elevated atmospheric CO²; levels have the potential to enhance plant growth at tree line but that at the same time they can also increase the plants susceptibility to freezing events,
- that it is important to maintain high alpine plant diversity to provide key ecosystem services such as soil stability.
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