Global Change and Mountain Regions pp 133-143
Long-term Responses of Mountain Ecosystems to Environmental Changes: Resilience, Adjustment, and Vulnerability
The steep environmental gradients of mountain ecosystems over short distances reflect large gradients of several climatic parameters and hence provide excellent possibilities for ecological research on the effects of environmental change. To gain a better understanding of the dynamics of abiotic and biotic parameters of mountain ecosystems, long-term records are required since permanent plots in mountain regions cover in the best case about 50–70 years. In order to extend investigations of ecological dynamics beyond these temporal limitations of permanent plots, paleoecological approaches can be used if the sampling resolution can be adapted to ecological research questions, e.g. a sample every 10 years. Paleoecological studies in mountain ecosystems can provide new ecological insights through the combination of different spatial and temporal scales. If we thus improve our understanding of processes across both steep environmental gradients and different time scales, we may be able to better estimate ecosystem responses to current and future environmental change (Ammann et al. 1993; Lotter et al. 1997).
KeywordsAlps Climate change Human impact Fire history Paleoecology Vegetation history
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