Led by researchers from the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the University of Vienna, biologists from 13 different countries in Europe analysed 867 vegetation samples from 60 different summits sited in all major European mountain systems, first in 2001 and then again just seven years later in 2008. They found strong indications that, at a continental scale, cold-loving plants traditionally found in alpine regions are being pushed out of many habitats by warm-loving plants.
This alpine species (Nevadensia purpurea) could disappear from some European mountains in the next few decades. Credit: Harald Pauli
All 32 authors involved in the study used the same sampling procedures enabling pan-continental comparisons to be made for the first time, here at the Austrian Hochschwab mountains. Credit: Harald Pauli
The GLORIA programme (Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments) is a network of more than 100 research teams distributed over six continents whose aim it is to monitor all alpine regions across the globe. Launched in 2001, it has implemented a long-term and standardised approach to the observation of alpine vegetation and its response to climate change. The GLORIA researchers will be returning to the same European sampling sites in 2015 to continue monitoring the effects of climate change on alpine vegetation.
Further details: http://www.gloria.ac.at/
Continent-wide response of mountain vegetation to climate change. In: Nature Climate Change, 8. Jänner 2012 (Online ahead of print) DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE1329
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