AoB PLANTS

Changes in composition, ecology and structure of high-mountain vegetation: a re-visitation study over 42 years

Silene acaulis subsp. bryoides an alpine cushion plant photographed in July 2014 in the Majella National Park (photo credit: Giovanni Pelino)
Silene acaulis subsp. bryoides, an alpine cushion plant photographed in July 2014 in the Majella National Park (photo credit: Giovanni Pelino)

Mediterranean high-mountain ecosystems are increasingly threatened by climate change, causing biodiversity loss, habitat degradation and landscape modifications. In a new study published in AoB PLANTS, Evangelista et al. used phytosociological relevés to conduct a re-visitation study in order to analyze changes in floristic composition over the last 42 years in the central Apennines (Majella National Park). They observed changes in floristic composition, along with a significant increase in thermophilic and nutrient-demanding species. Such changes are likely attributable to the combined effect of higher temperatures and the increase in soil nutrients triggered by global change.