Treelines are widely studied worldwide in relation to climate changes because they are hypothesized to be sensitive climate proxies. However, forest treeline expansion toward higher altitudes may be influenced both by a warming climate and by other factors, such as surface morphology and, in the European Alps, the decline in alpine farming. Our results from five valleys in the inner and peripheral regions of the Alps show that present-day treeline altitudes mostly depend on anthropogenic and orographicgeomorphologic factors. Climatic treelines are limited to steep and inaccessible slopes, and occur at higher altitudes and farther from mountain peaks in the inner regions than in the peripheral regions of the mountain range. Looking for sites in which to study treeline responses to climate change, we recommend investigating the inner regions of the Alps where treelines are farther from human disturbances and from geomorphologic constraints, potentially resulting in freer upward shifts under warmer temperature conditions. We also found that, in the valleys selected, human disturbance is mainly concentrated about 165 m below non-climatic treelines, suggesting a homogeneous influence on treelines, regardless of geographic position.
Detecting climatic treelines in the Italian Alps: the influence of geomorphological factors and human impacts. / G. Leonelli, M. Pelfini, U. Morra Di Cella. - In: PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY. - ISSN 0272-3646. - 30:4(2009), pp. 338-352.
|Titolo:||Detecting climatic treelines in the Italian Alps: the influence of geomorphological factors and human impacts.|
PELFINI, MANUELA (Secondo)
|Parole Chiave:||Altitudinal treeline; Climate change; European alps; Geomorphological factors; Human impacts; Larix decidua|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore GEO/04 - Geografia Fisica e Geomorfologia|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2009|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||http://dx.doi.org/10.2747/0272-36184.108.40.2068|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|