Debris-covered glaciers are glaciers with the ablation zone covered by a debris layer, which are able to persist below the treeline and to support plant life. These landforms are increasing on many mountain regions of the world as consequence of climate change, providing new habitat for plant colonization, but their vegetation features are still little known. Our aim was to describe the vegetation of an alpine debris-covered glacier descending below the treeline (Belvedere: Western Italian Alps) and compare it with those of the adjacent iceless moraine and stable slope. Our hypothesis was that plant community of the supraglacial debris differs from those of the surrounding landforms for the presence of cold-adapted species. Data were collected by phytosociological method performing 45 relevés of 25 m2. Plant communities were compared by a cluster analysis based on the presence/absence species matrix; species relative frequencies for each landform were calculated. The cluster analysis clearly separated three plant assemblages, each corresponding with one of the investigated landforms. Unlike the iceless moraine, debris-covered glacier stands out for the presence of cold-adapted species typically widespread in the alpine and nival belts (e.g. Poa laxa and Cerastium pedunculatum), allowing them to survive below their normal altitudinal distribution, where the stable slopes host subalpine woodlands and shrublands.
Vegetation outlines of a debris-covered glacier descending below the treeline / D. Tampucci, C. Citterio, M. Gobbi, M. Caccianiga. - In: PLANT SOCIOLOGY. - ISSN 2280-1855. - 53:1(2016 Jun), pp. 45-54.
|Titolo:||Vegetation outlines of a debris-covered glacier descending below the treeline|
TAMPUCCI, DUCCIO (Primo)
CACCIANIGA, MARCO STEFANO (Ultimo)
|Parole Chiave:||alpine flora; alpine vegetation; Belvedere glacier; climate change; moraine; refugia|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore BIO/02 - Botanica Sistematica|
Settore BIO/03 - Botanica Ambientale e Applicata
|Data di pubblicazione:||giu-2016|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||http://dx.doi.org/10.7338/pls2016531/03|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|