Appennino settentrionale - Italy
Parent Site Name
Alpine and subalpine grasslands
long term monitoring
vascular plant species
The site consists of “orographic islands” with high elevation vegetation in central Mediterranean basin, along the Apennines mountain range, within the Appennino Tosco-Emiliano National park and partially in the Appennino Modenese Regional park. It includes 64 permanent plots for plant species monitoring, distributed from timberline zone to the subalpine/alpine belt (1722-2000 m), that belong to the GLORIA project’s world network (GLobal Observation Research Initiative in Alpine ecosystems); The plots lie at the top of four summits, displayed along an altitudinal gradient, chosen following the GLORIA Target Region selection criteria. Furthermore, other 26 permanent plots, detached from the GLORIA project, have been settled on mount Prado. The observation and the long-term monitoring of vegetation and alpine plant species population started in 1999. The collection of soil temperature and osmotic potential started in 2001 and 2013, respectively. The site is resurveyed regularly to collect vegetation data (in term of presence/absence and coverage) and climatic data (temperature and osmotic potential data series recorded every 30 minutes by data loggers) in order to assess impacts of climate change on plant communities and single plant species of interest.
General Characteristics, Purpose, History
The purpose of this long-term monitoring site is to record vegetation, temperature, and soil osmotic potential data over time with a standardized design. These data could be extremely useful to detect, assess and predict changes in the vegetation composition and potential plant biodiversity losses in this alpine ecosystem, which is currently experiencing an accelerating climate change pressure. Moreover, focused investigations on several target plant species of interest (endemism and species growing at the southern boundary of their distribution range) population’s dynamics, and their relation to climate change, are currently carried on.
The first long-term monitoring study on plants population dynamics in the area of the northern Apennine LTER site started in 1999 on mount Prado. In 2001, four other summits where chosen to start a new project of long-term monitoring research on alpine vegetation, following the guidelines established by the international research network GLORIA. In the same year, the five summits became part of the LTER-ITalia, the national LTER network. Since then, the permanent plots on mount Prado have been resurveyed every year, while the other four summits have been resurveyed every 7 years (2001, 2008 and 2015) for the vegetation sampling, and visited regularly every two or three years for gather the temperature data series collected by the data logger, as established by the GLORIA protocol.
Affiliation and Network Specific Information