Biodiversity and climate change: consequences for upper tree line in Slovakia

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Abstract

Study of the effects of climate change on upper tree limit has mainly focused on the diversity of tree species as a result of the ability of species to tolerate temperature and moisture changes as well as some effects of disturbance regime changes. The tree species diversity changes due to climate change has been analysed via gap model and biodiversity indices. Gap models are individually based on simulations of establishment, growth, and mortality of each tree on the forest plot. Input ecological data for model calculations have been taken from the permanent research plots located in primeval forests in mountainous regions in Slovakia. The results of regional scenarios of the climatic change for the territory of Slovakia have been used, from which the values according to the CGCM3.1 (global) model, KNMI and MPI (regional) models. Model results for conditions of the climate change scenarios suggest a shift of the upper forest limit to the region of the present subalpine zone, in supramontane zone. The most significant tree species diversity changes have been identified for the upper tree line and current belt of dwarf pine (Pinus mugo) occurrence. Hill’s index of biodiversity in the upper forest line increased by 30 – 35% for horizon of 2050, resp. by 45 – 50% modeled for the horizon of 2075. Calculated values of Shannon’s index show an even higher increase due to climate change. For horizon 2050 is a roughly of three fold increase and horizon for 2075 by almost fivefold increase in the value of the index. Results from the gap model indicate the increase of tree species diversity 2 – 2,5 times.

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Central European Forestry Journal

The Journal of National Forest Centre – Forest Research Institute Zvolen

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CiteScore 2016: 0.56

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.230
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.454

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