Evaluating a vegetation-recovery plan in Mediterranean alpine ski slopes: A chronosequence-based study in Sierra Nevada (SE Spain)

Landscape and Urban Planning (Impact Factor: 3.04). 08/2010; 97(2):92-97. DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2010.04.015


In this paper, we assess the results found in the restoration of vegetation on ski runs in the Mediterranean high mountain, contrasting different issues widely used for evaluating recovery plans, such as cover, richness, diversity, growth, and qualitative species composition, with the aim of establishing their relative validity as well as finding a straightforward model to assess the success of the restoration of degraded areas. Ski runs were selected in Sierra Nevada ski station (SE Spain) in which hydroseeding was performed from 2002 to 2005. The sampling design was based on a chronosequence approach, using natural areas established as ‘models’ (i.e. target for long-term restoration) to evaluate the restoration success based on the similarity to the model. Although parameters such as growth, cover, and even richness or diversity reached similar values to the ones in the model areas after 4 years (i.e. natural perennial mountain pastures), other indicators such as composition, measured in a qualitative way as the ratio of colonizing species to total species, showed different occurrence values for the most abundant species. Moreover, when the whole pool of species was taken into account using discriminant analysis, the results differed, showing that although the process performed well, the recovery (sensu stricto) requires longer periods than the duration assessed to be fully successful. The results showed that common parameters, such as growth, cover, richness, or diversity, when used solely may lead to misinterpretation, and therefore additional methods to compare composition, such as the discriminant analysis, are strongly recommended.

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    • "phanerophytes, chamaephytes, hemicryptophytes, or geophytes, according Raunkjaer's system; Raunkjaer, 1934), while annual species were noted and used for the calculation of vegetation cover but not classified into species. Non-annual species (hereafter referred to as perennials but also including biennials) were classified according to their post-fire regeneration strategy (seeders, resprouters, or both), in accordance with the literature (Lorite et al., 2007, 2010; Blanca et al., 2009) and expert knowledge (Appendix S1). Nomenclature of species throughout the manuscript follows Flora de Andalucía Oriental (Blanca et al., 2009) or Flora iberica (Castroviejo et al., 1986e2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: An intense debate exists on the effects of post-fire salvage logging on plant community regeneration, but scant data are available derived from experimental studies. We analyzed the effects of salvage logging on plant community regeneration in terms of species richness, diversity, cover, and composition by experimentally managing a burnt forest on a Mediterranean mountain (Sierra Nevada, S Spain). In each of three plots located at different elevations, three replicates of three treatments were implemented seven months after the fire, differing in the degree of intervention: "Non-Intervention" (all trees left standing), "Partial Cut plus Lopping" (felling 90% of the trees, cutting the main branches, and leaving all the biomass in situ), and "Salvage Logging" (felling and piling the logs, and masticating the woody debris). Plant composition in each treatment was monitored two years after the fire in linear point transects. Post-fire salvage logging was associated with reduced species richness, Shannon diversity, and total plant cover. Moreover, salvaged sites hosted different species assemblages and 25% lower cover of seeder species (but equal cover of resprouters) compared to the other treatments. Cover of trees and shrubs was also lowest in Salvage Logging, which could suggest a potential slow-down of forest regeneration. Most of these results were consistent among the three plots despite plots hosting different plant communities. Concluding, our study suggests that salvage logging may reduce species richness and diversity, as well as the recruitment of woody species, which could delay the natural regeneration of the ecosystem.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Journal of Environmental Management
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    • "Multivariate analyses can be used effectively to develop integrative tools for evaluating success since they make it possible to synthesize environmental information, thereby explaining most system variability on fewer dimensions. Among the panoply of existing multivariate techniques, linear discriminant analysis (LDA, Fisher, 1936; Rao, 1948, 1952) is one of the few that can be used specifically for prediction purposes, although it has seldom been applied for this aim in ecology (Legendre and Legendre, 2012), especially in the evaluation of restoration projects (but see Syvaranta et al., 2008 and Lorite et al., 2010). We combined several indicator species, as well as key environmental and management variables, through LDA modeling to predict success in attaining desired trajectories shortly (3 years) after restoration work (i.e., application of the restoration technique ). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background/Question/Methods Bog exploitation for horticultural purposes leaves large surfaces of residual peat that remain devoid of vegetation for decades. Restoration of those bogs is necessary to mitigate the loss of local biodiversity. However, tools to assess the success of restoration works have not been rigorously defined yet. We used vacuum-milled peat extracted bogs restored by the moss transfer technique in Eastern Canada as a model system to test an approach for assessing restoration success, based on plant composition. A total of 188 plots in 12 restored bogs that had been restored from 4 to 11 years ago and continuously monitored were clustered in three success categories, according to their characteristic vegetation composition. Then, vegetation composition in the plots was analyzed retrospectively at the third year since restoration to obtain the combination of indicator species that best discriminated between the success categories using linear discriminant analysis (LDA). Results/Conclusions LDA classified correctly 86% of the cases into three success categories: a first one representing Successful restoration, with dominance of Sphagnum, a typical bog genus that is able to initiate self-regulatory mechanisms leading back to bog ecosystems (restoration goal); a second one representing Failure, with dominance of bare peat; and a third category, interpreted as a dead-ended successional pathway, dominated by Polytrichum strictum, a pioneer moss that usually facilitates Sphagnum colonization. Recently restored bogs were finally used to illustrate the use of our predictive tool and suggest different management strategies.
    Full-text · Conference Paper · Aug 2013
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    • "Those patches become desiccated and overheated, which leads to further erosion in the summer (Watson, 1985). Harsh highmountain conditions and the mechanical damage caused to plants by the construction and maintenance of ski runs greatly retards primary succession and the recovery of the vegetation cover (Rixen et al., 2003; Wipf et al., 2005; Roux-Fouillet et al., 2011); consequently , extensive areas can remain bare in these environments (Tsuyuzaki, 1994; Urbanska, 1997; Rixen et al., 2008b; Lorite et al., 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: In recent decades, the use of some subalpine mountain grasslands in the Central Spanish Pyrenees has changed. Ski resorts have been developed and cattle herd management has shifted from the traditional "rotational-type" system in which grazing cattle are overseen by a herder to a "continuous-type" system that does not involve a herder. In 2005, the locations of 30 floristic inventories performed in 1972 were revisited and inventories were repeated in two adjacent similar areas, although one had been used for the development of ski runs and the other had not. The objective was to assess the effects of those changes on plant diversity and other characteristics of the grasslands. In both areas, plant diversity was significantly higher in 2005 than it was in 1972. Both areas had been grazed by cattle to a similar extent; thus, the results suggest that diversity was affected primarily by the change in the livestock grazing system. Livestock grazing within the skiing area appears to have counterbalanced any reduction in plant diversity that would have occurred because of the construction and use of ski runs. In the skiing area, legume cover and pastoral value decreased, the Ellenberg Nitrogen Index reflected lower soil nutrients available to plants, and the cover of plant species that regenerate by seeds increased between 1972 and 2005; such changes did not occur in the non-skiing area. The abundance of ruderal species increased more in the skiing area than in the non-skiing area. Between 1981 and 2000, the amount of bare ground increased only in the skiing area.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · Arctic Antarctic and Alpine Research
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