Impacts of changing climate and land use on vegetation dynamics in a Mediterranean ecosystem: insights from paleoecology and dynamic modeling

Henne, Paul Daniel; Elkin, Ché; Colombaroli, Daniele; Samartin, Stéphanie; Bugmann, Harald; Heiri, Oliver; Tinner, Willy (2013). Impacts of changing climate and land use on vegetation dynamics in a Mediterranean ecosystem: insights from paleoecology and dynamic modeling. Landscape ecology, 28(5), pp. 819-833. The Hague: Springer Netherlands 10.1007/s10980-012-9782-8

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Forests near the Mediterranean coast have been shaped by millennia of human disturbance. Consequently, ecological studies relying on modern observations or historical records may have difficulty assessing natural vegetation dynamics under current and future climate. We combined a sedimentary pollen record from Lago di Massacciucoli, Tuscany, Italy with simulations from the LandClim dynamic vegetation model to determine what vegetation preceded intense human disturbance, how past changes in vegetation relate to fire and browsing, and the potential of an extinct vegetation type under present climate. We simulated vegetation dynamics near Lago di Massaciucoli for the last 7,000 years using a local chironomid-inferred temperature reconstruction with combinations of three fire regimes (small infrequent, large infrequent, small frequent) and three browsing intensities (no browsing, light browsing, and moderate browsing), and compared model output to pollen data. Simulations with low disturbance support pollen-inferred evidence for a mixed forest dominated by Quercus ilex (a Mediterranean species) and Abies alba (a montane species). Whereas pollen data record the collapse of A. alba after 6000 cal yr bp, simulated populations expanded with declining summer temperatures during the late Holocene. Simulations with increased fire and browsing are consistent with evidence for expansion by deciduous species after A. alba collapsed. According to our combined paleo-environmental and modeling evidence, mixed Q. ilex and A. alba forests remain possible with current climate and limited disturbance, and provide a viable management objective for ecosystems near the Mediterranean coast and in regions that are expected to experience a mediterranean-type climate in the future.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Palaeoecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)
Graduate Schools > Graduate School of Climate Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Henne, Paul Daniel; Colombaroli, Daniele; Samartin, Stéphanie; Heiri, Oliver and Tinner, Willy

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

0921-2973

Publisher:

Springer Netherlands

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

07 Feb 2014 12:56

Last Modified:

26 Jun 2018 13:58

Publisher DOI:

10.1007/s10980-012-9782-8

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Abies alba, Chironomids, Fire ecology, Holocene, Italy, Landscape model, Mediterranean forest, Neolithic, Pollen, Quercus ilex

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.38659

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/38659

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