Determining the long-term changes in biodiversity and provisioning services along a transect from Central Europe to the Mediterranean

Colombaroli, Daniele; Tinner, Willy (2013). Determining the long-term changes in biodiversity and provisioning services along a transect from Central Europe to the Mediterranean. Holocene, 23(11), pp. 1625-1634. Los Angeles, Calif.: Sage 10.1177/0959683613496290

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Climate, land use and fire are strong determinants of plant diversity, potentially resulting in local extinctions, including rare endemic and economically valuable species. While climate and land use are decisive for vegetation composition and thus the species pool, fire disturbance can lead to landscape fragmentation, affecting the provisioning of important ecosystem services such as timber and raw natural resources. We use multi-proxy palaeoecological data with high taxonomic and temporal resolution across an environmental gradient to assess the long-term impact of major climate shifts, land use and fire disturbance on past vegetation openness and plant diversity (evenness and richness). Evenness of taxa is inferred by calculating the probability of interspecific encounter (PIE) of pollen and spores and species richness by palynological richness (PRI). To account for evenness distortions of PRI, we developed a new palaeodiversity measure, which is evenness-detrended palynological richness (DE-PRI). Reconstructed species richness increases from north to south regardless of time, mirroring the biodiversity increase across the gradient from temperate deciduous to subtropical evergreen vegetation. Climatic changes after the end of the last ice age contributed to biodiversity dynamics, usually by promoting species richness and evenness in response to warming. The data reveal that the promotion of diverse open-land ecosystems increased when human disturbance became determinant, while forests became less diverse. Our results imply that the today’s biodiversity has been shaped by anthropogenic forcing over the millennia. Future management strategies aiming at a successful conservation of biodiversity should therefore consider the millennia-lasting role of anthropogenic fire and human activities.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
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)

UniBE Contributor:

Colombaroli, Daniele and Tinner, Willy

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

0959-6836

Publisher:

Sage

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

02 Nov 2013 09:47

Last Modified:

10 Oct 2019 10:24

Publisher DOI:

10.1177/0959683613496290

Uncontrolled Keywords:

climate ; ecosystem services ; evenness-detrended palynological richness ; fire ; land use ; plant diversity

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.38720

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/38720

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