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Diversity 2018, 10(3), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10030062

Trends in Population Size of Rare Plant Species in the Alpine Habitats of the Ukrainian Carpathians under Climate Change

1
Institute of Ecology of the Carpathians, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kozelnytska St. 4, 79026 Lviv, Ukraine
2
Botanical Garden of Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Cheremshyny St. 44, 79014 Lviv, Ukraine
Received: 17 April 2018 / Revised: 8 July 2018 / Accepted: 9 July 2018 / Published: 13 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change Impacts on Alpine and Polar Plants)
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Abstract

Population trends in rare alpine plant species in the high-mountain zone of the Ukrainian Carpathians are described with regard to the types of habitats where they occur. Populations of cold-adapted species confined to snowbeds, alpine screes, poorly vegetated rocks, and the highest ridges, as well as mires and springs, are very vulnerable to climate change, while their habitats tend to shrink. The direct impact of warming affects mainly the most cryophilic species. Another driver of changes is climate-induced succession that results in denser vegetation cover and encroachment of more thermophilic plants, which replace low-competitive rare alpine species. Their replacement is largely caused by the loss of open microsites suitable for seed recruitment. However, the climate-driven decrease of snow cover often leads to frost damage to vegetation that provides gaps appropriate for the establishment of many rare species. One of the groups of species that benefit from warming includes rather thermophilic tall herbs that are more common in the subalpine zone but have been actively spreading at higher altitudes lately. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; alpine species; population; habitat; suitable microsite; Carpathians climate change; alpine species; population; habitat; suitable microsite; Carpathians
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Kobiv, Y. Trends in Population Size of Rare Plant Species in the Alpine Habitats of the Ukrainian Carpathians under Climate Change. Diversity 2018, 10, 62.

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