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Could Hair-Lichens of High-Elevation Forests Help Detect the Impact of Global Change in the Alps?

1
Department of Biological Geological and Enviromental Sciences, University of Bologna, Piazza di Porta San Donato 1, 40126 Bologna, Italy
2
Department of Biology, University of Firenze, Via La Pira 4, 50121 Firenze, Italy
3
DIFAR, University of Genoa, Viale Cembrano 4, 16148 Genova, Italy
4
Institute of Biology, Division of Plant Sciences, NAWI Graz, University of Graz, Holteigasse 6, 8010 Graz, Austria
5
DAFNAE, University of Padova, Viale dell’Università 16, 35020 Legnaro, Padova, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2019, 11(3), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11030045
Received: 19 February 2019 / Revised: 15 March 2019 / Accepted: 18 March 2019 / Published: 21 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lichen Diversity and Biomonitoring)
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Abstract

Climate change and the anthropic emission of pollutants are likely to have an accelerated impact in high-elevation mountain areas. This phenomenon could have negative consequences on alpine habitats and for species of conservation in relative proximity to dense human populations. This premise implies that the crucial task is in the early detection of warning signals of ecological changes. In alpine landscapes, high-elevation forests provide a unique environment for taking full advantage of epiphytic lichens as sensitive indicators of climate change and air pollution. This literature review is intended to provide a starting point for developing practical biomonitoring tools that elucidate the potential of hair-lichens, associated with high-elevation forests, as ecological indicators of global change in the European Alps. We found support for the practical use of hair-lichens to detect the impact of climate change and nitrogen pollution in high-elevation forest habitats. The use of these organisms as ecological indicators presents an opportunity to expand monitoring activities and develop predictive tools that support decisions on how to mitigate the effects of global change in the Alps. View Full-Text
Keywords: biodiversity conservation; climate change; ecosystem functioning; fruticose-filamentose lichens; global warming; nitrogen pollution biodiversity conservation; climate change; ecosystem functioning; fruticose-filamentose lichens; global warming; nitrogen pollution
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Nascimbene, J.; Benesperi, R.; Giordani, P.; Grube, M.; Marini, L.; Vallese, C.; Mayrhofer, H. Could Hair-Lichens of High-Elevation Forests Help Detect the Impact of Global Change in the Alps? Diversity 2019, 11, 45.

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