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Vegetation and Glacier Trends in the Area of the Maritime Alps Natural Park (Italy): MaxEnt Application to Predict Habitat Development

Department of Environment, Land and Infrastructure Engineering (DIATI), Politecnico di Torino, 10129 Torino, Italy
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Academic Editor: Steven McNulty
Climate 2021, 9(4), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli9040054
Received: 11 March 2021 / Revised: 24 March 2021 / Accepted: 25 March 2021 / Published: 31 March 2021
Climate change is significantly affecting ecosystem services and leading to strong impacts on the extent and distribution of glaciers and vegetation. In this context, species distribution models represent a suitable instrument for studying ecosystem development and response to climate warming. This study applies the maximum entropy model, MaxEnt, to evaluate trends and effects of climate change for three environmental indicators in the area of the Alpi Marittime Natural Park under the Municipality of Entracque (Italy). Specifically, this study focuses on the magnitude of the retreat of six glaciers and on the distribution of two different plant communities, Alnus viridis scrub and Fagus sylvatica forest associated with Acer pseudoplatanus and tall herbs (megaforbie), in relation to predicted increases in mean temperatures. MaxEnt software was used to model and observe changes over a thirty-year period, developing three scenarios: a present (2019), a past (1980) and a future (2050) using 24 “environmental layers”. This study showed the delicate climate balances of these six small glaciers that, in the next 30 years, are likely to undergo an important retreat (≈−33%) despite the high altitude and important snowfall that still characterize the area. At the same time, it is predicted that the two plant communities will invade those higher altitude territories that, not so long ago, were inhospitable, expanding their habitat by 50%. The MaxEnt application to glaciers has shown to be an effective tool that offers a new perspective in the climate change field as well as in biodiversity conservation planning. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; Alnus viridis; Fagus sylvatica; altimontane beech forest climate change; Alnus viridis; Fagus sylvatica; altimontane beech forest
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MDPI and ACS Style

Comino, E.; Fiorucci, A.; Rosso, M.; Terenziani, A.; Treves, A. Vegetation and Glacier Trends in the Area of the Maritime Alps Natural Park (Italy): MaxEnt Application to Predict Habitat Development. Climate 2021, 9, 54. https://doi.org/10.3390/cli9040054

AMA Style

Comino E, Fiorucci A, Rosso M, Terenziani A, Treves A. Vegetation and Glacier Trends in the Area of the Maritime Alps Natural Park (Italy): MaxEnt Application to Predict Habitat Development. Climate. 2021; 9(4):54. https://doi.org/10.3390/cli9040054

Chicago/Turabian Style

Comino, Elena; Fiorucci, Adriano; Rosso, Maurizio; Terenziani, Andrea; Treves, Anna. 2021. "Vegetation and Glacier Trends in the Area of the Maritime Alps Natural Park (Italy): MaxEnt Application to Predict Habitat Development" Climate 9, no. 4: 54. https://doi.org/10.3390/cli9040054

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