Responses of Plants and Plant Communities to Environmental Changes in Mountain Areas

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Ecology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2024 | Viewed by 3437

Special Issue Editors

Ge.S.Di.Mont. Research Centre, University of Milan, 25048 Edolo, BS, Italy
Interests: environment science; plants; mountain area
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Annamaria Giorgi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Ge.S.Di.Mont. Research Centre, University of Milan, 25048 Edolo, BS, Italy
Interests: environment science; mountain area
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The mountain areas of our planet are particularly rich in plant species and plant communities. Many of these are now threatened and/or are undergoing imbalances due to drastic changes in their environment, the causes of which are mainly attributable to global warming and land management change.

This Special Issue entitled “Responses of Plants and Plant Communities to Environmental Changes in Mountain Areas” has the aim of gathering studies on the responses of plant species and vegetation to environmental changes in order to provide adequate knowledge to understand future scenarios and plan more correct actions for nature conservation in mountain (and surrounding) areas.

We welcome papers that are related to any of the following topics:

  • Morphological, ecological and physiological adaptations of plant species to the environment. Studies concerning any mountain plant are welcome regardless of their distribution (both steno-endemic and cosmopolitan studies can be considered) and their environment. Studies concerning agricultural plants grown/cultivated in mountains will also be accepted.
  • Floristic changes in plant communities (including plant successions) in relation to disturbance phenomena and/or environmental/landscape changes. Phytosociological and palynological studies are also welcome.
  • Responses of plant species and vegetation used in environmental restoration and/or nature conservation projects (e.g., plant translocation).
  • Application and/or development of models of the distribution of plants (both native and exotic) and/or of vegetation change in relation to environmental variables.
  • Cultivation/experimentation of “new” agricultural and forestry plants in mountain agro-ecosystems. Studies related to the application of evolutionary mixtures will also be considered.

This Special Issue aims to provide a reliable source of scientific information for both researchers and land managers. The Special Issue is open to a broad range of research and will consider a broad range of contributions (original articles, reviews and short communications).

Dr. Luca Giupponi
Prof. Dr. Annamaria Giorgi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Plants is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • plant ecology
  • adaptation traits
  • morpho-ecological plasticity
  • plant succession
  • flora and vegetation changes
  • plant translocation
  • plant–environment interactions
  • phytosociology
  • species distribution models
  • invasive alien species
  • mountain agro-ecosystems

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

17 pages, 4402 KiB  
Article
Characterization and Future Distribution Prospects of “Carciofo di Malegno” Landrace for Its In Situ Conservation
Plants 2024, 13(5), 680; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050680 - 28 Feb 2024
Viewed by 301
Abstract
“Carciofo di Malegno” is a little-known landrace of Cynara cardunculus subsp. scolymus cultivated in Camonica Valley (northern Italy). The morphological and phytochemical characteristics of this landrace were investigated; furthermore, a species distribution model (MaxEnt algorithm) was used to explore its ecological niche and [...] Read more.
“Carciofo di Malegno” is a little-known landrace of Cynara cardunculus subsp. scolymus cultivated in Camonica Valley (northern Italy). The morphological and phytochemical characteristics of this landrace were investigated; furthermore, a species distribution model (MaxEnt algorithm) was used to explore its ecological niche and the geographical area where it could be grown in the future. Due to its spiky shape, “Carciofo di Malegno” was distinct from any other artichoke sample considered, and it appears to be similar to those belonging to the “Spinosi” group. The concentration of chlorogenic acid (497.2 ± 116.0 mg/100 g DW) and cynarine (7.4 ± 1.2 mg/100 g DW) in “Carciofo di Malegno” was comparable to that of the commercial cultivars. In “Carciofo di Malegno,” luteolin was detected in a significant amount (9.4 ± 1.5 mg/100 g DW) only in the stems and in the edible parts of the capitula. A MaxEnt distribution model showed that in the coming decades (2040–2060s), the cultivation of this landrace could expand to the pre-Alps and Alps of Lombardy. Climate change may promote the diffusion of “Carciofo di Malegno”, contributing to preservation and the enhancement of this landrace and generating sustainable income opportunities in mountain areas through exploring new food or medicinal applications. Full article
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29 pages, 13029 KiB  
Article
A Continuous Centennial Late Glacial-Early Holocene (15–10 cal kyr BP) Palynological Record from the Iberian Pyrenees and Regional Comparisons
Plants 2023, 12(20), 3644; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12203644 - 22 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1263
Abstract
This paper presents the first continuous (gap-free) Late Glacial-Early Holocene (LGEH) pollen record for the Iberian Pyrenees resolved at centennial resolution. The main aims are (i) to provide a standard chronostratigraphic correlation framework, (ii) to unravel the relationships between vegetation shifts, climatic changes [...] Read more.
This paper presents the first continuous (gap-free) Late Glacial-Early Holocene (LGEH) pollen record for the Iberian Pyrenees resolved at centennial resolution. The main aims are (i) to provide a standard chronostratigraphic correlation framework, (ii) to unravel the relationships between vegetation shifts, climatic changes and fire, and (iii) to obtain a regional picture of LGEH vegetation for the Pyrenees and the surrounding lowlands. Seven pollen assemblage zones were obtained and correlated with the stadial/interstadial phases of the Greenland ice cores that serve as a global reference. Several well-dated datums were also derived for keystone individual taxa that are useful for correlation purposes. Four vegetation types were identified, two of them corresponding to conifer and deciduous forests (Cf, Df) and two representing open vegetation types (O1, O2) with no modern analogs, dominated by Artemisia-Poaceae and Saxifraga-Cichorioideae, respectively. Forests dominated during interstadial phases (Bølling/Allerød and Early Holocene), whereas O1 dominated during stadials (Oldest Dryas and Younger Dryas), with O2 being important only in the first half of the Younger Dryas. The use of pollen-independent proxies for temperature and moisture allowed the reconstruction of paleoclimatic trends and the responses of the four vegetation types defined. The most relevant observation in this sense was the finding of wet climates during the Younger Dryas, which challenges the traditional view of arid conditions for this phase on the basis of former pollen records. Fire incidence was low until the Early Holocene, when regional fires were exacerbated, probably due to the combination of higher temperatures and forest biomass accumulation. These results are compared with the pollen records available for the whole Pyrenean range and the surrounding lowlands within the framework of elevational, climatic and biogeographical gradients. Some potential future developments are suggested on the basis of the obtained results, with an emphasis on the reconsideration of the LGEH spatiotemporal moisture patterns and the comparison of the Pyrenees with other European ranges from different climatic and biogeographical regions. Full article
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21 pages, 19821 KiB  
Article
Restoration of Vegetation Greenness and Possible Changes in Mature Forest Communities in Two Forests Damaged by the Vaia Storm in Northern Italy
Plants 2023, 12(6), 1369; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12061369 - 19 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1387
Abstract
Windstorms are rare in the Southern Alps, but their frequency is increasing due to climate change. This research analyzed the vegetation of two spruce forests in Camonica Valley (Northern Italy) destroyed by the Vaia storm to evaluate the vegetation responses to blowdown damage. [...] Read more.
Windstorms are rare in the Southern Alps, but their frequency is increasing due to climate change. This research analyzed the vegetation of two spruce forests in Camonica Valley (Northern Italy) destroyed by the Vaia storm to evaluate the vegetation responses to blowdown damage. In each study area, the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) was used to evaluate the change in plant cover and greenness from 2018 (before the Vaia storm) to 2021. Furthermore, floristic-vegetation data were analyzed to identify current plant communities and develop models of plant succession. The results showed that the two areas, although located in different altitudinal vegetation belts, are undergoing the same ecological processes. NDVI is increasing in both areas, and pre-disturbance values (~0.8) should be reached in less than ten years. Nevertheless, the spontaneous restoration of pre-disturbance forest communities (Calamagrostio arundinaceae-Piceetum) should not occur in both study areas. In fact, the two plant succession trends are characterized by pioneer and intermediate stages with young trees of Quercus petraea and Abies alba, typical of more thermophilic mature forest communities compared to pre-disturbance ones. These results could reinforce the trend of the upward shift in forest plant species and plant communities in response to environmental changes in mountain areas. Full article
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