Grup de Recerca de Geobotànica i Cartografia de la Vegetació
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PROJECT: Arbustos de alta montaña: entender su biología nos permite prever los cambios de paisaje (ARBALMONT)

Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente
Ninot Sugrañes, Josep M. (IP). Anadon Rosell, Alba. Carrillo Ortuño, Amparo. Grau Fernández, Oriol. Talavera Roma, Marc.

High mountain shrubs: from life history to encroachment assessment (ARBALMONT)

During the last years, we have analysed the functional structure of the upper Pinus uncinata forest limit, or timberline, in the Pyrenees, and the spontaneous reforestation processes at plant community and subalpine landscape scales, and have made several approaches to the functional knowledge of the adaptive traits and strategies of mountain shrubs. The study here presented includes the complementary approaches needed for studying the most outstanding shrub species driving encroachment processes on pasture areas, and eventually forest expansion. Encroachment is very apparent in some ecological situations of the Pyrenean landscape, following traditional land use abandonment. This process, previewed as more general in the high mountain. involves strong shifts in the structure and functioning of mountain ecosystems. This project is aimed to the study of a few shrub species (mostly sub-shrubs) clearly expansive, namely behaving as ecological engineers, and in other relative species (i.e. congeneric or similar) but with non expansive, rare populations. Our chief aim is to identify, assess and understand a wide scope of biological aspects of the plant species of the first group promoting their encroaching ability.

The objectives and tasks planned seek to distinct study levels:

  a) We will study the realized and potential habitat of the selected species, from rich data banks on flora and vegetation, and using GIS techniques and spatial analyses.

  b) The functional structure of these plant species will be analyzed on the basis of their functional plant traits (FPTs), and comparatively between encroaching and non-encroaching species pairs.

  c) We will monitor the phenomorfological dynamics of the same species in intensive plots. For the most outstanding species, the study will include subplots with contrasting situations of competition between distinct plant types.

  d) In these key species, we will study the carbon and nutrients dynamics, starting with litter decomposition, root growing and mycorrhize diversity, to twigs and leaves, through labelling and analyses of stable C and N isotopes.

  e) We will study the population structure and dynamics in the same key species, by means of analyzing and monitoring the soil seed bank, seedling emergence, and expansive ability through vegetative growth.

The completion of the aims and elaboration of the results obtained will grow into a noticeable advance in understanding the distinct biological processes leading to the encroachment in high mountain environments. More generally, we will contribute to the knowledge of the spontaneous forestation and shifts in the space distribution of the plant diversity in mountain ecosystems.

Research field:
Ecology of plant communities

Project results:

Anadon-Rosell, A.; Hasibeder, R.; Palacio, S.; Mayr, S.; Ingrish, J.; Ninot, J.M.; Nogués, S.; Bahn, M. 2017
Short-term carbon allocation dynamics in subalpine dwarf shrubs and their responses to experimental summer drought.
Environmental and Experimental Botany, 141: 92-102
Anadon-Rosell, A.; Ninot, J.M.; Palacio, S.; Grau, O.; Nogués, S.; Navarro, E.; Sancho, M.C.; Carrillo, E.  2017
Four years of experimental warming do not modify the interaction between subalpine shrub species.
Oecologia, 183: 1167-1181
Illa, E.; Ninot, J.M.; Anadon-Rosell, A.; Oliva, F. 2017
The role of abiotic and biotic factors on functional structure and processes of alpine subshrub communities.
Folia Geobotanica, 52 (2): 199-215.    DOI: 10.1007/s12224-017-9296-x
Catalan, J.; Ninot, J.M.; Aniz, M.M. (eds.) 2017
High mountain conservation in a changing world.
Advances in global change research, 62. Springer.
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Ninot, J.M.; Anadon-Rosell, A.; Caminal, M.; Carrillo, E.; Grau, O.; Illa, E.; Lloret, F.; Nogués, S.; Talavera, M. 2017
Los arbustos de alta montaña y los cambios de paisaje en el parque nacional de Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici.
In: Amengual, P. (ed.), Proyectos de investigación en parques nacionales: 2012-2015, Organismo Autónomo de Parques Nacionales. Madrid.
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Anadon-Rosell, A.; Palacio, S.; Nogués, S.; Ninot, J.M. 2016
Vaccinium myrtillus stands show similar structure and functioning under different scenarios of coexistence at the Pyrenean treeline.
Plant Ecology 217 (9): 1115-1128
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Anadon-Rosell, A.; Borrull, C.; Seguer, N.; Palacio, S.; Carrillo, E.; Ninot, J.M. 2016
Efectes de l'increment de temperatura en el creixement de Vaccinium myrtillus en diferents règims de coexistència a la treeline.
In: X Jornades sobre Recerca al Parc Nacional d'Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici: 243-246. Departament de Territori i Sostenibilitat. Generalitat de Catalunya. Lleida.
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Ninot, J.M.; Anadon-Rosell, A.; Carrillo, E.; Grau, O.; Illa, E.; Lloret, F.; Talavera, M. 2016
Els arbusts d'alta muntanya en el context dels canvis de vegetació.
In: X Jornades sobre Recerca al Parc Nacional d'Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici: 115-129. Departament de Territori i Sostenibilitat. Generalitat de Catalunya. Lleida.
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Grau, O.; Ninot, J.M.; Cornelissen, J.H.C.; Callaghan, T.V. 2013
Similar tree seedling responses to shrubs and to simulated environmental changes at Pyrenean and subarctic treelines.
Plant Ecology and Diversity 6(3-4): 329-342.
Grau, O.; Ninot, J.M.; Blanco-Moreno, J.M. 2013
Interaccions entre arbre i arbust al llarg de l'ecotò entre el bosc i els prats alpins al Pirineu central.
In: IX Jornades sobre Recerca al Parc Nacional d'Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici: 91-95. Departament d'Agricultura, Ramaderia, Pesca, Alimentació i Medi Natural. Generalitat de Catalunya. Lleida.
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Grup de Recerca de Geobotànica i Cartografia de la Vegetació
Universitat de Barcelona. Facultat de Biologia
Avinguda Diagonal, 643. 08028 Barcelona
Tel.:934 021 476 - Fax: 934 112 842