Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://doi.org/10.21256/zhaw-23427
Publication type: Article in scientific journal
Type of review: Peer review (publication)
Title: Changes in biodiversity and species composition of temperate beech forests in Switzerland over 26 years
Authors: Staubli, Eline
Dengler, Jürgen
Billeter, Regula
Wohlgemuth, Thomas
et. al: No
DOI: 10.21256/zhaw-23427
Published in: Tuexenia
Volume(Issue): 41
Page(s): 87
Pages to: 108
Issue Date: 31-Oct-2021
Publisher / Ed. Institution: Floristisch-Soziologische Arbeitsgemeinschaft
ISSN: 0722-494X
0373-7632
Language: English
Subjects: Beech forest; Switzerland; Biodiversity; Canopy closure; Climate change; Drought; Ecological indicator value; Resurvey; Permanent plot; Vegetation change
Subject (DDC): 333.7: Land, natural recreational areas
580: Plants (Botany)
Abstract: Ongoing climate warming affects vegetation in multiple ways, although it is difficult to distinguish its influence from other drivers of vegetation change. We studied how forest vegetation in the Albiskette (canton of Zurich, Switzerland), mainly dominated by European beech (Fagus sylvatica), changed from 1993 to 2019, while the mean temperature rose by 1.5 °C. To investigate how species richness and vegetation composition had changed during these 26 years, we resampled 46 permanently marked nested-plot series (30 m², 200 m² and 500 m²). Using paired t-tests, we analysed changes in biodiversity metrics and mean ecological indicator values and related the quantified changes to poten-tial explanatory variables via linear regressions. Using the z-values from the power law species-area relationships, we analysed potential changes in beta diversity. Both species richness and herb layer cover significantly decreased from 1993 to 2019 across the three grain sizes. The z-values for the transi-tion from 200 m² to 500 m² were significantly higher in 2019. The mean light value in the 500-m2 plots in 2019 was also significantly lower than in 1993. Species richness, Shannon diversity and Shannon evenness decreased with increasing tree layer cover. With increasing herb layer cover, species richness increased in the 30-m2 plots and the relative species loss decreased in the 30-m2 and 200-m2 plots. The relationship between species loss and increased canopy cover confirmed that light availability acts as an important driver for species richness. Whether the loss in both herb cover and species is also related to recent summer drought events such as 2018 can only be clarified through further resurveys. Decreases in z-values indicate lower beta diversity and more homogenous vegetation in 2019. The decrease in species richness was more pronounced in the 500-m2 plots than in the smaller plots. In some cases, explanatory variables had an effect on the change in species diversity only in the 30-m² and 200-m² plots, but not in the 500-m² plots, indicating that other drivers prevail. The change in species diversity and the influencing factors were clearly scale dependent. Further investigation is required to determine whether our findings are merely region-specific or also valid in other biogeographical regions. To ensure that further species loss does not go unnoticed, we recommend the continuation of coordinated resurvey studies and monitoring.
URI: https://digitalcollection.zhaw.ch/handle/11475/23427
Fulltext version: Published version
License (according to publishing contract): Licence according to publishing contract
Departement: Life Sciences and Facility Management
Organisational Unit: Institute of Natural Resource Sciences (IUNR)
Appears in collections:Publikationen Life Sciences und Facility Management

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