Long-term ecological research (LTER) in Obergurgl

Long-term ecological research (LTER) in Obergurgl

Austria has been actively involved in the international LTER since 2002 and the LTER Austria Society was founded with a total of 26 sites. At the LTER-site Obergurgl several research programs and long-term studies are carried out since decades.
One of the long-term monitoring programs deals with species diversity changes along an altitudinal gradient (2040 – 2750 m a.sl.). In 2000 permanent plots were established in different plant communities such as dwarf shrub heaths, lichen heath, ski piste, and alpine grasslands. See also Land Use Change.

Research Questions

  • How do species diversity and community composition of subalpine and alpine ecosystems change throughout the years?
  • Does ski piste vegetation adjust to the former species composition?
  • Are vegetation dynamics correlated to microclimate?
  • Are there migration trends detectable, i.e. do species from lower altitudes appear at the alpine plant communities?

Funding
Abteilung Umweltschutz der Tiroler Landesregierung: Projekt „Langzeit-Ökosystem-Monitoring im Alpinen Raum“ (2000-2005)
Forschungszentrum Berglandwirtschaft

Personnel involved

Klaus Vorhauser
Roland Mayer
Brigitta Erschbamer

Cooperation
Rüdiger Kaufmann, Institute of Ecology, University of Innsbruck   
Alpine Research Centre Obergurgl, University of Innsbruck [Link]

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