The CARBOMONT-Project sites

The European transect approach of CARBOMONT connects four regional transects covering different natural and socio-economic driving forces, each study site being representative for the respective mountain region (Figure 1). The transect covers a latitudinal and altitudinal range from 42 to 68° N and 360 to 1900 m a.s.l., respectively (Figure 2, Table 1). The Northern European transect includes study sites in the Scottish Highlands and the Swedish and Finnish subarctic Tundra. In the Central European transect the study sites "Monte Bondone" (I), "Stubai Valley" (A), "Nationalpark Berchtesgaden" (D) and "Seebodenalp" (CH) are located along a South-North- and East-West-transect through the Eastern AlpsCarbomont stydy sites - general charaterisation. The Southern European transect consists of the study sites in the Italian Apennine "Abruzzi" and the Spanish Pyrenees "Alinya Valley". The Eastern European transect consists of the study sites "Brenna" (PL), "Polana" (SK), "Bílý Kríz" (CZ) and "Mátra-hegység" (H). These mountain areas are characterised by a substantial depopulation after land re-privatisation and an associated increase of abandonment due to the lack of financial support by the government.

In each study site of CARBOMONT at least two ecosystem types differing in land use are investigated (Table 1). At least Carbomont stydy sites - latitudinal and altitudinal distributionat one ecosystem type in each study site an Eddy Covariance (EC) system will be operated continuously. In addition, a number of the selected CARBOMONT study sites are situated in vicinity of long-term flux sites in adjacent forest ecosystems. This allows a comparison of carbon sequestration between the investigated non-forest and forest ecosystems, the latter being contributed by other projects.

Detailed descriptions


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Carbomont stydy site - CollelongoTo establish a grassland flux station for continuous flux measurements in the Abruzzi region.
The site is located at 41°52' N, 13°38' E, at an elevation of about 1500 m a. s. l. with a mean annual temperature of 6.3 °C, annual precipitation of 1560 mm and a nitrogen deposition rate of 10 Kg ha-1 yr-1. The grassland is mainly constituted of Sesleria appennina, Carex kitailheliana, Edraianthus graminifolius, Anthyllis pulchella, Pedicularis elegans, Globularia meridionalis, Festuca ovina etc. on a rendzina sol with a calcareous bedrock.

Carbomont stydy site - Collelongo The grassland extends for about 1 km in a flat area surrounded by beech forests.
The long term eddy covariance system will be equipped with a LI7500 open path system and a Gill type sonic anemometer. CO2 and temperature profiles will be collected at 5 heights above the canopy. Soil temperature and mosture will be monitored continuosly as well as photosynthetic active radiation and net radiation.
The grassland has been heavily grazed in the past with a continuous degradation due to the lack of water availability during the summer season. In recent years a decrease level of grazing has been recorded, for this reason it is interesting to study the potential of recovery in term of carbon sequestration of such grasslands which are representative of a large part of Central / Southern Italy. For this reason parallel plots will be excluded by grazing in the same grassland areas and changes in both carbon pools and fluxes will be investigated. Measurements of fluxes through chamber measuremenst will be carried out.

Alinya Valley

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Carbomont stydy site - Alinya Valley - mapThe study sites are located in the Alinyà Valley in the eastern Pyrenees, covering an altitudinal range from 500 to 2400 m above sea level. Mean annual air temperature and annual precipitation are 13 ºC and 700 mm, respectively, at the nearest meteorological station, situated in Organyà (42º13'N, 1º20'E) at 560 m a.s.l.

Vegetation in the Alinyà valley includes alpine grasslands and subalpine coniferous forests in the highest levels, and cultivated areas at the bottom of the valley. Traditional activities such as cattle raising, wood use and agriculture have contributed to the maintenance of the biodiversity of this region.

Three different land uses will be studied: pastures, forage fields and abandoned areas. A long term eddy covariance system was installed in Prat Major, a pasture situated in a plain (42º12
'N, 1º27'E) at 1770 m a.s.l. It is dominated by herbaceous species with only some isolated shrubs (Juniperus communis) and surrounded by Pinus uncianata forests. This site is grazed by cattle from June to October or November (depending on the year). Abandoned areas and forage fields (Onobrychys vicifolia fields) will be studied in 2003.

Carbomont stydy site - Alinya ValleyCarbomont stydy site - Alinya ValleyCarbomont stydy site - Alinya Valley


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Bilý Kriz

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The experimental study site Bilý Kriz is located in Moravian-Silesian Beskydy Mountains in the Northeast part of the Czech Republic (N 49°30'17", E 18°32'28"). Bilý Kriz, by the climatic classification, is a temperature cool region, damp and precipitation abundant. The mean annual air temperature is 4.9°C, the mean annual precipitation is 1100 mm in total, and the mean air humidity is 80%. The number of days with snow cover extends 150.
Soil type according to FAO is Ferric Podzols (Parent material: sandstone (flysch type); Soil texture: loamy/sand-loamy with 30-40% of gravel). Soil depth is from 60 to 80 cm.

Carbomont stydy site - Alinya ValleyCarbomont stydy site - Alinya Valley
The grassland is situated on the slope with the elevation of 825-860 m a.s.l. It is divided into two parts - one part is managed, i.e. mowed twice a year, mainly constituted of Holcus molis and Nardus stricta. Other monocotyledonous are Avenella flexuosa, Carex pilulifera, Agrostis tenuis. Dicotyledonous plants are represented mainly by Veronica officinalis, Hieracium sp., Potentila sp.. The second part is unmanaged with mainly Holcus molis, Deschampsia cespitosa, Avenella flexuosa, Juncus effusus and Carex sp.. Dicotyledonous plants are represented mainly by Hypericum maculatum, Veronica officinalis, V. chamaedrys, Hieracium sp., Achilea millefolium, Steris viscaria, Rhinanthus sp. and Rumex sp.

The closed path Li-6262 (LI-COR, U.S.A.) and sonic anemometer (Gill Instruments, U.K.) are used for the long-term eddy-covariance measurement. Supporting measurements of climatological parameters (e.g. solar irradiances and radiation balance, temperature of air and soil, air and soil humidity, precipitation) are also carried out.

Carbomont stydy site - Alinya ValleyCarbomont stydy site - Alinya Valley
Our Laboratory investigates the physiological processes (photosynthesis, respiration, transpiration, biomass formation and allocation) of mountain stands under the influence of numerous environmental factors. These factors includes such events as global climate changes (greenhouse effect, ozone layer holes), excessive solar radiation and extreme temperatures, water regime, air pollution, and silviculture. The main task of the Laboratory could be characterised as an assessment of carbon stocks in mountain ecosystems and their change under the expected global change.


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Carbomont stydy site - Brenna

Carbomont stydy site - Brenna
Carbomont stydy site - Brenna

Carbomont stydy site - Brenna

Cairngorm Mountains

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Carbomont stydy site - Auchencorth Moss - mapThe principal field site in Scotland is based at Auchencorth Moss (55°47’ N, 3°14’ W, 270 m a.s.l). It is an extensive flat moorland (> 1000 ha), the peat layer is on average 60 cm deep. The climate is maritime temperate with the mean temp of the coldest month and warmest month being approximately 2 oC and 15 oC respectively. The annual rainfall is 1020 mm. The soil is permanently damp toCarbomont stydy site - Auchencorth Moss waterlogged in all seasons, although there are very few pools of free water as the site was partially drained abut 45 years ago. The site has minimal sheep grazing of < 1 sheep ha-1. The vegetation is dominated by Deschampsia flexuosa, Molinia caerulea, Eriophorum vaginatum and Eriophorum angustifolium, plus the following mosses (Polytrichum commune, Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus and Sphagnum papillosum).

Continuous measurements of CO2 exchange are being conducted via the eddy covariance method using a closed path LICOR (7000) and Gill sonic anenemometer (1012RA). Supporting measurements of environmental variables (e.g. sensible heat flux, net and solar radiation, air and soil temperature profiles) are also being conducted.

Carbomont stydy site - Dorback - mapA second field site is based in the Cairngorm Mountains at the Dorback Estate (57°15’ N, 3°30’ W, 390 m a.s.l). The site is relatively flat with extensive fetch (> 500 m) from south-west through north to east. The site is wet heathland dominated by Tricophorum ceaspitosum and Calluna vulgaris. The site is relatively lichen rich, with significant cover of Cladonia portentosa, as well as Sphagnum moss Carbomont stydy site - Dorback estatefrom both hummock forming species (e.g. Sphagnum compactum) and pool/hollow species (e.g. S. cuspidatum). An added interest of the Dorback site is that in the south direction, four fields have been enclosed and improved for grazing sheep. These fields receive typically 150 kg N ha 1 yr-1 and are grazed intensively. This provides an opportunity to look at the contrast in net ecosystem CO2 exchange between the wet heathland and the different land use of grazed pasture. Measurements of CO2 exchange are planned here on a campaign basis and will employ the eddy covariance method.

Matra Mountains

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Carbomont stydy site - Matra -mapThe study sites are situated in the Mátra mountain range (47.5 N, 19.7E, 350 m. asl). The soil is slightly acidic brown forest soil (clay) on vulcanic base rock. The size of the grassland area in nearly plateau (horizontal) position is 200x300m, slightly exposed to the south direction. The climate is a temperate dry with strongly continental characteristics (warm, dry summers) with 600mm sum of precipitation in a year and 11 °C mean annual temperature. Occurrence of freeze is general from November to March, occurrence of snow cover is episodic, number of days with snow cover may exceed 60 days.

Carbomont stydy site - Matra Mountains - abandoned areaThe investigated grasslands can be considered as one of the representatives of the European extreme temperate low mountain grassland vegetation and represents the Eastern end of a European transect. These are perennial and overwintering grasslands. The community consists of species with different life forms, physiognomy, canopy and root architechture, photosynthetic pathways, water economy types and reproductive and stress-tolerance strategies.

Carbomont stydy site - Matra Mountains - meadowIt is one of the most important grassland types for mountain agriculture in the Danubian and Carpathian basin. However most stands of these grasslands are degraded to some extent due to the previous overgrazing and invasion of weedy species. The degraded stands are exposed to higher solar radiation, temperature and drought stresses to a greater extent than in the less degraded stands. Regardless of the extent of degradation, frequency of droughts has been increasing since the beginning of the 1980's.

In these mountain ranges pastures and meadows grasslands have been heavily grazed in the past with the continuous degradation due to the lack of water availability during the dry summer and aautumn seasons. In recent years a decreased level of grazing and abandonment of grasslands have been recorded. For this reason it is interesting to study the potential of recovery in terms of carbon sequestration of such communities, wich are representative of a large part of Eastern-Central and Eastern Europe.

The two sites are at different in their kand use. One of them is grazed and cut) regularly, while the other site has been abandoned for several years.

Monte Bondone

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Carbomont stydy site - Monte Bondone - research areaMonte Bondone is a complex mountain area which is influenced by several factors, the most important ones being land-use history and current land-use, measures for the protection of the mountain environment, mass tourism and urbanisation. Socio-economic changes during recent years have modified land-use and in consequence also the appearance of the mountain landscape. Due to the close proximity of Monte Bondone to the city of Trento, this has also led to an increase in local peoples perception of the problems of sustainable development in this area, which is one of the favourite all-year recreational spots for the citizens of Trento.

Carbomont stydy site - Monte Bondone - mapFurthermore, Monte Bondone is a particularly interesting area because of its location at the crossing of bio-geographical gradients, between north and south, east and west. Due to its proximity to the city of Trento, which hosts a number of different universities, Monte Bondone has also been the subject of many scientific studies. Investigations have been carried out in the field of Carbomont stydy site - Monte Bondone - pasturegeology, hydrology, climate, pollen deposits, flora and vegetation, characteristics of the beat-bog pools, zoo- and phyto-plancton, entomological fauna, vertebrates, conservation, etc. During recent years, with the opening of the Centro di Ecologia Alpina, scientific activities have been further intensified in that area, e.g. some of the study sites investigated now within the CARBOMONT project were also studied earlier within the EC-projects INTEGRALP and ECOMONT.


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Carbomont stydy site - Polana - map

Carbomont stydy site - Polana - map
Carbomont stydy site - Polana


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Seebodenalp (1025 m asl) is located on a shoulder at the northwestern slope of Mt. Rigi, between the Lake of Lucerne in the southwest and the Lake of Zug in the northeast. The site was selected because of its relatively flat terrain with a fetch of about 400 m towards southwest and roughly 400 m towards north. Steep slopes border the area towards south and east, and a moraine-like chain limits the area towards the northwest. Having been the bottom of a former lake (and which gave the name to the alp), the terrain is quite flat. The Seebodenalp is well exposed to the Swiss Middleland and to the westerly winds. In high pressure situations, when thermally driven winds develop, a northerly flow establishes over the site. A very gentle slope of the terrain will probably not affect the daytime measurements. During the night, cold air drainage occurs from the south, down the slopes of Mt. Rigi.

Carbomont stydy site - Seebodenalp -mapAccessing the Site:
Seebodenalp can be accessed by car or by cable car from Küssnacht am Rigi. Notice, however, that car access directly to the measurement site is restricted beyond the large parking area near the top station of the cable car. From the parking area it is a 1-km walk to the site. Following the path you will pass by the NABEL station.

Pink dotted: Access road from Küssnacht am Rigi to Seebodenalp (Parking area).
Red dotted: Walking path to the measurement site.

Carbomont stydy site - SeebodenalpCarbomont stydy site - SeebodenalpCarbomont stydy site - Seebodenalp


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The Swedish study site "Stordalen" is located 10 km east of Abisko, North-Sweden (68°22' N, 19°03' E). The Stordalen site is a typical example of a widespread circumpolar sub-Arctic wet and mesic tundra ecosystem. It is situated in the critical zone of discontinuous permafrost most likely to see the strongest and most immediate effects of climate change. The climate at Stordalen is subarctic with a long term mean annual temperature of
-0.7°C and 299 mm accumulated precipitation. The study site lies at 360 m.a.s.l. in a completely flat area. The vegetation consists mainly of Sphagnum fuscum, Empetrum hermafroditum, Vaccinium vitis-ideae and Eriophorum angustifolium. The characteristical soil type is histosol. The area is non-forested and covered with natural pasture and meadow. CARBOMONT will provide documentation of a full carbon balance as well as N2O and methane emissions (i.e. important greenhouse gas exchanges) for this area. Comparable measurements will be carried out in nearby shrub and low birch dominated ecosystems. The aim of these measurements is to assess the consequences of a shift in vegetation composition towards a denser vegetation for the greenhouse gas exchanges. The investigations at Stordalen will evaluate how the land-use change that follow vegetation redistribution may affect the overall carbon balance and greenhouse gas emissions at the catchment scale.

Stubai Valley

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Carbomont stydy site - Stubai Valley - mapThe study area Stubai Valley (approx. 47° 07' N, 11° 17' E) covers an altitudinal range from 970 m a.s.l. at the valley bottom to about 1960 m a.s.l., above the treeline. Average air temperature and annual precipitation range from 6.3°C and 850 mm to 3.0°C and 1097 mm at the valley bottom and the treeline, respectively. Snow cover duration is approximately 100 days in the research area. Four study sites are investigated in this area within the frame of CARBOMONT (Table 2):
Carbomont stydy site - Stubai Valley - general desciption(1) a meadow at the valley bottom,
(2) a meadow at 1750 m a.s.l.,
(3) a pasture at 1950 m a.s.l. and
(4) an abandoned and afforested pasture at 1960 m a.s.l

While the meadow at the valley bottom is essentially flat, inclination of theCarbomont stydy site - Stubai Valley - research area high-elevation sites ranges between 20-30°. Soils of the high-elevation sites have been classified as Cambisols, soils at the valley bottom as Fluvisols (FAO classification). The vegetation of the meadow at the valley bottom, which is cut between two to three times a year, has been classified as a Pastinaco Arrhenatheretum, vegetation of the meadow at 1750 m a.s.l., cut once a year, as a Trisetetum flavescentis. The vegetation at the pasture has been classified as an Alchemillo Poetum supinae, the abandoned area as a Vaccinio Callunetum.

Carbomont stydy site - Stubai Valley - meadow at the valley bottomCarbomont stydy site - Stubai Valley - meadow on the mountain sideCarbomont stydy site - Stubai Valley - cows on the pasture


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The main research area is in the Värriö natural protection area on the Värriötunturi fjell (67° 43' N 29° 36' E). The plot is located on a flat hilltop- plateau just above the tree line. The vegetation dominated by Ericacae and Lichen on stony shallow soils. A considerable amount of the area is coverd by scree.

Carbomont stydy site - Värriö
Cimate in the area is subarctic with both maritime and continental influences. The snowfree period usually last from mid-may to mid-october. The average temperature in the area is about -1C°. The area is used for reindeer grazing and nature protection.
The main research area will be compared to two other research plots. At Nuorttitunturi (67° 48' 29° 40' 480 m) we compare the carbon balance of grazed and ungrazed fell vegetation in an across fence comparision. The ungrazed area has been protected for more than 30 years from reindeer grazing.

Carbomont stydy site - Värriö - Kotovaara
There is a long term forest research sites at the Kotovaara hill (67° 45' N 29° 37' E 380 m ) four kilometers north of the site. The sites feature detailed measurements of atmospheric composition, deposition of atmospheric pollutants and physiology of trees.

Effects of land-use changes on sources, sinks and fluxes of carbon in European mountain areas
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