Contributions Workshop 2.1.C:
Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Sites as monitoring networks - opportunities and challenges

ID: 115
Workshop & Poster
Assessing Long Term Ecological Changes through Bioindicators in Western Himalayan Protected Areas, India
Keywords: Himalaya, Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, bioindicators ecosystem services, ecological monitoring

Uniyal, VP
Wildlife Institute of India, India

Workshop Abstract:

Long term ecological monitoring in protected areas through ecological indicators mainly invertebrates have been used for assessing the changes in biodiversity and ecosystem health as they are less mobile specialist are intolerant to ecosystem changes unlike other vertebrate. Within invertebrates, mainly butterflies, moths and spiders are well established group of invertebrates used as ecological indicators for monitoring ecosystem health. Both the groups are extremely sensitive to changes in habitat structure, complexity and micro climatic condition. They are easy to monitor because of high abundance, ubiquitous distribution, ease of collection; hence, they are used as an indicator groups. The landscape level study on ecological monitoring has been conducted to assess biodiversity changes in four prominent protected areas of western Himalayan landscape situated in Garhwal region viz. Gangotri Landscape (Gangotri and Govind National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary) and Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, the World Heritage Site (Valley of Flowers and Nanda Devi National Park), the fragile alpine areas of Western Himalayan landscape. The study result shows that, out of 215 species of spiders belonging to 29 families and 435 species of moths belonging to 23 families, only 9 species of spiders belonging to a single family Lyniphidae and 44 species of moths belonging to 3 families viz. Pyralidae (13), Geometridae (17) and Noctuidae (14) were dominant only in alpine areas. Study proposes that, these groups of spiders and moths are the prominent ecological indicators and can be monitored in a long-term basis for changes in their species composition, relative abundance and seasonal activity pattern to trace the effects of climate-change in this frazil landscape. Permanent monitoring plots have been identified and field based training program has been provided to stakeholders and front-line staff for further long tern monitoring of identified indicator species of the landscape.

Poster Abstract:

Ecological Monitoring for Ecosystem Services in Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve

World Heritage Site, Western Himalaya, India

Bioindication involves understanding the ecological relationships by applying scientific knowledge. Biological indicators detect the impacts providing a cost-effective method to assess environmental alterations and ecosystem services. Invertebrates are hugely diverse and taxonomically well-defined and effective bioindicators for various habitat and environmental scenarios. Invertebrates as bioindicators have shown prominence in the last two decades and are gaining momentum in present conservation endeavours. Climate change has serious impacts on livelihoods, infrastructure and health which are quite prevailing in the Himalayan ecosystem. The changes occurring in the fragile mountain ecosystems can provide an early warning of the changes to the environment, so it is vital that the biological and physical components of mountains are strictly monitored and studied. Study on identifying bioindicators for ecological services has been initiated in the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve,World Heritage Site, which includes the Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Park. The area exhibits the typical features of the Western Himalayas characterized by temperate forests, sub-alpine forests and alpine meadows. The heterogeneity of this landscape provides a refuge for such endemism and supports over 1,000 species of flora and about 520 species of faunal diversity. Studies on invertebrates mainly on moths, butterflies and spiders have been conducted to evaluate the indicator species reflecting certain habitat conditions providing a knowledge base for long-term ecological monitoring and ecosystem services in this landscape. There are 47 villages in the buffer zone with local indo-mongoloid and indo-aryan communities. The research initiative plans to educate and strengthen the local communities and stakeholders for identifying the indicators for ecological services and thus conduct lone term ecological monitoring in a holistic manner which is vital for assessing future changes and shift of climatic condition of the region.

ID: 297
Workshop & Poster
Ecohydrological monitoring in Himalaya: challenges in maintaining long-term ecohydrological reseach infrastructure
Keywords: Ecosystem services, Ecohydrology, Himalaya, Long-term ecohydrological research

Kumar, Manish
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), India

Workshop Abstract:

Changing climate has ensured that access to water is becoming the most challenging prospect for human survival, especially in Pan-tropical mountains like Himalaya, which are climatically-diverse, biodiversity rich and geomorphologically unstable ecoregions. Lack of spatially distributed long-term meteorological and ecosystem-level data from the Himalayan region mars our understanding of ecosystem-climate dynamics. I have been working in the Himalayas for past decade with grassroots organisations on water and forests. My research focuses on understanding ecohydrological process in the Himalayan region in the context of climate variability and climate change. It involves understanding plant-water relations in key Himalayan species, the interactions between vegetation, soil, precipitation and atmosphere; and its effects on principal ecosystem services of spring and stream hydrology. For this purpose, we have developed five long-term eco-hydrological research monitoring (LTE-HR) sites in two regions of Himalaya: three sites in Sikkim (Eastern Himalaya) and two in Uttarakhand (Western Himalaya). Sikkim is comparatively wetter and tropical than Uttarakhand, providing climatic gradients to understand ecosystem processes. At each site, we are recording discharge from springs and streams using automated flumes and stilling wells, weather parameters, soil moisture and vegetation characteristics including direct measurements of transpiration using sap-flow methods. In Uttarakhand, the sites are maintained by local partners working rejuvenating the dying springs in the himalaya and our research will directly contribute to their efforts. I am also part of the research group which has similar LTE-HR sites in the Western Ghats, the other largest mountain range in India and a biodiversity hotspot.

With this background, I wish to engage with experts and peers with experience of establishing and maintaining LTER in mountains. Most LETR sites tend to ignore hydrological monitoring and I wish to highlight the benefits of the same, learn from their experiences and incorporate them into developing larger LTE-HR base in Himalaya.

Poster Abstract:

Updating soil-plant-atmosphere-flow-continuum in Himalaya: linkages between transpiration, climate and hydrological flows in a broad-leaved temperate evergreen forest in Eastern Himalaya, India

Authors: Manish Kumar1*, Gladwin Joseph1&2, Jagdish Krishnaswamy1

1Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bangalore 560064, India. 2Conservation Biology Institute, Oregon 97333, USA.

Plant-water relations are critical to accurately quantifying hydrological fluxes in tropical mountains. In a pioneering effort from the Eastern Himalayan region, we investigated the impact of intra-interspecific variability in sapflow on estimating stand transpiration using measurements on three dominant co-occurring species Symplocos racemosa, Eurya acuminata and Castanopsis hystrix in a regenerating broad-leaved evergreen temperate forest in Sikkim Himalaya. SPAC-F approach was used to understand drivers of transpiration and its impacts on hydrological fluxes using. Significant radial and azimuthal variability was reported with C. hystrix exhibiting higher sapflux in the inner xylem; and all species having higher flow in prodes installed on northern-facing part of the trunks. Failure to incorporate the radial and azimuthal variability led to 9 % and -16 % biases in stand transpiration, respectively. Stand transpiration was comparatively double of the rates reported from the central Himalaya and its fraction to evapotranspiration was comparable to values reported from tropical rainforests, both signifying evolution under wetter climate. In first reports from Himalaya, mid-day depression in transpiration is observed induced by soil moisture stress and photo-inhibition. Similarly, first observations of significant nocturnal sapflux and pre-dawn sapflux movements are reported and attributed to endogenous control on stomata. In the energy-limited montane systems, the solar radiation was found to be a stronger driver of transpiration in than VPD or soil moisture, although both were important drivers in the dry season. Transpiration, in turn, affected both soil moisture and streamflow cycles especially in the drier months. Transpiration was a significant predictor of streamflow in the dry season. Thus, changes in vegetation cover may have significant impact on the hydrological fluxes in the tropical montane systems. The results provide first evidences of moisture stress in Himalayan tree species; and strong coupling between transpiration and streamflow in the complex Indian Himalayan ecosystems.

ID: 316
Workshop & Poster
Active contribution to French LTSER research
Keywords: socio-ecological system; biodiversity; ecosystems; monitoring

BOULANGEAT, Isabelle1; ACHIN, Coralie1; BURLEY, Enora2; Ruault, Jean-François1
IRSTEA, France; 2LECA-CNRS, France

Workshop Abstract:

I am an ecologist with a main expertise in dynamic vegetation modelling, biogeography, and community ecology. My research focusses on understanding the dynamics of ecosystems, from a theoretical viewpoint to biodiversity management issues in alpine ecosystems. I seak to improve biodiversity models of species distributions and community dynamics in mountain ecosystems, without neglecting the interactions with the society. I build models or analyse datasets to identify the properties supporting the resilience of ecosystems and socio-ecosystems.

In current projects, I develop a framework to structure our vision of Mountain socio-ecosystems for comparative analyses and to build simulation models. In the one hand, I work on the modelling of potential ecosystem services based on geophysical and biological variables, distinguishing slow and fast variables. In the other hand, I work on a better integration of the role of humans societies in ecological dynamics and biodiversity models using several disciplinarity and interdisciplinary concepts.

I use LTSER French sites as main field sites, to calibrate models and develop prospectives approaches. In the French Alps, I work on the shift between the phenology (mainly plants) and the evolution of touristic pratices around and inside protected areas. I am also involved in observations networks of LTER, as I develop phenocam approaches to follow snow melt and plant phenology at plot scale.

Poster Abstract:

Functional groups of mountain socio-ecological systems for comparative analyses and predictive models

Mountain ecosytems are all affected by rapid climate changes but there responses are difficult to anticipate because human societies interact in various ways with the natural environment and can strongly modify the response of ecosystems to climate change. In this context, the development of socio-ecological systems (SES) approaches is interesting, as it allows to consider as central the relationships between human societies and natural environments.

Here, we build on several disciplinarity and interdisciplinary concepts to propose key dimensions of SES and human-nature relationships that are common in Mountains, involving the use and management of both material and non-material resssources (e.g. tourism). Ecosystems attributes represent their spatial arrangement and diversity, and are distinguished between slow and fast variables. The spatial and institutional context of each SES is also one of its fundamental characteristics. We illustrate the approach and its interest for comparative analyses by applying it to describe the variety of mountain socio-ecological systems in the French Alps, and to suggest their potential trajectories under climate change.

This approach provides a consolidated vision of the diversity of SES in the French Alps, and allow identifying contrasted SES that could be used for deeper comparative analysis. It also gives a general framework that can be applied to describe mountain ecosystems and their potential services, their dynamics, and identify key elements of their ecological resilience, as well as the dynamics of their biodiversity.


ID: 390 
Workshop & Poster
Re-Establishing the Cathedral Peak Research Catchments, South Africa as a Long Term Observation Platform
Keywords: Long term monitoring, data quality, Cathedral Peak, environmental change

Toucher, Michele Lynn1,2; Janse Van Rensburg, Susan1; Gray, Byron Andrew1,2
South African Environmental Observation Network, South Africa; 2Centre for Water Resources Research, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Workshop and Poster Abstract:

The uKhahlamba Drakensberg Mountains, South Africa are of enormous social, economic and environmental importance, and these areas have been identified as strategic water source areas. The Cathedral Peak research catchments (29° 00’ S; 29° 15’ E) are located on the Little Berg plateau in the northern part of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg. The research catchments were established in 1935 to determine the influence of various management treatments on the vegetation and water yield of the catchments. Monitoring in the catchments was initiated in 1949, and continued to 1994. During that period various components of the hydrological cycle, including streamflow, groundwater, rainfall, temperature and evaporation, were measured. In 2012, the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON) re-established monitoring in the research catchments with funding from DST, through the NRF. Over the last 6 years, these historic research catchments have been established as a long term, living laboratory with a comprehensive equipment array for monitoring climate, water, carbon and vegetation. The intention of the design is to provide a cross-disciplinary platform for scientists to use, where the longevity and quality of the data are assured. Thus, a significant focus has been placed on establishing monitoring protocols, cross-calibration of historical and current equipment, protocols for data error checking and data management.

The research undertaken on the Cathedral Peak catchments, to date, has been highly influential in water policy development in South Africa and in aiding our hydrological understanding of the impact of vegetation on catchment water-balances. The long-term, quality assured data from the Cathedral Peak research catchments will be invaluable in addressing the uncertainty surrounding the impacts of environmental change on the sensitive uKhahlamba Drakensberg Mountains and development of resilient and adaptive strategies to minimise the risks to and maximise the benefits from the potential impacts of environmental change on ecological services.


ID: 430
Workshop & Poster
ALong-term Ecological Research in the South-eastern Brazilian Mountain Range - contribution to assesssing ecosystem services 

Nagy, Laszlo2; Aragão, Luiz3; Buscardo, Erika1; Gonçalves, Diego5; Ivanauskas, Natalia4; Goulart, Renata2
1University of Brasilia, Brazil; 2University of Campinas, Brazil; 3INPE, Brazil; 4Sao Paulo State Forest Institute, Brazil; 5Sao Paulo State Forest Fundation, State Park, Campos do Jordao, Brazil

Workshop and Poster Abstract:

The State Park of Campos do Jordão Park over its 80 km2 of area represents one of the best-preserved endemic Araucaria angustifolia-dominated montane forests in Brazil. The legacy of past land use (logging and livestock grazing) is the presence of open shrubby-grassy vegetation and extensive areas planted with exotic conifer species.

The Park hosts a recently-established long-term ecological research (LTER) site. One of the main objectives of the LTER is to process research and monitoring data and provide information for the Park authorities on management for harmonising conservation and the use of ecosystem services. For this, climate change, atmospheric N deposition, invasion by exotic Pinus species and pressures from land use change outside the Park’s boundary are being researched by an interdisciplinary team.

Land cover and disturbance (fire) history compiled from aerial imagery and archival sources is used for estimating the dynamics of biomass carbon stocks and sequestration. Landscape-level diversity of land forms, hydrology, soils and land cover are being related to biogeochemical cycles in native forest, plantation and open vegetation. In addition, water quality and yield - focal aspects as the Park is part of the protected areas in the Mantiqueira Range to conserve water supplies - are being related to land cover and biogeochemical cycles. Modelling and experimental studies are providing up-to-date information about the potential impacts of atmospheric N deposition and climate change on ecosystem structure and function as well as on ecosystem services. Land use (tourism) impacts and land cover change (restoration of pine plantations to native vegetation) are additionally considered for optimising benefits from various ecosystem services. The outputs from the above are combined with land use scenarios constructed with local and regional stakeholders (companion modelling) and used to create a user-friendly decision aid toolkit for managers in the Park, and the municipalities around it.


ID: 507
Workshop & Poster
ICP Forests intensive monitoring on Level II plots in Austria: experiences and selected results
Keywords: monitoring, forests, leaf area index, phenology, forest growth

Schüler, Silvio; Zolles, Anita; Kristöfel, Ferdinand
Austrian Research Centre for Forests BFW, Austria

Workshop and Poster Abstract:

Long-term observations are crucial for monitoring forest ecosystems due to several reasons: for example, due to the high capacity of forests to store carbon in soils and tree biomass, its role in ongoing climate change requires consecutive quantification. Also, forest ecosystems with its manifold organisms and diverse physiological activities are sensible proxies for long-term changes of atmospheric inputs. Within Europe, the ICP Forests Programme, which was launched in 1985 under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (Air Convention, formerly CLRTAP) of the UNECE, monitors forest conditions with internationally standardized procedures. Measurements on several tree and ecosystem characteristic have now been made for a relatively long period, i.e. crown condition, foliar analysis and soil analysis are being done for more than 30 years within the Level I monitoring and further activities for more than 20 years within the Level II monitoring program. At present the BFW maintains six highly equipped core sites and 10 sites with lower instrumentation. In the present contribution, we give an overview of past and present activities of the ICP Forests programme in Austria. Moreover, we highlight actual results on modeling the annual course of the Leaf Area Index (LAI) by using meteorological stations within and outside of the forests. These models allow insights into the phenological course of leaf development and its correspondence to tree diameter growth. Finally, we discuss the future of the Austrian programme in the light of stronger cooperation and requirements of European and national legislation. 

ID: 476
Specific Research Poster
Towards a fully monitored open air laboratory: 10 years of spatially distributed microclimatic measurementes in the LTSER Site Matsch | Mazia (ITA)

Niedrist, Georg1; Zandonai, Alessandro1; Della Chiesa, Stefano1; Brida, Christian1; Klotz, Johannes1; Bertoldi, Giacomo1; Fontana, Veronika1; Tappeiner, Ulrike1,2
Eurac research, Institut for Alpine Environment, Bozen, Italy; 2University of Innsbruck, Department of Ecology, Austria

Poster Abstract:

Ecological field research is increasingly shifting from plot level towards an integrated approach, considering point observations as a result of the surrounding landscape. This approach is particularly important in complex landscapes such as mountain areas where topography (elevation, inclination and exposition) determine highly heterogeneous climatic conditions. In 2008 a new Long Term (Socio-) Ecological Research (LTSER) site has been established in Matsch | Mazia (Central European Alps, ITA), a closed catchment covering the most important mountain ecosystems between 900 and 3700m a.s.l. The site is particularly interesting as it is relatively dry (ca. 500mm at 1500m a.s.l.) and therefore appropriate to study potential future impacts of climate change.

For a better understanding of the ecological processes in the catchment and their vulnerability towards land-use and climate change, a spatially distributed micro-meteorological network has been installed. The measurement infrastructure consists of 24 stations among all dominant land-use types (grassland, forest, river, proglacial area). The parameters monitored are mainly related to the 1) Hydrological cycle (soil moisture, soil water potential, run off, evapotranspiration, solid/liquid precipitation) 2) Energy balance (short/longwave net radiation, Evapotranspiration, soil heat flux) 3) Optical reflectance (Phenocam, NDVI/PRI Sensors) and 4) Biodiversity (plant and landscape diversity, soil macro- and mesofauna, macrozoobenthos, sampled in campaigns).

A total of 3000 microclimatic parameters are being collected automatically every 15 minutes, 365 days a year. Data are passing through a two-step quality check and are being stored in an open source time series database. With 2019 an intuitive graphical user interface will enable an easy access to the database providing a spatially and temporal dense, near real time information about the microclimatic heterogeneity in an alpine catchment.

Nach oben scrollen