CR 73:73-84 (2017)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01478

Soil properties as indicators of treeline dynamics in relation to anthropogenic pressure and climate change

M. Cristina Moscatelli1, Eleonora Bonifacio2, Tommaso Chiti1, Pavel Cudlín3, Lucian Dinca4, Erika Gömöryova5, Stefano Grego6, Nicola La Porta7, Leszek Karlinski8, Guido Pellis1, Maria Rudawska8, Andrea Squartini9, Miglena Zhiyanski10, Gabriele Broll11,*

1Department of Innovation in Biological, Agrofood and Forest systems (DIBAF), University of Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy
2Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (DISAFA), University of Torino, largo P. Braccini 2, 10095 Grugliasco, Italy
3Global Change Research Centre, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Lipová 1789/9, České Budějovice 370 05, Czech Republic
4National Forest Research-Development Institute I.N.C.D.S. Brasov, 13 Closca St., 500030 Brasov, Romania
5Technical University in Zvolen, Faculty of Forestry, T. G. Masaryka 24, 960 53 Zvolen, Slovakia
6Department of Science and Technology for Agriculture, Forestry, Nature and Energy (DAFNE), Tuscia University, Viterbo, Italy
7Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach (FEM) and MOUNTFOR Project Centre, European Forest Institute, Via E. Mach 1, 38010 San Michele all´Adige (Trento), Italy
8Institute of Dendrology, ul. Parkowa 5, 62-035 Kórnik, Poland
9Department of Agricultural Biotechnology, University of Padua, Agripolis, Viale dell ’Università 16, 35020 Legnaro, Padua, Italy
10Forest Research Institute - Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 132 ‘Kl. Ohridski’ Blvd., 1756 Sofia, Bulgaria
11Institute of Geography, University of Osnabrueck, Seminarstr. 19, 49074 Osnabrueck, Germany
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Mountain forests, treeline ecotones included, provide numerous ecosystem services. However, different drivers heavily impact the treeline areas, in particular anthropogenic pressure and climate change. Any change affecting the aboveground portion of terrestrial ecosystems automatically influences their belowground part, i.e. soil and soil organisms. Therefore, the focus of the present paper is on the soil resource that provides multiple ecosystem services, such as carbon storage, water filtration, food and biomass provisioning, biodiversity, maintenance, etc. Soil physical, chemical, and biological properties can be very helpful as indicators of ecosystem services in mountain regions. A selection and integration of appropriate indicators of soil quality is thus needed for soil monitoring and assessment in treeline areas. In this paper, results of case studies from mountain regions in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Romania, and Slovakia are presented. From these studies, it emerges that soil organic matter (content and quality), pH, and microbial parameters show significant changes in response to anthropogenic pressures and/or climate change. These indicators of soil quality, either in the short- or in the long-term, can thus be used as reliable and sensitive tools for monitoring actions. However, it is advisable to integrate this basic set with additional indicators that can be further selected in relation to specific conditions, such as geographical area, lithological substrate, land use, and management practices.


KEY WORDS: Ecosystem services · Forest resilience · Mountains


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Cite this article as: Moscatelli MC, Bonifacio E, Chiti T, Cudlín P and others (2017) Soil properties as indicators of treeline dynamics in relation to anthropogenic pressure and climate change. Clim Res 73:73-84. https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01478

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