Navigation Links
Taking the piste out of Alpine vegetation

Major changes need to be made to the way ski pistes are managed if delicate alpine plants are to be protected, ecologists have warned. According to new research published today in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology, machine grading and artificial snow production is causing significant changes in the number and type of plant species in the European Alps.

Sonja Wipf of the Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research and colleagues from the University of Zurich and the University of Potsdam in Germany examined plant species at 12 Swiss ski resorts. They found that, compared with off-piste plots, there were 11% fewer plant species on ski pistes, with woody plants and early-flowering species being most badly affected.

Machine grading of ski slopes caused most damage to vegetation, with machine-graded slopes having five times more bare ground than ungraded pistes. And, say the researchers, this damage is long lasting. They found pistes that had been machine graded as long as 30 years ago and re-sown with plant seed had still not recovered. "Machine grading constitutes the most drastic vegetation disturbance on ski pistes. It should be avoided wherever possible, as it causes lasting damage that cannot be overcome by revegetation measures, particularly at higher altitudes," they say.

They also measured the impact of artificial snow on vegetation and found that this causes changes in species composition, with snowbed and late-flowering species increasing in abundance while wind-edge and early-flowering species declined. This is due to delayed snow-melt in areas covered with artificial snow, and the fact that artificial snow is made from river and lake water which contains more minerals and other chemical compounds than natural snow.

The findings are particularly important as ski resorts begin to feel the heat of climate change, developing higher altitude runs and using more artificial snow to keep skiers hap py. As this happens, Wipf and her co-workers want ski resorts to become more environmentally sensitive.

"We recommend that environmental goals should be established in ski resort management. In particular, we recommend carefully recording the vegetation in a specific area before any intensification of use as a ski piste, and complete avoidance of areas with vegetation of articularly high conservation value," they say.

Some alpine ecosystems are extraordinarily rich in species, but they are also sensitive and susceptible to changes in land use and climate.


'"/>

Source:Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Related biology news :

1. HIV Patients May Be at Risk of Heart Problems When Taking Protease Inhibitor Drugs
2. Taking Aim With Nanoparticle PEBBLEs
3. Taking a flying jump
4. Taking a bite out of a fellow worker helps wasps recruit new foragers
5. Taking evolutions temperature: Researchers pinpoint the energy it takes to make a species
6. Taking the wrinkles out of motoneuronal disease
7. Taking chips to the next level of gene hunting
8. Cancer vaccines -- Taking a jab at cancer by stimulating the immune system
9. Deep sea algae connect ancient climate, carbon dioxide and vegetation
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/19/2016)... 2016 The new GEZE SecuLogic ... web-based "all-in-one" system solution for all door components. It ... the door interface with integration authorization management system, and ... The minimal dimensions of the access control and the ... installations offer considerable freedom of design with regard to ...
(Date:4/14/2016)... , April 14, 2016 ... Malware Detection, today announced the appointment of Eyal ... new role. Goldwerger,s leadership appointment comes at ... heels of the deployment of its platform at several ... biometric technology, which discerns unique cognitive and physiological factors, ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... R.I. , March 31, 2016  Genomics firm ... of founding CEO, Barrett Bready , M.D., who ... members of the original technical leadership team, including Chief ... President of Product Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice President ... returned to the company. Dr. Bready served ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Cancer experts ... they believe could be a new and helpful biomarker for malignant pleural mesothelioma. ... here to read it now. , Biomarkers are components in the blood, ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... Ginkgo Bioworks , a leading organism design company ... as one of the World Economic Forum,s Technology ... companies. Ginkgo Bioworks is engineering biology to manufacture ... the nutrition, health and consumer goods sectors. The ... Fortune 500 companies to design microbes for their ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Mosio, a leader ... “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering with experienced clinical research professionals, ... providing practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical researchers. , “The landscape of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has signed a ... serve as their official health care provider. As ... provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, and most ... athletes and families. "We are excited ... to bring Houston Methodist quality services and programs ...
Breaking Biology Technology: