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Vascular Plant Richness on Mountain Summits of Southern Norway

Reference
Odland, A., Hoitomt, T. and Olsen, S.L. 2010. Increasing vascular plant richness on 13 high mountain summits in southern Norway since the early 1970s. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 42: 458-470.
Based on their documentation of plant species diversity on thirteen mountain summits in southern Norway (61°06'-61°14'N, 7°52'-8°15'E) -- in a reenactment of what Lye (1973) had done more than three decades earlier -- as well as their assessment of regional warming over the intervening years, Odland et al. (2010) sought to see how plant species richness may have changed in response to what turned out to have been a significant increase in local temperatures between the times of the two studies.

Average summer temperatures, according to the authors, increased by approximately 1.3°C over the time interval between the two studies, while over the same time period they found that plant taxa richness rose by an average of 90%, with two of the summits experiencing increases of fully 200%. Of these results, they say that the average "is in accordance with similar studies in both Scandinavia and southern Europe (Kullman, 2007a,b; Parmesan, 2005; Pauli et al., 2007)," but they state that the 200% increase in taxa richness they documented on two of the summits "is exceptional." And because the latter result is also true, it can validly be called an exceptional truth.

In further discussing their results, the three Norse researchers conclude that "the present increase in species richness is mainly a result of recent climatic change."

Additional References
Kullman, L. 2007a. Long-term geobotanical observations of climate change impacts in the Scandes of West-Central Sweden. Nordic Journal of Botany 24: 445-467.

Kullman, L. 2007b. Modern climate change and shifting ecological sates of the subalpine/alpine landscape in the Swedish Scandes. Geooko 28: 187-221.

Lye, K.A. 1973. The vascular plants on alpine peaks at Filefjell, south Norway. Norwegian Journal of Botany 20: 51-55.

Parmesan, C. 2005. Biotic response: range and abundance changes. In: Lovejoy, T.E. and Lee, H. (Eds.), Climate Change and Biodiversity. Yale University Press, New Haven & London, pp. 41-55.

Pauli, H., Gottfried, M., Reiter, K. and Grabherr, G. 2007. Signals of range expansions and contractions of vascular plants in the high Alps: observations 1994-2004 at the GLORIA master site Schrankogel, Tyrol, Austria. Global Change Biology 13: 147-156.

Archived 16 February 2011