ID05: Alpine Treeline Ecotones under Global Change


  • Full Title

    Alpine Treeline Ecotones under Global Change

  • Scheduled

    Tuesday, 2022-09-13
    Session Part I: 13:30 - 15:00
    Poster Session: 15:15 - 15:45
    Session Part II: 16:00 - 17:30

  • Co-Conveners

    Luis Daniel Llambí C., Johanna Toivonen, Sonja Vospernik, Lukas Flinspach, Nishtha Prakash and Lirey Ramírez

  • Assigned to Synthesis Workshop

    1. Mountain Ecosystems under Global Change

  • Keywords

    alpine vegetation; climate change; land use; mountain forest; tree growth; tree species shifts; spatial vegetation patterns


Alpine treeline ecotones are vegetation transitions strongly controlled by climate and, in many mountains, also by land-use practices. As they delineate two major mountain ecosystems, it is important to understand how they function and may respond to climate change. In spite of significant scientific progress, many questions about alpine treelines are still open, including: Why do climatic treelines exist? How will tree growth and population processes respond to climatic change? How does land-use (change) affect treeline-ecotone vegetation dynamics? And what are the implications for mountain conservation, restoration and management strategies? This session focuses on the mechanisms, patterns and consequences of alpine treeline ecotone dynamics. We welcome research from all disciplines, addressing questions on treeline ecophysiology, ecology, history, spatial patterns, soil processes, and human dimensions, using diverse approaches, including experiments, monitoring, modelling, remote sensing, palaeoecology, dendroecology, and comparative analyses.

Participants are encouraged to submit their session contribution also as a manuscript for a special issue in Forests (the deadline will be extended accordingly).


First 90-minute session
0-5′ Introduction to the session structure and topics
5-15′ Christian Körner (ID 135: Advantages and limitations of stringent logics applied to the global treeline phenomenon)

15-85′ 21 flash talks of poster presenters of 3′ each (order as listed below; discussion later in front of the posters)

30-45 minute poster break with individual discussions at the posters

Second 90-minute session
6 oral presentations a 10′

1. Treeline patterns and dynamics (incl. remote sensing)
ID: 624: Vitali et al. Spatio-temporal dynamics of Apennines treeline ecotones under global change
ID: 536 Poljanec et al. Land-use and climate change induced alteration in tree- and forestline location, structure and composition in the Eastern (Julian) Alps, Slovenia

2. Population and other processes leading to treeline patterns and dynamics
ID: 197: Hagedorn et al. Soil nutrient cycling shapes treeline dynamics of Russian mountains
ID: 830: Venn et al. Low recruitment success limits the upward range shift of a broad-leaved evergreen eucalypt at alpine treeline despite a warming climate and fire disturbance.

3. Ecophysiology/dendroecology
ID: 143: Oberhuber et al. Growth response of green alder (Alnus alnobetula) to climate at an alpine treeline ecotone.
ID  638: Oberleitner et al. Increasing impacts of recurrent summer drought on tree growth, xylem sap flow and dehydration dynamics of Larix decidua and Picea abies in a subalpine forest

15′ Subtopic discussion in 3 subgroups –> major findings and research needs

Topics / questions to be discussed:
1. How can spatial and temporal treeline patterns be detected and described, what are limitations in data availability and methods?
2. How can spatial and temporal treeline patterns be predicted (e.g. using process-based models), what processes need to be better understood to be able to do that?
3. What are the largest research gaps concerning the reaction of trees at treeline to climate change?

5′ short presentation of major finding/needs of the subgroups

10′ General discussion/conclusion

Registered Abstracts

ID06: Andean glaciers and their role in the high mountain water cycle
ID04: Alpine aquatic biodiversity