stx_5052-5056

 

Research project “Response of rare high-mountain plant species of the Ukrainian Carpathians to climate change has started at the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv.

The Project (№ 116U001546) is financed by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.

Duration: 1 April 2016 – 31 December 2018.

Project Director:   Dr. Andriy Prokopiv, e-mail: aprokopiv@franko.lviv.ua.

Main participants: Dr. Sci. Yuriy Kobiv, e-mail: ykobiv@gmail.com

Dr. Vitaliy Honcharenko, e-mail: vherbarium@ukr.net;

Dr. Lubov Borsukevych, e-mail: lborsukiewicz@gmail.com;

Dr. Viktor Nachychko, e-mail: nachychko@gmail.com;

Dr. Eugene Sosnovsky, e-mail: eugene_biol@i.ua;

Myroslava Helesh, e-mail: helesh.m@ukr.net;

Mariya Nadraga, e-mail: m_nadraga@ukr.net;

Response of rare high-mountain plant species of the Ukrainian Carpathians to climate change

Project summary
The research Project is aimed at revealing the response of rare high-mountain plant species in the Ukrainian Carpathians to climatic change in the region. Consequences of these changes are most evident particularly in the high-mountain zone, where 104 species of vascular plants listed in the Red Data Book of Ukraine (2009) occur, though that area accounts for only 1.7 % of the Ukrainian Carpathians. Consequences are most evident in the open high-mountain habitats that include snowbeds, gravel screes, rocks, springs, and fens.
Climate-induced dynamics of rare cold-adapted alpine species will be determined due to analysis of previous publications and herbarium data in comparison with their present distribution, as well as long-term monitoring of their populations in different massifs of the Ukrainian Carpathians. Adaptation strategies of the species will be revealed by means of morphological and anatomical research.
Shifts in population parameters of 20 target species will be determined, particularly at the lower limits of their distribution that will allow defining most vulnerable groups of the alpine plants. Prognosis about negative or positive dynamics in the mid-term perspective for different rare Carpathian species will be made. Climate-related threat to biodiversity will be estimated. Recommendations on optimization of conservational management and mitigation of the decrease of biodiversity in the high-mountain zone of the Ukrainian Carpathians will be prepared. Ways of adaptation to adverse consequences of the climate change on biodiversity will be suggested.
Brief description of target area
The Ukrainian Carpathians are a part of theEastern Carpathians. These are medium-high mountains with only a few summits slightly exceeding 2000 m a.s.l. Therefore, the high-mountain flora and vegetation are restricted to scarce isolated “habitat islands” with a very limited area that makes them especially vulnerable, because there are no more suitable sites where cold-dependent species could possibly retreat after upward shifts of the lowermost limits of their altitudinal range. The high-mountain zone (over 1500 m that roughly corresponds to formerly accepted climatic treeline), which includes both subalpine and alpine zones, covers 357 km², i.e. about 1,7 % of the Ukrainian Carpathians, while the alpine zone alone (over 1800 m) accounts for only 0,1 % of the mountain area. The alpine flora and vegetation are concentrated mostly in the three highest massifs: the Chornohora, Svydovets, and Marmarosh Mts.

Problems to be addressed
Many alpine species in the Ukrainian Carpathians are vulnerable to shrinkage of their high-mountain habitats. According to climatological projections for the medium-term perspective based on analysis of the main variables, the alpine zone in the Ukrainian Carpathians may completely disappear by 2050.

Evident proofs of climate warming discovered in the Ukrainian Carpathians during the last decades suggest that shrinkage of the alpine species’ habitats in the region, as well as decline and extinction of their populations, have been taking place at least for that period of time especially at the lower limit of their distribution. That imposes a significant threat to the biodiversity of that territory, particularly the high-mountain zone, where almost half of vascular plants of the Carpathian flora listed in the Red Data Book of Ukraine (2009), namely as much as 104 species occur, and most of them (61) only there. Many declining alpine species are geographically peripheral in the Ukrainian Carpathians, because they occur at the north-eastern limit of their distribution in Central Europe and their extinction causes contraction of the species’ geographical ranges and considerable irreversible loss of biodiversity in the all-European scale. Decline of cold-tolerant alpine species is caused not only directly by the increase of temperature due to climate change, but also results from transformation of vegetation, which is secondary to warming as its consequence.
Most publications concerning other European mountains describe the shifts at the upper edge of their distribution, whereas there is a considerable lack of knowledge about their lower, i.e. retreating limit, where the losses are most dramatic. The Project is a case study from the Ukrainian Carpathians focused on filling that gap. It also seeks ways to mitigate decline of cold-dependent species.
Objectives of the Project
The objective of this research Project is to describe and analyze the impact of climate-induced changes in the Ukrainian Carpathians with special attention to the rare species. Analysis of previous publications and herbarium data on rare alpine cold-adapted species in comparison with their present distribution, as well as long-term monitoring of their populations will be performed, particularly at the lower limits of their distribution. Most sensible groups of species and the range of their adaptation to climatic factors will be defined.
It is planned to predict possible negative or positive dynamics in distribution and population viability of target rare species and to suggest measures for preventing or decreasing their decline or extinction.
Expected impact on environment
The Project is of significant conservational value. It is supposed to help in dampening climate-induced transformations in the alpine ecosystems that are unfavorable for rare species in the Ukrainian Carpathians. Revealing the mechanisms of climate-triggered successions of vegetation should help to manage them and defining adaptation ranges of cold-dependent species can prevent their decline.

Outcomes and results
This research Project is supposed to describe the scale and pace of climate-related change in distribution and population viability of rare and endangered species of the Ukrainian Carpathians.
Shifts in population parameters of 20 target species will be determined, particularly at the lower limits of their distribution that will allow defining most vulnerable groups of the alpine plants. Prognosis about negative or positive dynamics in the mid-term perspective for different rare Carpathian species will be made. Climate-related threat to biodiversity will be estimated. Recommendations for stakeholders on optimization of conservational management and mitigation of the loss of biodiversity in the high-mountain zone of the Ukrainian Carpathians will be prepared.
Connection between the impact of abandonment of traditional land use and climate change on the alpine flora and vegetation will be revealed. Supposedly, moderate grazing should mitigate negative consequences of warming for cold-dependent alpine species. Consequently, maintenance or restoration of low-intensive grazing in some alpine sites could facilitate their adaptation to climate change.

Impact on society
Shrinkage of scenic alpine landscapes (e.g. snowbeds, screes etc.) decreases touristic attractiveness of the territory. The same concerns the decline of some ornamental alpine rare plants (for instance, gentians and saxifrages). Therefore, conservation of these species and their habitats will help to maintain the recreational value of the region. The territories will be defined where conservation measures imply the maintenance of moderate grazing to mitigate the loss of biodiversity caused by climate change. Products of traditional livestock farming can be used as an additional attraction for tourists. Thus, local population can be employed and follow the traditional lifestyle.

Additional information
Suggestions for cooperation and partnership in similar research will be appreciated.

The Project is aimed at revealing the response of rare high-mountain plant species in the Ukrainian Carpathians to climatic change in the region. Consequences of these changes are most evident particularly in the high-mountain zone, where 104 species of vascular plants listed in the Red Data Book of Ukraine (2009) occur, though that area accounts for only 1,7 % of the Ukrainian Carpathians.

Climate-induced dynamics of rare cold-adapted alpine species will be determined due to analysis of previous publications and herbarium data in comparison with their present distribution, as well as long-term monitoring of their populations in different massifs of the Ukrainian Carpathians. Adaptation strategies of the species will be revealed by means of morphological and anatomical research.

Shifts in population parameters of 20 target species will be determined, particularly at the lower limit of their distribution that will allow defining most vulnerable groups of the alpine plants. Prognosis about negative or positive dynamics in the mid-term perspective for different rare Carpathian species will be made. Climate-related threat to biodiversity will be estimated. Recommendations on optimization of conservational management and mitigation of the decrease of biodiversity in the high-mountain zone of the Ukrainian Carpathians will be prepared.

 

Розпочато проект «Реакція рідкісних високогірних видів рослин Українських Карпат на кліматичні зміни»

 

Проект (№ 116U001546) фінансується Міністерством освіти і науки України.

Час виконання проекту: 1 квітня 2016 р. – 31 грудня 2018 р.

Керівник проекту:              кандидат біологічних наук, доцент А.І. Прокопів

(e-mail: aprokopiv@franko.lviv.ua).

Основні співвиконавці:

доктор біологічних наук, старший науковий співробітник Ю.Й. Кобів

(e-mail: ykobiv@gmail.com);

кандидат біологічних наук, доцент В.І. Гончаренко

(e-mail: vherbarium@ukr.net)

кандидат біологічних наук Л.М. Борсукевич

(e-mail: lborsukiewicz@gmail.com);

кандидат біологічних наук В.О. Начичко

(e-mail: nachychko@gmail.com);

кандидат біологічних наук Є.В. Сосновський

(e-mail: eugene_biol@i.ua);

М.Б. Гелеш (e-mail: helesh.m@ukr.net);

М.Д. Надрага (e-mail: m_nadraga@ukr.net).

 

Проект спрямований на з’ясування реакції рідкісних високогірних видів рослин Українських Карпат на кліматичні зміни у регіоні. Hаслідки цих змін найяскравіше виявляються власне у високогір’ї, де трапляється 104 види судинних рослин, внесених до «Червоної книги України» (2009), хоча на цю територію припадає лише 1,7% площі Українських Карпат.

На підставі аналізу попередніх літературних і гербарних даних щодо рідкісних високогірних холодовитривалих видів у порівнянні з їхнім сучасним поширенням, а також шляхом проведення моніторингу їхніх популяцій у різних масивах Українських Карпат, планується оцінити їхню динаміку, пов’язану зі змінами клімату, а також виявити адаптаційні стратегії видів на основі морфолого-анатомічних досліджень.

Буде окреслено зміни популяційних показників 20-ти модельних видів, зокрема на нижній межі їхнього поширення, що дасть можливість виділити найвразливіші групи високогірних рослин. Буде зроблено прогноз щодо негативної чи позитивної динаміки різних рідкісних карпатських видів у середньотерміновій перспективі та підготовано рекомендації щодо оптимізації природоохоронного менеджменту і протидії збідненню біорізноманіття у високогір’ї Українських Карпат.