A palaeoecological approach to understanding the past and present of Sierra Nevada, a Southwestern European biodiversity hotspot

Manzano, S., Carrión, J. S., López-Merino, L., Jiménez-Moreno, G., Toney, J. , Armstrong, H., Anderson, R. S., Garcia-Alix Daroca, A. , Guerrero Pérez, J. L. and Sánchez-Mata, D. (2019) A palaeoecological approach to understanding the past and present of Sierra Nevada, a Southwestern European biodiversity hotspot. Global and Planetary Change, 175, pp. 238-250. (doi: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2019.02.006)

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Mediterranean mountainous environments are biodiversity hotspots and priority areas in conservation agendas. Although they are fragile and threatened by forecasted global change scenarios, their sensitivity to long-term environmental variability is still understudied. The Sierra Nevada range, located in southern Spain on the north-western European flanks of the Mediterranean basin, is a biodiversity hotspot. Consequently, Sierra Nevada provides an excellent model system to apply a palaeoecological approach to detect vegetation changes, explore the drivers triggering those changes, and how vegetation changes link to the present landscape in such a paradigmatic mountain system. A multi-proxy strategy (magnetic susceptibility, grain size, loss-on-ignition, macroremains, charcoal and palynological analyses) is applied to an 8400-year long lacustrine environmental archive from the Laguna de la Mosca (2889 masl). The long-term ecological data show how the Early Holocene pine forests transitioned towards mixed Pinus-Quercus submediterranean forests as a response to a decrease in seasonality at ~7.3 cal. kyr BP. The mixed Pinus-Quercus submediterranean forests collapsed drastically giving way to open evergreen Quercus formations at ~4.2 cal. kyr BP after a well-known aridity crisis. Under the forecasted northward expansion of the Mediterranean area due to global change-related aridity increase, mountain forests inhabiting territories adjacent to the Mediterranean Region could experience analogous responses to those detected in the Sierra Nevada forests to the Mid to Late Holocene aridification, moving from temperate to submediterranean and then Mediterranean formations.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:We thank the following funding bodies: Organismo Autónomo de Parques Nacionales (Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Medio Rural y Marino; grant number 261-2011), Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, (projects CGL-BOS-2012-34717 and CGL-BOS 2015-68604), Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional FEDER and the research group RNM0190 (Junta de Andalucía; project CGL2013-47038-R), Consejería de Economía, Innovación, Ciencia y Empleo de la Junta de Andalucía (Project P11-RNM-7332), and Fundación Séneca (project 19434/PI/14). SM was supported by a FPI scholarship (BES- 2013-064626). RSA thanks Northern Arizona University’s College of Forestry, Engineering and Natural Sciences for travel funds. JLT is supported by a Small Carnegie Trust grant. AGA was supported by a Ramón y Cajal fellowship (RYC-2015-18966) from the Spanish MINECO.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Garcia-Alix Daroca, Dr Antonio and Toney, Professor Jaime
Authors: Manzano, S., Carrión, J. S., López-Merino, L., Jiménez-Moreno, G., Toney, J., Armstrong, H., Anderson, R. S., Garcia-Alix Daroca, A., Guerrero Pérez, J. L., and Sánchez-Mata, D.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Global and Planetary Change
ISSN (Online):1872-6364
Published Online:16 February 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V.
First Published:First published in Global and Planetary Change 175:238-250
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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