A quantitative assessment of mid-term risks of global change on forests in Western Mediterranean Europe

Gil-Tena A., Morán-Ordóñez A., Comas L., Retana J., Vayreda J., Brotons L. (2019) A quantitative assessment of mid-term risks of global change on forests in Western Mediterranean Europe. Regional Environmental Change. 19: 819-831.
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Doi: 10.1007/s10113-018-1437-0

Resum:

Assessment of potential forests’ threats due to multiple global change components is urgently needed since increasing exposure to them could undermine their future persistence. We aim to assess the risks to the persistence of monospecific forests in Western Mediterranean Europe posed by climate change, fire, and land-use changes (i.e., deforestation) in the short and medium terms (horizon 2040). We specifically evaluate whether the degree of risk related to the likelihood of hazard occurrence varies depending on seral stage, tree species, and climate gradients. We performed the risk assessment on forests of Catalonia (NE Spain) through a combination of correlative and process-based modeling approaches and future global change scenarios. Overall, climate suitability of forests showed a general decrease by 2040, with the exception of xeric Pinus halepensis forests mainly distributed in the driest climate of the study area. Forest stands dominated by low drought-tolerant species were at higher risk of losing climatic suitability than forests dominated by Mediterranean species. The highest fire and deforestation risks were predicted for forest stands in dry climate where human pressures are higher. Nevertheless, high deforestation risk was also attained outside the driest areas. Deforestation risk was lower in old-growth than in younger stands, whereas old-growth forests in the Wet climate or dominated by Pinus sylvestris were projected to be at higher fire risk than younger forests. Our results suggest that conservation actions should target forest stands in dry climate. Moreover, old-growth forest stands should also be prioritized due to their particular sensitivity to disturbances and their high ecological value. © 2018, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.

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Composition and habitat use of small mammals in old-growth mountain forests

Arnan X., Comas L., Gracia M., Retana J. (2014) Composition and habitat use of small mammals in old-growth mountain forests. Journal of Natural History. 48: 481-494.
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Doi: 10.1080/00222933.2013.800611

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Old-growth mountain forests in the Pyrenees have natural gap dynamics, a well-developed shrub layer and a large amount of dead wood. Small mammal communities in two types of old-growth forests, silver fir and mountain pine, were studied in July and September in 2006 and 2007. Four species were trapped: bank vole (Myodes glareolus), wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus), garden dormouse (Eliomys quercinus) and common shrew (Sorex araneus). Bank voles and wood mice were most commonly trapped (78% of all captures). There were no differences in community composition in the two forest types, although the bank vole was more often captured in the silver fir than in the mountain pine forest. Mammals were more frequently captured at trap stations with high shrub cover, high tree regeneration cover and low herbaceous cover. Our results show that forest structure and, to a lesser extent, forest type determine small mammal community structure, and specifically fine-scale occurrence patterns, in these old-growth forests. © 2013 Taylor & Francis.

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Efecte de la gestió forestal sobre la comunitat d'abelles i vespes nidificants en cavitats pre-establertes i la seva fauna associada.

Barril-Graells H, Comas LL,  Rodrigo A,  Bosch J (2012) Efecte de la gestió forestal sobre la comunitat d'abelles i vespes nidificants en cavitats pre-establertes i la seva fauna associada. IX Jornades sobre recerca al parc Nacional d'Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici. Boi, 17-19 Octubre (Comunicació oral).

Habitat determinants of abundance, structure and composition of flying Hymenoptera communities in mountain old-growth forests

Arnan X., Bosch J., Comas L., Gracia M., Retana J. (2011) Habitat determinants of abundance, structure and composition of flying Hymenoptera communities in mountain old-growth forests. Insect Conservation and Diversity. 4: 200-211.
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Doi: 10.1111/j.1752-4598.2010.00123.x

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1.Old-growth forests have features that endow them with an extraordinary ecological value. These forests are sources of habitat diversity and, consequently, biodiversity, which makes them a basic objective of conservation programs. Insects have been traditionally used as indicators of forest condition. 2.The aim of this study is to uncover patterns of Hymenoptera abundance and diversity, and their relationship with structural features in old-growth forests. We use pan traps to sample the community of flying Hymenoptera in two old-growth forest types (silver fir and mountain pine) with important structural differences. 3.Compared to other surveys of local Hymenoptera communities, our sampling yielded an extremely high number of species (630). 4.At the plot level, the two forest types showed important differences in family richness and diversity, but not in abundance or in species richness and diversity. However, variability in species richness was higher among pine than silver fir plots, leading to overall higher species richness in the former. 5.Species composition also differed between pine than silver fir forests, and these differences were related to important structural differences between the two forest types. 6.Canonical correspondence and multiple regression analysis yielded contrasting habitat requirements among Hymenoptera families and functional groups (bees, sawflies, parasitic wasps and predatory wasps). 7.We conclude that flying Hymenoptera communities can be used as good indicators of forest structure, habitat complexity and conservation status. © 2010 The Authors. Insect Conservation and Diversity © 2010 The Royal Entomological Society.

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Land-cover changes in and around a National Park in a mountain landscape in the Pyrenees

Gracia M., Meghelli N., Comas L., Retana J. (2011) Land-cover changes in and around a National Park in a mountain landscape in the Pyrenees. Regional Environmental Change. 11: 349-358.
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Doi: 10.1007/s10113-010-0138-0

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The current state of Mediterranean mountain areas has been driven by two main factors: intense traditional human activity and the dynamics of the ecosystem itself. In this study, we examine land-cover changes in a National Park in the Pyrenees mountains (NE Iberian Peninsula), which was designated a protected area 55 years ago. First, we have analyzed spatio-temporal changes in land-cover pattern and forest dynamics from 1957 to 2005. During this period, land-cover dynamics consisted of two main processes: (i) expansion of the forest area and (ii) increasing cover of forests already present in 1957. To analyze the role of the conservation level of the park, we have also compared the results obtained within the park with those of unprotected, peripheral areas. In the two areas with different protection level, dense forests increased throughout the period because of the reduction in forestry activities. The peripheral area showed a higher rate of forest-cover change from 1957 to 2005 compared to the National Park. This higher increase in forest cover in the peripheral area could be related to a higher proportion in the National Park of screes and rocky areas and to the decline and transformation of forest activities in these peripheral, lower elevation areas. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

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Land cover changes after the creation of a national park in a mountain landscape in the Pyrenees.

Gracia M, Meghelli N, Comas L, Retana J (2010) Land cover changes after the creation of a national park in a mountain landscape in the Pyrenees. Regional Environmental Change 11: 349–358, doi: 10.1007/s10113-010-0138-0.

Relación entre el grado de madurez del bosque y las comunidades de himenópteros voladores y micromamíferos en el Parque Nacional de Aiguestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici. En: Proyectos de investigación en parques nacionales: 2006-2009. L. Ramírez y B. A

Comas L, Arnan X, Gracia M, Retana J, Bosch J (2010) Relación entre el grado de madurez del bosque y las comunidades de himenópteros voladores y micromamíferos en el Parque Nacional de Aiguestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici. En: Proyectos de investigación en parques nacionales: 2006-2009. L. Ramírez y B. A sensio (Eds.). Organismo Autónomo de Parques Nacionales pp. 327-341.

Forest management conditioning ground ant community structure and composition in temperate conifer forests in the Pyrenees Mountains

Arnan X., Gracia M., Comas L., Retana J. (2009) Forest management conditioning ground ant community structure and composition in temperate conifer forests in the Pyrenees Mountains. Forest Ecology and Management. 258: 51-59.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2009.03.029

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The search for indicators to monitor management impact on biodiversity is a crucial question because management practices promote changes in community structure and composition of different animal groups. This study explores the effect of widely conducted management practices (forest logging and livestock) in Pinus uncinata forests in the Pyrenees range (NE Spain) on the structure and composition of ground ant communities compared to those of old-growth stands. Forest structure clearly differed in stands with different forest managements. These stands managed for different uses also showed marked differences in structure and composition of ground ant communities. There was a great dominance of a single species, Formica lugubris, which accounted for 99% of ants collected in pitfall traps. Rarefaction curves indicated that species richness was highest in old-growth stands and lowest in even-aged ones, with woodland pasture stands showing an intermediate value. Classification methods allowed us to identify two groups of species: six species related to old-growth plots and three species (including F. lugubris) associated to managed stands. Habitat structure played an important role in determining the structure of ant communities: forests with high tree density but low basal area were the most favourable forest type for F. lugubris, while the abundance of the remaining ant species was negatively affected by the abundance of F. lugubris and by tree cover. © 2009.

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Inventario de bosques singulares de Catalunya.

Gracia M, Comas L, Vayreda J, Ibàñez JJ, Batlles C, Regalado I (2009) Inventario de bosques singulares de Catalunya. V congreso forestal Español.

Species richness and wood production: A positive association in Mediterranean forests

Vilà M., Vayreda J., Comas L., Ibáñez J.J., Mata T., Obón B. (2007) Species richness and wood production: A positive association in Mediterranean forests. Ecology Letters. 10: 241-250.
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Doi: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2007.01016.x

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A major debate in the study of biodiversity concerns its influence on ecosystem functioning. We compared whether wood production in forests was associated with tree functional group identity (i.e. deciduous, conifer or sclerophylous), tree species richness (1-≥ 5) and tree functional group richness (1-3) by comparing more than 5000 permanent plots distributed across Catalonia (NE Spain). Deciduous forests were more productive than coniferous and sclerophylous forests. Wood production increased with tree species richness. However, functional group richness increased wood production only in sclerophylous forests. When other forest structure, environmental variables and management practices were included in the analysis, tree functional group identity and species richness still remained significant, while functional species richness did not. Our survey indicates that across a regional scale, and across a broad range of environmental conditions, a significant positive association exists between local tree species richness and wood production at least in typical early successional Mediterranean-type forests. © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

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