The basic goal of this protocol is to evaluate the possible losses in biodiversity as well as the vulnerability of high-mountain ecosystems under climatic change. This approach is based on the project GLORIA-EUROPE (Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments), begun in 2001. This is the first European monitoring network for the effects of climatic change on biodiversity.

Method and effort

Four summits were selected on an altitudinal gradient of 2,700 to 3,300 m a.s.l.. At each summit the sampling of vegetation was structured in two parts: 1. Detailed sampling in 4 plots of 3 x 3 m, each divided into quadrats of 1 x 1 m; the 4 plots, corresponding to the four cardinal directions, were set into the corners a rhombus drawn with one side some 5 m from the peak of the summit; this rhombus was inscribed within a lower rhombus some 10 m from the peak also oriented to the four cardinal points. In each quadrat, a record was made on the one hand of the species composition and the cover of each component (plant, bare soil, rock, etc.) expressed as a percentage, and on the other hand the frequency of appearance of each biotic or abiotic component considered. 2. Sampling in 8 sections of the summit area roughly corresponding to contour lines of each m of elevation from the peak. For each section, the composition in taxa and their corresponding cover were estimated on a qualitative abundance scale according to the representativeness (dominant, common, widespread, rare, very rare, or spotty). Also, representativeness was estimated as percentages of the different types of ground surface.


The periodicity initially established was 7 years. The possibility is being considered of modifying the frequency for future monitoring.


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Pauli, H., Gottfried, M., Hohenwallner, D., Reiter K. y Grabherr, G. 2003. Manual para el trabajo de campo del proyecto GLORIA. Aproximación al estudio de las cimas. Iniciativa para la Investigación y el Seguimiento Global de los Ambientes Alpinos, como contribución al Sistema Terrestre de Observación Global (GTOS). Versión traducida por Luís Villar. 67 pp.
Gottfried, M., Pauli, H., Futschik, A., Akhalkatsi, M., Barancok, P., Benito Alonso, J.L., Coldea, G., Dick, J., Erschbamer, B., Fern·ndez Calzado, M.R., Kazakis, G., Krajci, J., Larsson, P., Mallaun, M., Michelsen, O., Moiseev, D., Moiseev, P., Molau, U., Merzouki, A., Nagy, L., Nakhutsrishvili, G., Pedersen, B., Pelino, G., Puscas, M., Rossi, G., Stanisci, A., Theurillat, J.P., Tomaselli, M., Villar, L., Vittoz, P., Vogiatzakis, I. y Grabherr, G. 2012. Continent-wide response of mountain vegetation to climate change. Nature Climate Change. doi: 10.1038/ NCLIMATE1329