Geographia Polonica (2017) vol. 90, iss. 4
Forest encroachment on temperate mountain meadows – scale, drivers, and current research directions
Geographia Polonica (2017) vol. 90, iss. 4, pp. 463-480 | Full text
Meadows are characteristic features of the forested mountain landscape in the northern temperate zone.In terms of origin, they can be classified as natural, semi-natural and improved. Mountain meadows have greatecological value due to vast biodiversity and the ecosystem services they provide. However, over the past fewdecades, a significant decrease in their area has been observed in many places across the world. The purposeof this paper is to provide an overview of the scale and the main drivers of forest encroachment on temperatemountain meadows as well as to describe current research directions and methods. The observed declinein meadow area may be driven by natural factors related generally to climate change or may result fromchanges in land use. This process is investigated on a variety of spatial scales ranging from experimental plotsto entire geographic regions. Studies on forest encroachment on mountain meadows are now carried out by researchersfrom many different countries. Nevertheless, there still does not exist a complex, multidisciplinaryapproach and comparative studies for different mountain ranges are not found in the literature.
Keywords: origin of meadows. forest encroachment, secondary succession, climate change, land abandonment
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