Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Taking The Piste Out Of Alpine Vegetation

Date:
April 19, 2005
Source:
Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
Summary:
Major changes need to be made to the way ski pistes are managed if delicate alpine plants are to be protected, ecologists have warned. According to new research published today in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology, machine grading and artificial snow production is causing significant changes in the number and type of plant species in the European Alps.

Major changes need to be made to the way ski pistes are managed if delicate alpine plants are to be protected, ecologists have warned. According to new research published today in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology, machine grading and artificial snow production is causing significant changes in the number and type of plant species in the European Alps.

Related Articles


Sonja Wipf of the Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research and colleagues from the University of Zurich and the University of Potsdam in Germany examined plant species at 12 Swiss ski resorts. They found that, compared with off-piste plots, there were 11% fewer plant species on ski pistes, with woody plants and early-flowering species being most badly affected.

Machine grading of ski slopes caused most damage to vegetation, with machine-graded slopes having five times more bare ground than ungraded pistes. And, say the researchers, this damage is long lasting. They found pistes that had been machine graded as long as 30 years ago and re-sown with plant seed had still not recovered. “Machine grading constitutes the most drastic vegetation disturbance on ski pistes. It should be avoided wherever possible, as it causes lasting damage that cannot be overcome by revegetation measures, particularly at higher altitudes,” they say.

They also measured the impact of artificial snow on vegetation and found that this causes changes in species composition, with snowbed and late-flowering species increasing in abundance while wind-edge and early-flowering species declined. This is due to delayed snow-melt in areas covered with artificial snow, and the fact that artificial snow is made from river and lake water which contains more minerals and other chemical compounds than natural snow.

The findings are particularly important as ski resorts begin to feel the heat of climate change, developing higher altitude runs and using more artificial snow to keep skiers happy. As this happens, Wipf and her co-workers want ski resorts to become more environmentally sensitive.

“We recommend that environmental goals should be established in ski resort management. In particular, we recommend carefully recording the vegetation in a specific area before any intensification of use as a ski piste, and complete avoidance of areas with vegetation of articularly high conservation value,” they say.

Some alpine ecosystems are extraordinarily rich in species, but they are also sensitive and susceptible to changes in land use and climate.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Blackwell Publishing, Inc.. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Blackwell Publishing, Inc.. "Taking The Piste Out Of Alpine Vegetation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 April 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/04/050419105954.htm>.
Blackwell Publishing, Inc.. (2005, April 19). Taking The Piste Out Of Alpine Vegetation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/04/050419105954.htm
Blackwell Publishing, Inc.. "Taking The Piste Out Of Alpine Vegetation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/04/050419105954.htm (accessed March 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Whale-Watching Scientists Spot Baby Orca

Whale-Watching Scientists Spot Baby Orca

AP (Feb. 28, 2015) Researchers following endangered killer whales spotted a baby orca off the coast of Washington state, the third birth documented this winter but still leaving the population dangerously low. (Feb. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Drinks for Your Health

The Best Drinks for Your Health

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) When it comes to health and fitness, there&apos;s lots of talk about what foods to eat, but there are a few liquids that can promote good nutrition. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the healthiest drinks to boost your health! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cherries, Snap Peas and More Tasty Spring Produce

Cherries, Snap Peas and More Tasty Spring Produce

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) From sweet cherries to sugar snap peas, spring is the peak season for some of the tastiest and healthiest produce. Krystin Goodwin (@Krystingoodwin) has the best seasonal fruits and veggies to spring in to good health! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods to Battle Stress

The Best Foods to Battle Stress

Buzz60 (Feb. 26, 2015) If you&apos;re dealing with anxiety, there are a few foods that can help. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the best foods to tame stress. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins