Positive sport-biosphere interactions? − Cross-country skiing delays spring phenology of meadow vegetation

Journal article
(Original article)


Publication Details

Author(s): Steinbauer M, Kreyling J, Stöhr C, Audorff V
Journal: Basic and Applied Ecology
Publication year: 2018
Volume: 27
Pages range: 30-40
ISSN: 1439-1791
Language: English


Abstract


Space requirements by winter sports and accelerating global warming are usually perceived as stressors for mountain meadow plant communities. Cross-country ski track preparation (i.e. grooming), however, might retard effects of climate change and, being limited in space requirements, might increase abiotic heterogeneity. The effect of cross-country ski tracks on meadow vegetation was quantified along a representative ski track that had been operated for 30 years in the Fichtelgebirge, a low mountain range in central Europe. Paired sampling was implemented to assess the effect of skiing operations on snow and soil properties, plant phenology, biomass production and species composition. Additionally, boosted regression tree analyses were used to quantify the relative importance of the cross-country ski track compared to other environmental conditions.

The cross-country ski track strongly increased snow density, enhanced soil frost, and retarded snowmelt, thereby delaying flower phenology (by 2.1 days) and the early development stages of plant species on the track. However, biomass, species richness and species composition were unaffected by skiing operations except for one species (Leontodon autumnalis) showing exclusive occurrence on the track while four others showed reduced relative occurrence on the track.

While snow and soil properties were influenced by cross-country ski track preparation, natural environmental variability was more influential for species composition and biomass production than the ski track. We therefore conclude that the ski track – without artificial snow – did not negatively affect species composition. By delaying flower phenology, effects of the ski track even counteracted global warming to some degree. Due to their small spatial extent in the landscape, these ski tracks may add to environmental heterogeneity and thus support sustaining diverse species compositions during environmental changes.



FAU Authors / FAU Editors

Steinbauer, Manuel Prof. Dr.
Professur für System-Paläobiologie


External institutions
Universität Bayreuth
Universität Greifswald


How to cite

APA:
Steinbauer, M., Kreyling, J., Stöhr, C., & Audorff, V. (2018). Positive sport-biosphere interactions? − Cross-country skiing delays spring phenology of meadow vegetation. Basic and Applied Ecology, 27, 30-40. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.baae.2017.10.003

MLA:
Steinbauer, Manuel, et al. "Positive sport-biosphere interactions? − Cross-country skiing delays spring phenology of meadow vegetation." Basic and Applied Ecology 27 (2018): 30-40.

BibTeX: 

Last updated on 2018-08-08 at 00:51