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

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Details zur Publikation

Autorinnen und Autoren: Steinbauer M, Kreyling J, Stöhr C, Audorff V
Zeitschrift: Basic and Applied Ecology
Jahr der Veröffentlichung: 2018
Band: 27
Seitenbereich: 30-40
ISSN: 1439-1791
Sprache: Englisch


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-Autorinnen und Autoren / FAU-Herausgeberinnen und Herausgeber

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

Einrichtungen weiterer Autorinnen und Autoren

Universität Bayreuth
Universität Greifswald


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

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.


Zuletzt aktualisiert 2019-02-01 um 21:10