GLOBAL OBSERVATION RESEARCH INITIATIVE IN ALPINE ENVIRONMENTS

The GLORIA network

is arranged along a finally world-wide setting of target regions. Each target region comprises a mountain area with consistent regional climate and bedrock conditions. Within each target regions, the Multi-Summit approach is/or should be applied with a standard set of four summit observation sites.
In a subset of target regions, Master Sites are planned to be established, building on existing research facilities.

The world-wide distribution:

The global distribution of alpine environments allows the simultaneous study of climate-induced impacts over all major life zones and climatic zones on Earth.

An important feature of high mountain ecosystems in many parts of the world is their high degree of naturalness, compared with lowland and mid-elevation ecosystems. As land-use impacts such as landscape fragmentation or land degradation, are small in the upper parts of many mountain systems the impacts of climate change can be studied directly. Hence, the alpine life zone has a unique capacity for a comparative world-wide assessment of the ecological consequences caused by climate change.

The global distribution

of GLORIA target regions will be made to reflect the relative areas of high mountain systems on each continent, will aim to distribute sites in all major vegetation zones from polar to tropical latitudes, and will consider the global climate regimes and regional differences of predicted climate warming.

A feasible, cost-efficient recording strategy:

The GLORIA Multi-Summit approach is a widely applicable basic monitoring strategy.

The observation sites are at mountain summits, arranged along an elevation gradient.

This sequence of summit sites represents readily identifiable points along a pronounced climatic gradient from the treeline to the upper limits of plant life. Its cost efficient recording method is especially designed for an application in the typically low-growing vegetation in alpine environments. The established Multi-Summit sites network 18 in Europe has shown that about 25% of the entire continent's high mountain plant species were included within the 16 1x1 m quadrats used at each summit (totalling an area of about 1200 m²).

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