Rodna Mountains alpine plant ecosystem: inference and prediction

What: Evaluate the climate change effect on high mountain floras.

Why: Species data of alpine-subalpine plants were obtained from permanent plots of 1 on 4 summits of the Rodna Mountains collected within the framework of GLORIA monitoring baseline project on climate change effects on high mountain floras. Four summits were sampled: Rebra, Buhaescu, Gropile and Golgota. Data were twofold recorded: in July years 2001 and 2008. On each summit, four 1 plots, separated by 1m distance, were arranged at the four corners of a 3×3 m square. This set-up was repeated in each cardinal compass direction at 5m below the peak, giving a total of 16 sample plots on each summit. Each plot was subdivided into 100 cells of 10cm × 10cm and the presence of vascular plant species was recorded in each cell. Species richness, specie percentage cover and zero-cover percentage have been considered and compared for years 2001 and 2008. Moreover, a “zero-cover index” was defined and was computed: the aim was to evaluate the weight of the without vegetation surface.
The following conclusions were obtained:
1) In comparison with year 2001, species richness in each of the permanent plots has increased by 1, 2 species in 2008.
2) Comparing with 2001, the zero-cover percentage decreased in 2008, for each cardinal compass direction.
3) In comparison with year 2001, the overall species cover is generally higher for year 2008, irrespective cardinal compass direction. The overall species cover index was computed as mean value of the number of species co-habiting on a 10 x10 cm surface. Overall species cover index provides a crude evaluation of species associations.
4) As a general conclusion, in Rodna Mountains, the climatologic conditions were better in 2008, comparing with year 2001.