Phenology and distribution strategy of key plant species within the subalpine-alpine ecocline in the Valaisan Alps (Switzerland)
Theurillat, Jean-Paul; Schlüssel, André
The phenology of seven important species of the subalpine and alpine vegetation belts (Larix decidua, Picea abies, Pinus cembra, Pinus mugo, Rhododendron ferrugineum, Salix herbacea, Vaccinium myrtillus) has been studied in relation to air temperature. The results show that each species possesses its own strategy regarding the required number of degree-days to reach bud burst and the end of flowering. These temperature requirements are discussed and related to the general ecology of each species. Phenological strategy is shown to be a good tool for understanding the distribution, according to climate, of the species studied, in particular at their higher elevation range, and also for assessing the impact of climate change.