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Sierra Nevada (Spain) LTER platform: Towards adaptive management of mediterranean ecosystems

Bonet, F.J. ; Prez-Luque, A.J. ; Prez-Prez, R. & Zamora, R.

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- Laboratorio de Ecologa. Centro Andaluz de Medio Ambiente. Universidad de Granada. Granada (SPAIN). 1: 2: 3:

Sierra Nevada LTER site

Sierra Nevada is a high mountain range (reaching 3482 m. a. s. l.) located in Southern Spain. Its considered one of the most important biodiversity hotspot in the Mediterranean region.
Natural Biosphere Reserve (MaB, UNESCO) Special Protection Area and Site of Community Importance National Park and Nature Reserve LTER-site (LTER-Spain network) 2100 vascular plant species 80 vegetal endemic species 2000 km2 surface 61 municipalities 90.000 inhabitants Main economic activities: agriculture, tourism, beekeeping, mining and skiing.

Sierra Nevada Global Change Observatory: the project

The design of the monitoring Inventory (>1 year) programme is based on the Annual (1 year) thematic areas of GLOCHAMORE Seasonal (3 months 1 year) Intensive (1 day 3 months) Research Initiative (UNESCO). A set Instantaneous (<1 day) of 48 different monitoring 20 variables per methodologies were defined to protocol assess both the state of key 1 ecological functions and the structure of the main ecosystems in the Sierra Nevada. It also includes must be transformed into useful knowledge to be useful for managers. The key methodologies to characterize the issues are the integration and analysis of monitoring data by an information socioeconomic activities. Each management system, and the transfer of current scientific knowledge to society protocol is characterized by 5 and the natural resource managers through effective outreach. attributes (see right figure). Sierra Nevada Global Change Observatory is a long term monitoring programme to assess the effects of global change in this LTER site. The basic objective to gather information to identify the impacts of global change in order to design management actions that minimize them. The data generated by the monitoring programme

Monitoring Programme

50 years

1 year

Length of the temporal serie

Administrative boundaries Polygons / Grids Pixels Transects Points


Spatial resolution Spatial extension


Sierra Nevada Administrative boundary Watershed Intensive Monitoring Area (IMA)

Monitoring protocol

20 km

Types of ecosystems
The map shows the spatial distribution of ecosystems that have been identified in Sierra Nevada. Vegetation is predominantly high mountian shrublands and pine plantations. We also have natural forests (oaks, Pyrenean oaks, maples, etc.) that are regenerating after decades of overexploitation.

Area (10 ha) 20 40

High mountain shrubland Pine plantations Mid mountain shrubland High mountain grasslands Natural forests Agricultural areas Aquatic systems

Highly instrumented areas

These are areas with high density of ecological monitoring protocols located around a meteorological station. They also include a wireless sensor network to measure abiotic factors (temperature, moisture, CO2 concentration, etc.), as well as a camera obtain vegetation indexes.

Meteorological station

MODIS Sensor pixel Wireless sensor network for abiotic factors


High mountain wet grasslands

Ecological monitoring protocol

Camera for NDVI index

10 km
10 11 13 14 15 12 9 6 5 4 3 8 7 3 4 1 32 34 31 33 26 24 21 44 20 23 45 17 43 37 39 18 40 16 25

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Monitoring methodologies - legends

1. Meteorological stations 4. Snow monitoring stations 6. Streams and Lakes Physicochemical 7. Macroinvertebrate sampling 8. Monitoring brown trout 9. Air pollution 10. Monitoring forest restoration treatments on post-fire vegetation 11. Evaluation of forest management in oak-forest 12. Evaluation of forest management in pine plantations 13. Evaluation of forest management in Juniper-genista thickets 14. Emerging infectious diseases on Spanish ibex 15. Phenology

16. Population trends of threatened flora 17. GLORIAs project plots 18. Juniper-genista thickets along an altitudinal gradient 19. Natural forest and high mountain shrubland 20. High mountain wet grasslands 21. Riparian forests 23. Iberian ibex monitoring 25. Eddy-covariance stations 32. Detailed characterization of vegetation changes 1956present. 37. Micromammals monitoring 38. Monitoring of mammals carnivores 39. Raptors
Natural area

40.Passerine bird monitoring 41. Amphibians 42. Reptiles 43. Monitoring butterflies 44. High mountain terrestrial arthropods 45. Pine processionary caterpillar
3. Monitoring the snowfall profile by MODIS sensor

19 41 42 38

24. NDVI index from satellite images 26. Socioeconomic characterization 31. Historic vegetation map from orthophotography 32. Reconstructing landscape history by compiling historical documents 33. Retrospective analysis of forest management

This graph shows in a very syntethic way most of the monitoring protocols that we are carrying out in Sierra Nevada. Each protocol is represented as a number (see legend at the left). Its characteristics are represented as parts of the radial graph. Each color line shows one of the 5 properties used to classify the protocols (see sector legend at the right).

6 Sierra Nevada
Spatial extension Administrative boundary Intensive Monitoring Area (IMA)

Spatial resolution

Administrative boundaries Polygons / Grids Pixels Transects

4 Points
50 years Length of the time series

3 2

1 year

Inventory (>1 year) Annual (1 year) Seasonal (3 months 1 year) Intensive (1 day 3 months)

1 Instantaneous (<1 day)

Variables 20 variables / protocol

0 1 variables /protocol