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2010 Landscape Urban Planning

2010 Landscape Urban Planning

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Published by juanlorite
ski piste restoration
ski piste restoration

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Published by: juanlorite on Sep 20, 2010
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This article appeared in a journal published by Elsevier. The attachedcopy is furnished to the author for internal non-commercial researchand education use, including for instruction at the authors institutionand sharing with colleagues.Other uses, including reproduction and distribution, or selling orlicensing copies, or posting to personal, institutional or third partywebsites are prohibited.In most cases authors are permitted to post their version of thearticle (e.g. in Word or Tex form) to their personal website orinstitutional repository. Authors requiring further informationregarding Elsevier’s archiving and manuscript policies areencouraged to visit:http://www.elsevier.com/copyright
Author's personal copy
Landscape and Urban Planning
97 (2010) 92–97
Contents lists available atScienceDirect
 journal homepage:www.elsevier.com/locate/landurbplan
Evaluating a vegetation-recovery plan in Mediterranean alpine ski slopes:A chronosequence-based study in Sierra Nevada (SE Spain)
 Juan Lorite
, Mercedes Molina-Morales
, Eva María Ca˜nadas
,Miguel Ballesteros
, Julio Pe˜nas
Departamento de Botánica, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Granada, Avda. Fuentenueva s/n, E-18071, Granada, Spain
Departmento de Biología Animal, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Granada, Avda. Fuentenueva s/n, E-18071, Granada, Spain
a r t i c l e i n f o
 Article history:
Received 17 July 2009Received in revised form 27 April 2010Accepted 30 April 2010
Ski runsMediterraneanPlant diversityRecoveryEvaluationDiscriminant analysis
a b s t r a c t
Inthispaper,weassesstheresultsfoundintherestorationofvegetationonskirunsintheMediterraneanhighmountain,contrastingdifferentissueswidelyusedforevaluatingrecoveryplans,suchascover,rich-ness, diversity, growth, and qualitative species composition, with the aim of establishing their relativevalidity as well as finding a straightforward model to assess the success of the restoration of degradedareas.SkirunswereselectedinSierraNevadaskistation(SESpain)inwhichhydroseedingwasperformedfrom 2002 to 2005. The sampling design was based on a chronosequence approach, using natural areasestablished as ‘models’ (i.e. target for long-term restoration) to evaluate the restoration success basedon the similarity to the model. Although parameters such as growth, cover, and even richness or diver-sity reached similar values to the ones in the model areas after 4 years (i.e. natural perennial mountainpastures), other indicators such as composition, measured in a qualitative way as the ratio of colonizingspecies to total species, showed different occurrence values for the most abundant species. Moreover,when the whole pool of species was taken into account using discriminant analysis, the results differed,showing that although the process performed well, the recovery (sensu stricto) requires longer periodsthan the duration assessed to be fully successful. The results showed that common parameters, such asgrowth,cover,richness,ordiversity,whenusedsolelymayleadtomisinterpretation,andthereforeaddi-tional methods to compare composition, such as the discriminant analysis, are strongly recommended.
© 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
Since the mid-twentieth century, Mediterranean mountainshave undergone a vigorous increase in tourist activities, especiallythose related to alpine skiing (Lasanta et al., 2007). Ski resortsyieldlargeeconomicreturns(ElsasserandMesserli,2001)andpro-vide services and infrastructure improvements for mountain areas(Snowdon et al., 2000) but on the other hand inflict heavy impacton the environment and landscape (e.g.Benthem, 1973; Pignatti,1993; Needham and Rollins, 2005). Specifically, the constructionof ski runs is one of the major causes of pastureland loss in theAlps (Watson, 1985; Urbanska, 1997). To build the ski runs, allthe vegetation is eliminated, the upper soil layers are disturbed,stones are removed and the topography is modified, resulting inthe complete elimination of the vegetation and the general distur-bance of the ecosystem (Gros et al., 2004; Barni et al., 2007). The
Corresponding author. Tel.: +34 958 241000x20223; fax: +34 958 243254.
E-mail addresses:
jlorite@ugr.es(J. Lorite),merche@ugr.es(M. Molina-Morales), ecanadas@ugr.es(E.M.Ca˜nadas),ballesterosjimenez@hotmail.com(M.Ballesteros).
processes of primary succession of the vegetation are extremelyslowed down (Körner, 2003) due to the adverse high-mountainconditions. Moreover, maintenance activity specific to ski resorts,such as the machine-grading of ski slopes and artificial snowing,can strongly limit the recovery of the vegetation. The machine-grading (i.e. the complete removal of topsoil and vegetation, aswell as the leveled of the surface) causes severe and lasting impacton alpine vegetation, which proves difficult to mitigate even byrecovery measures, particularly at higher altitudes (Wipf et al.,2005). The impact of artificial snowing depends on the currentstate of the vegetation, the environmental objectives of a spe-cific ski resort, and the properties of the snow, being the sum of these usually negative, but not always (Rixen et al., 2008; Wipf et al., 2005). As a result of the management, extensive areas of soilremainbareintheseenvironments(Tsuyuzaki,1995;UrbanskaandFattorini, 2000). Thus, restoration is vital to prevent erosive pro-cesses as well as to restore ecosystem structure and functionality(Muller et al., 1998). Restoration should minimize resource deple-tion and ensure long-term ecosystem recovery, which in termsof ecological restoration is called rehabilitation (e.g.Bradshaw,1997).
0169-2046/$ – see front matter
© 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Author's personal copy
 J. Lorite et al. / Landscape and Urban Planning 
97 (2010) 92–97 
 Table 1
Details of the hydroseeding seed mixture.Species Seed mass % purity
) Seeds (m
) %
 Agrostis nevadensis
0.320 0.200 30.0 0.42 8 1.6
 Arenaria tetraquetra
subsp. amabilis 0.193 0.610 90.0 0.02 5 1
Dactylis glomerata
0.280 0.470 47.5 1.11 88 17.8
Deschampsia flexuosa
0.120 0.180 25.0 3.18 119 24.1
Festuca indigesta
0.750 0.910 63.0 1.69 129 26.1
Helianthemum apenninum
0.670 0.950 75.0 0.25 26 5.3
Hormathophylla spinosa
0.762 0.490 86.0 0.2 11 2.2
Reseda complicata
0.041 0.398 80.0 0.12 93 18.9
Sideritis glacialis
1.218 0.420 57.0 0.12 2 0.4
Thymus serpylloides
0.700 0.210 75.0 0.47 11 2.2Seed mass, weight per 100 seeds; % purity, percentage of purity;
, % of seed germination;
), weight of seeds applied per square meter; seeds (m
), number of viableseedappliedpersquaremeter;%,percentageofseedbelongingtoonespeciesinthemixture(dataprovidedbytechnicalenvironmentalstaffofCETURSASierraNevadaS.A.).
Some studies have pointed out the changes in plant-speciescomposition, dynamics, biomass, etc. caused by the building of ski runs and later restoration using the different techniques (e.g.Watson,1985;Urbanska,1995,1997;Tsuyuzaki,1990,1995,2002;Muller et al., 1998; Urbanska and Fattorini, 2000), but all of themhave focused on alpine ecosystems sensu stricto. Restoration of Mediterraneanhigh-mountainecosystemshavenotyetbeenstud-ied despite that there are major differences with respect to Alpinemountains (Grabherr et al., 2003) due to climatic irregularity andtheexistenceoftwostressperiodsforplants:winter,owingtolowtemperatures;andsummer,duetothetypicalMediterraneansum-mer drought (Giménez-Benavides et al., 2007). The present studywas conducted in Sierra Nevada (SE Spain), a good example of aMediterranean mountain with a ski station (the southernmost inEurope).This study assesses the results of plant restoration works onski runs under Mediterranean conditions, comparing results froma chronosequence and evaluating different issues frequently usedasindicators,suchascover,richness,diversity,growth,andspeciescomposition.Theaimwastoestablishamethodologytoassessthesuccess of the vegetation recovery in ski runs and other disturbedenvironments.
2. Materials and methods
 2.1. Study area
The study area is located at the ski station of Sierra Nevada (SESpain;37
W),intheSierraNevadamountain.Thismountainarea covers about 2100km
included in the Baetic range. SierraNevada is a major Mediterranean diversity hotspot (Médail andQuézel, 1997, 1999); in fact, above 2000m asl occur nearly 100endemic and rare taxa (Lorite et al., 2007a) as well as rare and/orendemic plant communities (Lorite et al., 2007b). Geologically,the study site is constituted of siliceous rocks, mainly micaschists( Jabaloy et al., 2008). The soils belong to the suborders Orthentsand Ochrepts, the soil units being Anthropic Regosols and HumicRegosols, with sandy loam or loamy sand containing a high pro-portion of gravel texture (Delgado et al., 2007). In general, theclimate is typically Mediterranean although with high-mountainfeatures. The average annual rainfall of the area is 925mm withmainlysnow-basedprecipitationsandanextendedperiodofsum-mer drought, while the mean annual temperature is 3
C (coldestmonth:
C, hottest month: 14
C; lowest:
C, highest:26.6
C) (for further information seeGómez, 2002). The ski station,builtin1964,isprovidedwith115skirunsand102.88skiablekilo-meters, ranging between 2100 and 3300m asl. In years with highrainfall,theaveragesnowdepthexceeds2matmostskislopesdur-ing the ski season, although in some areas more than 5m can bereached, in contrast to dry years, when the snow is almost absent.Therefore, the ski resort produces artificial snow when necessary.Thefirstsnowmachineswereinstalledin1989,andatpresentdayproduce artificial snow for 32km of snow runs (source: CetursaSierra Nevada S.A.;www.cetursa.es).
 2.2. Ski-run restoration
Theski-runconstructionatthesitedatesbacktotheearly1960s,for which the topsoil (10–40cm of depth, accordingDelgado et al.,2007) was removed and discarded, exposing the underlying min-eral soil and bedrock. The first restoration works date from 2000(Gálvez, pers. com.), although not until 2002 did the restorationprogram begin in strict terms. Since then the firm that managesthe ski runs has undertaken sowing by hydroseeding (see furtherdetails on the technique inMerlin et al., 1999), in all cases dur-ing the autumn (throughout October) using the same mixture of autochthonous seeds every sowing period (seeTable 1), harvestedinthesurroundingsoftheskiruns(seeTable1).Theassessedperiodin this study corresponds to the hydroseedings performed over 4years:2002(ca.1.5ha),2003(ca.2.8ha),2004(ca.3.1ha),and2005(ca. 1.9ha).
 2.3. Sampling design
Field samples were carried out during the summer of 2006. Achronosequence was established for this purpose (Kent and Coker,1992; Foster and Tilman, 2000), including the areas seeded from2002 to 2005 (H02, H03, H04, H05, hereafter) (Fig. 1). The plantcommunity we sought to restore was a native Mediterranean-alpine perennial pasture of 
Festuca indigesta.
It is also composedof others species such as
Deschampsia flexuosa
Koeleria crassipes
Fig. 1.
Conceptual scheme established for the monitoring of the chronosequence.On the
-axis, time (in years) from the recovery action (note that 0 corresponds totheevaluatingtimein2006).Onthe
-axis,evaluationissuessettledtoevaluatetherecovery success (see Section2for further information).

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