Biodiversity & Ecology
Short Database Report Open Access
The Alps Vegetation Database – a geo-referenced community-level archive of all terrestrial plants occurring in the Alps
Keywords: biogeography; community structure; diversity; ecoinformatics; macroecology; mountain ecology; species distribution.
Abstract: Mountain ranges are biodiversity hotspots worldwide and provide refuge to many organisms under contemporary climate change. Gathering field information on mountain biodiversity over time is of primary importance to understand the response of biotic communities to climate changes. For plants, several long-term observation sites and networks of mountain biodiversity are emerging worldwide to gather field data and monitor altitudinal range shifts and community composition changes under contemporary climate change. Most of these monitoring sites, however, focus on alpine ecosystems and mountain summits, such as the global observation research initiative in alpine environments (GLORIA). Here we describe the Alps Vegetation Database, a comprehensive community-level archive (GIVD ID EU-00-014) which aims at compiling all available geo-referenced vegetation plots from lowland forests to alpine grasslands across the greatest mountain range in Europe: the Alps. This research initiative was funded between 2008 and 2011 by the Danish Council for Independent Research and was part of a larger project to compare cross-scale plant community structure between the Alps and the Scandes. The Alps Vegetation Database currently harbours 35,731 geo-referenced vegetation plots and 5,023 valid taxa across Mediterranean, temperate and alpine environments. The data are mainly used by the main contributors of the Alps Vegetation Database in an ecoinformatics approach to test hypotheses related to plant macroecology and biogeography, but external proposals for joint collaborations are welcome.
Lenoir, J., Svenning, J.-C., Dullinger, S., Pauli, H., Willner, W., Guisan, A., Vittoz, P., Wohlgemuth, T., Zimmermann, N., Gégout, J.-C. (2012): The Alps Vegetation Database – a geo-referenced community-level archive of all terrestrial plants occurring in the Alps. – In: Dengler, J., Oldeland, J., Jansen, F., Chytrý, M., Ewald, J., Finckh, M., Glöckler, F., Lopez-Gonzalez, G., Peet, R.K., Schaminée, J.H.J. [Eds.]: Vegetation databases for the 21st century. – Biodiversity & Ecology 4: 331–332. DOI: 10.7809/b-e.00124.