23 Jan 2023
 | 23 Jan 2023
Status: a revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal BG.

Primary succession and its driving variables – a holistic approach applied in three proglacial areas in the upper Martell Valley (Eastern Italian Alps)

Katharina Ramskogler, Bettina Knoflach, Bernhard Elsner, Brigitta Erschbamer, Florian Haas, Tobias Heckmann, Florentin Hofmeister, Livia Piermattei, Camillo Ressl, Svenja Trautmann, Michael H. Wimmer, Clemens Geitner, Johann Stötter, and Erich Tasser

Abstract. Climate change and the associated glacier retreat lead to considerable enlargement and alterations of the proglacial systems. The colonisation of plants in this ecosystem was found to be highly depending on terrain age, initial site conditions and geomorphic disturbances. Although the explanatory variables are generally well understood, there is little knowledge on their collinearities and resulting influence on proglacial primary succession. To develop a holistic understanding of vegetation development, a more interdisciplinary approach was adopted. In the proglacial area of Fürkele-, Zufall-, and Langenferner (Martell Valley/Eastern Italian Alps), totally 65 plots of 5 × 2 m were installed to perform the vegetation analysis on vegetation cover, species number, and species composition. For each of those, 30 potential explanatory variables were collected, selected through an extensive literature review. To analyse and further avoid multicollinearities, 26 of the explanatory variables were clustered via Principal Component Analysis (PCA) to five components. Subsequently, generalised additive models (GAM) were used to analyse the potential explanatory factors of primary succession. The results showed that primary succession patterns were highly related to the first component (‘elevation and time’), the second component (‘solar radiation’), and the third component (‘south-eastness’) as well as snow free freeze-thaw days, and landforms. In summary, the analysis of all explanatory variables together provides an overview of the most important influencing variables and their interactions, and thus a basis for the debate on future vegetation development in a changing climate.

Katharina Ramskogler et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CC1: 'Comment on bg-2022-248', Danilo Godone, 25 Jan 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on CC1', Katharina Ramskogler, 31 Jan 2023
  • RC1: 'Comment on bg-2022-248', Anonymous Referee #1, 03 Mar 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC1', Katharina Ramskogler, 08 Mar 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on bg-2022-248', Anonymous Referee #2, 07 Mar 2023
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC2', Katharina Ramskogler, 17 Mar 2023

Katharina Ramskogler et al.

Katharina Ramskogler et al.


Total article views: 444 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total Supplement BibTeX EndNote
318 103 23 444 38 7 8
  • HTML: 318
  • PDF: 103
  • XML: 23
  • Total: 444
  • Supplement: 38
  • BibTeX: 7
  • EndNote: 8
Views and downloads (calculated since 23 Jan 2023)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 23 Jan 2023)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 441 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 441 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
Latest update: 02 Jun 2023
Short summary
To concretise the complex effects of driving forces on the evolution of proglacial primary succession, 26 from literature known explanatory variables assigned to five spheres were analysed via Principal Component Analysis and Generalised Additive Models. The central results highlight that besides time and elevation related drivers also disturbance modulates vegetation development. The results are valuable for debates on vegetation development in a warming climate.