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Following plants in the crags: MIREN rock face survey

Join the new MIREN rock face survey


With long-term monitoring campaigns focussing on mountain roads and trails, and divergences to railroads and rivers, we are happy to announce that MIREN wants to tackle another - perhaps more unusual - linear disturbance in a new, global survey: rock climbing!


Rock climbing is in many respects similar to mountain roads and trails, with routes serving as linear disturbances and dispersal corridors across elevation gradients, with significant effects on the local vegetation. Nevertheless, cliff vegetation, and the influence of rock climbing on it, is pretty unique: rock faces often cover strong microclimatic gradients, resulting in a unique vegetation of species at either the warm or cool edge of their distribution. 


This unique vegetation often consists of (locally) rare species with very patchy distribution, and the passage of climbing routes over their habitat might thus have substantial impact. To map that impact, and its interaction with the effects of microclimate and climate change on species redistributions, we launch this new MIREN rock face survey, and you are welcome to join


Wilder Kaiser, Austria - by Sarane Coen

Through the MIREN rock face survey we want to learn about global similarities and interregional differences between rock faces. To do this, we will set up permanent vegetation monitoring plots on and adjacent to existing rock climbing routes to monitor local plant species richness and community composition. Wherever possible, we will also measure rock face microclimate in comparison with the microclimate in the environment.


If you are interested in monitoring the vegetation on and along one or a few rock climbing routes in the upcoming summer, express your interest via this survey. We are currently developing a standardized protocol that can be applied with minimal effort on any rock climbing route across the globe. If you want to be involved in finalizing that methodology, you can inform us through the same form!



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