Dr. Carole Adolf


Terrestrial Palaeoecology

+41 31 631 38 42
86, main building, 2nd floor
Postal Address
University of Bern
Institute of Plant Sciences
Altenbergrain 21
3013 Bern

Beffa, G; Pedrotta, T; Colombaroli, D; Henne, PD; van Leeuwen, JFN; Süsstrunk, P; Kaltenrieder, P; Adolf, C; Vogel, H; Pasta, S; Anselmetti, F; Gobet, E; Tinner, W
Vegetation and fire history of coastal north-eastern Sardinia (Italy) under changing Holocene climates and land use
VEGETATION HISTORY AND ARCHAEOBOTANY 25 (3): 271-289, DOI: 10.1007/s00334-015-0548-5 MAY 2016
Abstract: Little is known about the vegetation and fire history of Sardinia, and especially the long-term history of the thermo-Mediterranean belt that encompasses its entire coastal lowlands. A new sedimentary record from a coastal lake based on pollen, spores, macrofossils and microscopic charcoal analysis is used to reconstruct the vegetation and fire history in north-eastern Sardinia. During the mid-Holocene (c. 8,100-5,300 cal bp), the vegetation around Stagno di Sa Curcurica was characterised by dense Erica scoparia and E. arborea stands, which were favoured by high fire activity. Fire incidence declined and evergreen broadleaved forests of Quercus ilex expanded at the beginning of the late Holocene. We relate the observed vegetation and fire dynamics to climatic change, specifically moister and cooler summers and drier and milder winters after 5,300 cal bp. Agricultural activities occurred since the Neolithic and intensified after c. 7,000 cal bp. Around 2,750 cal bp, a further decline of fire incidence and Erica communities occurred, while Quercus ilex expanded and open-land communities became more abundant. This vegetation shift coincided with the historically documented beginning of Phoenician period, which was followed by Punic and Roman civilizations in Sardinia. The vegetational change at around 2,750 cal bp was possibly advantaged by a further shift to moister and cooler summers and drier and milder winters. Triggers for climate changes at 5,300 and 2,750 cal bp may have been gradual, orbitally-induced changes in summer and winter insolation, as well as centennial-scale atmospheric reorganizations. Open evergreen broadleaved forests persisted until the twentieth century, when they were partly substituted by widespread artificial pine plantations. Our results imply that highly flammable Erica vegetation, as reconstructed for the mid-Holocene, could re-emerge as a dominant vegetation type due to increasing drought and fire, as anticipated under global change conditions.

Juriado, I; Liira, J; Csencsics, D; Widmer, I; Adolf, C; Kohv, K; Scheidegger, C
Dispersal ecology of the endangered woodland lichen Lobaria pulmonaria in managed hemiboreal forest landscape
BIODIVERSITY AND CONSERVATION 20 (8): 1803-1819, DOI: 10.1007/s10531-011-0062-8 JUL 2011
Abstract: Changes in the forest management practices have strongly influenced the distribution of species inhabiting old-growth forests. The epiphytic woodland lichen Lobaria pulmonaria is frequently used as a model species to study the factors affecting the population biology of lichens. We sampled 252 L. pulmonaria individuals from 12 populations representing three woodland types differing in their ecological continuity and management intensity in Estonia. We used eight mycobiont-specific microsatellite loci to quantify genetic diversity among the populations. We calculated the Sorensen distance to estimate genetic dissimilarity among individuals within populations. We revealed that L. pulmonaria populations have significantly higher genetic diversity in old-growth forests than in managed forests and wooded meadows. We detected a significant woodland-type-specific pattern of genetic dissimilarity among neighbouring L. pulmonaria individuals, which suggests that in wooded meadows and managed forests dominating is vegetative reproduction. The vegetative dispersal distance between the host trees of L. pulmonaria was found to be only 15-30 m. Genetic dissimilarity among individuals was also dependent on tree species and trunk diameter. Lobaria pulmonaria populations in managed forests included less juveniles compared to old-growth forests and wooded meadows, indicating that forest management influences life stage structure within populations. We conclude that as intensive stand management reduces the genetic diversity of threatened species in woodland habitats, particular attention should be paid to the preservation of remnant populations in old-growth habitats. Within managed habitats, conservation management should target on maintenance of the stand's structural diversity and availability of potential host trees.