Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments (GLORIA)
The effects of climate change are expected to be evident sooner for high elevation ecosystems
than for many lower elevation systems. To capture evidence of climate change effects on high
elevation systems and to provide data for land management and potential mitigation requires
dedicated vegetation monitoring. CNHP biologists, along with partners from the National Park
Service and the U.S. Forest Service, established and monitor long-term, high elevation monitoring
sites in Rocky Mountain National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park, Yellowstone National Park,
and in the Pecos Wilderness of the Carson National Forest, New Mexico.
Vegetation monitoring 5 meters below the high summit point on the west side of West Chimayosos Peak, Pecos Wilderness, New Mexico.
This research effort applies the GLORIA Project
protocols, which are part of a global observation network for the comparative study of climate change impacts
on alpine biodiversity. The protocol establishes a target region on four closely located peaks that represent
an elevation gradient from the sub-alpine to the limits of vegetation growth in the nival zone. The sites are
monitored on a five-year interval and data from the project is used to examine climate-induced changes of
vegetation cover, species composition, and species migration.
GLORIA Target Region at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve (GRSA) showing location and elevation gradient of the four peaks.
There are currently over 130 GLORIA target regions established across six continents with a minimum of 30
additional sites in some stage of preparation. As a collaboration with the GLORIA Project,
these data are valuable to our land management partners as well as the broader global conservation community.