The dynamics of Pinus mugo krummholz during concomitant change in pastoral land use and climate in central Italy since the mid-20th century was investigated. Krummholz dynamics were detected using sequential aerial photography and fitted to a logistic regression model with elevation, grazing, proximity to beech forest, and proximity to krummholz as explanatory variables. Dendrochronological series were correlated with temperature and precipitation and fitted to a linear model. During this period krummholz doubled in extent and migrated 35–65 m upslope. Expansion was positively associated with krummholz proximity, residual pastoral grazing, and proximity to beech forest beyond 10 m and negatively associated with elevation and beech forest closer than 10 m. The logistic regression model forecasts krummholz migration by an additional 30 m upslope by 2060. During the 20th century, winter and spring minimum temperatures increased but did not result in increased radial stem growth of P. mugo. The combined evidence suggests that krummholz dynamics can be explained by the legacy of summer pastoralism and the dispersal limitations of P. mugo, rather than by climate change.
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