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Nicole Inauen, Christian Körner and Erika Hiltbrunner Hydrological consequences of declining land use and elevated CO2 in alpine grassland Journal of Ecology 101

Article first published online: 21 DEC 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12029

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Our results indicate that both grazing and elevated CO2 are mitigating the effects of dry spells on alpine vegetation. The net effect of the continuous decline in land use and of elevated CO2 is negative for catchment water yield and thus, for potential hydroelectric power production. Although these economic ‘costs’ are rather moderate per hectare of alpine grassland, sums are substantial when scaled to the vast areas potentially affected in the Alps. These calculated ‘costs’ attribute economic value to the eco-hydrological benefits of land care at these high elevations.

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