The Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments (GLORIA) is an international research project to assess climate change impacts on vegetation in alpine environments worldwide. The project is composed of a ground-based, long-term monitoring network in alpine environments which are sensitive to climate change due to their restricted land area, harsh climate and limited growing season.
The GLORIA protocols were established in Austria and are now conducted all over the world. Great Basin NP is the newest member to the project and represents the Great Basin target region of the western United States. Other national parks participating in this monitoring network include Glacier, Rocky Mountain, Yosemite, and Sequoia Kings.
Four geographically similar mountain summits in the park were selected for the survey, including the parkâs highest summit, Wheeler Peak at 13,067 feet. Vegetation data was collected to establish a baseline in species composition. All four peaks will then be re-measured every five years to detect any changes in vegetation. Climate data is also collected on the summits to determine soil temperatures in the targeted alpine regions.
The project was led by Ann Dennis, president of Calflora, Gretchen Baker, park ecologist, and Meg Horner, park science technician, along with other park resource management staff, GLORIA personnel and volunteers joining together to implement the GLORIA protocols during the week of August 11th.