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Arctic alpine vegetation change over 20 years
Department of Biology, University of Regina, Canada .
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
2009 (English)In: Global Change Biology, ISSN 1354-1013, E-ISSN 1365-2486, Vol. 15, no 7, 1676-1684 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recent arctic warming experiments have recorded significant vegetation responses, typically an increase in shrub cover and a loss of species richness. We report similar changes in vegetation along an arctic mountainside in northern Sweden over 20 years. During this time mean annual temperature increased by 2.0 1C, and growing season temperature by 2.3 1C. Growing season length increased by 28% at the bottom of our study area, in birch forest, and by 175% on the mountaintop. Neither total vegetation cover nor the cover of bare ground changed. One common dwarf shrub, Empetrum hermaphroditum, and two common forbs, Viola biflora and Geranium sylvaticum, increased in abundance over time, but no common species moved up the gradient. Species richness declined significantly over time, with an average loss of two species per 50 cmx100cm plot. The richness of herbaceous species at intermediate altitudes decreased significantly with increasing shrub cover. In spite of large changes in temperature, the type and magnitude of vegetation change along this mountainside were relatively modest and consistent with those from wide-spread warming experiments.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 15, no 7, 1676-1684 p.
Keyword [en]
climate change, competition, diversity, gradient, growing season length, growth form, homeostasis, shrub, warming experiments
National Category
Ecology Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-23227DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.01896.xISI: 000266700000007OAI: diva2:222253
Available from: 2009-06-08 Created: 2009-06-08 Last updated: 2014-03-27Bibliographically approved

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