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Invasibility of boreal wetland plant communities
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. (Arcum)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1767-7010
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. (Arcum)
2014 (English)In: Journal of Vegetation Science, ISSN 1100-9233, E-ISSN 1654-1103, Vol. 25, no 4, 1078-1089 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Question: How does germination and establishment of non-resident plant species differ among major types of wetland ecosystems in boreal forest landscapes? Location: A 250-km(2) large boreal forest landscape in northern Sweden. Methods: We performed a germination and establishment experiment to test for differences between three major wetland types: riparian zones, open wetlands and forested wetlands. These wetland types differ ecologically, hydrologically and in their distribution in the landscape. Six species of vascular plant native to the region but absent or rare in one or more of the three wetland types were sown separately in plots with two different levels of disturbance (complete vegetation removal and control) and were monitored for 3 yr. For two species, seed-sowing density was varied to test for effects of propagule pressure. Results: All six species were able to germinate and survive in all habitats and disturbance levels, suggesting that all three wetland types are invasible. There were positive correlations between germination or survival and species richness in resident vegetation for four out of six species, i.e. species-rich sites were more invasible. The germination frequency did not vary with seed-sowing density, indicating that density-dependent effects were small. All species had higher survival in their resident habitat, while the effect of disturbance was small. Conclusions: The results suggest that the low levels of plant invasion observed in boreal wetlands are better explained by low propagule pressure than high resistance to invasion. However, the habitat dependency of survival implies that population establishment is only expected in habitats to which the species are adapted. Nevertheless, levels of invasion might increase in the future, given that more species are being introduced as a result of increases in transport and trade.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 25, no 4, 1078-1089 p.
Keyword [en]
Climate change, Forested wetlands, Germination, Open wetlands, Riparian zones, Seeds, Sowing experiment
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-96773DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12157ISI: 000340572000018OAI: diva2:767796

Originally included in thesis in manuscript form, with the title "Differences in plant invasibility among boreal wetland communities".

Available from: 2014-12-02 Created: 2014-12-02 Last updated: 2016-05-18Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Effects of climate change on boreal wetland and riparian vegetation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Effects of climate change on boreal wetland and riparian vegetation
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Models of climate change predict that temperature will increase during the 21th century and the largest warming will take place at high northern latitudes. In addition to warming, predictions for northern Europe include increased annual precipitation and a higher proportion of the precipitation during winter falling as rain instead of snow. These changes will substantially alter the hydrology of rivers and streams and change the conditions for riverine communities. The warming is also expected to result in species adjusting their geographic ranges to stay within their climatic tolerances. Riparian zones and wetlands are areas where excess water determines the community composition. It is therefore likely that these systems will be highly responsive to alterations in precipitation and temperature patterns.

In this thesis we have tested the predicted responses of riparian vegetation to climate-driven hydrologic change with a six year long transplant experiment (I). Turfs of vegetation were moved to a new elevation with shorter or longer flood durations. The results demonstrate that riparian species will respond to hydrologic changes, and that without rare events such as unusually large floods or droughts, full adjustment to the new hydrological regime may take at least 10 years.

Moreover, we quantified potential effects of a changed hydrology on riparian plant species richness (II) and individual species responses (III) under different climate scenarios along the Vindel River in northern Sweden. Despite relatively small changes in hydrology, the results imply that many species will become less frequent than today, with stochastic extinctions along some reaches. Climate change may threaten riparian vegetation along some of the last pristine or near-natural river ecosystems in Europe. More extensive loss of species than predicted for the Vindel River is expected along rivers in the southern boreal zone, where snow-melt fed hydrographs are expected to be largely replaced by rain-fed ones.

With a seed sowing experiment, we tested the differences in invasibility between open wetlands, forested wetlands and riparian zones (IV). All six species introduced were able to germinate and survive in all habitats and disturbance levels, indicating that the tested wetlands are generally invisible. Germination was highest in open wetlands and riparian zones. Increasing seed sowing density increased invasion success, but the disturbance treatments had little effect. The fact that seeds germinated and survived for 2 to 3 years in all wetland habitats indicates that wetland species with sufficiently high dispersal capacity and propagule pressure would be able to germinate and establish here in their respective wetland type.

Our results clearly demonstrate that a changed climate will result in substantial changes to functioning, structure and diversity of boreal wetland and riparian ecosystems. To preserve species rich habitats still unaffected by dams and other human stressors, additional protection and management actions may have to be considered.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institutionen för ekologi, miljö och geovetenskap, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, 2011. 30 p.
biomass, flooding, hydrologic niche, invasibility, riparian zone, riparian plant species, river margin, climate scenario, seed sowing experiment, species composition, species richness, transplant experiment
National Category
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-43811 (URN)978-91-7459-184-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-06-10, Älgsalen, Uminova Science Park, Tvistevägen 48, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2011-05-13 Created: 2011-05-10 Last updated: 2014-12-22Bibliographically approved

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