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Alternative transient states and slow plant community responses after changed flooding regimes
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Ecology & Biodiversity, Institute of Environmental Biology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands; Plant Ecophysiology, Institute of Environmental Biology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands. (Arcum)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6187-499X
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. (Arcum)
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2019 (English)In: Global Change Biology, ISSN 1354-1013, E-ISSN 1365-2486, Vol. 25, no 4, p. 1358-1367Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Climate change will have large consequences for flooding frequencies in freshwater systems. In interaction with anthropogenic activities (flow regulation, channel restoration and catchment land-use) this will both increase flooding and drought across the world. Like in many other ecosystems facing changed environmental conditions, it remains difficult to predict the rate and trajectory of vegetation responses to changed conditions. Given that critical ecosystem services (e.g. bank stabilization, carbon subsidies to aquatic communities or water purification) depend on riparian vegetation composition, it is important to understand how and how fast riparian vegetation responds to changing flooding regimes. We studied vegetation changes over 19 growing seasons in turfs that were transplanted in a full-factorial design between three riparian elevations with different flooding frequencies. We found that (a) some transplanted communities may have developed into an alternative stable state and were still different from the target community, and (b) pathways of vegetation change were highly directional but alternative trajectories did occur, (c) changes were rather linear but faster when flooding frequencies increased than when they decreased, and (d) we observed fastest changes in turfs when proxies for mortality and colonization were highest. These results provide rare examples of alternative transient trajectories and stable states under field conditions, which is an important step towards understanding their drivers and their frequency in a changing world.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2019. Vol. 25, no 4, p. 1358-1367
Keywords [en]
alternative stable states, drought events, flood regime change, hydrological alterations, hysteresis, riparian vegetation, river restoration, species traits
National Category
Ecology Environmental Sciences
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URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-157948DOI: 10.1111/gcb.14569ISI: 000461817500013PubMedID: 30638293Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85061011899OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-157948DiVA, id: diva2:1305743
Available from: 2019-04-18 Created: 2019-04-18 Last updated: 2023-03-23Bibliographically approved

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Sarneel, Judith M.Nilsson, ChristerJansson, Roland

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