Tundra Vegetation (tundra + vegetation)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Effects of summer grazing by reindeer on composition of vegetation, productivity and nitrogen cycling

ECOGRAPHY, Issue 1 2001
Johan Olofsson
In this study, we investigated the effect of reindeer grazing on tundra heath vegetation in northern Norway. Fences, erected 30 yr ago, allowed us to compare winter grazed, lightly summer grazed and heavily summer grazed vegetation at four different sites. At two sites, graminoids dominated the heavily grazed zone completely, while ericoid dwarf shrubs had almost disappeared. In the other two areas, the increase of graminoids was almost significant. At one of the sites where graminoids dominated the heavily grazed area, we also measured plant biomass, primary production and nitrogen cycling. In this site, heavy grazing increased primary production and rate of nitrogen cycling, while moderate grazing decreased primary production. These results were inconsistent with the view that the highest productivity is found at intermediate grazing pressure. These results rather support the hypothesis that intensive grazing can promote a transition of moss-rich heath tundra into productive, graminoid-dominated steppe-like tundra vegetation. Moreover the results suggests that intermittent intensive reindeer grazing can enhance productivity of summer ranges. [source]

Disentangling effects of an experimentally imposed extreme temperature event and naturally associated desiccation on Arctic tundra

Summary 1Climate projections suggest that extreme events will increase in frequency during this century. As tundra is recognized to be among the most vulnerable biomes, we exposed patches of arctic tundra vegetation to an experimental heatwave (by infrared irradiation), followed by a recovery period. The heating increased the surface temperature with an average of 7·6 °C during 13 days, which slightly exceeded the longest climatic episode with such a temperature deviation since 1961. 2The heatwave decreased stomatal conductance (gs) and PSII maximum efficiency (Fv/Fm), although there were differences in response among the four target species. Salix arctica Pall. (shrub) was affected during the heatwave and could not recover. In Carex bigelowii Tor. ex Schwein (sedge) and Pyrola grandiflora Radius (forb), on the other hand, the effects on gs and Fv/Fm became clear, particularly in the aftermath of the heatwave, whereas Polygonum viviparum L. (forb) was never stressed. 3Effects of the heat on gs were mainly indirect, through increased desiccation, whereas effects on Fv/Fm were more related to leaf temperature (although not in all species). The observed changes can therefore probably be ascribed to a combination of heat and drought causing dysfunctions that ultimately led to senescence. 4Two conclusions of this study, species-specific responses and increased leaf mortality, indicate that more frequent extreme temperature events accompanied by desiccation might alter/endanger tundra communities in a future climate. Predictions of global change effects on arctic ecosystems should therefore take into account the impact of extremes. [source]

Landscape and Coast Development of A Lowland Fjord Margin Following Deglaciation, East Greenland

Louise Hansen
The landscapes of western Jameson Land bordering Hall Bredning fjord comprise upper river basins, glacial landscapes, lower river basins and a near-shore zone. The upper river basins are incised into bedrock and display no cover of young sediments whilst the glacial landscapes, located closer to the coast, are dominated by Pleistocene deposits and an irregular topography with hills and ridges. The lower river basins, dissecting the glacial landscapes, are connected to the upper river basins and contain well-defined Holocene delta terraces. The near-shore zone, which includes the present coast, displays a few raised shorelines. Geomorphological observations combined with stratigraphic work and 14C dates provide a chronological framework for the development of landscape and shoreline, as presented by a four-stage reconstruction. The first stage covers the deglaciation of western Jameson Land at the Weichselian-Holocene transition after a collapse of the main fjord glacier in Hall Bredning. The sea inundated the low-lying areas on Jameson Land forming small side-entry fjord basins that possibly follow the track of older valleys. This was followed by a second stage, the paraglacial period, when large meltwater production and sediment transport resulted in a fast infilling of the side-entry fjord basins by deltas. These are now exposed in terraces in the lower river basins at 70,80 m a.s.l. During a third stage, the relaxation period, fluvial activity decreased and the land surface was increasingly occupied by a cover of tundra vegetation. A glacio-isostatic rebound resulted in a relative sea level fall and fluvial incision. During stages two and three the coast was exposed to shallow marine processes that aided the alignment of the coast. Stages one to three presumably lasted for less than 2000 years. During stage four, the stable period, lasting for several thousand years till the present, there were minor adjustments of shoreline and landscape. The four-step reconstruction describes the sedimentary response of a lowland fjord margin to dramatic changes in climate and sea level. The distribution of erosion and sedimentation during this development was mainly controlled by topography. The reconstruction of the latest environmental development of Jameson Land puts new light on Jameson Land's long and complex Quaternary stratigraphic record. The reconstruction may also be used as a model for the interpretation of deposits in similar areas elsewhere. [source]

A new global biome reconstruction and data-model comparison for the Middle Pliocene

GLOBAL ECOLOGY, Issue 3 2008
U. Salzmann
ABSTRACT Aim, To produce a robust, comprehensive global biome reconstruction for the Middle Pliocene (c. 3.6,2.6 Ma), which is based on an internally consistent palaeobotanical data set and a state-of-the-art coupled climate,vegetation model. The reconstruction gives a more rigorous picture of climate and environmental change during the Middle Pliocene and provides a new boundary condition for future general circulation model (GCM) studies. Location, Global. Methods, Compilation of Middle Pliocene vegetation data from 202 marine and terrestrial sites into the comprehensive GIS data base TEVIS (Tertiary Environmental Information System). Translation into an internally consistent classification scheme using 28 biomes. Comparison and synthesis of vegetation reconstruction from palaeodata with the outputs of the mechanistically based BIOME4 model forced by climatology derived from the HadAM3 GCM. Results, The model results compare favourably with available palaeodata and highlight the importance of employing vegetation,climate feedbacks and the anomaly method in biome models. Both the vegetation reconstruction from palaeobotanical data and the BIOME4 prediction indicate a general warmer and moister climate for the Middle Pliocene. Evergreen taiga as well as temperate forest and grassland shifted northward, resulting in much reduced tundra vegetation. Warm-temperate forests (with subtropical taxa) spread in mid and eastern Europe and tropical savannas and woodland expanded in Africa and Australia at the expense of deserts. Discrepancies which occurred between data reconstruction and model simulation can be related to: (1) poor spatial model resolution and data coverage; (2) uncertainties in delimiting biomes using climate parameters; or (3) uncertainties in model physics and/or geological boundary conditions. Main conclusions, The new global biome reconstruction combines vegetation reconstruction from palaeobotanical proxies with model simulations. It is an important contribution to the further understanding of climate and vegetation changes during the Middle Pliocene warm interval and will enhance our knowledge about how vegetation may change in the future. [source]

Plant species richness in continental southern Siberia: effects of pH and climate in the context of the species pool hypothesis

GLOBAL ECOLOGY, Issue 5 2007
Milan Chytrý
ABSTRACT Aim, Many high-latitude floras contain more calcicole than calcifuge vascular plant species. The species pool hypothesis explains this pattern through an historical abundance of high-pH soils in the Pleistocene and an associated opportunity for the evolutionary accumulation of calcicoles. To obtain insights into the history of calcicole/calcifuge patterns, we studied species richness,pH,climate relationships across a climatic gradient, which included cool and dry landscapes resembling the Pleistocene environments of northern Eurasia. Location, Western Sayan Mountains, southern Siberia. Methods, Vegetation and environmental variables were sampled at steppe, forest and tundra sites varying in climate and soil pH, which ranged from 3.7 to 8.6. Species richness was related to pH and other variables using linear models and regression trees. Results, Species richness is higher in areas with warmer winters and at medium altitudes that are warmer than the mountains and wetter than the lowlands. In treeless vegetation, the species richness,pH relationship is unimodal. In tundra vegetation, which occurs on low-pH soils, richness increases with pH, but it decreases in steppes, which have high-pH soils. In forests, where soils are more acidic than in the open landscape, the species richness,pH relationship is monotonic positive. Most species occur on soils with a pH of 6,7. Main conclusions, Soil pH in continental southern Siberia is strongly negatively correlated with precipitation, and species richness is determined by the opposite effects of these two variables. Species richness increases with pH until the soil is very dry. In dry soils, pH is high but species richness decreases due to drought stress. Thus, the species richness,pH relationship is unimodal in treeless vegetation. Trees do not grow on the driest soils, which results in a positive species richness,pH relationship in forests. If modern species richness resulted mainly from the species pool effects, it would suggest that historically common habitats had moderate precipitation and slightly acidic to neutral soils. [source]

Climate change and grasslands through the ages: an overview

L. 't Mannetje
Summary Change from cool to warm temperatures and vice versa have occurred throughout geological time. During the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods (206,65 million years ago, Ma) the climate was more uniformly warm and moist than at present and tropical rainforests were widespread. Grasses evolved during the Jurassic period and they expanded greatly as the climate differentiated with reduced rainfall and temperatures. C4 -grasses probably arose during the Oligocene period (24,35 Ma). During the Miocene period (23·8,5·3 Ma) grasslands expanded into huge areas (e.g. prairies in the USA, steppe in Eurasia, and pampas and llanos in South America). During the Quaternary period (1·8 Ma till now) some twenty-two different ice ages with periodicities of about 100 000 years occurred. Eighteen-thousand years ago, north-western Europe had a polar climate with tundra vegetation and the Mediterranean region was covered by steppe. During that time Amazonia was so dry that it was covered in extensive areas of savanna and the Sahara expanded rapidly. Only in the last 10 000 years has a closed rainforest covered the Amazonian region again. However, 9000 years ago a brief period of global warming caused excessive rains, which caused the sea and river levels to rise in north-western Europe with tremendous loss of life. The present period of extreme dryness in the Sahara only started some 5000 years ago and then the desert expanded rapidly into the Sahel. Before that the Sahara was covered by steppe. Global warming took place between about ad 900 and about ad 1200 or 1300 just before the Little Ice Age (1550,1700 ad). The article concludes with a description of temperature and vegetation changes that are occurring in Europe at present. It is predicted that C4 -grasses, which are already present in southern Europe, will further expand but that, in the short term, land abandonment will have much more deleterious effects than temperature change due to increased wild fires, loss of biodiversity and desertification. [source]

Towards an energy-based runoff generation theory for tundra landscapes

William L. Quinton
Abstract Runoff hydrology has a large historical context concerned with the mechanisms and pathways of how water is transferred to the stream network. Despite this, there has been relatively little application of runoff generation theory to cold regions, particularly the expansive treeless environments where tundra vegetation, permafrost, and organic soils predominate. Here, the hydrological cycle is heavily influenced by 1) snow storage and release, 2) permafrost and frozen ground that restricts drainage, and 3) the water holding capacity of organic soils. While previous research has adapted temperate runoff generation concepts such as variable source area, transmissivity feedback, and fill-and-spill, there has been no runoff generation concept developed explicitly for tundra environments. Here, we propose an energy-based framework for delineating runoff contributing areas for tundra environments. Aerodynamic energy and roughness height control the end-of-winter snow water equivalent, which varies orders of magnitude across the landscape. Radiant energy in turn controls snowmelt and ground thaw rates. The combined spatial pattern of aerodynamic and radiant energy control flow pathways and the runoff contributing areas of the catchment, which are persistent on a year-to-year basis. While ground surface topography obviously plays an important role in the assessment of contributing areas, the close coupling of energy to the hydrological cycles in arctic and alpine tundra environments dictates a new paradigm. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Spatial distribution and its seasonality of satellite-derived vegetation index (NDVI) and climate in Siberia

Rikie Suzuki
Abstract The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) distribution and its seasonal cycle were investigated in relation to temperature and precipitation over Siberia and its surrounding regions. The analyses used 5-year (1987,1991) monthly means. The monthly mean NDVI was calculated from the third-generation monthly Global Vegetation Index (GVI) product; monthly temperature and precipitation at 611 stations were calculated from Global Daily Summary (GDS) data. The 611 stations were classified by cluster analysis into 10 classes based on the NDVI seasonal cycle (March,October). The geographical distribution characteristics of the NDVI cycle were described using temperature, precipitation and Olson's land-cover type. In northern regions, where tundra vegetation prevails and temperatures and precipitation are low, the amplitude of the NDVI seasonal cycle is small. In southern regions, where temperatures are high and there is little precipitation, the seasonal amplitude of the NDVI is small because of the arid land type. Forested regions were split into six classes, each characterized by large amplitudes in the NDVI seasonal cycle. The phenological characteristics of the forest classes were noted. For example, a forest-class localized near Lake Baikal shows higher NDVI values, even with the presence of snow cover in March, compared with other regions. This high NDVI value suggests that the exposed green canopy of the coniferous forest can be observed even when snow is present. In addition, the NDVI peaks at stations near 60°N, where the maximum monthly temperature is around 18°C. This result suggests that the optimum temperature-precipitation environment coincides to the area in Siberia where the maximum monthly temperature is 18°C. Copyright © 2001 Royal Meteorological Society [source]

Pollen-based biomes for Beringia 18,000, 6000 and 0 14C yr bp,

M. E. Edwards
Abstract The objective biomization method developed by Prentice et al. (1996) for Europe was extended using modern pollen samples from Beringia and then applied to fossil pollen data to reconstruct palaeovegetation patterns at 6000 and 18,000 14C yr bp. The predicted modern distribution of tundra, taiga and cool conifer forests in Alaska and north-western Canada generally corresponds well to actual vegetation patterns, although sites in regions characterized today by a mosaic of forest and tundra vegetation tend to be preferentially assigned to tundra. Siberian larch forests are delimited less well, probably due to the extreme under-representation of Larix in pollen spectra. The biome distribution across Beringia at 6000 14C yr bp was broadly similar to today, with little change in the northern forest limit, except for a possible northward advance in the Mackenzie delta region. The western forest limit in Alaska was probably east of its modern position. At 18,000 14C yr bp the whole of Beringia was covered by tundra. However, the importance of the various plant functional types varied from site to site, supporting the idea that the vegetation cover was a mosaic of different tundra types. [source]

Compositional differentiation, vegetation-environment relationships and classification of willow-characterised vegetation in the western Eurasian Arctic

A.M. Pajunen
Abstract Question: How does willow-characterised tundra vegetation of western Eurasia vary, and what are the main vegetation types? What are the ecological gradients and climatic regimes underlying vegetation differentiation? Location: The dataset was collected across a wide spectrum of tundra habitats at 12 sites in subarctic and arctic areas spanning from NW Fennoscandia to West Siberia. Methods: The dataset, including 758 vegetation sample plots (relevés), was analysed using a TWINSPAN classification and NMDS ordination that also included analyses of vegetation-environment correlations. Results: Based on the TWINSPAN classification, eight vegetation types characterised by willow (cover of upright willows >10%) were discerned: (1) Salix glauca - Carex aquatilis type, (2) Aulacomnium - Tomentypnum type, (3) Salix - Betula - Hylocomium type, (4) Salix lanata - Brachythecium mildeanum type, (5) Salix - Pachypleurum type, (6) S. lanata - Myosotis nemorosa type, (7) Salix-Trollius-Geranium type and (8) Salix - Comarum palustre - Filipendula ulmaria type. Willow-characterised vegetation types were compositionally differentiated from other tundra vegetation and were confined to relatively moist valley and sloping tundra sites, from mire to mineral soils. These vegetation types were encountered across a broad latitudinal zone in which July mean temperature ranged from 6 to 10°C. Conclusions: Willow-characterised tundra vegetation forms a broad category of ecologically and geographically differentiated vegetation types that are linked to dwarf shrub tundra, shrub tundra or mire. Because of complex ecological gradients underlying compositional differentiation, predicting the responses of willow-characterised tundra vegetation to a warming climate may be complicated. [source]

Broad-scale vegetation-environment relationships in Eurasian high-latitude areas

Risto Virtanen
Hultén & Fries (1986); Ignatov & Afonina (1992); Konstantinova et al. (1992); Vitikainen et al. (1997) Abstract Question: How is tundra vegetation related to climatic, soil chemical, geological variables and grazing across a very large section of the Eurasian arctic area? We were particularly interested in broad-scale vegetation-environment relationships and how well do the patterns conform to climate-vegetation schemes. Material and Methods: We sampled vegetation in 1132 plots from 16 sites from different parts of the Eurasian tundra. Clustering and ordination techniques were used for analysing compositional patterns. Vegetation-environment relationships were analysed by fitting of environmental vectors and smooth surfaces onto non-metric multidimensional scaling scattergrams. Results: Dominant vegetation differentiation was associated with a complex set of environmental variables. A general trend differentiated cold and continental areas from relatively warm and weakly continental areas, and several soil chemical and physical variables were associated with this broad-scaled differentiation. Especially soil chemical variables related to soil acidity (pH, Ca) showed linear relationships with the dominant vegetation gradient. This was closely related to increasing cryoperturbation, decreasing precipitation and cooler conditions. Remarkable differences among relatively adjacent sites suggest that local factors such as geological properties and lemming grazing may strongly drive vegetation differentiation. Conclusions: Vegetation differentiation in tundra areas conforms to a major ecocline underlain by a complex set of environmental gradients, where precipitation, thermal conditions and soil chemical and physical processes are coupled. However, local factors such as bedrock conditions and lemming grazing may cause marked deviations from the general climate-vegetation models. Overall, soil chemical factors (pH, Ca) turned out to have linear relationship with the broad-scale differentiation of arctic vegetation. [source]