Site fertility drives temporal turnover of vegetation at high latitudes
|Author:||Maliniemi, Tuija1,2; Happonen, Konsta3; Virtanen, Risto2,4,5|
1Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
4Department of Physiological Diversity, Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research – UFZ, Leipzig, Germany
5German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle‐Jena‐Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
|Online Access:||PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)|
|Persistent link:|| http://urn.fi/urn:nbn:fi-fe2019103035853
John Wiley & Sons,
|Publish Date:|| 2019-10-30
Experimental evidence shows that site fertility is a key modulator underlying plant community changes under climate change. Communities on fertile sites, with species having fast dynamics, have been found to react more strongly to climate change than communities on infertile sites with slow dynamics. However, it is still unclear whether this generally applies to high‐latitude plant communities in natural environments at broad spatial scales. We tested a hypothesis that vegetation of fertile sites experiences greater changes over several decades and thus would be more responsive under contemporary climate change compared to infertile sites that are expected to show more resistance. We resurveyed understorey communities (vascular plants, bryophytes, and lichens) of four infertile and four fertile forest sites along a latitudinal bioclimatic gradient. Sites had remained outside direct human disturbance. We analyzed the magnitude of temporal community turnover, changes in the abundances of plant morphological groups and strategy classes, and changes in species diversity. In agreement with our hypothesis, temporal turnover of communities was consistently greater on fertile sites compared to infertile sites. However, our results suggest that the larger turnover of fertile communities is not primarily related to the direct effects of climatic warming. Furthermore, community changes in both fertile and infertile sites showed remarkable variation in terms of shares of plant functional groups and strategy classes and measures of species diversity. This further emphasizes the essential role of baseline environmental conditions and nonclimatic drivers underlying vegetation changes. Our results show that site fertility is a key determinant of the overall rate of high‐latitude vegetation changes but the composition of plant communities in different ecological contexts is variously impacted by nonclimatic drivers over time.
Ecology and evolution
|Pages:||13255 - 13266|
|Type of Publication:||
A1 Journal article – refereed
|Field of Science:||
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
This research was financially supported by the Academy of Finland (project # 259072).
|Academy of Finland Grant Number:||
259072 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
© 2019 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.