Landscape Ecology

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 895–911 | Cite as

Getting to the root of the matter: landscape implications of plant-fungal interactions for tree migration in Alaska

  • Rebecca E. Hewitt
  • Alec P. Bennett
  • Amy L. Breen
  • Teresa N. Hollingsworth
  • D. Lee Taylor
  • F. Stuart ChapinIII
  • T. Scott Rupp
Research Article

Abstract

Context

Forecasting the expansion of forest into Alaska tundra is critical to predicting regional ecosystem services, including climate feedbacks such as carbon storage. Controls over seedling establishment govern forest development and migration potential. Ectomycorrhizal fungi (EMF), obligate symbionts of all Alaskan tree species, are particularly important to seedling establishment, yet their significance to landscape vegetation change is largely unknown.

Objective

We used ALFRESCO, a landscape model of wildfire and vegetation dynamics, to explore whether EMF inoculum potential influences patterns of tundra afforestation and associated flammability.

Methods

Using two downscaled CMIP3 general circulation models (ECHAM5 and CCCMA) and a mid-range emissions scenario (A1B) at a 1 km2 resolution, we compared simulated tundra afforestation rates and flammability from four parameterizations of EMF effects on seedling establishment and growth from 2000 to 2100.

Results

Modeling predicted an 8.8–18.2 % increase in forest cover from 2000 to 2100. Simulations that explicitly represented landscape variability in EMF inoculum potential showed a reduced percent change afforestation of up to a 2.8 % due to low inoculum potential limiting seedling growth. This reduction limited fuel availability and thus, cumulative area burned. Regardless of inclusion of EMF effects in simulations, landscape flammability was lower for simulations driven by the wetter and cooler CCCMA model than the warmer and drier ECHAM5 model, while tundra afforestation was greater.

Conclusions

Results suggest abiotic factors are the primary driver of tree migration. Simulations including EMF effects, a biotic factor, yielded more conservative estimates of land cover change across Alaska that better-matched empirical estimates from the previous century.

Keywords

Alaska ALFRESCO Climate change Ectomycorrhizal fungi Treeline Wildfire 

References

  1. Beck PSA, Juday GP, Alix C, Barber VA, Winslow SE, Sousa EE, Goetz SJ (2011) Changes in forest productivity across Alaska consistent with biome shift. Ecol Lett 14(4):373–379CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bent E, Kiekel P, Brenton R, Taylor DL (2011) Root-associated ectomycorrhizal fungi shared by various boreal forest seedlings naturally regenerating after a fire in Interior Alaska and correlation of different fungi with host growth responses. Appl Environ Microbiol 77(10):3351–3359CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. Bever JD, Dickie IA, Facelli E, Faceli JM, Klironomos J, Moora M, Zobel M (2010) Rooting theories of plant community ecology in microbial interactions. Trends Ecol Evol 25(8):468–478CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Bigelow NH, Brubaker LB, Edwards ME, Harrison SP, Prentice IC, Anderson PM, Volkova VS (2003) Climate change and Arctic ecosystems: 1. Vegetation changes north of 55 degrees N between the last glacial maximum, mid-Holocene, and present. J Geophys Res 108(D19):8170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Breen AL, Bennett AP, Hewitt RE et al (2013) Tundra fire and vegetation dynamics: simulating the effect of climate change on fire regimes in Arctic ecosystems. Paper presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Fransisco, 9–13 December 2013Google Scholar
  6. Cairney J, Bastias B (2007) Influences of fire on forest soil fungal communities. Can J For Res 37:207–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cairns DM, Moen J (2004) Herbivory influences tree lines. J Ecol 92(6):1019–1024CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chapin FS, Sturm M, Serreze MC, McFadden JP, Key JR, Lloyd AH, Welker JM (2005) Role of land-surface changes in Arctic summer warming. Science 310(5748):657–660CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Collier FA, Bidartondo MI (2009) Waiting for fungi: the ectomycorrhizal invasion of lowland heathlands. J Ecol 97(5):950–963CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dahlberg A (2002) Effects of fire on ectomycorrhizal fungi in fennoscandian boreal forests. Silva Fenn 36(1):69–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dale VH, Joyce LA, McNulty S, Neilson RP (2001) Climate change and forest disturbances. Bioscience 51(9):723–734CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dickie IA, Reich PB (2005) Ectomycorrhizal fungal communities at forest edges. J Ecol 93(2):244–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Euskirchen ES, McGuire AD, Chapin FS, Yi S, Thompson CC (2009a) Changes in vegetation in northern Alaska under scenarios of climate change, 2003-2100: implications for climate feedbacks. Ecol Appl 19(4):1022–1043CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Euskirchen ES, McGuire AD, Rupp TS, Chapin FS, Walsh JE (2009b) Projected changes in atmospheric heating due to changes in fire disturbance and the snow season in the western Arctic, 2003–2100. J Geophys Res Biogeosci 114(G4):G04022CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gardes M, Dahlberg A (1996) Mycorrhizal diversity in arctic and alpine tundra: an open question. New Phytol 133(1):147–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gray ST, Bennett AW, Bolton WR, Breen AL, Carman T (2013) Using integrated ecosystem modeling to understand climate change. Alaska Park Sci 12(2):1–17Google Scholar
  17. Gustine DD, Brinkman TJ, Lindgren MA, Schmidt JI, Rupp TS, Adams LG (2014) Climate-driven effects of fire on winter habitat for caribou in the Alaskan-Yukon Arctic. PLoS One 9(7):e100588CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  18. Harsch MA, Bader MY (2011) Treeline form—a potential key to understanding treeline dynamics. Global Ecol Biogeogr 20(4):582–596CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Harsch MA, Hulme PE, McGlone MS, Duncan RP (2009) Are treelines advancing? A global meta-analysis of treeline response to climate warming. Ecol Lett 12(10):1040–1049CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Hewitt RE (2014) Fire-severity effects on plant-fungal interactions: implications for Alaskan treeline dynamics in a warming climate. PhD thesis, University of Alaska FairbanksGoogle Scholar
  21. Hewitt RE, Bent E, Hollingsworth TN, Chapin FS, Taylor DL (2013) Resilience of arctic mycorrhizal fungal communities after wildfire facilitated by resprouting shrubs. Ecoscience 20(3):296–310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hezel PJ, Fichefet T, Massonnet F (2014) Modeled Arctic sea ice evolution through 2300 in CMIP5 extended RCPs. The Cryosphere 8(4):1195–1204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hinzman LD, Bettez ND, Bolton WR, Chapin FS, Dyurgerov MB, Fastie CL, Yoshikawa K (2005) Evidence and implications of recent climate change in northern Alaska and other arctic regions. Clim Change 72(3):251–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hobbie SE, Chapin FS (1998) An experimental test of limits to tree establishment in Arctic tundra. J Ecol 86(3):449–461CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hoch G, Korner C (2012) Global patterns of mobile carbon stores in trees at the high elevation tree line. Global Ecol Biogeogr 21(8):861–871CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hoeksema JD, Chaudhary VB, Gehring CA, Johnson NC, Karst J, Koide RT, Umbanhowar J (2010) A meta-analysis of context-dependency in plant response to inoculation with mycorrhizal fungi. Ecol Lett 13(3):394–407CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Hollingsworth TN, Johnstone JF, Bernhardt EL, Chapin FS III (2013) Fire severity filters regeneration traits to shape community assembly in Alaska’s boreal forest. PLoS One 8(2):e56033CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  28. Horton TR, van der Heijden MGA (2008) The role of symbioses in seedling establishment and survival. In: Leck MA, Parker VT, Simpson RL (eds) Seedling ecology and evolution. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 189–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Horton TR, Bruns TD, Parker VT (1999) Ectomycorrhizal fungi associated with Arctostaphylos contribute to Pseudotsuga menziesii establishment. Can J Bot 77(1):93–102Google Scholar
  30. Hu FS, Higuera PE, Walsh JE, Chapman WL, Duffy PA, Brubaker LB, Chipman ML (2010) Tundra burning in Alaska: linkages to climatic change and sea ice retreat. J Geophys Res Biogeosci 115:G04002. doi:10.1029/2009JG001270 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Johnstone JF, Chapin FS (2003) Non-equilibrium succession dynamics indicate continued northern migration of lodgepole pine. Glob Change Biol 9(10):1401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Johnstone JF, Chapin FS (2006) Effects of soil burn severity on post-fire tree recruitment in boreal forest. Ecosystems 9:14–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Johnstone JF, Hollingsworth TN, Chapin FS, Mack MC (2010) Changes in fire regime break the legacy lock on successional trajectories in Alaskan boreal forest. Glob Change Biol 16(4):1281–1295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kelly R, Chipman ML, Higuera PE, Stefanova I, Brubaker LB, Hu FS (2013) Recent burning of boreal forests exceeds fire regime limits of the past 10,000 years. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 110(32):13055–13060CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  35. Korner C, Paulsen J (2004) A world-wide study of high altitude treeline temperatures. J Biogeogr 31(5):713–732CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Landhausser SM, Wein RW (1993) Postfire vegetation recovery and tree establishment at the arctic treeline: climate-change-vegetation-response hypotheses. J Ecol 81(4):665–672CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Larsen JA (1980) The boreal ecosystem. Academic Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  38. Lloyd AH, Fastie CL (2003) Recent changes in treeline forest distribution and structure in interior Alaska. Ecoscience 10(2):176–185Google Scholar
  39. Macias Fauria M, Johnson EA (2008) Climate and wildfires in the North American boreal forest. Philos Trans R Soc B 363(1501):2315–2327CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. McGuire AD, Sitch S, Clein JS, Dargaville R, Esser G, Foley J, Heimann M (2001) Carbon balance of the terrestrial biosphere in the twentieth century: analyses of CO2, climate and land use effects with four process-based ecosystem models. Glob Biogeochem Cycles 15(1):183–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. McNown RW, Sullivan PF (2013) Low photosynthesis of treeline white spruce is associated with limited soil nitrogen availability in the Western Brooks Range. Alaska. Funct Ecol 27(3):672–683CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Munier A, Hermanutz L, Jacobs J, Lewis K (2010) The interacting effects of temperature, ground disturbance, and herbivory on seedling establishment: implications for treeline advance with climate warming. Plant Ecol 210(1):19–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Nara K (2006) Pioneer dwarf willow may facilitate tree succession by providing late colonizers with compatible ectomycorrhizal fungi in a primary successional volcanic desert. New Phytol 171(1):187–198CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Nunez MA, Horton TR, Simberloff D (2009) Lack of belowground mutualisms hinders Pinaceae invasions. Ecology 90(9):2352–2359CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Peay KG, Bidartondo MI, Elizabeth Arnold A (2010a) Not every fungus is everywhere: scaling to the biogeography of fungal–plant interactions across roots, shoots and ecosystems. New Phytol 185(4):878–882CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Peay KG, Garbelotto M, Bruns TD (2010b) Evidence of dispersal limitation in soil microorganisms: isolation reduces species richness on mycorrhizal tree islands. Ecology 91(12):3631–3640CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Peay KG, Schubert MG, Nguyen NH, Bruns TD (2012) Measuring ectomycorrhizal fungal dispersal: macroecological patterns driven by microscopic propagules. Mol Ecol 21(16):4122–4136CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Perry D, Meyer M, Egeland D, Rose S, Pilz D (1982) Seedling growth and mycorrhizal formation in clearcut and adjacent, undisturbed soils in montana: a green-house bioassay. For Ecol Manag 4(3):261–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Perry DA, Molina R, Amaranthus MP (1987) Mycorrhizae, mycorrhizospheres, and reforestation: current knowledge and research needs. Can J For Res 17(8):929–940CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Perry DA, Amaranthus MP, Borchers JG, Borchers SL, Brainerd RE (1989) Bootstrapping in Ecosystems: internal interactions largely determine productivity and stability in biological systems with strong positive feedback. Bioscience 39(4):230–237CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Read DJ (1991) Mycorrhizas in ecosystems. Experientia 47(4):376–391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Reithmeier L, Kernaghan G (2013) Availability of ectomycorrhizal fungi to black spruce above the present treeline in Eastern Labrador. PLoS One 8(10):e77527CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  53. Rupp TS, Starfield AM, Chapin FS (2000) A frame-based spatially explicit model of subarctic vegetation response to climatic change: comparison with a point model. Landscape Ecol 15(4):383–400CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Rupp TS, Chapin FS, Starfield AM (2001) Modeling the influence of topographic barriers on treeline advance at the forest-tundra ecotone in northwestern Alaska. Clim Change 48(2–3):399–416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Rupp TS, Duffy P, Leonawicz M et al (2015) Climate scenarios, land cover, and wildland fire. In: Zhu Z, McGuire AD (eds) Baseline and projected future carbon storage and greenhouse-gas fluxes in ecosystems of Alaska. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper (In press)Google Scholar
  56. Scenarios Network for Arctic and Alaska Planning (2015) Average summer temperature data download. University of Alaska. Available from http://www.snap.uaf.edu/tools/data-downloads, Accessed 16 March 2015
  57. Smith SE, Read DJ (2008) Mycorrhizal Symbiosis. Academic Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  58. Starfield AM, Chapin FS (1996) Model of transient changes in arctic and boreal vegetation in response to climate and land use change. Ecol Appl 6(3):842–864CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Starfield A, Cumming D, Taylor R, Quadling M (1993) A frame-based paradigm for dynamic ecosystem models. Ai Appl 7(2&3):1–13Google Scholar
  60. Sturm M, Racine C, Tape K (2001) Increasing shrub abundance in the Arctic. Nature 411(6837):546–547CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. Sullivan PF, Sveinbjornsson B (2010) Microtopographic control of treeline advance in noatak national preserve, Northwest Alaska. Ecosystems 13(2):275–285CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Tape K, Sturm M, Racine C (2006) The evidence for shrub expansion in Northern Alaska and the Pan-Arctic. Glob Change Biol 12(4):686–702CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Taylor DL, Herriott IC, Stone KE, McFarland JW, Booth MG, Leigh MB (2010) Structure and resilience of fungal communities in Alaskan boreal forest soils. Can J For Res 40(7):1288–1301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Turner MG (1989) Landscape ecology: the effect of pattern on process. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 20:171–197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. van der Heijden MGA, Horton TR (2009) Socialism in soil? The importance of mycorrhizal fungal networks for facilitation in natural ecosystems. J Ecol 97(6):1139–1150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Viereck LA (1979) Characteristics of treeline plant communities in Alaska. Ecography 2(4):228–238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Viereck LA, Dyrness CT, Batten AR, Wenzlick KJ (1992) The Alaska vegetation classification. General Technical Report PNW-GTR-286 U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Portland, p 278Google Scholar
  68. Yarie J, Cleve KV (1983) Biomass and productivity of white spruce stands in interior Alaska. Can J For Res 13(5):767–772CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca E. Hewitt
    • 1
  • Alec P. Bennett
    • 1
  • Amy L. Breen
    • 1
  • Teresa N. Hollingsworth
    • 2
  • D. Lee Taylor
    • 3
  • F. Stuart ChapinIII
    • 4
  • T. Scott Rupp
    • 1
  1. 1.International Arctic Research Center, Scenarios Network for Alaska & Arctic PlanningUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA
  2. 2.US Forest Service PNW Research StationUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA
  3. 3.Department of BiologyUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  4. 4.Institute of Arctic BiologyUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA

Personalised recommendations