Changes in Tree Growth, Biomass and Vegetation Over a 13-Year Period in the Swedish Sub-Arctic
- 325 Downloads
This study was conducted in the Swedish sub-Arctic, near Abisko, in order to assess the direction and scale of possible vegetation changes in the alpine–birch forest ecotone. We have re-surveyed shrub, tree and vegetation data at 549 plots grouped into 61 clusters. The plots were originally surveyed in 1997 and re-surveyed in 2010. Our study is unique for the area as we have quantitatively estimated a 19% increase in tree biomass mainly within the existing birch forest. We also found significant increases in the cover of two vegetation types—“birch forest-heath with mosses” and “meadow with low herbs”, while the cover of snowbed vegetation decreased significantly. The vegetation changes might be caused by climate, herbivory and past human impact but irrespective of the causes, the observed transition of the vegetation will have substantial effects on the mountain ecosystems.
KeywordsSub-Arctic Vegetation change Treeline Biomass Birch forest
We sincerely thank Mats Jonasson, Patrik Åström, and Anders Petterson for conducting the field work, and the staff of the Swedish National Forest Inventory and Abisko Arctic Scientific Research Station for their support. We also thank Craig E. Tweedie and an anonymous reviewer for their valuable comments. The project was mainly funded by Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. Funding was also obtained from IPY project No 512 “Back to the Future”, Formas grant 214-2008-188.
- Anisimov, O.A., D.G. Vaughan, T.V. Callaghan, C. Furgal, H. Marchant, T.D. Prowse, H. Vilhjálmsson, and J.E. Walsh. 2007. Polar regions (Arctic and Antarctic). In Climate change 2007: Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Contribution of working group II to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change, ed. M.L. Parry, O.F. Canziani, J.P. Palutikof, C.E. Hanson, and P.J. van der Linden. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Callaghan, T.V., F. Bergholm, T.R. Christensen, C. Jonasson, U. Kokfelt, and M. Johansson. 2010. A new climate era in the sub-Arctic: Accelerating climate changes and multiple impacts. Geophysical Research Letters 37. doi: 10.1029/2009GL042064.
- Callaghan, T.V., L.O. Björn, T. Chapin, Y. Chernov, T.R. Christensen, B. Huntley, R.A. Ims, M. Johansson, et al. 2005. Arctic tundra and polar desert ecosystem. In Arctic climate impact assessment (ACIA), ed. A.C. IA, 243–352. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Chapin III, F.S., M. Berman, T.V. Callaghan, P. Convey, A.-S. Crepin, K. Danell, H. Ducklow, B. Forbes, et al. 2005. Polar Systems. In Ecosystems and human well-being: Current state and trends, vol. 1, ed. R. Hassan, R. Scholes, and N. Ash, 717–743. Washington: Island Press.Google Scholar
- Emanuelsson, U. 1987. Human influence on vegetation in the Torneträsk area during the last three centuries. Ecological Bulletins 30: 95–111.Google Scholar
- Heliasz, M., T. Johansson, A. Lindroth, M. Mölder, M. Mastepanov, T. Friborg, T.V. Callaghan, and T.R. Christensen. 2011. Quantification of C uptake in subarctic birch forest after setback by an extreme insect outbreak. Geophysical Research Letters 38: L01704. doi: 10.1029/2010GL044733.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hentton, H., and H. Wallgren. 2001. Rodent dynamics and communities in the birch forest zone of northern Fennoscandia. In Nordic Mountain birch ecosystems. Man and the biosphere series, ed. F.E. Wielgolaski, Vol 27, 261–278. New York: The Parthenon Publishing Group.Google Scholar
- Kattsov, V.M., E. Källén, H. Cattle, J. Christensen, I. Hanssen-Bauer, T. Jóhannesen, I. Karol, J. Räisänen, et al. 2005. Future climate change: Modeling and scenarios for the arctic. In Arctic climate impact assessment (ACIA), ed. A.C. IA, 243–352. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Liberkartor. 1981. Vegetationskarta över de Svenska fjällen. Kartblad nr2, Abisko. Stockholm: LiberKartor. [Vegetation map over the Swedish mountains; in Swedish, vegetation class names in English].Google Scholar
- McBean, G., G. Alekseev, D. Chen, E. Førland, J. Fyfe, P. Groisman, R. King, H. Melling, et al. 2005. Arctic climate—past and present. In Arctic climate impact assessment (ACIA), ed. A.C. IA, 21–60. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Moen, J., K. Aune, L. Edenius, and A. Angerbjörn. 2004. Potential effects of climate change on treeline position in the Swedish mountains. Ecology and Society 9: 16.Google Scholar
- Rafstedt, T. (ed.) 1985. Vegetation of the Swedish mountain area, Norrbottens county. A survey on the basis of vegetation mapping and assessment of natural values. Solna: Statens Naturvårdsverk.Google Scholar
- Rundqvist, S., H. Hedenås, A. Sandström, U. Emanuelsson, H. Eriksson, C. Jonasson, and T.V. Callaghan. 2011. Tree and shrub expansion over the past 34 years at the tree-line near Abisko, Sweden. Ambio. doi: 10.1007/s13280-011-0174-0.
- Sandvik, S.M., E. Heegaard, R. Elven, and V. Vandvik. 2004. Response of alpine snowbed vegetation to long-term experimental warming. Ecoscience 11: 150–159.Google Scholar
- Sonesson, M., and J. Hoogsteger. 1983. Recent treeline dynamics (Betula pubescens Ehrh. ssp. tortuosa (Ledeb.) Nyman) in northern Sweden. Nordicana 47: 47–54.Google Scholar
- Tenow, O., H. Bylund, and B. Holmgren. 2001. Impact on mountain birch forests in the past and the future of outbreaks of two geometrid insects. In Nordic Mountain birch ecosystems. Man and the biosphere series, ed. F.E. Wielgolaski, Vol. 27, 223–239. New York: The Parthenon Publishing Group.Google Scholar
- Van Bogaert, R., K. Haneca, J. Hoogesteger, C. Jonasson, M. De Dapper, and T.V. Callaghan. 2011. A century of tree line changes in sub-Arctic Sweden show local and regional variability and only a minor role of 20th century climate warming. Journal of Biogeography. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2010.02453.x.
- Weih, M., and P.S. Karlsson. 1997. Growth and nitrogen utilization in seedlings of mountain birch (Betula pubescens ssp. tortuosa) as related to plant nitrogen status and temperature: A two-year study. Écoscience 4: 365–373.Google Scholar