Browsing by Subject "vegetation resurvey"

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  • Maliniemi, Tuija; Happonen, Konsta; Virtanen, Risto (2019)
    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.
  • Happonen, Konsta; Muurinen, Lauralotta; Virtanen, Risto; Kaakinen, Eero; Grytnes, John-Arvid; Kaarlejarvi, Elina; Parisot, Philippe; Wolff, Matias; Maliniemi, Tuija (2021)
    Aim Land use is the foremost cause of global biodiversity decline, but species do not respond equally to land-use practices. Instead, it is suggested that responses vary with species traits, but long-term data on the trait-mediated effects of land use on communities are scarce. Here we study how forest understorey communities have been affected by two land-use practices during 4-5 decades, and whether changes in plant diversity are related to changes in functional composition. Location Finland. Time period 1968-2019. Major taxa studied Vascular plants. Methods We resurveyed 245 vegetation plots in boreal herb-rich forest understories, and used hierarchical Bayesian linear models to relate changes in diversity, species composition, average plant size, and leaf economic traits to reindeer abundance, forest management intensity, and changes in climate, canopy cover and composition. We also studied the relationship between species evenness and plant size across both space and time. Results Intensively managed forests decreased in species richness and had increased turnover, but management did not affect functional composition. Increased reindeer densities corresponded with increased leaf dry matter content, evenness and diversity, and decreased height and specific leaf area. Successional development in the canopy was associated with increased specific leaf area and decreased leaf dry matter content and height in the understorey over the study period. Effects of reindeer abundance and canopy density on diversity were partially mediated by vegetation height, which had a negative relationship with evenness across both space and time. Observed changes in climate had no discernible effect on any variable. Main conclusions Functional traits are useful in connecting vegetation changes to the mechanisms that drive them, and provide unique information compared to turnover and diversity metrics. These trait-dependent selection effects could inform which species benefit and which suffer from land-use changes and explain observed biodiversity changes under global change.