Determinants of tree seedling establishment in alpine tundra

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Marsman , F , Nystuen , K O , Opedal , O H , Foest , J J , Sorensen , M V , De Frenne , P , Graae , B J & Limpens , J 2021 , ' Determinants of tree seedling establishment in alpine tundra ' , Journal of Vegetation Science , vol. 32 , no. 1 , 12948 . https://doi.org/10.1111/jvs.12948

Title: Determinants of tree seedling establishment in alpine tundra
Author: Marsman, Floor; Nystuen, Kristin O.; Opedal, Oystein H.; Foest, Jessie J.; Sorensen, Mia Vedel; De Frenne, Pieter; Graae, Bente Jessen; Limpens, Juul
Other contributor: University of Helsinki, Research Centre for Ecological Change

Date: 2021-01
Language: eng
Number of pages: 15
Belongs to series: Journal of Vegetation Science
ISSN: 1100-9233
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/jvs.12948
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/333006
Abstract: Questions Changes in climate and herbivory pressure affect northern alpine ecosystems through woody plant encroachment, altering their composition, structure and functioning. The encroachment often occurs at unequal rates across heterogeneous landscapes, hinting at the importance of habitat-specific drivers that either hamper or facilitate woody plant establishment. Here, we assess: (1) the invasibility of three distinct alpine plant community types (heath, meadow andSalixshrubland) byPinus sylvestris(Scots pine); and (2) the relative importance of biotic (above-ground interactions with current vegetation, herbivory and shrub encroachment) and microclimate-related abiotic (soil temperature, moisture and light availability) drivers of pine seedling establishment success. Location Dovrefjell, Central Norway. Methods We conducted a pine seed sowing experiment, testing how factorial combinations of above-ground removal of co-occurring vegetation, herbivore exclusion and willow transplantation (simulated shrub encroachment) affect pine emergence, survival and performance (new stem growth, stem height and fraction of healthy needles) in three plant communities, characteristic of alpine tundra, over a period of five years. Results Pine seedling emergence and survival were similar across plant community types. Herbivore exclusion and vegetation removal generally increased pine seedling establishment and seedling performance. Within our study, microclimate had minimal effects on pine seedling establishment and performance. These results illustrate the importance of biotic resistance to seedling establishment. Conclusion Pine seedlings can easily establish in alpine tundra, and biotic factors (above-ground plant interactions and herbivory) are more important drivers of pine establishment in alpine tundra than abiotic, microclimate-related, factors. Studies aiming to predict future vegetation changes should thus consider local-scale biotic interactions in addition to abiotic factors.
Subject: above-ground competition
alpine tundra
exclosure
herbivory
invasibility
microclimate
Pinus sylvestris
shrub encroachment
PINUS-SYLVESTRIS
POSITIVE INTERACTIONS
PLANT-COMMUNITIES
SHRUB EXPANSION
CLIMATE-CHANGE
TALL SHRUB
FACILITATION
RECRUITMENT
RESPONSES
COMPETITION
11831 Plant biology
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
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