Dwarf Shrubs Impact Tundra Soils : Drier, Colder, and Less Organic Carbon

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Kemppinen , J , Niittynen , P , Virkkala , A-M , Happonen , K , Riihimäki , H , Aalto , J & Luoto , M 2021 , ' Dwarf Shrubs Impact Tundra Soils : Drier, Colder, and Less Organic Carbon ' , Ecosystems , vol. 24 , no. 6 , pp. 1378-1392 . https://doi.org/10.1007/s10021-020-00589-2

Title: Dwarf Shrubs Impact Tundra Soils : Drier, Colder, and Less Organic Carbon
Author: Kemppinen, Julia; Niittynen, Pekka; Virkkala, Anna-Maria; Happonen, Konsta; Riihimäki, Henri; Aalto, Juha; Luoto, Miska
Contributor organization: Department of Geosciences and Geography
BioGeoClimate Modelling Lab
University of Helsinki
Date: 2021-09
Language: eng
Number of pages: 15
Belongs to series: Ecosystems
ISSN: 1432-9840
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10021-020-00589-2
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/344271
Abstract: In the tundra, woody plants are dispersing towards higher latitudes and altitudes due to increasingly favourable climatic conditions. The coverage and height of woody plants are increasing, which may influence the soils of the tundra ecosystem. Here, we use structural equation modelling to analyse 171 study plots and to examine if the coverage and height of woody plants affect the growing-season topsoil moisture and temperature (< 10 cm) as well as soil organic carbon stocks (< 80 cm). In our study setting, we consider the hierarchy of the ecosystem by controlling for other factors, such as topography, wintertime snow depth and the overall plant coverage that potentially influence woody plants and soil properties in this dwarf shrub-dominated landscape in northern Fennoscandia. We found strong links from topography to both vegetation and soil. Further, we found that woody plants influence multiple soil properties: the dominance of woody plants inversely correlated with soil moisture, soil temperature, and soil organic carbon stocks (standardised regression coefficients = - 0.39; - 0.22; - 0.34, respectively), even when controlling for other landscape features. Our results indicate that the dominance of dwarf shrubs may lead to soils that are drier, colder, and contain less organic carbon. Thus, there are multiple mechanisms through which woody plants may influence tundra soils.
Subject: Dwarf shrubs
Shrubification
Snow
Microclimate
Carbon cycle
Structural equation model
Tundra
Arctic
ARCTIC TUNDRA
SNOW COVER
VEGETATION
EXPANSION
CONSEQUENCES
COMMUNITY
REINDEER
MOISTURE
STORAGE
MODELS
1171 Geosciences
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion


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