Status and trends in Arctic vegetation: Evidence from experimental warming and long-term monitoring
New publication by Anne D. Bjorkman, Mariana García Criado, Isla H. Myers-Smith, Virve Ravolainen, Ingibjörg Svala Jónsdóttir, Kristine Bakke Westergaard, James P. Lawler, Mora Aronsson, Bruce Bennett, Hans Gardfjell, Starri Heiðmarsson, Laerke Stewart & Signe Normand
Changes in Arctic vegetation can have important implications for trophic interactions and ecosystem functioning leading to climate feedbacks. Plot-based vegetation surveys provide detailed insight into vegetation changes at sites around the Arctic and improve our ability to predict the impacts of environmental change on tundra ecosystems. Here, we review studies of changes in plant community composition and phenology from both long-term monitoring and warming experiments in Arctic environments. We find that Arctic plant communities and species are generally sensitive to warming, but trends over a period of time are heterogeneous and complex and do not always mirror expectations based on responses to experimental manipulations. Our findings highlight the need for more geographically widespread, integrated, and comprehensive monitoring efforts that can better resolve the interacting effects of warming and other local and regional ecological factors.