Arctic Vegetation Changing in response to warming
Recent years' warming in the Arctic has caused local changes in vegetation, reveals new research by biologists from the University of Gothenburg and elsewhere published in the journals Nature Climate Change and Ecology Letters. The results show that most plants in the Arctic have grown taller, and the proportion of bare ground has decreased. Above all, there has been an increase in evergreen shrubs.
"We've managed to link the vegetation changes observed at the different sites to the degree of local warming," explains researcher and biologist Robert Björk from the University of Gothenburg.
Shrubs and plants more widespread
Comparisons show that the prevalence of vascular species, such as shrubs and plants, is increasing as temperatures rise. The degree of change depends on climate zone, soil moisture and the presence of permafrost. Researchers working on the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX) have been gathering data for almost 30 years.
By analysing changes in vegetation in 158 plant communities at 46 locations across the Arctic between 1980 and 2010, they have been able to identify a number of general trends.
"We've managed to show that the vegetation changes in our fixed plots are a result of local warming at numerous sites across the world's tundra," Robert Björk says.
Photo of plots used in the study credit: Ulf Molau och Robert G. Björk
Read more at ScienceDaily.