Shrub expansion in tundra ecosystems: dynamics, impacts and research priorities

Myers-Smith, Isla H, Forbes, Bruce C, Wilmking, Martin, Hallinger, Martin, Lantz, Trevor, Blok, Daan, Tape, Ken D, MacIas-Fauria, Marc, Sass-Klaassen, Ute, Lévesque, Esther, Boudreau, Stéphane, Ropars, Pascale, Hermanutz, Luise, Trant, Andrew, Collier, Laura Siegwart, Weijers, Stef, Rozema, Jelte, Rayback, Shelly A, Schmidt, Niels Martin, Schaepman-Strub, Gabriela, Wipf, Sonja, Rixen, Christian, Ménard, Cécile B, Venn, Susanna, Goetz, Scott, Andreu-Hayles, Laia, Elmendorf, Sarah, Ravolainen, Virve, Welker, Jeffrey, Grogan, Paul, Epstein, Howard E and Hik, David S 2011, Shrub expansion in tundra ecosystems: dynamics, impacts and research priorities, Environmental research letters, vol. 6, no. 4, Oct-Dec, pp. 1-15, doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/6/4/045509.

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Title Shrub expansion in tundra ecosystems: dynamics, impacts and research priorities
Author(s) Myers-Smith, Isla H
Forbes, Bruce C
Wilmking, Martin
Hallinger, Martin
Lantz, Trevor
Blok, Daan
Tape, Ken D
MacIas-Fauria, Marc
Sass-Klaassen, Ute
Lévesque, Esther
Boudreau, Stéphane
Ropars, Pascale
Hermanutz, Luise
Trant, Andrew
Collier, Laura Siegwart
Weijers, Stef
Rozema, Jelte
Rayback, Shelly A
Schmidt, Niels Martin
Schaepman-Strub, Gabriela
Wipf, Sonja
Rixen, Christian
Ménard, Cécile B
Venn, SusannaORCID iD for Venn, Susanna
Goetz, Scott
Andreu-Hayles, Laia
Elmendorf, Sarah
Ravolainen, Virve
Welker, Jeffrey
Grogan, Paul
Epstein, Howard E
Hik, David S
Journal name Environmental research letters
Volume number 6
Issue number 4
Season Oct-Dec
Article ID 045509
Start page 1
End page 15
Total pages 15
Publisher IOP Publishing
Place of publication Bristol, Eng.
Publication date 2011
ISSN 1748-9326
Keyword(s) shrubs
climate change
ecosystem structure
ecosystem function
science & technology
life sciences & biomedicine
physical sciences
environmental sciences
meteorology & atmospheric sciences
environmental sciences & ecology
Summary Recent research using repeat photography, long-term ecological monitoring and dendrochronology has documented shrub expansion in arctic, high-latitude and alpine tundra ecosystems. Here, we (1)synthesize these findings, (2)present a conceptual framework that identifies mechanisms and constraints on shrub increase, (3)explore causes, feedbacks and implications of the increased shrub cover in tundra ecosystems, and (4)address potential lines of investigation for future research. Satellite observations from around the circumpolar Arctic, showing increased productivity, measured as changes in greenness, have coincided with a general rise in high-latitude air temperatures and have been partly attributed to increases in shrub cover. Studies indicate that warming temperatures, changes in snow cover, altered disturbance regimes as a result of permafrost thaw, tundra fires, and anthropogenic activities or changes in herbivory intensity are all contributing to observed changes in shrub abundance. Alarge-scale increase in shrub cover will change the structure of tundra ecosystems and alter energy fluxes, regional climate, soilatmosphere exchange of water, carbon and nutrients, and ecological interactions between species. In order to project future rates of shrub expansion and understand the feedbacks to ecosystem and climate processes, future research should investigate the species or trait-specific responses of shrubs to climate change including: (1)the temperature sensitivity of shrub growth, (2)factors controlling the recruitment of new individuals, and (3)the relative influence of the positive and negative feedbacks involved in shrub expansion.
Language eng
DOI 10.1088/1748-9326/6/4/045509
Field of Research MD Multidisciplinary
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2011, IOP Publishing Ltd.
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