uu.seUppsala University Publications
Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Comparing warming and grazing effects on birch growth in an alpine environment: a 10-year experiment
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Plant Ecology and Evolution.
2010 (English)In: Plant Ecology & Diversity, ISSN 1755-0874, Vol. 3, no 1, 19-27 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background : Tree encroachment of arctic tundra and alpine vegetation is a generally predicted response to climate warming. However, herbivory plays an important role in structuring these ecosystems and their responses to warming.

Aims : To experimentally test how grazing and increased growing season temperature influence growth, physiognomy and stature of birch in the alpine zone.

Methods: Trait responses of naturally regenerated birch saplings to warming (open-top chambers), and changed grazing regime (exclosures) were compared with those growing in unmanipulated conditions over a 10-year period (1999–2008). The effect of treatment over time and differences between treatments were analysed with repeated measures GLM (Generalised Linear Model) and simple contrasts in GLM.

Results: Warming alone had no major effect on trait responses, however, significantly smaller leaves and an increased number of short shoots indicated warming-related growth constraints. Grazing showed a strong controlling effect on most traits, conserving low stature sapling stage characterised by fewer shoots and larger leaves, compared with non-grazed treatments.

Conclusions: Although derived from one experimental site, the results point to a grazing-controlled response to environmental change, with climate (warming) as a secondary driver. This herbivore-driven masking of expected climate-driven tree expansion emphasises the necessity to consider changes in grazing regimes along with climate change, in order to avoid misleading interpretations regarding climate-driven tundra encroachment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 3, no 1, 19-27 p.
Keyword [en]
alpine tundra, Betula pubescens ssp. tortuosa, birch saplings, changed grazing regime, climate change, experimental warming, growth response, open-top chambers
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Biology with specialization in Ecological Botany
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-142516DOI: 10.1080/17550871003717016OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-142516DiVA: diva2:387587
Available from: 2011-01-14 Created: 2011-01-14 Last updated: 2011-12-09Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full text
By organisation
Plant Ecology and Evolution
In the same journal
Plant Ecology & Diversity
Biological Sciences

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 141 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link