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Fine-scale changes in vegetation composition in a boreal mire over 50 years
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Plant Ecology and Evolution.
2011 (English)In: Journal of Ecology, ISSN 0022-0477, E-ISSN 1365-2745, Vol. 99, no 5, 1179-1189 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

1. In the face of a rapidly changing environment, long-term studies provide important insights into patterns of vegetation and processes of change, but long-term studies are rare for many ecosystems. 2. We studied recent vegetation changes at a fine scale in a Sphagnum-dominated bog in south Sweden by resurveying part of the bog 54 years after the original phytosociological survey. We used an indirect approach to identify changes in vegetation composition in relation to environment because of a lack of permanent sampling units. By applying a weighted averaging technique, we calculated relative changes in species optimum values for different environmental gradients as represented by indicator values for light, temperature, pH, moisture and nutrients. 3. Species composition of the mire vegetation has changed significantly over the past five decades, as indicated by significant changes in species frequencies and species optima for the gradients examined. Species with lower indicator values for moisture and light and higher indicator values for nutrients have become more frequent on the mire. In particular, species of trees and dwarf shrubs increased in frequency, whereas typical mire species decreased (e. g. Trichophorum cespitosum (L.) Hartm.) or disappeared from the study site (e. g. Scheuchzeria palustris L.). 4. Synthesis. Composition of the mire vegetation is found to be dynamic at different temporal and spatial scales. Increased air temperature and nutrient availability in south Sweden over the past few decades may have augmented productivity (e. g. tree growth), resulting in drier and shadier conditions for several species. This study successfully demonstrated the applicability of an indirect approach for detecting long-term vegetation change at a fine scale. This approach is an effective way of using historic and modern phytosociological data sets to detect vegetation and environmental change through time.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 99, no 5, 1179-1189 p.
Keyword [en]
environmental change, indicator values, non-permanent plots, ombrotrophic bog, plant population and community dynamics, productivity, species optimum, Sphagnum, vegetation dynamics, weighted averaging
National Category
Biological Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-158567DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2745.2011.01847.xISI: 000294013800011OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-158567DiVA: diva2:440574
Available from: 2011-09-13 Created: 2011-09-12 Last updated: 2016-04-22Bibliographically approved

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