Title: Changes in vegetation in northern Alaska under scenarios of climate change, 2003-2100: implications for climate feedbacks
Author: Euskirchen, E.S.; McGuire, A.D.; Chapin, F.S. III; Yi, S.; Thompson, C.C.;
Source: Ecological Applications. 19(4): 1022-1043
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Description: Assessing potential future changes in arctic and boreal plant species productivity, ecosystem composition, and canopy complexity is essential for understanding environmental responses under expected altered climate forcing. We examined potential changes in the dominant plant functional types (PFTs) of the sedge tundra, shrub tundra, and boreal forest ecosystems in ecotonal northern Alaska, USA, for the years 2003-2100. We compared energy feedbacks associated with increases in biomass to energy feedbacks associated with changes in the duration of the snow-free season. We based our simulations on nine input climate scenarios from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and a new version of the Terrestrial Ecosystem Model (TEM) that incorporates biogeochemistry, vegetation dynamics for multiple PFTs (e.g., trees, shrubs, grasses, sedges, mosses), multiple vegetation pools, and soil thermal regimes. We found mean increases in net primary productivity (NPP) in all PFTs. Most notably, birch (Betula spp.) in the shrub tundra showed increases that were at least three times larger than any other PFT. Increases in NPP were positively related to increases in growing-season length in the sedge tundra, but PFTs in boreal forest and shrub tundra showed a significant response to changes in light availability as well as growing-season length. Significant NPP responses to changes in vegetation uptake of nitrogen by PFT indicated that some PFTs were better competitors for nitrogen than other PFTs.
Keywords: arctic, biogeochemistry model, boreal, climate feedbacks, dynamic vegetation model, future climate, plant functional type, soil thermal model, terrestrial ecosystems
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Euskirchen, E.S.; McGuire, A.D.; Chapin, F.S. III; Yi, S.; Thompson, C.C. 2009. Changes in vegetation in northern Alaska under scenarios of climate change, 2003-2100: implications for climate feedbacks. Ecological Applications, 19(4): 1022-1043.
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