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Long-term addition of fertilizer, labile carbon, and fungicide alters the biomass of plant functional groups in a subarctic-alpine community
Responsible organisation
2011 (English)In: Plant Ecology, ISSN 1385-0237, E-ISSN 1573-5052, Vol. 212, no 4, p. 715-726Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In subarctic ecosystems, plant growth is mostly limited by nutrient availability and harsh climate. Investigating how soil nutrient availability controls the plant community composition may therefore help to understand indirect effects of climate change. The study was conducted in a long-term field experiment on a subarctic-alpine fellfield dominated by woody evergreen shrubs, bryophytes, and lichens. To manipulate nutrient availability additions of NPK fertilizer, labile C, and fungicide (benomyl) were done in a fully factorial design, replicated in six blocks. The treatments were run for 10 years, and the aboveground plant biomass was harvested 4 and 16 years after initiating the experiment. In addition, soil inorganic N and P concentration was analyzed the same years. Increased nutrient availability (NPK fertilizer) largely increased the biomass of graminoids and unexpectedly of bryophytes, but not of other vascular plant groups. Also, limitation of soil nutrient availability caused by labile C addition decreased the relative proportion of green shoots in evergreen shrubs, although these were expected to cope better with the nutrient limitation than the opportunistic graminoids, which, by contrast, were unaffected. Reduced fungal biomass due to benomyl addition was accompanied by increased evergreen shrub and clubmoss biomass. Taken together, the effects of treatments were most pronounced 16 years after initiation of the experiment, but despite changes in biomass the overall plant community composition was resistant to environmental changes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 212, no 4, p. 715-726
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Natural Sciences
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URN: urn:nbn:se:polar:diva-8204DOI: 10.1007/s11258-010-9857-zOAI: oai:DiVA.org:polar-8204DiVA, id: diva2:1296868
Available from: 2019-03-18 Created: 2019-03-18 Last updated: 2019-03-18

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