Academy of Finland
Funding decision
Name Virtanen, Risto
Organisation OY
Project title
Decadal time scale vegetation shifts at high latitudes: causes and consequences
Decision No. 259072
Decision date 24.04.2012
Funding period 01.09.2012 - 31.05.2017
Funding 523 861
WebFOCUS Report
Project description
It has been traditionally thought that tundra vegetation and biodiversity are primarily determined by abiotic factors such as regional climate and snow distribution. Along with these, we show that biotic factors such as grazing can profoundly influence structure and dynamics of tundra vegetation. In experimental systems manipulating grazing pressure in mountain snowbed, new community configurations developed in two decades. Presence of grazing also had persistent positive effects on plant recruitment and on local plant diversity. Decadal time-scale vegetation changes showed links with climate and grazing trends. There is only little evidence for spread of taller shrubs or trees in tundra. The state shifts in northern tundra vegetation are complex and regionally heterogeneous. Strongest vegetation shifts were observed in small isolated uplands in Finnish Lapland.