Warming effects on arctic tundra biogeochemistry are limited but habitat-dependent: a meta-analysis
Rastetter, Edward B.
Sistla, Seeta A.
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KeywordArctic; biogeochemistry; climate change; experimental warming; meta-analysis; stoichiometry; tundra
Arctic tundra consists of diverse habitats that differ in dominant vegetation, soil moisture regimes, and relative importance of organic vs. inorganic nutrient cycling. The Arctic is also the most rapidly warming global area, with winter warming dominating. This warming is expected to have dramatic effects on tundra carbon and nutrient dynamics. We completed a meta-analysis of 166 experimental warming study papers to evaluate the hypotheses that warming changes tundra biogeochemical cycles in a habitat- and seasonally specific manner and that the carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) cycles will be differentially accelerated, leading to decoupling of elemental cycles. We found that nutrient availability and plant leaf stoichiometry responses to experimental warming were variable and overall weak, but that both gross primary productivity and the plant C pool tended to increase with growing season warming. The effects of winter warming on C fluxes did not extend into the growing season. Overall, although warming led to more consistent increases in C fluxes compared to N or P fluxes, evidence for decoupling of biogeochemical cycles is weak and any effect appears limited to heath habitats. However, data on many habitats are too sparse to be able to generalize how warming might decouple biogeochemical cycles, and too few year-round warming studies exist to ascertain whether the season under which warming occurs alters how ecosystems respond to warming. Coordinated field campaigns are necessary to more robustly document tundra habitat-specific responses to realistic climate warming scenarios in order to better understand the mechanisms driving this heterogeneity and identify the tundra habitats, communities, and soil pools most susceptible to warming.
© The Author(s), 2021. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Pold, G., Baillargeon, N., Lepe, A., Rastetter, E. B., & Sistla, S. A. Warming effects on arctic tundra biogeochemistry are limited but habitat-dependent: a meta-analysis. Ecosphere, 12(10), (2021): e03777, https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.3777.
Suggested CitationPold, G., Baillargeon, N., Lepe, A., Rastetter, E. B., & Sistla, S. A. (2021). Warming effects on arctic tundra biogeochemistry are limited but habitat-dependent: a meta-analysis. Ecosphere, 12(10), e03777.
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