Bryophyte and lichen diversity under simulated environmental change compared with observed variation in unmanipulated alpine tundra

Publisher's full text
Annika K Jägerbrand
Karin E M Lindblad
Robert G Björk
Juha M Alatalo
Ulf Molau

Effects of simulated environmental change on bryophyte and lichen species richness and diversity in alpine tundra were investigated in a 5-year experiment at Latnjajaure, northern Sweden. The experiment had a factorial design including fertilisation and temperature enhancement in one meadow and one heath plant community. Responses in species richness, biodiversity, and species composition of bryophytes and lichens to experimental treatments were compared to the observed variation in six naturally occurring plant communities. The combination of fertilisation and enhanced temperature resulted in a species impoverishment, for bryophytes in the bryophyte-dominated community, and for lichens in the lichen-dominated communities, but the species composition stayed within the observed natural variation. During the course of the study, no species new to the investigated mid-alpine landscape were recorded, but that scenario is realistic within a decade when comparing with the processes seen in vascular plants.

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