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Taller plants moving into Arctic because of climate change


The Alpine and Arctic tundra are warming 2-3 times faster than the Earth surface on average. How does vegetation react to this warming? What do plant traits tell us about changes in plant strategies? And what are consequences of these changes to other components of the Earth system?



130 researchers - among them Stefan Dullinger and Karl Hülbl from the Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research - pulled together data measured during thousands of hours of field work at Alpine and Arctic sites to investigate vascular plant changes across the tundra biome. At almost all sites, plant height increased over the past 30 years, mainly by the immigration of taller species. However, changes toward more competitive, acquisitive plant traits were only pronounced in wet tundra sites. At warming, but dry sites, plant traits indicated more conservative strategies with moisture limiting plant growth. (source: UZH)

Anne Bjorkman et al. 2018: Plant functional trait change across a warming tundra biome. In: Nature, DOI 10.1038/s41586-018-0563-7.

Scheuchzers Wollgras (Eriophorum scheuchzeri); (c) Sabine Rumpf