Removal of Betula nana causes permafrost degradation and triggers changes in geomorphology and hydrology

A.L. Nauta, M.M.P.D. Heijmans, D. Blok, F. Berendse

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract

Abstract

In 2007 a removal experiment was started to study the biosphere-geosphere interaction in the tundra ecosystem. In this experiment Betula nana was removed in circular plots of 10 meter diameter. Due to the large plot size, the removal of Betula nana caused an increase in thawing depth and degradation of the permafrost. In 2011 we measured that the surface in the removal plots has subsided and resulted in wetter plots. The surface subsidence is explained by the presence of pure ice layers that disappeared after increasing the thawing depth. In the wetter removal plots we measured an expansion of graminoids and limited regrowth of Betula nana, as the wet circumstances in the removal plots are more beneficial to graminoid vegetation. It is amazing that a disturbance in the vegetation causes such a rapid chain of reactions in the geosphere resulting in a totally different environment. This also emphasizes the vulnerability of the tundra ecosystem to disturbances
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of 6th Annual International Workshop on C/H2O/Energy balance and climate over boreal and arctic regions with special emphasis on eastern Eurasia, 7-9 March 2012, Kyoto, Japan
Pages51-51
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventThe 6th Annual International Workshop on C/H2O/Energy balance and climate over boreal and arctic regions with special emphasis on eastern Eurasia, Kyoto, Japan -
Duration: 7 Mar 20129 Mar 2012

Workshop

WorkshopThe 6th Annual International Workshop on C/H2O/Energy balance and climate over boreal and arctic regions with special emphasis on eastern Eurasia, Kyoto, Japan
Period7/03/129/03/12

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    Nauta, A. L., Heijmans, M. M. P. D., Blok, D., & Berendse, F. (2012). Removal of Betula nana causes permafrost degradation and triggers changes in geomorphology and hydrology. In Proceedings of 6th Annual International Workshop on C/H2O/Energy balance and climate over boreal and arctic regions with special emphasis on eastern Eurasia, 7-9 March 2012, Kyoto, Japan (pp. 51-51)