Removal of Betula nana causes permafrost degradation and triggers changes in geomorphology and hydrology - an experimental study in the tundra ecosystem in North-eastern Siberia

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

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

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
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventThe 11th Nederlands Aardwetenschappelijk Congres, 29-30 Maart 2012, Veldhoven, the Netherlands -
Duration: 29 Mar 201230 Mar 2012

Conference

ConferenceThe 11th Nederlands Aardwetenschappelijk Congres, 29-30 Maart 2012, Veldhoven, the Netherlands
Period29/03/1230/03/12

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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 - an experimental study in the tundra ecosystem in North-eastern Siberia. Abstract from The 11th Nederlands Aardwetenschappelijk Congres, 29-30 Maart 2012, Veldhoven, the Netherlands, .