By Nick Gilbert
A research by biologists from the University of Gothenburg reveals that local changes have occurred in the vegetation in the Arctic due to warming in the Arctic in the recent years.
The changes include decrease in proportion of bare ground, increase in height of plants and increase in evergreen shrubs.
Based on comparisons, the biologists have highlighted an increase in the prevalence of plants and shrubs as the temperature increases. Presence of permafrost, climate zone and soil moisture are factors that determine the degree of change in the Arctic.
Researchers have collected data on the vegetation changes that have occurred in the Arctic between 1980 and 2010 and a number of general trends were identified. This data was collected by researchers involved in the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX).
Professor of plant ecology at the University of Gothenburg, Ulf Molau stated that the response of different types of plant groups to the increase in temperature differed with the ambient summer temperature, experimental time period and content of soil moisture.
Another change refers to the regional differences of tundra vegetation because of the increase in temperature. Referring to these differences Molau points out that increasing number of changes were observed in sensitive regions due to prolonged warming in the Arctic region.
Biologist and researcher Robert Björk from the University of Gothenburg, stated that the researchers have linked the vegetation changes observed by them at different sites to the local warming degree and they have also managed to prove that changes in vegetation in fixed plots occur due to local warming at a number of sites spread across the tundra.