We studied the small-scale vegetation pattern in the high Arctic at Ny Angstromlesund to assess if the plant distribution was related to periglacial landforms. The whole area has been deglaciated for millennia but only a modest part of the area was covered by mature vegetation. The plant cover varied considerably in relation to ground patterning originated by periglacial processes, especially frost heave, frost creep, gelifluction and ice segregation, giving rise to a mosaic of microhabitats sharply differing from each other as regards physical properties and microclimate. The distributional patterns of vascular plants, lichens and bryophytes were primarily affected by complex responses to substrate texture, soil moisture content and substrate disturbance. Since global warming will probably affect both periglacial processes and plant responses to altered habitat conditions, we concluded that long-term monitoring of relationships between landforms and vegetation represents a suitable tool for assessing the impact of global change on arctic regions.

Relationships between vegetation patterns and periglacial landforms in northwestern Svalbard

CANNONE, NICOLETTA;GUGLIELMIN, MAURO;
2004

Abstract

We studied the small-scale vegetation pattern in the high Arctic at Ny Angstromlesund to assess if the plant distribution was related to periglacial landforms. The whole area has been deglaciated for millennia but only a modest part of the area was covered by mature vegetation. The plant cover varied considerably in relation to ground patterning originated by periglacial processes, especially frost heave, frost creep, gelifluction and ice segregation, giving rise to a mosaic of microhabitats sharply differing from each other as regards physical properties and microclimate. The distributional patterns of vascular plants, lichens and bryophytes were primarily affected by complex responses to substrate texture, soil moisture content and substrate disturbance. Since global warming will probably affect both periglacial processes and plant responses to altered habitat conditions, we concluded that long-term monitoring of relationships between landforms and vegetation represents a suitable tool for assessing the impact of global change on arctic regions.
Cannone, Nicoletta; Guglielmin, Mauro; Gerdol, R.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11383/1491910
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