Robinson CH, Wookey P, Parsons AN, Potter JA, Callaghan TV, Lee JA, Press MC & Welker JM (1995) Responses of plant litter decomposition and nitrogen mineralisation to simulated environmental change in a high arctic polar semi-desert and a subarctic dwarf shrub heath. Oikos, 74 (3), pp. 503-512. https://doi.org/10.2307/3545996
Impacts of climate change were simulated in two contrasting European arctic ecosys tems, a high arctic polar semi-desert and a subarctic dwarf shrub heath, by increasing temperature (using polythene tents), precipitation and soil nutrient (NPK) availability. The effects of these treatments and their interactions on plant litter decomposition and soil nutrient fluxes were assessed. Polythene tents increased air, litter and soil temper atures but reduced litter and soil moisture contents. At both sites, litter decomposition was significantly retarded in the tent treatments due probably to reduced litter mois ture contents. The tent treatment had no effect on extractable soil N pools or net total N mineralisation at either site, although the treatment significantly reduced net sea sonal nitrification values at the subarctic site. The additional precipitation treatment significantly increased litter decomposition at the dwarf shrub heath site and the net amount of N mineralised at the polar semi-desert site. Litter decomposition was in creased, as was net N mineralisation, by the application of nutrients. The results sug gest that soil temperature increases of up to 1VC, which may occur by the end of the next century as an effect of a predicted 4VC rise in air temperature, have only small ef fects on total N mineralisation in the short term in arctic soils.
Oikos: Volume 74, Issue 3