Arctic and Boreal Ecosystems Changes

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Ecology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2022) | Viewed by 7321

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
BioGeoClim Laboratory, Tomsk State University, 634050 Tomsk, Russia
Interests: soil sciences and plant ecology; soil ecology; biogeochemistry; environmental science; soil fertility

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
BioGeoClim Laboratory, Tomsk State University, 634050 Tomsk, Russia
Interests: Environmental Science; Water Science; Soil Science; Peatlands; Climate Change; Soil Biogeochemistry
BioGeoClim Laboratory, Tomsk State University, 634050 Tomsk, Russia
Interests: geochemistry; soil; peatlands; soil analysis; soil chemistry; carbon sequestration; soil characterization

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Changes in soil and vegetation, as a rule, occur for internal reasons associated with the competition of biological species and the transformation of soil properties. However, due to global climate change and increasing anthropogenic impact, more and more ecosystems begin to change under the influence of factors external to the ecosystem. Therefore, most of the currently observed changes in ecosystems are associated with both internal causes and external in relation to the ecosystem, that is, they are of a complex nature (internal mechanisms + climate change + dynamics of human social systems). The study of ecosystem changes requires the identification of the components of the above drivers. Arctic and boreal ecosystems are most vulnerable to current climate change and increased anthropogenic impact. This makes it relevant to study their changes in order to have reliable predictions of their state in the future. The main changes in arctic and subarctic vegetation are caused by an increase in the active layer thickness and the area of landscapes affected by thermokarst, thawing of permafrost, an increase in the growing season duration of plants, and the involvement of additional amounts of nutrients in biogeochemical cycles.

The largest number of published papers considers the greening effect of the Arctic vegetation; studies are less often devoted to browning. However, the largest percentage of land (more than half of the territory) in the permafrost zone does not experience any changes during remote sensing and remains surprisingly stable. Further identification and description of the causes, mechanisms of the ongoing changes, as well as the identification of the reasons for the stable state of ecosystems will make it possible to better predict the structure of plant communities and the parameters of biogeochemical cycles in the permafrost zone.

Current changes in boreal plant communities and soils are caused by more frequent fires, deforestation, and palludification. The warmer climate is leading to more frequent outbreaks of tree pests. Oil and gas companies also play a significant role, especially in Northern Eurasia. All this leads to the transformation of biogeochemical cycles and changes in the typical successional tracks of ecosystems. In the south of the boreal ecoregion, changes are associated with the abandonment of rural landscapes. Post-agricultural vegetation successions lead to increased carbon sequestration in soils and the introduction of wild species.

This special issue welcomes articles on all aspects of changes in arctic, subarctic and boreal ecosystems, their plant communities and soils, both in the context of climate change and anthropogenic dynamics. Of particular interest are articles devoted to a comprehensive analysis of the ongoing changes both in plant communities and in soils. Studies that describe and systematize both natural, background successions of soils and plant communities, and all the changes that have appeared in nature in the last hundred years are valuable. We will be glad to see articles in which both field, experimental, and remote sensing methods are applied.

Dr. Sergey Loiko
Dr. Tatiana Raudina
Dr. Artem Lim
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • soil
  • vegetation
  • biogeochemistry
  • remote sensing
  • soil organic carbon
  • plant succession
  • thawing permafrost
  • thermokarst
  • land use change
  • soil physical and chemical properties
  • artic ecosystems
  • boreal ecosystems
  • subarctic ecosystems
  • paleoecology
  • climate change
  • anthropogenic impact

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

21 pages, 2150 KiB  
Article
Macrocharcoal Signals in Histosols Reveal Wildfire History of Vast Western Siberian Forest-Peatland Complexes
by Viktor Startsev, Nikolay Gorbach, Anton Mazur, Anatoly Prokushkin, Lyudmila Karpenko and Alexey Dymov
Plants 2022, 11(24), 3478; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11243478 - 12 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1698
Abstract
Fires are a naturally cyclical factor regulating ecosystems’ function and forming new postfire ecosystems. Peat soils are unique archives that store information about ecological and climatic changes and the history of past fires during the Holocene. The paper presents a reconstruction of the [...] Read more.
Fires are a naturally cyclical factor regulating ecosystems’ function and forming new postfire ecosystems. Peat soils are unique archives that store information about ecological and climatic changes and the history of past fires during the Holocene. The paper presents a reconstruction of the dynamics of fires in the subzone of the middle taiga of Western Siberia in the Holocene. Data on fires were obtained based on the results of a study of the content of macroscopic coal particles and radiocarbon dating. The effect of fires on soil organic matter (SOM) was estimated using 13C NMR spectroscopy and the content of polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). It is shown that throughout the Holocene, the peatlands studied were prone to fires. The conducted analyses show that the maximum content of charcoal particles is observed in the Atlantic (~9100–5800 cal. B.P.) and Subatlantic (~3100 cal. B.P. to the present) periods. The high correlation dependence of the content of coals with the content of PAHs (r = 0.56, p < 0.05) and aromatic structures of SOM (r = 0.61, p < 0.05) in peat horizons is shown, which can characterize these parameters as a reliable marker of pyrogenesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arctic and Boreal Ecosystems Changes)
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16 pages, 6272 KiB  
Article
Microbial Community Structure in Ancient European Arctic Peatlands
by Alexander Pastukhov, Vera Kovaleva and Dmitry Kaverin
Plants 2022, 11(20), 2704; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11202704 - 13 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1280
Abstract
Northern peatlands, which are crucial reservoirs of carbon and nitrogen (415 ± 150 and 10 ± 7 Pg, respectively), are vulnerable to microbial mineralization after permafrost thaw. This study was carried out in four key sites containing northern permafrost peatland, which are located [...] Read more.
Northern peatlands, which are crucial reservoirs of carbon and nitrogen (415 ± 150 and 10 ± 7 Pg, respectively), are vulnerable to microbial mineralization after permafrost thaw. This study was carried out in four key sites containing northern permafrost peatland, which are located along the southern cryolithozone. The aim of this study is to characterize amino acids and the microbial community composition in peat strata along a climate gradient. Amino acids and microbiota diversity were studied by liquid chromatography and a quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The share of amino acid fragments was 2.6–7.8, and it is highly significantly correlated (r = 0.87, −0.74 and 0.67, p ˂ 0.05) with the organic nitrogen concentration in the soil, the C/N ratio, and δ15N. The data shows the existence of a large pool of microorganisms concentrated in permafrost peatlands, and a vertical continuum of bacteria, archaea, and microscopic fungi along the peat profile, due to the presence of microorganisms in each layer, throughout all the peat strata. There is no significant correlation between microorganism distribution and the plant macrofossil composition of the peat strata. Determining factors for the development of microorganism abundance are aeration and hydrothermal conditions. The availability of nitrogen will limit the ability of plants and microorganisms to respond to changing environmental conditions; however, with the increased decomposition of organic matter, amino acids will be released as organic sources of nitrogen stored in the protein material of peat-forming plants and microbial communities, which can also affect the organic nitrogen cycle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arctic and Boreal Ecosystems Changes)
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18 pages, 4164 KiB  
Article
Vulnerability of the Ancient Peat Plateaus in Western Siberia
by Alexander Pastukhov, Tatiana Marchenko-Vagapova, Sergey Loiko and Dmitry Kaverin
Plants 2021, 10(12), 2813; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10122813 - 19 Dec 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3260
Abstract
Based on the data of the plant macrofossil and palynological composition of the peat deposits, the evolution and current state of polygonal peatlands were analyzed at the southern limit of continuous permafrost in the Pur-Taz interfluve. Paleoreconstruction shows that peat accumulation began in [...] Read more.
Based on the data of the plant macrofossil and palynological composition of the peat deposits, the evolution and current state of polygonal peatlands were analyzed at the southern limit of continuous permafrost in the Pur-Taz interfluve. Paleoreconstruction shows that peat accumulation began in the Early Holocene, about 9814 cal. year BP, in the Late Pre-Boreal (PB-2), at a rate of 1 to 1.5 mm year−1. Intensive peat accumulation continued in the Boreal and early Atlantic. The geocryological complex of polygonal peatlands has remained a stable bog system despite the predicted warming and increasing humidity. However, a rather rapid upper permafrost degradation and irreversible changes in the bog systems of polygonal peatlands occur with anthropogenic disturbances, in particular, a change in the natural hydrological regime under construction of linear objects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arctic and Boreal Ecosystems Changes)
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