Arctic Challenge for Sustainability Project

ArCS Blog

Report of the FY2019 program for overseas visits by young researchers: Where will it be greener in the Arctic tundra under climate warming?

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Do you know about “Arctic Greening”? This describes the phenomenon that the tundra plants have been getting taller due to the climate change (especially temperature increase) and, as a result, the Arctic tundra has become greener than before. It is known that the degree of the greening is different across landscapes.

However, little is known about the underlying mechanism causing the heterogeneity. In this project, we hypothesized that “the difference of the disturbance history” cause the heterogeneity on the influence of climate warming on tundra plants. We conducted a field work in a tundra of northern Sweden. From summer to fall, one can enjoy a variety of berries during the field work. In such tundra, we compared the plants invaded after the glacier retreat and also those after the soil disturbance by soil freeze-thaw cycles in permafrost area. Based on our study, it was found that the plants invaded after soil disturbance by soil freeze-thaw cycles react more drastically than those after glacier retreat. This result suggests that “the difference of the disturbance history” is one of the important factors causing the heterogeneity of “Arctic Greening” across Arctic tundra.

Makoto Kobayashi, Hokkaido University

Plant sampling in a glacier foreland

Measure the length of plant shoot