Vegetation changes on Swedish mires Effects of raised temperature and increased nitrogen and sulphur influx

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: Since the start of the industrialisation, the deposition of nitrogen and sulphur and the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased. The main objectives of this study were to find how these changes in climate and deposition can change the vegetation of mire ecosystems and the growth of Sphagnumspecies. Two main approaches were applied: re-investigated of two mires previously investigated 40-50 years ago and experiment manipulations. The plant species diversity had decreased on one of the two re-investigated mires (Skattlösbergs Stormosse; central Sweden), but the total number of species was unchanged on the other (Åkhultmyren; southern Sweden). On Skattlösbergs Stormosse, an acidification was found in the high pH areas, coinciding with reduction in rich fen species. At Åkhultmyren, there was a similar reduction in pH, but the changes in the plant composition also indicated increased nutrient levels and a drier mire surface. Therwere large changes in species composition on Åkhultmyren. For instance Scheuchzeria palustris had disappeared from the investigated area. Further, the cover of Scots pine (Pinusylvestris) had increased, which can be explained by a changed ground-water table regime. Monitoring of pines growing on a bog over a ten-year period showed that pines growing higher above the ground-war table had higher survival than lower-growing pines.Experimental addition of nitrogen during 3-4 years reduced Sphagnum growth in bogs and poor fens repressenting a wide range of ambient nitrogen deposition. A changed interspecific competitive relation was found between S. lindbergand S. balticum when increasing nitrogen influx, but the competitive relations between two hummock-growing species pairs did not change in a three-year nitrogen fertilization study. Sulphur additiodid not affect the production or length increment in S. balticum. An increased temperature reduced Sphagnum growth, but there were no indications of altered competitive relationshipbetween hummock and hollow inhabiting Sphagnum species in a four-year experiment.