Direct and indirect impacts of climate change on carbon sequestration in mountains

- experimental manipulations across temperature gradients

Rising temperatures associated with climate change is a major global political and socio-economical priority. But there is still a large uncertainty regarding how global warming will influence mountain ecosystems. Improved knowledge on this topic is essential for preserving their assets and values and preparing for potential climate feedback effects resulting from a loss of large stores of carbon (C). Warming has a range of direct (e.g. changes in process rates) and indirect (shifts in dominant plant species, plant-soil interactions) effects on important C pools and fluxes. However, the separate and combined effects of warming and plant community change on C sequestration in mountain landscapes are unknown. This limits our ability to accurately predict, mitigate, and adapt to, future climate. The aim of this project is to disentangle the direct and indirect (via shifts in dominant plants) effects of warming on mountain ecosystem C sequestration. We will use large gradients of elevation (and therefore temperature) as “natural experiments” to test how landscape level ecological processes depend on long-term temperature regime. Along such gradients situated across the globe we will use a short-term temperature manipulation × dominant plant species removal experiment to develop predictions on climate change impacts on C sequestration in mountain ecosystems and how this is mediated by plants.

This project is funded by Formas.

Page Editor: Elisabet Carlborg

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Research area & members

Terrestrial ecologySundqvist Maja