Changes in soil properties and vegetation following disturbance of Alaskan arctic tundra

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TitleChanges in soil properties and vegetation following disturbance of Alaskan arctic tundra
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1981
AuthorsF Stuart Chapin III, Shaver, GR
JournalJournal of Applied Ecology
Volume18
Issue2
Pagination605-617
Accession NumberARC319
KeywordsAlaska, USA
Abstract

Soil characteristics and vegetation were studied in vehicle tracks and adjacent undisturbed tundra along local moisture gradients at four tundra sites in northern Alaska. Vehicle tracks generally had 2 degree C higher soil temperatures, deeper thaw, and higher concentrations of available soil phosphate than adjacent undisturbed tundra, but did not differ consistently from controls in soil bulk density, volumetric moisture content, pH, or soil organic content. Vegetation in vehicle tracks had fewer species than controls, reflecting decreased abundance of shrubs, particularly evergreens, and increased dominance by a few species of graminoids. Wet and mesic tracks exhibited a 2- to 15-fold increase in above-ground standing crop of nitrogen and phosphorus as a result of increased leaf nutrient concentrations and increased leaf biomass of graminoids, a consequence of increases in both shoot density and shoot weight.

DOI10.2307/2402420
Short TitleChanges in soil properties and vegetation following disturbance of Alaskan arctic tundra