Improving ecological insights from dendroecological studies of Arctic shrub dynamics: Research gaps and potential solutions

Candice C. Power*, Jakob J. Assmann, Angela L. Prendin, Urs A. Treier, Jeffrey T. Kerby, Signe Normand

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisKommentar/debat/letter to the editorForskningpeer review


Rapid climate change has been driving changes in Arctic vegetation in recent decades, with increased shrub dominance in many tundra ecosystems. Dendroecological observations of tundra shrubs can provide insight into current and past growth and recruitment patterns, both key components for understanding and predicting ongoing and future Arctic shrub dynamics. However, generalizing these dynamics is challenging as they are highly scale-dependent and vary among sites, species, and individuals. Here, we provide a perspective on how some of these challenges can be overcome. Based on a targeted literature search of dendrochronological studies from 2005 to 2022, we highlight five research gaps that currently limit dendro-based studies from revealing cross-scale ecological insight into shrub dynamics across the Arctic biome. We further discuss the related research priorities, suggesting that future studies could consider: 1) increasing focus on intra- and interspecific variation, 2) including demographic responses other than radial growth, 3) incorporating drivers, in addition to warming, at different spatial and temporal scales, 4) implementing systematic and unbiased sampling approaches, and 5) investigating the cellular mechanisms behind the observed responses. Focusing on these aspects in dendroecological studies could improve the value of the field for addressing cross-scale and plant community-framed ecological questions. We outline how this could be facilitated through the integration of community-based dendroecology and dendroanatomy with remote sensing approaches. Integrating new technologies and a more multidisciplinary approach in dendroecological research could provide key opportunities to close important knowledge gaps in our understanding of scale-dependencies, as well as intra- and inter-specific variation, in vegetation community dynamics across the Arctic tundra.

TidsskriftScience of the total Environment
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2022


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