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Spring feeding by pink-footed geese reduces carbon stocks and sink strength in tundra ecosystems

Wal Van der, R. and Sjögersten, S. and Woodin, S.J. and Cooper, E.J. and Jónsdóttir, I.S. and Kuijper, D. and Fox, A.D. and Huiskes, A.H.L. (2007) Spring feeding by pink-footed geese reduces carbon stocks and sink strength in tundra ecosystems. Global Change Biology, 13, 539-545. ISSN 1354-1013.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2006.01310.x

Abstract

Tundra ecosystems are widely recognized as precious areas and globally important carbon (C) sinks, yet our understanding of potential threats to these habitats and their large soil C store is limited. Land-use changes and conservation measures in temperate regions have led to a dramatic expansion of arctic-breeding geese, making them important herbivores of high-latitude systems. In field experiments conducted in high-Arctic Spitsbergen, Svalbard, we demonstrate that a brief period of early season belowground foraging by pink-footed geese is sufficient to strongly reduce C sink strength and soil C stocks of arctic tundra. Mechanisms are suggested whereby vegetation disruption due to repeated use of grubbed areas opens the soil organic layer to erosion and will thus lead to progressive C loss. Our study shows, for the first time, that increases in goose abundance through land-use change and conservation measures in temperate climes can dramatically affect the C balance of arctic tundra

Item Type:Article
Institutes:Nederlands Instituut voor Ecologie (NIOO)
ID Code:4533
Deposited On:16 Sep 2009 02:00
Last Modified:24 Apr 2012 16:48

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