Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Environmental variation, vegetation distribution, carbon dynamics and water/energy exchange at high latitudes

January 1, 2002

The responses of high latitude ecosystems to global change involve complex interactions among environmental variables, vegetation distribution, carbon dynamics, and water and energy exchange. These responses may have important consequences for the earth system. In this study, we evaluated how vegetation distribution, carbon stocks and turnover, and water and energy exchange are related to environmental variation spanned by the network of the IGBP high latitude transects. While the most notable feature of the high latitude transects is that they generally span temperature gradients from southern to northern latitudes, there are substantial differences in temperature among the transects. Also, along each transect temperature co-varies with precipitation and photosynthetically active radiation, which are also variable among the transects. Both climate and disturbance interact to influence latitudinal patterns of vegetation and soil carbon storage among the transects, and vegetation distribution appears to interact with climate to determine exchanges of heat and moisture in high latitudes. Despite limitations imposed by the data we assembled, the analyses in this study have taken an important step toward clarifying the complexity of interactions among environmental variables, vegetation distribution, carbon stocks and turnover, and water and energy exchange in high latitude regions. This study reveals the need to conduct coordinated global change studies in high latitudes to further elucidate how interactions among climate, disturbance, and vegetation distribution influence carbon dynamics and water and energy exchange in high latitudes.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2002
Title Environmental variation, vegetation distribution, carbon dynamics and water/energy exchange at high latitudes
DOI 10.1111/j.1654-1103.2002.tb02055.x
Authors A. D. McGuire, C. Wirth, M. Apps, J. Beringer, J. Clein, H. Epstein, D. W. Kicklighter, J. Bhatti, F. S. Chapin, B. De Groot, D. Efremov, W. Eugster, M. Fukuda, T. Gower, L. Hinzman, B. Huntley, G.J. Jia, E. Kasischke, J. Melillo, V. Romanovsky, A. Shvidenko, E. Vaganov, D. Walker
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Vegetation Science
Index ID 70024695
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center