Journal Article Accumulation of carbon and nitrogen in vegetation and soils of deglaciated area in Ellesmere Island, high-Arctic Canada

10 ( 3 )  , pp.288 - 296 , 2016-09
The amount of biomass, carbon (C), and nitrogen (N) in vegetation and soil were measured at two spatial scales in the high Arctic. At the scale of proglacial landscape, the amount of C and N in aboveground and belowground parts of vegetation, surface litter, and soil were significantly affected by the habitat (moraines vs hummocks), the relative age of the terrain after the deglaciation, and/or the vegetation. At another scale, we focused on mudboils as an agent of local disturbance in the vegetation and soil of the glacier foreland. The biomass and the amount of C and N in aboveground vegetation, surface litter, biological soil crust, and soil were generally increased with the stage of mudboils' inactivation. Biomass, C, and N in aboveground vegetation and surface litter were generally greater at moraine than at hummock, whereas those in biological soil crust and soil were greater at hummock. Principal component analysis identified two pathways, xeric and mesic ones on moraines and hummocks, respectively, of C and N accumulation both at the two spatial scales. These results suggested that the C and N accumulation was not linearly related to the time since deglaciation and that moisture condition, vegetation, and mudboil activity were locally important.

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