CHANGES OF ABOVEGROUND PHYTOMASS STRUCTURE OF ALPINE LICHEN HEATH OF THE NORTHWESTERN CAUCASUS IN RESPONSE TO LONG-TERM NUTRIENT ADDITION

M. Kh. Elkanova, A. A. Akhmetzhanova, T. G. Elumeeva, V. G. Onipchenko

Abstract


Aboveground phytomass structure of the alpine lichen heath (Teberda reserve, the North- western Caucasus) was studied on the plots with the long-term (1999–2008) nutrient addition. Six treatments were established: 1) control, 2) lime addition, 3) nitrogen addition, 4) phospho- rous addition, 5) both nitrogen and phosphorous addition, 6) water stress reduction under low precipitation. Phytomass was sampled in late July – August 2008. Total phytomass significantly increased after ten years of treatment only in response to both nitrogen and phosphorous addi- tion. Share of vascular plants doubled at NP treatment and increased by 1,4 times at P treatment. Lichens almost completely disappeared at N and NP treatments. Necromass increased at N and NP treatments. Changes in alpine lichen heath community structure were caused by changes in the role of separate components of community, and were based on species initially growing on the experimental plots; no invasions of new species were observed.


Keywords


alpine ecosystems, nitrogen, phosphorous, lime, water

References


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