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1 March 2000 Nordic Empetrum Dominated Ecosystems: Function and Susceptibility to Environmental Changes
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Abstract

This paper reviews the knowledge on crowberry (Empetrum nigrum ssp. nigrum and ssp. hermaphroditum) dominated ecosystems in the Nordic region. Empetrum leaves and litter have high phenolic content resulting in slow decomposition, and with the formation of an organic top soil, nutrients are kept in an organic nutrient bank in the soil mainly available for plants with ericoid mycorrhiza. Empetrum nigrum ssp. hermaphroditum is a strong nutrient competitor and outcompetes most plants in late successional stages. This is due to chemical interference (allelopathy) and resource competition. Crowberry as an organism is resistant to atmospheric pollution and may even increase in vigor by high atmospheric N deposition in nemoral coastal heaths, but is very sensitive to mechanical disturbances and fire. However, there are indications that the closed nutrient cycle established when Empetrum is dominant may be disturbed after airborne inputs of inorganic N.

Knud Tybirk, Marie-Charlotte Nilsson, Anders Michelsen, Hanne Lakkenborg Kristensen, Anna Shevtsova, Morten Tune Strandberg, Marianne Johansson, Knud Erik Nielsen, Torben Riis-Nielsen, Beate Strandberg, and Ib Johnsen "Nordic Empetrum Dominated Ecosystems: Function and Susceptibility to Environmental Changes," AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment 29(2), 90-97, (1 March 2000). https://doi.org/10.1579/0044-7447-29.2.90
Received: 12 October 1998; Accepted: 1 February 1999; Published: 1 March 2000
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