Question: Is ombrotrophic bog vegetation in an oceanic region of southwestern Sweden changing in the same direction over a five year period (1999– 2004) as northwest European bogs in the last 50 years, i.e. towards drier and more eutrophic vegetation?
Location: The province of Halland, southwestern Sweden.
Methods: Changes in species composition were monitored in 750 permanently marked plots in 25 ombrotrophic bogs from 1999 to 2004. Changes in species occurrences and richness were analysed and a multivariate statistical method (DCA) was used to analyse vegetation changes.
Results: The species composition changed towards wetter rather than drier conditions, which is unlike the general pattern of vegetation change on bogs in northwestern Europe. Species typical of wetter site conditions including most Sphagnum species increased in abundance on the bogs until 2004. The total number of species per plot increased, mostly due to the increased species richness of Sphagnum species. Nitrogen-demanding (eutrophic) species increased in occurrence.
Conclusions: Ombrotrophic bog vegetation in an oceanic region in Sweden became wetter and was resilient to short-term climatic shifts, after three years of below normal precipitation followed by several years with normal precipitation levels. Shifts towards more nitrogen demanding species were rapid in this region where the deposition levels have been high for several decades.