loading page

Microclimate explains little variation in year-round decomposition across an Arctic tundra landscape
  • +3
  • Jonathan von Oppen,
  • Jakob Assmann,
  • Anne Bjorkmann,
  • Urs Treier,
  • Bo Elberling,
  • Signe Normand
Jonathan von Oppen
Aarhus Universitet

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile
Jakob Assmann
Aarhus Universitet
Author Profile
Anne Bjorkmann
University of Gothenburg
Author Profile
Urs Treier
Aarhus Universitet
Author Profile
Bo Elberling
University of Copenhagen
Author Profile
Signe Normand
Aarhus Universitet
Author Profile


Litter decomposition represents a major path for atmospheric carbon influx into Arctic soils, thereby controlling below-ground carbon accumulation. Yet, little is known about how tundra litter decomposition varies with microenvironmental conditions, hindering accurate projections of tundra soil carbon dynamics with future climate change. Over 14 months, we measured landscape-scale decomposition of two contrasting standard litter types (Green Tea and Rooibos Tea) in 90 plots covering gradients of micro-climate and -topography, vegetation cover and traits, and soil characteristics in Western Greenland. We used the Tea Bag Index protocol to estimate relative variation in litter mass loss, decomposition rate (k) and stabilisation factor (S) across space, and Structural Equation Modelling to identify relationships among environmental factors and decomposition. Contrasting our expectations, microenvironmental factors explained little of the observed variation in both litter mass loss, as well as k and S, suggesting that the variables included in our study were not the major controls of decomposer activity in the soil across the studied tundra landscape. We use these shortcomings of our study combined with findings from the current literature to discuss future avenues for improving our understanding of the drivers of tundra decomposition and, ultimately, carbon cycling across the warming Arctic.
31 Mar 2023Submitted to Nordic Journal of Botany
31 Mar 2023Submission Checks Completed
31 Mar 2023Assigned to Editor
31 Mar 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
17 Apr 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
05 Sep 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Major
19 Nov 20231st Revision Received
20 Nov 2023Submission Checks Completed
20 Nov 2023Assigned to Editor
20 Nov 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending