Arctic Ecosystems

Abstract

Arctic ecosystems cover large land masses and provide vast wilderness areas with a valuable and particular diversity strongly related to climate. Current rapid sociological changes in the North, together with a predicted amplification of global climate warming in the Arctic, are likely to have large effects on potentially vulnerable Arctic ecosystems.

Keywords: tundra; taiga; ecosystem; Arctic plants; Arctic animals; biodiversity; adaptations; productivity; environment; global change; permafrost

Figure 1.

Arctic regions. The blue dotted line denotes the Arctic circle, the black continuous line denotes the southern limit of the low Arctic and the red line denotes the southern limit of the high Arctic. Adapted from Nutall and Callaghan .

Figure 2.

Common Arctic plant growth forms. Adapted from Webber .

Figure 3.

Seasonal patterns of solar radiation, net photosynthesis and biomass during the growing season at Barrow, Alaska. Adapted from Chapin and other sources.

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References

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Further Reading

Chapin FS III and Körner C (eds) (1995) Arctic and Alpine Biodiversity: Patterns, Causes, and Ecosystem Consequences. New York: Springer.

Chernov YI (1985) The Living Tundra. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Karlsson PS and Callaghan TV (eds) (1996) Plant ecology in the subarctic Swedish Lapland. Ecological Bulletins 45: 227.

Nutall M and Callaghan TV (eds) (2000) The Arctic: Environment, People, Policy. Reading, UK: Harwood Academic.

Oechel WC, Callaghan TV, Gilmanov T et al. (eds) (1997) Global Change and Arctic Terrestrial Ecosystems. Springer, New York.

Wadhams P, Dowdeswell JA and Schofield AN (1995) The Arctic and Environmental Change. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Gordon and Breach.

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How to Cite close
Callaghan, Terry V(Aug 2001) Arctic Ecosystems. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0003197]