Effects of nitrogen deposition on tundra vegetation undergoing invasion by Deyeuxia angustifolia in Changbai Mountains

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In recent years, herbaceous species such as Deyeuxia angustifolia (Kom.) Y. L. Chang has invaded alpine tundra regions of the western slope of the Changbai Mountains. Because atmospheric nitrogen deposition is predicted to increase under a warming climate and D. angustifolia is sensitive to nitrogen addition, field experiments were conducted from 2010 to 2013 to determine the effect of increased nitrogen deposition on the mechanisms of D. angustifolia invasion. The goal of this study is to evaluate the impact of increased nitrogen deposition on the changes in alpine tundra vegetation (consisting mostly of Rhododendron chrysanthum Pall. and Vaccinium uliginosum Linn.). The results showed that: 1) simulated nitrogen deposition affected overall characteristics and structure of R. chrysanthum and V. uliginosum communities and had a positive impact on the growth of tundra vegetation invaded by D. angustifolia; 2) R. chrysanthum was more resistant to invasion by D. angustifolia than V. uliginosum; 3) simulated nitrogen deposition could improve the growth and enhance the competitiveness of D. angustifolia, which was gradually replacing R. chrysanthum and V. uliginosum and might become the dominant species in the system in future, transforming alpine tundra into alpine meadow in the Changbai Mountains.

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Chinese Geographical Science