Soils are a key element of tundra ecosystems, limiting the survival, growth and reproduction of plants. Herbivores can have a large spatial and temporal effect on soils, through trampling, faeces deposition or biomass and litter removal by grazing, which can in turn alter ecosystem development, community composition and plant fitness. Despite their potential importance, the effects of herbivory on tundra soils are still largely unknown.
Therefore, two main activities have been planned for a newly created soil working group within the HN:
1) To review the effect of herbivores and herbivory on soils
2) To develop a soil protocol incorporating soil analyses and measurements that could be implemented as an add-on to the herbivory protocol. The pilot soil protocol can be downloaded here.
This initiative is led by Maria Väisänen, Maria Tuomi and Guillermo Bueno. For more information, check out our poster presented at the recent Oikos Meeting for Ecologists and Evolutionary Biologists in Finland.