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Vegetation Succession on the Storbreen Glacier Foreland, Jotunheimen, Norway: A Review
John A. Matthews and Robert J. Whittaker
Arctic and Alpine Research
Vol. 19, No. 4, Restoration and Vegetation Succession in Circumpolar Lands: Seventh Conference of the Comité Arctique International (Nov., 1987), pp. 385-395
Published by: INSTAAR, University of Colorado
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1551403
Page Count: 11
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Investigations of spatial patterns, environmental gradients, directly measured changes, and plant population structures in front of the Storbreen glacier, southern Norway, have extended the traditional chronosequence approach to the study of primary vegetation succession. A geoecological approach has been developed which does not assume that the vegetation patterns represent a simple linear time sequence. The whole suite of studies is reviewed with particular reference to implications for vegetation succession theory and hence applications in the field of vegetation restoration. Distribution patterns of plant species demonstrate that pioneer colonizers are replaced at various rates and by different species depending on local environmental factors, particularly altitude, aspect, and microtopography. Analyses of community types and vegetation gradients indicate a two-stage high-altitude succession which diverges from a three-stage low-altitude succession. Measurement of environmental variables has distinguished two factor complexes which are important in explaining the vegetation landscape. One of these (the snow melt/exposure/moisture factor complex) is relatively independent of terrain age. Direct measurements of vegetation change over 12 yr show strong progressive succession on terrain ages of 20 to 50 yr and retrogression associated with disturbance on older terrain. Finally, sampling of the size structures of species populations has identified varying patterns of behavior; some commonality in population patterns between species suggests common roles within the succession and common patterns in response to available resources.