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      NDVI changes in the Arctic: Functional significance in the moist acidic tundra of Northern Alaska

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          Abstract

          The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), derived from reflected visible and infrared radiation, has been critical to understanding change across the Arctic, but relatively few ground truthing efforts have directly linked NDVI to structural and functional properties of Arctic tundra ecosystems. To improve the interpretation of changing NDVI within moist acidic tundra (MAT), a common Arctic ecosystem, we coupled measurements of NDVI, vegetation structure, and CO 2 flux in seventy MAT plots, chosen to represent the full range of typical MAT vegetation conditions, over two growing seasons. Light-saturated photosynthesis, ecosystem respiration, and net ecosystem CO 2 exchange were well predicted by NDVI, but not by vertically-projected leaf area, our nondestructive proxy for leaf area index (LAI). Further, our data indicate that NDVI in this ecosystem is driven primarily by the biochemical properties of the canopy leaves of the dominant plant functional types, rather than purely the amount of leaf area; NDVI was more strongly correlated with top cover and repeated cover of deciduous shrubs than other plant functional types, a finding supported by our data from separate “monotypic” plots. In these pure stands of a plant functional type, deciduous shrubs exhibited higher NDVI than any other plant functional type. Likewise, leaves from the two most common deciduous shrubs, Betula nana and Salix pulchra, exhibited higher leaf-level NDVI than those from the codominant graminoid, Eriophorum vaginatum. Our findings suggest that recent increases in NDVI in MAT in the North American Arctic are largely driven by expanding deciduous shrub canopies, with substantial implications for MAT ecosystem function, especially net carbon uptake.

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          Shrub expansion in tundra ecosystems: dynamics, impacts and research priorities

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            The evidence for shrub expansion in Northern Alaska and the Pan-Arctic

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              The Circumpolar Arctic vegetation map

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Data curationRole: Formal analysisRole: VisualizationRole: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Data curationRole: Formal analysisRole: InvestigationRole: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Funding acquisitionRole: Project administrationRole: SupervisionRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Formal analysisRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Funding acquisitionRole: Project administrationRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS One
                PLoS One
                plos
                PLOS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                1932-6203
                28 April 2023
                2023
                : 18
                : 4
                : e0285030
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, Alaska, United States of America
                [2 ] Anchorage, Alaska, United States of America
                [3 ] Environment and Natural Resources Institute, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, Alaska, United States of America
                [4 ] Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage, Alaska, United States of America
                [5 ] Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
                [6 ] University of the Arctic (UArctic), Rovaniemi, Finland
                Michigan State University, UNITED STATES
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Author information
                https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2604-4533
                https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8015-3036
                Article
                PONE-D-22-28009
                10.1371/journal.pone.0285030
                10146450
                37115765
                1335937e-3e32-49e6-b84d-6997a17643b8
                © 2023 Jespersen et al

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                History
                : 10 October 2022
                : 13 April 2023
                Page count
                Figures: 6, Tables: 4, Pages: 20
                Funding
                Funded by: funder-id http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100000001, National Science Foundation;
                Award ID: 0612534 and 0632184
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: funder-id http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100000001, National Science Foundation;
                Award ID: 0612534 and 0632184
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: funder-id http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100000001, National Science Foundation;
                Award ID: 0856728, 1836873, 1504141, 1433063, 0909538, 0119279, and 9321730
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: Center for Global Change Fellowship
                Award Recipient :
                This research was supported by National Science Foundation (NSF) grants 0612534 and 0632184 to JMW and PFS and NSF grants 0856728, 1836873, 1504141, 1433063, 0909538, 0119279, and 9321730 to JMW. Additional support was provided by a Center for Global Change Fellowship awarded to MAS. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
                Categories
                Research Article
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Organisms
                Eukaryota
                Plants
                Shrubs
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Plant Science
                Plant Anatomy
                Leaves
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Organisms
                Eukaryota
                Plants
                Nonvascular Plants
                Mosses
                Ecology and Environmental Sciences
                Terrestrial Environments
                Tundra
                Physical Sciences
                Chemistry
                Chemical Compounds
                Carbon Dioxide
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Ecology
                Ecosystems
                Ecology and Environmental Sciences
                Ecology
                Ecosystems
                Physical Sciences
                Physics
                Electromagnetic Radiation
                Light
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Plant Science
                Lichenology
                Custom metadata
                All data necessary to reproduce the analyses and figures described in this paper are publicly available in the Arctic Data Center at https://doi.org/10.18739/A2TH8BP4V.

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                Uncategorized

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