Andersen, R. (corresponding author, firstname.lastname@example.org) & Poulin, M.: Groupe de recherche en écologie des tourbières (PERG) & Centre d'Études Nordiques (CEN), Université Laval, Sainte-Foy, Québec, Canada G1K 7P4 Poulin, M.; Laiho, R.; Laine, J.; Vasander, H. & Tuittila, E.-T.: Peatland Ecology Group, Department of Forest Sciences, P.O. Box 27, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland Borcard, D.: Département de sciences biologiques, Université de Montréal, Case postale 6128, succursale Centre-ville, Montréal, Québec, H3C 3J7 Andersen, R.: The James Hutton Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen, AB15 8QH, UK Laine, J. (email@example.com): Finnish Forest Research Institute, Parkano, Kaironiementie 15, FI-39700 Parkano, Finland
Environmental control and spatial structures in peatland vegetation
Version of Record online: 18 APR 2011
© 2011 International Association for Vegetation Science
Journal of Vegetation Science
Volume 22, Issue 5, pages 878–890, October 2011
How to Cite
Andersen, R., Poulin, M., Borcard, D., Laiho, R., Laine, J., Vasander, H. and Tuittila, E.-T. (2011), Environmental control and spatial structures in peatland vegetation. Journal of Vegetation Science, 22: 878–890. doi: 10.1111/j.1654-1103.2011.01295.x
Co-ordinating Editor: Rune Halvorsen
- Issue online: 1 SEP 2011
- Version of Record online: 18 APR 2011
- Received 3 September 2010, Accepted 13 March 2011
- Peatland ecology;
- Principal coordinates of neighbour matrices (PCNM);
- Spatial autocorrelation;
- Spatial dependence processes;
- Variation partitioning;
- Vegetation structures
Question: What are the relative influences of environment and space in structuring the plant composition in a peatland complex?
Location: Lakkasuo, southern boreal zone, Finland.
Method: We used principal coordinates of neighbour matrices (PCNM) to model spatial structures in the plant composition of a peatland complex comprising ombrotrophic and minerotrophic, open and forested areas. We used redundancy analyses (RDA) and variation partitioning to assess the relative influences of chemical variables (peat and water characteristics), physical variables (hydrology, soil properties, shade), as well as broad-scale (>350 m) and medium-scale (100–350 m) spatial structures on vegetation assemblages.
Results: We identified five different significant spatial patterns circumscribing (1) the minerotrophic–ombrotrophic gradient; (2) dry ombrotrophic and wet minerotrophic areas; (3) open and shaded areas; (4) dry open/shaded and wet patches within the ombrotrophic areas; and (5) dry open patches and dry forested patches. With spatial structures and environmental variables, we were able to model 30% of the variability in plant composition in the peatland complex, 13% of which was attributable to spatial structures alone.
Conclusions: We demonstrated that in the peatland complex, the spatial dependence processes were more important at the broadest scale, and found that patterns at a medium scale might reflect finer-scale patterns that were not investigated here. Spatial autocorrelation in vegetation composition in the peatland complex appeared to be driven by Sphagnum species. Our results emphasize that spatial modelling should be routinely implemented in studies looking at species composition, since they significantly increase the explained proportion of variance.