COAT Varanger has established small rodent exclosures that distinguish between direct and indirect climate impacts on vegetation.
Small-rodent exclosures established in the heath habitat, measuring 1x1x1m. Exclosures for meadow habitat are similar, while those in snowbed habitat are only 1/2m high. Photo: Eeva Soininen
COAT has established new small rodent exclosures this summer. The spatially distributed experiment covers meadow, heath, and snow bed habitats at one of the COAT Varanger intensive localities. The experiment will feed data to state variables of both small rodent module and tall shrub tundra module. Both modules address direct and indirect (i.e. via rodents) climate change impacts on vegetation.
In meadow and heath habitats, the experiment is co-located with larger reindeer exclosures. With this study design, we aim to distinguish the impacts on large and small herbivores. In snow bed habitats no large exclosures have been possible, and similar smaller cages are used for treatments here (i.e. either excluding all herbivores or only large herbivores).