Climate Warming Consistently Reduces Grassland Ecosystem Productivity
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Future climate may profoundly impact the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems. However, we do not know well how the functioning of different types of grassland ecosystems is associated with variation in temperature and precipitation. Here, we used long-term field measurements to examine how climatic changes between the 1980s and the 2010s (i.e., growing season temperature, precipitation, habitat moisture index, solar radiation, and sunshine duration) have affected aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) for all major grassland types in northern China. We found that ANPP consistently declined over the 30-year period across all types of grassland, on average by about 6.1%. Warming, associated with increased solar radiation and, hence, soil temperature, was the primary factor driving the decrease of ANPP. We further show that ANPP was more sensitive to climate change in alpine and lowland grasslands than in temperate grasslands. Together, our findings indicate that climate warming consistently reduces plant productivity of different types of grassland ecosystems, and emphasize the importance of soil temperature in driving the decline in grassland productivity under climate change.
- Earth Science Cluster [70 items ]