Increased sensitivity to climate change in disturbed ecosystems

Nature Communications
György Kröel-DulayJosep Peñuelas

Abstract

Human domination of the biosphere includes changes to disturbance regimes, which push many ecosystems towards early-successional states. Ecological theory predicts that early-successional ecosystems are more sensitive to perturbations than mature systems, but little evidence supports this relationship for the perturbation of climate change. Here we show that vegetation (abundance, species richness and species composition) across seven European shrublands is quite resistant to moderate experimental warming and drought, and responsiveness is associated with the dynamic state of the ecosystem, with recently disturbed sites responding to treatments. Furthermore, most of these responses are not rapid (2-5 years) but emerge over a longer term (7-14 years). These results suggest that successional state influences the sensitivity of ecosystems to climate change, and that ecosystems recovering from disturbances may be sensitive to even modest climatic changes. A research bias towards undisturbed ecosystems might thus lead to an underestimation of the impacts of climate change.

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Citations

Sep 1, 2015·Global Change Biology·Adam D MillerKristina J Anderson-Teixeira
Mar 8, 2016·The Science of the Total Environment·Xibao XuJian Zhang
Apr 20, 2016·Global Change Biology·Dana M BlumenthalElise Pendall
Oct 9, 2016·Plant Science : an International Journal of Experimental Plant Biology·Daijun LiuJosep Peñuelas
Mar 4, 2017·Scientific Reports·Sabine ReinschBridget A Emmett
May 29, 2018·Global Change Biology·Delong LiShuangcheng Li
May 10, 2017·Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences·Andrew J Felton, Melinda D Smith
Jan 28, 2020·Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences·Monica G TurnerStephen R Carpenter
Jan 21, 2020·Ecology·Diane S SrivastavaAlice B A Campos
Jul 30, 2020·Ecology and Evolution·Karen CastillioniLara Souza
Jul 15, 2020·Nature Communications·Francesca PilottoPeter Haase
Aug 4, 2018·Nature Communications·Franciska T de VriesRichard D Bardgett
Jan 13, 2018·Scientific Reports·Yunhe YinShaohong Wu
Jun 5, 2018·Journal of Environmental Management·Erin K Espeland, Karin M Kettenring
Jul 9, 2021·Journal of Environmental Management·Meng LiYongtao He
Jul 10, 2021·Ecology·Tyler C MesserschmidtMatthew L Kirwan

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