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Ecosystems

, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 888–900 | Cite as

Effects of Warming, Summer Drought, and CO2 Enrichment on Aboveground Biomass Production, Flowering Phenology, and Community Structure in an Upland Grassland Ecosystem

  • Juliette M. G. Bloor
  • Patrick Pichon
  • Robert Falcimagne
  • Paul Leadley
  • Jean-François Soussana
Article

Abstract

Future climate scenarios predict simultaneous changes in environmental conditions, but the impacts of multiple climate change drivers on ecosystem structure and function remain unclear. We used a novel experimental approach to examine the responses of an upland grassland ecosystem to the 2080 climate scenario predicted for the study area (3.5°C temperature increase, 20% reduction in summer precipitation, atmospheric CO2 levels of 600 ppm) over three growing seasons. We also assessed whether patterns of grassland response to a combination of climate change treatments could be forecast by ecosystem responses to single climate change drivers. Effects of climate change on aboveground production showed considerable seasonal and interannual variation; April biomass increased in response to both warming and the simultaneous application of warming, summer drought, and CO2 enrichment, whereas October biomass responses were either non-significant or negative depending on the year. Negative impacts of summer drought on production were only observed in combination with a below-average rainfall regime, and showed lagged effects on spring biomass. Elevated CO2 had no significant effect on aboveground biomass during this study. Both warming and the 2080 climate change scenario were associated with a significant advance in flowering time for the dominant grass species studied. However, flowering phenology showed no significant response to either summer drought or elevated CO2. Species diversity and equitability showed no response to climate change treatments throughout this study. Overall, our data suggest that single-factor warming experiments may provide valuable information for projections of future ecosystem changes in cool temperate grasslands.

Keywords

biodiversity climate change Free Air CO2 enrichment grassland productivity interannual variation vegetation dynamics 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank C. Picon-Cochard and F. Giacomoni for assistance with monolith transplantation and site management. Thanks also to A. Cantarel for help with data collection and JM. Dreuillaux for help with species identification. This study was supported by a CNRS postdoctoral fellowship to JMGB, an IFB-GICC project grant, and an ANR project grant.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juliette M. G. Bloor
    • 1
  • Patrick Pichon
    • 1
  • Robert Falcimagne
    • 1
  • Paul Leadley
    • 2
  • Jean-François Soussana
    • 1
  1. 1.INRA, UR874-Grassland Ecosystem Research UnitClermont-FerrandFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire d’Ecologie, Systématique et Evolution, UMR CNRS 8079Université Paris-SudOrsay CedexFrance

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