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Responses of plant biomass and yield component in rice, wheat, and maize to climatic warming: a meta-analysis

Abstract

Main conclusion

Responses of plant biomass and yield components to warming are species-specific and are shifted as increased warming magnitude rises; this finding improves the results of IPCC AR5.

Abstract

The responses of crop yields to climatic warming have been extensively reported from experimental results, historical yield collections, and modeling research. However, an integrative report on the responses of plant biomass and yield components of three major crops to experimental warming is lacking. Here, a meta-analysis based on the most recent warming experiments was conducted to quantify the climatic warming responses of the biomass, grain yield (GY), and yield components of three staple crops. The results showed that the wheat total aboveground biomass (TAGB) increased by 6.0% with general warming, while the wheat GY did not significantly respond to warming; however, the responses shifted with increases in the mean growing season temperature (MGST). Negative effects on wheat TAGB and GY appeared when the MGSTs were above 15 °C and 13 °C, respectively. The wheat GY and the number of grains per panicle decreased by 8.4% and 7.5%, respectively, per degree Celsius increase. Increases in temperature significantly reduced the rice TAGB and GY by 4.3% and 16.6%, respectively, but rice straw biomass increased with increasing temperature. However, the rice grain weight and the number of panicles decreased with continuous increasing temperature (ΔTa). The maize biomass, GY, and yield components all generally decreased with climatic warming. Finally, the crop responses to climatic warming were significantly influenced by warming time, warming treatment facility, and methods. Our findings can improve the assessment of crop responses to climatic warming and are useful for ensuring food security while combating future global climate change.

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Abbreviations

GW:

Grain weight

GY:

Grain yield

MGST:

Mean growing season temperature

NGC:

Number of grains per cob

NGP:

Number of grains per panicle

NGR:

Number of grains per row

NP:

Number of panicles per unit area

TAGB:

Total aboveground biomass

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Acknowledgements

This study was jointly funded by National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFD0300106), China Special Fund for Meteorological Research in the Public Interest (GYHY201506001-3), and National Natural Science Foundation of China (41330531). The authors are grateful to Yuhui Wang, Bingrui Jia, Yanling Jiang, and Feng Zhang for their loyal helps during this study.

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Correspondence to Zhenzhu Xu or Guangsheng Zhou.

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Liu, X., Ma, Q., Yu, H. et al. Responses of plant biomass and yield component in rice, wheat, and maize to climatic warming: a meta-analysis. Planta 252, 90 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00425-020-03495-y

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Keywords

  • Aboveground biomass
  • Climatic change
  • Crop production
  • Grain yield
  • Staple crops