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Extreme drought impacts have been underestimated in grasslands and shrublands globally

January 8, 2024
Drought has well-documented societal and economic consequences. Climate change is expected to intensify drought to even more extreme levels, but because such droughts have been historically rare, their impact on ecosystem functioning is not well known. We experimentally imposed the most frequent type of intensified drought—one that is ~1 y in duration—at 100 grassland and shrubland sites distributed across six continents. We found that loss of aboveground plant growth, a key measure of ecosystem function, was 60% greater when short-term drought was extreme (≤1-in-100-y historical occurrence). This drought-induced loss in function greatly exceeds previously reported losses for grasslands and shrublands, suggesting that the global impacts of projected increases in drought severity have been substantially underestimated.
Publication Year 2024
Title Extreme drought impacts have been underestimated in grasslands and shrublands globally
DOI 10.1073/pnas.2309881120
Authors Melinda D. Smith, Kate D Wilkins, Martin C. Holdrege, Peter A. Wilfahrt, Scott L. Collins, Alan K. Knapp, Osvaldo E. Sala, Jeffrey S. Dukes, Richard P. Phillips, Laura Yahdjian, Laureano A. Gherardi, Timothy Ohlert, Claus Beier, Lauchlan H. Fraser, Anke Jentsch, Michael E. Loik, Fernando T. Maestre, Sally A. Power, Qiang Yu, Andrew J. Felton, Seth M. Munson, Yiqi Luo, Hamed Abdoli, Mehdi Abedi, Concepción L. Alados, Juan Alberti, Moshe Alon, Hui An, Brian Anacker, Maggie Anderson, Harald Auge, Seton Bachle, Khadijeh Bahalkeh, Michael Bahn, Amgaa Batbaatar, Taryn Bauerle, Karen H. Beard, Kai Behn, Ilka Beil, Lucio Biancari, Irmgard Blindow, Viviana Florencia Bondaruk, Elizabeth T. Borer, Edward W. Bork, Carlos Martin Bruschetti, Kerry M. Byrne, James F. Cahill Jr., Dianela A. Calvo, Michele Carbognani, Augusto Cardoni, Cameron N. Carlyle, Miguel Castillo-Garcia, Scott X. Chang, Jeff Chieppa, Marcus V. Cianciaruso, Ofer Cohen, Amanda L. Cordeiro, Daniela F. Cusack, Sven Dahlke, Pedro Daleo, Carla M. D'Antonio, Lee H. Dietterich, Tim S. Doherty, Maren Dubbert, Anne Ebling, Nico Eisenhauer, Felícia M. Fischer, T'ai G. W. Forte, Tobias Gebauer, Beatriz Gozalo, Aaron C. Greenville, Karlo G. Guidoni-Martins, Heather J. Hannusch, Siri Vatsø Haugum, Yann Hautier, Mariet Hefting, Hugh A. L. Henry, Daniela Hoss, Johannes Ingrisch, Oscar Iribarne, Forest Isbell, Yari Johnson, Samuel E. Jordan, Eugene F. Kelly, Kaitlin Kimmel, Juergen Kreyling, György Kröel-Dulay, Alicia Kröpfl, Angelika Kübert, Andrew Kulmatiski, Eric G. Lamb, Klaus Steenberg Larsen, Julie Larson, Jason Lawson, Cintia V. Leder, Anja Linstädter, Jielin Liu, Shirong Liu, Alexandra G. Lodge, Grisel Longo, Alejandro Loydi, Junwei Luan, Frederick Curtis Lubbe, Craig Macfarlane, Kathleen Mackie-Haas, Andrey V. Malyshev, Adrián Maturano-Ruiz, Thomas Merchant, Daniel B. Metcalfe, Akira S. Mori, Edwin Mudongo, Gregory S. Newman, Uffe N. Nielsen, Dale Nimmo, Yujie Niu, Paola Nobre, Rory C. O'Connor, Romà Ogaya, Gastón R. Oñatibia, Ildikó Orbán, Brooke B. Osborne, Rafael Otfinowski, Meelis Pärtel, Josep Penuelas, Pablo L. Peri, Guadalupe Peter, Alessandro Petraglia, Catherine Picon-Cochard, Valério D. Pillar, Juan Manuel Piñeiro-Guerra, Laura W. Ploughe, Robert M. Plowes, Cristy Portales-Reyes, Suzanne M. Prober, Yolanda Pueyo, Sasha C. Reed, Euan G. Ritchie, Dana Aylén Rodríguez, William E. Rogers, Christiane Roscher, Ana M. Sánchez, Bráulio A. Santos, María Cecilia Scarfó, Eric W. Seabloom, Baoku Shu, Lara Souza, Andreas Stampfli, Rachel J. Standish, Marcelo Sternberg, Wei Sun, Marie Sünnemann, Michelle Tedder, Pål Thorvaldsen, Dashuan Tian, Katja Tielbörger, Alejandro Valdecantos, Liesbeth van den Brink, Vigdis Vandvik, Mathew R. Vankoughnett, Liv Guri Velle, Changhui Wang, Yi Wang, Glenda M. Wardle, Christiane Werner, Cunzheng Wei, Georg Wiehl, Jennifer L. Williams, Amelia A. Wolf, Michaela Zeiter, Fawei Zhang, Juntao Zhu, Ning Zong, Xiaoan Zuo
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Index ID 70250926
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Southwest Biological Science Center