1 Tahrcountry Musings: Grassland ecosystems resistant to climate change?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Grassland ecosystems resistant to climate change?

According to a new study by scientists from Syracuse University and the University of Sheffield published online in the July 7 issue of the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), grasslands in Western Europe may be resistant to climate change. This is in sharp contrast to research in North America that suggests mountain wildflowers will all but disappear in a warming world. The experiment is one of the longest-running studies of climate change impacts on natural vegetation and may give new pointers into the effects of global warming on plant ecosystems. 13 years of data collected at the Buxton Climate Change Impacts Laboratory (BCCIL) in the United Kingdom by Emeritus Professor J. Philip Grime and colleagues at the University of Sheffield went in to the analysis. 30 small grassland plots of 9-square-meter with microclimate manipulation were used. Each plot was trimmed to simulate continued grazing but was kept 3 degrees Celsius warmer than nearby outside temperatures. Droughts and deluges were also mimicked. New questions that are now being asked are why are some plants resistant to climate change, while others die, become extinct or migrate to other places?.

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