Dominant Plant Functional Group Determine the Response of the Temporal Stability of Plant Community Biomass to 9-Year Warming on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau

Front Plant Sci. 2021 Sep 3;12:704138. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2021.704138. eCollection 2021.

ABSTRACT

Ecosystem stability characterizes ecosystem responses to natural and anthropogenic disturbance and affects the feedback between ecosystem and climate. A 9-year warming experiment (2010-2018) was conducted to examine how climatic warming and its interaction with the soil moisture condition impact the temporal stability of plant community aboveground biomass (AGB) of an alpine meadow in the central Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP). Under a warming environment, the AGB percentage of grasses and forbs significantly increased but that of sedges decreased regardless of the soil water availability in the experimental plots. The warming effects on plant AGB varied with annual precipitation. In the dry condition, the AGB showed no significant change under warming in the normal and relatively wet years, but it significantly decreased in relatively drought years (16% in 2013 and 12% in 2015). In the wet condition, the AGB showed no significant change under warming in the normal and relatively drought years, while it significantly increased in relatively wet years (12% in 2018). Warming significantly decreased the temporal stability of AGB of plant community and sedges. Species richness remained stable even under the warming treatment in both the dry and wet conditions. The temporal stability of AGB of sedges (dominant plant functional group) explained 66.69% variance of the temporal stability of plant community AGB. Our findings highlight that the temporal stability of plant community AGB is largely regulated by the dominant plant functional group of alpine meadow that has a relatively low species diversity.

PMID:34539698 | PMC:PMC8446532 | DOI:10.3389/fpls.2021.704138

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