Nat Commun. 2022 Aug 20;13(1):4914. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-32671-9.
Biomass allocation in plants is fundamental for understanding and predicting terrestrial carbon storage. Yet, our knowledge regarding warming effects on root: shoot ratio (R/S) remains limited. Here, we present a meta-analysis encompassing more than 300 studies and including angiosperms and gymnosperms as well as different biomes (cropland, desert, forest, grassland, tundra, and wetland). The meta-analysis shows that average warming of 2.50 °C (median = 2 °C) significantly increases biomass allocation to roots with a mean increase of 8.1% in R/S. Two factors associate significantly with this response to warming: mean annual precipitation and the type of mycorrhizal fungi associated with plants. Warming-induced allocation to roots is greater in drier habitats when compared to shoots (+15.1% in R/S), while lower in wetter habitats (+4.9% in R/S). This R/S pattern is more frequent in plants associated with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, compared to ectomycorrhizal fungi. These results show that precipitation variability and mycorrhizal association can affect terrestrial carbon dynamics by influencing biomass allocation strategies in a warmer world, suggesting that climate change could influence belowground C sequestration.