Climate Change Ecology

Long-term warming and vegetation change

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Science  06 Mar 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6226, pp. 1110-1111
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6226.1110-g

How climate change specifically affects ecosystems can be difficult to sort out. To determine cause and effect, Harte et al. examined changes to vegetation and soil in plots of land in the U.S. Rocky Mountains that they either warmed experimentally or left untouched (ambient) over 23 years. They found that both experimental warming and the natural warming of the Rockies over that time period led to a shift from herbaceous meadow to woody shrub vegetation. Soil carbon declined, too (although in both cases more slowly in the ambient plots). These results demonstrate that climate change caused the observed vegetation and soil changes.

Global Change Biol.10.1111/gcb.12831 (2015).

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