Alteration of the phenology of leaf senescence and fall in winter deciduous species by climate change: Efects on nutrient proficiency

Estiarte M., Penuelas J. (2015) Alteration of the phenology of leaf senescence and fall in winter deciduous species by climate change: Efects on nutrient proficiency. Global Change Biology. 21: 1005-1017.
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Doi: 10.1111/gcb.12804

Resum:

Leaf senescence in winter deciduous species signals the transition from the active to the dormant stage. The purpose of leaf senescence is the recovery of nutrients before the leaves fall. Photoperiod and temperature are the main cues controlling leaf senescence in winter deciduous species, with water stress imposing an additional influence. Photoperiod exerts a strict control on leaf senescence at latitudes where winters are severe and temperature gains importance in the regulation as winters become less severe. On average, climatic warming will delay and drought will advance leaf senescence, but at varying degrees depending on the species. Warming and drought thus have opposite effects on the phenology of leaf senescence, and the impact of climate change will therefore depend on the relative importance of each factor in specific regions. Warming is not expected to have a strong impact on nutrient proficiency although a slower speed of leaf senescence induced by warming could facilitate a more efficient nutrient resorption. Nutrient resorption is less efficient when the leaves senesce prematurely as a consequence of water stress. The overall effects of climate change on nutrient resorption will depend on the contrasting effects of warming and drought. Changes in nutrient resorption and proficiency will impact production in the following year, at least in early spring, because the construction of new foliage relies almost exclusively on nutrients resorbed from foliage during the preceding leaf fall. Changes in the phenology of leaf senescence will thus impact carbon uptake, but also ecosystem nutrient cycling, especially if the changes are consequence of water stress. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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Increased sensitivity to climate change in disturbed ecosystems

Kroel-Dulay G., Ransijn J., Schmidt I.K., Beier C., De Angelis P., De Dato G., Dukes J.S., Emmett B., Estiarte M., Garadnai J., Kongstad J., Kovacs-Lang E., Larsen K.S., Liberati D., Ogaya R., Riis-Nielsen T., Smith A.R., Sowerby A., Tietema A., Penuelas J. (2015) Increased sensitivity to climate change in disturbed ecosystems. Nature Communications. 6: 0-0.
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Doi: 10.1038/ncomms7682

Resum:

Human domination of the biosphere includes changes to disturbance regimes, which push many ecosystems towards early-successional states. Ecological theory predicts that early-successional ecosystems are more sensitive to perturbations than mature systems, but little evidence supports this relationship for the perturbation of climate change. Here we show that vegetation (abundance, species richness and species composition) across seven European shrublands is quite resistant to moderate experimental warming and drought, and responsiveness is associated with the dynamic state of the ecosystem, with recently disturbed sites responding to treatments. Furthermore, most of these responses are not rapid (2-5 years) but emerge over a longer term (7-14 years). These results suggest that successional state influences the sensitivity of ecosystems to climate change, and that ecosystems recovering from disturbances may be sensitive to even modest climatic changes. A research bias towards undisturbed ecosystems might thus lead to an underestimation of the impacts of climate change. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

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