Diversity-productivity dependent resistance of an alpine plant community to different climate change scenarios

Publisher's full text
Arshad Ali
Ulf Molau
Yang Bai
Annika K Jägerbrand
Juha M. Alatalo

Here we report from a experiment imposing different warming scenarios [control with ambient temperature, constant level of moderate warming for 3 years, stepwise increase in warming for 3 years, and one season of high level warming (pulse) simulating an extreme summer event] on an alpine ecosystem to study the impact on species diversity–biomass relationship, and community resistance in terms of biomass production.

Multiple linear mixed models indicate that experimental years had stronger influence on biomass than warming scenarios and species diversity. Species diversity and biomass had almost humpback relationships under different warming scenarios over different experimental years. There was generally a negative diversity–biomass relationship, implying that a positive diversity–biomass relationship was not the case.

The application of different warming scenarios did not change this tendency. The change in community resistance to all warming scenarios was generally negatively correlated with increasing species diversity, the strength of the correlation varying both between treatments and between years within treatments. The strong effect of experimental years was consistent with the notion that niche complementarity effects increase over time, and hence, higher biomass productivity over experimental years. The strongest negative relationship was found in the first year of the pulse treatment, indicating that the community had weak resistance to an extreme event of one season of abnormally warm climate.

Biomass production started recovering during the two subsequent years. Contrasting biomass-related resistance emerged in the different treatments, indicating that micro sites within the same plant community may differ in their resistance to different warming scenarios.

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