Global ecosystem thresholds driven by aridity

Berdugo, Miguel; Delgado-Baquerizo, Manuel; Soliveres, Santiago; Hernández-Clemente, Rocío; Zhao, Yanchuang; Gaitán, Juan J.; Gross, Nicolas; Saiz, Hugo; Maire, Vincent; Lehman, Anika; Rillig, Matthias C.; Solé, Ricard V.; Maestre, Fernando T. (2020). Global ecosystem thresholds driven by aridity. Science, 367(6479), pp. 787-790. American Association for the Advancement of Science 10.1126/science.aay5958

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Aridity, which is increasing worldwide because of climate change, affects the structure and functioning of dryland ecosystems. Whether aridification leads to gradual (versus abrupt) and systemic (versus specific) ecosystem changes is largely unknown. We investigated how 20 structural and functional ecosystem attributes respond to aridity in global drylands. Aridification led to systemic and abrupt changes in multiple ecosystem attributes. These changes occurred sequentially in three phases characterized by abrupt decays in plant productivity, soil fertility, and plant cover and richness at aridity values of 0.54, 0.7, and 0.8, respectively. More than 20% of the terrestrial surface will cross one or several of these thresholds by 2100, which calls for immediate actions to minimize the negative impacts of aridification on essential ecosystem services for the more than 2 billion people living in drylands.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Biodiversity

UniBE Contributor:

Soliveres, Santiago and Saiz Bustamante, Hugo

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

0036-8075

Publisher:

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

28 Feb 2020 10:15

Last Modified:

28 Feb 2020 10:15

Publisher DOI:

10.1126/science.aay5958

PubMed ID:

32054762

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.140861

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/140861

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