Field experiments underestimate aboveground biomass response to drought

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  • György Kröel-Dulay
  • Andrea Mojzes
  • Katalin Szitár
  • Michael Bahn
  • Péter Batáry
  • Mark Bilton
  • Hans J. De Boeck
  • Jeffrey S. Dukes
  • Marc Estiarte
  • Petr Holub
  • Anke Jentsch
  • Juergen Kreyling
  • Sabine Reinsch
  • Marcelo Sternberg
  • Katja Tielbörger
  • Albert Tietema
  • Sara Vicca
  • Josep Peñuelas

Researchers use both experiments and observations to study the impacts of climate change on ecosystems, but results from these contrasting approaches have not been systematically compared for droughts. Using a meta-analysis and accounting for potential confounding factors, we demonstrate that aboveground biomass responded only about half as much to experimentally imposed drought events as to natural droughts. Our findings indicate that experimental results may underestimate climate change impacts and highlight the need to integrate results across approaches.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Ecology and Evolution
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note


Funding Information:
We thank EU CLIMMANI COST Action (ES1308; PI, C.B.) for supporting all co-authors and initiating discussion on the topic. G.K.-D. and A.M. received funding from the National Research, Development and Innovation Fund (NRDI Fund) of Hungary (grant nos 120844 (A.M.), 112576 and 129068 (G.K.-D.)). J.P. was supported by Fundación Ramon Areces grant ELEMENTAL-CLIMATE and the European Research Council grant ERC-SyG-2013-610028. H.J.D.B. was funded through AnaEE-Flanders project no. I001921N. A.J. was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research FKZ 031B0027C.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

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