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Community Response to Extreme Drought (CRED): a framework for drought‐induced shifts in plant–plant interactions

Ploughe, Laura W., Jacobs, Elin M., Frank, Graham S., Greenler, Skye M., Smith, Melinda D., Dukes, Jeffrey S.
Thenew phytologist 2019 v.222 no.1 pp. 52-69
biocenosis, botanical composition, climate change, community structure, drought, nitrogen, water stress
Contents Summary 52 I. Introduction 52 II. The Community Response to Extreme Drought (CRED) framework 55 III. Post‐drought rewetting rates: system and community recovery 61 IV. Site‐specific characteristics influencing community resistance and resilience 63 V. Conclusions 64 Acknowledgements 65 References 66 SUMMARY: As climate changes, many regions of the world are projected to experience more intense droughts, which can drive changes in plant community composition through a variety of mechanisms. During drought, community composition can respond directly to resource limitation, but biotic interactions modify the availability of these resources. Here, we develop the Community Response to Extreme Drought framework (CRED), which organizes the temporal progression of mechanisms and plant–plant interactions that may lead to community changes during and after a drought. The CRED framework applies some principles of the stress gradient hypothesis (SGH), which proposes that the balance between competition and facilitation changes with increasing stress. The CRED framework suggests that net biotic interactions (NBI), the relative frequency and intensity of facilitative (+) and competitive (−) interactions between plants, will change temporally, becoming more positive under increasing drought stress and more negative as drought stress decreases. Furthermore, we suggest that rewetting rates affect the rate of resource amelioration, specifically water and nitrogen, altering productivity responses and the intensity and importance of NBI, all of which will influence drought‐induced compositional changes. System‐specific variables and the intensity of drought influence the strength of these interactions, and ultimately the system's resistance and resilience to drought.