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Plant functional groups asynchrony keep the community biomass stability along with the climate change- a 20-year experimental observation of alpine meadow in eastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

Zhou, Bingrong, Li, Shuai, Li, Fu, Dong, Shikui, Ma, Fulin, Zhu, Shengcui, Zhou, Huakun, Stufkens, Paul
Agriculture, ecosystems & environment 2019 v.282 pp. 49-57
aboveground biomass, alpine meadows, atmospheric precipitation, climate, climate change, forbs, grasses, monitoring, path analysis, plant communities, temperature, uncertainty, China
Climate changes can affect the temporal stability of plant community biomass on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, but most studies were based on short-term field climate manipulation experiments. However, the response of biomass stability of natural alpine meadow remains largely unexplored. We conducted a 20-year experimental study monitoring aboveground biomass of plant functional groups (grass, forb and sedge) and community in eastern QTP, with linear regressions and a path analysis of: annual temperature, annual night minimum temperature, annual daytime maximum temperature, annual precipitation, annual daytime precipitation, annual night precipitation, biomass stability of grass, biomass stability of forb, plant functional groups asynchrony to assess the influence climate change and biological factors on the temporal stability of plant community biomass. We found that it was plant functional groups asynchrony rather than climate change that determined the temporal stability of plant community biomass. Our findings suggest that future climate change has a considerable uncertainty in the temporal stability of the plant community biomass in the alpine meadow and we should combine with both field climate manipulation experiments and long-term observational experiments to assess the influence of climate change on the temporal stability of plant community.