Researchers Reveal Responses of Grassland Functions to Drought

by Zhang Nannan, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Grassland, as one of the important ecosystems and an ecological barrier in China, is the green production base of animal husbandry. It plays a vital role in maintaining national ecological security, food security and even global ecological balance. However, climate change is expected to lead to more frequent extreme droughts in this region. Yet, the underlying mechanisms of ecosystem responses to drought are not well understood. 

Recently, a research team from the Institute of Applied Ecology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences addressed this issue by experimentally removing 66% of growing season precipitation for four years in two grasslands of Inner Mongolia. 

As expected, the researchers found that these two sites differed markedly in their aboveground net primary production (ANPP) responses to soil moisture, with greater sensitivity at the more arid site.

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