Biology Letters
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Climate change experiments in temperate grasslands: synthesis and future directions

Shannon R. White

Shannon R. White

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, 11455 Saskatchewan Drive, Edmonton, Alberta, CanadaT6G 2E9

[email protected]

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Cameron N. Carlyle

Cameron N. Carlyle

Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia, 6270 University Blvd, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z4

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Lauchlan H. Fraser

Lauchlan H. Fraser

Natural Resource Sciences, Thompson Rivers University, 900 McGill Road, Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z4

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James F. Cahill

James F. Cahill

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, 11455 Saskatchewan Drive, Edmonton, Alberta, CanadaT6G 2E9

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Published:https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2011.0956

    The immediate need to understand the complex responses of grasslands to climate change, to ensure food supplies and to mitigate future climate change through carbon sequestration, necessitate a global, synthesized approach. Numerous manipulative experiments have altered temperature or precipitation, often in conjunction with other interacting factors such as grazing, to understand potential effects of climate change on the ecological integrity of temperate grasslands and understand the mechanisms of change. Although the different ways in which temperature and precipitation may change to effect grasslands were well represented, variability in methodology limited generalizations. Results from these experiments were also largely mixed and complex; thus, a broad understanding of temperate grassland responses to these factors remains elusive. A collaboration based on a set of globally dispersed, inexpensive experiments with consistent methodology would provide the data needed to better understand responses of temperate grassland to climate change.

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