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Nossa Senhora Das Gracas, Brazil

Baez S.,University of Florida | Baez S.,Andean Development | Collins S.L.,University of New Mexico | Pockman W.T.,University of New Mexico | And 2 more authors.
Oecologia | Year: 2013

Aridland ecosystems are predicted to be responsive to both increases and decreases in precipitation. In addition, chronic droughts may contribute to encroachment of native C3 shrubs into C4-dominated grasslands. We conducted a long-term rainfall manipulation experiment in native grassland, shrubland and the grass-shrub ecotone in the northern Chihuahuan Desert, USA. We evaluated the effects of 5 years of experimental drought and 4 years of water addition on plant community structure and dynamics. We assessed the effects of altered rainfall regimes on the abundance of dominant species as well as on species richness and subdominant grasses, forbs and shrubs. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling and MANOVA were used to quantify changes in species composition in response to chronic addition or reduction of rainfall. We found that drought consistently and strongly decreased cover of Bouteloua eriopoda, the dominant C4 grass in this system, whereas water addition slightly increased cover, with little variation between years. In contrast, neither chronic drought nor increased rainfall had consistent effects on the cover of Larrea tridentata, the dominant C3 shrub. Species richness declined in shrub-dominated vegetation in response to drought whereas richness increased or was unaffected by water addition or drought in mixed- and grass-dominated vegetation. Cover of subdominant shrubs, grasses and forbs changed significantly over time, primarily in response to interannual rainfall variability more so than to our experimental rainfall treatments. Nevertheless, drought and water addition shifted the species composition of plant communities in all three vegetation types. Overall, we found that B. eriopoda responded strongly to drought and less so to irrigation, whereas L. tridentata showed limited response to either treatment. The strong decline in grass cover and the resistance of shrub cover to rainfall reduction suggest that chronic drought may be a key factor promoting shrub dominance during encroachment into desert grassland. © 2012 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Buytaert W.,Imperial College London | Cuesta-Camacho F.,Andean Development | Tobon C.,National University of Colombia
Global Ecology and Biogeography | Year: 2011

Aim Humid tropical alpine environments are crucial ecosystems that sustain biodiversity, biological processes, carbon storage and surface water provision. They are identified as one of the terrestrial ecosystems most vulnerable to global environmental change. Despite their vulnerability, and the importance for regional biodiversity conservation and socio-economic development, they are among the least studied and described ecosystems in the world. This paper reviews the state of knowledge about tropical alpine environments, and provides an integrated assessment of the potential threats of global climate change on the major ecosystem processes.Location Humid tropical alpine regions occur between the upper forest line and the perennial snow border in the upper regions of the Andes, the Afroalpine belt and Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.Results and main conclusions Climate change will displace ecosystem boundaries and strongly reduce the total area of tropical alpine regions. Displacement and increased isolation of the remaining patches will induce species extinction and biodiversity loss. Drier and warmer soil conditions will cause a faster organic carbon turnover, decreasing the below-ground organic carbon storage. Since most of the organic carbon is currently stored in the soils, it is unlikely that an increase in above-ground biomass will be able to offset soil carbon loss at an ecosystem level. Therefore a net release of carbon to the atmosphere is expected. Changes in precipitation patterns, increased evapotranspiration and alterations of the soil properties will have a major impact on water supply. Many regions are in danger of a significantly reduced or less reliable stream flow. The magnitude and even the trend of most of these effects depend strongly on local climatic, hydrological and ecological conditions. The extreme spatial gradients in these conditions put the sustainability of ecosystem management at risk. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Andean Development | Entity website

Mientras nos acercbamos a la cuenca de los ros Cir Grande y Trinidad, en Panam, veamos cmo la esttica de rascacielos por la que se conoce la pujante economa del pas daba paso a un verdor rural propio de la selva tropical. Nada ms llegar a nuestro destino, una comunidad de unos 500 habitantes en las laderas del Canal de Panam, pudimos apreciar los avances del proyecto para caficultores locales, que hasta la fecha ha mejorado los ingresos, el nivel de instruccin y la calidad de vida de 90 familias campesinas ...

Andean Development | Entity website

Andean Development | Entity website

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