Warming First Increases Plant Growth, Then Stunts It
Global warming may initially increase plant growth in Arizona grasslands, but then will stunt growth as more time passes, according to a recent Nature Climate Change publication. The authors of the study transplanted plots—plants and soil—from four grassland ecosystems in Arizona from higher elevation to lower elevation in order to simulate future warming. Over ten years, the researchers observed changes under varying precipitation conditions, and found that plants grew more the first year and then the response progressively diminished over the next nine years. These results surprised the authors, reported Science Daily, and illustrated the need to study natural communities over longer time scales to better understand potential changes due to warmer temperatures.