Shrub encroachment in North American grasslands: Shifts in growth form dominance rapidly alters control of ecosystem carbon inputs

Alan K. Knapp, John M. Briggs, Scott L. Collins, Steve Archer, M. Syndonia Bret-Harte, Brent E. Ewers, Debra P. Peters, Donald R. Young, Gaius R. Shaver, Elise Pendall, Meagan B. Cleary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

295 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Shrub encroachment into grass-dominated biomes is occurring globally due to a variety of anthropogenic activities, but the consequences for carbon (C) inputs, storage and cycling remain unclear. We studied eight North American graminoid-dominated ecosystems invaded by shrubs, from arctic tundra to Atlantic coastal dunes, to quantify patterns and controls of C inputs via aboveground net primary production (ANPP). Across a fourfold range in mean annual precipitation (MAP), a key regulator of ecosystem C input at the continental scale, shrub invasion decreased ANPP in xeric sites, but dramatically increased ANPP (>1000 gm-2) at high MAP, where shrub patches maintained extraordinarily high leaf area. Concurrently, the relationship between MAP and ANPP shifted from being nonlinear in grasslands to linear in shrublands. Thus, relatively abrupt (<50 years) shifts in growth form dominance, without changes in resource quantity, can fundamentally alter continental-scale pattern of C inputs and their control by MAP in ways that exceed the direct effects of climate change alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)615-623
Number of pages9
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Volume14
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2008

Fingerprint

net primary production
growth form
Ecosystems
shrub
Carbon
grassland
ecosystem
carbon
shrubland
biome
tundra
Climate change
leaf area
dune
human activity
grass
climate change
resource

Keywords

  • Above ground net primary production
  • Carbon
  • Climate change
  • Grasslands
  • Growth form
  • LAI
  • MAP
  • Shrub lands

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

Cite this

Shrub encroachment in North American grasslands : Shifts in growth form dominance rapidly alters control of ecosystem carbon inputs. / Knapp, Alan K.; Briggs, John M.; Collins, Scott L.; Archer, Steve; Bret-Harte, M. Syndonia; Ewers, Brent E.; Peters, Debra P.; Young, Donald R.; Shaver, Gaius R.; Pendall, Elise; Cleary, Meagan B.

In: Global Change Biology, Vol. 14, No. 3, 03.2008, p. 615-623.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Knapp, AK, Briggs, JM, Collins, SL, Archer, S, Bret-Harte, MS, Ewers, BE, Peters, DP, Young, DR, Shaver, GR, Pendall, E & Cleary, MB 2008, 'Shrub encroachment in North American grasslands: Shifts in growth form dominance rapidly alters control of ecosystem carbon inputs', Global Change Biology, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 615-623. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2007.01512.x
Knapp, Alan K. ; Briggs, John M. ; Collins, Scott L. ; Archer, Steve ; Bret-Harte, M. Syndonia ; Ewers, Brent E. ; Peters, Debra P. ; Young, Donald R. ; Shaver, Gaius R. ; Pendall, Elise ; Cleary, Meagan B. / Shrub encroachment in North American grasslands : Shifts in growth form dominance rapidly alters control of ecosystem carbon inputs. In: Global Change Biology. 2008 ; Vol. 14, No. 3. pp. 615-623.
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