Wednesday, February 6, 2013

response to drought: how long?

Vicente-Serrano and authors examine data on plant productivity to determine the response time of plants to drought around the world.

I'm a bit awestruck at how much data went into this paper. 40 ANPP time series. 1800+ tree ring chronologies. NDVI for the whole world.

When they look at the patterns, the authors essentially quantify the time scale of response of vegetation to drought. In general, dry sites respond quick and a lot, mesic sites long and moderately, humid sites quick, but not much.

The reasons the authors give for these patterns are a bit phenomenologically adaptationist, but the patterns seem clear.

The legacy of drought is longest at intermediate aridity.

Vicente-Serrano, S. M., C. Gouveia, J. J. Camarero, S. Beguería, R. Trigo, J. I. López-Moreno, C. Azorín-Molina, E. Pasho, J. Lorenzo-Lacruz, J. Revuelto, et al. 2013. Response of vegetation to drought time-scales across global land biomes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110:52-57.

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