Cross-Site Comparisons of Dryland Ecosystem Response to Climate Change in the US Long-Term Ecological Research Network

Amy R. Hudson, Debra P.C. Peters, John M. Blair, Daniel L. Childers, Peter T. Doran, Kerrie Geil, Michael Gooseff, Katherine L. Gross, Nick M. Haddad, Melissa A. Pastore, Jennifer A. Rudgers, Osvaldo Sala, Eric W. Seabloom, Gaius Shaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Long-term observations and experiments in diverse drylands reveal how ecosystems and services are responding to climate change. To develop generalities about climate change impacts at dryland sites, we compared broadscale patterns in climate and synthesized primary production responses among the eight terrestrial, nonforested sites of the United States Long-Term Ecological Research (US LTER) Network located in temperate (Southwest and Midwest) and polar (Arctic and Antarctic) regions. All sites experienced warming in recent decades, whereas drought varied regionally with multidecadal phases. Multiple years of wet or dry conditions had larger effects than single years on primary production. Droughts, floods, and wildfires altered resource availability and restructured plant communities, with greater impacts on primary production than warming alone. During severe regional droughts, air pollution from wildfire and dust events peaked. Studies at US LTER drylands over more than 40 years demonstrate reciprocal links and feedbacks among dryland ecosystems, climate-driven disturbance events, and climate change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)889-907
Number of pages19
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Kellogg Biological Station (grant no. DEB 1832042), Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve (grants no. DEB-1234162 and no. DEB-1831944), ARC (grant no. DEB-1637459), MCM (grant no. OPP-1637708), CAP (grant no. DEB-1832016), and SEV (grant no. DEB-1655499).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s).


  • ANPP
  • LTER
  • climate change
  • disturbance
  • drought
  • wildfire


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