Dual mechanisms regulate ecosystem stability under decade-long warming and hay harvest

Zheng Shi, Xia Xu, Lara Souza, Kevin Wilcox, Lifen Jiang, Junyi Liang, Jianyang Xia, Pablo Garciá-Palacios, Yiqi Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Past global change studies have identified changes in species diversity as a major mechanism regulating temporal stability of production, measured as the ratio of the mean to the standard deviation of community biomass. However, the dominant plant functional group can also strongly determine the temporal stability. Here, in a grassland ecosystem subject to 15 years of experimental warming and hay harvest, we reveal that warming increases while hay harvest decreases temporal stability. This corresponds with the biomass of the dominant C 4 functional group being higher under warming and lower under hay harvest. As a secondary mechanism, biodiversity also explains part of the variation in temporal stability of production. Structural equation modelling further shows that warming and hay harvest regulate temporal stability through influencing both temporal mean and variation of production. Our findings demonstrate the joint roles that dominant plant functional group and biodiversity play in regulating the temporal stability of an ecosystem under global change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number11973
JournalNature Communications
StatePublished - Jun 15 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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