Changing precipitation regimes and terrestrial ecosystems: a North American perspective

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University of Arizona Press, Jan 1, 2003 - Gardening - 237 pages
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By the beginning of the twenty-first century, few people could deny the reality of global change. But while most alarm has been over increasing temperatures, other changes are occurring in precipitation patterns -- variations that may be due in part to global warming but also to factors such as changes in atmospheric circulation and land surfaces.This volume provides a central source of information about this newly emerging area of global change research. It presents ongoing investigations into the responses of plant communities and ecosystems to the experimental manipulation of precipitation in a variety of field settings -- particularly in the western and central United States, where precipitation is already scarce or variable. By exploring methods that can be used to predict responses of ecosystems to changes in precipitation regimes, it demonstrates new approaches to global change research and highlights the importance of precipitation regimes in structuring ecosystems.The contributors first document the importance of precipitation, soil characteristics, and soil moisture to plant life. They then focus on the roles of precipitation amount, seasonality, and frequency in shaping varied terrestrial ecosystems: desert, sagebrush steppe, oak savanna, tall- and mixed-grass prairie, and eastern deciduous forest. These case studies illustrate many complex, tightly woven, interactive relationships among precipitation, soils, and plants -- relationships that will dictate the responses of ecosystems to changes in precipitation regimes.As the first volume to discuss and document current and cutting-edge concepts and approaches to research into changing precipitation regimes andterrestrial ecosystems, this book shows the importance of developing reliable predictions of the precipitation changes that may occur with global warming. These studies dearly demonstrate that patterns of environmental variation an

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Contents

Responses of Woody Plants to Heterogeneity of Soil Water in Arid
28
The Importance of Precipitation Seasonality in Controlling Vegetation
47
Approaches and Techniques of Rainfall Manipulation
72
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Guy McPherson is Professor in the School of Renewable Natural Resources and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona.

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