Here we synthesize the biogeography of key organisms (vascular and non‐vascular vegetation and soil microorganisms), attributes (functional traits, spatial patterns, plant‐plant and plant‐soil interactions) and processes (productivity and land cover) across global drylands. We finish our review discussing major research gaps, which include: i) studying regular vegetation spatial patterns, ii) establishing large‐scale plant and biocrust field surveys assessing individual‐level trait measurements, iii) knowing whether plant‐plant and plant‐soil interactions impacts on biodiversity are predictable and iv) assessing how elevated CO2 modulates future aridity conditions and plant productivity.
Understanding the ecology of populations located in the rear edge of their distribution is key to assessing the response of the species to changing environmental conditions. Here, we focus on rear-edge populations of Quercus pyrenaica in Sierra Nevada (southern Iberian Peninsula) to analyze their ecological and floristic diversity. We perform multivariate analyses using high-resolution environmental information and forest inventories to determine how environmental variables differ among oak populations, and to identify population groups based on environmental and floristic composition.
Frost in late spring causes severe ecosystem damage in temperate and boreal regions. We here analyze late-spring frost occurrences between 1959 and 2017 and woody species’ resistance strategies to forecast forest vulnerability under climate change. Leaf-out phenology and leaf-freezing resistance data come from up to 1,500 species cultivated in common gardens. The greatest increase in leaf-damaging spring frost has occurred in Europe and East Asia, where species are more vulnerable to spring frost than in North America. The data imply that 35 and 26% of Europe’s and Asia’s forests are increasingly threatened by frost damage, while this is only true for 10% of North America. Phenological strategies that helped trees tolerate past frost frequencies will thus be increasingly mismatched to future conditions.
In this paper we aim to (1) reconstruct the Holocene fire history at high altitudes of the southern Central Pyrenees, (2) add evidence to the debate on fire origin, naturally or anthropogenically produced, (3) determine the importance of fire as a disturbance agent for sub-alpine and alpine vegetation, in comparison with the plant community internal dynamics.
Paper published in the section "Editor's Choice" of the *Ecography* journal. It received [an award](https://www.dropbox.com/s/oacsy1xqx4omv1b/2019_BMB_Ecography_b_top_downloaded.png?dl=1) for the number of downloads during the 12 months after its publication.
We hypothesize that fire has influenced Erica communities in the Bale Mountains at millennial time-scales. To test this, we (1) identify the fire history of the Bale Mountains through a pollen and charcoal record from Garba Guracha, a lake at 3950 m.a.s.l., and (2) describe the long-term bidirectional feedback between wildfire and Erica, which may control the ecosystem's resilience.
The goals of this study are to provide a map of actual habitat suitability (1), describe the relationships between abiotic predictors and the saguaro distribution at regional extents (2), and describe the potential effect of climate change on the spatial distribution of the saguaro (3).
Our results show that phylogenetically diverse assemblages with large phylogenetic age differences among species are associated with relatively high long‐term climate stability, with intra‐regional links between long‐term climate variability and phylogenetic composition especially strong in the more unstable regions. These findings point to future climate change as a key risk to the preservation of the phylogenetically diverse assemblages in regions characterized by relatively high paleoclimate stability, with China as a key example.
Intuitively, interannual spring temperature variability (STV) should influence the leaf‐out strategies of temperate zone woody species, with high winter chilling requirements in species from regions where spring warming varies greatly among years. We tested this hypothesis using experiments in 215 species and leaf‐out monitoring in 1585 species from East Asia (EA), Europe (EU) and North America (NA). The results reveal that species from regions with high STV indeed have higher winter chilling requirements, and, when grown under the same conditions, leaf out later than related species from regions with lower STV. Since 1900, STV has been consistently higher in NA than in EU and EA, and under experimentally short winter conditions NA species required 84% more spring warming for bud break, EU ones 49% and EA ones only 1%. These previously unknown continental‐scale differences in phenological strategies underscore the need for considering regional climate histories in global change models.
Our results do not support previous ideas about phenological strategies in temperate woody species (the ‘high temperature variability’ hypothesis; the ‘oceanic climate’ hypothesis; the ‘high latitude’ hypothesis). In regions with long winters, trees appear to rely on cues other than day length, such as winter chilling and spring warming. By contrast, in regions with short winters, some species—mostly from lineages with a warm-temperate or subtropical background, for example, Fagus additionally rely on photoperiodism. Therefore, photoperiod may be expected to constrain climate-driven shifts in spring leaf unfolding only at lower latitudes.