Kimberly J. Komatsu, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Meghan L. Avolio, Johns Hopkins University
Nathan P. LeMoine, Marquette UniversityFollow
Forest Isbell, University of Minnesota
Emily Grman, Eastern Michigan University
Gregory R. Houseman, Witchita State University
Sally E. Koerner, University of North Carolina
David S. Johnson, William & Mary
Kevin R. Wilcox, University of Wyoming
Juha M. Alatalo, Qatar University
John P. Anderson, New Mexico State University
Rien Aerts, Vrije Universiteit
Sara G. Baer, Southern Illinois University - Carbondale
Andrew H. Baldwin, University of Maryland
Jonathan Bates, US Department of Agriculture
Carl Beierkuhnlein, University of Bayreuth
R. Travis Belote, The Wilderness Society
John Blair, Kansas State University
Juliette M.G. Bloor, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique
Patrick J. Bohlen, University of Central Florida
Edward W. Bork, University of Alberta
Elizabeth H. Boughton, Archbold Biological Station
William D. Bowman, University of Colorado
Andrea J. Britton, James Hutton Institute
James F. Cahill Jr., University of Alberta
Enrique Chaneton, Universidad de Buenos Aires
Nona R. Chiariello, Stanford University
Jimin Cheng, Institute of Water and Soil Conservation
Scott L. Collins, University of New Mexico
J. Hans C. Cornelissen, Vrije Universiteit
Guozhen Du, Lanzhou University
Anu Eskelinen, Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ)
Jennifer Firn, Queensland University of Technology
Bryan Foster, University of Kansas
Laura Gough, Towson University
Katherine Gross, Michigan State University
Lauren M. Hallett, University of Oregon
Xingguo Han, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Harry Harmens, Environment Centre Wales
Mark J. Hovenden, University of Tasmania
Annika Jagerbrand, Jonkoping University
Anke Jentsch, University of Bayreuth
Christel Kern, US Department of Agriculture Forest Service
Kari Klanderud, Norwegian University of Life Sciences
Alan K. Knapp, Colorado State University
Juergen Kreyling, Greifswald University
Wei Li, Northwest A&F University
Yiqi Luo, Northern Arizona University
Rebecca L. McCulley, University of Kentucky
Jennie R. McLaren, University of Texas at El Paso
J. Patrick Megonigal, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
John W. Morgan, La Trobe University
Vladimir Onipchenko, Moscow State Lomonosov University
Steven C. Pennings, University of Houston
Janet S. Prevéy, US Department of Agriculture Forest Service
Jodi N. Price, Charles Sturt University
Peter B. Reich, University of Minnesota
Clare H. Robinson, University of Manchester
F. Leland Russell, Wichita State University
Osvaldo E. Sala, Arizona State University
Eric W. Seabloom, University of Minnesota
Melinda D. Smith, Colorado State University
Nadejda A. Soudzilovskaia, Leiden University
Lara Souza, University of Oklahoma
Katherine Suding, University of Colorado
K. Blake Suttle, University of California
Tony Svejcar, Oregon State University
David Tilman, University of Minnesota
Pedro Tognetti, Universidad de Buenos Aires
Roy Turkington, University of British Columbia
Shannon White, University of Alberta
Zhuwen Xu, Inner Mongolia University
Laura Yahdjian, Universidad de Buenos Aires
Qiang Yu, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences
Pengfei Zhang, Lanzhou University
Yunhai Zhang, Chinese Academy of Sciences

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Publication Date



National Academy of Sciences

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PNAS : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

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Global change drivers (GCDs) are expected to alter community structure and consequently, the services that ecosystems provide. Yet, few experimental investigations have examined effects of GCDs on plant community structure across multiple ecosystem types, and those that do exist present conflicting patterns. In an unprecedented global synthesis of over 100 experiments that manipulated factors linked to GCDs, we show that herbaceous plant community responses depend on experimental manipulation length and number of factors manipulated. We found that plant communities are fairly resistant to experimentally manipulated GCDs in the short term (<10 y). In contrast, long-term (≥10 y) experiments show increasing community divergence of treatments from control conditions. Surprisingly, these community responses occurred with similar frequency across the GCD types manipulated in our database. However, community responses were more common when 3 or more GCDs were simultaneously manipulated, suggesting the emergence of additive or synergistic effects of multiple drivers, particularly over long time periods. In half of the cases, GCD manipulations caused a difference in community composition without a corresponding species richness difference, indicating that species reordering or replacement is an important mechanism of community responses to GCDs and should be given greater consideration when examining consequences of GCDs for the biodiversity–ecosystem function relationship. Human activities are currently driving unparalleled global changes worldwide. Our analyses provide the most comprehensive evidence to date that these human activities may have widespread impacts on plant community composition globally, which will increase in frequency over time and be greater in areas where communities face multiple GCDs simultaneously.


Accepted version. PNAS : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 16, No. 36 (September 3, 2019): 17867-17873. DOI. © 2019 National Academy of Sciences. Used with permission.

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