Document Type


Publication Date



Oxford University Press

Source Publication

Journal of Plant Ecology

Source ISSN


Original Item ID

DOI: 10.1093/jpe/rtab066



Both extreme drought and insect herbivores can suppress plant growth in grassland communities. However, most studies have examined extreme drought and insects in isolation, and there is reason to believe that insects might alter the ability of grasslands to withstand drought. Unfortunately, few studies have tested the interactive effects of extreme drought and insect herbivores in grassland communities.


Here, we tested the drought–herbivore interactions using a manipulative experiment that factorially crossed extreme drought with the exclusion of insect herbivores in a temperate semiarid grassland in Inner Mongolia.

Important Findings

Our results demonstrated that both extreme drought and insect herbivores separately decreased total plant cover. When combined, insect herbivores reduced the impact of drought on total cover by increasing the relative abundance of drought-resistant dominant species. Our results highlight that the negative effect of extreme drought on total plant cover could be alleviated by maintaining robust insect herbivore communities.


Accepted version. Journal of Plant Ecology, Vol. 14, No. 6 (December 2021): 1030-1036. DOI. © 2021 Oxford University Press. Used with permission.

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