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Data from: Synergistic effects of nitrogen and CO2 enrichment on alpine grassland biomass and community structure

Citation

Zhu, Juntao et al. (2020), Data from: Synergistic effects of nitrogen and CO2 enrichment on alpine grassland biomass and community structure, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.4tmpg4f6z

Abstract

Global environmental change is altering Earth’s ecosystems. However, much research has focused on ecosystem-level responses, and we know substantially less about community-level responses to global change stressors.

Here we conducted a 6-year field experiment in a high-altitude (4600 m above sea level) alpine grassland on the Tibetan Plateau to explore the effects of nitrogen (N) addition and rising atmospheric CO2 concentration on plant communities.

Our results showed that N and CO2 enrichment had synergistic effects on alpine grassland communities. Adding nitrogen or CO2 alone did not alter total community biomass, species diversity, or community composition, whereas adding both resources together increased community biomass, reduced species diversity, and altered community composition. The observed decline in species diversity under simultaneous N and CO2 enrichment was associated with greater community biomass and lower soil water content, and driven by the loss of species characterized simultaneously by tall stature and small specific leaf area.

Our findings point to the co-limitation of alpine plant community biomass and structure by nitrogen and CO2, emphasizing the need for future studies to consider multiple aspects of global environmental change together to gain a more complete understanding of their ecological consequences.

Methods

The data were collected through plant community surveys.

Funding

Chinese Academy of Sciences, Award: XDA20050102

National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: 4,157,119,541,725,000

National Science Foundation, Award: DEB‐1342754,DEB,‐,1856318,CBET‐1833988