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Data from: Contrasting responses of steppe Stipa ssp. to warming and precipitation variability

Cite this dataset

Lv, Xiaomin; He, Qijin; Zhou, Guangsheng (2020). Data from: Contrasting responses of steppe Stipa ssp. to warming and precipitation variability [Dataset]. Dryad.


Climate change, characterized by warming and precipitation variability, restricted the growth of plants in arid and semi-arid areas, and various functional traits are impacted differently. Comparing responses of functional traits to warming and precipitation variability and determining critical water threshold of dominate steppe grasses from Inner Mongolia facilitates the identification and monitoring of water stress effects. A combination of warming (ambient temperature, +1.5°C and +2.0°C) and varying precipitation (-30%, -15%, ambient, +15%, and +30%) manipulation experiments were performed on four Stipa species (S. baicalensis, S. bungeana, S. grandis, and S. breviflora) from Inner Mongolia steppe. The results showed that the functional traits of the four grasses differed in their responses to precipitation, but they shared common sensitive traits (root/shoot ratio, R/S and specific leaf area, SLA) under ambient temperature condition. Warming increased the response of the four grasses to changing precipitation, and these differences in functional traits resulted in changes to their total biomass, with leaf area, SLA and R/S making the largest contributions. Critical water thresholds of the four grasses were identified, and warming led to their higher optimum precipitation requirements. The four steppe grasses were able to adapt better to mild drought (summer precipitation decreased by 12%-28%) when warming 1.5°C rather than 2.0°C. These results indicated that if the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5°C will be accomplished, this will increase the probability for sustained viability of the Stipa steppes in the next 50-100 years.

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Inner Mongolia steppe