|Title||Legacy effects of a regional drought on aboveground net primary production in six central US grasslands|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2018|
|Authors||Griffin-Nolan, RJ, Carroll, CJW, Denton, EM, Johnston, MK, Collins, SL, Smith, MD, Knapp, AK|
|Pagination||505 - 515|
Global climate models predict increases in the frequency and severity of drought worldwide, directly affecting most ecosystem types. Consequently, drought legacy effects (drought-induced alterations in ecosystem function postdrought) are expected to become more common in ecosystems varying from deserts to grasslands to forests. Drought legacies in grasslands are usually negative and reduce ecosystem function, particularly after extended drought. Moreover, ecosystems that respond strongly to drought (high sensitivity) might be expected to exhibit the largest legacy effects the next year, but this relationship has not been established. We quantified legacy effects of a severe regional drought in 2012 on postdrought (2013) aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) in six central US grasslands. We predicted that (1) the magnitude of drought legacy effects measured in 2013 would be positively related to the sensitivity of ANPP to the 2012 drought, and (2) drought legacy effects would be negative (reducing 2013 ANPP relative to that expected given normal precipitation amounts). The magnitude of legacy effects measured in 2013 was strongly related (r2 = 0.88) to the sensitivity of ANPP to the 2012 drought across these six grasslands. However, contrary to expectations, positive legacy effects (greater than expected ANPP) were more commonly observed than negative legacy effects. Thus, while the sensitivity of ANPP to drought may be a useful predictor of the magnitude of legacy effects, short-term (1-year) severe droughts may cause legacy effects that are more variable than those observed after multiyear droughts.