reference : Elevated CO2 induces substantial and persistent declines in forage quality irrespective of warming in mixedgrass prairie

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Bibliographic fields
reftype Journal Article
Abstract Increasing atmospheric [CO2] and temperature are expected to affect the productivity, species composition, biogeochemistry, and therefore the quantity and quality of forage available to herbivores in rangeland ecosystems. Both elevated CO2 (eCO2) and warming affect plant tissue chemistry through multiple direct and indirect pathways, such that the cumulative outcomes of these effects are difficult to predict. Here, we report on a 7-yr study examining effects of CO2 enrichment (to 600 ppm) and infrared warming (+1.5°C day/3°C night) under realistic field conditions on forage quality and quantity in a semiarid, mixedgrass prairie. For the three dominant forage grasses, warming effects on in vitro dry matter digestibility (IVDMD) and tissue [N] were detected only in certain years, varied from negative to positive, and were relatively minor. In contrast, eCO2 substantially reduced IVDMD (two most abundant grasses) and [N] (all three dominant grass species) in most years, except the two wettest years. Furthermore, eCO2 reduced IVDMD and [N] independent of warming effects. Reduced IVDMD with eCO2 was related both to reduced [N] and increased acid detergent fiber (ADF) content of grass tissues. For the six most abundant forage species (representing 96% of total forage production), combined warming and eCO2 increased forage production by 38% and reduced forage [N] by 13% relative to ambient climate. Although the absolute magnitude of the decline in IVDMD and [N] due to combined warming and eCO2 may seem small (e.g., from 63.3 to 61.1% IVDMD and 1.25 to 1.04% [N] for Pascopyrum smithii), such shifts could have substantial consequences for the rate at which ruminants gain weight during the primary growing season in the largest remaining rangeland ecosystem in North America. With forage production increases, declining forage quality could potentially be mitigated by adaptively increasing stocking rates, and through management such as prescribed burning, fertilization at low rates, and legume interseeding to enhance forage quality.
Author Augustine, David J.; Blumenthal, Dana M.; Springer, Tim L.; LeCain, Daniel R.; Gunter, Stacey A.; Derner, Justin D.
DOI 10.1002/eap.1680
Issue 3
Journal Ecological Applications
Pages 721-735
Title Elevated CO2 induces substantial and persistent declines in forage quality irrespective of warming in mixedgrass prairie
Volume 28
Year 2018
Bibliographic identifiers
_record_number 25931
_uuid baf0f7c0-b7a9-402e-9270-018ce9496e88