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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Urbana, Illinois » Global Change and Photosynthesis Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #318261

Title: Terrestrial ecosystems in a changing environment

item Bernacchi, Carl

Submitted to: Annual Reviews of Plant Biology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/22/2015
Publication Date: 4/1/2015
Citation: Bernacchi, C.J., VanLoocke, A. 2015. Terrestrial ecosystems in a changing environment. Annual Reviews of Plant Biology. 66:599-622.

Interpretive Summary: A substantial amount of water moves through plants. Generally, growth of plants is limited by the amount of water available and the water used by plants is a critical component of the hydrological cycle especially over land. and use change, management decisions, and global climate change has already altered the amount of water that moves through plants in both natural and managed ecosystems. These changes are likely to become greater in the future. This manuscript provide a review of how ecosystems use water, how the water use has been changing, how water use and ecosystem productivity are linked, and what gaps in knowledge presently exist.

Technical Abstract: Transpiration—the movement of water from the soil, through plants, and into the atmosphere—is the dominant water flux from the earth’s terrestrial surface. The evolution of vascular plants, while increasing terrestrial primary productivity, led to higher transpiration rates and widespread alterations in the global climate system. Similarly, anthropogenic influences on transpiration rates are already influencing terrestrial hydrologic cycles, with an even greater potential for changes lying ahead. Intricate linkages among anthropogenic activities, terrestrial productivity, the hydrologic cycle, and global demand for ecosystem services will lead to increased pressures on ecosystem water demands. Here, we focus on identifying the key drivers of ecosystem water use as they relate to plant physiological function, the role of predicted global changes in ecosystem water uses, trade-offs between ecosystem water use and carbon uptake, and knowledge gaps.