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Conservation Science for a Healthy Planet

Pressures from grazers hastens ecosystem collapse from drought

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Posted: 11 Jan 2017 03:44 PM PST  full article here

Ecosystem collapse from extreme drought can be significantly hastened by pressures placed on drought-weakened vegetation by grazers and fungal pathogens, a new study finds. The study’s experimental evidence shows that the natural enemies of plants play a major role in lowering resilience to drought and preventing recovery afterward. The finding may be applicable to a wide range of ecosystems now threatened by climate-intensified drought, including marshes, mangroves, forests and grasslands….

Qiang He, Brian R. Silliman, Zezheng Liu, Baoshan Cui. Natural enemies govern ecosystem resilience in the face of extreme droughts. Ecology Letters, 2017; DOI: 10.1111/ele.12721

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