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Climate change enhances grassland productivity
Date:1/26/2009

er events such as droughts, torrential rain and freeze-thaw processes. The site is located at the transition between oceanic and continental climates, where the average air temperature in January is -1 C. On 30 of the 4m2 plots one hundred common plants (grasses and herbs) were planted. As soon as the temperature had remained continuously below 0 C for 48 hours the soil was heated until the temperature remained above 0 C for 48 hours. In the cold winter of 2005/06, which was 2 C colder than the long-term average, there were a total of 62 days with ground frost. The researchers added 5 artificial freeze-thaw cycles to the three natural ones and compared the results from the different plots. In the following summer the plants were harvested twice, dried and then weighed. Here it was found that the manipulated plots produced 10 percent more above-ground biomass than the control plots on which in the previous winter less freeze-thaw cycles had occurred. In comparison it was also found that root length up to five centimetres soil depth was reduced.


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Contact: Tilo Arnhold
presse@ufz.de
49-341-235-1635
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert  

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