Hotter temperatures extend growing season for peatland plants

ScienceDaily | 8/8/2018 | Staff
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The new findings, based on observational data collected at a Department of Energy experimental site, will improve predictive models of environmental change and may have implications for forests around the world.

"This is the first time we've been able to confirm the response of vegetation to this range of temperatures, which exceed what can be found in the historical record," coauthor Andrew Richardson of Northern Arizona University said. "We did not foresee the major role that temperature plays in extending plant activity in the fall."

Research - Team - Observation - Repeat - Photography

The research team used direct observation and digital repeat photography to measure plant greenness over three years at the Spruce and Peatland Responses Under Changing Environments study, a unique ecosystem-scale experiment constructed and operated by DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Previous studies based on historical data indicated that shortened day length was the primary driver of fall changes in plants, with temperature having little impact. The team's experimental study found, however, that elevated temperatures trigger plant activity even in the fall as exposure to sunlight declines. Plants in the warmest of several study areas, heated 16.2 degrees Fahrenheit above ambient temperature, remained green and functional up to six weeks longer. The warmest vegetation also lost its winter cold protection earlier in the spring, leaving plants vulnerable to leaf and stem damage during a late spring frost in 2016.

USDA - Forest - Service - Marcell - Experimental

Located in the USDA Forest Service's Marcell Experimental Forest in northern Minnesota, SPRUCE has 10 specially-designed enclosures...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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