Plant trait-based models identify direct and indirect effects of climate change on bundles of grassland ecosystem services
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Sept. 23, 2014 v111 n38 p13751-13756; doi: 10.1073/pnas.1216051111) / by Pénélope Lamarque, et al.
Land use and climate change are primary causes of changes in the supply of ecosystem services (ESs). Although the consequences of climate change on ecosystem properties and associated services are well documented, the cascading impacts of climate change on ESs through changes in land use are largely overlooked. We present a trait-based framework based on an empirical model to elucidate how climate change affects tradeoffs among ESs. Using alternative scenarios for mountain grasslands, we predicted how direct effects of climate change on ecosystems and indirect effects through farmers’ adaptations are likely to affect ES bundles through changes in plant functional properties. ES supply was overall more sensitive to climate than to induced management change, and ES bundles remained stable across scenarios. These responses largely reflected the restricted extent of management change in this constrained system, which was incorporated when scaling up plot level climate and management effects on ecosystem properties to the entire landscape. The trait-based approach revealed how the combination of common driving traits and common responses to changed fertility determined interactions and tradeoffs among ESs.