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Climate change scenarios predict simultaneouslyincrease in temperature, altered precipitation patternsand elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration,which will affect key ecosystem processes and plantgrowth and species interactions. In a large-scaleexperiment, we investigated the effects of in situexposure to elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration,increased temperature and prolonged droughtperiods on the plant biomass in a dry heathland(Brandbjerg, Denmark). Results after 3 yearsshowed that drought reduced the growth of thetwo dominant species Deschampsia flexuosa and Callunavulgaris. However, both species recoveredquickly after rewetting and the drought had nosignificant effect on annual aboveground biomassproduction. We did not observe any effects of increasedtemperature. Elevated CO2 stimulated the biomass production for D. flexuosa in one out ofthree years but did not influence the standingbiomass for either D. flexuosa or the ecosystem asmore litter was produced. Treatment combinationsshowed little interactions on the measuredparameters and in particular elevated CO2 did notcounterbalance the drought effect on plant growth,as we had anticipated. The plant community didnot show any significant responses to the imposedclimate changes and we conclude that the twoheathland species, on a short time scale, will berelatively resistant to the changes in climatic conditions

Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)269-283
StatePublished - 2012
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: 35


  • Deschampsia flexuosa, Calluna vulgaris, Plant production, Climate change, Plant–plant interactions, Biodiversity, FACE
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ID: 6418513