Patterns of longer-term climate change effects on CO2 efflux from biocrusted soils differ from those observed in the short term

Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) are predicted to be sensitive to the increased temperature and altered precipitation associated with climate change. We assessed the effects of these factors on soil carbon dioxide (CO2) balance in biocrusted soils using a sequence of manipulations over a 9-year period. We warmed biocrusted soils by 2 and, later, by 4 ◦C to better capture updated forecasts of future temperature at a site on the Colorado Plateau, USA. We also watered soils to alter monsoon-season precipitation amount and frequency and had plots that received both warming and altered precipitation treatments.

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