Drought is forecasted to impact most terrestrial ecosystems in an increasing manner over the 21st century, with negative consequences on productivity, carbon storage, and yield. We review the state-of-the-art methods for conducting drought manipulation experiments designed to understand the impacts of drought upon woody-plant dominated ecosystems.
This manuscript provides a cutting-edge template for those scientists wishing to conduct drought manipulation studies. We highlight the challenges, assumptions, and solutions to both scientific and logistical challenges associated with drought studies.
Past forest drought experiments employed a variety of study designs related to treatment level, replication, plot and infrastructure characteristics, and measurement approaches. Important considerations for establishing new drought experiments include: selecting appropriate treatment levels to reach ecological thresholds; balancing cost, logistical complexity, and effectiveness in infrastructure design; and preventing unintended water subsidies. Response variables in drought experiments were organized into three broad tiers reflecting increasing complexity and resource intensiveness, with the first tier representing a recommended core set of common measurements. Differences in site conditions combined with unique research questions of experimentalists necessitate careful adaptation of guidelines for drought experiments to balance local objectives with coordination among experiments. We advocate adoption of a common framework for coordinating forest drought experiment design to enhance cross‐site comparability and advance fundamental knowledge about the response and sensitivity of diverse forest ecosystems to precipitation extremes.
Contacts (BER PM): Daniel Stover, SC-23.1, Daniel.Stover@science.doe.gov (301-903-0289)
PI Contact: Nate McDowell, PNNL, email@example.com
Funding: DOE-NGEE Tropics
Asbjornsen, H., J. Campbell, K. Jennings, C. McIntire, M. Vadeboncoeur, P.H. Templer, R. Phillips, T.L. Bauerle, F. Bowles, M. Dietze, S. Frey, P. Groffman, R. Guerrieri, P.J. Hanson, E. Kelsey, A. K. Knapp, N.G. McDowell, P. Meir, K.A. Novick, S.V. Ollinger, W.T. Pockman, P.G. Schaberg, S.D. Wullschleger, M.D. Smith, L. Rustad. Guidelines and considerations for designing precipitation manipulation experiments in shrubland, woodland, and forest ecosystems. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 9(12) p 2310-2325 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.13094.