Theme issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B on global change impacts in drylands

Dryland ecosystems are a key terrestrial biome, covering 41% of Earth’s land surface and supporting over 38% of the total global population. These ecosystems are highly vulnerable to global environmental change and desertification, two of the most important and pressing environmental and socio-economical issues currently faced by mankind. In spite of their extent and socio-ecological importance, the impacts of global environmental change on drylands remain poorly understood compared to other ecosystems. 

Fernando T. Maestre and Rob Salguero-Gómez have edited a Theme Issue for Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B entitledImpacts of global environmental change on drylands: from ecosystem structure and functioning to poverty alleviation”. This Theme Issue will include a series of reviews and primary research articles on important topics that require particular attention to achieve a better understanding of the impacts of global change in drylands, and to fill in current gaps in our knowledge. These contributions will cover multiple disciplines (hydrology, biogeochemistry, ecosystem ecology, physiology, demography, community ecology and human ecology), organisms (from microbes to human populations), spatial scales and dryland regions. By including a wide variety of topics, scales and approaches, this Theme Issue provides an in-depth, mechanistic understanding of the projected effects of global change at different biological levels, with tangible applications to dryland resource management and human ecology.

This Issue is now at the production stage, and will be published later in 2012. Below are the articles/reviews that will be included:

List of authors
Fernando T. Maestre, Roberto Salguero-Gómez & José L. Quero
It’s getting hotter in here: determining and projecting the impacts of global environmental change on drylands
Andrew Thomas
Impact of grazing intensity on seasonal variations of soil organic carbon and soil CO2 efflux in two semi-arid grasslands in southern Botswana
Cristina Escolar,  Fernando T. Maestre, Isabel Martínez & Matthew A. Bowker
Warming reduces the growth and diversity of biological soil crusts in a semi-arid environment: implications for ecosystem structure and functioning
Roberto Salguero-Gómez, Wolfgang Siewert, Brenda B. Casper & Katja Tielbörger
A demographic approach to study effects of climate change in desert plants
Adela González-Megías & Rosa Menéndez
Climate change effects on above- and belowground interactions in a dryland ecosystem
Zhichun Lan & Yongfei Bai
Testing mechanisms of N-enrichment induced species loss in a semiarid Inner Mongolia grassland
Osvaldo E. Sala, Laureano Gherardi, Lara Reichmann, Esteban Jobbágy & Debra Peters
Legacies of precipitation fluctuations on primary production: Theory and data synthesis
Paolo D’Odorico & Abinash Bhattachan
Hydrologic variability in dryland regions: impacts on ecosystem dynamics and food security
Elisabeth Huber-Sannwald, Mónica Ribeiro Palacios, José Tulio Arredondo Moreno, Marco Braasch, Ruth Magnolia Martínez Peña, Javier García de Alba Verduzco, Karina Monzalvo Santos
Navigating social-ecological challenges and opportunities of land degradation and livelihood development in drylands: a case study in Mexico
Andrew J. Dougill, Lindsay C. Stringer, Julia Leventon, Mike Riddell, Henri Rueff, Dominick V. Spracklen & Edward Butt
Lessons from Community-based Payment for Ecosystem Service Projects: From Forests to Rangelands

We expect that the multi-disciplinary, multi-organismal approach followed in this Theme Issue will advance our understanding of the projected effects of global change in drylands, and will stimulate further research on this important topic.