Soil responses to changes in precipitation

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

Precipitation manipulation experiments (PMEs) allow researchers to field test the impact of changing rainfall patterns on a variety of soil processes, such as carbon cycling, greenhouse gas emissions, and biomass production, to name a few. To provide a broad perspective of results from a growing body of scientific literature focused on PMEs, graduate student Akane Abbasi (Forestry and Natural Resources) led an assessment of 16 meta-analyses reporting on the effects of precipitation changes on 42 soil response variables. They determined that the responses of fluxes and pools in the nitrogen and carbon cycle are well-studied, with results showing close agreement across experiments. However, few studies provide insights on soil elements, stoichiometric relationships, and bacterial and fungal biomass. The authors suggest scientists turn their attention to these knowledge gaps to produce a more holistic understanding of soil responses in a changing climate.


Abbasi, Akane O., Alejandro Salazard, Youmi Oh, Sabine Reinsch, Maria del Rosario Uribe, Jianghanyang Li, Irfran Rashid, and Jeffrey S. Dukes (2020) Reviews and syntheses: Soil responses to manipulated precipitation changes – an assessment of meta-analyses. Biogeosciences 17(14): 3859-3873.

Category: Research
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