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The large mean body size of mammalian herbivores explains the productivity paradox during the last glacial maximum
Zhu, Dan (Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement)
Ciais, Philippe (Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement)
Chang, Jinfeng (Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de L’Environnement)
Krinner, Gerhard (Université Grenoble Alpes. Institut de Géosciences de l’Environnement)
Peng, Shushi (Sino-French Institute for Earth System Science)
Viovy, Nicolas (Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de L’Environnement)
Peñuelas, Josep (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Departament de Biologia Animal, de Biologia Vegetal i d'Ecologia)
Zimov, Sergey (Tikhookeanskiĭ institut geografii (Rossiĭskai︠a︡ akademii︠a︡ nauk))

Date: 2018
Abstract: Large herbivores are a major agent in ecosystems, influencing vegetation structure, and carbon and nutrient flows. During the last glacial period, a mammoth steppe ecosystem prevailed in the unglaciated northern lands, supporting a high diversity and density of megafaunal herbivores. The apparent discrepancy between abundant megafauna and the expected low vegetation productivity under a generally harsher climate with a lower CO₂ concentration, termed the productivity paradox, requires large-scale quantitative analysis using process-based ecosystem models. However, most of the current global dynamic vegetation models (DGVMs) lack explicit representation of large herbivores. Here we incorporated a grazing module in a DGVM based on physiological and demographic equations for wild large grazers, taking into account feedbacks of large grazers on vegetation. The model was applied globally for present-day and the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). The present-day results of potential grazer biomass, combined with an empirical land-use map, infer a reduction in wild grazer biomass by 79–93% owing to anthropogenic land replacement of natural grasslands. For the LGM, we find that the larger mean body size of mammalian herbivores than today is the crucial clue to explain the productivity paradox, due to a more efficient exploitation of grass production by grazers with a large body size.
Note: Número d'acord de subvenció EC/FP7/610028
Rights: Tots els drets reservats
Language: Anglès
Document: article ; recerca ; acceptedVersion
Subject: Carbon cycle ; Ecological modelling ; Palaeoecology
Published in: Nature ecology and evolution, Vol. 2, issue 4 (April 2018) , p. 640–649, ISSN 2397-334X

DOI: 10.1038/s41559-018-0481-y
PMID: 29483680


Available from: 2018-09-30
Post-print

The record appears in these collections:
Research literature > UAB research groups literature > Research Centres and Groups (scientific output) > Experimental sciences > CREAF (Centre de Recerca Ecològica i d'Aplicacions Forestals) > Imbalance-P
Articles > Research articles
Articles > Published articles

 Record created 2018-04-25, last modified 2018-05-07



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