Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2020, Vol. 44 ›› Issue (5): 515-525.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2019.0317

Special Issue: 全球变化与生态系统

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Effects of extreme drought on terrestrial ecosystems: review and prospects

ZHOU Gui-Yao, ZHOU Ling-Yan, SHAO Jun-Jiong, ZHOU Xu-Hui*()   

  1. and Research Center for Global Change and Ecological Forecasting, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
  • Received:2019-11-22 Accepted:2020-02-25 Online:2020-05-20 Published:2020-04-30
  • Contact: ZHOU Xu-Hui
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(31930072);National Natural Science Foundation of China(31600387);National Natural Science Foundation of China(31600352);Postdoctoral Innovation Talents Program(BX20200133)


As an important compartment of the Earthʼs surface, terrestrial ecosystems act as a vital harbor for human survival and development. Climate change significantly increased the frequency, intensity and duration of drought since the beginning of the 21st century, which have marked impact on ecosystems, leading to serious restriction or even threat on the sustainable development of human beings. Therefore, developing integrative research on effects of drought on terrestrial ecosystems and assessing the associated ecological risk are impressive in global change field. This study reviewed the effects of drought on plant physiological and ecological processes, biogeochemical cycles, biodiversity, and ecosystem structure and functions in terrestrial ecosystems, and discussed current hotspot issues in this field as well as deeply analyzing the existing problems and the potential development direction. This study aims to provide some suggestions for the future observation, manipulative experiments, and modeling prediction on effects of drought on terrestrial ecosystems, and offer new insights to enhance risk assessment and management under drought.

Key words: carbon starvation, extreme drought, biodiversity, ecosystem productivity, carbon cycle