Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2020, Vol. 44 ›› Issue (5): 494-514.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2019.0323

Special Issue: 全球变化与生态系统 生物地球化学

• Reviews • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Response and adaptation of terrestrial ecosystem processes to climate warming

XIA Jian-Yang*(), LU Rui-Ling, ZHU Chen, CUI Er-Qian, DU Ying, HUANG Kun, SUN Bao-Yu   

  1. School of Ecological and Environmental Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
  • Received:2019-11-22 Accepted:2020-02-02 Online:2020-05-20 Published:2020-08-27
  • Contact: XIA Jian-Yang
  • Supported by:
    National Key R&D Program of China(2017YFA0604600);National Natural Science Foundation of China(31722009)


Terrestrial ecosystems are characterized by a series of spatiotemporally continuous, multiple scaled, and mutually connected processes. Since most of these ecological processes are regulated by temperature, climate warming will profoundly impact terrestrial ecosystems at global scale. Recently, how key processes in terrestrial ecosystems respond and/or adapt to climate warming has become a fundamental question in global change ecology. Here, we reviewed the recent research progress related to such question. This review focuses on key ecosystem processes, such as plant ecophysiological processes, phenology, community dynamics, productivity and carbon allocation, decomposition of litter and soil organic carbon, nutrient cycling, and carbon-nitrogen coupling. Based on a literature review, we propose perspectives for future research to tackle fundamental questions, such as the predictability of plant traits on ecosystem processes, coupling between biogeochemical cycles, mechanisms driving ecosystem responses to extreme climate and asymmetric warming, and ecological forecasting with models. We finally suggest more research efforts on warming adaptation rather than response on China’s specific ecosystems, and on the integration of experiments, observations, and models for coordinating studies across scales.

Key words: climate warming, ecosystem processes, carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle, productivity, extreme climate