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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Dryland productivity under a changing climate

Wang, Lixin; Jiao, Wenzhe; MacBean, Natasha; Rulli, Maria Cristina; Manzoni, Stefano; Vico, Giulia; D'Odorico, Paolo


In this Review, the authors discuss recent advances in understanding dryland productivity and functions, examining outstanding debates on dryland response to change and the uncertainties associated with predicting climate trajectories.Understanding dryland dynamics is essential to predict future climate trajectories. However, there remains large uncertainty on the extent to which drylands are expanding or greening, the drivers of dryland vegetation shifts, the relative importance of different hydrological processes regulating ecosystem functioning, and the role of land-use changes and climate variability in shaping ecosystem productivity. We review recent advances in the study of dryland productivity and ecosystem function and examine major outstanding debates on dryland responses to environmental changes. We highlight often-neglected uncertainties in the observation and prediction of dryland productivity and elucidate the complexity of dryland dynamics. We suggest prioritizing holistic approaches to dryland management, accounting for the increasing climatic and anthropogenic pressures and the associated uncertainties.

Published in

Nature Climate Change
2022, volume: 12, number: 11, pages: 981-994

Authors' information

Wang, Lixin
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Jiao, Wenzhe
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
MacBean, Natasha
Western University (University of Western Ontario)
Rulli, Maria Cristina
Polytechnic University of Milan
Manzoni, Stefano
Stockholm University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Crop Production Ecology
D'Odorico, Paolo
University of California Berkeley

UKÄ Subject classification

Climate Research

Publication Identifiers


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