AoB PLANTS is pleased to announce the publication of a Special Issue titled Scaling Effects Regulating Plant Response to Global Change, edited by Elise Gornish (University of California, Davis, USA) and Sebastian Leuzinger (Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand).
As a result of the increasing speed and magnitude in which habitats worldwide are experiencing environmental change, making accurate predictions of the effects of global change on ecosystems and the organisms that inhabit them has become an important goal for ecologists. Experimental and modeling approaches aimed at understanding the linkages between factors of global change and biotic responses are often conducted at small spatiotemporal scales (e.g., looking at a plot of a few square metres over a few years) and at low organizational levels (looking at organisms rather than ecosystems) in spite of both theoretical and experimental work that suggests ecological dynamics across scales can be dissimilar. The nine papers in this special issue consider the biological relevancy inherent in the patterns associated with the magnitude and type of response to changing environmental conditions, across scales. Topics covered include the effects of elevated atmospheric humidity on two levels of organization of hybrid aspen saplings growing in an experimental deciduous forest; potential differences between responses of vegetation to elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations at different time scales; the relationship between species richness and productivity in relation to ecoregion size; the effects of dune elevation and disturbance – as a result of increases in storm intensity and frequency – on the plant community across dune habitats; and how soil moisture and changes in community structure in response to enriched CO2 contribute to ecosystem productivity along precipitation gradients and soil types in rangeland systems. This special issue provides an overview of innovative research approaches that are specifically designed to promote a deeper ecological understanding of the effects of human-induced global change by explicitly addressing linkages between broad considerations of life on earth and biologically relevant responses from other organizational levels and spatial scales. In order to further develop a comprehensive understanding of scale effects on plant response to global change, researchers are encouraged to more regularly integrate assessments of global change across scale in their work, evaluate the fit between global models and local causation, and investigate local vs. global mitigation of global change impacts.