Plants are key players in our ecosystems: they make up the majority of biomass globally, are the main source of
photosynthetically fixed carbon, and serve as habitat, food sources, and hosts for other organismal groups, while also competing with them for resources (Bar-On, Phillips & Milo, 2018; Fanin et al., 2019).
Plants interact with other plants, microbes, invertebrates, and other organisms in multiple ways and on different trophic levels (e.g. decomposers, mutualists, pathogens, herbivores, predators).
Together, they play a major role in controlling important terrestrial ecosystem processes such as carbon and nutrient cycling (Clemmensen et al., 2013). Improved understanding of the magnitude of climate-change impacts, the underlying drivers and mechanisms, and the ecological consequences at the individual, population, community, and ecosystem scales across the soil-plant-continuum, with a focus on first-order plant–animal interactions in detritvore and herbivore food web is urgently needed.
The aim of this paper is to provide the ClimEx handbook of standardised field and laboratory methods across the soil–plant–atmosphere continuum applicable to a broad range of terrestrial ecosystem climate-change studies (including both experiments and plot-based temporal and spatial gradient studies) worldwide. Because of their dominance in terrestrial ecosystems, we focus mainly on plant communities and the other organisms with which they interact. We discuss a variety of organisms (i.e. microbes, fungi, invertebrates, and first-order plant–animal interactions) where the connection to vegetation and ecosystem functioning is apparent.
Bar-On, Y. M., Phillips, R., & Milo, R. (2018). The biomass distribution on Earth. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 115(25), 6506–6511.
Clemmensen, K. E., Bahr, A., Ovaskainen, O., Dahlberg, A., Ekblad, A., Wallander, H., … Lindahl, B. D. (2013). Roots and associated fungi drive long-term carbon sequestration in boreal forest. Science, 339(6127), 1615–1618.
Fanin, N., Kardol, P., Farrell, M., Kempel, A., Ciobanu, M., Nilsson, M. C., … Wardle, D. A. (2019). Effects of plant functional group removal on structure and function of soil communities across contrasting ecosystems. Ecology Letters. 10.1111/ele.13266