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  • 1 Piazzale delle Cascine CNR–IBIMET 50144 Firenze Italy
  • | 2 Universitŕ degli Studi del Molise, Contrada Fonte Lappone EcoGeoFor Lab, Dipartimento STAT 86090 Pesche Italy
  • | 3 Aedit s.r.l., Viale Rinaldo Piaggio 56025 Pontedera Italy
  • | 4 Università degli Studi di Firenze Dipartimento di Biologia Vegetale Via Giovanni La Pira 50121 Firenze Italy
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Amongst all terrestrial ecosystems, the productivity of Mediterranean-type ecosystems has been suggested to be one of the most responsive to increasing atmospheric CO 2 . The extent to which this prediction holds will depend in part on plant responses to elevated CO 2 under the highly variable conditions characteristic of semiarid regions. Structure and composition responses of a semi-natural grassland community to a step-increase in atmospheric CO 2 (to about 580 μmol mol −1 ) were examined in the field using Free-Air CO 2 Enrichment (FACE) under seasonally varying moisture conditions. The limited production response to elevated concentrations of atmospheric CO 2 of this grassland community was counterbalanced by the effect on the phenology of many species. These findings suggest that predictions regarding Mediterranean plant responses to elevated CO 2 should account for seasonal patterns of production regulatory responses, which may vary across species and plant functional types.

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