Effects of soil warming and altered precipitation patterns on photosynthesis, biomass production and yield of barley
Crop productivity and plant physiology are affected by rising temperatures and altered precipitation patterns due to climate change. We studied the impacts of an increase in soil temperature of 2.5 °C, a decrease in summer precipitation amount of 25%, a reduction in summer precipitation frequency of 50%, and their interactions on photosynthesis, biomass production, and yield of spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L. cv. RGT Planet) in a temperate agricultural ecosystem near Stuttgart (Germany). Leaf gas exchange of barley appeared to be affected mainly by drought in the form of reduced precipitation frequency or by a combination of changes in soil temperature and precipitation patterns. In contrast, biomass production and yield parameters were more affected under soil warming alone. In addition, biomass of roots increased under soil warming at stem elongation. Stable grain yield was observed under reduced precipitation amount and also under increased evaporation through soil warming. These findings provide additional evidence that barley is relatively drought tolerant, which should be taken into consideration in the context of appropriate crop selection under climate change.
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