An ecological overview of Prosopis pallida, one of the most adapted dryland species to extreme climate events

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Salazar Zarzosa P.
Mendieta-Leiva G.
Navarro-Cerrillo R.M.
Cruz G.
Grados N.
Villar R.
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Academic Press
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Prosopis pallida (algarrobo) is a highly adapted species to extremely dry and wet conditions. Its geographic distribution at both sides of the Pacific Ocean is associated with its plastic response to El Niño event, an extreme climate event that changes precipitation regimes. In this review, we summarized the current knowledge of this versatile species based on scientific literature. Our analysis conducted identify three main research topics: geographical distribution, ecophysiology and population plasticity, and ecosystem services provision to guide the review in a methodological and unbiased way. In the geographical distribution section, we describe the origin, history, and native distribution of algarrobo, as well as the current distribution and the degree of invasiveness in some countries. In the ecophysiology and population plasticity section, we focus on the mechanisms used by algarrobo to avoid water stress during drought and maximize plant growth during El Niño. We discuss how this is reflected in the most important leaf functional traits, such as leaf mass per area (LMA) or gas exchange-related traits. We analyse the importance of phenotypic plasticity and intraspecific variability as adaptive ways to resist extreme rainfall and prolonged droughts on P. pallida growth during the last 50 years. Finally, we summarized the main ecosystem services and ecological benefits provided by P. pallida as well as its potential industrial uses. With this review, we wish to consolidate the current scientific knowledge of this species, to point out gaps of knowledge and suggest future research directions. As the world becomes a warmer place, P. pallida can be a key species to understand plant resilience to extreme events in dryland ecosystems. © 2021 Elsevier Ltd
Financial support was provided by the Peruvian program CONCYTEC (163-2018-FONDECYT-BM-IADT-SE) granted to Dr. Pablo Salazar. RV was supported by the Spanish MEC project DIVERBOS ( CGL2011- 30285-C02-02 ) and ECO-MEDIT ( CGL2014-53236-R ), the project Ecología funcional de los bosques andaluces y predicciones sobre sus cambios futuros (For-Change) (UCO-27943) by Junta de Andalucía (Spain) , the project Funcionalidad y servicios ecosistémicos de los bosques andaluces y normarroquíes: relaciones con la diversidad vegetal y edáfica ante el cambio climático by Junta de Andalucía (Spain), all co-funded with European FEDER funds. RMNC was supported by the ISOPINE (UCO-1265298), ESPECTRAMED (CGL2017-86161-R) and SilvAdapt RED2018 102719 T projects. GML was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, ME 5087/1-1).
Palabras clave
Population ecology, Dryland, Ecosystem services, El Niño, Functional traits, Geographic distribution