International Drought Experiment

International Drought Experiment (IDE)

IDE is a highly coordinated experimental network aimed at assessing differential sensitivity of terrestrial ecosystems to extreme drought. A key feature of IDE is that an extreme 4-year drought will be imposed based on the historical climate record for each participating site. Tools are available to enable participants to determine site-specific IDE drought treatments based on either existing climate data or global interpolated data. This will ensure that that same magnitude of drought is imposed at all sites across the network (see IDE Protocols for additional details). Drought treatments will be imposed using passive-reduction or through-fall displacement shelters. This approach of passively reducing each rainfall event by a set percentage has been shown to capture the key attributes of naturally-occurring extreme dry years (Knapp et al. 2016).

IDE will significantly expand the scope of past drought experiments by including a greater range of ecosystem types, insuring that these experiments are accessible to as many investigators as possible, and overcoming the limitations of past drought experiments (i.e., lack of coordination, differences in approaches and methodologies, etc.). IDE follows in the pioneering footsteps of the Nutrient Network, in that 1) the experiment is designed with simplicity in mind to minimize fiscal and logistical constraints, and 2) an important feature of the network will be accessibility to all investigators that want to participate with a clear set of guidelines for data sharing, intellectual participation in network-level data analyses, and authorship of manuscripts.  

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International Drought Experiment