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Biodiversity Matters

Cedar Creek scientists discovered that the number of plant species in an ecosystem – its biodiversity – has a profound effect on ecosystem function.

Hille Ris Lambers, J.; Harpole, W. S.; Tilman, D.; Knops, J.; Reich, P.; Mechanisms responsible for the positive diversity-productivity relationship in Minnesota grasslands. Ecology Letters 7:661-668 2004
Pacala, S.; Tilman, D.; "The transition from sampling to complementarity. Pages 151-166, in, A. P. Kinzig, S. W. Pacala and D. Tilman, Eds., The Functional Consequences of Biodiversity: Empirical Progress and Theoretical Extensions. Princeton University Press, Princeton and Oxford." 2002
Reich, P.; Knops, J.; Tilman, D.; Craine, J.; Ellsworth, D.; Tjoelker, M.; Lee, T.; Wedin, D.; Naeem, S.; Bahauddin, D.; Hendrey, G.; Jose, S.; Wrage, K.; Goth, J.; Bengston, W.; Plant diversity enhances ecosystem responses to elevated CO2 and nitrogen deposition. Nature 410:809-812. 2001
Tilman, D.; Fargione, J.; Wolff, B.; Antonio, C. D.; Dobson, A.; Howarth, R.; Schindler, D.; Schlesinger, W. H.; Simberloff, D.; Swackhamer, D.; Forecasting agriculturally driven global environmental change. Science 292:281-284. 2001
Tilman, D.; Lehman, C.; Human-caused environmental change: Impacts on plant diversity and evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 98:5433-5440. 2001
Dave Tilman
Peter Reich
Fig. 1. Change in total (above-ground plus 0±20 cm belowground) biomass (compared with ambient levels of both CO2 and N) in response to elevated CO2 alone (at ambient soil N), to enriched N alone (at ambient CO2), and to the combination of elevated CO and enriched soil N, for plots containing 1, 4, 9 or 16 species. Data were averaged for 4 harvests over 2 yr. Per cent change is shown above each histogram for each diversity treatment.
From Reich et al. 2001
The dependence of aboveground (A and B) and of total (C and D) biomass of each plot on planted species number for 1999 and 2000. The broken line shows the biomass of the top monoculture for a given year. The solid line is a regression of biomass on the logarithm of species number. Logarithm of species number was used in the figure because it gave slightly better fits, but was not used in Table 1 because it often gave slightly lower R2 values than species number
Tilman et al. Science 2001

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