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Most plant species important in various and varying ecosystems: ISU research
Date:8/10/2011

Isbell and other authors looked at data from 17 grassland studies around the world, including two done in Iowa's Loess Hills at the Western Research Farm and another done in Texas by Wilsey's group.

"Under multiple contexts, many different plant species become really important," Wilsey added. "For instance, certain plant species are important on east-facing slopes and others are important on west-facing slopes. Some plant species are important on grazing lands because they help grasslands recover quickly.

Some plants are vital for nitrogen uptake, which is important because it keeps nitrogen out of water bodies." This study may have further value as researchers look to the future.

As climates change, Wilsey said, some plants may become more important because levels of precipitation and atmospheric CO2 change.

"The results suggest that many more species are needed than previously thought for maintaining ecosystem services in a changing world," he added. "So this study suggests that it is crucial to keep as much diversity as we can."


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Contact: Brian Wilsey
bwilsey@iastate.edu
515-294-0232
Iowa State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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