Navigation Links
Plant diversity is key to maintaining productive vegetation, U of M study shows
Date:5/3/2012

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (05/03/2012) Vegetation, such as a patch of prairie or a forest stand, is more productive in the long run when more plant species are present, a new University of Minnesota study shows. The unprecedented long-term study of plant biodiversity found that each species plays a role in maintaining a productive ecosystem, especially when a long time horizon is considered. The study found that every additional species in a plot contributed to a gradual increase in both soil fertility and biomass production over a 14-year period.

The research paper, published in the May 4 edition of the journal Science, highlights the importance of managing for diversity in prairies, forests and crops, according to Peter Reich, a professor in the university's forest resources department and the study's lead author.

Reich and his colleagues examined how the effect of diversity on productivity of plants changed over the long term in two large field experiments at the University of Minnesota's Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve in central Minnesota. These are the longest-running biodiversity experiments in the world, and contain plots with one, four, nine or 16 different species of plants. Reich's research was done using long-lived prairie plants, but serves as a model system for all vegetation, whether prairie, forest or row crop. The study also showed how diversity works by demonstrating that different species have different ways to acquire water, nutrients and carbon and maintain them in the ecosystem.

"Prior shorter-term studies, most about two years long, found that diversity increased productivity, but that having more than six or eight species in a plot gave no additional benefit," Reich said. "But we found that over a 14-year time span, all 16 species in our most diverse plots contributed more and more each year to higher soil fertility and biomass production. The take-home message is that when we reduce diversity in the landscape--think of a cornfield or a pine plantation or a suburban lawn--we are failing to capitalize on the valuable natural services that biodiversity provides."

Collaborators on the project included scientists David Tilman and Sarah Hobbie from the university's department of ecology, evolution and behavior as well as colleagues in the department of forest resources and from two European universities. Reich is also jointly affiliated with the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota and the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment at the University of Western Sydney, in Australia.

Previous studies have examined only shorter-term impacts of biodiversity on productivity. "This study reveals what short-term experiments have missed: the effects of biodiversity loss on ecosystems are more complex, severe and unpredictable than previously thought," says Matt Kane, program director for the National Science Foundation's Long-Term Environmental Research site network, which includes Cedar Creek. "This work shows the importance of doing long-term research, in this case documenting for the first time the critical importance of biodiversity for ecosystem health and sustainability."


'/>"/>

Contact: Becky Beyers
bbeyers@umn.edu
612-626-5754
University of Minnesota
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Formula discovered for longer plant life
2. Commercial aquatic plants offer cost-effective method for treating wastewater
3. Structures of important plant viruses determined
4. Research about plant viruses could lead to new ways to improve crop yields
5. UC Riverside biochemists devise method for bypassing aluminum toxicity effects in plants
6. Reproducing early and often is the key to rapid evolution in plants
7. MSU scientists find new gene that helps plants beat the heat
8. Diversity of plant-eating fishes may be key to recovery of coral reefs
9. Researchers design artificial cells that could power medical implants
10. Plant-eating predator to fight superweed is not magic bullet
11. When under attack, plants can signal microbial friends for help
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/15/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets has ... Market 2016-2020,"  report to their offering.  , ... ,The global gait biometrics market is expected to ... period 2016-2020. Gait analysis generates multiple ... used to compute factors that are not or ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... March 31, 2016   ... or the "Company") LegacyXChange is excited to ... its soon to be launched online site for trading ... ) will also provide potential shareholders a sense ... technology to an industry that is notorious for fraud. ...
(Date:3/23/2016)... 2016 Einzigartige ... und Stimmerkennung mit Passwörtern     ... MESG ), ein führender Anbieter digitaler Kommunikationsdienste, ... SpeechPro zusammenarbeitet, um erstmals dessen Biometrietechnologie einzusetzen. ... Möglichkeit angeboten, im Rahmen mobiler Apps neben ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... , ... Supplyframe, the Industry Network for electronics hardware design ... Located in Pasadena, Calif., the Design Lab’s mission is to bring together inventors ... and brought to market. , The Design Lab is Supplyframe’s physical representation of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Calif. , June 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, ... biological discoveries to the medical community, has closed its ... Matthew Nunez . "We have received ... with the capital we need to meet our current ... essentially provide us the runway to complete validation on ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... regulatory and technical consulting, provides a free webinar on Performing Quality ... 13, 2016 at 12pm CT at no charge. , Incomplete investigations are still ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... DIEGO , June 22, 2016 ... that will allow them to produce up to ... from one lot within one week. These high-quality, ... time laboriously preparing cells and spend more time ... possible through a proprietary, high-volume manufacturing process that ...
Breaking Biology Technology: