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

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."


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

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