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Plant species richness and ecosystem multifunctionality in global drylands

Science

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DOI: 10.1126/science.1215442

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Abstract

Experiments suggest that biodiversity enhances the ability of ecosystems to maintain multiple functions, such as carbon storage, productivity, and the buildup of nutrient pools (multifunctionality). However, the relationship between biodiversity and multifunctionality has never been assessed globally in natural ecosystems. We report here on a global empirical study relating plant species richness and abiotic factors to multifunctionality in drylands, which collectively cover 41% of Earth's land surface and support over 38% of the human population. Multifunctionality was positively and significantly related to species richness. The best-fitting models accounted for over 55% of the variation in multifunctionality and always included species richness as a predictor variable. Our results suggest that the preservation of plant biodiversity is crucial to buffer negative effects of climate change and desertification in drylands.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Plant species richness and ecosystem multifunctionality in global drylands
Series title:
Science
DOI:
10.1126/science.1215442
Volume
335
Issue:
6065
Year Published:
2012
Language:
English
Publisher:
AAAS
Publisher location:
Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s):
Southwest Biological Science Center
Description:
5 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
214
Last page:
218
Other Geospatial:
Earth