Linking plant and animal functional diversity with an experimental community restoration in a Hawaiian lowland wet forest

Food Webs
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Testing how plant restoration influences animal taxonomic and functional diversity can shift restoration projects beyond mainly plant community considerations. We incorporated multi-trophic interactions into restoration by describing an ongoing functional trait-based restoration experiment in Hawaiian lowland tropical wet forest (Liko Nā Pilina Experiment), where litter arthropods are examined from a functional perspective thereby linking plants and higher trophic levels. We hypothesized that (1) communities with greater plant functional trait diversity would have cascading effects through food webs, increasing animal diversity and network complexity, and (2) increases in animal species and network complexity would be stronger for restoration efforts in plant communities with more complementary functional traits than those with more redundant traits. We examined experimental treatments of planted communities with the same species richness but with different plant functional trait profiles based on (1) rates of expected carbon turnover (slow or moderate), and (2) the similarity of their functional trait measurements (redundant or complementary), as determined by functional dispersion calculations. Initial data on arthropod communities and leaf litter decomposition rates revealed linkages between plant functional traits and arthropod community diversity. Overall, we argue that a more comprehensive evaluation of restoration accounts for both functional diversity and the multi-trophic nature of animal and plant communities. Developing restoration projects based on plant functional traits that influence both plant and invertebrate species provides a new paradigm, and the incorporation of both native and non-native (but non-invasive) plants shows promise in restoring ecosystem function in disturbed lowland tropical forests.

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    Publication type Article
    Publication Subtype Journal Article
    Title Linking plant and animal functional diversity with an experimental community restoration in a Hawaiian lowland wet forest
    Series title Food Webs
    DOI 10.1016/j.fooweb.2020.e00171
    Volume 25
    Year Published 2020
    Language English
    Publisher Elsevier
    Contributing office(s) Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center
    Description e00171, 8 p.
    Country United States
    State Hawaii
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