5 years ago

Biodiversity promotes primary productivity and growing season lengthening at the landscape scale [Ecology]

Biodiversity promotes primary productivity and growing season lengthening at the landscape scale [Ecology]
Pascal A. Niklaus, Gabriela Schaepman-Strub, Jacqueline Oehri, Bernhard Schmid

Experiments have shown positive biodiversity-ecosystem functioning (BEF) relationships in small plots with model communities established from species pools typically comprising few dozen species. Whether patterns found can be extrapolated to complex, nonexperimental, real-world landscapes that provide ecosystem services to humans remains unclear. Here, we combine species inventories from a large-scale network of 447 1-km2 plots with remotely sensed indices of primary productivity (years 2000–2015). We show that landscape-scale productivity and its temporal stability increase with the diversity of plants and other taxa. Effects of biodiversity indicators on productivity were comparable in size to effects of other important drivers related to climate, topography, and land cover. These effects occurred in plots that integrated different ecosystem types (i.e., metaecosystems) and were consistent over vast environmental and altitudinal gradients. The BEF relations we report are as strong or even exceed the ones found in small-scale experiments, despite different community assembly processes and a species pool comprising nearly 2,000 vascular plant species. Growing season length increased progressively over the observation period, and this shift was accelerated in more diverse plots, suggesting that a large species pool is important for adaption to climate change. Our study further implies that abiotic global-change drivers may mediate ecosystem functioning through biodiversity changes.

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