Plant Species Richness and Ecosystem Multifunctionality in Global Drylands

Maestre, F T and Quero, J L and Gotelli, N J and et al, . (2012) Plant Species Richness and Ecosystem Multifunctionality in Global Drylands. Science Magazine, 335 (6065). pp. 214-218.

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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.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: We thank all the technicians that assisted with field and laboratory work; T. Navarro and Z. Noumi for their help with plant species identification; and J. Bascompte, J. F. Reynolds, K. J. van Groenigen, W. van der Putten, and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments. This research was funded by the European Research Council under the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)/ERC Grant agreement 242658 (BIOCOM). The Ciencia y Tecnología para el Desarrollo program (CYTED) funded networking activities (EPES, Acción 407AC0323). The data used in the primary analyses are available in the supporting online material. The authors declare no competing financial interests....
Author Affiliation: Área de Biodiversidad y Conservación, Departamento de Biología y Geología, Escuela Superior de Ciencias Experimentales y Tecnología, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Calle Tulipán Sin Número, 28933 Móstoles, Spain.
Subjects: Atmosperic Science
Divisions: General
Depositing User: Mr Siva Shankar
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2012 08:13
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2012 08:13
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