Tree neighbourhood matters – Tree species composition drives diversity–productivity patterns in a near-natural beech forest

TitleTree neighbourhood matters – Tree species composition drives diversity–productivity patterns in a near-natural beech forest
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsRatcliffe S., Holzwarth F., Nadrowski K, Levick S., Wirth C
JournalForest Ecology and Management
Start Page225
KeywordsBasal area increment, Competition index, Diversity–productivity, Neighbourhood diversity

European beech forest with a variable admixture is one of the most important forest types in Central Europe. Growing evidence has demonstrated the positive effect of increased biodiversity on vital forest ecosystem functions and services such as productivity and nutrient cycling. Both complementarity in resource use and species identity are known to influence tree productivity but they have received relatively little attention in observational studies. Using a large dataset of repeat inventory trees in a near-natural deciduous forest in Central Germany we test whether tree diversity enhances tree productivity at the tree and the stand level, whilst accounting for tree size, tree vitality, local topography and the potentially confounding effects of spatial autocorrelation and negative growth estimates. Beech and hornbeam individual tree growth was sensitive to their neighbourhood diversity and composition whilst ash trees were only sensitive to the neighbourhood tree density. Neighbourhood complementarity effects were driven by differences in species’ competitive strengths, whilst at the stand level productivity gains were primarily attributable to the density of ash and diversity effects were less prominent. We conclude that small-scale admixture with patches of different species promotes tree growth in European beech forest; congruent with current management plans for beech and hardwood forests.

Biological diversity, or the shorter "biodiversity," means the diversity, or variety, of plants and animals and other living things in a particular area or region. It describes the variability among living organisms from all sources, including terrestrial, marine, and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part. Biodiversity includes diversity within species, between species, and between ecosystems. (MA, 2003)
The processes by which elements are extracted from their mineral, aquatic, or atmospheric sources or recycled from their organic forms, converting them to the ionic form in which biotic uptake occurs and ultimately returning them to the atmosphere, water, or soil. (MA 2003). the exchange or transformation of elements among the living (organic and biotic) and nonliving (inorganic and abiotic) components (SAFnet, 2008)
A measure for the amount of tree species mixed on a given site or stand. Can be measured in various forms (e.g. Shannon Index, tree species richness).
Describes the number of different species that are represented in a given community or population. The effective number of species (trees, plants, mosses,...) refers to the number of equally abundant species needed to obtain the same mean proportional species abundance as that observed in specific community or population (where all species may not be equally abundant). Species diversity consists of two components: species richness and species evenness. Species richness is a simple count of species, whereas species evenness quantifies how equal the abundances of the species are.

About FunDivEurope

Learn more about the FunDivEurope project:

About this Platform

Get in touch with the FunDiVEurope Knowledge Transfer Platform and read the latest news from the site administrators: