Species diversity

Biodiversity at the species level, often combining aspects of species richness, their relative abundance, and their dissimilarity (MA, 2005). Species diversity is a function of the number of species and the evenness in the abundance of the component species. (Kindt et al. 2006)

The FunDivEUROPE project

Biodiversity research of the last 15 years could demonstrate that multiple functions and services of an ecosystem are influenced by the number of species within this system. Most of these findings, however, are based on research within grassland systems. So science has to make the next big step and address those ecosystems that control a good portion of the carbon, nutrient and water balances of the earth: the forests. ...

Tree species mixtures influencing forest structure and phenology

In forest ecosystems trees are the dominant element of the vertical and horizontal structure of these ecosystems and they interact to fill the 3-dimensional space from the canopy to the forest floor. A hypothesis that we are testing, is that forests with more species (a greater combination of structural traits) interact to form complex environments and are acting to use the space more efficiently. By doing so, the trees would also maximize their light interception and as a result, fill the space with more biomass. If this is true, it would help to explain why species rich forests are more...

Photosynthetic responses of different tree species mixtures

Biodiversity regulates several aspects of ecosystem functioning and the delivery of ecosystem services. Many forest ecosystem services, such as timber production and carbon sequestration, are directly related to tree growth and photosynthesis rates. ...

Impacts of species diversity on root systems

Trees need root systems for anchorage and for water and nutrient uptake. Root systems consist of stumps, coarse roots and fine roots.  Coarse roots have diameter larger than 2 mm, and fine roots less than 2 mm. Stumps and coarse roots are needed for anchorage and transportation of water and nutrients and their lifespan is long. Fine roots are short living and they take up water and nutrients from soil. In most forests there are in addition to trees also other plants growing in understory. Their roots are mostly fine, less than 2 mm in diameter. The tops of trees can reach the height of...

Dead wood and nitrogen stocks: the older, the richer

Dead wood (dead trees, branches, stumps and roots in all stages of decay process) plays an important role in element cycling (carbon, nitrogen, water, etc.) and builds-up forest nutrient stocks. Dead wood is also an essential structural component of forests, providing habitat for large variety of organisms with often highly specialized habitat requirements (e.g. xylobiontic beetles). Organisms inhabiting dead wood cause change in wood quality (its structure, chemical composition and density) preparing substrate for consecutive steps of ecological succession. Speed of this change depends...

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