Biotic homogenization can decrease landscape-scale forest multifunctionality

Fons van der Plas, Pete Manning, Santiago Soliveres, Eric Allan, Michael Scherer-Lorenzen, Kris Verheyen, Christian Wirth, Miguel A. Zavala, Evy Ampoorter, Lander Baeten, Luc Barbaro, Jurgen Bauhus, Raquel Benavides, Adam Benneter, Damien Bonal, Olivier Bouriaud, Helge Bruelheide, Filippo Bussotti, Monique Carnol, Bastien CastagneyrolYohan Charbonnier, David Coomes, Andrea Coppi, Cristina Bestias, Seid Dawud, Hans De Wandeler, Timo Domisch, Leena Finér, Arthur Gessler, Andre Granier, Charlotte Grossiord, Virginie Guyot, Stephan Hättenschwiler, Herve Jactel, Bogdan Jaroszewicz, Francois-Xavier Joly, Tommaso Jucker, Julia Koricheva, Harriet Milligan, Sandra Mueller, Bart Muys, Diem Nguyen, Martina Pollastrini, Sophia Ratcliffe, Karsten Raulund-Rasmussen, Federico Selvi, Jan Stenlid, Fernando Valladares, Lars Vesterdal, Dawid Zielinski, Markus Fischer

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Many experiments have shown that local biodiversity loss impairs the ability of ecosystems to maintain multiple ecosystem functions at high levels (multifunctionality). In contrast, the role of biodiversity in driving ecosystem multifunctionality at landscape scales remains unresolved. We used a comprehensive pan-European dataset, including 16 ecosystem functions measured in 209 forest plots across six European countries, and performed simulations to investigate how local plot-scale richness of tree species (α diversity) and their turnover between plots (β-diversity) are related to landscape scale multifunctionality. After accounting for variation in environmental conditions, we found that relationships between α-diversity and landscape-scale multifunctionality varied from positive to negative depending on the multifunctionality metric used. In contrast, when significant, relationships between β-diversity and landscape-scale multifunctionality were always positive, because a high spatial turnover in species composition was closely related to a high spatial turnover in functions that were supported at high levels. Our findings have major implications for forest management and indicate that biotic homogenization can have previously unrecognized and negative consequences for large-scale ecosystem multifunctionality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3557–3562
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number13
Early online date15 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2016

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