Global evidence of positive biodiversity effects on spatial ecosystem stability in natural grasslands

Abstract : The effect of biodiversity on primary productivity has been a hot topic in ecology for over 20 years. Biodiversity-productivity relationships in natural ecosystems are highly variable, although positive relationships are most common. Understanding the conditions under which different relationships emerge is still a major challenge. Here, by analyzing HerbDivNet data, a global survey of natural grasslands, we show that biodiversity stabilizes rather than increases plant productivity in natural grasslands at the global scale. Our results suggest that the effect of species richness on productivity shifts from strongly positive in low-productivity communities to strongly negative in high-productivity communities. Thus, plant richness maintains community productivity at intermediate levels. As a result, it stabilizes plant productivity against environmental heterogeneity across space. Unifying biodiversity-productivity and biodiversity-spatial stability relationships at the global scale provides a new perspective on the functioning of natural ecosystems.
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Yongfan Wang, Marc Cadotte, Yuxin Chen, Lauchlan Fraser, Yuhua Zhang, et al.. Global evidence of positive biodiversity effects on spatial ecosystem stability in natural grasslands. Nature Communications, Nature Publishing Group, 2019, 10, pp.3207. ⟨10.1038/s41467-019-11191-z⟩. ⟨hal-02350636⟩

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