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Oecologia. 2007 Jul;152(4):595-605. Epub 2007 Mar 10.

Effects of species richness and elevated carbon dioxide on biomass accumulation: a synthesis using meta-analysis.

Author information

  • Department of Biology, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, 723 West Michigan Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202-5132, USA. xzwang@iupui.edu

Abstract

Magnitude of growth enhancement by elevated CO(2) in a plant assemblage is dependent on a number of biotic and abiotic factors, including species richness. In this meta-analysis, we examined effects of elevated CO(2) on plant biomass accumulation in single- (populations) and multi-species (communities) assemblages. The primary objectives were to statistically synthesize the voluminous CO(2) studies conducted so far and to assess the collective response of plant growth to elevated CO(2) as affected by species richness. Our analysis showed that biomass enhancement by higher CO(2) was consistently lower in communities than in populations. For example, total plant biomass (W(T)) increased only 13% in communities compared to 30% in populations in response to elevated CO(2) across all studies included in this synthesis. Above- and below-ground biomass responded similarly as W (T) to elevated CO(2) and species richness. Smaller growth enhancement by CO(2) was found in communities consisting of species of different growth forms (woody vs. herbaceous species) or functional groups (legumes vs. non-legumes). This pattern was consistent across three major classes of facilities (closed, semi-open and open systems) used to manipulate CO(2) concentrations. An analysis of free-air CO(2) enrichment studies revealed that the population-community difference in growth enhancement by higher CO(2) was also dependent on the rate of N addition. Populations responded more than communities only when soil was amended with N. From the CO(2) studies synthesized in this meta-analysis, it is obvious that the collective growth responsiveness to elevated CO(2) will be lower in communities than in populations. We hypothesize that resource usurpation, i.e., competitive compartmentation of growth-limiting resources by less responsive species, may be important in determining growth response to elevated CO(2) in a community and is one of the reasons responsible for the lower biomass enhancement by elevated CO(2) in communities, as found in this synthesis.

PMID:
17351791
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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