Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Science. 2015 Apr 17;348(6232):336-40. doi: 10.1126/science.aaa1788.

Plant ecology. Anthropogenic environmental changes affect ecosystem stability via biodiversity.

Author information

1
Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3RB, UK. Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Saint Paul, MN 55108, USA. Ecology and Biodiversity Group, Department of Biology, Utrecht University, Padualaan 8, 3584 CH Utrecht, Netherlands. yann.hautier@plants.ox.ac.uk.
2
Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Saint Paul, MN 55108, USA. Bren School of the Environment, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA.
3
Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Saint Paul, MN 55108, USA.
4
Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108, USA. Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, University of Western Sydney, Penrith, NSW 2753, Australia.

Abstract

Human-driven environmental changes may simultaneously affect the biodiversity, productivity, and stability of Earth's ecosystems, but there is no consensus on the causal relationships linking these variables. Data from 12 multiyear experiments that manipulate important anthropogenic drivers, including plant diversity, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, fire, herbivory, and water, show that each driver influences ecosystem productivity. However, the stability of ecosystem productivity is only changed by those drivers that alter biodiversity, with a given decrease in plant species numbers leading to a quantitatively similar decrease in ecosystem stability regardless of which driver caused the biodiversity loss. These results suggest that changes in biodiversity caused by drivers of environmental change may be a major factor determining how global environmental changes affect ecosystem stability.

PMID:
25883357
DOI:
10.1126/science.aaa1788
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center