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

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          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.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Science
          Science (New York, N.Y.)
          1095-9203
          0036-8075
          Apr 17 2015
          : 348
          : 6232
          Affiliations
          [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.
          Article
          348/6232/336
          10.1126/science.aaa1788
          25883357
          Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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