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      Higher levels of multiple ecosystem services are found in forests with more tree species


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          Forests are of major importance to human society, contributing several crucial ecosystem services. Biodiversity is suggested to positively influence multiple services but evidence from natural systems at scales relevant to management is scarce. Here, across a scale of 400,000 km 2, we report that tree species richness in production forests shows positive to positively hump-shaped relationships with multiple ecosystem services. These include production of tree biomass, soil carbon storage, berry production and game production potential. For example, biomass production was approximately 50% greater with five than with one tree species. In addition, we show positive relationships between tree species richness and proxies for other biodiversity components. Importantly, no single tree species was able to promote all services, and some services were negatively correlated to each other. Management of production forests will therefore benefit from considering multiple tree species to sustain the full range of benefits that the society obtains from forests.


          Tree diversity is thought to benefit forest ecosystems, but evidence from large-scale studies is scarce. This study of a 400,000 km 2 forest area shows that higher tree species richness supports higher levels of multiple ecosystem services, and therefore also a more sustainable management of production forests.

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          Most cited references34

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          Modeling multiple ecosystem services, biodiversity conservation, commodity production, and tradeoffs at landscape scales

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            High plant diversity is needed to maintain ecosystem services.

            Biodiversity is rapidly declining worldwide, and there is consensus that this can decrease ecosystem functioning and services. It remains unclear, though, whether few or many of the species in an ecosystem are needed to sustain the provisioning of ecosystem services. It has been hypothesized that most species would promote ecosystem services if many times, places, functions and environmental changes were considered; however, no previous study has considered all of these factors together. Here we show that 84% of the 147 grassland plant species studied in 17 biodiversity experiments promoted ecosystem functioning at least once. Different species promoted ecosystem functioning during different years, at different places, for different functions and under different environmental change scenarios. Furthermore, the species needed to provide one function during multiple years were not the same as those needed to provide multiple functions within one year. Our results indicate that even more species will be needed to maintain ecosystem functioning and services than previously suggested by studies that have either (1) considered only the number of species needed to promote one function under one set of environmental conditions, or (2) separately considered the importance of biodiversity for providing ecosystem functioning across multiple years, places, functions or environmental change scenarios. Therefore, although species may appear functionally redundant when one function is considered under one set of environmental conditions, many species are needed to maintain multiple functions at multiple times and places in a changing world.
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              Quantification of global gross forest cover loss.

              A globally consistent methodology using satellite imagery was implemented to quantify gross forest cover loss (GFCL) from 2000 to 2005 and to compare GFCL among biomes, continents, and countries. GFCL is defined as the area of forest cover removed because of any disturbance, including both natural and human-induced causes. GFCL was estimated to be 1,011,000 km(2) from 2000 to 2005, representing 3.1% (0.6% per year) of the year 2000 estimated total forest area of 32,688,000 km(2). The boreal biome experienced the largest area of GFCL, followed by the humid tropical, dry tropical, and temperate biomes. GFCL expressed as the proportion of year 2000 forest cover was highest in the boreal biome and lowest in the humid tropics. Among continents, North America had the largest total area and largest proportion of year 2000 GFCL. At national scales, Brazil experienced the largest area of GFCL over the study period, 165,000 km(2), followed by Canada at 160,000 km(2). Of the countries with >1,000,000 km(2) of forest cover, the United States exhibited the greatest proportional GFCL and the Democratic Republic of Congo the least. Our results illustrate a pervasive global GFCL dynamic. However, GFCL represents only one component of net change, and the processes driving GFCL and rates of recovery from GFCL differ regionally. For example, the majority of estimated GFCL for the boreal biome is due to a naturally induced fire dynamic. To fully characterize global forest change dynamics, remote sensing efforts must extend beyond estimating GFCL to identify proximate causes of forest cover loss and to estimate recovery rates from GFCL.

                Author and article information

                Nat Commun
                Nat Commun
                Nature Communications
                Nature Pub. Group
                08 January 2013
                : 4
                : 1340
                [1 ]Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences , Box 7044, SE-75007 Uppsala, Sweden
                [2 ]Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg , Box 461, SE-40530 Gothenburg, Sweden
                [3 ]Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Durham University , South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
                [4 ]Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Umeå University , SE-90187 Umeå, Sweden
                [5 ]Grimsö Wildlife Research Station, Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences , SE-730 91 Riddarhyttan, Sweden
                [6 ]Environmental Change Institute , South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QY, UK
                [7 ]Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences , Box 7082, SE-75007 Uppsala, Sweden
                [8 ]Department of Soil and Environment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences , Box 7014, SE-75007 Uppsala, Sweden
                [9 ]Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich , Winterhurerstrasse 190, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland
                [10 ]Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences , Box 49, SE-23053 Alnarp, Sweden
                [11 ]Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University , SE-10691 Stockholm, Sweden
                [12 ]Department of Forest Resource Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences , Box 7001, SE-90183 Umeå, Sweden
                Author notes
                Copyright © 2013, Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited. All Rights Reserved.

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/

                : 07 June 2012
                : 26 November 2012



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