Diversity boosts plantation biomass
Across experimental and natural systems, more diverse plant communities often have higher primary productivity. This effect can be due to complementarity between different species, which can more effectively use resources together, or a higher likelihood of more productive species being present. Feng et al. used data from 255 sites to test whether forest plantations with multiple species have greater productivity than monocultures (see the Perspective by Gurevitch). They found that multispecies plantings, on average, have taller and thicker trees and greater aboveground biomass accumulation than monocultures. This effect was mainly due to complementary between species, with greatest benefits from pairing species with different traits. —BEL
Multispecies tree planting has long been applied in forestry and landscape restoration in the hope of providing better timber production and ecosystem services; however, a systematic assessment of its effectiveness is lacking. We compiled a global dataset of matched single-species and multispecies plantations to evaluate the impact of multispecies planting on stand growth. Average tree height, diameter at breast height, and aboveground biomass were 5.4, 6.8, and 25.5% higher, respectively, in multispecies stands compared with single-species stands. These positive effects were mainly the result of interspecific complementarity and were modulated by differences in leaf morphology and leaf life span, stand age, planting density, and temperature. Our results have implications for designing afforestation and reforestation strategies and bridging experimental studies of biodiversity–ecosystem functioning relationships with real-world practices.
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Volume 376 | Issue 6595
20 May 2022
20 May 2022
Copyright © 2022 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.
This is an article distributed under the terms of the Science Journals Default License.
Received: 24 October 2021
Accepted: 25 April 2022
Published in print: 20 May 2022
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The authors thank three anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments, which improved the quality of earlier versions of the manuscript.
Funding: This study was funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China 31988102 (to J.F.) and 32122053 (to S.W.), Basic Research Program of Yunnan Province grant 202101BC070000 (to J.F.), and TULIP Laboratory of Excellence grant ANR-10-LABX-41 (to M.L.).
Author contributions: Conceptualization: J.F.; Methodology: Y.F., Jianx.Z., Jiang.Z., X.X., J.X., and Z.T.; Investigation: Y.F., S.W., B.S., P.H., H.S., C.J., and Y.S.; Visualization: Y.F. and H.S.; Funding acquisition: J.F., S.W., and M.L.; Project administration: J.F. and Jiang.Z.; Supervision: J.F.; Writing – original draft: Y.F., S.W., and J.F.; Writing – review and editing: S.W., J.F., Y.F., B.S., D.I.F., M.L., S.F., and all other other authors.
Competing interests: The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Data and materials availability: The data used in this study (i.e., the Global MixTrees dataset) are uploaded as online content (data S1 and S2). All code can be accessed at Zenodo (37).
License information: Copyright © 2022 the authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original US government works. https://www.science.org/about/science-licenses-journal-article-reuse.
TULIP Laboratory of Excellence: ANR-10-LABX-41
Basic Research Program of Yunnan Provinces: 202101BC070000
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