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The Influence of Functional Diversity and Composition on Ecosystem Processes

Science  29 Aug 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5330, pp. 1300-1302
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5330.1300

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Abstract

Humans are modifying both the identities and numbers of species in ecosystems, but the impacts of such changes on ecosystem processes are controversial. Plant species diversity, functional diversity, and functional composition were experimentally varied in grassland plots. Each factor by itself had significant effects on many ecosystem processes, but functional composition and functional diversity were the principal factors explaining plant productivity, plant percent nitrogen, plant total nitrogen, and light penetration. Thus, habitat modifications and management practices that change functional diversity and functional composition are likely to have large impacts on ecosystem processes.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: tilman{at}lter.umn.edu

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