Diversity and Production in European Grasslands

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Science  05 Nov 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5442, pp. 1099-1100
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5442.1099

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An ecosystem that contains many different plant species is more productive and successful than one containing only a few. There has been much debate about the mechanisms that underlie this phenomenon. In a Perspective, David Tilman discusses the evidence (including new findings by Hector et al.) favoring the niche complementarity model in which certain combinations of species are able to use resources in the ecosystem more efficiently than if each species grew on its own.