Stability and Diversity of Ecosystems

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Science  06 Jul 2007:
Vol. 317, Issue 5834, pp. 58-62
DOI: 10.1126/science.1133258

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Understanding the relationship between diversity and stability requires a knowledge of how species interact with each other and how each is affected by the environment. The relationship is also complex, because the concept of stability is multifaceted; different types of stability describing different properties of ecosystems lead to multiple diversity-stability relationships. A growing number of empirical studies demonstrate positive diversity-stability relationships. These studies, however, have emphasized only a few types of stability, and they rarely uncover the mechanisms responsible for stability. Because anthropogenic changes often affect stability and diversity simultaneously, diversity-stability relationships cannot be understood outside the context of the environmental drivers affecting both. This shifts attention away from diversity-stability relationships toward the multiple factors, including diversity, that dictate the stability of ecosystems.

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