Ecology: Biodiversity Is a Boon to Ecosystems, Not Species

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  15 Mar 1996:
Vol. 271, Issue 5255, pp. 1497
DOI: 10.1126/science.271.5255.1497


Ecologists have long been at odds over the value of biodiversity. Does it make an ecosystem more resilient and productive, or does it make it less stable, prone to drastic population swings? Both, according to a pair of years-long studies in the Minnesota prairie. Diversity stabilizes an ecosystem as a whole. But for individual species the complex interactions within a diverse ecosystem can lead to drastic fluctuations in abundance.