Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function: The Debate Deepens

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Science  29 Aug 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5330, pp. 1260-1261
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5330.1260

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One of the tenets of the conservation movement has been that areas containing many species--those of high biodiversity--are particularly worth saving, since ecosystems of high diversity show improved ecosystem function. As Grime explains in his Perspective, this tenet is being replaced by another view, which is bolstered by three reports in this week's issue (pages 1296, 1300, and 1302). These studies all show that it is actually the specific features of the species in an ecosystem that determine its function--not their number.

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