The Effects of Plant Composition and Diversity on Ecosystem Processes

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Science  29 Aug 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5330, pp. 1302-1305
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5330.1302

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The relative effects of plant richness (the number of plant functional groups) and composition (the identity of the plant functional groups) on primary productivity and soil nitrogen pools were tested experimentally. Differences in plant composition explained more of the variation in production and nitrogen dynamics than did the number of functional groups present. Thus, it is possible to identify and differentiate among potential mechanisms underlying patterns of ecosystem response to variation in plant diversity, with implications for resource management.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed at: Department of Integrative Biology, Room 3060, Valley Life Sciences Building, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720–3140, USA. E-mail: hooper{at}

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