Land use affects the relationship between species diversity and productivity at the local scale in a semi-arid steppe ecosystem

Functional Ecology
Z ZhouXingguo Han


1The accelerating extinction rate of plant species and its effect on ecosystem functioning is a hotly debated topic in ecological research. Most research projects concerning the relationship between species diversity and productivity have been conducted in artificial plant communities, with only a few in natural ecosystems. In this study we examined the relationship between species diversity and above-ground net primary productivity (ANPP) over two consecutive growth seasons (2004 and 2005) in a semi-arid steppe ecosystem of northern China, that were subjected to different land uses.2Land use affected the relationship between species diversity and ANPP in this semi-arid steppe ecosystem. Exclusion of grazing without or with biomass removal by mowing increased ANPP, species richness and species diversity compared with free grazing; the effect was reflected mainly as enhanced importance of the perennial forbs functional group in terms of their relative contributions to ANPP, plant cover and plant abundance.3Many mechanisms regulate the relationship between species diversity and productivity. Differential effects of anthropogenic activities on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning greatly complicate the analysis of such relations...Continue Reading


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