Plant Diversity and Productivity Experiments in European Grasslands

At eight European field sites, the impact of loss of plant diversity on primary productivity was simulated by synthesizing grassland communities with different numbers of plant species. Results differed in detail at each location, but there was an overall log-linear reduction of average aboveground biomass with loss of species.

For a given number of species, communities with fewer functional groups were less productive. These diversity effects occurred along with differences associated with species composition and geographic location. Niche complementarity and positive species interactions appear to play a role in generating diversity-productivity relationships within sites in addition to sampling from the species pool.

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