Evenness mediates the global relationship between forest productivity and richness

Iris Hordijk*, Daniel S. Maynard, Simon P. Hart, Mo Lidong, Hans ter Steege, Jingjing Liang, Sergio de-Miguel, Gert-Jan Nabuurs, Peter B. Reich, Meinrad Abegg, C. Yves Adou Yao, Giorgio Alberti, Angelica M. Almeyda Zambrano, Braulio V. Alvarado, Alvarez-Davila Esteban, Patricia Alvarez-Loayza, Luciana F. Alves, Christian Ammer, Clara Antón-Fernández, Alejandro Araujo-MurakamiLuzmila Arroyo, Valerio Avitabile, Gerardo A. Aymard C, Timothy Baker, Radomir Bałazy, Olaf Banki, Jorcely Barroso, Meredith L. Bastian, Jean-Francois Bastin, Luca Birigazzi, Philippe Birnbaum, Robert Bitariho, Pascal Boeckx, Frans Bongers, Olivier Bouriaud, Pedro H. S. Brancalion, Susanne Brandl, Roel Brienen, Eben N. Broadbent, Helge Bruelheide, Filippo Bussotti, Roberto Cazzolla Gatti, Ricardo G. César, Goran Cesljar, Robin Chazdon, Han Y. H. Chen, Chelsea Chisholm, Emil Cienciala, Connie J. Clark, David B. Clark, Gabriel Colletta, David Coomes, Fernando Cornejo Valverde, Jose J. Corral-Rivas, Philip Crim, Jonathan Cumming, Selvadurai Dayanandan, André L. de Gasper, Mathieu Decuyper, Géraldine Derroire, Ben DeVries, Ilija Djordjevic, Amaral Iêda, Aurélie Dourdain, Engone Obiang Nestor Laurier, Brian Enquist, Teresa Eyre, Adandé Belarmain Fandohan, Tom M. Fayle, Leandro V. Ferreira, Ted R. Feldpausch, Leena Finér, Markus Fischer, Christine Fletcher, Lorenzo Frizzera, Javier G. P. Gamarra, Damiano Gianelle, Henry B. Glick, David Harris, Andrew Hector, Andreas Hemp, Geerten Hengeveld, Bruno Hérault, John Herbohn, Annika Hillers, Eurídice N. Honorio Coronado, Cang Hui, Hyunkook Cho, Thomas Ibanez, Il Bin Jung, Nobuo Imai, Andrzej M. Jagodzinski, Bogdan Jaroszewicz, Vivian Johanssen, Carlos A. Joly, Tommaso Jucker, Viktor Karminov, Kuswata Kartawinata, Elizabeth Kearsley, David Kenfack, Deborah Kennard, Sebastian Kepfer-Rojas, Gunnar Keppel, Mohammed Latif Khan, Timothy Killeen, Hyun Seok Kim, Kanehiro Kitayama, Michael Köhl, Henn Korjus, Florian Kraxner, Diana Laarmann, Mait Lang, Simon Lewis, Huicui Lu, Natalia Lukina, Brian Maitner, Yadvinder Malhi, Eric Marcon, Beatriz Schwantes Marimon, Ben Hur Marimon-Junior, Andrew Robert Marshall, Emanuel Martin, Olga Martynenko, Jorge A. Meave, Omar Melo-Cruz, Casimiro Mendoza, Cory Merow, Miscicki Stanislaw, Abel Monteagudo Mendoza, Vanessa Moreno, Sharif A. Mukul, Philip Mundhenk, Maria G. Nava-Miranda, David Neill, Victor Neldner, Radovan Nevenic, Michael Ngugi, Pascal A. Niklaus, Jacek Oleksyn, Petr Ontikov, Edgar Ortiz-Malavasi, Yude Pan, Alain Paquette, Alexander Parada-Gutierrez, Elena Parfenova, Minjee Park, Marc Parren, Narayanaswamy Parthasarathy, Pablo L. Peri, Sebastian Pfautsch, Oliver L. Phillips, Nicolas Picard, Maria Teresa Piedade, Daniel Piotto, Nigel C. A. Pitman, Irina Polo, Lourens Poorter, Axel Dalberg Poulsen, John R. Poulsen, Hans Pretzsch, Freddy Ramirez Arevalo, Zorayda Restrepo-Correa, Mirco Rodeghiero, Samir Rolim, Anand Roopsind, Francesco Rovero, Ervan Rutishauser, Purabi Saikia, Christian Salas-Eljatib, Peter Schall, Dmitry Schepaschenko, Michael Scherer-Lorenzen, Bernhard Schmid, Jochen Schöngart, Eric B. Searle, Vladimír Šebeň, Josep M. Serra-Diaz, Douglas Sheil, Anatoly Shvidenko, Javier Silva-Espejo, Marcos Silveira, James Singh, Plinio Sist, Ferry Slik, Bonaventure Sonké, Alexandre F. Souza, Krzysztof Stereńczak, Jens-Christian Svenning, Miroslav Svoboda, Ben Swanepoel, Natalia Targhetta, Nadja Tchebakova, Raquel Thomas, Elena Tikhonova, Peter Umunay, Vladimir Usoltsev, Renato Valencia, Fernando Valladares, Fons van der Plas, Do Van Tran, Michael E. Van Nuland, Rodolfo Vasquez Martinez, Hans Verbeeck, Helder Viana, Alexander C. Vibrans, Simone Vieira, Klaus von Gadow, Hua-Feng Wang, James Watson, Gijsbert D. A. Werner, Susan K. Wiser, Florian Wittmann, Verginia Wortel, Roderick Zagt, Tomasz Zawila-Niedzwiecki, Chunyu Zhang, Xiuhai Zhao, Mo Zhou, Zhi-Xin Zhu, Irie Casimir Zo-Bi, Thomas W. Crowther

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

1. Biodiversity is an important component of natural ecosystems, with higher species richness often correlating with an increase in ecosystem productivity. Yet, this relationship varies substantially across environments, typically becoming less pronounced at high levels of species richness. However, species richness alone cannot reflect all important properties of a community, including community evenness, which may mediate the relationship between biodiversity and productivity. If the evenness of a community correlates negatively with richness across forests globally, then a greater number of species may not always increase overall diversity and productivity of the system. Theoretical work and local empirical studies have shown that the effect of evenness on ecosystem functioning may be especially strong at high richness levels, yet the consistency of this remains untested at a global scale.

2. Here, we used a dataset of forests from across the globe, which includes composition, biomass accumulation and net primary productivity, to explore whether productivity correlates with community evenness and richness in a way that evenness appears to buffer the effect of richness. Specifically, we evaluated whether low levels of evenness in speciose communities correlate with the attenuation of the richness–productivity relationship.

3. We found that tree species richness and evenness are negatively correlated across forests globally, with highly speciose forests typically comprising a few dominant and many rare species. Furthermore, we found that the correlation between diversity and productivity changes with evenness: at low richness, uneven communities are more productive, while at high richness, even communities are more productive.

4. Synthesis. Collectively, these results demonstrate that evenness is an integral component of the relationship between biodiversity and productivity, and that the attenuating effect of richness on forest productivity might be partly explained by low evenness in speciose communities. Productivity generally increases with species richness, until reduced evenness limits the overall increases in community diversity. Our research suggests that evenness is a fundamental component of biodiversity–ecosystem function relationships, and is of critical importance for guiding conservation and sustainable ecosystem management decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1308-1326
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Ecology
Volume111
Issue number6
Early online date2 May 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2023

Keywords

  • Diversity
  • Ecosystem function and services
  • Evenness
  • Forests
  • Global
  • Productivity
  • Species richness

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Evenness mediates the global relationship between forest productivity and richness'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this