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Climate modulates diversity-productivity relationships in forests

last modified Jan 28, 2016 11:43 AM

Tommaso Jucker and David Coomes – along with collaborators from the FunDivEUROPE project – published a paper in Journal of Ecology which aims to better understand the mechanisms shaping the relationship between tree diversity and aboveground wood production in European forests. The paper sheds new light on the role of climate as a key modulator of the relationship between diversity and productivity. As predicted by theory, the strength of the diversity – productivity relationship shifted from strongly positive at sites where climate imposed a strong limitation on wood production and tree packing densities were low, to weakly negative at sites where climatic conditions for growth were most suitable. Across Europe, tree diversity shows the greatest potential to positively influence forest productivity at either end of the latitudinal gradient, where less favourable climatic conditions limit productivity and lead to the development of less densely packed stands.

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The strength of the relationship between tree species diversity and aboveground wood production in European forests is strongly dependent on climate and stand packing density.