A novel comparative research platform designed to determine the functional significance of tree species diversity in European forests

Lander Baeten 1, 2 Kris Verheyen 3 Christian Wirth 4 Helge Bruelheide 5, 6 Filippo Bussotti 7 Leena Finér 8 Bogdan Jaroszewicz 9 Federico Selvi 10 Fernando Valladaresh Eric Allan 11 Evy Ampoorter 12 Harald Auge 13, 14 Daniel Avacariei Luc Barbaro 15 Ionu Barnoaiea Cristina C. Bastias 16 Jürgen Bauhus 17 Carsten Beinhoff Raquel Benavides 18 Adam Benneter 18 Sigrid Berger 13, 19 Felix Berthold 20 Johanna Boberg 21 Damien Bonal 22 Wolfgang Braggernann Monique Carnol 23 Bastien Castagneyrol 24 Yohan Charbonnier 25 Ewa Checko David Coomess Andrea Coppi 10 Eleftheria Dalmaris Gabriel Danila Seid M. Dawud Wim Vries Hans de Wandeler 26 Marc Deconchat 27 Timo Domisch 28 Gabriel Duduman Markus Fischer 29 Mariangela Fotelli Arthur Gessler 30 Teresa E. Gimeno André Granier 22 Charlotte Grossiord 22 Virginie Guyot 27 Lydia Hantsch Stephan Haettenschwiler 31 Andy Hector 32 Martin Hermy 33 Vera Holland Hervé Jactel 15 François-Xavier Joly 31 Tommaso Jucker 34 Simon Kolb Julia Koricheva 35 Manfred J. Lexer Mario Liebergesell Harriet Milligan 35 Sandra Mueller 36 Bart Muys 37 Diem Nguyen 21 Liviu Nichiforel Martina Pollastrini 38 Raphael Proulx 39, 40 Sonia Rabasa Kalliopi Radoglou Sophia Ratcliffe 41 Karsten Raulund-Rasmussen 42 Ian Seiferling Jan Stenlid 43 Lars Vesterdal 42 Klaus Wilpert Miguel A. Zavala 44 Dawid Zielínski 45 Michael Scherer-Lorenzen 46
37 Division of Forest, Nature and Landscape
EES - Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences [Leuven]
Abstract : One of the current advances in functional biodiversity research is the move away from short-lived test systems towards the exploration of diversity-ecosystem functioning relationships in structurally more complex ecosystems. In forests, assumptions about the functional significance of tree species diversity have only recently produced a new generation of research on ecosystem processes and services. Novel experimental designs have now replaced traditional forestry trials, but these comparatively young experimental plots suffer from specific difficulties that are mainly related to the tree size and longevity. Tree species diversity experiments therefore need to be complemented with comparative observational studies in existing forests. Here we present the design and implementation of a new network of forest plots along tree species diversity gradients in six major European forest types: the FunDivEUROPE Exploratory Platform. Based on a review of the deficiencies of existing observational approaches and of unresolved research questions and hypotheses, we discuss the fundamental criteria that shaped the design of our platform. Key features include the extent of the species diversity gradient with mixtures up to five species, strict avoidance of a dilution gradient, special attention to community evenness and minimal covariation with other environmental factors. The new European research platform permits the most comprehensive assessment of tree species diversity effects on forest ecosystem functioning to date since it offers a common set of research plots to groups of researchers from very different disciplines and uses the same methodological approach in contrasting forest types along an extensive environmental gradient.
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Journal articles
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Lander Baeten, Kris Verheyen, Christian Wirth, Helge Bruelheide, Filippo Bussotti, et al.. A novel comparative research platform designed to determine the functional significance of tree species diversity in European forests. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, Elsevier, 2013, 15 (5), pp.281-291. ⟨10.1016/j.ppees.2013.07.002⟩. ⟨hal-01540270⟩

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