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The value of biodiversity for the functioning of tropical forests: insurance effects during the first decade of the Sabah biodiversity experiment


Tuck, Sean L; O'Brien, Michael J; Philipson, Christopher D; Saner, Philippe; Tanadini, Matteo; Dzulkifli, Dzaeman; Godfray, H Charles J; Godoong, Elia; Nilus, Reuben; Ong, Robert C; Schmid, Bernhard; Sinun, Waidi; Snaddon, Jake L; Snoep, Martijn; Tangki, Hamzah; Tay, John; Ulok, Philip; Wai, Yap Sau; Weilenmann, Maja; Reynolds, Glen; Hector, Andy (2016). The value of biodiversity for the functioning of tropical forests: insurance effects during the first decade of the Sabah biodiversity experiment. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 283(1844):20161451.

Abstract

One of the main environmental threats in the tropics is selective logging, which has degraded large areas of forest. In southeast Asia, enrichment planting with seedlings of the dominant group of dipterocarp tree species aims to accelerate restoration of forest structure and functioning. The role of tree diversity in forest restoration is still unclear, but the ‘insurance hypothesis’ predicts that in temporally and spatially varying environments planting mixtures may stabilize functioning owing to differences in species traits and ecologies. To test for potential insurance effects, we analyse the patterns of seedling mortality and growth in monoculture and mixture plots over the first decade of the Sabah biodiversity experiment. Our results reveal the species differences required for potential insurance effects including a trade-off in which species with denser wood have lower growth rates but higher survival. This trade-off was consistent over time during the first decade, but growth and mortality varied spatially across our 500 ha experiment with species respond- ing to changing conditions in different ways. Overall, average survival rates were extreme in monocultures than mixtures consistent with a potential insur- ance effect in which monocultures of poorly surviving species risk recruitment failure, whereas monocultures of species with high survival have rates of self- thinning that are potentially wasteful when seedling stocks are limited. Longer-term monitoring as species interactions strengthen will be needed to

Abstract

One of the main environmental threats in the tropics is selective logging, which has degraded large areas of forest. In southeast Asia, enrichment planting with seedlings of the dominant group of dipterocarp tree species aims to accelerate restoration of forest structure and functioning. The role of tree diversity in forest restoration is still unclear, but the ‘insurance hypothesis’ predicts that in temporally and spatially varying environments planting mixtures may stabilize functioning owing to differences in species traits and ecologies. To test for potential insurance effects, we analyse the patterns of seedling mortality and growth in monoculture and mixture plots over the first decade of the Sabah biodiversity experiment. Our results reveal the species differences required for potential insurance effects including a trade-off in which species with denser wood have lower growth rates but higher survival. This trade-off was consistent over time during the first decade, but growth and mortality varied spatially across our 500 ha experiment with species respond- ing to changing conditions in different ways. Overall, average survival rates were extreme in monocultures than mixtures consistent with a potential insur- ance effect in which monocultures of poorly surviving species risk recruitment failure, whereas monocultures of species with high survival have rates of self- thinning that are potentially wasteful when seedling stocks are limited. Longer-term monitoring as species interactions strengthen will be needed to

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:20 Dec 2016 17:00
Last Modified:15 Jan 2017 06:06
Publisher:Royal Society Publishing
ISSN:0962-8452
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2016.1451

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