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Diversity and stability in plant communities


Arising from: D. Tilman, P. B. Reich & J. M. H. Knops Nature 441, 629–632 (2006); Tilman et al. reply

The relationship between species diversity and ecosystem stability is controversial1,2. Tilman et al.3 analyse biomass patterns over a decade in a grassland experiment with artificial plant communities, and provide evidence for a positive relationship between the number of plant species and the temporal stability of the ecosystem. Here we use data from a long-term biodiversity experiment with plant communities that were not controlled by weeding4 in order to show that diverse systems can be both stable and unstable.

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Figure 1: Initial seed-diversity level (15, 4 or 0 species) determines long-term ecosystem characteristics in unweeded grassland plots.

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Correspondence to T. Martijn Bezemer.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Bezemer, T., van der Putten, W. Diversity and stability in plant communities. Nature 446, E6–E7 (2007).

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