Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Drivers of temporal changes in temperate forest plant diversity

27.07.2015

Together with an international team, an ecologist of the University of Jena (Germany) presents a detailed analysis of biodiversity for temperate forests in Europe

Climate change, environmental pollution or land use changes – there are numerous influences threatening biodiversity in forests around the globe. The resulting decrease in biodiversity is a matter of common knowledge today – amongst scientists as well as amongst the general public.


Alder swamp forest with thick herb layer. Scientists found out that – on average – the biodiversity in the herb layer has not changed in recent decades.

Photo: Markus Bernhardt-Roemermann/FSU Jena

But this is a simplified view, says Dr. Markus Bernhardt-Römermann of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany). “At least a trend like this doesn't apply to all forests on the local scale.“ This is the result of a new study by the Jena ecologist and co-authors which is published today (27th July) in the scientific journal 'Global Change Biology' (DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12993).

Biodiversity in the herb layer has not changed in recent decades

Together with an international team of scientists from all over Europe, Bernhardt-Römermann comprehensively analysed the biodiversity in forests of the temperate zone of Europe. They found out that – on average – the biodiversity in the herb layer has not changed in recent decades.

This initially surprising result however doesn't mean that all is well in terms of biodiversity, as the ecologist points out: “The changes can be really grave on the local level.” In some areas, biodiversity has clearly been on the decrease, while at the same time it has been increasing in others.

Bernhardt-Römermann and his colleagues analysed data derived from the research platform “forestREplot“, which was established by scientists from Belgium, the Czech Republic and the USA together with the Jena ecologist Bernhardt-Römermann.

In a database, data characterizing the temporal development of plant species composition in forests of the temperate climate zone around the world is collected. “When data on the vegetation is collected on the same plot at several time steps, temporal changes can be identified,” Bernhardt-Römermann says.

For the new study the ecologists combined data from 13 European countries – from Switzerland and Hungary in the South to Sweden in the North and from Ireland in the West to Poland in the East – in one joint analysis. They analysed data form 39 selected deciduous forests at two different points in time (with a span of 17 to 75 years in between) and related them to changes in climate, forests management, nitrogen deposition and game population. The scientists were thus able to show the factors that are pivotal for the change of diversity in a particular area.

“We noticed that all in all the climate changes don't trigger a major change in diversity,” Bernhardt-Römermann sums up the baffling result. Much more influential for the diversity in the herb layer – apart from local factors like lighting conditions which can vary depending on forestry use – are most of all the availability of nitrogen and the density of the local game population. Thus for instance, populations of species which prefer open, thermophilous forests on mostly nutrient-poor soils are declining – such as the mountain sedge (Carex montana) or the scentless feverfew (Tanacetum corymbosum). At the same time, the remote sedge (Carex remota), the narrow buckler fern (Dryopteris carthusiana) and the rough bluegrass (Poa trivialis) – which grow in shaded and moist conditions often associated with increased nutrient availability – thrive distinctively better.

As a consequence from their findings, the researchers recommend to base future predictions for the development of biodiversity not only on global criteria like climate changes or land use scenarios, as these do not sufficiently take into consideration important local conditions. The local influences like game population and nitrogen availability should much rather be taken into account as well to improve the quality of predictions.

Original Publication:
Bernhardt-Römermann M, Baeten L, Craven D, De Frenne P, Hédl R, Lenoir J, Bert D, Brunet J, Chudomelová M, Decocq G, Dierschke H, Dirnböck T, Dörfler I, Heinken T, Hermy M, Hommel P, Jaroszewicz B, Keczyński A, Kelly DL, Kirby KJ, Kopecký M, Macek M, Máliš F, Mirtl M, Mitchell FJG, Naaf T, Newman M, Peterken G, Petřík P, Schmidt W, Standovár T, Tóth Z, Van Calster H, Verstraeten G, Vladovič J, Vild O, Wulf M, Verheyen K: Drivers of temporal changes in temperate forest plant diversity vary across spatial scales. Global Change Biology (2015). DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12993

Contact:
Dr. Markus Bernhardt-Römermann
Institute of Ecology
Friedrich Schiller University Jena
Dornburger Straße 159, 07743 Jena
Germany
Phone: +49 3641 / 949435
E-mail: markus.bernhardt[at]uni-jena.de

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.uni-jena.de/en/start.html

Dr. Ute Schönfelder | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Kakao in Monokultur verträgt Trockenheit besser als Kakao in Mischsystemen
18.09.2017 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

nachricht Ultrasound sensors make forage harvesters more reliable
28.08.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Zerstörungsfreie Prüfverfahren IZFP

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Comet or asteroid? Hubble discovers that a unique object is a binary

21.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cnidarians remotely control bacteria

21.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?

21.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>