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 Faba fix for corn's nitrogen need
11.04.2018 | American Society of Agronomy

nachricht Wheat research discovery yields genetic secrets that could shape future crops
09.04.2018 | John Innes Centre

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: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Start of work for the world's largest electric truck

20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research

Atoms may hum a tune from grand cosmic symphony

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>