An analysis of seven tropical forests around the world has found that nature encourages diversity by selecting for less common trees as the trees mature.
Dipterocarp trees near the Pasoh forest reserve in peninsular Malaysia. Chris Wills, UCSD
The landmark study, which was conducted by 33 ecologists from 12 countries and published in the January 27 issue of the journal Science, conclusively demonstrates that diversity matters and has ecological importance to tropical forests.
“Ecologists have debated for decades over whether there is something of ecological value to species diversity,” says Christopher Wills, a professor of biology at the University of California, San Diego, who headed the study. “We found that in forests throughout the New and Old World tropics, older trees are more diverse than younger ones. In other words, diversity is actually selected for as each of the forests matures. This means diversity does indeed matter and is an essential property of these complex ecosystems.”
Kim McDonald | EurekAlert!
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