Forest Diversity

Ecology and Environment

In a new study, researchers have found an explanation about why more diverse stands of trees are more productive than stands with only one species. Two MSI PIs, Associate Professor Jeannine Cavender-Bares (Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior) and Professor Peter Reich (Forest Resources), were part of this study. It shows that, due to their different shapes, different tree species are able to maximize their use of the available space. The study was published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution: Spatial complementarity in tree crowns explains overyielding in species mixtures. A story also appears on the University’s website: Study finds secret to diverse forests’ super success.

Professor Cavender-Bares uses MSI resources as part of studies that will develop better methods for remotely sensing many dimensions of plant biodiversity, including functional, genotypic and phylogenetic measures of diversity. Professor Reich is developing improved global land models based on plant functional traits.