Impacts of species richness on productivity in a large-scale subtropical forest experiment

Yuanyuan Huang, Yuxin Chen, Nadia Castro-Izaguirre, Martin Baruffol, Matteo Brezzi, Anne Lang, Ying Li, Werner Härdtle, Goddert Von Oheimb, Xuefei Yang, Xiaojuan Liu, Kequan Pei, Sabine Both, Bo Yang, David Eichenberg, Thorsten Assmann, Jürgen Bauhus, Thorsten Behrens, François Buscot, Xiao Yong ChenDouglas Chesters, Bing Yang Ding, Walter Durka, Alexandra Erfmeier, Jingyun Fang, Markus Fischer, Liang Dong Guo, Dali Guo, Jessica L.M. Gutknecht, Jin Sheng He, Chun Ling He, Andy Hector, Lydia Hönig, Ren Yong Hu, Alexandra Maria Klein, Peter Kühn, Yu Liang, Shan Li, Stefan Michalski, Michael Scherer-Lorenzen, Karsten Schmidt, Thomas Scholten, Andreas Schuldt, Xuezheng Shi, Man Zhi Tan, Zhiyao Tang, Stefan Trogisch, Zhengwen Wang, Erik Welk, Christian Wirth, Tesfaye Wubet, Wenhua Xiang, Mingjian Yu, Xiao Dong Yu, Jiayong Zhang, Shouren Zhang, Naili Zhang, Hong Zhang Zhou, Chao Dong Zhu, Li Zhu, Helge Bruelheide, Keping Ma, Pascal A. Niklaus, Bernhard Schmid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


Biodiversity experiments have shown that species loss reduces ecosystem functioning in grassland. To test whether this result can be extrapolated to forests, the main contributors to terrestrial primary productivity, requires large-scale experiments.We manipulated tree species richness by planting more than 150,000 trees in plots with 1 to 16 species. Simulating multiple extinction scenarios, we found that richness strongly increased stand-level productivity. After 8 years, 16-species mixtures had accumulated over twice the amount of carbon found in average monocultures and similar amounts as those of two commercial monocultures. Species richness effects were strongly associated with functional and phylogenetic diversity. A shrub addition treatment reduced tree productivity, but this reduction was smaller at high shrub species richness. Our results encourage multispecies afforestation strategies to restore biodiversity and mitigate climate change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-83
Number of pages4
Issue number6410
StatePublished - Oct 5 2018

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