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Research article2017Peer reviewedOpen access

Intraspecific variability in growth response to environmental fluctuations modulates the stabilizing effect of species diversity on forest growth

Aussenac, Raphael; Bergeron, Yves; Mekontchou, Claudele Ghotsa; Gravel, Dominique; Pilch, Kamil; Drobyshev, Igor

Abstract

1. Differences between species in their response to environmental fluctuations cause asynchronized growth series, suggesting that species diversity may help communities buffer the effects of environmental fluctuations. However, within-species variability of responses may impact the stabilizing effect of growth asynchrony.2. We used tree ring data to investigate the diversity-stability relationship and its underlying mechanisms within the temperate and boreal mixed woods of Eastern Canada. We worked at the individual tree level to take into account the intraspecific variability of responses to environmental fluctuations.3. We found that species diversity stabilized growth in forest ecosystems. The asynchrony of species' response to climatic fluctuations and to insect outbreaks explained this effect. We also found that the intraspecific variability of responses to environmental fluctuations was high, making the stabilizing effect of diversity highly variable.4. Synthesis. Our results are consistent with previous studies suggesting that the asynchrony of species' response to environmental fluctuations drives the stabilizing effect of diversity. The intraspecific variability of these responses modulates the stabilizing effect of species diversity. Interactions between individuals, variation in tree size and spatial heterogeneity of environmental conditions could play a critical role in the stabilizing effect of diversity.

Keywords

biodiversity; dendrochronology; growth asynchrony; plant population and community dynamics; plant-climate interactions; plant-herbivore interactions; plant-plant interactions; tree growth

Published in

Journal of Ecology
2017, Volume: 105, number: 4, pages: 1010-1020 Publisher: WILEY

    Associated SLU-program

    SLU Plant Protection Network

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG15 Life on land

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Forest Science

    Publication identifier

    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.12728

    Permanent link to this page (URI)

    https://res.slu.se/id/publ/91014