When Does Biodiversity Make a Difference?


oakhickory_forest_UmsteadSP1_NC_11_04_2005.jpgBiodiversity can be like a forest’s insurance policy. The more and varied the tree species that live there, the better the chance that the forest can remain healthy, stable, and resilient through times of disturbance. But as climate change prompts new forest management approaches intended to maximize growth and productivity for carbon storage, bioenergy, and other benefits, researchers are wondering: when exactly does biodiversity make a difference? Kevin Potter, a North Carolina State University scientist working with the Eastern Threat Center, collaborated with research forester Christopher Woodall from the Forest Service Northern Research Station to examine the central research question. They studied the dynamics at play between tree biodiversity and live aboveground biomass across the contiguous United States and published the results in the journal Forest Ecology and Management. Read more in CompassLive...

Pictured: Tree species that are more distinct in terms of their evolutionary past may have uniquely important ecosystem functions in a forest community. Pictured is a diverse oak-hickory forest in North Carolina. Photo by Kevin Potter.


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