Biodiversity Science ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (11): 1182-1191.doi: 10.17520/biods.2017167


• Original Papers: Plant Diversity • Previous Article     Next Article

The relationship between species richness and ecosystem multifunctionality in the Pinus yunnanensis natural secondary forest

Xiaobo Huang1, 2, Shuaifeng Li1, 2, Jianrong Su1, 2, *(), Wande Liu1, 2, Xuedong Lang1, 2   

  1. 1 Research Institute of Resource Insects, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Kunming 650224
    2 Pu’er Forest Ecosytem Research Station, State Forest Administration, Kunming 650224;
  • Received:2017-06-05 Accepted:2017-11-20 Online:2017-11-20
  • Su Jianrong

Under global climate change, biodiversity is decreasing rapidly due to deforestation and habitat fragmentation, which has serious consequences for ecosystem functioning. In recent years, the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning has been a core research area in ecology. Previous researchers have paid great attention to the relationship between biodiversity and individual ecosystem functioning, and seldom consider multiple functions (multifunctionlity), especially in forest ecosystems. Here, based on survey data from 94 plots of Pinus yunnanensis in a natural secondary forest, we selected variables related to ecosystem functioning: woody plant biomass, soil organic carbon, plant nitrogen, plant phosphorus, soil total nitrogen, soil hydrolyzable nitrogen, soil total phosphorus, and soil available phosphorus. We used an averaging approach, single threshold approach, and multiple threshold approach to evaluate the effects of species richness on ecosystem multifunctionality and impacting factors. Results showed that the relationship between species richness and ecosystem multifunctionality was stronger than that of individual ecosystem functioning. Species richness had a significant positive effect on multifunctionality within thresholds ranging from 3% to 88%. When using a moderate threshold (54%), species richness had the strongest positive effect, and the percentage of maximum possible species richness was 53.53%. Path analysis of a structural equation model showed that species richness had the strongest (positive) effect on multifunctionality in the Pinus yunnanensis natural secondary forest. Mean annual temperature, mean annual precipitation, and soil pH had insignificant effects on multifunctionality, but indirect effects via influences on species richness. Species richness may be of primary importance when considering ecosystem multifunctionality. Increasing species numbers may not always lead to the optimal state of all functions. Increasing species numbers had the strongest effects on multifunctionality, but only once multifunctionality reached moderate levels.

Key words: Pinus yunnanensis, biodiversity, species richness, structural equation modeling, ecosystem multifunctionality

Table 1

Relationships between species richness and individual ecosystem functioning, ecosystem multifunctionality in the Pinus yunnanensis natural secondary forest"

功能指标 Function parameters 物种丰富度
Speicies richness
R2 P
植物氮 Plant nitrogen 0.01 P = 0.310
植物磷 Plant phosphorus 0.26 P < 0.001
土壤水解性氮 Soil hydrolyzable nitrogen 0.20 P < 0.001
土壤有效磷 Soil available phosphorus 0.20 P < 0.001
土壤全氮 Soil total nitrogen 0.19 P < 0.001
土壤全磷 Soil total phosphorus 0.13 P < 0.001
土壤有机碳 Soil organic carbon 0.26 P < 0.001
木本植物生物量 Woody plant biomass 0.04 P < 0.001
生态系统多功能性 Ecosystem multifunctionality 0.39 P < 0.001

Fig. 1

The effect of species richness at different thresholds in the Pinus yunnanensis natural secondary forest. The effect represent the slope of the relationship between species richness and the number of functions beyond a threshold of the maximum observed value. Points are the fitted values and shading indicated ±1 confidence interval."

Fig. 2

The relationship between species richness of Pinus yunnanensis natural secondary forest and the number of functions beyond a threshold of the maximum observed value at different thresholds. The percentage in rectangle frames represent four different threshold values (20%, 40%, 60%, and 80% of maximum)."

Fig. 3

Structural equation models (SEM) of biotic and abiotic factors as predictors of ecosystem multifunctionality (EMF). Solid arrows represent extremely significant (P < 0.01); dotted grey arrows represent non-significant paths (P > 0.05). Path coefficients (β) are on the arrows. Plant SR, Plant species richness; MAT, Mean annual temperature; MAP, Mean annual precipitation."

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