¿Cómo sabemos si conservar la biodiversidad es importante?

Pues, entre otras cosas, examinando las consecuencias de la pérdida de biodiversidad en condiciones naturales. Un grupo internacional de investigadores ha encontrado pruebas claras de que comunidades ricas en especies están significativamente más sanas y son más productivas que otras que están empobrecidas, una vez que se han eliminado de los análisis factores que los complicaban.

 James B. Grace et al., 2016. Integrative modelling reveals mechanisms linking productivity and plant species richness. Nature. DOI: doi:10.1038/nature16524

  Resumen: How ecosystem productivity and species richness are interrelated is one of the most debated subjects in the history of ecology1. Decades of intensive study have yet to discern the actual mechanisms behind observed global patterns2, 3. Here, by integrating the predictions from multiple theories into a single model and using data from 1,126 grassland plots spanning five continents, we detect the clear signals of numerous underlying mechanisms linking productivity and richness. We find that an integrative model has substantially higher explanatory power than traditional bivariate analyses. In addition, the specific results unveil several surprising findings that conflict with classical models4, 5, 6, 7. These include the isolation of a strong and consistent enhancement of productivity by richness, an effect in striking contrast with superficial data patterns. Also revealed is a consistent importance of competition across the full range of productivity values, in direct conflict with some (but not all) proposed models. The promotion of local richness by macroecological gradients in climatic favourability, generally seen as a competing hypothesis8, is also found to be important in our analysis. The results demonstrate that an integrative modelling approach leads to a major advance in our ability to discern the underlying processes operating in ecological systems.

Vínculo al texto: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature16524.html

 

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