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The value of biodiversity for the functioning of tropical forests: insurance effects during the first decade of the Sabah Biodiversity Experiment

The value of biodiversity for the functioning of tropical forests: insurance effects during the first decade of the Sabah Biodiversity Experiment
The value of biodiversity for the functioning of tropical forests: insurance effects during the first decade of the Sabah Biodiversity Experiment
One of the main environmental threats in the tropics is selective logging, which has degraded large areas of forest. In southeast Asia, enrichment planting with seedlings of the dominant group of dipterocarp tree species aims to accelerate restoration of forest structure and functioning. The role of tree diversity in forest restoration is still unclear, but the ‘insurance hypothesis’ predicts that in temporally and spatially varying environments planting mixtures may stabilize functioning owing to differences in species traits and ecologies. To test for potential insurance effects, we analyse the patterns of seedling mortality and growth in monoculture and mixture plots over the first decade of the Sabah biodiversity experiment. Our results reveal the species differences required for potential insurance effects including a trade-off in which species with denser wood have lower growth rates but higher survival. This trade-off was consistent over time during the first decade, but growth and mortality varied spatially across our 500 ha experiment with species responding to changing conditions in different ways. Overall, average survival rates were extreme in monocultures than mixtures consistent with a potential insurance effect in which monocultures of poorly surviving species risk recruitment failure, whereas monocultures of species with high survival have rates of self-thinning that are potentially wasteful when seedling stocks are limited. Longer-term monitoring as species interactions strengthen will be needed to more comprehensively test to what degree mixtures of species spread risk and use limited seedling stocks more efficiently to increase diversity and restore ecosystem structure and functioning.
0962-8452
1-10
Tuck, Sean L.
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O'Brien, Michael J.
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Philipson, Christopher D.
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Saner, Phillipe
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Tanadini, Matteo
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Dzulkifli, Dzaeman
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Godfray, H. Charles J.
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Godoong, Elia
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Nilus, Reuben
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Ong, Robert C.
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Schmid, Bernhard
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Sinun, Waidi
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Snaddon, Jake L.
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Snoep, Martijn
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Tangki, Hamzah
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Tay, John
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Ulok, Philip
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Sau Wai, Yap
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Weilenmann, Maja
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Reynolds, Glen
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Hector, Andy
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Tuck, Sean L.
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O'Brien, Michael J.
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Philipson, Christopher D.
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Saner, Phillipe
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Tanadini, Matteo
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Dzulkifli, Dzaeman
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Godfray, H. Charles J.
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Godoong, Elia
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Nilus, Reuben
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Ong, Robert C.
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Schmid, Bernhard
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Sinun, Waidi
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Snaddon, Jake L.
31a601f7-c9b0-45e2-b59b-fda9a0c5a54b
Snoep, Martijn
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Tangki, Hamzah
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Tay, John
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Ulok, Philip
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Sau Wai, Yap
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Weilenmann, Maja
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Reynolds, Glen
eb380c3d-218d-4dfd-9319-e2c58f34ebcb
Hector, Andy
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Tuck, Sean L., O'Brien, Michael J., Philipson, Christopher D., Saner, Phillipe, Tanadini, Matteo, Dzulkifli, Dzaeman, Godfray, H. Charles J., Godoong, Elia, Nilus, Reuben, Ong, Robert C., Schmid, Bernhard, Sinun, Waidi, Snaddon, Jake L., Snoep, Martijn, Tangki, Hamzah, Tay, John, Ulok, Philip, Sau Wai, Yap, Weilenmann, Maja, Reynolds, Glen and Hector, Andy (2016) The value of biodiversity for the functioning of tropical forests: insurance effects during the first decade of the Sabah Biodiversity Experiment. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 283 (1844), 1-10, [20161451]. (doi:10.1098/rspb.2016.1451). (PMID:27928046)

Record type: Article

Abstract

One of the main environmental threats in the tropics is selective logging, which has degraded large areas of forest. In southeast Asia, enrichment planting with seedlings of the dominant group of dipterocarp tree species aims to accelerate restoration of forest structure and functioning. The role of tree diversity in forest restoration is still unclear, but the ‘insurance hypothesis’ predicts that in temporally and spatially varying environments planting mixtures may stabilize functioning owing to differences in species traits and ecologies. To test for potential insurance effects, we analyse the patterns of seedling mortality and growth in monoculture and mixture plots over the first decade of the Sabah biodiversity experiment. Our results reveal the species differences required for potential insurance effects including a trade-off in which species with denser wood have lower growth rates but higher survival. This trade-off was consistent over time during the first decade, but growth and mortality varied spatially across our 500 ha experiment with species responding to changing conditions in different ways. Overall, average survival rates were extreme in monocultures than mixtures consistent with a potential insurance effect in which monocultures of poorly surviving species risk recruitment failure, whereas monocultures of species with high survival have rates of self-thinning that are potentially wasteful when seedling stocks are limited. Longer-term monitoring as species interactions strengthen will be needed to more comprehensively test to what degree mixtures of species spread risk and use limited seedling stocks more efficiently to increase diversity and restore ecosystem structure and functioning.

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Accepted/In Press date: 10 October 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 7 December 2016
Published date: 14 December 2016
Organisations: Environmental

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 404925
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/404925
ISSN: 0962-8452
PURE UUID: cc26eefb-0c13-4b80-b13f-f83a7c2b47f1
ORCID for Jake L. Snaddon: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3549-5472

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 25 Jan 2017 09:47
Last modified: 19 Nov 2022 05:03

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Contributors

Author: Sean L. Tuck
Author: Michael J. O'Brien
Author: Christopher D. Philipson
Author: Phillipe Saner
Author: Matteo Tanadini
Author: Dzaeman Dzulkifli
Author: H. Charles J. Godfray
Author: Elia Godoong
Author: Reuben Nilus
Author: Robert C. Ong
Author: Bernhard Schmid
Author: Waidi Sinun
Author: Jake L. Snaddon ORCID iD
Author: Martijn Snoep
Author: Hamzah Tangki
Author: John Tay
Author: Philip Ulok
Author: Yap Sau Wai
Author: Maja Weilenmann
Author: Glen Reynolds
Author: Andy Hector

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