Plant diversity maintains multiple soil functions in future environments

Nico Eisenhauer, Jes Hines, Forest Isbell, Fons van der Plas, Sarah E Hobbie, Clare E. Kazanski, Anika Lehmann, Mengyun Liu, Alfred Lochner, Matthias C. Rillig, Anja Vogel, Kally Worm, Peter B Reich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Biodiversity increases ecosystem functions underpinning a suite of services valued by society, including services provided by soils. To test whether, and how, future environments alter the relationship between biodiversity and multiple ecosystem functions, we measured grassland plant diversity effects on single soil functions and ecosystem multifunctionality, and compared relationships in four environments: ambient conditions, elevated atmospheric CO 2 , enriched N supply, and elevated CO 2 and N in combination. Our results showed that plant diversity increased three out of four soil functions and, consequently, ecosystem multifunctionality. Remarkably, biodiversity-ecosystem function relationships were similarly significant under current and future environmental conditions, yet weaker with enriched N supply. Structural equation models revealed that plant diversity enhanced ecosystem multifunctionality by increasing plant community functional diversity, and the even provision of multiple functions. Conserving local plant diversity is therefore a robust strategy to maintain multiple valuable ecosystem services in both present and future environmental conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere41228
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018

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