To buffer the negative effects of climate change and desertification (Google / Science Network)

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http://www.sciencewa.net.au/3837.html

Species biodiversity buffer needed to accommodate climate change

Written by Marion Lopez

A NEW international study reveals preserving diverse plant life is crucial to buffer the negative effects of climate change and desertification in the world’s drylands.

Published yesterday in the journal Science, the multi-author study confirms for the first time that the more diverse an ecosystem is, the more ecological functions it performs.

“This is the most extensive study of the links between function and diversity ever undertaken,” says co-author Professor David Eldridge, of the University of New South Wales’ School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences.

“Our findings suggest that plant species richness may be particularly important for maintaining ecosystem functions linked to carbon and nitrogen cycling, which sustain carbon sequestration and soil fertility.

“And because land degradation is often accompanied by the loss of soil fertility, plant species richness may also promote ecosystem resistance to desertification.”

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Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.