07.04.2015 | iDiv, Experimental Interaction Ecology

Species diversity protects the climate

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Plant species diversity reduces the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere: Plants remove carbon dioxide from the air and incorporate the carbon into biomass, through which it can get into the soil and be stored there. A long-term study carried out by the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry (Jena) in cooperation with iDiv has demonstrated now for the first time how the biological diversity of plants increases this carbon storage. The scientists have shown that species diversity not only boosts the formation of plant biomass but also increases the activity and genetic diversity of soil microorganisms increasingly transforming the plant carbon into soil organic matter. Thus, the carbon is bound for longer and sustainably removed from the atmosphere where it acts as climate-damaging greenhouse gas. The study was published in Nature Communications. The international research team was completed by Prof. Nico Eisenhauer (German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research/iDiv), Prof. Robert I. Griffith (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, UK) as well as scientists from the Georg August University Göttingen, the Humboldt University Berlin, the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, and the Centre national de la recherche scientifique, France.
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