Plant diversity maintains multiple soil functions in future environments

  1. Nico Eisenhauer  Is a corresponding author
  2. Jes Hines
  3. Forest Isbell
  4. Fons van der Plas
  5. Sarah E Hobbie
  6. Clare E Kazanski
  7. Annika Lehmann
  8. Mengyun Liu
  9. Alfred Lochner
  10. Matthias C Rillig
  11. Anja Vogel
  12. Kally Worm
  13. Peter B Reich
  1. Leipzig University, Germany
  2. University of Minnesota, United States
  3. Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
  4. Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

Abstract

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 CO2, enriched N supply, and elevated CO2 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.

Data availability

All data generated or analyzed during this study are available in Supplementary File 3.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Nico Eisenhauer

    German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Leipzig University, Leipzig, Germany
    For correspondence
    nico.eisenhauer@idiv.de
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-0371-6720
  2. Jes Hines

    German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Leipzig University, Leipzig, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Forest Isbell

    Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University of Minnesota, St Paul, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Fons van der Plas

    Department of Systematic Botany and Functional Biodiversity, Leipzig University, Leipzig, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Sarah E Hobbie

    Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University of Minnesota, St Paul, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  6. Clare E Kazanski

    Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University of Minnesota, St Paul, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-7432-5666
  7. Annika Lehmann

    Institute of Biology, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  8. Mengyun Liu

    Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Management of Degraded Ecosystems, South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, China
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  9. Alfred Lochner

    German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Leipzig University, Leipzig, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  10. Matthias C Rillig

    Institute of Biology, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  11. Anja Vogel

    German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Leipzig University, Leipzig, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  12. Kally Worm

    Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota, St Paul, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  13. Peter B Reich

    Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota, St Paul, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.

Funding

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Ei 862/2; FZT 118)

  • Nico Eisenhauer
  • Jes Hines
  • Alfred Lochner

European Research Council (ERC award no 677232)

  • Nico Eisenhauer

National Science Foundation (DEB-1234162)

  • Peter B Reich

National Science Foundation (DEB-1120064)

  • Peter B Reich

National Science Foundation (DEB-1242531)

  • Peter B Reich

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Bernhard Schmid, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Publication history

  1. Received: August 18, 2018
  2. Accepted: November 27, 2018
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: November 28, 2018 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: December 17, 2018 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2018, Eisenhauer et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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  1. Nico Eisenhauer
  2. Jes Hines
  3. Forest Isbell
  4. Fons van der Plas
  5. Sarah E Hobbie
  6. Clare E Kazanski
  7. Annika Lehmann
  8. Mengyun Liu
  9. Alfred Lochner
  10. Matthias C Rillig
  11. Anja Vogel
  12. Kally Worm
  13. Peter B Reich
(2018)
Plant diversity maintains multiple soil functions in future environments
eLife 7:e41228.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.41228
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