Positive diversity–stability relationships in forest herb populations during four decades of community assembly

Authors

  • Martin Dovčiak,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Forest Resources, University of Washington, Box 352100, Seattle, WA 98195-2100, USA
    2. College of Environmental Science and Forestry, State University of New York, 459 Illick Hall, 1 Forestry Drive, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA
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  • Charles B. Halpern

    1. School of Forest Resources, University of Washington, Box 352100, Seattle, WA 98195-2100, USA
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Correspondence: E-mail: mdovciak@esf.edu

Abstract

Ecology Letters (2010)

Abstract

It is suggested that diversity destabilizes individual populations within communities; however, generalizations are problematic because effects of diversity can be confounded by variation attributable to community type, life history or successional stage. We examined these complexities using a 40-year record of reassembly in forest herb communities in two clearcut watersheds in the Andrews Long-term Ecological Research Site (Oregon, USA). Population stability was higher among forest than colonizing species and increased with successional stage. Thus, life history and successional stage may explain some of the variability in diversity–stability relationships found previously. However, population stability was positively related to diversity and this relationship held for different forest communities, for species with contrasting life histories, and for different successional stages. Positive relationships between diversity and population stability can arise if diversity has facilitative effects, or if stability is a precursor, rather than a response, to diversity.

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