Relationships between species richness and ecosystem services in Amazonian forests strongly influenced by biogeographical strata and forest types

Steur, Gijs, ter Steege, Hans, Verburg, René W., Sabatier, Daniel, Molino, Jean-François, Bánki, Olaf S., Castellanos, Hernán, Stropp, Juliana, Fonty, Émile, Ruysschaert, Sofie, Galbraith, David, Kalamandeen, Michelle, van Andel, Tinde R., Brienen, Roel, Phillips, Oliver L., Feeley, Kenneth J., Terborgh, John, and Verweij, Pita A. (2022) Relationships between species richness and ecosystem services in Amazonian forests strongly influenced by biogeographical strata and forest types. Scientific Reports, 12. 5960.

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Despite increasing attention for relationships between species richness and ecosystem services, for tropical forests such relationships are still under discussion. Contradicting relationships have been reported concerning carbon stock, while little is known about relationships concerning timber stock and the abundance of non-timber forest product producing plant species (NTFP abundance). Using 151 1-ha plots, we related tree and arborescent palm species richness to carbon stock, timber stock and NTFP abundance across the Guiana Shield, and using 283 1-ha plots, to carbon stock across all of Amazonia. We analysed how environmental heterogeneity influenced these relationships, assessing differences across and within multiple forest types, biogeographic regions and subregions. Species richness showed significant relationships with all three ecosystem services, but relationships differed between forest types and among biogeographical strata. We found that species richness was positively associated to carbon stock in all biogeographical strata. This association became obscured by variation across biogeographical regions at the scale of Amazonia, resembling a Simpson’s paradox. By contrast, species richness was weakly or not significantly related to timber stock and NTFP abundance, suggesting that species richness is not a good predictor for these ecosystem services. Our findings illustrate the importance of environmental stratification in analysing biodiversity-ecosystem services relationships.

Item ID: 73781
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2022. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Date Deposited: 11 May 2022 08:40
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310308 Terrestrial ecology @ 70%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4102 Ecological applications > 410204 Ecosystem services (incl. pollination) @ 30%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180601 Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems @ 100%
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