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Old 09-11-2011, 11:55 PM   #1
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Default Biodiversity, life's back-up plan

Biodiversity key to Earth's life-support functions in a changing world

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The more years, locations, ecosystem processes, and scenarios of global change -- such as global warming or land use intensity -- the experiments took into account, the more plant species were necessary to guarantee the functioning of the ecosystems. Moreover, other species were always necessary to keep the ecosystem processes running under the different combinations of influencing factors.
Biodiversity critical for maintaining multiple 'ecosystem services'

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That is, it appeared that the extinction of many species would not affect the functioning of the ecosystem because other species could compensate for their loss."
Now, by looking at grassland plant species, investigators have found that most of the studied species were important at least once for the maintenance of ecosystem services, because different sets of species were important during different years, at different places, for different services, and under different global change (e.g., climate or land-use change) scenarios. Furthermore, the species needed to provide one service during multiple years were not the same as those needed to provide multiple services during one year. "This means that biodiversity is even more important for maintaining ecosystem services than was previously thought," says Dr. Forest Isbell, the lead author and investigator of this study. "Our results indicate that many species are needed to maintain ecosystem services at multiple times and places in a changing world, and that species are less redundant than was previously thought."
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Old 10-25-2011, 11:20 AM   #2
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Severe Drought, Other Changes Can Cause Permanent Ecosystem Disruption

While the changes may be permanent they are possible because of the diverse life within those systems. If we degrade and disrupt these systems until enough species necessary to maintain function no longer exist in these locations then what?
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