By calculating ecosystem multifunctionality and analysing the relative contribution of its drivers (e.g., climate factors, disturbance intensity, plant and soil microbial attributes), the researchers found that there was no significant difference in community productivity, litter biomass and litter water holding capacity in the three forest categories, but the soil organic carbon density, soil water holding capacity, and soil available nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium contents in the forests that were subject to selective logging have exceeded that in the old forests, indicating that the secondary forests that suffered from selective logging disturbance has strong self-restoration capacity.
Although the moderately disturbed forest stands have lower functional trait diversity and stand structure diversity, it has higher plant species diversity, phylogenetic diversity and soil microbial diversity than the old forest stands.
Plant attributes such as plant taxonomic diversity, phylogenetic diversity, functional trait diversity and stand structure diversity have positive or negative effects on ecosystem multifunctionality indices, while soil bacteria diversity and stand structure diversity have stronger predictive validity for ecosystem multifunctionality, and the contribution of climate factors to ecosystem multifunctionality is relatively small. Above-and below-ground biodiversity show opposite pathways in the regulation of the ecosystem multifunctionality.
The study confirms that selective logging is an effective means to regulate forest biodiversity and ecosystem functions.
The results were published in Global Change Biology entitled "Divergent above-and below-ground biodiversity pathways mediate disturbance impacts on temperate forest multifunctionality."
This study was funded by CAS and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.
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