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Linking environment, biodiversity, and ecosystem functions in forest ecosystems

dc.contributor.advisorChen, Han
dc.contributor.authorZhang, Yu
dc.description.abstractThe positive biodiversity and ecosystem functions relationship (BEF) has been well established, especially in controlled experiments. However, a coherent study to examine the multiple relationships in BEF in natural ecosystems is lacking. Using the observational data of Canadian forests, I aim to examine the species diversity-productivity relationships in natural forest ecosystems across forest strata, under the influences of the climate factors and local site conditions. I found the positive effects of energy on tree species diversity while accounting for potentially confounding evolutionary effects and show evidence for the effects of local site conditions and secondary succession on diversity. The positive species diversity effects on productivity were common across forest strata but to different extent while the canopy tree diversity had negative effects on understorey plant biomass. Furthermore, tree size inequality may be a central process for the positive diversity effects on productivity, and potentially as the shared mechanism in regulating productivity and species diversity simultaneously via interactions among individuals in natural forests. This study sheds lights to deepen our understanding of the key features of natural ecosystems. I highlight that relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services are multifaceted, subject to several covariates including climate, local site conditions, time since stand-replacing disturbances, and the reciprocal interactions between diversity and ecosystem functions and services. However, our findings call for the complementary experiments to evaluate those potential mechanisms and drivers.en_US
dc.subjectNatural forest ecosystemsen_US
dc.subjectBiodiversity-ecosystem functioningen_US
dc.subjectSpecies-energy relationshipen_US
dc.subjectLife-history traitsen_US
dc.subjectAboveground biomassen_US
dc.subjectSoil carbon storageen_US
dc.subjectStand ageen_US
dc.subjectSoil drainage classen_US
dc.subjectGrowth formen_US
dc.subjectBoosted regression treesen_US
dc.subjectStructural equation modelingen_US
dc.titleLinking environment, biodiversity, and ecosystem functions in forest ecosystemsen_US
dc.typeThesisen_US Universityen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberCrowe, Kevin
dc.contributor.committeememberShahi, Chander

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