The FUN_DIV project (FUNctional significance of tree DIVersity for nutrient dynamics in a tropical plantation), located in Panama, Central America, examined the role of tree diversity for ecosystem functioning in tropical plantation forests. A gradient of tree diversity from one to eighteen species had been created by planting.
FUN_DIV was part of a large-sclae biodiversity experiment in Sardinilla (Panama), established by Prof. Catherine Potvin, McGill University Canada.
We concentrated on diversity effects on nutrient cycling with special emphasis on nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). We aimed at quantification of the uptake of both N and P to plants, organic N mineralization in soil, and losses through leaching down the soil profile. More specifically, we wanted to understand the mechanisms underlying any diversity effects, such as complementarity in resource uptake, adopting isotope tracer studies.
Because even basic information is lacking about occurrence of mycorrhizal associations in most tropical tree species, we were examining to what extent the trees establish mycorrhizal associations and of which types. We gathered information on possible effects of tree species richness on both the diversity and community structure of mycorrhizal communities. Additionally, we also addressed to what extent different tree species benefit from mycorrhizal associations.
SCHERER-LORENZEN, M., BONILLA, J. L., POTVIN, C. (2007) Tree species richness affects litter production and decomposition dynamics in a tropical biodiversity experiment. Oikos 116: 2108-2124
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