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Item #d94mar20

"Biodiversity and Stability in Grasslands," D. Tilman (Dept. Ecology, Univ. Minnesota, 1987 Upper Buford Cir., St. Paul MN 55108), J.A. Downing, Nature, 367(6461), 363-365, Jan. 27, 1994.

A long-term study of grasslands shows that primary productivity in more diverse plant communities is more resistant to, and recovers more fully from, a major drought. Results imply that the preservation of biodiversity is essential for the maintenance of stable productivity in ecosystems.

Item #d94mar21

Two related items in Science, 263(5149), Feb. 18, 1994:

"Tropical Diversity and Global Change," S.L. Pimm (Dept. Zool., Univ. Tennessee, Knoxville TN 37996), A.M. Sugden, 933-934. Comments on the research of the following paper, which advances our understanding of the suspected links between global change and the loss of diversity, even though the argument is indirect.

"Increasing Turnover Through Time in Tropical Forests," O.L. Phillips (Missouri Botanical Garden, Box 299, St. Louis MO 63166), A.H. Gentry, 954-958. Assessments at 40 tropical forest sites show that turnover (tree mortality and recruitment) has increased since the 1950s, with an apparent pantropical acceleration since 1980. This trend in forest dynamics may have profound effects on biological diversity and the future carbon cycle. The most plausible cause is enhanced productivity from increasing levels of CO2.

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