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Tree species identity outweighs the effects of tree species diversity and forest fragmentation on understorey diversity and composition

(2017) PLANT ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION. 150(3). p.229-239
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Abstract
Background & aim : In general, biodiversity has positive effects on ecosystem functioning. In forests, understorey vegetation is influenced by both the composition and species richness of the overstorey through species-specific effects on environmental conditions at the forest floor. Forest fragmentation is also known to influence understorey vegetation composition and richness. However, the combined effects of tree species diversity and forest fragmentation have not been studied yet. With the TREEWEB research platform, consisting of 53 forest plots along a tree species diversity and forest fragmentation gradient, we aim to unravel the combined effects of tree species diversity, tree species identity and forest fragmentation on the understorey composition and diversity. Methods : The TREEWEB platform includes forest plots of three tree species richness levels, containing all possible species combinations of Quercus robur, Quercus rubra and Fagus sylvatica. Complete dilution is avoided in the design, allowing separation between tree species identity and diversity effects. Vegetation surveys were conducted in all plots to investigate the species richness, species diversity, compositional turnover and cover of the herb layer as well as the shrub layer cover. Key results : Within the TREEWEB platform, overstorey-understorey diversity relationships were mainly characterised by tree species identity effects. No clear effects of tree species diversity and forest fragmentation on understorey composition and diversity were found. Conclusion : Tree species identity effects were most important in explaining the observed patterns in the understorey vegetation. Further in-depth research will allow us to disentangle which mechanisms underlie these patterns and whether effects of fragmentation are more pronounced at higher trophic levels.
Keywords
TREEWEB, tree species diversity, identity effects, forest fragmentation, understorey vegetation, DECIDUOUS FORESTS, VEGETATION DIVERSITY, ROOT COMPETITION, VANCOUVER-ISLAND, EUROPEAN FORESTS, BOREAL FORESTS, QUERCUS-RUBRA, FOOD WEBS, RICHNESS, TEMPERATE

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Chicago
De Groote, Stefanie, Irene van Schrojenstein Lantman, Bram Sercu, Daan Dekeukeleire, Roschong Boonyarittichaikij, Hannah Keely Smith, Robbe De Beelde, et al. 2017. “Tree Species Identity Outweighs the Effects of Tree Species Diversity and Forest Fragmentation on Understorey Diversity and Composition.” Plant Ecology and Evolution 150 (3): 229–239.
APA
De Groote, Stefanie, van Schrojenstein Lantman, I., Sercu, B., Dekeukeleire, D., Boonyarittichaikij, R., Smith, H. K., De Beelde, R., et al. (2017). Tree species identity outweighs the effects of tree species diversity and forest fragmentation on understorey diversity and composition. PLANT ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION, 150(3), 229–239.
Vancouver
1.
De Groote S, van Schrojenstein Lantman I, Sercu B, Dekeukeleire D, Boonyarittichaikij R, Smith HK, et al. Tree species identity outweighs the effects of tree species diversity and forest fragmentation on understorey diversity and composition. PLANT ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION. 2017;150(3):229–39.
MLA
De Groote, Stefanie, Irene van Schrojenstein Lantman, Bram Sercu, et al. “Tree Species Identity Outweighs the Effects of Tree Species Diversity and Forest Fragmentation on Understorey Diversity and Composition.” PLANT ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION 150.3 (2017): 229–239. Print.
@article{8541817,
  abstract     = {Background \& aim : In general, biodiversity has positive effects on ecosystem functioning. In forests, understorey vegetation is influenced by both the composition and species richness of the overstorey through species-specific effects on environmental conditions at the forest floor. Forest fragmentation is also known to influence understorey vegetation composition and richness. However, the combined effects of tree species diversity and forest fragmentation have not been studied yet. With the TREEWEB research platform, consisting of 53 forest plots along a tree species diversity and forest fragmentation gradient, we aim to unravel the combined effects of tree species diversity, tree species identity and forest fragmentation on the understorey composition and diversity. 
Methods : The TREEWEB platform includes forest plots of three tree species richness levels, containing all possible species combinations of Quercus robur, Quercus rubra and Fagus sylvatica. Complete dilution is avoided in the design, allowing separation between tree species identity and diversity effects. Vegetation surveys were conducted in all plots to investigate the species richness, species diversity, compositional turnover and cover of the herb layer as well as the shrub layer cover. 
Key results : Within the TREEWEB platform, overstorey-understorey diversity relationships were mainly characterised by tree species identity effects. No clear effects of tree species diversity and forest fragmentation on understorey composition and diversity were found. 
Conclusion : Tree species identity effects were most important in explaining the observed patterns in the understorey vegetation. Further in-depth research will allow us to disentangle which mechanisms underlie these patterns and whether effects of fragmentation are more pronounced at higher trophic levels.},
  author       = {De Groote, Stefanie and van Schrojenstein Lantman, Irene and Sercu, Bram and Dekeukeleire, Daan and Boonyarittichaikij, Roschong and Smith, Hannah Keely and De Beelde, Robbe and Ceunen, Kris and Vantieghem, Pieter and Matheve, Hans and De Neve, Liesbeth and Vanhellemont, Margot and Baeten, Lander and de la Pena, Eduardo and Bonte, Dries and Martel, An and Verheyen, Kris and Lens, Luc},
  issn         = {2032-3913},
  journal      = {PLANT ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {229--239},
  title        = {Tree species identity outweighs the effects of tree species diversity and forest fragmentation on understorey diversity and composition},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.5091/plecevo.2017.1331},
  volume       = {150},
  year         = {2017},
}

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