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Data from: Plant phylogenetic diversity stabilizes large-scale ecosystem productivity

Cite this dataset

Mazzochini, Guilherme G. et al. (2019). Data from: Plant phylogenetic diversity stabilizes large-scale ecosystem productivity [Dataset]. Dryad.


Aim Global carbon cycle models do not incorporate the stabilizing effect of biodiversity on productivity despite this phenomenon has been widely described in several local scale manipulative experiments. The reason is a lack of evidence supporting the importance of biodiversity on spatial scales at which climate models are built. Here, we test the hypothesis that diversity enhances productivity stability at a large-scale. Location South American dryland known as Caatinga (~830,000 km2). Time period 2001-2010. Major taxa studied Woody plants. Methods We used the Enhanced Vegetation Index of Caatinga vegetation remnants, from 2001 to 2010, to calculate vegetation productivity stability across years. We used occurrence records of 606 woody species on floristic surveys to derive species richness and phylogenetic diversity at ~5km (0.0833°) and ~55 km (0.5°) resolution. Climate data was obtained in global databases. Results Plant phylogenetic diversity has a strong positive correlation with productivity stability even after controlling for several climatic variables, such as rainfall, temperature and cloudiness, in both resolutions. Species richness was not significant when climatic variables were included. Main conclusions This result expands in several orders of magnitude the spatial scale of the evidence that biodiversity strengths the resilience of key ecosystem functions. We highlight that, by incorporating plant phylogenetic diversity, regional and global climate models can generate more accurate predictions about future ecosystem functioning and services that are critical to humankind.

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