Skip to Main Content
The ecological importance of understory herbaceous plantsAuthor(s): Chris Clement
Source: The Effects of Land-Use change on the biodiversity of the Highlands Plateau: A Carolina Environmental Program Report: 32-42
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
PDF: Download Publication (1.89 MB)
DescriptionMaintenance of species diversity is of major interest to both land managers and the scientific community. For nearly half a century, ecologists have debated the attributes of species diversity. Ecologists in the early 1960s proposed several hypotheses regarding the importance of species diversity in maintaining ecosystem integrig2, but very little research has been conducted to evaluate the functional importance of a diverse ecosystem Despite the lack of consensus by the scientific community on this issue, the commonly held belief among non-scientists seems to be that high species diversity directly corresponds with efficient ecosystem processes and high ecosystem stability. There may be some truth in this statement, but species poor ecosystems are not always inefficient and unstable. Some of the world's most extensive and ancient ecosystems, such as boreal forests, bogs, and heath lands, all typically have relatively low species richnesses Therefore, such generalizations about the functional role of biodiversity remain flawed and are in need of further examination. Thus, concrete knowledge of the functional role of diversity is a crucial area of study and is important for understanding the importance of biodiversity and evaluating how changes in vegetation impact ecosystem processes (e.g. net primary productivity).
- You may send email to email@example.com to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationClement, Chris. 2001. The ecological importance of understory herbaceous plants. The Effects of Land-Use change on the biodiversity of the Highlands Plateau: A Carolina Environmental Program Report: 32-42
- Differential organization of taxonomic and functional diversity in an urban woody plant metacommunity
- Forest biodiversity, carbon and other ecosystem services: relationships and impacts of deforestation and forest degradation
- Art/Science Collaborations: New Explorations of Ecological Systems, Values, and their Feedbacks
XML: View XML