Promoting diversity in forestry | Eurek alert!

image: The sites analyzed are spread all over the world
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The diversification of species in forest plantations has a positive impact on the quality of woodlands. This is the result of an international study involving a CNRS researcher1, published on May 20, 2022 in the journal Science. Forest plantations mixing several different species have long been used for certain reforestation operations, in the hope of restoring degraded lands, mitigating climate change and increasing wood production. However, until now, no study had proven the effectiveness of this process. The international team collected a wide range of data2 on forest plantations with either a single species (monoculture) or several species under the same conditions to assess the impact of the diversity of tree species on their growth and productivity. According to their analysis, trees in multispecies stands are taller, wider and produce more biomass3. These positive effects are mainly due to the functional complementarity between the species, ie the species do not use the resources of an environment in exactly the same way: together, they use them more efficiently. This study demonstrates the multiple benefits of considering mixed forest plantations in the development of afforestation and reforestation policies. Crucial strategies for restoring and conserving ecosystems and mitigating climate change.


1 Michel Loreau from the Theoretical and Experimental Ecology Station (CNRS)

2 These data come from 255 sites on all continents covering 243 tree species from plantations varying in density and climatic conditions.

3 In ecology, biomass designates the total mass of living organisms, in this case trees, present at a given time.


Multi-species forest plantations outperform monocultures under a wide range of conditions.

Yuhao Feng, Bernhard Schmid, Michel Loreau, David I. Forrester, Songlin Fei, Jianxiao Zhu, Zhiyao Tang, Jiangling Zhu, Pubin Hong, Chengjun Ji, Yue Shi, Haojie Su, Xinyu Xiong, Jian Xiao, Shaopeng Wang, Jingyun Fang. ScienceMay 20, 2022.

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