Skip to main content

Bio-Diversity and Ecological Processes in Terrestrial Herbaceous ecosystems: experimental manipulations of plant communities

Objective

To make a comprehensive inventory of the role of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) applications and identify the barriers and opportunities which influence the implementation of LCA within business decision making. To examine the links between business decision-making and environmental policy and to analyze the relevance of LCA for European environmental policy.

The BIODEPTH project uses experimental and other approaches to investigate the impacts of reducing biodiversity on ecosystem structure and processes, along two intersecting transects across Europe. BIODEPTH focuses on natural and semi natural herbaceous plant communities as model systems. The project, the first of its kind to be attempted anywhere in the world, will quantify the effects on ecosystem structure and processes of reducing plant species richness in herbaceous communities. BIODEPTH is a unique experiment, combining field manipulations of biodiversity with theoretical modelling, and studies of ecosystem processes on existing diversity gradients. It directly addresses Research Task 1.2.2.3 of the Environment and Climate Work Programme. Within that Work Programme, TERI (Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Institute) seeks to quantify and predict links between biodiversity, population biology and ecosystem function. The proposal reviews the limited theoretical and empirical data currently available in this area, and defines five hypotheses that will be tested and which characterise expected responses between ecosystem function and species richness.
To achieve BIODEPTH's objectives, field experiments will be conducted in Sweden, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal and Greece; France will lead the modelling programme. The same basic experiment will be conducted in each participating country, using standard protocols. BIODEPTH mimics world- and European-wide loss of plant biodiversity by experimentally creating replicate plant communities with reduced species-richness, from the pool of native, local species present at each site. The experiments are not designed to reproduce the effects of losing particular taxa (eg species of high conservation interest) from European ecosystems. Rather, they are designed to reveal general principles, and to develop predictive ability. Models linking ecophysiology, population dynamics and ecosystem processes will provide new ways of understanding when, how and why biodiversity affects ecosystem function The proposal evaluates the risks of failure (considered to be very low), and summarises benefits and links with other planned and existing European environmental networks (CANIF, Eddy Covariance and DEPO). The consortium partners have considerable experience of international collaboration, within and outside the EU.
The project, the first of its kind to be attempted anywhere in the world, will quantify the effects on ecosystem structure and processes of reducing plant species richness in herbaceous communities. BIODEPTH is a unique experiment, combining field manipulations of biodiversity with theoretical modelling, and studies of ecosystem processes on existing diversity gradients. It seeks to quantify and predict links between biodiversity, population biology and ecosystem function. The proposal reviews the limited theoretical and empirical data currently available in this area, and defines five hypotheses that will be tested and which characterise expected responses between ecosystem function and species richness.
To achieve BIODEPTH's objectives, field experiments will be conducted in Sweden, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal and Greece; France will lead the modelling programme. The same basic experiment will be conducted in each participating country, using standard protocols. BIODEPTH mimics world- and European-wide loss of plant biodiversity by experimentally creating replicate plant communities with reduced species-richness, from the pool of native, local species present at each site. The experiments are not designed to reproduce the effects of losing particular taxa (eg species of high conservation interest) from European ecosystems. Rather, they are designed to reveal general principles, and to develop predictive ability. Models linking ecophysiology, population dynamics and ecosystem processes will provide new ways of understanding when, how and why biodiversity affects ecosystem function. The proposal evaluates the risks of failure (considered to be very low), and summarises benefits and links with other planned and existing European environmental networks (CANIF, Eddy Covariance and DEPO). The consortium partners have considerable experience of international collaboration, within and outside the

Coordinator

IMPERIAL COLLEGE OF SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND MEDICINE
Address
Silwood Park
SL5 7PY Ascot
United Kingdom

Participants (8)

INSTITUTO SUPERIOR DE AGRONOMIA
Portugal
Address
Tapada Da Ajuda
Lisboa
National University of Ireland, Cork
Ireland
Address
Prospect Row
30 Cork
THE SWEDISH UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES
Sweden
Address

901 83 Umeaa
UNIVERSITAET BAYREUTH
Germany
Address
Universitätsstrasse 30
95440 Bayreuth
UNIVERSITE PIERRE ET MARIE CURIE - PARIS VI
France
Address
Quai Saint Bernard 7, Case A7 237
75252 Paris
UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD
United Kingdom
Address
Western Bank
S10 2TN Sheffield
UNIVERSITY OF THE AEGEAN
Greece
Address
17,Karantoni 17, Xenia Building
81100 Mytilini
UNIVERSITY OF ZURICH
Switzerland
Address
190,Winterthurerstrasse 190
8057 Zurich