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Grazing - induced losses of biodiversity affect the transpiration of an arid ecosystem

Por: Verón, Santiago R.
Colaborador(es): Paruelo, José María | Oesterheld, Martín.
ISSN: 0029-8549.Tipo de material: Artículos y capítulos. Recurso electrónico.Tema(s): GRAZING | ORDER OF EXTINCTION | TRANSPIRATION | VARIABILITY | WATER | ARID ENVIRONMENT | DEGRADATION | ECOSYSTEM FUNCTION | EXTINCTION RISK | FUNCTIONAL CHANGE | OVERGRAZING | SPECIES RICHNESS | STEPPE | ANIMAL | BIODIVERSITY | BIOLOGICAL MODEL | BIOMASS | CLASSIFICATION | CLIMATE | ECOSYSTEM | FOOD CHAIN | GROWTH, DEVELOPMENT AND AGING | METABOLISM | PLANT | POPULATION DENSITY | POPULATION DYNAMICS | SOIL | SPECIES DIFFERENCE | ANIMALS | MODELS, BIOLOGICAL | PLANTS | SPECIES SPECIFICITY | Recursos en línea: Haga clic para acceso en línea | LINK AL EDITOR. En: Oecologia vol.165, no.2 (2011), p.501-510Resumen: Degradation processes often lead to species loss. Such losses would impact on ecosystem functioning depending on the extinction order and the functional and structural aspects of species. For the Patagonian arid steppe, we used a simulation model to study the effects of species loss on the rate and variability [i. e. stability] of transpiration as a key attribute of ecosystem functioning. We addressed [1] the differences between the overgrazing extinction order and other potential orders, and [2] the role of biomass abundance, biomass distribution, and functional diversity on the effect of species loss due to overgrazing. We considered a community composed of ten species which were assigned an order of extinction due to overgrazing based on their preference by livestock. We performed four model simulations to test for overgrazing effects through different combinations of species loss, and reductions of biomass and functional diversity. In general, transpiration rate and variability were positively associated to species richness and remained fairly constant until half the species were lost by overgrazing. The extinction order by overgrazing was the most conservative of all possible orders. The amount of biomass was more important than functional diversity in accounting for the impacts of species richness on transpiration. Our results suggest that, to prevent Patagonian steppes from shifting to stable, low-production systems [by overgrazing], maintaining community biomass is more important than preserving species richness or species functional diversity.
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Degradation processes often lead to species loss. Such losses would impact on ecosystem functioning depending on the extinction order and the functional and structural aspects of species. For the Patagonian arid steppe, we used a simulation model to study the effects of species loss on the rate and variability [i. e. stability] of transpiration as a key attribute of ecosystem functioning. We addressed [1] the differences between the overgrazing extinction order and other potential orders, and [2] the role of biomass abundance, biomass distribution, and functional diversity on the effect of species loss due to overgrazing. We considered a community composed of ten species which were assigned an order of extinction due to overgrazing based on their preference by livestock. We performed four model simulations to test for overgrazing effects through different combinations of species loss, and reductions of biomass and functional diversity. In general, transpiration rate and variability were positively associated to species richness and remained fairly constant until half the species were lost by overgrazing. The extinction order by overgrazing was the most conservative of all possible orders. The amount of biomass was more important than functional diversity in accounting for the impacts of species richness on transpiration. Our results suggest that, to prevent Patagonian steppes from shifting to stable, low-production systems [by overgrazing], maintaining community biomass is more important than preserving species richness or species functional diversity.

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