Could we reduce the functional diversity of plant communities to a few schemes?

The functional configuration of plant communities follows a limited number of dominant schemes, which are surprisingly similar to those found for individual plant species.

Too strong is the temptation to paraphrase the famous incipit of the novel ‘Anna Karenina’ by Leo Tolstoy:

Are plant communities all alike or is every plant community unique in its own way? “

The ‘Anna Karenina principle’ applied to plant communities is, in a nutshell, the core of the new paper we have just published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. The exuberance of the plant world when it comes to self-organizing into variously assorted communities puzzled ecologists for decades in their search for patterns and commonalities across regions. Thanks to the unprecedented collection of data made available by sPlot – The Global Vegetation-plot database, we found that the organization of plants into communities follows a limited number of dominant schemes, which are surprisingly similar to those existing at the level of individual plant species.

Continue reading “Could we reduce the functional diversity of plant communities to a few schemes?”

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Who came first? Wild boar effects in a Mediterranean forest

Cover Photo by Tim Clifton / CC BY

 

I am happy to announce that a new paper I contributed to is now out in Community Ecology © Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest. This work is the result of couple of years of work of a great team of vegetation scientists and animal ecologists, with whom I had the luck to work for the last 4 years, and to whom I wish all the best.

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Why focusing on wild boar in a blog that talks about forests?

The point is that the populations of wild boar (Sus scrofa) in Europe have grown substantially in recent decades, not to mention Central Italy, where the study is focused. Indeed, this species is able to adapt to different environments, and for sure, it was highly favoured by a combination of reintroduction for hunting purposes, increasing tree mast frequency (climate change?), insufficient hunting pressure, and lack of predators.

Continue reading “Who came first? Wild boar effects in a Mediterranean forest”