Cedar Creek Study Shows That Plant Diversity Enhances Ecosystem Resilience

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A decade long grassland experiment conducted at the Cedar Creek Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site have shown that ecosystems containing many different plant species are not only more productive, they are better able to withstand and recover from climate extremes, pests and disease over long periods.

Cedar Creek's Biodiversity Experiment is the first experiment to gather enough data--over a sufficient time and in a controlled environment to confirm a 50-year scientific debate about whether biodiversity stabilizes ecosystems.

The research team was led by researchers David Tilman, the lead principal investigator and professor of ecology at the University of Minnesota (UMN), Peter Reich (also of UMN), and Johannes Knops (who is also a professor at the University of Nebraska).

The results of their research was published in the 1 June 2006 issue of the journal Nature and featured on the National Science Foundation news website.