Structural diversity and ecosystem function

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By Elizabeth A Larue1, Brady Hardiman1, Jessica Elliott1, Songlin Fei1

Purdue University

Codes and data for published article: LaRue, EA, BS Hardiman, JM Elliott, S Fei. 2019. Structural diversity as a predictor of ecosystem function. Environmental Research Letters.

Version 1.0 - published on 14 Oct 2019 doi:10.4231/N88M-7A62 - cite this Archived on 14 Nov 2019

Licensed under GNU General Public License 3.0


Biodiversity is assumed to be critical for ecosystem functions, but the ability for existing biodiversity measures to accurately predict ecosystem functions remains uncertain. To improve the accuracy of ecosystem function predictions, we propose a new vector of biodiversity metrics, structural diversity, that have the potential to better predict ecosystem functions at large spatial scales. Using lidar-derived canopy structural diversity metrics on 19 forested sites from the National Ecological Observation Network across the USA, we show that a set of proposed structural diversity metrics are better at predicting 50% of key ecosystem functions than current biodiversity measures of species richness and phylogenetic diversity. 

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