Stability and asynchrony of local communities but less so diversity increase regional stability of Inner Mongolian grassland

Yonghui Wang, Shaopeng Wang, Liqing Zhao, Cunzhu Liang, Bailing Miao, Qing Zhang, Xiaxia Niu, Wenhong Ma, Bernhard Schmid
Extending knowledge on ecosystem stability to larger spatial scales is urgently needed because present local-scale studies are generally ineffective in guiding management and conservation decisions of an entire region with diverse plant communities. We investigated stability of plant productivity across spatial scales and hierarchical levels of organization and analyzed impacts of dominant species, species diversity, and climatic factors using a multisite survey of Inner Mongolian grassland. We
more » ... found that regional stability across distant local communities was related to stability and asynchrony of local communities. Using only dominant instead of all-species dynamics explained regional stability almost equally well. The diversity of all or only dominant species had comparatively weak effects on stability and synchrony, whereas a lower mean and higher variation of precipitation destabilized regional and local communities by reducing population stability and synchronizing species dynamics. We demonstrate that, for semi-arid temperate grassland with highly uneven species abundances, the stability of regional communities is increased by stability and asynchrony of local communities and these are more affected by climate rather than species diversity. Reduced amounts and increased variation of precipitation in the future may compromise the sustainable provision of ecosystem services to human well-being in this region.
doi:10.5167/uzh-225071 fatcat:4ovxvwyb2jbtxchrvfm6kg2cne