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Diversity Helps Trees Thrive, Reduce Pollution

In the recent issue of Nature Ecology & Evolution, University of Minnesota researchers shared how diverse mixtures of trees did better than tree stands with single species. The team, along with partners from the University of Quebec, studied 37 tree plots for four years. The plots included 12 different species found in forests throughout the northern United States. The scientist noted that plots with multiple species filled in vertical gaps more effectively with branches and leaves, leading to more tree growth, higher wood production, and higher rates of carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere.

“It’s a common hypothesis that complementarity matters,” says lead author Laura Williams, a graduate student in ecology, evolution and behavior at the University of Minnesota.

Currently, less than one percent of the world's plantation forests contain more than one species of trees. This NIFA-funded project reveals the benefits of planting multiple species to boost forests’ ability to produce wood and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Read more about Forest Success.

Want to read about more impacts like this? Check out Fresh from the Field, a weekly bulletin showcasing transformative impacts made by grantees funded by NIFA.
 

Farm Bill Priority Areas
Plant health, production, and products
U.S. States and Territories
Minnesota
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