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Journal of Applied Sciences
Year: 2016  |  Volume: 16  |  Issue: 7  |  Page No.: 324 - 331

Ecological Problem of Diversity-productivity Relationship Elucidated Through Statistical Analysis of Experimental Microcosmic Plant Communities

Pankaj Sah, Najwa Al-Hattali, Hajer Al-Ajmi and Iman Al-Bakari    

Abstract: Background: Augmented anthropogenic activities are posing a direct threat to species diversity at regional and global scale for past many decades. Ecologists are very much alarmed about the serious repercussions of diversity-loss and predicting depauperate and poor functioning ecosystems in near future. However, the results of many such studies have been questioned too, on the basis of faulty inclusion of high productive species in experiments that rendered the relationship between diversity and ecosystem functioning debatable. Objective: Present study tries to find out the answer and deals exclusively with the effects of species diversity and richness on the productivity of plant communities in microcosms. Methodology: Pearson correlation and analysis of variance (ANOVA) carried out across all communities to observe the effect of species diversity and richness on herb productivity, indicated a highly significant and positive relationship (r = 0.85, F = 20.93, p<0.001), (r = 0.76, F = 11.23, p<0.01), respectively. Results: The results lend support to diversity-productivity hypothesis even at smaller scale ecosystems. This study comes to a new finding that at smaller scale ecosystems, the role of growth forms proves to be redundant and what matters most is species diversity and richness on the functioning of ecosystems. Conclusion: The present study accentuates the issues of ecological conservation and elucidates that more diverse and species rich areas are prerequisite for better functioning ecosystems. Therefore, this study recommends the conservation of biodiversity and that the productivity and functioning of an ecosystem can be enhanced by conserving and promoting its alpha diversity.

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