Forests with more biodiversity are better resistant to drought


The biodiversity of an ecosystem is essential for resistance to any type of environmental impact. Ecosystems with great genetic exchange they are less vulnerable to events such as droughts.

This is confirmed by a study by an international team of researchers who have determined that the most biodiverse forests are the ones that best resist water stress caused by droughts, one of the main effects of climate change.

More biodiversity

The study, which is published today in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, has been prepared by scientists from the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), in collaboration with scientists from the Danum Valley Field Center and the Forest Research Center (Malaysia), as well as from the University of Oxford (UK).

Scientists have used plants from tropical trees in the jungles of Malaysia in their early growth phase. With these plants they tried monoculture and covered them with plastic sheets to isolate them from the rain and be able to simulate drought episodes similar to those that take place due to the El Niño phenomenon.

More resistance to drought

forest biodiversity

Seedlings responded to severe drought in all situations, but when diversity was higher, water stress was reduced compared to monoculture seedlings.

As there is less competition between the most diverse plants for water, it allows more stable growth to be maintained during periods of drought. In the case of plantations with the same species, competition for resources is greater and they deplete available water sooner.

On the one hand, that diversity promotes the resistance of different tree species to drought, a fact to take into account when droughts are more frequent according to the climate change scenarios forecast for the coming years.

Therefore, thanks to this discovery, the need to conserve the biodiversity of tropical forests in the face of climate change scenarios is further reinforced.

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