The diversity-biomass-productivity relationships in grassland management and restoration
Diversity, biomass, and productivity, the three key community/ecosystem variables, are interrelated and pose reciprocal influences on each other. The relationships among the three variables have been a central focus in ecology and formed two schools of fundamentally different nature with two related applications: (1) management – how biomass manipulation (e.g., grazing, burning) affects diversity and productivity, and (2) restoration – how diversity manipulation (e.g., seeding, planting) affects biomass and productivity. In the past, the two apparently related aspects have been studied intensively but separately in basic research and the reciprocal effects of the three variables and applied aspects have not been jointly addressed. In most cases, optimal management often involves regulating biomass so that high diversity and productivity or other preferred habitat characteristics can be achieved and maintained, while restoration usually involves planting/seeding a certain number and/or combination of native species so that the native structure and function of the habitat can be restored and degraded ecosystems can recover faster. This article attempts to unify these two schools and discusses the significance and implications of the diversity–biomass–productivity relationships in practice, with particular emphasis on grassland ecosystems.