Does tree diversity increase wood production in pine forests?

Montserrat Vilà, Jordi Vayreda, Carles Gracia, Joan Josep Ibáñez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

102 Citations (Scopus)


Recent experimental advances on the positive effect of species richness on ecosystem productivity highlight the need to explore this relationship in communities other than grasslands and using non-synthetic experiments. We investigated whether wood production in forests dominated by Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis) and Pyrenean Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) differed between monospecific and mixed forests (2-5 species) using the Ecological and Forest Inventory of Catalonia (IEFC) database which contains biotic and environmental characteristics for 10,644 field plots distributed within a 31,944 km2 area in Catalonia (NE Spain). We found that in Pyrenean Scots pine forests wood production was not significantly different between monospecific and mixed plots. In contrast, in Aleppo pine forests wood production was greater in mixed plots than in monospecific plots. However, when climate, bedrock types, radiation and successional stage per plot were included in the analysis, species richness was no longer a significant factor. Aleppo pine forests had the highest productivity in plots located in humid climates and on marls and sandstone bedrocks. Climate did not influence wood production in Pyrenean Scots pine forests, but it was highest on sandstone and consolidated alluvial materials. For both pine forests wood production was negatively correlated with successional stage. Radiation did not influence wood production. Our analysis emphasizes the influence of macroenvironmental factors and temporal variation on tree productivity at the regional scale. Well-conducted forest surveys are an excellent source of data to test for the association between diversity and productivity driven by large-scale environmental factors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-303
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003


  • Mediterranean forests
  • Mixed forest
  • Pinus halepensis
  • Pinus sylvestris
  • Species richness


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