Testing the effects of plant species loss on multiple ecosystem functions based on extinction scenarios

Yu Yoshihara, Takehiro Sasaki, Dashzeveg Nyambayar, Yu Matsuki, Yasunori Baba, Yoshihisa Suyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Ecosystem functions are threatened by continuing global loss of biodiversity. We simultaneously investigated three ecosystem functions and forage nutrient values following potential species extinction scenarios (dominant species removal, rare species removal, end-member species removal and random species removal) in a Mongolian grassland. ANPP, forage nutrient values, litter decomposition, and soil respiration were measured one and/or two years after plant removal. DNA samples of microorganisms extracted from the soil were subjected to metagenomics analysis. Finally, we calculated the multifunctionality, and examined the relationship of multifunctionality with plant and microorganism diversity. Among ecosystem functions, ANPP and litter decomposition rate decreased under random and rare species extinction scenarios, respectively, and forage quality increased when only dominant species had been removed. Diversity and species composition of soil microorganism were not affected by plant species richness or removal scenario. Only genus-level diversity of bacteria and ANPP were significantly and positively correlated with microbial diversity. Taken together, decreasing species richness of plants and soil organisms rarely impaired multifunctionality. Ecosystem functions were relatively robust to realistic disturbances and species extinction in natural grasslands. However, as each function responded differently to the different sets of species removed, the consequences of a realistic non-random extinction scenario for multiple ecosystem functions should be critical to the management of biodiversity loss caused by different disturbances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-22
Number of pages10
JournalBasic and Applied Ecology
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Aug


  • ANPP
  • Forage quality
  • Litter decomposition
  • Mongolian grassland
  • Soil microorganisms
  • Soil respiration


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