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Title: The economic value of grassland species for carbon storage

Abstract

Carbon storage by ecosystems is valuable for climate protection. Biodiversity conservation may help increase carbon storage, but the value of this influence has been difficult to assess. We use plant, soil, and ecosystem carbon storage data from two grassland biodiversity experiments to show that greater species richness increases economic value: Increasing species richness from 1 to 10 had twice the economic value of increasing species richness from 1 to 2. The marginal value of each additional species declined as species accumulated, reflecting the nonlinear relationship between species richness and plant biomass production. Here, our demonstration of the economic value of biodiversity for enhancing carbon storage provides a foundation for assessing the value of biodiversity for decisions about land management. Combining carbon storage with other ecosystem services affected by biodiversity may well enhance the economic arguments for conservation even further.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [3];  [4]; ORCiD logo [5];  [4];  [6];  [7];  [8];  [1]; ORCiD logo [9]
  1. Northern Arizona Univ., Flagstaff, AZ (United States). Center for Ecosystem Science and Society; Northern Arizona Univ., Flagstaff, AZ (United States). Dept. of Biological Sciences
  2. Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie, WY (United States). Dept. of Economics and Finance
  3. Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL (United States). Dept. of Agricultural and Consumer Economics
  4. Northern Arizona Univ., Flagstaff, AZ (United States). Center for Ecosystem Science and Society
  5. Univ. of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN (United States). Dept. of f Forest Resources; Western Sydney Univ., Penrith, NSW (Australia). Hawkesbury Inst. for the Environment
  6. Univ. of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN (United States). Dept. of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior
  7. Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE (United States). School of Biological Sciences
  8. Western Washington Univ., Bellingham, WA (United States). Dept. of Biology
  9. Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (United States). School of Natural Resources and Environment
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN (United States); Michigan Technological Univ., Houghton, MI (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
OSTI Identifier:
1425607
Grant/Contract Number:
FG02-96ER62291; FC02-06ER64158
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Science Advances
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 3; Journal Issue: 4; Journal ID: ISSN 2375-2548
Publisher:
AAAS
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; carbon storage; biodiversity; economic value; valuation; species diversity; species richness; grassland; social cost of carbon

Citation Formats

Hungate, Bruce A., Barbier, Edward B., Ando, Amy W., Marks, Samuel P., Reich, Peter B., van Gestel, Natasja, Tilman, David, Knops, Johannes M. H., Hooper, David U., Butterfield, Bradley J., and Cardinale, Bradley J. The economic value of grassland species for carbon storage. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1601880.
Hungate, Bruce A., Barbier, Edward B., Ando, Amy W., Marks, Samuel P., Reich, Peter B., van Gestel, Natasja, Tilman, David, Knops, Johannes M. H., Hooper, David U., Butterfield, Bradley J., & Cardinale, Bradley J. The economic value of grassland species for carbon storage. United States. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1601880.
Hungate, Bruce A., Barbier, Edward B., Ando, Amy W., Marks, Samuel P., Reich, Peter B., van Gestel, Natasja, Tilman, David, Knops, Johannes M. H., Hooper, David U., Butterfield, Bradley J., and Cardinale, Bradley J. Sat . "The economic value of grassland species for carbon storage". United States. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1601880. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1425607.
@article{osti_1425607,
title = {The economic value of grassland species for carbon storage},
author = {Hungate, Bruce A. and Barbier, Edward B. and Ando, Amy W. and Marks, Samuel P. and Reich, Peter B. and van Gestel, Natasja and Tilman, David and Knops, Johannes M. H. and Hooper, David U. and Butterfield, Bradley J. and Cardinale, Bradley J.},
abstractNote = {Carbon storage by ecosystems is valuable for climate protection. Biodiversity conservation may help increase carbon storage, but the value of this influence has been difficult to assess. We use plant, soil, and ecosystem carbon storage data from two grassland biodiversity experiments to show that greater species richness increases economic value: Increasing species richness from 1 to 10 had twice the economic value of increasing species richness from 1 to 2. The marginal value of each additional species declined as species accumulated, reflecting the nonlinear relationship between species richness and plant biomass production. Here, our demonstration of the economic value of biodiversity for enhancing carbon storage provides a foundation for assessing the value of biodiversity for decisions about land management. Combining carbon storage with other ecosystem services affected by biodiversity may well enhance the economic arguments for conservation even further.},
doi = {10.1126/sciadv.1601880},
journal = {Science Advances},
number = 4,
volume = 3,
place = {United States},
year = {Sat Apr 01 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Sat Apr 01 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}

Journal Article:
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  • On a sequence of soils developed under similar vegetation, temperature, and precipitation conditions, but with variations in mineralogical properties, we use organic carbon and 14C inventories to examine mineral protection of soil organic carbon. In these soils, 14C data indicate that the creation of slow-cycling carbon can be modeled as occurring through reaction of organic ligands with Al3+ and Fe3+ cations in the upper horizons, followed by sorption to amorphous inorganic Al compounds at depth. Only one of these processes, the chelation of Al3+ and Fe3+ by organic ligands, is linked to large carbon stocks. Organic ligands stabilized by thismore » process traverse the soil column as dissolved organic carbon (both from surface horizons and root exudates). At our moist grassland site, this chelation and transport process is very strongly correlated with the storage and long-term stabilization of soil organic carbon. Our 14C results show that the mechanisms of organic carbon transport and storage at this site follow a classic model previously believed to only be significant in a single soil order (Spodosols), and closely related to the presence of forests. The presence of this process in the grassland Alfisol, Inceptisol, and Mollisol soils of this chronosequence suggests that this process is a more significant control on organic carbon storage than previously thought.« less
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