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Title: The economic value of grassland species for carbon storage

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.
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:
Grant/Contract Number:
FG02-96ER62291; FC02-06ER64158
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Science Advances
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 3; Journal Issue: 4; Journal ID: ISSN 2375-2548
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)
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; carbon storage; biodiversity; economic value; valuation; species diversity; species richness; grassland; social cost of carbon
OSTI Identifier: