Enhancing the structural diversity between forest patches - A concept and real-world experiment to study biodiversity, multifunctionality and forest resilience across spatial scales

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • Jörg Müller - , University of Würzburg, Bavarian Forest National Park (Author)
  • Oliver Mitesser - , University of Würzburg (Author)
  • Marc W. Cadotte - , University of Toronto (Author)
  • Fons van der Plas - , Wageningen University & Research (WUR) (Author)
  • Akiri S. Mori - , The University of Tokyo (Author)
  • Christian Ammer - , University of Göttingen (Author)
  • Anne Chao - , National Tsing Hua University (Author)
  • Michael Scherer-Lorenzen - , University of Freiburg (Author)
  • Peter Baldrian - , Czech Academy of Sciences (Author)
  • Claus Bässler - , University Hospital Frankfurt, Bavarian Forest National Park (Author)
  • Peter Biedermann - , University Hospital Frankfurt (Author)
  • Simone Cesarz - , German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle—Jena—Leipzig, Leipzig University (Author)
  • Alice Claßen - , University of Würzburg (Author)
  • Benjamin M. Delory - , Leuphana University of Lüneburg (Author)
  • Heike Feldhaar - , University of Bayreuth (Author)
  • Andreas Fichtner - , Leuphana University of Lüneburg (Author)
  • Torsten Hothorn - , University of Zurich (Author)
  • Claudia Kuenzer - , German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD) of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) (Author)
  • Marcell K. Peters - , University of Würzburg (Author)
  • Kerstin Pierick - , University of Göttingen (Author)
  • Thomas Schmitt - , University of Würzburg (Author)
  • Bernhard Schuldt - , University of Würzburg (Author)
  • Dominik Seidel - , University of Göttingen (Author)
  • Diana Six - , University of Montana (Author)
  • Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter - , University of Würzburg (Author)
  • Simon Thorn - , Staatliche Vogelschutzwarte, Institut für angewandte Vogelkunde, Gießen (Author)
  • Goddert von Oheimb - , Chair of Biodiversity and Nature Conservation (Author)
  • Martin Wegmann - , University of Würzburg (Author)
  • Wolfgang W. Weisser - , Technical University of Munich (Author)
  • Nico Eisenhauer - , German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle—Jena—Leipzig, Leipzig University (Author)


Intensification of land use by humans has led to a homogenization of landscapes and decreasing resilience of ecosystems globally due to a loss of biodiversity, including the majority of forests. Biodiversity–ecosystem functioning (BEF) research has provided compelling evidence for a positive effect of biodiversity on ecosystem functions and services at the local (α-diversity) scale, but we largely lack empirical evidence on how the loss of between-patch β-diversity affects biodiversity and multifunctionality at the landscape scale (γ-diversity). Here, we present a novel concept and experimental framework for elucidating BEF patterns at α-, β-, and γ-scales in real landscapes at a forest management-relevant scale. We examine this framework using 22 temperate broadleaf production forests, dominated by Fagus sylvatica. In 11 of these forests, we manipulated the structure between forest patches by increasing variation in canopy cover and deadwood. We hypothesized that an increase in landscape heterogeneity would enhance the β-diversity of different trophic levels, as well as the β-functionality of various ecosystem functions. We will develop a new statistical framework for BEF studies extending across scales and incorporating biodiversity measures from taxonomic to functional to phylogenetic diversity using Hill numbers. We will further expand the Hill number concept to multifunctionality allowing the decomposition of γ-multifunctionality into α- and β-components. Combining this analytic framework with our experimental data will allow us to test how an increase in between patch heterogeneity affects biodiversity and multifunctionality across spatial scales and trophic levels to help inform and improve forest resilience under climate change. Such an integrative concept for biodiversity and functionality, including spatial scales and multiple aspects of diversity and multifunctionality as well as physical and environmental structure in forests, will go far beyond the current widely applied approach in forestry to increase resilience of future forests through the manipulation of tree species composition.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1437-1450
Number of pages14
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

External IDs

Scopus 85145318795
ORCID /0000-0001-7408-425X/work/146165279
Mendeley 304b556e-0d7a-3177-b218-d8ba21b0c642



  • BETA-FOR, biodiversity, forest resilience, insurance hypothesis, multifunctionality, β- diversit, BETA-FOR, biodiversity, forest resilience, insurance hypothesis, multifunctionality, β-diversity