In this study, we investigate the relationship between tree species diversity and production in 18 mixed-species plantations established under the Rainforestation Farming system in Leyte province, the Philippines. The aim was to quantify productivity in the mixed-species plantations in comparison to the monocultures, and identify key drivers of productivity including environmental conditions, stand structural characteristics and surrogate measures of biodiversity, i.e. species richness, Shannon's diversity index and functional groups. We found that monocultures had a much higher productivity than mixtures of the same and other species. In the mixtures, biodiversity and productivity did not have a simple relationship. Instead the proportion of exotic and native species, and the proportion of fast-growing species had a marginally significant positive effect on stand productivity, but no significant relationship was found with species richness or Shannon's diversity. Instead stand structural characteristics such as density and age were the strongest drivers of increased productivity. Production levels within the mixed-species plantations varied significantly between sites. Overall, we found that the productivity of mixed species plantations was driven more by the characteristics of species present and stand structural characteristics then by simply the number and abundance of species, which suggests management practices are key for balancing multiple objectives to meet sustainable development needs. © 2012.
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