In an experiment on artificial plant communities, the effects of three components of plant diversity-plant species diversity, plant functional group diversity and plant functional diversity-on community productivity and soil water content were compared. We found that simple regression analysis showed a positive diversity effect on ecosystem processes (productivity and soil water content). However, when three components of diversity were included in the multiple regression analyses, the results showed that functional group diversity and functional diversity had more important effects on productivity and resource use efficiency. These results suggested that, compared with species number, functional differences among species and the range of functional traits carried by plants are the basis of biodiversity effects on ecosystem functioning. These diversity effects of increasing functional group diversity or functional diversity were likely because species differing greatly in size, life form, phenology and capacity to capture and use resources efficiently in diverse communities realize complementary resource use in temporal, spatial, and biological ways. © 2007 The Ecological Society of Japan.
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