©Xavier Remongin/Min.agri.fr

Whether it be eco-systematic, species-related or genetic, biodiversity is eroding while the number and frequency of extreme meteorological events inherent to climate change is rising across the world. Current studies, which focus on meteorological variations of weak amplitude show that a larger degree of biodiversity contributes to the stability of ecosystems. However, studies relating to the impact of extreme meteorological events are lacking.

Thanks to a vast analysis of the scientific literature, researchers from the French Institute of Agronomic Research and their colleagues examined the interactions between biodiversity and extreme meteorological events with the goal of evaluating if plant diversity can attenuate the effects of severe drought, heat waves or massive amounts of rain.

This large-scale analysis explores in a novel fashion the relationship between species richness and meteorological extremes, suggesting that moving toward taking into account the functional dimension of the diversity (variety and variability of plant traits) instead of the simple number of species, as is currently done, would be more effective.

Contributing in a notable fashion to better conceptualizing the impacts of climate change on ecosystems, this study underlines the fact that a greater richness in plant species by itself is not enough to increase ecosystem resistance to climate extremes.