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The impact of tree diversity on different aspects of insect herbivory along a global temperature gradient - A meta-analysis.

Abstract : Forests with higher tree diversity are often assumed to be more resistant to insect herbivores but whether this effect depends on climatic conditions is so far poorly understood. In particular, a forest's resistance to herbivory may depend on mean annual temperature (MAT) as a key driver of plant and insect phenology. We carried out a global meta-analysis on regression coefficients between tree diversity and four aspects of insect herbivory, namely herbivore damage, abundance, incidence rate and species richness. To test for a potential shift of tree diversity effects along a global gradient of MAT we applied mixed-effects models and estimated grand mean effect sizes and the influence of MAT, experimental vs. observational studies and herbivores diet breadth. There was no overall effect of tree diversity on the pooled effect sizes of insect herbivore damage, abundance and incidence rate. However, when analysed separately, we found positive grand mean effect sizes for herbivore abundance and species richness. For herbivore damage and incidence rate we found a significant but opposing shift along a gradient of MAT indicating that with increasing MAT diversity effects on herbivore damage tend towards associational resistance whereas diversity effects on incidence rates tend towards associational susceptibility. Our results contradict previous meta-analyses reporting overall associational resistance to insect herbivores in mixed forests. Instead, we report that tree diversity effects on insect herbivores can follow a biogeographic pattern calling for further in-depth studies in this field.
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Stephan Kambach, Ingolf Kuhn, Bastien Castagneyrol, Helge Bruelheide. The impact of tree diversity on different aspects of insect herbivory along a global temperature gradient - A meta-analysis.. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2016, 11 (11), 14 p. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0165815⟩. ⟨hal-02630854⟩

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