As you'll recall, our final class meeting is next Tuesday, 3 December. We'll spend the first 45 minutes discussing Project #3, the reserve plan for Tejon Ranch. Then I'll have to leave for a Deans' Council meeting. Laura will lead a discussion of two papers for the last half hour. You'll find a link to the papers on the lecture detail page for Tuesday (link).
The Thomas paper is a commentary on the paper by Vellend et al. Vellend and his co-authors make a provocative claim based on their meta-analysis of local-scale species diversity in plant communities:
A major advance of the last 20 y at the interface of biological, environmental, and conservation sciences has been the demonstration that plant biodiversity positively influences ecosystem function. Linking these results to applied conservation efforts hinges on the assumption that biodiversity is actually declining at the local scale at which diversity-function relationships are strongest. Our compilation and analysis of a global database of >16,000 repeat survey vegetation plots from habitats across the globe directly contradict this assumption. We find no general tendency for local-scale plant species diversity to decline over the last century, calling into question the widespread use of ecosystem function experiments to argue for the importance of biodiversity conservation in nature. (emphasis added)
Please come prepared to discuss these results and what they mean for conservation biology.