Plant diversity increases with the strength of negative density dependence at the global scale


Theory predicts that higher biodiversity in the tropics is maintained by specialized interactions among plants and their natural enemies that result in conspecific negative density dependence (CNDD). By using more than 3000 species and nearly 2.4 million trees across 24 forest plots worldwide, we show that global patterns in tree species diversity reflect not only stronger CNDD at tropical versus temperate latitudes but also a latitudinal shift in the relationship between CNDD and species abundance. CNDD was stronger for rare species at tropical versus temperate latitudes, potentially causing the persistence of greater numbers of rare species in the tropics. Our study reveals fundamental differences in the nature of local-scale biotic interactions that contribute to the maintenance of species diversity across temperate and tropical communities.

Data have been made available as required by the journal to enable reproduction of the results presented in the paper. Please do not share these data without permission of the ForestGEO plot Principal Investigators. If you wish to publish papers based on these data you are also required to get permission from the PIs of the corresponding ForestGEO plots.

Data to use to reproduce analyses in the paper:

Github website 
CNDD Analysis R Code
CNDD Null Model Code 
Benchmark Test R code 

Joseph A. LaManna, Scott A. Mangan, Alfonso Alonso, Norman A. Bourg, Warren Y. Brockelman, Sarayudh Bunyavejchewin, Li-Wan Chang, Jyh-Min Chiang, George B. Chuyong, Keith Clay, Richard Condit, Susan Cordell, Stuart J. Davies, Tucker J. Furniss, , Christian P. Giardina, I. A. U. Nimal Gunatilleke, C. V. Savitri Gunatilleke, Fangliang He, Robert W. Howe, Stephen P. Hubbell, Chang-Fu Hsieh, Faith M. Inman-Narahari, David Janik, Daniel J. Johnson, David Kenfack, Lisa Korte, Kamil Král, Andrew J. Larson, James A. Lutz, Sean M. McMahon, William J. McShea, Hervé R. Memiaghe, Anuttara Nathalang, Vojtech Novotny, Perry S. Ong, David A. Orwig, Rebecca Ostertag, Geoffrey G. Parker, Richard P. Phillips, Lawren Sack, I-Fang Sun, J. Sebastián Tello, Duncan W. Thomas, Benjamin L. Turner, Dilys M. Vela Díaz, Tomáš Vrška, George D. Weiblen, Amy Wolf, Sandra Yap, Jonathan A. Myers