Region effects influence local tree species diversity
Global patterns of biodiversity reflect both regional and local processes, but the relative importance of local ecological limits to species coexistence, as influenced by the physical environment, in contrast to regional processes including species production, dispersal, and extinction, is poorly understood. Failure to distinguish regional influences from local effects has been due, in part, to sampling limitations at small scales, environmental heterogeneity within local or regional samples, and incomplete geographic sampling of species. Here, we use a global dataset comprising 47 forest plots to demonstrate significant region effects on diversity, beyond the influence of local climate, which together explain more than 92% of the global variation in local forest tree species richness. Significant region effects imply that large-scale processes shaping the regional diversity of forest trees exert influence down to the local scale, where they interact with local processes to determine the number of coexisting species.