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Birds of a Feather Flock Together?

Freiburg researchers are studying tree growth in monocultures and mixed cultures

Birds of a Feather Flock Together?

Photo: Jürgen Gocke

Do trees grow better in mixed cultures than monocultures? Agriculture and forestry rely on monocultures, since they are easier to manage. Yet a greater diversity of tree species could bring advantages. Prof. Dr. Michael Scherer-Lorenzen’s team of Freiburg geobotanists are conducting research on a trial site of the University of Freiburg to see which form suits the trees best. They are comparing trees from a monoculture with others from the same species in a mixed culture. The study is looking at leaf growth, soil moisture and the influence of decaying foliage around the trees. Results so far indicate that a variety of species has a positive influence on the ecosystem.

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