skip to main content

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Tilman, David"

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 8, 2023
  2. Modeling fire spread as an infection process is intuitive: An ignition lights a patch of fuel, which infects its neighbor, and so on. Infection models produce nonlinear thresholds, whereby fire spreads only when fuel connectivity and infection probability are sufficiently high. These thresholds are fundamental both to managing fire and to theoretical models of fire spread, whereas applied fire models more often apply quasi-empirical approaches. Here, we resolve this tension by quantifying thresholds in fire spread locally, using field data from individual fires ( n = 1,131) in grassy ecosystems across a precipitation gradient (496 to 1,442 mm mean annual precipitation) and evaluating how these scaled regionally (across 533 sites) and across time (1989 to 2012 and 2016 to 2018) using data from Kruger National Park in South Africa. An infection model captured observed patterns in individual fire spread better than competing models. The proportion of the landscape that burned was well described by measurements of grass biomass, fuel moisture, and vapor pressure deficit. Regionally, averaging across variability resulted in quasi-linear patterns. Altogether, results suggest that models aiming to capture fire responses to global change should incorporate nonlinear fire spread thresholds but that linear approximations may sufficiently capture medium-term trendsmore »under a stationary climate.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 28, 2023
  3. Fertile soils have been an essential resource for humanity for 10,000 y, but the ecological mechanisms involved in the creation and restoration of fertile soils, and especially the role of plant diversity, are poorly understood. Here we use results of a long-term, unfertilized plant biodiversity experiment to determine whether biodiversity, especially plant functional biodiversity, impacted the regeneration of fertility on a degraded sandy soil. After 23 y, plots containing 16 perennial grassland plant species had, relative to monocultures of these same species, ∼30 to 90% greater increases in soil nitrogen, potassium, calcium, magnesium, cation exchange capacity, and carbon and had ∼150 to 370% greater amounts of N, K, Ca, and Mg in plant biomass. Our results suggest that biodiversity, likely in combination with the increased plant productivity caused by higher biodiversity, led to greater soil fertility. Moreover, plots with high plant functional diversity, those containing grasses, legumes, and forbs, accumulated significantly greater N, K, Ca, and Mg in the total nutrient pool (plant biomass and soil) than did plots containing just one of these three functional groups. Plant species in these functional groups had trade-offs between their tissue N content, tissue K content, and root mass, suggesting why species frommore »all three functional groups were essential for regenerating soil fertility. Our findings suggest that efforts to regenerate soil C stores and soil fertility may be aided by creative uses of plant diversity.« less
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 30, 2023
  5. null (Ed.)