Date of Award

Spring 2022

Project Type


Program or Major

Natural Resources

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Scott V Ollinger

Second Advisor

Mary E Martin

Third Advisor

Franklin B Sullivan


In short-lived, grassland ecosystems, biodiversity and productivity have been found to be positively correlated. However, studies in long-lived, forested ecosystems have found mixed results. Biodiversity in forests has primarily been measured using indices of species diversity, but recent studies have shown that biodiversity is more complex than simply quantifying the number of species occupying an area. Biodiversity can also be represented by other measures of diversity such as functional, phylogenetic, and structural diversity; all three of which have been shown to be more strongly correlated to productivity than species diversity alone. Here, we examined the relationship between four biodiversity measures (species, functional, phylogenetic, and structural diversity) and their respective relationship with productivity at a local scale for two northeastern United States temperate forests. Biodiversity indices were calculated using site specific inventory data while productivity was calculated using measured wood growth. Overall, patterns were similar between sites; indices of species, functional, and phylogenetic diversity were strongly to moderately correlated with each other while indices of structural diversity were not correlated with the other three diversity measures. All four biodiversity components were found to be either negatively or weakly correlated to productivity. After accounting for site conditions, such as nitrogen availability and topography, foliar nitrogen was found to be the only variable significantly correlated to productivity while the biodiversity measures were not significantly correlated. Therefore, at these long-lived, local-scale temperate forest sites, there was not a direct, significant relationship between biodiversity and productivity.