Natural and agricultural plant mixtures generally have greater biomass production than monocultures. Effects of plant diversity on carbon sequestration in soil are therefore plausible but have been little explored. This thesis aims to examine the effect of plant species diversity on SOM dynamics in species-diverse grasslands and intercrop systems.
Overall, this thesis shows that the positive effects of plant species diversity on several ecosystem functions (i.e. soil C and N storage, biomass production and SOM decomposition) reported for perennial N-limited grasslands are paralleled in annual N-rich intercropping agroecosystems. These findings suggest that greater plant species diversity can improve ecosystem service provisioning by simultaneously enhancing biomass production, improving soil fertility and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.