The researchers suspect the declines likely are caused by decreased overall plant growth and plant inputs to soils when plant species richness is lowered, leading to reduced soil organic matter and associated resources to support soil food webs.
In contrast, elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide and nitrogen had few effects on the soil community. The researchers' conclusion: losses in plant diversity are a major driver of losses in soil biodiversity.
To learn more, check out Plant Diversity Effects on Soil Food Webs are Stronger Than Those of Elevated CO2 and N Deposition in a Long-Term Grassland Experiment.
A version of this post originally appeared in the College of Biological Sciences' CBS News. Used with permission. Photo of Cedar Creek experimental plots by Tim Rummelhoff