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WHY IS SOIL DIVERSITY SO HIGH?

We arrive at the end of this chapter with an understanding of the phenomenon that high species equals functional diversity (e.g., Anderson, 1975, 2000), but its root causes are yet unknown. As noted by Wardle (2002), the belowground environment provides numerous niche axes in the Hutchinsonian (1957) hyperspace, concerning numerous microhabitats, microclimatic properties, soil chemical properties, and phenologies of the organisms themselves. When one adds in the fact that many of the organisms may exist in quiescent or dormant stages (Coleman, 2001, and noted in Chapter 4), there is considerable niche space for the impressive belowground species diversity.

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