Kreinitz (Germany)

The Kreinitz experiment was established in 2005 to study the effect of tree species diversity on productivity and belowground processes.

The experiment consists of 2 blocks that contain 49 plots each. All possible 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 species combinations were planted, and a control plot without trees was added. The plots are randomly distributed within each block. In a plot, 30 trees were planted on rows (1 m between rows, 0.8 m between trees in a row); the different species were distributed randomly within a plot. Two exclosures of stainless steel were installed in every plot to exclude tree roots and mycorrhiza.

2 blocks with 49 plots each a plot with 30 trees planted on rows

Site characteristics

location Zeithain
former land use arable field until 1990s, abandoned till 2005
altitude 110-120 m
soil type humic cambisol on a bedrock of sand and gravel
area 0.75 ha
no of plots 98
plot size 5 m x 5 m
no of trees planted 2 880
planting date fall 2005
diversity variables species richness
functional diversity
diversity gradient 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 sp.
decomposition rate
size species pool 6
species pool Fagus sylvatica, Fraxinus excelsior, Picea abies, Pinus sylvestris, Quercus petraea, Tilia cordata
contact person Harald Auge


The first research goal is determining how tree species and functional diversity affect stand productivity, matter cycling, and the diversity and abundance of, e.g., herbivores, pathogens, decomposers, and mycorrhizal fungi. The research further focuses on the after-life effects of tree diversity: how does leaf litter diversity and composition affect decomposition rate and the diversity and abundance of decomposer invertebrates and microbes.

Extra information

Send an e-mail to the contact person or explore the publications:

  • Paine CET, Amissah L, Auge H, Baraloto C, Baruffol M, Bourland N, Bruelheide H, Daïnou K, de Gouvenain RC, Doucet J-L, Doust S, Fine PVA, Fortunel C, Haase J, Holl KD, Jactel H, Li X, Kitajima K, Koricheva J, Martínez-Garza C, Messier C, Paquette A, Philipson C, Piotto D, Poorter L, Posada JM, Potvin C, Rainio K, Russo SE, Ruiz-Jaen M, Scherer-Lorenzen M, Webb CO, Wright SJ, Zahawi RA, Hector A (2015) Globally, functional traits are weak predictors of juvenile tree growth, and we do not know why. Journal of Ecology 103: 978-989 - doi: 10.1111/1365-2745.12401
  • Schwarz B, Dietrich C, Cesarz S, Scherer-Lorenzen M, Auge H, Schulz E, Eisenhauer N (2015) Non-significant tree diversity but significant identity effects on earthworm communities in three tree diversity experiments. European Journal of Soil Biology 67: 17-26 - doi: 0.1016/j.ejsobi.2015.01.001
  • Wurst S, Kaiser N, Nitzsche S, Haase J, Auge H, Rillig MC, Powell JR (2015) Tree diversity modifies distance-dependent effects on seedling emergence but not plant-soil feedbacks of temperate trees. Ecology 96:1529-1539 - doi: 10.1890/14-1166.1
  • Alalouni U, Brandl R, Auge H, Schädler M (2014) Does insect herbivory on oak depend on the diversity of tree stands? Basic and Applied Ecology 15: 685-692 - doi: 10.1016/j.baae.2014.08.013
  • Hantsch L, Bien S, Radatz S, Braun U, Auge H, Bruelheide H (2014) Tree diversity and the role of non-host neighbour tree species in reducing fungal pathogen infestation. Journal of Ecology 102, 1673-1687 - doi: 10.1111/1365-2745.12317
  • Haase JU (2009) Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: the effects of tree and litter diversity. PhD thesis, University of Zurich

site in fall 2008 site in 2013
The Kreinitz plantation in 2008 and 2013