BangorDIVERSE, established in March 2004, is a forest diversity experimental infrastructure at the Henfaes Research Centre of Bangor University. The experiment aims to explore the relationship between tree diversity and forest ecological functioning and sustainability. The planted species represent a range of taxonomic, physiological and ecological types and were selected because of their contrasting shade tolerance and successional chronology.

aerial photo Bangor
Satellite view of the BangorDIVERSE experiment

Plots were established across two fields in four replicated blocks of monocultures, two- and three-species mixtures. A replacement series design (with inter-tree spacing constant between treatments) was selected because of the experiment's objective of being realistic in reflecting the practical establishment of forests consisting of monocultures or mixtures of canopy tree species. Saplings (60 cm) of each species were planted with an inter-tree spacing of 1 m (10 000 stems ha-1). A systematic hexagonal planting design, i.e., each tree having six equidistant neighbours, was used to maximise the mixing effect. In the three-species mixture blocks, the nearest neighbours of each tree were two conspecific individuals and two individuals of each of the other two species.

design Bangor
Hexagonal planting design for a three-species mixture

design Bangor design Bangor
BangorDIVERSE plots

Site characteristics

location Henfaes
former land use pasture, followed by small-scale forestry experiments for the last 20 years (field 1) and cultivation of oilseed rape in 2003 (field 2)
altitude 13-18 m
soil type fine loamy brown earth over gravel (Rheidol series), classified as Fluventic Dystrochrept
area 2.36 ha
no of plots 92
plot size
no of trees planted 22 000
planting date March 2004
diversity variables species richness
functional diversity
diversity gradient 1, 2, 3 sp.
size species pool 7
species pool Acer pseudoplatanus, Alnus glutinosa, Betula pendula, Castanea sativa, Fagus sylvatica, Fraxinus excelsior, Quercus robur
contact person Andy Smith


We intend to explore tree-soil interactions, specifically: tree growth and form, plant-water relations and soil hydrology, nutrient cycling, C pools, fluxes and sequestration, and the structure and abundance of the microbial community (symbiotic and pathogenic).

Extra information

For more information on the BangorDIVERSE experiment, send an e-mail to the contact person, or explore the publications:

  • Cesarz S, Craven D, Auge H, Bruelheide H, Castagneyrol B, Gutknecht J, Hector A, Jactel H, Koricheva J, Messier C, Muys B, Brien MJO, Paquette A, Ponette Q, Potvin C, Reich PB, Scherer-Lorenzen M, Smith AR, Verheyen K, Eisenhauer N (2022) Tree diversity effects on soil microbial biomass and respiration are context dependent across forest diversity experiments. Global Ecology and Biogeography 31:872-885 -
  • Messier C, Bauhus J, Sousa-Silva R, Auge H, Baeten L, Barsoum N, Bruelheide H, Caldwell B, Cavender-Bares J, Dhiedt E, Eisenhauer N, Ganade G, Gravel D, Guillemot J, Hall JS, Hector A, Hérault B, Jactel H, Koricheva J, Kreft H, Mereu S, Muys B, Nock CA, Paquette A, Parker JD, Perring MP, Ponette Q, Potvin C, Reich PB, Scherer-Lorenzen M, Schnabel F, Verheyen K, Weih M, Wollni M, Zemp DC (2021) For the sake of resilience and multifunctionality, let's diversify planted forests! Conservation Letters e12829 -
  • Djukic I, Kepfer-Rojas S, Kappel Schmidt I, Steenberg Larsen K, Beier C, Berg B, Verheyen K, TeaComposition (2018) Early stage litter decomposition across biomes. Science of the Total Environment
  • Gunina A, Smith AR, Godbold DL, Jones DL, Kuzyakov Y (2017) Response of soil microbial community to afforestation with pure and mixed species. Plant and Soil 412: 357-368 -
  • Verheyen K, Vanhellemont M, Auge H, Baeten L, Baraloto C, Barsoum N, Bilodeau-Gauthier S, Bruelheide H, Castagneyrol B, Godbold D, Haase J, Hector A, Jactel H, Koricheva J, Loreau M, Mereu S, Messier C, Muys B, Nolet P, Paquette A, Parker J, Perring M, Ponette Q, Potvin C, Reich P, Smith A, Weih M, Scherer-Lorenzen M (2016) Contributions of a global network of tree diversity experiments to sustainable forest plantations. Ambio 45: 29-41 - doi: 10.1007/s13280-015-0685-1

photo oak and birch photo beech and birch
Oak-birch plot and beech-birch plot (May 2013)