WorldWideScience

Sample records for grassland plant primula

  1. Phylogeny and biogeography of Primula sect. Armerina: implications for plant evolution under climate change and the uplift of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ren, Guangpeng; Conti, Elena; Salamin, Nicolas

    2015-08-16

    The historical orogenesis and associated climatic changes of mountain areas have been suggested to partly account for the occurrence of high levels of biodiversity and endemism. However, their effects on dispersal, differentiation and evolution of many groups of plants are still unknown. In this study, we examined the detailed diversification history of Primula sect. Armerina, and used biogeographic analysis and macro-evolutionary modeling to investigate a series of different questions concerning the evolution of the geographical and ecological distribution of the species in this section. We sequenced five chloroplast and one nuclear genes for species of Primula sect. Armerina. Neither chloroplast nor nuclear trees support the monophyly of the section. The major incongruences between the two trees occur among closely related species and may be explained by hybridization. Our dating analyses based on the chloroplast dataset suggest that this section began to diverge from its relatives around 3.55 million years ago, largely coinciding with the last major uplift of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP). Biogeographic analysis supports the origin of the section in the Himalayan Mountains and dispersal from the Himalayas to Northeastern QTP, Western QTP and Hengduan Mountains. Furthermore, evolutionary models of ecological niches show that the two P. fasciculata clades have significantly different climatic niche optima and rates of niche evolution, indicating niche evolution under climatic changes and further providing evidence for explaining their biogeographic patterns. Our results support the hypothesis that geologic and climatic events play important roles in driving biological diversification of organisms in the QTP area. The Pliocene uplift of the QTP and following climatic changes most likely promoted both the inter- and intraspecific divergence of Primula sect. Armerina. This study also illustrates how niche evolution under climatic changes influences biogeographic

  2. Occurrence of Morphological and Anatomical Adaptive Traits in Young and Adult Plants of the Rare Mediterranean Cliff Species Primula palinuri Petagna

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Veronica De Micco

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Cliffs worldwide are known to be reservoirs of relict biodiversity. Despite the presence of harsh abiotic conditions, large endemic floras live in such environments. Primula palinuri Petagna is a rare endemic plant species, surviving on cliff sites along a few kilometres of the Tyrrhenian coast in southern Italy. This species is declared at risk of extinction due to human impact on the coastal areas in question. Population surveys have shown that most of the plants are old individuals, while seedlings and plants at early stages of development are rare. We followed the growth of P. palinuri plants from seed germination to the adult phase and analysed the morphoanatomical traits of plants at all stages of development. Our results showed that the pressure of cliff environmental factors has been selected for seasonal habitus and structural adaptive traits in this species. The main morphoanatomical modifications are suberized cell layers and accumulation of phenolic compounds in cell structures. These features are strictly related to regulation of water uptake and storage as well as defence from predation. However, we found them well established only in adult plants and not in juvenile individuals. These findings contribute to explain the rare recruitment of the present relict populations, identifying some of the biological traits which result in species vulnerability.

  3. Occurrence of morphological and anatomical adaptive traits in young and adult plants of the rare Mediterranean cliff species Primula palinuri Petagna.

    Science.gov (United States)

    De Micco, Veronica; Aronne, Giovanna

    2012-01-01

    Cliffs worldwide are known to be reservoirs of relict biodiversity. Despite the presence of harsh abiotic conditions, large endemic floras live in such environments. Primula palinuri Petagna is a rare endemic plant species, surviving on cliff sites along a few kilometres of the Tyrrhenian coast in southern Italy. This species is declared at risk of extinction due to human impact on the coastal areas in question. Population surveys have shown that most of the plants are old individuals, while seedlings and plants at early stages of development are rare. We followed the growth of P. palinuri plants from seed germination to the adult phase and analysed the morphoanatomical traits of plants at all stages of development. Our results showed that the pressure of cliff environmental factors has been selected for seasonal habitus and structural adaptive traits in this species. The main morphoanatomical modifications are suberized cell layers and accumulation of phenolic compounds in cell structures. These features are strictly related to regulation of water uptake and storage as well as defence from predation. However, we found them well established only in adult plants and not in juvenile individuals. These findings contribute to explain the rare recruitment of the present relict populations, identifying some of the biological traits which result in species vulnerability.

  4. Primula latifolia Lapeyr. and Primula vulgaris Hudson flavonoids.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Colombo, Paola S; Flamini, Guido; Fico, Gelsomina

    2014-01-01

    Three flavonoids were isolated from the leaf MeOH extracts of Primula latifolia Lapeyr. and Primula vulgaris Hudson collected from Italian Alps: rutin (1) and kaempferol 3-neohesperidoside (2) from P. latifolia, and kaempferol 3-β-O-glucopyranosyl-(1 → 2) gentiobioside (3) from P. vulgaris. The structures were assigned on the basis of their (1)H and (13)C NMR data, including those derived from 2D NMR, as well as on HPLC-MS results. This article is the first to report on P. vulgaris tissue flavonoids after Harborne's study in 1968 and the first work ever on these compounds from P. latifolia.

  5. Acidification of sandy grasslands - consequences for plant diversity

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Olsson, Pål Axel; Mårtensson, Linda-Maria; Bruun, Hans Henrik

    2009-01-01

    soil; a number of nationally red-listed species showed a similar pattern. Plant species diversity and number of red-listed species increased with slope. Where the topsoil had been acidified, limestone was rarely present above a depth of 30 cm. The presence of limestone restricts the availability......Questions: (1) Does soil acidification in calcareous sandy grasslands lead to loss of plant diversity? (2) What is the relationship between the soil content of lime and the plant availability of mineral nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in sandy grasslands? Location: Sandy glaciofluvial deposits......). Environmental variables were recorded at each plot, and soil samples were analysed for exchangeable P and N, as well as limestone content and pH. Data were analysed with regression analysis and canonical correspondence analysis. Results: Plant species richness was highest on weakly acid to slightly alkaline...

  6. Herbivores and nutrients control grassland plant diversity via light limitation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Borer, Elizabeth T.; Seabloom, Eric W.; Gruner, Daniel S.; Harpole, W. Stanley; Hillebrand, Helmut; Lind, Eric M.; Alder, Peter B.; Alberti, Juan; Anderson, T. Michael; Bakker, Jonathan D.; Biederman, Lori; Blumenthal, Dana; Brown, Cynthia S.; Brudvig, Lars A.; Buckley, Yvonne M.; Cadotte, Marc; Chu, Cheng-Jin; Cleland, Elsa E.; Crawley, Michael J.; Daleo, Pedro; Damschen, Ellen Ingman; Davies, Kendi F.; DeCrappeo, Nicole M.; Du, Guozhen; Firn, Jennifer; Hautier, Yann; Heckman, Robert W.; Hector, Andy; HilleRisLambers, Janneke; Iribarne, Oscar; Klein, Julia A.; Knops, Johannes M.H.; La Pierre, Kimberly J.; Leakey, Andrew D.B.; Li, Wei; MacDougall, Andrew S.; McCulley, Rebecca L.; Melbourne, Brett A.; Mitchell, Charles E.; Moore, Joslin L.; Mortensen, Brent; O'Halloran, Lydia R.; Orrock, John L.; Pascual, Jesús; Prober, Suzanne M.; Pyke, David A.; Risch, Anita C.; Schuetz, Martin; Smith, Melinda D.; Stevens, Carly J.; Sullivan, Lauren L.; Williams, Ryan J.; Wragg, Peter D.; Wright, Justin P.; Yang, Louie H.

    2014-01-01

    Human alterations to nutrient cycles and herbivore communities are affecting global biodiversity dramatically. Ecological theory predicts these changes should be strongly counteractive: nutrient addition drives plant species loss through intensified competition for light, whereas herbivores prevent competitive exclusion by increasing ground-level light, particularly in productive systems. Here we use experimental data spanning a globally relevant range of conditions to test the hypothesis that herbaceous plant species losses caused by eutrophication may be offset by increased light availability due to herbivory. This experiment, replicated in 40 grasslands on 6 continents, demonstrates that nutrients and herbivores can serve as counteracting forces to control local plant diversity through light limitation, independent of site productivity, soil nitrogen, herbivore type and climate. Nutrient addition consistently reduced local diversity through light limitation, and herbivory rescued diversity at sites where it alleviated light limitation. Thus, species loss from anthropogenic eutrophication can be ameliorated in grasslands where herbivory increases ground-level light.

  7. Nitrogen acquisition by plants and microorganisms in a temperate grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Qianyuan; Qiao, Na; Xu, Xingliang; Xin, Xiaoping; Han, Jessie Yc; Tian, Yuqiang; Ouyang, Hua; Kuzyakov, Yakov

    2016-03-10

    Nitrogen (N) limitation is common in most terrestrial ecosystems, often leading to strong competition between microorganisms and plants. The mechanisms of niche differentiation to reduce this competition remain unclear. Short-term (15)N experiments with NH4(+), NO3(-), and glycine were conducted in July, August and September in a temperate grassland to evaluate the chemical, spatial and temporal niche differentiation by competition between plants and microorganisms for N. Microorganisms preferred NH4(+) and NO3(-), while plants preferred NO3(-). Both plants and microorganisms acquired more N in August and September than in July. The soil depth had no significant effects on microbial uptake, but significantly affected plant N uptake. Plants acquired 67% of their N from the 0-5 cm soil layer and 33% from the 5-15 cm layer. The amount of N taken up by microorganisms was at least seven times than plants. Although microorganisms efficiently compete for N with plants, the competition is alleviated through chemical partitioning mainly in deeper soil layer. In the upper soil layer, neither chemical nor temporal niche separation is realized leading to strong competition between plants and microorganisms that modifies N dynamics in grasslands.

  8. Temporal dynamics of soil nematode communities in a grassland plant diversity experiment.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Viketoft, M.; Sohlenius, B.; Bostrom, S.; Palmborg, C.; Bengtsson, J.; Berg, M.P.; Kuss-Danell, K.

    2011-01-01

    We report here on an 8-year study examining links between plant and nematode communities in a grassland plant diversity experiment, located in the north of Sweden on previous agricultural soil. The examined plots contained 1, 4 and 12 common grassland plant species from three functional groups;

  9. Phenotypic selection on flowering phenology and pollination efficiency traits between Primula populations with different pollinator assemblages

    OpenAIRE

    Wu, Yun; Li, Qing‐Jun

    2017-01-01

    Abstract Floral traits have largely been attributed to phenotypic selection in plant–pollinator interactions. However, the strength of this link has rarely been ascertained with real pollinators. We conducted pollinator observations and estimated selection through female fitness on flowering phenology and floral traits between two Primula secundiflora populations. We quantified pollinator‐mediated selection by subtracting estimates of selection gradients of plants receiving supplemental hand ...

  10. Phenolics in Primula veris L. and P. elatior (L. Hill Raw Materials

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Katarzyna Bączek

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Primula veris L. and Primula elatior (L. Hill represent medicinal plants used for the production of herbal teas and preparations with antioxidant and expectorant activity. Flowers and roots of both species possess the same biological activity. In the presented study, raw materials of wild growing P. veris and P. elatior were compared in terms of the content and composition of phenolic compounds using a fast and simple HPLC-DAD method. The study showed that flowers of both species were rich in flavonoids. However, P. veris flowers were characterized with a distinctly higher content of isorhamnetin-3-O-glucoside, astragalin, and (+-catechin, whereas P. elatior occurred to be a richer source of rutoside and isorhamnetin-3-O-rutinoside. Hyperoside was found exclusively in P. elatior flowers. Phenolic glycosides (primverin and primulaverin were identified only in the roots. Their content was about ten times higher in P. veris in comparison with P. elatior underground organs. The obtained results clearly show that both Primula species differ distinctly in terms of the content and composition of phenolic compounds. The compounds differentiating both species to the highest degree (hyperoside, in flowers, as well as primverin and primulaverin, in the roots may be useful chemical markers in the identification and evaluation of both species.

  11. Seasonal dynamics and vertical distribution of plant-feeding nematode communities in grasslands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Verschoor, B.C.; Goede, de R.G.M.; Hoop, de J.W.; Vries, de F.W.

    2001-01-01

    The vertical distribution and seasonal dynamics of plant- and fungal-feeding nematode taxa in permanent grasslands were investigated. Dolichodoridae, Paratylenchus, Pratylenchus, Tylenchidae and Aphelenchoides dominated the upper 10 cm soil and their numbers strongly decreased with depth. The

  12. Plant species occurrence patterns in Eurasian grasslands reflect adaptation to nutrient ratios

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Roeling, Ineke S.; Ozinga, Wim A.; van Dijk, Jerry; Eppinga, Maarten B.; Wassen, Martin J.

    2018-01-01

    Previous studies of Eurasian grasslands have suggested that nutrient ratios, rather than absolute nutrient availabilities and associated productivity, may be driving plant species richness patterns. However, the underlying assumption that species occupy distinct niches along nutrient ratio gradients

  13. Plutonium in a grassland ecosystem. [Rocky Flats Plant

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Little, C.A.

    1976-08-01

    A study was made of plutonium contamination of grassland at the Rocky Flats plant northwest of Denver, Colorado. Of interest were: the definition of major plutonium-containing ecosystem compartments; the relative amounts in those compartments; how those values related to studies done in other geographical areas; whether or not the predominant isotopes, /sup 238/Pu and /sup 239/Pu, behaved differently; and what mechanisms might have allowed for the observed patterns of contamination. Samples of soil, litter, vegetation, arthropods, and small mammals were collected for Pu analysis and mass determination from each of two macroplots. Small aliquots (5 g or less) were analyzed by a rapid liquid scintillation technique and by alpha spectrometry. Of the compartments sampled, greater than 99 percent of the total plutonium was contained in the soil and the concentrations were significantly inversely correlated with distance from the contamination source, depth of the sample, and particle size of the sieved soil samples. The soil data suggested that the distribution of contamination largely resulted from physical transport processes.

  14. Long-term effects of plant diversity and composition on soil nematode communities in grassland.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Viketoft, M.; Bengtsson, J.; Sohlenius, B.; Berg, M.P.; Petchey, O.; Palmborg, C.; Huss-Daniel, K.

    2009-01-01

    An important component of plant-soil feedbacks is how plant species identity and diversity influence soil organism communities. We examine the effects of grassland plant species growing alone and together up to a richness of 12 species on nematode diversity and feeding group composition, eight years

  15. Specialist plant species harbour higher reproductive performances in recently restored calcareous grasslands than in reference habitats

    OpenAIRE

    Harzé, Mélanie; Mahy, Grégory; Bizoux, Jean-Philippe; Piqueray, Julien; Monty, Arnaud

    2015-01-01

    Background and aims_Calcareous grasslands are local biodiversity hotspots in temperate regions that suffered intensive fragmentation. Ecological restoration projects took place all over Europe. Their success has traditionally been assessed using a plant community approach. However, population ecology can also be useful to assess restoration success and to understand underlying mechanisms. Methods_We took advantage of three calcareous grassland sites in Southern Belgium, where reference p...

  16. Extensive Management Promotes Plant and Microbial Nitrogen Retention in Temperate Grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Vries, Franciska T.; Bloem, Jaap; Quirk, Helen; Stevens, Carly J.; Bol, Roland; Bardgett, Richard D.

    2012-01-01

    Leaching losses of nitrogen (N) from soil and atmospheric N deposition have led to widespread changes in plant community and microbial community composition, but our knowledge of the factors that determine ecosystem N retention is limited. A common feature of extensively managed, species-rich grasslands is that they have fungal-dominated microbial communities, which might reduce soil N losses and increase ecosystem N retention, which is pivotal for pollution mitigation and sustainable food production. However, the mechanisms that underpin improved N retention in extensively managed, species-rich grasslands are unclear. We combined a landscape-scale field study and glasshouse experiment to test how grassland management affects plant and soil N retention. Specifically, we hypothesised that extensively managed, species-rich grasslands of high conservation value would have lower N loss and greater N retention than intensively managed, species-poor grasslands, and that this would be due to a greater immobilisation of N by a more fungal-dominated microbial community. In the field study, we found that extensively managed, species-rich grasslands had lower N leaching losses. Soil inorganic N availability decreased with increasing abundance of fungi relative to bacteria, although the best predictor of soil N leaching was the C/N ratio of aboveground plant biomass. In the associated glasshouse experiment we found that retention of added 15N was greater in extensively than in intensively managed grasslands, which was attributed to a combination of greater root uptake and microbial immobilisation of 15N in the former, and that microbial immobilisation increased with increasing biomass and abundance of fungi. These findings show that grassland management affects mechanisms of N retention in soil through changes in root and microbial uptake of N. Moreover, they support the notion that microbial communities might be the key to improved N retention through tightening linkages

  17. Simulation of the decomposition and nitrogen mineralization of aboveground plant material in two unfertilized grassland ecosystems.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bloemhof, H.S.; Berendse, F.

    1995-01-01

    A simple model of the decomposition and nitrogen mineralization of plant material from two unfertilized grassland ecosystems has been developed, with only the proportion of leaves and stems in the original material, the initial nitrogen contents of these plant parts and temperature as input data.

  18. Natural hybridization and reproductive isolation between two Primula speciesFA

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Yanping Xie; Xingfu Zhu; Yongpeng Ma; Jianli Zhao; Li Li; Qingjun Li

    2017-01-01

    Natural hybridization frequently occurs in plants and can facilitate gene flow between species,possibly resulting in species refusion.However,various reproductive barriers block the formation of hybrids and maintain species integrity.Here,we conducted a field survey to examine natural hybridization and reproductive isolation (RI) between sympatric populations of Primula secundiflora and P.poissonii using ten nuclear simple sequence repeat (SSR) loci.Although introgressive hybridization occurred,species boundaries between P.secundiflora and P.poissonii were maintained through nearly complete reproductive isolation.These interfertile species provide an excellent model for studying the RI mechanisms and evolutionary forces that maintain species boundaries.

  19. The Effects of Timing of Grazing on Plant and Arthropod Communities in High-Elevation Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davis, Stacy C.; Burkle, Laura A.; Cross, Wyatt F.; Cutting, Kyle A.

    2014-01-01

    Livestock grazing can be used as a key management tool for maintaining healthy ecosystems. However, the effectiveness of using grazing to modify habitat for species of conservation concern depends on how the grazing regime is implemented. Timing of grazing is one grazing regime component that is less understood than grazing intensity and grazer identity, but is predicted to have important implications for plant and higher trophic level responses. We experimentally assessed how timing of cattle grazing affected plant and arthropod communities in high-elevation grasslands of southwest Montana to better evaluate its use as a tool for multi-trophic level management. We manipulated timing of grazing, with one grazing treatment beginning in mid-June and the other in mid-July, in two experiments conducted in different grassland habitat types (i.e., wet meadow and upland) in 2011 and 2012. In the upland grassland experiment, we found that both early and late grazing treatments reduced forb biomass, whereas graminoid biomass was only reduced with late grazing. Grazing earlier in the growing season versus later did not result in greater recovery of graminoid or forb biomass as expected. In addition, the density of the most ubiquitous grassland arthropod order (Hemiptera) was reduced by both grazing treatments in upland grasslands. A comparison of end-of-season plant responses to grazing in upland versus wet meadow grasslands revealed that grazing reduced graminoid biomass in the wet meadow and forb biomass in the upland, irrespective of timing of grazing. Both grazing treatments also reduced end-of-season total arthropod and Hemiptera densities and Hemiptera biomass in both grassland habitat types. Our results indicate that both early and late season herbivory affect many plant and arthropod characteristics in a similar manner, but grazing earlier may negatively impact species of conservation concern requiring forage earlier in the growing season. PMID:25338008

  20. Does resource availability, resource heterogeneity or species turnover mediate changes in plant species richness in grazed grasslands?

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bakker, C; Blair, JM; Knapp, AK

    2003-01-01

    Grazing by large ungulates often increases plant species richness in grasslands of moderate to high productivity. In a mesic North American grassland with and without the presence of bison (Bos bison), a native ungulate grazer, three non-exclusive hypotheses for increased plant species richness in

  1. Impact of weather on dynamics of plant functional groups in an abandoned limestone grassland

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zbigniew Dzwonko

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available We examined to what extend the rate and direction of changes in unmanaged grassland depend on fluctuations in climatic conditions. Vegetation data from permanent plots in a semi-natural grassland in southern Poland collected over 12 years were used. Relations between weather variables, time, and the cover of 41 more frequent species and 14 plant functional groups were analysed. The greatest effect on the dynamics of species and functional groups had precipitation in spring and/or early summer, particularly in the current year. The majority of plant groups were significantly affected also by the temperature in spring and early summer in one of the three previous years. During 12 years, the cover of annuals and biennials, short plants, and plants with small leaves decreased, while the cover of taller plants, plants with larger leaves, and with vegetative spread increased. The analyses suggest that these successional changes were not directly associated with climatic conditions but were affected by them indirectly through interspecific competition. The fluctuations in climatic conditions, chiefly precipitation, had a significant effect on both the composition and the rate of changes in abandoned grassland. The increase in the cover of tall perennial species with broad leaves hindered succession towards woodland despite of the presence of woods in the closed vicinity. It can be expected that during drier periods colonisation of grassland by later successional species could be easier.

  2. Plant diversity predicts beta but not alpha diversity of soil microbes across grasslands worldwide

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prober, Suzanne M.; Leff, Jonathan W.; Bates, Scott T.; Borer, Elizabeth T.; Firn, Jennifer; Harpole, W. Stanley; Lind, Eric M.; Seabloom, Eric W.; Adler, Peter B.; Bakker, Jonathan D.; Cleland, Elsa E.; DeCrappeo, Nicole; DeLorenze, Elizabeth; Hagenah, Nicole; Hautier, Yann; Hofmockel, Kirsten S.; Kirkman, Kevin P.; Knops, Johannes M. H.; La Pierre, Kimberly J.; MacDougall, Andrew S.; McCulley, Rebecca L.; Mitchell, Charles E.; Risch, Anita C.; Schuetz, Martin; Stevens, Carly J.; Williams, Ryan J.; Fierer, Noah

    2015-01-01

    Aboveground–belowground interactions exert critical controls on the composition and function of terrestrial ecosystems, yet the fundamental relationships between plant diversity and soil microbial diversity remain elusive. Theory predicts predominantly positive associations but tests within single sites have shown variable relationships, and associations between plant and microbial diversity across broad spatial scales remain largely unexplored. We compared the diversity of plant, bacterial, archaeal and fungal communities in one hundred and forty-five 1 m2 plots across 25 temperate grassland sites from four continents. Across sites, the plant alpha diversity patterns were poorly related to those observed for any soil microbial group. However, plant beta diversity (compositional dissimilarity between sites) was significantly correlated with the beta diversity of bacterial and fungal communities, even after controlling for environmental factors. Thus, across a global range of temperate grasslands, plant diversity can predict patterns in the composition of soil microbial communities, but not patterns in alpha diversity.

  3. Experimental effects of herbivore density on above-ground plant biomass in an alpine grassland ecosystem

    OpenAIRE

    Austrheim, Gunnar; Speed, James David Mervyn; Martinsen, Vegard; Mulder, Jan; Mysterud, Atle

    2014-01-01

    Herbivores may increase or decrease aboveground plant productivity depending on factors such as herbivore density and habitat productivity. The grazing optimization hypothesis predicts a peak in plant production at intermediate herbivore densities, but has rarely been tested experimentally in an alpine field setting. In an experimental design with three densities of sheep (high, low, and no sheep), we harvested aboveground plant biomass in alpine grasslands prior to treatment and after five y...

  4. Woody plant encroachment of grasslands: a comparison of terrestrial and wetland settings.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saintilan, Neil; Rogers, Kerrylee

    2015-02-01

    A global trend of woody plant encroachment of terrestrial grasslands is co-incident with woody plant encroachment of wetland in freshwater and saline intertidal settings. There are several arguments for considering tree encroachment of wetlands in the context of woody shrub encroachment of grassland biomes. In both cases, delimitation of woody shrubs at regional scales is set by temperature thresholds for poleward extent, and by aridity within temperature limits. Latitudinal expansion has been observed for terrestrial woody shrubs and mangroves, following recent warming, but most expansion and thickening has been due to the occupation of previously water-limited grassland/saltmarsh environments. Increases in atmospheric CO₂, may facilitate the recruitment of trees in terrestrial and wetland settings. Improved water relations, a mechanism that would predict higher soil moisture in grasslands and saltmarshes, and also an enhanced capacity to survive arid conditions, reinforces local mechanisms of change. The expansion of woody shrubs and mangroves provides a negative feedback on elevated atmospheric CO₂ by increasing carbon sequestration in grassland and saltmarsh, and is a significant carbon sink globally. These broad-scale vegetation shifts may represent a new stable state, reinforced by positive feedbacks between global change drivers and endogenic mechanisms of persistence in the landscape.

  5. Dissimilar response of plant and soil biota communities to long-term nutrient adition in grasslands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wal, van der A.; Geerts, R.H.E.M.; Korevaar, H.; Schouten, A.J.; Jagers op Akkerhuis, G.A.J.M.; Rutgers, M.; Mulder, C.

    2009-01-01

    The long-term effect of fertilizers on plant diversity and productivity is well known, but long-term effects on soil biota communities have received relatively little attention. Here, we used an exceptional long-lasting (>40 years) grassland fertilization experiment to investigate the long-term

  6. Comparative Metabolite Profiling of Triterpenoid Saponins and Flavonoids in Flower Color Mutations of Primula veris L.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Apel, Lysanne; Kammerer, Dietmar R.; Stintzing, Florian C.; Spring, Otmar

    2017-01-01

    Primula veris L. is an important medicinal plant with documented use for the treatment of gout, headache and migraine reaching back to the Middle Ages. Triterpenoid saponins from roots and flowers are used in up-to-date phytotherapeutic treatment of bronchitis and colds due to their expectorant and secretolytic effects. In addition to the wild type plants with yellow petals, a red variant and an intermediate orange form of Primula veris L. have recently been found in a natural habitat. The secondary metabolite profiles of roots, leaves and flowers of these rare variants were investigated and compared with the wild type metabolome. Two flavonoids, six flavonoid glycosides, four novel methylated flavonoid glycosides, five anthocyanins and three triterpenoid saponins were identified in alcoholic extracts from the petals, leaves and roots of the three variants by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)-diode array detection (DAD)/mass spectrometry (MSn) analyses. Anthocyanins were detected in the petals of the red and orange variety, but not in the wild type. No other effects on the metabolite profiles of the three varieties have been observed. The possibility is discussed that a regulatory step of the anthocyanin biosynthetic pathway may have been affected by mutation thus triggering color polymorphism in the petals. PMID:28098796

  7. DIVERSITY OF PLANT COMMUNITIES IN SECONDARY SUCCESSION OF IMPERATA GRASSLANDS IN SAMBOJA LESTARI, EAST KALIMANTAN, INDONESIA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ishak Yassir

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available Regeneration of  Imperata grassland areas is becoming increasingly important, both to create new secondary forest and to recover the original biodiversity. The diversity of  plant communities in secondary succession of  Imperata grasslands was studied using 45 subplots of  9 linear transects (10 m x 100 m. Data was collected and all stems over 10 cm dbh were identified, the Importance Values Index (IVI for all trees were calculated, saplings and seedlings were counted  and analysed, and soil samples were taken and analysed. Results showed that  after more than 10 years of  regeneration, 65 families were encountered consisting of  164 species, which were dominated by Vernonia arborea Buch.-Ham, Vitex pinnata L., Macaranga gigantea (Reichb.f. & Zoll. Muell.Arg., Symplocos crassipes C.B. Clarke, Artocarpus odoratissimus Miq., and Bridelia glauca Blume. The effects of  regeneration, from Imperata grassland to secondary forest, on soil were the strongest in the A-horizon where an increase in carbon, N content, and pH were observed. Our result shows that Imperata grasslands appear to be permanent because of  frequent fires and human interferences and so far few efforts have been made to promote sustainable rehabilitation. If  protected from fire and other disturbances, such as shifting cultivation, Imperata grassland will grow and develop into secondary forest.

  8. Ecosystem development in roadside grasslands: Biotic control, plant-soil interactions, and dispersal limitations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garcia-Palacios, P.; Bowker, M.A.; Maestre, F.T.; Soliveres, S.; Valladares, F.; Papadopoulos, J.; Escudero, A.

    2011-01-01

    Roadside grasslands undergoing secondary succession are abundant, and represent ecologically meaningful examples of novel, human-created ecosystems. Interactions between plant and soil communities (hereafter plant-soil interactions) are of major importance in understanding the role of biotic control in ecosystem functioning, but little is known about these links in the context of ecosystem restoration and succession. The assessment of the key biotic communities and interactions driving ecosystem development will help practitioners to better allocate the limited resources devoted to roadside grassland restoration. We surveyed roadside grasslands from three successional stages (0-2, 7-9, and > 20 years) in two Mediterranean regions of Spain. Structural equation modeling was used to evaluate how interactions between plants, biological soil crusts (BSCs), and soil microbial functional diversity (soil microorganisms) affect indicators of ecosystem development and restoration: plant similarity to the reference ecosystem, erosion control, and soil C storage and N accumulation. Changes in plant community composition along the successional gradient exerted the strongest influence on these indicators. High BSC cover was associated with high soil stability, and high soil microbial functional diversity from late-successional stages was associated with high soil fertility. Contrary to our expectations, the indirect effects of plants, mediated by either BSCs or soil microorganisms, were very weak in both regions, suggesting a minor role for plant-soil interactions upon ecosystem development indicators over long periods. Our results suggest that natural vegetation dynamics effectively improved ecosystem development within a time frame of 20 years in the grasslands evaluated. They also indicate that this time could be shortened if management actions focus on: (1) maintaining wellconserved natural areas close to roadsides to enhance plant compositional changes towards late

  9. Mapping Plant Functional Groups in Subalpine Grassland of the Greater Caucasus

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anja Magiera

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available Plant functional groups—in our case grass, herbs, and legumes—and their spatial distribution can provide information on key ecosystem functions such as species richness, nitrogen fixation, and erosion control. Knowledge about the spatial distribution of plant functional groups provides valuable information for grassland management. This study described and mapped the distribution of grass, herb, and legume coverage of the subalpine grassland in the high-mountain Kazbegi region, Greater Caucasus, Georgia. To test the applicability of new sensors, we compared the predictive power of simulated hyperspectral canopy reflectance, simulated multispectral reflectance, simulated vegetation indices, and topographic variables for modeling plant functional groups. The tested grassland showed characteristic differences in species richness; in grass, herb, and legume coverage; and in connected structural properties such as yield. Grass (Hordeum brevisubulatum was dominant in biomass-rich hay meadows. Herb-rich grassland featured the highest species richness and evenness, whereas legume-rich grassland was accompanied by a high coverage of open soil and showed dominance of a single species, Astragalus captiosus. The best model fits were achieved with a combination of reflectance, vegetation indices, and topographic variables as predictors. Random forest models for grass, herb, and legume coverage explained 36%, 25%, and 37% of the respective variance, and their root mean square errors varied between 12–15%. Hyperspectral and multispectral reflectance as predictors resulted in similar models. Because multispectral data are more easily available and often have a higher spatial resolution, we suggest using multispectral parameters enhanced by vegetation indices and topographic parameters for modeling grass, herb, and legume coverage. However, overall model fits were merely moderate, and further testing, including stronger gradients and the addition of

  10. Biodiversity of Soil Microbial Communities Following Woody Plant Invasion of Grassland: An Assessment Using Molecular Methods

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kantola, I. B.; Gentry, T. J.; Filley, T. R.; Boutton, T. W.

    2012-12-01

    Woody plants have encroached into grasslands, savannas, and other grass-dominated ecosystems throughout the world during the last century. This dramatic vegetation change is likely driven by livestock grazing, altered fire frequencies, elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and/or changes in atmospheric deposition patterns. Woody invasion often results in significant changes in ecosystem function, including alterations in above- and belowground primary productivity, soil C, N, and P storage and turnover, and the size and activity of the soil microbial biomass pool. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships and interactions between plant communities and soil microbial communities in the Rio Grande Plains region of southern Texas where grasslands have been largely replaced by woodlands. Research was conducted along a successional chronosequence representing the stages of woody plant encroachment from open grassland to closed-canopy woodland. To characterize soil microbial community composition, soil samples (0-7.5 cm) were collected in remnant grasslands (representing time 0) and near the centers of woody plant clusters, groves, and drainage woodlands ranging in age from 10 to 130 yrs. Ages of woody plant stands were determined by dendrochronology. Community DNA was extracted from each soil sample with a MoBio PowerMax Soil DNA isolation kit. The DNA concentrations were quantified on a NanoDrop ND-1000 spectrophotometer and diluted to a standard concentration. Pyrosequencing was performed by the Research and Testing Laboratory (Lubbock, TX) according to Roche 454 Titanium chemistry protocols. Samples were amplified with primers 27F and 519R for bacteria, and primers ITS1F and ITS4 for fungi. Sequences were aligned using BioEdit and the RDP Pipeline and analyzed in MOTHUR. Non-metric multidimensional scaling of the operational taxonomic units identified by pyrosequencing revealed that both bacterial and fungal community composition were

  11. New phytotoxic diterpenoids from Vellozia gigantea (Velloziaceae), an endemic neotropical plant living in the endangered Brazilian biome Rupestrian grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vellozia gigantea is a rare, ancient and endemic neotropical plant present in the Brazilian Rupestrian grasslands. The dichloromethane extract of V. gigantea adventitious roots was phytotoxic against Lactuca sativa, Agrostis stolonifera and Lemna paucicostata, and showed larvicidal activity against ...

  12. Impacts of atmospheric pollution on the plant communities of British acid grasslands

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Payne, Richard J., E-mail: r.payne@mmu.ac.uk [School of Science and the Environment, Manchester Metropolitan University, Chester St., Manchester M1 5GD (United Kingdom); Geography, School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL (United Kingdom); Stevens, Carly J. [Faculty of Science, Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA (United Kingdom); Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Bailrigg, Lancaster LA1 4YQ (United Kingdom); Dise, Nancy B. [School of Science and the Environment, Manchester Metropolitan University, Chester St., Manchester M1 5GD (United Kingdom); Gowing, David J. [Faculty of Science, Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA (United Kingdom); Pilkington, Michael G.; Phoenix, Gareth K. [Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, Alfred Denny Building, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN (United Kingdom); Emmett, Bridget A. [Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Environment Centre Wales, Deiniol Road, Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 2UW (United Kingdom); Ashmore, Michael R. [Environment Department, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD (United Kingdom)

    2011-10-15

    Air pollutants are recognised as important agents of ecosystem change but few studies consider the effects of multiple pollutants and their interactions. Here we use ordination, constrained cluster analysis and indicator value analyses to identify potential environmental controls on species composition, ecological groupings and indicator species in a gradient study of UK acid grasslands. The community composition of these grasslands is related to climate, grazing, ozone exposure and nitrogen deposition, with evidence for an interaction between the ecological impacts of base cation and nitrogen deposition. Ozone is a key agent in species compositional change but is not associated with a reduction in species richness or diversity indices, showing the subtly different drivers on these two aspects of ecosystem degradation. Our results demonstrate the effects of multiple interacting pollutants, which may collectively have a greater impact than any individual agent. - Highlights: > Ozone exposure, N and base cation deposition modify UK acid grassland composition. > Ozone influences community composition without reducing species richness. > Nitrogen and base cation deposition have interacting impacts. > Distinct species responses to pollutants suggest potential for bioindication. - Ozone exposure and nitrogen deposition have distinct but additive impacts on the plant communities of British acid grasslands.

  13. Impacts of atmospheric pollution on the plant communities of British acid grasslands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Payne, Richard J.; Stevens, Carly J.; Dise, Nancy B.; Gowing, David J.; Pilkington, Michael G.; Phoenix, Gareth K.; Emmett, Bridget A.; Ashmore, Michael R.

    2011-01-01

    Air pollutants are recognised as important agents of ecosystem change but few studies consider the effects of multiple pollutants and their interactions. Here we use ordination, constrained cluster analysis and indicator value analyses to identify potential environmental controls on species composition, ecological groupings and indicator species in a gradient study of UK acid grasslands. The community composition of these grasslands is related to climate, grazing, ozone exposure and nitrogen deposition, with evidence for an interaction between the ecological impacts of base cation and nitrogen deposition. Ozone is a key agent in species compositional change but is not associated with a reduction in species richness or diversity indices, showing the subtly different drivers on these two aspects of ecosystem degradation. Our results demonstrate the effects of multiple interacting pollutants, which may collectively have a greater impact than any individual agent. - Highlights: → Ozone exposure, N and base cation deposition modify UK acid grassland composition. → Ozone influences community composition without reducing species richness. → Nitrogen and base cation deposition have interacting impacts. → Distinct species responses to pollutants suggest potential for bioindication. - Ozone exposure and nitrogen deposition have distinct but additive impacts on the plant communities of British acid grasslands.

  14. Nitrogen transfer from forage legumes to nine neighbouring plants in a multi-species grassland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pirhofer-Walzl, Karin; Rasmussen, Jim; Jensen, Henning Høgh

    2012-01-01

    Legumes play a crucial role in nitrogen supply to grass-legume mixtures for ruminant fodder. To quantify N transfer from legumes to neighbouring plants in multi-species grasslands we established a grass-legume-herb mixture on a loamy-sandy site in Denmark. White clover (Trifolium repens L.), red...... amounts of N from legumes than dicotyledonous plants which generally have taproots. Slurry application mainly increased N transfer from legumes to grasses. During the growing season the three legumes transferred approximately 40 kg N ha-1 to neighbouring plants. Below-ground N transfer from legumes...

  15. No evidence of complementary water use along a plant species richness gradient in temperate experimental grasslands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dörte Bachmann

    Full Text Available Niche complementarity in resource use has been proposed as a key mechanism to explain the positive effects of increasing plant species richness on ecosystem processes, in particular on primary productivity. Since hardly any information is available for niche complementarity in water use, we tested the effects of plant diversity on spatial and temporal complementarity in water uptake in experimental grasslands by using stable water isotopes. We hypothesized that water uptake from deeper soil depths increases in more diverse compared to low diverse plant species mixtures. We labeled soil water in 8 cm (with 18O and 28 cm depth (with ²H three times during the 2011 growing season in 40 temperate grassland communities of varying species richness (2, 4, 8 and 16 species and functional group number and composition (legumes, grasses, tall herbs, small herbs. Stable isotope analyses of xylem and soil water allowed identifying the preferential depth of water uptake. Higher enrichment in 18O of xylem water than in ²H suggested that the main water uptake was in the upper soil layer. Furthermore, our results revealed no differences in root water uptake among communities with different species richness, different number of functional groups or with time. Thus, our results do not support the hypothesis of increased complementarity in water use in more diverse than in less diverse communities of temperate grassland species.

  16. The Effect of Re-Planting Trees on Soil Microbial Communities in a Wildfire-Induced Subalpine Grassland

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ed-Haun Chang

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available Wildfire often causes tremendous changes in ecosystems, particularly in subalpine and alpine areas, which are vulnerable due to severe climate conditions such as cold temperature and strong wind. This study aimed to clarify the effect of tree re-planting on ecosystem services such as the soil microbial community after several decades. We compared the re-planted forest and grassland with the mature forest as a reference in terms of soil microbial biomass C and N (Cmic and Nmic, enzyme activities, phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA composition, and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE. The Cmic and Nmic did not differ among the grassland, re-planted forest and mature forest soil; however, ratios of Cmic/Corg and Nmic/Ntot decreased from the grassland to re-planted forest and mature forest soil. The total PLFAs and those attributed to bacteria and Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria did not differ between the re-planted forest and grassland soil. Principle component analysis of the PLFA content separated the grassland from re-planted forest and mature forest soil. Similarly, DGGE analysis revealed changes in both bacterial and fungal community structures with changes in vegetation. Our results suggest that the microbial community structure changes with the re-planting of trees after a fire event in this subalpine area. Recovery of the soil microbial community to the original state in a fire-damaged site in a subalpine area may require decades, even under a re-planted forest.

  17. Plant species' origin predicts dominance and response to nutrient enrichment and herbivores in global grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seabloom, Eric W.; Borer, Elizabeth T.; Buckley, Yvonne M.; Cleland, Elsa E.; Davies, Kendi F.; Firn, Jennifer; Harpole, W. Stanley; Hautier, Yann; Lind, Eric M.; MacDougall, Andrew S.; Orrock, John L.; Prober, Suzanne M.; Adler, Peter B.; Anderson, T. Michael; Bakker, Jonathan D.; Biederman, Lori A.; Blumenthal, Dana M.; Brown, Cynthia S.; Brudvig, Lars A.; Cadotte, Marc; Chu, Chengjin; Cottingham, Kathryn L.; Crawley, Michael J.; Damschen, Ellen I.; Dantonio, Carla M.; DeCrappeo, Nicole M.; Du, Guozhen; Fay, Philip A.; Frater, Paul; Gruner, Daniel S.; Hagenah, Nicole; Hector, Andy; Hillebrand, Helmut; Hofmockel, Kirsten S.; Humphries, Hope C.; Jin, Virginia L.; Kay, Adam; Kirkman, Kevin P.; Klein, Julia A.; Knops, Johannes M. H.; La Pierre, Kimberly J.; Ladwig, Laura; Lambrinos, John G.; Li, Qi; Li, Wei; Marushia, Robin; McCulley, Rebecca L.; Melbourne, Brett A.; Mitchell, Charles E.; Moore, Joslin L.; Morgan, John; Mortensen, Brent; O'Halloran, Lydia R.; Pyke, David A.; Risch, Anita C.; Sankaran, Mahesh; Schuetz, Martin; Simonsen, Anna; Smith, Melinda D.; Stevens, Carly J.; Sullivan, Lauren; Wolkovich, Elizabeth; Wragg, Peter D.; Wright, Justin; Yang, Louie

    2015-01-01

    Exotic species dominate many communities; however the functional significance of species' biogeographic origin remains highly contentious. This debate is fuelled in part by the lack of globally replicated, systematic data assessing the relationship between species provenance, function and response to perturbations. We examined the abundance of native and exotic plant species at 64 grasslands in 13 countries, and at a subset of the sites we experimentally tested native and exotic species responses to two fundamental drivers of invasion, mineral nutrient supplies and vertebrate herbivory. Exotic species are six times more likely to dominate communities than native species. Furthermore, while experimental nutrient addition increases the cover and richness of exotic species, nutrients decrease native diversity and cover. Native and exotic species also differ in their response to vertebrate consumer exclusion. These results suggest that species origin has functional significance, and that eutrophication will lead to increased exotic dominance in grasslands. PMID:26173623

  18. Changes in grassland management and plant diversity in a marginal region of the Carpathian Mts. in 1999-2015.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Halada, Ľuboš; David, Stanislav; Hreško, Juraj; Klimantová, Alexandra; Bača, Andrej; Rusňák, Tomáš; Buraľ, Miroslav; Vadel, Ľuboš

    2017-12-31

    The political change from socialism to democracy in countries of Central and Eastern Europe at the end of the 20th century induced broad changes in agriculture mostly due to land ownership changes and strong reduction of subsidies to agriculture. This resulted in agricultural decline, including grassland abandonment, which influenced grassland biodiversity and conservation. Between 1999 and 2015 we studied the grasslands in the area depopulated in the early 1980's in the Poloniny National Park (NE Slovakia, Carpathian Mts.). The aim of the study was to examine influence of environmental factors and grassland management driven by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to plant community structure and taxonomical diversity. We identified altitude and soil properties as the main environmental factors: altitude determines climate gradient and probably also management intensity gradient and soil properties express soil fertility via A-horizon depth. We identified remarkable increase of proportion of managed grasslands from only 8% in 1999 to 40% in 2012-2015; other 7% of sampled grasslands were recently restored and prepared for future management. The average species richness in grasslands managed in 2012-2015 increased from 47.5 species per record in 1999 to 54.2 species in 2012-2015, the increase was found statistically significant. In 2012-2015, we observed statistically significant difference in the average species richness between managed (54.2) and abandoned grasslands (46.3). The agricultural subsidies of the CAP drive the grassland management in the study area. Therefore, we conclude that CAP enabled grassland biodiversity maintenance in significant part of the Poloniny National Park following start of its application in 2004 and above provided figures can be considered as indicators of the CAP effectiveness in our study area. However, the conservation of mountain meadows remains a challenge because of their poor accessibility. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All

  19. Action of sulfurous acid on pollen. [Hepatica triloba; Helleborus orientalis; Vinca minor; Viola tricolor; Primula officinalis; Lilium candidum; Petunia; Pisum; Helleborus viridus; Galanthus nivealis; Vinca major; Convallaria maialis; Narcissus poeticus; Caltha palustris; Cystisus laburnum; Orchis maculata; Bilbergia; Eranthus; Crocus

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sabachnikoff, V

    1912-01-23

    The following ornamental plants: Hepatica triloba, Helleborus orientalis, Vinca minor, Viola tricolor, Primula officinalis, Lilium candidum, Petunia, Pisum, Helleborus viridus, Galanthus nivealis, Vinca major, Convallaria maialis, Narcissus poeticus, Caltha palustris, Cystisus laburnum, Orchis maculata, Bilbergia, Eranthus, and Crocus were tested for seed production. Exposure to sulfuric acid ranged from three to forty-eight hours. Responses were noted for varying concentrations.

  20. Soil Seed Bank and Plant Community Development in Passive Restoration of Degraded Sandy Grasslands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Renhui Miao

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available To evaluate the efficacy of passive restoration on soil seed bank and vegetation recovery, we measured the species composition and density of the soil seed bank, as well as the species composition, density, coverage, and height of the extant vegetation in sites passively restored for 0, 4, 7, and 12 years (S0, S4, S7, and S12 in a degraded grassland in desert land. Compared with S0, three more species in the soil seed bank at depths of 0–30 cm and one more plant species in the community was detected in S12. Seed density within the topsoil (0–5 cm was five times higher in S12 than that in S0. Plant densities in S7 and S12 were triple and quadruple than that in S0. Plant coverage was increased by 1.5 times (S4, double (S7, and triple (S12 compared with S0. Sørensen’s index of similarity in species composition between the soil seed bank and the plant community were high (0.43–0.63, but it was lower in short-term restoration sites (S4 and S7 than that in no and long-term restoration sites (S0 and S12. The soil seed bank recovered more slowly than the plant community under passive restoration. Passive restoration is a useful method to recover the soil seed bank and vegetation in degraded grasslands.

  1. Responses of Ammonia-Oxidising Bacterial Communities to Nitrogen, Lime, and Plant Species in Upland Grassland Soil

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rooney, D.C.; Kennedy, N.M.; Clipson, N.J.W.; Rooney, D.C.; Kennedy, N.M.; Gleeson, D.B.

    2010-01-01

    Agricultural improvement of semi natural grasslands has been shown to result in changes to plant and microbial diversity, with consequences for ecosystem functioning. A microcosm approach was used to elucidate the effects of two key components of agricultural improvement (nitrogen addition and liming) on ammonia-oxidising bacterial (AOB) communities in an upland grassland soil. Plant species characteristic of unimproved and improved pastures (A. capillaries and L. perenne) were planted in microcosms, and lime, nitrogen (NH 4 NO 3 ), or lime plus nitrogen added. The AOB community was profiled using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (TRFLP) of the amoA gene. AOB community structure was largely altered by NH 4 NO 3 addition, rather than liming, although interactions between nitrogen addition and plant species were also evident. Results indicate that nitrogen addition drives shifts in the structure of key microbial communities in upland grassland soils, and that plant species may play a significant role in determining AOB community structure

  2. How Fencing Affects the Soil Quality and Plant Biomass in the Grassland of the Loess Plateau.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zeng, Quanchao; Liu, Yang; Xiao, Li; Huang, Yimei

    2017-09-25

    Overgrazing is a severe problem in several regions in Northwestern China and has caused serious land degradation. Secondary natural succession plays an important role in the accumulation of soil carbon and nitrogen contents. Estimating the effects of grazing exclusion on soil quality and plant diversity will improve our understanding of the succession process after overgrazing and promote judicious management of degraded pastures. This experiment was designed to measure soil properties and plant diversity following an age chronosequence of grasslands (ages ranged from one year, 12 years, 20 years, and 30 years) in Northwestern China. The results showed that continuous fencing resulted in a considerable increase in plant coverage, plant biomass (above- and below-ground biomass), and plant diversity, which can directly or indirectly improve the accumulation of soil organic carbon and total nitrogen content. The plant coverage and the above- and below-ground biomass linearly increased along the succession time, whereas soil organic C and N contents showed a significant decline in the first 12 years and, subsequently, a significant increase. The increased plant biomass caused an increase in soil organic carbon and soil total nitrogen. These results suggested that soil restoration and plant cover were an incongruous process. Generally, soil restoration is a slow process and falls behind vegetation recovery after grazing exclusion. Although the accumulation of soil C and N stocks needed a long term, vegetation restoration was a considerable option for the degraded grassland due to the significant increase of plant biomass, diversity, and soil C and N stocks. Therefore, fencing with natural succession should be considered in the design of future degraded pastures.

  3. Floristic and vegetation structure of a grassland plant community on shallow basalt in southern Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marcelo Fett Pinto

    2013-03-01

    Full Text Available Few studies have adequately described the floristic and structural features of natural grasslands associated with shallow basalt soils in southern Brazil. This study was carried out on natural grazing land used for livestock production in the municipality of Santana do Livramento, in the Campanha region of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. The aim of the study was to describe the floristic and structural diversity of the area. The floristic list obtained comprises 229 plant taxa from 40 botanical families, with a predominance of the families Poaceae (62, Asteraceae (28, Fabaceae (16 and Cyperaceae (12. The estimated diversity and evenness in the community were 3.00 and 0.874, respectively. Bare soil and rock outcrops accounted for 19.3% of the area, resulting in limited forage availability. Multivariate analysis revealed two well-defined groups among the sampling units. One group showed a high degree of internal aggregation, associated with deep soils, and was characterized by the presence of tussocks, whereas the other was less aggregate and was characterized by prostrate species growing on shallow soil. Ordination analysis indicated a gradient of moisture and of soil depth in the study area, resulting in different vegetation patterns. These patterns were analogous to the vegetation physiognomies described for Uruguayan grasslands. Overall, the grassland community studied is similar to others found throughout southern Brazil, although it harbors more winter forage species. In addition, the rare grass Paspalum indecorum Mez is locally dominant in some patches, behaving similarly to P. notatum Fl., a widespread grass that dominates extensive grassland areas in southern Brazil.

  4. Changes in plant species richness induce functional shifts in soil nematode communities in experimental grassland.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nico Eisenhauer

    Full Text Available Changes in plant diversity may induce distinct changes in soil food web structure and accompanying soil feedbacks to plants. However, knowledge of the long-term consequences of plant community simplification for soil animal food webs and functioning is scarce. Nematodes, the most abundant and diverse soil Metazoa, represent the complexity of soil food webs as they comprise all major trophic groups and allow calculation of a number of functional indices.We studied the functional composition of nematode communities three and five years after establishment of a grassland plant diversity experiment (Jena Experiment. In response to plant community simplification common nematode species disappeared and pronounced functional shifts in community structure occurred. The relevance of the fungal energy channel was higher in spring 2007 than in autumn 2005, particularly in species-rich plant assemblages. This resulted in a significant positive relationship between plant species richness and the ratio of fungal-to-bacterial feeders. Moreover, the density of predators increased significantly with plant diversity after five years, pointing to increased soil food web complexity in species-rich plant assemblages. Remarkably, in complex plant communities the nematode community shifted in favour of microbivores and predators, thereby reducing the relative abundance of plant feeders after five years.The results suggest that species-poor plant assemblages may suffer from nematode communities detrimental to plants, whereas species-rich plant assemblages support a higher proportion of microbivorous nematodes stimulating nutrient cycling and hence plant performance; i.e. effects of nematodes on plants may switch from negative to positive. Overall, food web complexity is likely to decrease in response to plant community simplification and results of this study suggest that this results mainly from the loss of common species which likely alter plant-nematode interactions.

  5. Herbivory and eutrophication mediate grassland plant nutrient responses across a global climatic gradient

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, T. Michael; Griffith, Daniel M.; Grace, James B.; Lind, Eric M.; Adler, Peter B.; Biederman, Lori A.; Blumenthal, Dana M.; Daleo, Pedro; Firn, Jennifer; Hagenah, Nicole; Harpole, W. Stanley; MacDougall, Andrew S.; McCulley, Rebecca L.; Prober, Suzanne M.; Risch, Anita C.; Sankaran, Mahesh; Schütz, Martin; Seabloom, Eric W.; Stevens, Carly J.; Sullivan, Lauren; Wragg, Peter; Borer, Elizabeth T.

    2018-01-01

    Plant stoichiometry, the relative concentration of elements, is a key regulator of ecosystem functioning and is also being altered by human activities. In this paper we sought to understand the global drivers of plant stoichiometry and compare the relative contribution of climatic vs. anthropogenic effects. We addressed this goal by measuring plant elemental (C, N, P and K) responses to eutrophication and vertebrate herbivore exclusion at eighteen sites on six continents. Across sites, climate and atmospheric N deposition emerged as strong predictors of plot‐level tissue nutrients, mediated by biomass and plant chemistry. Within sites, fertilization increased total plant nutrient pools, but results were contingent on soil fertility and the proportion of grass biomass relative to other functional types. Total plant nutrient pools diverged strongly in response to herbivore exclusion when fertilized; responses were largest in ungrazed plots at low rainfall, whereas herbivore grazing dampened the plant community nutrient responses to fertilization. Our study highlights (1) the importance of climate in determining plant nutrient concentrations mediated through effects on plant biomass, (2) that eutrophication affects grassland nutrient pools via both soil and atmospheric pathways and (3) that interactions among soils, herbivores and eutrophication drive plant nutrient responses at small scales, especially at water‐limited sites.

  6. Diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in grassland spontaneously developed on area polluted by a fertilizer plant

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Renker, C.; Blanke, V.; Buscot, F.

    2005-01-01

    Mycorrhizal colonization and diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) were analyzed in a calcareous grassland with residual phosphate contamination 10 years after the closure of a pollutant fertilizer plant in Thuringia (Germany). AMF were detected in 21 of 22 plant species analyzed. Mean mycorrhization levels reached up to 74.5% root length colonized. AMF diversity was analyzed based on 104 sequences of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) of the ribosomal DNA. Phylogenetic analyses revealed a total of 6 species all belonging to the genus Glomus. There was no overlap between species detected as active mycorrhizas on roots (2 taxa) or as spores (4 taxa). Compared to the regional context, the diversity of AMF at our field site was reduced, which may reflect a residual disturbance effect. However, none of the detected species was exclusive to the polluted site as they are commonly found in the region. - Almost all plant species were mycorrhizal

  7. Controls upon microbial accessibility to soil organic matter following woody plant encroachment into grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Creamer, C. A.; Boutton, T. W.; Filley, T. R.

    2009-12-01

    Woody plant encroachment (WPE) into savannas and grasslands is a global phenomenon that alters soil organic matter (SOM) dynamics through changes in litter quality and quantity, soil structure, microbial ecology, and soil hydrology. To elucidate the controls upon microbial accessibility to SOM, bulk soils from a chronosequence of progressive WPE into native grasslands at the Texas A&M Agricultural Experimental Station La Copita Research Area were incubated for one year. The quantity and stable carbon isotope composition of respired CO2, plant biopolymer chemistry in SOM, and microbial community structure were tracked. Respiration rates declined steadily over the course of the experiment with 15-25% of the total CO2 respired released in the first month of incubation. Between 8 and 18% of the total carbon was mineralized to CO2 throughout the incubation. After day 84 a significantly (p evidence of enhanced carbon stabilization in these respiration experiments. In fact, a greater proportion of total carbon was lost from the soil of mature woody stands than from young stands, suggesting carbon accumulation observed with WPE may be due to greater input rates or microbial dynamics not captured in the laboratory incubation. A cluster approximately 34 years in age represents a transition point in WPE where respiration dynamics become distinct between grassland and wooded elements. By day 84 of the incubation CO2 respired from all soils was depleted with respect to bulk SOM (1.5 to 5‰) and this pattern remained for the rest of the incubation. As the depletion of CO2 relative to bulk SOM was observed in grassland and cluster soils, we hypothesized the depleted signature resulted from the utilization of depleted biopolymers, specifically lignin, cutin and suberin, as hypothesized by others. Quantitative and isotopic comparisons of these monomers prior to and following the incubation will determine if selective compound utilization is a reason for this depletion. The results

  8. Long-term reactions of plants and macroinvertebrates to extreme floods in floodplain grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ilg, Christiane; Dziock, Frank; Foeckler, Francis; Follner, Klaus; Gerisch, Michael; Glaeser, Judith; Rink, Anke; Schanowski, Arno; Scholz, Mathias; Deichner, Oskar; Henle, Klaus

    2008-09-01

    Extreme summertime flood events are expected to become more frequent in European rivers due to climate change. In temperate areas, where winter floods are common, extreme floods occurring in summer, a period of high physiological activity, may seriously impact floodplain ecosystems. Here we report on the effects of the 2002 extreme summer flood on flora and fauna of the riverine grasslands of the Middle Elbe (Germany), comparing pre- and post-flooding data collected by identical methods. Plants, mollusks, and carabid beetles differed considerably in their response in terms of abundance and diversity. Plants and mollusks, displaying morphological and behavioral adaptations to flooding, showed higher survival rates than the carabid beetles, the adaptation strategies of which were mainly linked to life history. Our results illustrate the complexity of responses of floodplain organisms to extreme flood events. They demonstrate that the efficiency of resistance and resilience strategies is widely dependent on the mode of adaptation.

  9. [Soil catalase activity of main plant communities in Leymus chinensis grassland in northeast China].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lu, Ping; Guo, Jixun; Zhu, Li

    2002-06-01

    The seasonal dynamics of soil catalase activity of three different plants communities in Leymus chinensis grassland in northeast China were in a parabolas shape. The seasonal variation of Chloris virgata community was greater than those of Leymus chinensis community and Puccinellia tenuiflora community, and "seed effect" might be the main reason. The correlation between the activity of soil catalase in different soil layers and environmental factors were analyzed. The results showed that the activity of soil catalase was decreased gradually with depth of soil layer. The activity of soil catalase was closely correlated with rainfall and air temperature, and it was affected by soil temperature, soil moisture, and their interactions. The correlation between the activity and aboveground vegetation was very significant, and the growing condition of plant communities could be reflected by the activity of soil catalase.

  10. Incorporating biodiversity into rangeland health: Plant species richness and diversity in great plains grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Symstad, Amy J.; Jonas, Jayne L.

    2011-01-01

    Indicators of rangeland health generally do not include a measure of biodiversity. Increasing attention to maintaining biodiversity in rangelands suggests that this omission should be reconsidered, and plant species richness and diversity are two metrics that may be useful and appropriate. Ideally, their response to a variety of anthropogenic and natural drivers in the ecosystem of interest would be clearly understood, thereby providing a means to diagnose the cause of decline in an ecosystem. Conceptual ecological models based on ecological principles and hypotheses provide a framework for this understanding, but these models must be supported by empirical evidence if they are to be used for decision making. To that end, we synthesize results from published studies regarding the responses of plant species richness and diversity to drivers that are of management concern in Great Plains grasslands, one of North America's most imperiled ecosystems. In the published literature, moderate grazing generally has a positive effect on these metrics in tallgrass prairie and a neutral to negative effect in shortgrass prairie. The largest published effects on richness and diversity were caused by moderate grazing in tallgrass prairies and nitrogen fertilization in shortgrass prairies. Although weather is often cited as the reason for considerable annual fluctuations in richness and diversity, little information about the responses of these metrics to weather is available. Responses of the two metrics often diverged, reflecting differences in their sensitivity to different types of changes in the plant community. Although sufficient information has not yet been published for these metrics to meet all the criteria of a good indicator in Great Plains Grasslands, augmenting current methods of evaluating rangeland health with a measure of plant species richness would reduce these shortcomings and provide information critical to managing for biodiversity.

  11. Relationship between plant biodiversity and heavy metal bioavailability in grasslands overlying an abandoned mine.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hernández, A J; Pastor, J

    2008-04-01

    Abandoned metal mines in the Sierra de Guadarrama, Madrid, Spain, are often located in areas of high ecological value. This is true of an abandoned barium mine situated in the heart of a bird sanctuary. Today the area sustains grasslands, interspersed with oakwood formations of Quercus ilex and heywood scrub (Retama sphaerocarpa L.), used by cattle, sheep and wild animals. Our study was designed to establish a relationship between the plant biodiversity of these grasslands and the bioavailability of heavy metals in the topsoil layer of this abandoned mine. We conducted soil chemical analyses and performed a greenhouse evaluation of the effects of different soil heavy metal concentrations on biodiversity. The greenhouse bioassays were run for 6 months using soil samples obtained from the mine polluted with heavy metals (Cu, Zn, Pb and Cd) and from a control pasture. Soil heavy metal and Na concentrations, along with the pH, had intense negative effects on plant biodiversity, as determined through changes in the Shannon index and species richness. Numbers of grasses, legumes, and composites were reduced, whilst other species (including ruderals) were affected to a lesser extent. Zinc had the greatest effect on biodiversity, followed by Cd and Cu. When we compared the sensitivity of the biodiversity indicators to the different metal content variables, pseudototal metal concentrations determined by X-ray fluorescence (XRF) were the most sensitive, followed by available and soluble metal contents. Worse correlations between biodiversity variables and metal variables were shown by pseudototal contents obtained by plasma emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES). Our results highlight the importance of using as many different indicators as possible to reliably assess the response shown by plants to heavy metal soil pollution.

  12. Root-induced decomposer growth and plant N uptake are not positively associated among a set of grassland plants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Saj, S.; Mikola, J.; Ekelund, Flemming

    2008-01-01

    It is known that plant species can induce development of different soil decomposer communities and that they differ in their influence on organic matter decomposition and N mineralization in soil. However, no study has so far assessed whether these two observations are related to each other. Base...... that plant traits such as competitive ability for soil mineral N were more important for plant uptake of litter-N than those that directly affected the growth of soil decomposers.......It is known that plant species can induce development of different soil decomposer communities and that they differ in their influence on organic matter decomposition and N mineralization in soil. However, no study has so far assessed whether these two observations are related to each other. Based...... on the hypothesis that root-induced growth of soil decomposers leads to accelerated decomposition of SOM and increased plant N availability in soil, we predicted that (1) among a set of grassland plants the abundance of soil decomposers in the plant rhizosphere is positively associated with plant N uptake from soil...

  13. Urban Power Line Corridors as Novel Habitats for Grassland and Alien Plant Species in South-Western Finland.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jussi Lampinen

    Full Text Available Regularly managed electric power line corridors may provide habitats for both early-successional grassland plant species and disturbance-dependent alien plant species. These habitats are especially important in urban areas, where they can help conserve native grassland species and communities in urban greenspace. However, they can also provide further footholds for potentially invasive alien species that already characterize urban areas. In order to implement power line corridors into urban conservation, it is important to understand which environmental conditions in the corridors favor grassland species and which alien species. Likewise it is important to know whether similar environmental factors in the corridors control the species composition of the two groups. We conducted a vegetation study in a 43 kilometer long urban power line corridor network in south-western Finland, and used generalized linear models and distance-based redundancy analysis to determine which environmental factors best predict the occurrence and composition of grassland and alien plant species in the corridors. The results imply that old corridors on dry soils and steep slopes characterized by a history as open areas and pastures are especially suitable for grassland species. Corridors suitable for alien species, in turn, are characterized by productive soils and abundant light and are surrounded by a dense urban fabric. Factors controlling species composition in the two groups are somewhat correlated, with the most important factors including light abundance, soil moisture, soil calcium concentration and soil productivity. The results have implications for grassland conservation and invasive alien species control in urban areas.

  14. Belowground Carbon Allocation and Plant-Microbial Interactions Drive Resistance and Resilience of Mountain Grassland Communities to Drought

    Science.gov (United States)

    Karlowsky, S.; Augusti, A.; Ingrisch, J.; Hasibeder, R.; Lavorel, S.; Bahn, M.; Gleixner, G.

    2016-12-01

    Belowground carbon allocation (BCA) and plant-microbial interactions are crucial for the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems. Recent research suggests that extreme events can have severe effects on these processes but it is unknown how land use intensity potentially modifies their responses. We studied the resistance and resilience of mountain grassland communities to prolonged drought and investigated the role of plant C allocation and soil microbial communities in mediating drought resistance and immediate recovery. In a common garden experiment we exposed monoliths from an abandoned grassland and a hay meadow to an early summer drought. Two independent 13C pulse labeling experiments were conducted, the first during peak drought and the second during the recovery phase. The 13C incorporation was analyzed in above- and belowground plant parts and in phospho- and neutral lipid fatty acids of soil microorganisms. In addition, a 15N label was added at the rewetting to determine plant N uptake. We found that C uptake, BCA and C transfer to soil microorganisms were less strongly reduced by drought in the abandoned grassland than in the meadow. Moreover, drought induced an increase of arbuscular mycorrhiza fungi (AMF) marker in the abandoned grassland. Nevertheless, C uptake and related parameters were quickly recovered and N uptake increased in the meadow during recovery. Unexpectedly, AMF and their C uptake were generally reduced during recovery, while bacteria increased and quickly recovered C uptake, particularly in the meadow. Our results showed a negative relation between high resistance and fast recovery. The more resistant abandoned grassland plant communities seemed to invest more C below ground and into interactions with AMF during drought, likely to access water through their hyphal network. Conversely, meadow communities invested more C from recent photosynthesis into bacterial communities during recovery, obviously to gain more nutrients for regrowth

  15. Phenotypic selection on flowering phenology and pollination efficiency traits between Primula populations with different pollinator assemblages.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Yun; Li, Qing-Jun

    2017-10-01

    Floral traits have largely been attributed to phenotypic selection in plant-pollinator interactions. However, the strength of this link has rarely been ascertained with real pollinators. We conducted pollinator observations and estimated selection through female fitness on flowering phenology and floral traits between two Primula secundiflora populations. We quantified pollinator-mediated selection by subtracting estimates of selection gradients of plants receiving supplemental hand pollination from those of plants receiving open pollination. There was net directional selection for an earlier flowering start date at populations where the dominant pollinators were syrphid flies, and flowering phenology was also subjected to stabilized quadratic selection. However, a later flowering start date was significantly selected at populations where the dominant pollinators were legitimate (normal pollination through the corolla tube entrance) and illegitimate bumblebees (abnormal pollination through nectar robbing hole which located at the corolla tube), and flowering phenology was subjected to disruptive quadratic selection. Wider corolla tube entrance diameter was selected at both populations. Furthermore, the strength of net directional selection on flowering start date and corolla tube entrance diameter was stronger at the population where the dominant pollinators were syrphid flies. Pollinator-mediated selection explained most of the between-population variations in the net directional selection on flowering phenology and corolla tube entrance diameter. Our results suggested the important influence of pollinator-mediated selection on floral evolution. Variations in pollinator assemblages not only resulted in variation in the direction of selection but also the strength of selection on floral traits.

  16. Elevated CO2 and water addition enhance nitrogen turnover in grassland plants with implications for temporal stability.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dijkstra, Feike A; Carrillo, Yolima; Blumenthal, Dana M; Mueller, Kevin E; LeCain, Dan R; Morgan, Jack A; Zelikova, Tamara J; Williams, David G; Follett, Ronald F; Pendall, Elise

    2018-05-01

    Temporal variation in soil nitrogen (N) availability affects growth of grassland communities that differ in their use and reuse of N. In a 7-year-long climate change experiment in a semi-arid grassland, the temporal stability of plant biomass production varied with plant N turnover (reliance on externally acquired N relative to internally recycled N). Species with high N turnover were less stable in time compared to species with low N turnover. In contrast, N turnover at the community level was positively associated with asynchrony in biomass production, which in turn increased community temporal stability. Elevated CO 2 and summer irrigation, but not warming, enhanced community N turnover and stability, possibly because treatments promoted greater abundance of species with high N turnover. Our study highlights the importance of plant N turnover for determining the temporal stability of individual species and plant communities affected by climate change. © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

  17. Grazing damage to plants and gastropod and grasshopper densities in a CO 2-enrichment experiment on calcareous grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ledergerber, Stephan; Thommen, G. Heinrich; Baur, Bruno

    Plant-herbivore interactions may change as atmospheric CO 2 concentrations continue to rise. We examined the effects of elevated atmospheric CO 2 and CO 2-exposure chambers on the grazing damage to plants, and on the abundances of potential herbivores (terrestrial gastropods and grasshoppers) in a calcareous grassland in the Jura mountains of Switzerland (village of Nenzlingen). Individuals of most plant species examined showed slight grazing damage. However, plots with CO 2 enrichment and plots with ambient atmosphere did not differ in the extent of grazing damage. Similarly, plots with CO 2 enrichment and plots with ambient atmosphere did not differ in either gastropod or grasshopper density. Experimental plots with and without chambers did not differ in the number of gastropods. However, the densities of gastropods and grasshoppers and extent of grazing damage to plants were generally lower in the experimental area than in the grassland outside the experimental field.

  18. Rapid top-down regulation of plant C:N:P stoichiometry by grasshoppers in an Inner Mongolia grassland ecosystem.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Guangming; Han, Xingguo; Elser, James J

    2011-05-01

    Understanding how food web interactions alter the processing of limiting nutrient elements is an important goal of ecosystem ecology. An experiment manipulating densities of the grasshopper Oedaleus asiaticus was performed to assess top-down effects of grasshoppers on C:N:P stoichiometry of plants and soil in a grassland ecosystem in Inner Mongolia (China). With increased grasshopper feeding, plant biomass declined fourfold, litter abundance increased 30%, and the plant community became dominated by non-host plant taxa. Plant stoichiometric response depended on whether or not the plant was a grasshopper host food species: C:N and C:P ratios increased with increasing grasshopper density (GD) for host plants but decreased in non-host plants. These data suggest either a direct transfer of grasshopper-recycled nutrients from host to non-host plants or a release of non-host plants from nutrient competition with heavily grazed host plants. Litterfall C:N and C:P decreased across moderate levels of grasshopper density but no effects on C:N:P stoichiometry in the surface soil were observed, possibly due to the short experimental period. Our observations of divergent C:N:P stoichiometric response among plant species highlight the important role of grasshopper herbivory in regulating plant community structure and nutrient cycling in grassland ecosystems.

  19. Subsurface earthworm casts can be important soil microsites specifically influencing the growth of grassland plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zaller, Johann G; Wechselberger, Katharina F; Gorfer, Markus; Hann, Patrick; Frank, Thomas; Wanek, Wolfgang; Drapela, Thomas

    Earthworms (Annelida: Oligochaeta) deposit several tons per hectare of casts enriched in nutrients and/or arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and create a spatial and temporal soil heterogeneity that can play a role in structuring plant communities. However, while we begin to understand the role of surface casts, it is still unclear to what extent plants utilize subsurface casts. We conducted a greenhouse experiment using large mesocosms (volume 45 l) to test whether (1) soil microsites consisting of earthworm casts with or without AMF (four Glomus taxa) affect the biomass production of 11 grassland plant species comprising the three functional groups grasses, forbs, and legumes, (2) different ecological groups of earthworms (soil dwellers- Aporrectodea caliginosa vs. vertical burrowers- Lumbricus terrestris ) alter potential influences of soil microsites (i.e., four earthworms × two subsurface microsites × two AMF treatments). Soil microsites were artificially inserted in a 25-cm depth, and afterwards, plant species were sown in a regular pattern; the experiment ran for 6 months. Our results show that minute amounts of subsurface casts (0.89 g kg -1 soil) decreased the shoot and root production of forbs and legumes, but not that of grasses. The presence of earthworms reduced root biomass of grasses only. Our data also suggest that subsurface casts provide microsites from which root AMF colonization can start. Ecological groups of earthworms did not differ in their effects on plant production or AMF distribution. Taken together, these findings suggest that subsurface earthworm casts might play a role in structuring plant communities by specifically affecting the growth of certain functional groups of plants.

  20. Identification and characterization of pin and thrum alleles of two genes that co-segregate with the Primula S locus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Jinhong; Webster, Margaret; Furuya, Masaki; Gilmartin, Philip M

    2007-07-01

    The study of heteromorphy in Primula over the past 140 years has established the reproductive significance of this breeding system. Plants produce either thrum or pin flowers that demonstrate reciprocal herkogamy. Thrums have short styles and produce large pollen from anthers at the mouth of the flower; pins have long styles and produce small pollen from anthers located within the corolla tube. The control of heteromorphy is orchestrated by the S locus with dominant (S) and recessive (s) alleles that comprise a co-adapted linkage group of genes. Thrum plants are heterozygous (Ss) and pin plants are homozygous (ss). Reciprocal crosses between the two forms are required for fertilization; within-morph crosses are impeded by a sporophytic self-incompatibility system. Rare recombination events within the S locus produce self-fertile homostyles. As a first step towards identifying genes located at the S locus, we used fluorescent differential display to screen for differential gene expression in pin and thrum flowers. Rather than only detecting differentially regulated genes, we identified two S locus linked genes by virtue of allelic variation between pin and thrum transcripts. Analysis of pin and thrum plants together with homostyle recombinant reveals that one gene flanks the locus, whereas the other shows complete linkage. One gene is related to Arabidopsis flower-timing genes Col9 and Col10; the other encodes a small predicted membrane protein of unknown function. Notwithstanding the diallelic behaviour of the Primula S locus, analysis of pin and thrum plants reveal three alleles for each gene: two pin and one thrum.

  1. Does plant diversity affect the water balance of established grassland systems?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leimer, Sophia; Bischoff, Sebastian; Blaser, Stefan; Boch, Steffen; Busch, Verena; Escher, Peter; Fischer, Markus; Kaupenjohann, Martin; Kerber, Katja; Klaus, Valentin; Michalzik, Beate; Prati, Daniel; Schäfer, Deborah; Schmitt, Barbara; Schöning, Ingo; Schwarz, Martin T.; Siemens, Jan; Thieme, Lisa; Wilcke, Wolfgang

    2017-04-01

    The water cycle drives nutrient cycles and plant productivity. The impact of land use on the water cycle has been extensively studied and there is experimental evidence that biodiversity modifies the water cycle in grasslands. However, the combined influences of land-use and associated biodiversity on the water cycle in established land-use systems are unclear. Therefore, we investigated how evapotranspiration (ETa), downward water flux (DF), and capillary rise (CR) in topsoil and subsoil are related to land-use and plant diversity in established, commercially managed grassland and compared these results to findings from experiments where plant diversity was manipulated. In three Central European regions ("Biodiversity Exploratories"), we studied 29 grassland plots (50 m x 50 m; 9-11 plots per region) from 2010 to 2015. The land-use types cover pasture, mown pasture, and meadow in at least triplicate per region. On each plot, we measured soil water contents, meteorological data (hourly resolution), cumulative precipitation (biweekly), plant species richness, the number of plants in the functional groups of grasses, herbs, and legumes (annually), and root biomass (once). Potential evapotranspiration (ETp) was calculated from meteorological data per plot. Missing data points of ETp and soil water contents were estimated with Bayesian hierarchical models. ETa, DF, and CR were calculated for two soil layers with a soil water balance model. The model is based on changes in soil water storage between subsequent observation dates and ETp, which was partitioned between soil layers according to root distribution. Water fluxes in annual resolution were statistically analyzed for land-use and biodiversity effects using repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA). Land-use type did not affect water fluxes. Species richness did not influence DF and CR. DF from topsoil was higher on plots with more grass species, which is opposite to the results from a manipulative

  2. Initial determination of DNA polymorphism of some Primula veris L. populations from Kosovo and Austria.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berisha, Naim; Millaku, Fadil; Gashi, Bekim; Krasniqi, Elez; Novak, Johannes

    2015-01-01

    Primula veris L. (Primulaceae) is a long lived perennial and well known pharmaceutical plant, widely collected for these reasons in almost all SE Europe and particularly in Kosovo. The aim of the study is to determine molecular polymorphism of cowslip (P. veris L.) populations from Kosovo. DNA extracted from leaves were  investigated in details for presence of polymorphism. RAPD analyses were conducted using 20 different short primers. Genomic DNA amplification profiles were analyzed and processed using data labelling. Comparison between cowslip populations in genetic composition revealed that samples from Bogaj were too distinct on their own. Molecular variation was observed to be more within populations (73 %) as compared to among populations (27 %). On the other hand, genetic distance of populations revealed that the highest genetic distance is between Leqinat and Maja e Madhe. Mean values of expected heterozygosity were highest in Bogaj population, while lowest in Maja e Madhe population. The obtained results indicated that Bogaj population are more polymorphic. From the obtained data it can be concluded that RAPD markers provided a useful technique to study genetic diversity in P. veris L. populations. This technology allows identification and assessment of the genetic similarities and differences among plant populations.

  3. Distribution of dominant arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi among five plant species in undisturbed vegetation of a coastal grassland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Holtgrewe-Stukenbrock, Eva; Rosendahl, Søren

    2005-01-01

    Most plant species in mixed grassland vegetation are colonized by arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. Previous studies have reported differences in host preferences among AM fungi, although the fungi are known to lack host specificity. In the present study, the distribution of phylogenetic groups...... of AM fungi belonging to a clade of Glomus species was studied in five plant species from a coastal grassland in Denmark. The occurrence of the fungi was determined by PCR analyses of fungal large subunit ribosomal DNA sequences amplified from root fragments using a specific primer set. The results...... showed that the dominant Glomus species were able to colonize all the studied plant species, supporting the view that the AM fungi represent a large underground interconnecting mycelial network....

  4. Plant effects on soil carbon storage and turnover in montane beech (Nothofagus) forest and adjacent tussock grassland in New Zealand

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tate, K.R.; Scott, N.A.; Ross, D.J.; Parshotam, A.; Claydon, J.J.

    2000-01-01

    Land cover is a critical factor that influences, and is influenced by, atmospheric chemistry and potential climate changes. As considerable uncertainty exists about the effects of differences in land cover on below-ground carbon (C) storage, we have compared soil C contents and turnover at adjacent, unmanaged, indigenous forest (Nothofagus solandri var. cliffortiodes) and grassland (Chionochloa pallens) sites near the timberline in the same climo-edaphic environment in Craigieburn Forest Park, Canterbury, New Zealand. Total soil profile C was 13% higher in the grassland than in the forest ( 19.9 v. 16.7 kg/m 2 ), and based on bomb 14 C measurements, the differences mainly resulted from more recalcitrant soil C in the grassland (5.3 v. 3.0 kg/m 2 ). Estimated annual net primary production was about 0.4 kg C/m 2 for the forest and 0.5 kg C/m 2 for the grassland; estimated annual root production was about 0.2 and 0.4 kg C/m 2 , respectively. In situ soil surface CO 2 -C production was similar in the grassland and the forest. The accumulation of recalcitrant soil C was unrelated to differences in mineral weathering or soil texture, but was apparently enhanced by greater soil water retention in the grassland ecosystem. Thus, contrary to model (ROTHC) predictions, this soil C fraction could be expected to respond to the effects of climate change on precipitation patterns. Overall, our results suggest that the different patterns of soil C accumulation in these ecosystems have resulted from differences in plant C inputs, soil aluminium, and soil physical characteristics, rather than from differences in soil mineral weathering or texture. Copyright (2000) CSIRO Australia

  5. Balance matters : N:P stoichiometry and plant diversity in grassland ecosystems

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Fujita, Y.

    2010-01-01

    Eutrophication of Nitrogen (N) and Phosphorus (P) is threatening the functioning and biodiversity of grassland ecosystems. A well known effect of eutrophication on grasslands is an increase of above-ground productivity, which intensifies light competition and allows only a few competitive species to

  6. Vascular plants and a brief history of the Kiowa and Rita Blanca National Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Donald L. Hazlett; Michael H. Schiebout; Paulette L. Ford

    2009-01-01

    Administered by the USDA Forest Service, the Kiowa and Rita Blanca National Grasslands occupy 230,000 acres of public land extending from northeastern New Mexico into the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas. A mosaic of topographic features including canyons, plateaus, rolling grasslands and outcrops supports a diverse flora. Eight hundred twenty six (826) species of...

  7. Ecosystem-scale fluxes in seminatural Pyrenean grasslands: role of annual dynamics of plant functional types

    Science.gov (United States)

    Altimir, Nuria; Ibañez, Mercedes; Elbers, Jan; Rota, Cristina; Arias, Claudia; Carrara, Arnaud; Nogues, Salvador; Sebastia, Maria-Teresa

    2013-04-01

    The net ecosystem exchange (NEE) and the annual C balance of a site are in general modulated by light, temperature and availability of water and other resources to the plants. In grasslands, NEE is expected to depend strongly on the vegetation with a relationship that can be summarized by the above-ground biomass, its amount and dynamics. Any factor controlling the amount of green biomass is expected to have a strong impact on the short-term NEE, such as amount of solar radiation, water availability and grazing pressure. These controls are modulated differently depending on the plant functional type enduring them. Furthermore, as different guilds follow different functional strategies for optimization of the resources, they also present different patterns of change in their capacities such as photosynthetic fixation, belowground C allocation, and C loss via respiration. We examined these relationships at several semi-natural pastures to determine how the seasonal distribution of plant functional types is detected in the short-term ecosystem exchange and what role it plays. We have looked into these patterns to determine the general variation of key processes and whether different temporal patterns arise between different guilds. The study sites are in the Pyrenees, on the mountain pastures of La Bertolina, Alinyà, and Castellar at 1300, 1700, 1900 m a.s.l. respectively. We performed ecosystem-scale flux measurements by means of micrometeorologial stations combined with a thorough description of the vegetation including below- and above-ground biomass and leaf area as well as monitoring of natural abundance of C isotopes, discriminated by plant functional types. We present here the results of the study.

  8. Primula auriculata Extracts Exert Cytotoxic and Apoptotic Effects against HT-29 Human Colon Adenocarcinoma Cells.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Behzad, Sahar; Ebrahim, Karim; Mosaddegh, Mahmoud; Haeri, Ali

    2016-01-01

    Primula auriculata (Tootia) is one of the most important local medicinal plants in Hamedan district, Iran. To investigate cytotoxicity and apoptosis induction of crude methanolic extract and different fraction of it, we compared several methods on HT-29 human colon Adenocarcinoma cells. Cancer cell proliferation was measured by 3-(4, 5‑dimethylthiazolyl)2, 5‑diphenyl‑tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay and apoptosis induction was analyzed by fluorescence microscopy (acridin orange/ethidium bromide, annexin V/propidium iodide staining, TUNEL assay and Caspase-3 activity assay). Crude methanolic extract (CM) inhibited the growth of malignant cells in a dose-dependent manner. Among solvent fractions, the dichloromethane fraction (CF) was found to be the most toxic compared to other fractions. With double staining methods, high percentage of 40 µg/mL of (CM) and (CF) treated cells exhibited typical characteristics of apoptotic cells. Apoptosis induction was also revealed by apoptotic fragmentation of nuclear DNA and activation of caspas-3 in treated cells. These findings indicate that crude methanolic extract and dichloromethan fraction of P.auriculata induced apoptosis and inhibited proliferation in colon cancer cells and could be used as a source for new lead structures in drug design to combat colon cancer.

  9. Local variation in conspecific plant density influences plant-soil feedback in a natural grassland

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kos, M.; Veendrick, Johan; Bezemer, T.M.

    2013-01-01

    Several studies have argued that under field conditions plant–soil feedback may be related to the local density of a plant species, but plant–soil feedback is often studied by comparing conspecific and heterospecific soils or by using mixed soil samples collected from different locations and plant

  10. Contribution of above- and below-ground plant traits to the structure and function of grassland soil microbial communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Legay, N; Baxendale, C; Grigulis, K; Krainer, U; Kastl, E; Schloter, M; Bardgett, R D; Arnoldi, C; Bahn, M; Dumont, M; Poly, F; Pommier, T; Clément, J C; Lavorel, S

    2014-10-01

    Abiotic properties of soil are known to be major drivers of the microbial community within it. Our understanding of how soil microbial properties are related to the functional structure and diversity of plant communities, however, is limited and largely restricted to above-ground plant traits, with the role of below-ground traits being poorly understood. This study investigated the relative contributions of soil abiotic properties and plant traits, both above-ground and below-ground, to variations in microbial processes involved in grassland nitrogen turnover. In mountain grasslands distributed across three European sites, a correlative approach was used to examine the role of a large range of plant functional traits and soil abiotic factors on microbial variables, including gene abundance of nitrifiers and denitrifiers and their potential activities. Direct effects of soil abiotic parameters were found to have the most significant influence on the microbial groups investigated. Indirect pathways via plant functional traits contributed substantially to explaining the relative abundance of fungi and bacteria and gene abundances of the investigated microbial communities, while they explained little of the variance in microbial activities. Gene abundances of nitrifiers and denitrifiers were most strongly related to below-ground plant traits, suggesting that they were the most relevant traits for explaining variation in community structure and abundances of soil microbes involved in nitrification and denitrification. The results suggest that consideration of plant traits, and especially below-ground traits, increases our ability to describe variation in the abundances and the functional characteristics of microbial communities in grassland soils. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Annals of Botany Company. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  11. Complete plastid genome sequence of Primula sinensis (Primulaceae: structure comparison, sequence variation and evidence for accD transfer to nucleus

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tong-Jian Liu

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available Species-rich genus Primula L. is a typical plant group with which to understand genetic variance between species in different levels of relationships. Chloroplast genome sequences are used to be the information resource for quantifying this difference and reconstructing evolutionary history. In this study, we reported the complete chloroplast genome sequence of Primula sinensis and compared it with other related species. This genome of chloroplast showed a typical circular quadripartite structure with 150,859 bp in sequence length consisting of 37.2% GC base. Two inverted repeated regions (25,535 bp were separated by a large single-copy region (82,064 bp and a small single-copy region (17,725 bp. The genome consists of 112 genes, including 78 protein-coding genes, 30 tRNA genes and four rRNA genes. Among them, seven coding genes, seven tRNA genes and four rRNA genes have two copies due to their locations in the IR regions. The accD and infA genes lacking intact open reading frames (ORF were identified as pseudogenes. SSR and sequence variation analyses were also performed on the plastome of Primula sinensis, comparing with another available plastome of P. poissonii. The four most variable regions, rpl36–rps8, rps16–trnQ, trnH–psbA and ndhC–trnV, were identified. Phylogenetic relationship estimates using three sub-datasets extracted from a matrix of 57 protein-coding gene sequences showed the identical result that was consistent with previous studies. A transcript found from P. sinensis transcriptome showed a high similarity to plastid accD functional region and was identified as a putative plastid transit peptide at the N-terminal region. The result strongly suggested that plastid accD has been functionally transferred to the nucleus in P. sinensis.

  12. Assessing the Roles of Fire Frequency and Precipitation in Determining Woody Plant Expansion in Central U.S. Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brunsell, N. A.; Van Vleck, E. S.; Nosshi, M.; Ratajczak, Z.; Nippert, J. B.

    2017-10-01

    Woody plant expansion into grasslands and savannas is occurring and accelerating worldwide and often impacts ecosystem processes. Understanding and predicting the environmental and ecological impacts of encroachment has led to a variety of methodologies for assessing its onset, transition, and stability, generally relying on dynamical systems approaches. Here we continue this general line of investigation to facilitate the understanding of the roles of precipitation frequency and intensity and fire frequency on the conversion of grasslands to woody-dominated systems focusing on the central United States. A low-dimensional model with stochastic precipitation and fire disturbance is introduced to examine the complex interactions between precipitation and fire as mechanisms that may suppress or facilitate increases in woody cover. By using Lyapunov exponents, we are able to ascertain the relative control exerted on woody encroachment through these mechanisms. Our results indicate that precipitation frequency is a more important control on woody encroachment than the intensity of individual precipitation events. Fire, however, exerts a much more dominant impact on the limitation of encroachment over the range of precipitation variability considered here. These results indicate that fire management may be an effective strategy to slow the onset of woody species into grasslands. While climate change might predict a reduced potential for woody encroachment in the near future, these results indicate a reduction in woody fraction may be unlikely when considering anthropogenic fire suppression.

  13. Genetic variation of cowslip (Primula veris L. populations (West Poland

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maria Morozowska

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Genetic variation of twelve Polish populations of Primula veris L. from western Poland was investigated in respect of six enzyme systems: 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase (6PGD, diaphorase (DIA, menadione reductase (MNR, formate dehydrogenase (FDH, isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH and glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase (GOT. Only two of them (6PGD and DIA were polymorphic and all populations were compared according to four loci and eight alleles. For 6PGD only one out of the two detected loci (locus 6PGD-2 was polymorphic and consisted of three alleles a, b and c. For DIA each of two detected loci had two alleles. For 6PGD-2 one population was monomorphic and four populations were monomorphic for DIA-1 and DIA-2. The rest of the populations were polymorphic with low frequency of heterozygotes. The low heterozygosity level, found in the examined populations, was confirmed by high values of the fixation index (F. The level of genetic differentiation among GST populations specified for each polymorphic loci, was equal to 0.045 for 6PGD-2 and had the value of 0.078 for DIA-2 and 0.186 for DIA-1. Nm value for polymorphic loci was 1.10 for DIA-1 and 2.94 for DIA-2, and for 6PGD-2 was 5.33, what indicates some gene flow between the examined populations. The dendrogram constructed on the basis of genotype frequencies showed that the populations were divided into two groups, however the most southern population No. 2 was clearly similar to the northern population No. 8.

  14. Comparison of remote sensing and plant trait-based modelling to predict ecosystem services in subalpine grasslands

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Homolová, Lucie; Schaepman, M. E.; Lamarque, L.; Clevers, J.G.P.W.; de Bello, Francesco; Thuiller, W.; Lavorel, S.

    2014-01-01

    Roč. 5, č. 8 (2014), č. článku 100. ISSN 2150-8925 Institutional support: RVO:67179843 ; RVO:67985939 Keywords : land-use change * leaf chlorophyll content * imaging spectroscopy * water-content * aviris data * spectral reflectance * hyperspectral data * species richness * area index * vegetation * aisa * biomass * ecosystem properties * ecosystem services * linear regression * remote sensing * spatial heterogeneity * subalpine grasslands Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour; EF - Botanics (BU-J) OBOR OECD: Remote sensing; Plant sciences, botany (BU-J) Impact factor: 2.255, year: 2014

  15. Healthy omega-3 enhancement in Echium acanthocarpum transformed hairy roots by overexpression of a 6-desaturase gene from Primula vialli.

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Zárate, R.; Cequier-Sánchez, E.; El Jaber-Vazdekis, Nabil; Rodríguez, C.; Dorta-Guerra, R.; Ravelo, Á.G.

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 1, č. 1 (2017), s. 1-40 R&D Projects: GA MŠk(CZ) LO1416 Institutional support: RVO:61388971 Keywords : Omega-3 * Primula vialii Subject RIV: EE - Microbiology, Virology OBOR OECD: Microbiology

  16. Disturbance is required for CO2-dependent promotion of woody plant growth in grasslands

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Loveys, Beth R.; Egerton, John J. G.; Bruhn, Dan

    2010-01-01

    The relative effects of disturbance (here defined as bare soil), competition for edaphic resources, thermal interference and elevated [CO2] on growth of tree seedlings in grasslands were studied under field conditions. Snow gum (Eucalyptus pauciflora Sieb. ex Spreng.) seedlings were grown in open...

  17. Grassland Arthropods Are Controlled by Direct and Indirect Interactions with Cattle but Are Largely Unaffected by Plant Provenance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Farrell, Kelly Anne; Harpole, W Stanley; Stein, Claudia; Suding, Katharine N; Borer, Elizabeth T

    2015-01-01

    Cattle grazing and invasion by non-native plant species are globally-ubiquitous changes occurring to plant communities that are likely to reverberate through whole food webs. We used a manipulative field experiment to quantify how arthropod community structure differed in native and non-native California grassland communities in the presence and absence of grazing. The arthropod community was strongly affected by cattle grazing: the biovolume of herbivorous arthropods was 79% higher in grazed than ungrazed plots, whereas the biovolume of predatory arthropods was 13% higher in ungrazed plots. In plots where non-native grasses were grazed, arthropod biovolume increased, possibly in response to increased plant productivity or increased nutritional quality of rapidly-growing annual plants. Grazing may thus affect plant biomass both through the direct removal of biomass, and through arthropod-mediated impacts. We also expected the arthropod community to differ between native and non-native plant communities; surprisingly, arthropod richness and diversity did not vary consistently between these grass community types, although arthropod abundance was slightly higher in plots with native and ungrazed grasses. These results suggest that whereas cattle grazing affects the arthropod community via direct and indirect pathways, arthropod community changes commonly associated with non-native plant invasions may not be due to the identity or dominance of the invasive species in those systems, but to accompanying changes in plant traits or functional group composition, not seen in this experiment because of the similarity of the plant communities.

  18. Grassland Arthropods Are Controlled by Direct and Indirect Interactions with Cattle but Are Largely Unaffected by Plant Provenance.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kelly Anne Farrell

    Full Text Available Cattle grazing and invasion by non-native plant species are globally-ubiquitous changes occurring to plant communities that are likely to reverberate through whole food webs. We used a manipulative field experiment to quantify how arthropod community structure differed in native and non-native California grassland communities in the presence and absence of grazing. The arthropod community was strongly affected by cattle grazing: the biovolume of herbivorous arthropods was 79% higher in grazed than ungrazed plots, whereas the biovolume of predatory arthropods was 13% higher in ungrazed plots. In plots where non-native grasses were grazed, arthropod biovolume increased, possibly in response to increased plant productivity or increased nutritional quality of rapidly-growing annual plants. Grazing may thus affect plant biomass both through the direct removal of biomass, and through arthropod-mediated impacts. We also expected the arthropod community to differ between native and non-native plant communities; surprisingly, arthropod richness and diversity did not vary consistently between these grass community types, although arthropod abundance was slightly higher in plots with native and ungrazed grasses. These results suggest that whereas cattle grazing affects the arthropod community via direct and indirect pathways, arthropod community changes commonly associated with non-native plant invasions may not be due to the identity or dominance of the invasive species in those systems, but to accompanying changes in plant traits or functional group composition, not seen in this experiment because of the similarity of the plant communities.

  19. Grassland Sustainability

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deborah U. Potter; Paulette L. Ford

    2004-01-01

    In this chapter we discuss grassland sustainability in the Southwest, grassland management for sustainability, national and local criteria and indicators of sustainable grassland ecosystems, and monitoring for sustainability at various scales. Ecological sustainability is defined as: [T]he maintenance or restoration of the composition, structure, and processes of...

  20. Plant diversity moderates drought stress in grasslands: Implications from a large real-world study on "1"3C natural abundances

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Klaus, Valentin H.; Hölzel, Norbert; Prati, Daniel; Schmitt, Barbara; Schöning, Ingo; Schrumpf, Marion; Solly, Emily F.; Hänsel, Falk; Fischer, Markus; Kleinebecker, Till

    2016-01-01

    Land-use change and intensification play a key role in the current biodiversity crisis. The resulting species loss can have severe effects on ecosystem functions and services, thereby increasing ecosystem vulnerability to climate change. We explored whether land-use intensification (i.e. fertilization intensity), plant diversity and other potentially confounding environmental factors may be significantly related to water use (i.e. drought stress) of grassland plants. Drought stress was assessed using δ"1"3C abundances in aboveground plant biomass of 150 grassland plots across a gradient of land-use intensity. Under water shortage, plants are forced to increasingly take up the heavier "1"3C due to closing stomata leading to an enrichment of "1"3C in biomass. Plants were sampled at the community level and for single species, which belong to three different functional groups (one grass, one herb, two legumes). Results show that plant diversity was significantly related to the δ"1"3C signal in community, grass and legume biomass indicating that drought stress was lower under higher diversity, although this relation was not significant for the herb species under study. Fertilization, in turn, mostly increased drought stress as indicated by more positive δ"1"3C values. This effect was mostly indirect by decreasing plant diversity. In line with these results, we found similar patterns in the δ"1"3C signal of the organic matter in the topsoil, indicating a long history of these processes. Our study provided strong indication for a positive biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationship with reduced drought stress at higher plant diversity. However, it also underlined a negative reinforcing situation: as land-use intensification decreases plant diversity in grasslands, this might subsequently increases drought sensitivity. Vice-versa, enhancing plant diversity in species-poor agricultural grasslands may moderate negative effects of future climate change. - Highlights

  1. Plant diversity moderates drought stress in grasslands: Implications from a large real-world study on {sup 13}C natural abundances

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Klaus, Valentin H., E-mail: v.klaus@uni-muenster.de [Münster University, Institute for Landscape Ecology, Heisenbergstr. 2, 48149 Münster (Germany); Hölzel, Norbert [Münster University, Institute for Landscape Ecology, Heisenbergstr. 2, 48149 Münster (Germany); Prati, Daniel; Schmitt, Barbara [University of Bern, Institute of Plant Sciences, Altenbergrain 21, 3013 Bern (Switzerland); Schöning, Ingo; Schrumpf, Marion; Solly, Emily F. [Max-Planck-Institute for Biogeochemistry, Hans-Knöll-Str. 10, 07745 Jena (Germany); Hänsel, Falk [University Marburg, Environmental Informatics, Faculty of Geography, Deutschhausstr. 12, 35037 Marburg (Germany); Fischer, Markus [University of Bern, Institute of Plant Sciences, Altenbergrain 21, 3013 Bern (Switzerland); Kleinebecker, Till [Münster University, Institute for Landscape Ecology, Heisenbergstr. 2, 48149 Münster (Germany)

    2016-10-01

    Land-use change and intensification play a key role in the current biodiversity crisis. The resulting species loss can have severe effects on ecosystem functions and services, thereby increasing ecosystem vulnerability to climate change. We explored whether land-use intensification (i.e. fertilization intensity), plant diversity and other potentially confounding environmental factors may be significantly related to water use (i.e. drought stress) of grassland plants. Drought stress was assessed using δ{sup 13}C abundances in aboveground plant biomass of 150 grassland plots across a gradient of land-use intensity. Under water shortage, plants are forced to increasingly take up the heavier {sup 13}C due to closing stomata leading to an enrichment of {sup 13}C in biomass. Plants were sampled at the community level and for single species, which belong to three different functional groups (one grass, one herb, two legumes). Results show that plant diversity was significantly related to the δ{sup 13}C signal in community, grass and legume biomass indicating that drought stress was lower under higher diversity, although this relation was not significant for the herb species under study. Fertilization, in turn, mostly increased drought stress as indicated by more positive δ{sup 13}C values. This effect was mostly indirect by decreasing plant diversity. In line with these results, we found similar patterns in the δ{sup 13}C signal of the organic matter in the topsoil, indicating a long history of these processes. Our study provided strong indication for a positive biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationship with reduced drought stress at higher plant diversity. However, it also underlined a negative reinforcing situation: as land-use intensification decreases plant diversity in grasslands, this might subsequently increases drought sensitivity. Vice-versa, enhancing plant diversity in species-poor agricultural grasslands may moderate negative effects of future

  2. New Pesticidal Diterpenoids from Vellozia gigantea (Velloziaceae, an Endemic Neotropical Plant Living in the Endangered Brazilian Biome Rupestrian Grasslands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mariana C. Ferreira

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Vellozia gigantea is a rare, ancient, and endemic neotropical plant present in the Brazilian Rupestrian grasslands. The dichloromethane extract of V. gigantea adventitious roots was phytotoxic against Lactuca sativa, Agrostis stolonifera, and Lemna paucicostata, and showed larvicidal activity against Aedes aegypti. Phytotoxicity bioassay-directed fractionation of the extract revealed one new isopimaradiene, 8(9,15-isopimaradien-1,3,7,11-tetraone, and three new cleistanthane diterpenoids, 7-oxo-8,11,13-cleistanthatrien-3-ol, 3,20-epoxy-7-oxo-8,11,13-cleistanthatrien-3-ol, and 20-nor-3,7-dioxo-1,8,11,13-cleistanthatetraen-10-ol. These new structures are proposed based on interpretation of 1H, 13C, COSY, NOESY, HSQC, and HMBC NMR data. 8(9,15-isopimaradien-1,3,7,11-tetraone was especially phytotoxic with an IC50 value (30 μM comparable to those of commercial herbicides clomazone, EPTC, and naptalam. In addition, 7-oxo-8,11,13-cleistanthatrien-3-ol provided 100% mortality at a concentration of 125 ppm against one-day-old Ae. aegypti larvae. Our results show that ancient and unique plants, like the endangered narrowly endemic neotropical species V. gigantea present in the Rupestrian grasslands, should also be protected because they can be sources of new bioactive compounds.

  3. Seed-bank structure and plant-recruitment conditions regulate the dynamics of a grassland-shrubland Chihuahuan ecotone.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moreno-de Las Heras, Mariano; Turnbull, Laura; Wainwright, John

    2016-09-01

    Large areas of desert grasslands in the southwestern United States have shifted to sparse shrublands dominated by drought-tolerant woody species over the last 150 yr, accompanied by accelerated soil erosion. An important step toward the understanding of patterns in species dominance and vegetation change at desert grassland-shrubland transitions is the study of environmental limitations imposed by the shrub-encroachment phenomenon on plant establishment. Here, we analyze the structure of soil seed banks, environmental limitations for seed germination (i.e., soil-water availability and temperature), and simulated seedling emergence and early establishment of dominant species (black grama, Bouteloua eriopoda, and creosotebush, Larrea tridentata) across a Chihuahuan grassland-shrubland ecotone (Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico, USA). Average viable seed density in soils across the ecotone is generally low (200-400 seeds/m 2 ), although is largely concentrated in densely vegetated areas (with peaks up to 800-1,200 seeds/m 2 in vegetated patches). Species composition in the seed bank is strongly affected by shrub encroachment, with seed densities of grass species sharply decreasing in shrub-dominated sites. Environmental conditions for seed germination and seedling emergence are synchronized with the summer monsoon. Soil-moisture conditions for seedling establishment of B. eriopoda take place with a recurrence interval ranging between 5 and 8 yr for grassland and shrubland sites, respectively, and are favored by strong monsoonal precipitation. Limited L. tridentata seed dispersal and a narrow range of rainfall conditions for early seedling establishment (50-100 mm for five to six consecutive weeks) constrain shrub-recruitment pulses to localized and episodic decadal events (9-25 yr recurrence intervals) generally associated with late-summer rainfall. Re-establishment of B. eriopoda in areas now dominated by L. tridentata is strongly limited by the

  4. Non-random co-occurrence of native and exotic plant species in Mediterranean grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Miguel, José M.; Martín-Forés, Irene; Acosta-Gallo, Belén; del Pozo, Alejandro; Ovalle, Carlos; Sánchez-Jardón, Laura; Castro, Isabel; Casado, Miguel A.

    2016-11-01

    Invasion by exotic species in Mediterranean grasslands has determined assembly patterns of native and introduced species, knowledge of which provides information on the ecological processes underlying these novel communities. We considered grasslands from Spain and Chile. For each country we considered the whole grassland community and we split species into two subsets: in Chile, species were classified as natives or colonizers (i.e. exotics); in Spain, species were classified as exclusives (present in Spain but not in Chile) or colonizers (Spanish natives and exotics into Chile). We used null models and co-occurrence indices calculated in each country for each one of 15 sites distributed along a precipitation gradient and subjected to similar silvopastoral exploitation. We compared values of species co-occurrence between countries and between species subsets (natives/colonizers in Chile; exclusives/colonizers in Spain) within each country and we characterised them according to climatic variables. We hypothesized that: a) the different coexistence time of the species in both regions should give rise to communities presenting a spatial pattern further from random in Spain than in Chile, b) the co-occurrence patterns in the grasslands are affected by mesoclimatic factors in both regions. The patterns of co-occurrence are similar in Spain and Chile, mostly showing a spatial pattern more segregated than expected by random. The colonizer species are more segregated in Spain than in Chile, possibly determined by the longer residence time of the species in the source area than in the invaded one. The segregation of species in Chile is related to water availability, being species less segregated in habitat with greater water deficit; in Spain no relationship with climatic variables was found. After an invasion process, our results suggest that the possible process of alteration of the original Chilean communities has not prevented the assembly between the native and

  5. Impact of soil warming on the plant metabolome of Icelandic grasslands

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Gargallo-Garriga, A.; Ayala-Roque, M.; Sardans, J.; Bartrons, M.; Granda, V.; Sigurdsson, B. D.; Leblans, N. I.W.; Oravec, Michal; Urban, Otmar; Janssens, I. A.; Peñuelas, J.

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 7, č. 3 (2017), č. článku 44. E-ISSN 2218-1989 R&D Projects: GA MŠk(CZ) LM2015061; GA MŠk(CZ) LO1415 Institutional support: RVO:86652079 Keywords : Climate change * Geothermal bedrock channels * Grassland * Iceland * Metabolome * Warming Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour OBOR OECD: Environmental sciences (social aspects to be 5.7)

  6. Soil microbial community structure is unaltered by plant invasion, vegetation clipping, and nitrogen fertilization in experimental semi-arid grasslands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chelsea J Carey

    2015-05-01

    Full Text Available Global and regional environmental changes often co-occur, creating complex gradients of disturbance on the landscape. Soil microbial communities are an important component of ecosystem response to environmental change, yet little is known about how microbial structure and function respond to multiple disturbances, or whether multiple environmental changes lead to unanticipated interactive effects. Our study used experimental semi-arid grassland plots in a Mediterranean-climate to determine how soil microbial communities in a seasonally variable ecosystem respond to one, two, or three simultaneous environmental changes: exotic plant invasion, plant invasion + vegetation clipping (to simulate common management practices like mowing or livestock grazing, plant invasion + nitrogen (N fertilization, and plant invasion + clipping + N fertilization. We examined microbial community structure 5-6 years after plot establishment via sequencing of >1 million 16S rRNA genes. Abiotic soil properties (soil moisture, temperature, pH, and inorganic N and microbial functioning (nitrification and denitrification potentials were also measured and showed treatment-induced shifts, including altered NO3- availability, temperature, and nitrification potential. Despite these changes, bacterial and archaeal communities showed little variation in composition and diversity across treatments. Even communities in plots exposed to three interacting environmental changes were similar to those in restored native grassland plots. Historical exposure to large seasonal and inter-annual variations in key soil properties, in addition to prior site cultivation, may select for a functionally plastic or largely dormant microbial community, resulting in a microbial community that is structurally robust to single and multiple environmental changes.

  7. Morphological and Molecular Phylogenetic Data Reveal a New Species of Primula (Primulaceae from Hunan, China.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yuan Xu

    Full Text Available A new species of Primulaceae, Primula undulifolia, is described from the hilly area of Hunan province in south-central China. Its morphology and distributional range suggest that it is allied to P. kwangtungensis, both adapted to subtropical climate, having contiguous distribution and similar habitat, growing on shady and moist cliffs. Petioles, scapes and pedicels of them are densely covered with rusty multicellular hairs, but the new species can be easily distinguished by its smaller flowers and narrowly oblong leaves with undulate margins. Molecular phylogenetic analysis based on four DNA markers (ITS, matK, trnL-F and rps16 confirmed the new species as an independent lineage and constitutes a main clade together with P. kwangtungensis, P. kweichouensis, P. wangii and P. hunanensis of Primula sect. Carolinella.

  8. Weed suppression greatly increased by plant diversity in intensively managed grasslands: A continental-scale experiment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Connolly, John; Sebastià, Maria-Teresa; Kirwan, Laura; Finn, John Anthony; Llurba, Rosa; Suter, Matthias; Collins, Rosemary P; Porqueddu, Claudio; Helgadóttir, Áslaug; Baadshaug, Ole H; Bélanger, Gilles; Black, Alistair; Brophy, Caroline; Čop, Jure; Dalmannsdóttir, Sigridur; Delgado, Ignacio; Elgersma, Anjo; Fothergill, Michael; Frankow-Lindberg, Bodil E; Ghesquiere, An; Golinski, Piotr; Grieu, Philippe; Gustavsson, Anne-Maj; Höglind, Mats; Huguenin-Elie, Olivier; Jørgensen, Marit; Kadziuliene, Zydre; Lunnan, Tor; Nykanen-Kurki, Paivi; Ribas, Angela; Taube, Friedhelm; Thumm, Ulrich; De Vliegher, Alex; Lüscher, Andreas

    2018-03-01

    Grassland diversity can support sustainable intensification of grassland production through increased yields, reduced inputs and limited weed invasion. We report the effects of diversity on weed suppression from 3 years of a 31-site continental-scale field experiment.At each site, 15 grassland communities comprising four monocultures and 11 four-species mixtures based on a wide range of species' proportions were sown at two densities and managed by cutting. Forage species were selected according to two crossed functional traits, "method of nitrogen acquisition" and "pattern of temporal development".Across sites, years and sown densities, annual weed biomass in mixtures and monocultures was 0.5 and 2.0 t  DM ha -1 (7% and 33% of total biomass respectively). Over 95% of mixtures had weed biomass lower than the average of monocultures, and in two-thirds of cases, lower than in the most suppressive monoculture (transgressive suppression). Suppression was significantly transgressive for 58% of site-years. Transgressive suppression by mixtures was maintained across years, independent of site productivity.Based on models, average weed biomass in mixture over the whole experiment was 52% less (95% confidence interval: 30%-75%) than in the most suppressive monoculture. Transgressive suppression of weed biomass was significant at each year across all mixtures and for each mixture.Weed biomass was consistently low across all mixtures and years and was in some cases significantly but not largely different from that in the equiproportional mixture. The average variability (standard deviation) of annual weed biomass within a site was much lower for mixtures (0.42) than for monocultures (1.77). Synthesis and applications . Weed invasion can be diminished through a combination of forage species selected for complementarity and persistence traits in systems designed to reduce reliance on fertiliser nitrogen. In this study, effects of diversity on weed suppression were

  9. Does interspecific competition alter effects of early season ozone exposure on plants from wet grasslands? Results of a three-year experiment in open-top chambers

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Tonneijck, A.E.G.; Franzaring, J.; Brouwer, G.; Metselaar, K.; Dueck, T.A.

    2004-01-01

    Chronic effects of ozone on wet grassland species early in the growing season might be altered by interspecific competition. Individual plants of Holcus lanatus, Lychnis flos-cuculi, Molinia caerulea and Plantago lanceolata were grown in monocultures and in mixed cultures with Agrostis capillaris.

  10. Impact of Altered Precipitation Patterns on Plant Productivity and Soil Respiration in a Northern Great Plains Grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haase, L.; Flanagan, L. B.

    2017-12-01

    Precipitation patterns are expected to shift towards larger but fewer rain events, with longer intermittent dry periods, associated with climate change. The larger rain events may compensate for and help to mitigate climate change effects on key ecosystem functions such as plant productivity and soil respiration in semi-arid grasslands. We experimentally manipulated the amount and frequency of simulated precipitation added to trenched, treatment plots that were covered by rain shelters, and measured the response in plant productivity and soil respiration in a native, grassland ecosystem near Lethbridge, Alberta. We compared the observed responses to the predictions of a conceptual ecosystem response model developed by Knapp et al. 2008 (BioScience 58: 811-821). Two experiments were conducted during 14 weeks of the growing season from May-August. The first experiment (normal amount) applied total growing season precipitation of 180 mm (climate normal), and the second experiment (reduced amount) applied total precipitation of 90 mm. In both experiments, precipitation was applied at two frequencies, 1 rain event every week (normal frequency) and 1 rain event every two weeks (reduced frequency). In the normal amount experiment, the average rain event was 12.8 mm for the normal frequency treatment and 25.8 mm for the reduced frequency treatment. In the reduced amount experiment, the average rain event was 6.4 mm for the normal frequency treatment and 12.8 mm for the reduced frequency treatment. We hypothesized that larger but fewer rain events would result in increased plant productivity and soil respiration for both experiments. Plant greenness values calculated from digital photographs were used as a proxy for plant productivity, and showed significantly higher values for the normal vs. reduced amount experiment. Soil respiration rate also showed significantly higher values for the normal vs. reduced amount experiment. No significant treatment effect could be detected

  11. The effect of solar UV radiation of four plant species occurring in a coastal grassland vegetation in The Netherlands

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Tosserams, M.; Rozema, J. [Vrije Univ., Dept. of Ecology and Ecotoxicology, Amsterdam (Netherlands); Pais, A. de Sa [Univ. de Tras-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Vila Real (Portugal)

    1996-09-01

    During the summer of 1992, growth and some physiological parameters of four native plant species occurring in a coastal grassland in The Netherlands, were studied after reduction of solar UV irradiance using different cut-off filters. Biomass production, morphology and photosynthesis of all species tested were unaffected by the different treatments. Litter production of Plantago lanceolata was increased in the absence of the total UV waveband, indicating a possible role for this waveband in plant senescence. Depletion of the total UV waveband from sunlight resulted in alterations in biomass allocation in Calamagrostis epigeios and Urtica dioica while no changes were observed in P. lanceolatata and Verbascum thapsus. In C. epigeios and increase in the specific leaf area was observed, whereas in U. dioica root weight per total plant weight was decreased resulting in an increase in the shoot/root ratio. Both photosynthetic and UV-absorbing pigment concentrations were altered by the different filter applications. When compared to control plants receiving full sunlight, depletion of UV-B resulted in a significant increase in chlorophyll concentration in U. dioica leaves, this however did not affect photosynthetic rate. The presence of UV-B radiation enhanced the UV-absorbance of leaf extract of all species except P. lanceolata. Optical characteristics of the leaves were also changed. Both the quantity (P. lanceolata and U. dioica) and the quality (all species) of radiation transmitted by the leaves was affected by the different treatments. (au) 44 refs.

  12. Effects of soil depth and plant-soil interaction on microbial community in temperate grasslands of northern China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yao, Xiaodong; Zhang, Naili; Zeng, Hui; Wang, Wei

    2018-07-15

    Although the patterns and drivers of soil microbial community composition are well studied, little is known about the effects of plant-soil interactions and soil depth on soil microbial distribution at a regional scale. We examined 195 soil samples from 13 sites along a climatic transect in the temperate grasslands of northern China to measure the composition of and factors influencing soil microbial communities within a 1-m soil profile. Soil microbial community composition was measured using phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA) analysis. Fungi predominated in topsoil (0-10 cm) and bacteria and actinomycetes in deep soils (40-100 cm), independent of steppe types. This variation was explained by contemporary environmental factors (including above- and below-ground plant biomass, soil physicochemical and climatic factors) >58% in the 0-40 cm of soil depth, but soils. Interestingly, when we considered the interactive effects between plant traits (above ground biomass and root biomass) and soil factors (pH, clay content, and soil total carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous), we observed a significant interaction effect occurring at depths of 10-20 cm soil layer, due to different internal and external factors of the plant-soil system along the soil profile. These results improve understanding of the drivers of soil microbial community composition at regional scales. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  13. Relationship between Remote Sensing Data, Plant Biomass and Soil Nitrogen Dynamics in Intensively Managed Grasslands under Controlled Conditions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knoblauch, Christoph; Watson, Conor; Berendonk, Clara; Becker, Rolf; Wrage-Mönnig, Nicole; Wichern, Florian

    2017-06-23

    The sustainable use of grasslands in intensive farming systems aims to optimize nitrogen (N) inputs to increase crop yields and decrease harmful losses to the environment at the same time. To achieve this, simple optical sensors may provide a non-destructive, time- and cost-effective tool for estimating plant biomass in the field, considering spatial and temporal variability. However, the plant growth and related N uptake is affected by the available N in the soil, and therefore, N mineralization and N losses. These soil N dynamics and N losses are affected by the N input and environmental conditions, and cannot easily be determined non-destructively. Therefore, the question arises: whether a relationship can be depicted between N fertilizer levels, plant biomass and N dynamics as indicated by nitrous oxide (N₂O) losses and inorganic N levels. We conducted a standardized greenhouse experiment to explore the potential of spectral measurements for analyzing yield response, N mineralization and N₂O emissions in a permanent grassland. Ryegrass was subjected to four mineral fertilizer input levels over 100 days (four harvests) under controlled environmental conditions. The soil temperature and moisture content were automatically monitored, and the emission rates of N₂O and carbon dioxide (CO₂) were detected frequently. Spectral measurements of the swards were performed directly before harvesting. The normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and simple ratio (SR) were moderately correlated with an increasing biomass as affected by fertilization level. Furthermore, we found a non-linear response of increasing N₂O emissions to elevated fertilizer levels. Moreover, inorganic N and extractable organic N levels at the end of the experiment tended to increase with the increasing N fertilizer addition. However, microbial biomass C and CO₂ efflux showed no significant differences among fertilizer treatments, reflecting no substantial changes in the soil

  14. Assessment of interspecific interactions in plant communities: an illustration from the cold desert saltbush grasslands of North America

    Science.gov (United States)

    Freeman, Carl D.; Emlen, John M.

    1995-01-01

    Interspecific interactions influence both the productivity and composition of plant communities. Here, we propose new field procedures and analytical approaches for assessing interspecific interactions in nature and apply these procedures to the salt desert shrub grasslands of western Utah. Data were collected from two grazing treatments over a period of 2 years. The proposed equations were fairly consistent across both treatments and years. In addition to illustrating how to assess interspecific interactions within a community, we also develop a new approach for projecting the community composition as a result of some alteration, i.e. increase or decrease in the abundance of one or more species. Results demonstrate competition both within and between plant life-form groups. While introduced annuals were found to depress profoundly the likelihood of perennial plants replacing themselves, perennials had little influence on annuals. Thus, as native perennials die, they are more likely to be replaced by perennials than for the reverse to occur. Our results suggest that unless conditions change, these communities will become increasingly dominated by introduced annuals.

  15. Seasonal variation in nitrogen pools and 15N/13C natural abundances in different tissues of grassland plants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. K. Schjoerring

    2012-05-01

    Full Text Available Seasonal changes in nitrogen (N pools, carbon (C content and natural abundance of 13C and 15N in different tissues of ryegrass plants were investigated in two intensively managed grassland fields in order to address their ammonia (NH3 exchange potential. Green leaves generally had the largest total N concentration followed by stems and inflorescences. Senescent leaves had the lowest N concentration, indicating N re-allocation. The seasonal pattern of the Γ value, i.e. the ratio between NH4+ and H+ concentrations, was similar for the various tissues of the ryegrass plants but the magnitude of Γ differed considerably among the different tissues. Green leaves and stems generally had substantially lower Γ values than senescent leaves and litter. Substantial peaks in Γ were observed during spring and summer in response to fertilization and grazing. These peaks were associated with high NH4+ rather than with low H+ concentrations. Peaks in Γ also appeared during the winter, coinciding with increasing δ15N values, indicating absorption of N derived from mineralization of soil organic matter. At the same time, δ13C values were declining, suggesting reduced photosynthesis and capacity for N assimilation. δ15N and δ13C values were more influenced by mean monthly temperature than by the accumulated monthly precipitation. In conclusion, ryegrass plants showed a clear seasonal pattern in N pools. Green leaves and stems of ryegrass plants generally seem to constitute a sink for NH3, while senescent leaves have a large potential for NH3 emission. However, management events such as fertilisation and grazing may create a high NH3 emission potential even in green plant parts. The obtained results provide input for future modelling of plant-atmosphere NH3 exchange.

  16. The interplay of stress and mowing disturbance for the intensity and importance of plant interactions in dry calcareous grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maalouf, Jean-Paul; Le Bagousse-Pinguet, Yoann; Marchand, Lilian; Touzard, Blaise; Michalet, Richard

    2012-09-01

    There is still debate regarding the direction and strength of plant interactions under intermediate to high levels of stress. Furthermore, little is known on how disturbance may interact with physical stress in unproductive environments, although recent theory and models have shown that this interplay may induce a collapse of plant interactions and diversity. The few studies assessing such questions have considered the intensity of biotic interactions but not their importance, although this latter concept has been shown to be very useful for understanding the role of interactions in plant communities. The objective of this study was to assess the interplay between stress and disturbance for plant interactions in dry calcareous grasslands. A field experiment was set up in the Dordogne, southern France, where the importance and intensity of biotic interactions undergone by four species were measured along a water stress gradient, and with and without mowing disturbance. The importance and intensity of interactions varied in a very similar way along treatments. Under undisturbed conditions, plant interactions switched from competition to neutral with increasing water stress for three of the four species, whereas the fourth species was not subject to any significant biotic interaction along the gradient. Responses to disturbance were more species-specific; for two species, competition disappeared with mowing in the wettest conditions, whereas for the two other species, competition switched to facilitation with mowing. Finally, there were no significant interactions for any species in the disturbed and driest conditions. At very high levels of stress, plant performances become too weak to allow either competition or facilitation and disturbance may accelerate the collapse of interactions in dry conditions. The results suggest that the importance and direction of interactions are more likely to be positively related in stressful environments.

  17. Prescribed fire, soil inorganic nitrogen dynamics, and plant responses in a semiarid grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    David J. Augustine; Paul Brewer; Dana M. Blumenthal; Justin D. Derner; Joseph C. von Fischer

    2014-01-01

    In arid and semiarid ecosystems, fire can potentially affect ecosystem dynamics through changes in soil moisture, temperature, and nitrogen cycling, as well as through direct effects on plant meristem mortality. We examined effects of annual and triennial prescribed fires conducted in early spring on soil moisture, temperature, and N, plant growth, and plant N content...

  18. Comparing arbuscular mycorrhizal communities of individual plants in a grassland biodiversity experiment

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Van de Voorde, T.F.J.; Van der Putten, W.H.; Gamper, H.A.; Hol, W.H.G.; Bezemer, T.M.

    2010-01-01

    Plants differ greatly in the soil organisms colonizing their roots. However, how soil organism assemblages of individual plant roots can be influenced by plant community properties remains poorly understood. We determined the composition of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) in Jacobaea vulgaris

  19. Evaluating plant-soil feedback together with competition in a serpentine grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Casper, Brenda B; Castelli, Jeffrey P

    2007-05-01

    Plants can alter biotic and abiotic soil characteristics in ways that feedback to change the performance of that same plant species relative to co-occurring plants. Most evidence for this plant-soil feedback comes from greenhouse studies of potted plants, and consequently, little is known about the importance of feedback in relation to other biological processes known to structure plant communities, such as plant-plant competition. In a field experiment with three C4 grasses, negative feedback was expressed through reduced survival and shoot biomass when seedlings were planted within existing clumps of conspecifics compared with clumps of heterospecifics. However, the combined effects of feedback and competition were species-specific. Only Andropogon gerardii exhibited feedback when competition with the clumps was allowed. For Sorghastrum nutans, strong interspecific competition eliminated the feedback expressed in the absence of competition, and Schizachyrium scoparium showed no feedback at all. That arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi may play a role in the feedback was indicated by higher AM root colonization with conspecific plant neighbours. We suggest that feedback and competition should not be viewed as entirely separate processes and that their importance in structuring plant communities cannot be judged in isolation from each other.

  20. How do plant communities and flower visitors relate? A case study of semi-natural xerothermic grasslands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Damian Chmura

    2013-06-01

    Full Text Available The paper examines the relationships between the species composition of flower visitors and plants in the semi-natural xerothermic grasslands in southern and central Poland. Thirty 10 × 10 m permanent plots were laid out in total, mainly in nature reserves. The vegetation units studied were classified according to the Braun-Blanquet system; these were phytocoenoses of the Festuco-Brometea classes Inuletum ensifoliae, Adonido-Brachypodietum pinnati and the transitional plant community. Entomological research was performed using the Pollard method within the same plots. A particular site was visited only once and different sites were studied between April and August 2008. We applied, among others, co-correspondence-analysis Co-CA, detrended correspondence analysis (DCA and redundancy analysis (RDA to investigate the co-occurrence patterns of plants and flower visitors and their biotopic requirements. We found that the species composition of flower visitors cannot be predicted by floristic composition when the duration of the study is restricted to one day (but under similar weather conditions; however, there is a positive relationship between the species richness of insects and plants and a positive relationship between the number of plant species and the abundance of flower visitors. The Ellenberg moisture index and the cover of meadow species significantly explained the species composition of insects. The three various vegetation units and five dominant xerothermic species, i.e. Adonis vernalis, Anemone sylvestris, Inula ensifolia, Linum hirsutum and Carlina onopordifolia that were studied across time differed in the species richness of insects. Our results demonstrate that possible patterns in the species composition and the assembly rules of flower visitors are not apparent when the Pollard method is applied. Based on the data obtained using this method, the flower visiting assemblages seem not to be driven by competition and they primarily

  1. Relationships between Plant Diversity and Grasshopper Diversity and Abundance in the Little Missouri National Grassland

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David H. Branson

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available A continuing challenge in orthopteran ecology is to understand what determines grasshopper species diversity at a given site. In this study, the objective was to determine if variation in grasshopper abundance and diversity between 23 sites in western North Dakota (USA could be explained by variation in plant species richness and diversity. In this system with relatively low plant diversity, grasshopper species richness and abundance were not significantly associated with plant species richness in either year. Although a number of significant associations between plant diversity and grasshopper diversity were found through regression analyses, results differed greatly between years indicating that plant species richness and diversity did not lead to strong effects on grasshopper diversity metrics. Plant species richness appears to be too coarse grained to lead to accurate predictions of grasshopper species richness in this system dominated by generalist grasshopper species.

  2. Small-scale barriers mitigate desertification processes and enhance plant recruitment in a degraded semiarid grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fick, Stephen E; Decker, Cheryl E.; Duniway, Michael C.; Miller, Mark E.

    2016-01-01

    Anthropogenic desertification is a problem that plagues drylands globally; however, the factors which maintain degraded states are often unclear. In Canyonlands National Park on the Colorado Plateau of southeastern Utah, many degraded grasslands have not recovered structure and function >40 yr after release from livestock grazing pressure, necessitating active restoration. We hypothesized that multiple factors contribute to the persistent degraded state, including lack of seed availability, surficial soil-hydrological properties, and high levels of spatial connectivity (lack of perennial vegetation and other surface structure to retain water, litter, seed, and sediment). In combination with seeding and surface raking treatments, we tested the effect of small barrier structures (“ConMods”) designed to disrupt the loss of litter, seed and sediment in degraded soil patches within the park. Grass establishment was highest when all treatments (structures, seed addition, and soil disturbance) were combined, but only in the second year after installation, following favorable climatic conditions. We suggest that multiple limiting factors were ameliorated by treatments, including seed limitation and microsite availability, seed removal by harvester ants, and stressful abiotic conditions. Higher densities of grass seedlings on the north and east sides of barrier structures following the summer months suggest that structures may have functioned as artificial “nurse-plants”, sheltering seedlings from wind and radiation as well as accumulating wind-blown resources. Barrier structures increased the establishment of both native perennial grasses and exotic annuals, although there were species-specific differences in mortality related to spatial distribution of seedlings within barrier structures. The unique success of all treatments combined, and even then only under favorable climatic conditions and in certain soil patches, highlights that restoration success (and

  3. Fire frequency and tree canopy structure influence plant species diversity in a forest-grassland ecotone

    Science.gov (United States)

    David W. Peterson; Peter B. Reich

    2008-01-01

    Disturbances and environmental heterogeneity are two factors thought to influence plant species diversity, but their effects are still poorly understood in many ecosystems. We surveyed understory vegetation and measured tree canopy cover on permanent plots spanning an experimental fire frequency gradient to test fire frequency and tree canopy effects on plant species...

  4. Experimental Manipulation of Grassland Plant Diversity Induces Complex Shifts in Aboveground Arthropod Diversity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hertzog, Lionel R.; Meyer, Sebastian T.; Weisser, Wolfgang W.; Ebeling, Anne

    2016-01-01

    Changes in producer diversity cause multiple changes in consumer communities through various mechanisms. However, past analyses investigating the relationship between plant diversity and arthropod consumers focused only on few aspects of arthropod diversity, e.g. species richness and abundance. Yet, shifts in understudied facets of arthropod diversity like relative abundances or species dominance may have strong effects on arthropod-mediated ecosystem functions. Here we analyze the relationship between plant species richness and arthropod diversity using four complementary diversity indices, namely: abundance, species richness, evenness (equitability of the abundance distribution) and dominance (relative abundance of the dominant species). Along an experimental gradient of plant species richness (1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and 60 plant species), we sampled herbivorous and carnivorous arthropods using pitfall traps and suction sampling during a whole vegetation period. We tested whether plant species richness affects consumer diversity directly (i), or indirectly through increased productivity (ii). Further, we tested the impact of plant community composition on arthropod diversity by testing for the effects of plant functional groups (iii). Abundance and species richness of both herbivores and carnivores increased with increasing plant species richness, but the underlying mechanisms differed between the two trophic groups. While higher species richness in herbivores was caused by an increase in resource diversity, carnivore richness was driven by plant productivity. Evenness of herbivore communities did not change along the gradient in plant species richness, whereas evenness of carnivores declined. The abundance of dominant herbivore species showed no response to changes in plant species richness, but the dominant carnivores were more abundant in species-rich plant communities. The functional composition of plant communities had small impacts on herbivore communities, whereas

  5. Experimental Manipulation of Grassland Plant Diversity Induces Complex Shifts in Aboveground Arthropod Diversity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hertzog, Lionel R; Meyer, Sebastian T; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Ebeling, Anne

    2016-01-01

    Changes in producer diversity cause multiple changes in consumer communities through various mechanisms. However, past analyses investigating the relationship between plant diversity and arthropod consumers focused only on few aspects of arthropod diversity, e.g. species richness and abundance. Yet, shifts in understudied facets of arthropod diversity like relative abundances or species dominance may have strong effects on arthropod-mediated ecosystem functions. Here we analyze the relationship between plant species richness and arthropod diversity using four complementary diversity indices, namely: abundance, species richness, evenness (equitability of the abundance distribution) and dominance (relative abundance of the dominant species). Along an experimental gradient of plant species richness (1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and 60 plant species), we sampled herbivorous and carnivorous arthropods using pitfall traps and suction sampling during a whole vegetation period. We tested whether plant species richness affects consumer diversity directly (i), or indirectly through increased productivity (ii). Further, we tested the impact of plant community composition on arthropod diversity by testing for the effects of plant functional groups (iii). Abundance and species richness of both herbivores and carnivores increased with increasing plant species richness, but the underlying mechanisms differed between the two trophic groups. While higher species richness in herbivores was caused by an increase in resource diversity, carnivore richness was driven by plant productivity. Evenness of herbivore communities did not change along the gradient in plant species richness, whereas evenness of carnivores declined. The abundance of dominant herbivore species showed no response to changes in plant species richness, but the dominant carnivores were more abundant in species-rich plant communities. The functional composition of plant communities had small impacts on herbivore communities, whereas

  6. Plant species diversity affects infiltration capacity in an experimental grassland through changes in soil properties

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Fischer, C.; Tischer, J.; Roscher, C.; Eisenhauer, N.; Ravenek, J.; Gleixner, G.; Attinger, S.; Jensen, B.; Kroon, de H.; Mommer, L.; Scheu, S.; Hildebrandt, A.

    2015-01-01

    Background and aims Soil hydraulic properties drive water distribution and availability in soil. There exists limited knowledge of how plant species diversity might influence soil hydraulic properties. Methods We quantified the change in infiltration capacity affected by soil structural variables

  7. Plant trait-based models identify direct and indirect effects of climate change on bundles of grassland ecosystem services.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lamarque, Pénélope; Lavorel, Sandra; Mouchet, Maud; Quétier, Fabien

    2014-09-23

    Land use and climate change are primary causes of changes in the supply of ecosystem services (ESs). Although the consequences of climate change on ecosystem properties and associated services are well documented, the cascading impacts of climate change on ESs through changes in land use are largely overlooked. We present a trait-based framework based on an empirical model to elucidate how climate change affects tradeoffs among ESs. Using alternative scenarios for mountain grasslands, we predicted how direct effects of climate change on ecosystems and indirect effects through farmers' adaptations are likely to affect ES bundles through changes in plant functional properties. ES supply was overall more sensitive to climate than to induced management change, and ES bundles remained stable across scenarios. These responses largely reflected the restricted extent of management change in this constrained system, which was incorporated when scaling up plot level climate and management effects on ecosystem properties to the entire landscape. The trait-based approach revealed how the combination of common driving traits and common responses to changed fertility determined interactions and tradeoffs among ESs.

  8. The role of above-ground competition and nitrogen vs. phosphorus enrichment in seedling survival of common European plant species of semi-natural grasslands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tobias Ceulemans

    Full Text Available Anthropogenic activities have severely altered fluxes of nitrogen and phosphorus in ecosystems worldwide. In grasslands, subsequent negative effects are commonly attributed to competitive exclusion of plant species following increased above-ground biomass production. However, some studies have shown that this does not fully account for nutrient enrichment effects, questioning whether lowering competition by reducing grassland productivity through mowing or herbivory can mitigate the environmental impact of nutrient pollution. Furthermore, few studies so far discriminate between nitrogen and phosphorus pollution. We performed a full factorial experiment in greenhouse mesocosms combining nitrogen and phosphorus addition with two clipping regimes designed to relax above-ground competition. Next, we studied the survival and growth of seedlings of eight common European grassland species and found that five out of eight species showed higher survival under the clipping regime with the lowest above-ground competition. Phosphorus addition negatively affected seven plant species and nitrogen addition negatively affected four plant species. Importantly, the negative effects of nutrient addition and higher above-ground competition were independent of each other for all but one species. Our results suggest that at any given level of soil nutrients, relaxation of above-ground competition allows for higher seedling survival in grasslands. At the same time, even at low levels of above-ground competition, nutrient enrichment negatively affects survival as compared to nutrient-poor conditions. Therefore, although maintaining low above-ground competition appears essential for species' recruitment, for instance through mowing or herbivory, these management efforts are likely to be insufficient and we conclude that environmental policies aimed to reduce both excess nitrogen and particularly phosphorus inputs are also necessary.

  9. Altered Plant Litter and Microbial Composition Lead to Topsoil Organic Carbon Loss Over a Shrub-encroachment Gradient in an Inner Mongolia Grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, L.; Li, H.; Shen, H.; Xu, Y.; Wang, Y.; Xing, A.; Fang, J.

    2017-12-01

    Over the past 150 years, shrub encroachment has occurred in arid and semi-arid ecosystems resulting from climate change and increased human disturbance. Previous studies have revealed that shrub encroachment has substantial effects on habitat heterogeneity, aboveground biomass and bulk carbon content of grasslands, thereby affecting the regional carbon balance. Soil organic carbon (SOC) is mainly derived from aboveground litter, root litter and root exudates and is metabolized by microorganisms. The quality and quantity of plant litter together with soil microbial biomass are important drivers of SOC accumulation. However, the mechanisms regulating soil carbon accumulation by the shrub encroachment remain unclear and molecular evidence is particularly lacking. We use the data of the chemical composition of plant tissues and SOC, and the soil microbial communities to identify the effects of shrub encroachment on SOC accumulation in the top layer along a gradient of natural shrub cover in the grasslands of Inner Mongolia. Our finding indicates that nitrogen-rich legume-shrub encroachment led to soil carbon accumulation in the shrub patch, with more extensive carbon loss observed in the grassy matrix, which resulted in an overall carbon loss. In the pure grassland, a higher abundance of cutin and suberin and a lower concentration of free lipids were detected, suggesting the preservation of recalcitrant polymers derived from herb inputs. In the shrub-encroached grasslands, the labile shrub leaves did not decompose alone but were mixed with herb litter to promote the degradation of SOC via the priming of microbial activities. The SOC remained unchanged in the shrub patches with the increasing shrub cover, which might have been caused by the replacement of prior carbon decompositions with the fresh input of shrub leaves. Similarly, the SOC decreased significantly with increasing shrub cover in the grassy matrix, which likely resulted from insufficient fresh plant inputs

  10. Long-Term Overgrazing-Induced Memory Decreases Photosynthesis of Clonal Offspring in a Perennial Grassland Plant.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ren, Weibo; Hu, Ningning; Hou, Xiangyang; Zhang, Jize; Guo, Huiqin; Liu, Zhiying; Kong, Lingqi; Wu, Zinian; Wang, Hui; Li, Xiliang

    2017-01-01

    Previous studies of transgenerational plasticity have demonstrated that long-term overgrazing experienced by Leymus chinensis , an ecologically dominant, rhizomatous grass species in eastern Eurasian temperate grassland, significantly affects its clonal growth in subsequent generations. However, there is a dearth of information on the reasons underlying this overgrazing-induced memory effect in plant morphological plasticity. We characterized the relationship between a dwarf phenotype and photosynthesis function decline of L. chinensis from the perspective of leaf photosynthesis by using both field measurement and rhizome buds culture cultivated in a greenhouse. Leaf photosynthetic functions (net photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance, intercellular carbon dioxide concentration, and transpiration rate) were significantly decreased in smaller L. chinensis individuals that were induced to have a dwarf phenotype by being heavily grazed in the field. This decreased photosynthetic function was maintained a generation after greenhouse tests in which grazing was excluded. Both the response of L. chinensis morphological traits and photosynthetic functions in greenhouse were deceased relative to those in the field experiment. Further, there were significant decreases in leaf chlorophyll content and Rubisco enzyme activities of leaves between bud-cultured dwarf and non-dwarf L. chinensis in the greenhouse. Moreover, gene expression patterns showed that the bud-cultured dwarf L. chinensis significantly down-regulated (by 1.86- to 5.33-fold) a series of key genes that regulate photosynthetic efficiency, stomata opening, and chloroplast development compared with the non-dwarf L. chinensis . This is among the first studies revealing a linkage between long-term overgrazing affecting the transgenerational morphological plasticity of clonal plants and physiologically adaptive photosynthesis function. Overall, clonal transgenerational effects in L. chinensis phenotypic traits

  11. Long-Term Overgrazing-Induced Memory Decreases Photosynthesis of Clonal Offspring in a Perennial Grassland Plant

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xiangyang Hou

    2017-04-01

    Full Text Available Previous studies of transgenerational plasticity have demonstrated that long-term overgrazing experienced by Leymus chinensis, an ecologically dominant, rhizomatous grass species in eastern Eurasian temperate grassland, significantly affects its clonal growth in subsequent generations. However, there is a dearth of information on the reasons underlying this overgrazing-induced memory effect in plant morphological plasticity. We characterized the relationship between a dwarf phenotype and photosynthesis function decline of L. chinensis from the perspective of leaf photosynthesis by using both field measurement and rhizome buds culture cultivated in a greenhouse. Leaf photosynthetic functions (net photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance, intercellular carbon dioxide concentration, and transpiration rate were significantly decreased in smaller L. chinensis individuals that were induced to have a dwarf phenotype by being heavily grazed in the field. This decreased photosynthetic function was maintained a generation after greenhouse tests in which grazing was excluded. Both the response of L. chinensis morphological traits and photosynthetic functions in greenhouse were deceased relative to those in the field experiment. Further, there were significant decreases in leaf chlorophyll content and Rubisco enzyme activities of leaves between bud-cultured dwarf and non-dwarf L. chinensis in the greenhouse. Moreover, gene expression patterns showed that the bud-cultured dwarf L. chinensis significantly down-regulated (by 1.86- to 5.33-fold a series of key genes that regulate photosynthetic efficiency, stomata opening, and chloroplast development compared with the non-dwarf L. chinensis. This is among the first studies revealing a linkage between long-term overgrazing affecting the transgenerational morphological plasticity of clonal plants and physiologically adaptive photosynthesis function. Overall, clonal transgenerational effects in L. chinensis

  12. Study of Plant Species Composition of Grasslands in Mugla Village Region (Western Rhodopes, South Bulgaria

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Plamen S. Stoyanov

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available The study presents data on the diversity of grass species in the region of the village of Mugla (the Western Rhodopes. One hundred forty-one species of higher plants belonging to 40families were registered. (Apiaceae, Aspleniaceae, Asteraceae, Boraginaceae, Brassicaceae,Campanulaceae, Caryophyllaceae, Cistaceae, Cyperaceae, Dipsacaceae, Equisetaceae, Ericaceae,Euphorbiaceae, Fabaceae, Gentianaceae, Geraniaceae, Gesneriaceae, Hypericaceae, Juncaceae,Lamiaceae, Lemnaceae, Liliaceae, Linaceae, Menyanthaceae, Oleacea, Onagraceae, Orchidaceae,Parnassiaceae, Plantaginaceae, Plumbaginaceae, Poaceae, Polygalaceae, Primulaceae,Ranunculaceae, Rosaceae, Rubiaceae, Saxifragaceae, Scrophulariaceae, Valerianaceae andViolaceae. Their conservation status was presented, as well as medicinal plants.

  13. Spectral identification of plant communities for mapping of semi-natural grasslands

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jacobsen, Anne; Nielsen, Allan Aasbjerg; Ejrnæs, Rasmus

    2000-01-01

    identification of plant communities was based on a hierarchical approach relating the test sites to i) management (Ma) and ii) flora (Fl) using spectral consistency and separability as the main criteria. Evaluation of spectral consistency was based on unsupervised clustering of test sites of Ma classes 1 to 7...... as a measure of plant community heterogeneity within management classes. The spectral analysis as well as the maximum likelihood classification indicated that the source of spectral variation within management classes might be related to vegetation composition....

  14. Using plant functional traits to guide restoration: A case study in California coastal grassland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sandel, Brody Steven; Corbin, Jeffrey; Krupa, Monica

    2011-01-01

    Restoration ecology can benefit greatly from developments in trait-based ecology that enable improved predictions of how the composition of plant communities will respond to changes in environmental conditions. Plant functional traits can be used to guide the restoration of degraded habitats...... generally from the treatments. Carbon addition led to large intraspecific trait shifts, with individuals in C addition plots having smaller, denser leaves and shorter stature. Species' trait plasticity, however, was not related to the community composition response to C addition.   Our study indicates...

  15. Chemical investigation, isolation and structural analysis of flavones from primula veris

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Huck, Ch.

    1998-01-01

    The chemical investigation, isolation and structural analysis of six flavones present in flowers of Primula veris is described. Sample preparation of substances G from Primula veris comprised methanol extraction, low pressure chromatography on aluminum oxide, medium pressure chromatography on silica gel, and RP-HPLC on ODS. The six flavones, which were identified by their blue fluorescence after separation by thin layer chromatography, were named substance G1, G2, G3, G4, G5 and G6 according to their Rf-values. Fractions were collected during each of the separation processes and the fractions were analyzed by NP-HPLC and RP-HPLC. Higher resolution was obtained by NP-HPLC on a silica gel column and an n-hexane/ isopropanol (92:8 v/v) eluent, where 6 peaks (G1, G2, G3, G4, G5 and G6) were obtained. Diode array detection from 190 - 350 nm was utilized for the recording of UV-spectra for peak identification and peak-purity-analysis. The structures of Substance G4 and Substance G6 were established on the basis of UV, NMR, EI-MS and APCI-MS. The structure of the isolated substance G4 was verified by chemical synthesis. (author)

  16. Species richness of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi: associations with grassland plant richness and biomass

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Hiiesalu, Inga; Pärtel, M.; Davison, J.; Gerhold, P.; Metsis, M.; Moora, M.; Öpik, M.; Vasar, M.; Zobel, M.; Wilson, S. D.

    2014-01-01

    Roč. 203, č. 1 (2014), s. 233-244 ISSN 1469-8137 R&D Projects: GA MŠk EE2.3.30.0048 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z60050516 Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : belowground plant richness * diversity * productivity Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour Impact factor: 6.545, year: 2013

  17. Longterm changes in plant diversity of grasslands under agricultural and conservation management

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Snoo, de G.R.; Naus, N.; Verhulst, J.; Ruijven, van J.; Schaffers, A.P.

    2012-01-01

    Question In many industrialized countries biodiversity is declining. Although changes in species composition and species richness have been documented for many individual systems, little long-term research has been done on a regional scale. We compared the temporal patterns of plant diversity over

  18. Impact of Soil Warming on the Plant Metabolome of Icelandic Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gargallo-Garriga, Albert; Ayala-Roque, Marta; Granda, Victor; Sigurdsson, Bjarni D.; Leblans, Niki I. W.; Oravec, Michal; Urban, Otmar; Janssens, Ivan A.

    2017-01-01

    Climate change is stronger at high than at temperate and tropical latitudes. The natural geothermal conditions in southern Iceland provide an opportunity to study the impact of warming on plants, because of the geothermal bedrock channels that induce stable gradients of soil temperature. We studied two valleys, one where such gradients have been present for centuries (long-term treatment), and another where new gradients were created in 2008 after a shallow crustal earthquake (short-term treatment). We studied the impact of soil warming (0 to +15 °C) on the foliar metabolomes of two common plant species of high northern latitudes: Agrostis capillaris, a monocotyledon grass; and Ranunculus acris, a dicotyledonous herb, and evaluated the dependence of shifts in their metabolomes on the length of the warming treatment. The two species responded differently to warming, depending on the length of exposure. The grass metabolome clearly shifted at the site of long-term warming, but the herb metabolome did not. The main up-regulated compounds at the highest temperatures at the long-term site were saccharides and amino acids, both involved in heat-shock metabolic pathways. Moreover, some secondary metabolites, such as phenolic acids and terpenes, associated with a wide array of stresses, were also up-regulated. Most current climatic models predict an increase in annual average temperature between 2–8 °C over land masses in the Arctic towards the end of this century. The metabolomes of A. capillaris and R. acris shifted abruptly and nonlinearly to soil warming >5 °C above the control temperature for the coming decades. These results thus suggest that a slight warming increase may not imply substantial changes in plant function, but if the temperature rises more than 5 °C, warming may end up triggering metabolic pathways associated with heat stress in some plant species currently dominant in this region. PMID:28832555

  19. Positive interactions between large herbivores and grasshoppers, and their consequences for grassland plant diversity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhong, Zhiwei; Wang, Deli; Zhu, Hui; Wang, Ling; Feng, Chao; Wang, Zhongnan

    2014-04-01

    Although the influence of positive interactions on plant and sessile communities has been well documented, surprisingly little is known about their role in structuring terrestrial animal communities. We evaluated beneficial interactions between two distantly related herbivore taxa, large vertebrate grazers (sheep) and smaller insect grazers (grasshoppers), using a set of field experiments in eastern Eurasian steppe of China. Grazing by large herbivores caused significantly higher grasshopper density, and this pattern persisted until the end of the experiment. Grasshoppers, in turn, increased the foraging time of larger herbivores, but such response occurred only during the peak of growing season (August). These reciprocal interactions were driven by differential herbivore foraging preferences for plant resources; namely, large herbivores preferred Artemisia forbs, whereas grasshoppers preferred Leymus grass. The enhancement of grasshopper density in areas grazed by large herbivores likely resulted from the selective consumption of Artemisia forbs by vertebrate grazers, which may potentially improve the host finding of grasshoppers. Likewise, grasshoppers appeared to benefit large herbivores by decreasing the cover and density of the dominant grass Leymus chinensis, which hampers large herbivores' access to palatable forbs. Moreover, we found that large herbivores grazing alone may significantly decrease plant diversity, yet grasshoppers appeared to mediate such negative effects when they grazed with large herbivores. Our results suggest that the positive, reciprocal interactions in terrestrial herbivore communities may be more prevalent and complex than previously thought.

  20. [Energy accumulation and allocation of main plant populations in Aneurolepidium chinense grassland in Songnen Plain].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Qu, Guohui; Wen, Mingzhang; Guo, Jixun

    2003-05-01

    The calorific value of plants is dependent on their biological characteristics and energy-containing materials. The allocation of calorific value in different organs of Aneurolepidium chinese, Calamagrostic epigejos, Puccinellia tenuiflora and Chloris virgata was inflorescence > leaf > stem > dead standing. The seasonal dynamics of standing crop energy of aboveground part of four plant populations showed single-peak curve, and the energy production was Aneurolepidium chinense > Calamagrostic epigejos > Chloris virgata > Puccinellia tenuiflora. Energy increasing rate showed double-peak curve, with the first peak at heading stage and the second peak at maturing stage of seeds. Energy increasing rate was negative at the final stage of growth. The horizontal distribution of energy of aboveground part was that the allocation ratio of different organs at different growth stages was different. There existed a similar trend for vertical distribution of energy among four plant populations, i.e., was the vertical distribution of energy of aboveground part showed a tower shape, with the maximum value in 10-30 cm height. The vertical distribution of energy of underground part showed an inverted tower shape from soil surface to deeper layer, with the maximum value in 0-10 cm depth. The standing crop energy of underground part was about 3-4 times than that of aboveground part.

  1. Plant assemblage composition and soil P concentration differentially affect communities of AM and total fungi in a semi-arid grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klabi, Rim; Bell, Terrence H; Hamel, Chantal; Iwaasa, Alan; Schellenberg, Mike; Raies, Aly; St-Arnaud, Marc

    2015-01-01

    Adding inorganic P- and N-fixing legumes to semi-arid grasslands can increase forage yield, but soil nutrient concentrations and plant cover may also interact to modify soil fungal populations, impacting short- and long-term forage production. We tested the effect of plant assemblage (seven native grasses, seven native grasses + the domesticated N-fixing legume Medicago sativa, seven native grasses + the native N-fixing legume Dalea purpurea or the introduced grass Bromus biebersteinii + M. sativa) and soil P concentration (addition of 0 or 200 P2O5 kg ha(-1) at sowing) on the diversity and community structure of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi and total fungi over two consecutive years, using 454-pyrosequencing of 18S rDNA and ITS amplicons. Treatment effects were stronger in the wet year (2008) than the dry year (2009). The presence of an N-fixing legume with native grasses generally increased AM fungal diversity, while the interaction between soil P concentration and plant assemblage modified total fungal community structure in 2008. Excluding interannual variations, which are likely driven by moisture and plant productivity, AM fungal communities in semi-arid grasslands appear to be primarily affected by plant assemblage composition, while the composition of other fungi is more closely linked to soil P. © FEMS 2014. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  2. Native-plant amendments and topsoil addition enhance soil function in post-mining arid grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kneller, Tayla; Harris, Richard J; Bateman, Amber; Muñoz-Rojas, Miriam

    2018-04-15

    One of the most critical challenges faced in restoration of disturbed arid lands is the limited availability of topsoil. In post-mining restoration, alternative soil substrates such as mine waste could be an adequate growth media to alleviate the topsoil deficit, but these materials often lack appropriate soil characteristics to support the development and survival of seedlings. Thus, addition of exogenous organic matter may be essential to enhance plant survival and soil function. Here, we present a case study in the arid Pilbara region (north-west Western Australia), a resource-rich area subject to intensive mining activities. The main objective of our study was to assess the effects of different restoration techniques such as soil reconstruction by blending available soil materials, sowing different compositions of plant species, and addition of a locally abundant native soil organic amendment (Triodia pungens biomass) on: (i) seedling recruitment and growth of Triodia wiseana, a dominant grass in Australian arid ecosystems, and (ii) soil chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of reconstructed soils, including microbial activity, total organic C, total N, and C and N mineralisation. The study was conducted in a 12-month multifactorial microcosms setting in a controlled environment. Our results showed that the amendment increased C and N contents of re-made soils, but these values were still lower than those obtained in the topsoil. High microbial activity and C mineralisation rates were found in the amended waste that contrasted the low N mineralisation but this did not translate into improved emergence or survival of T. wiseana. These results suggest a short- or medium-term soil N immobilisation caused by negative priming effect of fresh un-composted amendment on microbial communities. We found similar growth and survival rates of T. wiseana in topsoil and a blend of topsoil and waste (50:50) which highlights the importance of topsoil, even in a

  3. Effects of seed size and habitat on recruitment patterns in grassland and forest plants

    OpenAIRE

    Lönnberg, Karin

    2012-01-01

    A trade-off between seed size and seed number is central in seed ecology, and has been suggested to be related to a trade-off between competition and colonization, as well as to a trade-off between stress tolerance and fecundity. Large seeds endure hazards during establishment, such as shading, drought, litter coverage and competition from other plants, better than do small seeds, due to a larger amount of stored resources in the seed. Small seeds, however, are numerous and small-seeded speci...

  4. How do earthworms, soil texture and plant composition affect infiltration along an experimental plant diversity gradient in grassland?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fischer, Christine; Roscher, Christiane; Jensen, Britta; Eisenhauer, Nico; Baade, Jussi; Attinger, Sabine; Scheu, Stefan; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Schumacher, Jens; Hildebrandt, Anke

    2014-01-01

    Infiltration is a key process in determining the water balance, but so far effects of earthworms, soil texture, plant species diversity and their interaction on infiltration capacity have not been studied. We measured infiltration capacity in subplots with ambient and reduced earthworm density nested in plots of different plant species (1, 4, and 16 species) and plant functional group richness and composition (1 to 4 groups; legumes, grasses, small herbs, tall herbs). In summer, earthworm presence significantly increased infiltration, whereas in fall effects of grasses and legumes on infiltration were due to plant-mediated changes in earthworm biomass. Effects of grasses and legumes on infiltration even reversed effects of texture. We propose two pathways: (i) direct, probably by modifying the pore spectrum and (ii) indirect, by enhancing or suppressing earthworm biomass, which in turn influenced infiltration capacity due to change in burrowing activity of earthworms. Overall, the results suggest that spatial and temporal variations in soil hydraulic properties can be explained by biotic processes, especially the presence of certain plant functional groups affecting earthworm biomass, while soil texture had no significant effect. Therefore biotic parameters should be taken into account in hydrological applications.

  5. How do earthworms, soil texture and plant composition affect infiltration along an experimental plant diversity gradient in grassland?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christine Fischer

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Infiltration is a key process in determining the water balance, but so far effects of earthworms, soil texture, plant species diversity and their interaction on infiltration capacity have not been studied. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We measured infiltration capacity in subplots with ambient and reduced earthworm density nested in plots of different plant species (1, 4, and 16 species and plant functional group richness and composition (1 to 4 groups; legumes, grasses, small herbs, tall herbs. In summer, earthworm presence significantly increased infiltration, whereas in fall effects of grasses and legumes on infiltration were due to plant-mediated changes in earthworm biomass. Effects of grasses and legumes on infiltration even reversed effects of texture. We propose two pathways: (i direct, probably by modifying the pore spectrum and (ii indirect, by enhancing or suppressing earthworm biomass, which in turn influenced infiltration capacity due to change in burrowing activity of earthworms. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Overall, the results suggest that spatial and temporal variations in soil hydraulic properties can be explained by biotic processes, especially the presence of certain plant functional groups affecting earthworm biomass, while soil texture had no significant effect. Therefore biotic parameters should be taken into account in hydrological applications.

  6. Density-dependency and plant-soil feedback: former plant abundance influences competitive interactions between two grassland plant species through plant-soil feedbacks

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Xue, W.; Bezemer, T.M.; Berendse, Frank

    2018-01-01

    Backgrounds and aims Negative plant-soil feedbacks (PSFs) are thought to promote species coexistence, but most evidence is derived from theoretical models and data from plant monoculture experiments. Methods We grew Anthoxanthum odoratum and Centaurea jacea in field plots in monocultures and in

  7. The structural and functional connectivity of the grassland plant Lychnis flos-cuculi

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aavik, T; Holderegger, R; Bolliger, J

    2014-01-01

    Understanding the relationship between structural and functional connectivity is essential for successful restoration and conservation management, particularly in intensely managed agricultural landscapes. We evaluated the relationship between structural and functional connectivity of the wetland plant Lychnis flos-cuculi in a fragmented agricultural landscape using landscape genetic and network approaches. First, we studied the effect of structural connectivity, such as geographic distance and various landscape elements (forest, agricultural land, settlements and ditch verges), on gene flow among populations as a measurement of functional connectivity. Second, we examined the effect of structural graph-theoretic connectivity measures on gene flow among populations and on genetic diversity within populations of L. flos-cuculi. Among landscape elements, forests hindered gene flow in L. flos-cuculi, whereas gene flow was independent of geographic distance. Among the structural graph-theoretic connectivity variables, only intrapopulation connectivity, which was based on population size, had a significant positive effect on gene flow, that is, more gene flow took place among larger populations. Unexpectedly, interpopulation connectivity of populations, which takes into account the spatial location and distance among populations, did not influence gene flow in L. flos-cuculi. However, higher observed heterozygosity and lower inbreeding was observed in populations characterised by higher structural interpopulation connectivity. This finding shows that a spatially coherent network of populations is significant for maintaining the genetic diversity of populations. Nevertheless, lack of significant relationships between gene flow and most of the structural connectivity measures suggests that structural connectivity does not necessarily correspond to functional connectivity. PMID:24253937

  8. The relationship between plant species richness and soil pH vanishes with increasing aridity across Eurasian dry grasslands

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Palpurina, S.; Wagner, V.; von Wehrden, H.; Hájek, M.; Horsák, M.; Brinkert, A.; Hölzel, N.; Wesche, K.; Kamp, J.; Hájková, Petra; Danihelka, Jiří; Lustyk, P.; Merunková, K.; Preislerová, Z.; Kočí, M.; Kubešová, S.; Cherosov, M. M.; Ermakov, N.; German, D.; Gogoleva, P. A.; Lashchinsky, N.; Martynenko, V. B.; Chytrý, M.

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 26, č. 4 (2017), s. 425-434 ISSN 1466-822X Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : diversity-environment relationship * dry grassland * precipitation * soil pH Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour OBOR OECD: Ecology Impact factor: 6.045, year: 2016

  9. Patterns of plant diversity loss and species turnover resulting from land abandonment and intensification in semi-natural grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Uchida, Kei; Koyanagi, Tomoyo F; Matsumura, Toshikazu; Koyama, Asuka

    2018-07-15

    Land-use changes cause biodiversity loss in semi-natural ecosystems worldwide. Biotic homogenization has led to biodiversity loss, mainly through declines in species composition turnover. Elucidating patterns of turnover in species composition could enhance our understanding of how anthropogenic activities affect community assembly. Here, we focused on whether the decreasing patterns in plant diversity and turnover of species composition resulting from land-use change vary in two regions. We estimated the species diversity and composition of semi-natural grasslands surrounding paddy fields in satoyama landscapes. We examined the differences in species diversity and composition across three land-use types (abandoned, traditional, and intensified) in two regions (Hyogo and Niigata Prefectures, Japan), which were characterized by different climatic conditions. We then assessed alpha-, beta-, and gamma-diversity to compare the patterns of diversity losses in the two regions as a result of land-use changes. In each region, gamma-diversity was consistently higher in the traditional sites compared to abandoned or intensified sites. The analyses revealed that most of the beta-diversity in traditional sites differed significantly from those of abandoned and intensified sites in both regions. However, the beta-diversity of total and perennial species did not differ between traditional and abandoned sites in the Hyogo region. We noted that the beta-diversity of total and perennial species in intensified sites was much lower than that in the traditional sites of the Niigata region. Overall, the patterns of alpha- and gamma-diversity loss were similar in both study regions. Although the biotic homogenization was caused by intensified land-use in the Niigata region, this hypothesis did not completely explain the loss of biodiversity in the abandoned sites in the Hyogo region. The present study contributes to the growing body of work investigating changes in biodiversity as a

  10. Are there consistent grazing indicators in Drylands? Testing plant functional types of various complexity in South Africa's Grassland and Savanna Biomes.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anja Linstädter

    Full Text Available Despite our growing knowledge on plants' functional responses to grazing, there is no consensus if an optimum level of functional aggregation exists for detecting grazing effects in drylands. With a comparative approach we searched for plant functional types (PFTs with a consistent response to grazing across two areas differing in climatic aridity, situated in South Africa's grassland and savanna biomes. We aggregated herbaceous species into PFTs, using hierarchical combinations of traits (from single- to three-trait PFTs. Traits relate to life history, growth form and leaf width. We first confirmed that soil and grazing gradients were largely independent from each other, and then searched in each biome for PFTs with a sensitive response to grazing, avoiding confounding with soil conditions. We found no response consistency, but biome-specific optimum aggregation levels. Three-trait PFTs (e.g. broad-leaved perennial grasses and two-trait PFTs (e.g. perennial grasses performed best as indicators of grazing effects in the semi-arid grassland and in the arid savanna biome, respectively. Some PFTs increased with grazing pressure in the grassland, but decreased in the savanna. We applied biome-specific grazing indicators to evaluate if differences in grazing management related to land tenure (communal versus freehold had effects on vegetation. Tenure effects were small, which we mainly attributed to large variability in grazing pressure across farms. We conclude that the striking lack of generalizable PFT responses to grazing is due to a convergence of aridity and grazing effects, and unlikely to be overcome by more refined classification approaches. Hence, PFTs with an opposite response to grazing in the two biomes rather have a unimodal response along a gradient of additive forces of aridity and grazing. The study advocates for hierarchical trait combinations to identify localized indicator sets for grazing effects. Its methodological approach may

  11. Are there consistent grazing indicators in Drylands? Testing plant functional types of various complexity in South Africa's Grassland and Savanna Biomes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Linstädter, Anja; Schellberg, Jürgen; Brüser, Katharina; Moreno García, Cristian A; Oomen, Roelof J; du Preez, Chris C; Ruppert, Jan C; Ewert, Frank

    2014-01-01

    Despite our growing knowledge on plants' functional responses to grazing, there is no consensus if an optimum level of functional aggregation exists for detecting grazing effects in drylands. With a comparative approach we searched for plant functional types (PFTs) with a consistent response to grazing across two areas differing in climatic aridity, situated in South Africa's grassland and savanna biomes. We aggregated herbaceous species into PFTs, using hierarchical combinations of traits (from single- to three-trait PFTs). Traits relate to life history, growth form and leaf width. We first confirmed that soil and grazing gradients were largely independent from each other, and then searched in each biome for PFTs with a sensitive response to grazing, avoiding confounding with soil conditions. We found no response consistency, but biome-specific optimum aggregation levels. Three-trait PFTs (e.g. broad-leaved perennial grasses) and two-trait PFTs (e.g. perennial grasses) performed best as indicators of grazing effects in the semi-arid grassland and in the arid savanna biome, respectively. Some PFTs increased with grazing pressure in the grassland, but decreased in the savanna. We applied biome-specific grazing indicators to evaluate if differences in grazing management related to land tenure (communal versus freehold) had effects on vegetation. Tenure effects were small, which we mainly attributed to large variability in grazing pressure across farms. We conclude that the striking lack of generalizable PFT responses to grazing is due to a convergence of aridity and grazing effects, and unlikely to be overcome by more refined classification approaches. Hence, PFTs with an opposite response to grazing in the two biomes rather have a unimodal response along a gradient of additive forces of aridity and grazing. The study advocates for hierarchical trait combinations to identify localized indicator sets for grazing effects. Its methodological approach may also be useful

  12. Contrasting evolutionary processes during Quaternary climatic changes and historical orogenies: a case study of the Japanese endemic primroses Primula sect. Reinii.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yamamoto, Masaya; Ohtani, Masato; Kurata, Kaoruko; Setoguchi, Hiroaki

    2017-11-28

    Recent biogeographic studies have illustrated that Quaternary climatic changes and historical orogenies have driven the development of high levels of biodiversity. In this context, phylogenetic niche conservatism may play a role as a major precursor of allopatric speciation. However, the effects of niche evolution on the diversification patterns of plant species under rapid habitat changes are still unknown. Here, Primula section Reinii, one of the few primroses endemic to the Japanese Archipelago, was investigated. This study aimed to clarify the phylogenetic position and relationships of section Reinii, interpret the biogeographic and diversification patterns of this group and gain a better understanding of the role of climatic niche evolution in the Japanese endemic primroses. Dated phylogeny for Primula section Reinii is presented based on the sequences of six chloroplast genes and one nuclear gene. Biogeographic history was reconstructed using statistical dispersal-vicariance analysis. Macro-evolutionary modelling of the climatic niche was combined with biogeographic inferences. Section Reinii was shown to be monophyletic based on chloroplast and nuclear sequences. Fossil-calibrated dating analysis estimated that this section diverged from its sister taxon, sect. Cortusoides, around 1.82 million years ago, and intraspecific diversification occurred within the last million years. This time frame was characterized by Quaternary climatic oscillations and uplift of high mountains in Japan. Biogeographic inference suggested that this section originated at the northern end of the Japanese Archipelago and then dispersed southward to other islands. Models of climatic niche evolution indicated that the closely related species P. reinii and P. tosanensis have contrasting niche optima and rates of niche evolution. Our results highlight that spatiotemporal heterogeneity in the Japanese islands may play a significant role in the biogeographic history of Japanese endemic

  13. Are There Consistent Grazing Indicators in Drylands? Testing Plant Functional Types of Various Complexity in South Africa’s Grassland and Savanna Biomes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Linstädter, Anja; Schellberg, Jürgen; Brüser, Katharina; Moreno García, Cristian A.; Oomen, Roelof J.; du Preez, Chris C.; Ruppert, Jan C.; Ewert, Frank

    2014-01-01

    Despite our growing knowledge on plants’ functional responses to grazing, there is no consensus if an optimum level of functional aggregation exists for detecting grazing effects in drylands. With a comparative approach we searched for plant functional types (PFTs) with a consistent response to grazing across two areas differing in climatic aridity, situated in South Africa’s grassland and savanna biomes. We aggregated herbaceous species into PFTs, using hierarchical combinations of traits (from single- to three-trait PFTs). Traits relate to life history, growth form and leaf width. We first confirmed that soil and grazing gradients were largely independent from each other, and then searched in each biome for PFTs with a sensitive response to grazing, avoiding confounding with soil conditions. We found no response consistency, but biome-specific optimum aggregation levels. Three-trait PFTs (e.g. broad-leaved perennial grasses) and two-trait PFTs (e.g. perennial grasses) performed best as indicators of grazing effects in the semi-arid grassland and in the arid savanna biome, respectively. Some PFTs increased with grazing pressure in the grassland, but decreased in the savanna. We applied biome-specific grazing indicators to evaluate if differences in grazing management related to land tenure (communal versus freehold) had effects on vegetation. Tenure effects were small, which we mainly attributed to large variability in grazing pressure across farms. We conclude that the striking lack of generalizable PFT responses to grazing is due to a convergence of aridity and grazing effects, and unlikely to be overcome by more refined classification approaches. Hence, PFTs with an opposite response to grazing in the two biomes rather have a unimodal response along a gradient of additive forces of aridity and grazing. The study advocates for hierarchical trait combinations to identify localized indicator sets for grazing effects. Its methodological approach may also be

  14. Negative and positive interactions among plants: effects of competitors and litter on seedling emergence and growth of forest and grassland species.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loydi, A; Donath, T W; Otte, A; Eckstein, R L

    2015-05-01

    Living plant neighbours, but also their dead aboveground remains (i.e. litter), may individually exert negative or positive effects on plant recruitment. Although living plants and litter co-occur in most ecosystems, few studies have addressed their combined effects, and conclusions are ambivalent. Therefore, we examined the response in terms of seedling emergence and growth of herbaceous grassland and forest species to different litter types and amounts and the presence of competitors. We conducted a pot experiment testing the effects of litter type (grass, oak), litter amount (low, medium, high) and interspecific competition (presence or absence of four Festuca arundinacea individuals) on seedling emergence and biomass of four congeneric pairs of hemicryptophytes from two habitat types (woodland, grassland). Interactions between litter and competition were weak. Litter presence increased competitor biomass. It also had positive effects on seedling emergence at low litter amounts and negative effects at high litter amounts, while competition had no effect on seedling emergence. Seedling biomass was negatively affected by the presence of competitors, and this effect was stronger in combination with high amounts of litter. Litter affected seedling emergence while competition determined the biomass of the emerged individuals, both affecting early stages of seedling recruitment. High litter accumulation also reduced seedling biomass, but this effect seemed to be additive to competitor effects. This suggests that live and dead plant mass can affect species recruitment in natural systems, but the mechanisms by which they operate and their timing differ. © 2014 German Botanical Society and The Royal Botanical Society of the Netherlands.

  15. Distribution, species diversity and composition of plant communities in relation to various affecting factors in an alpine grassland at Bandipora, Kashmir

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dad, J. M.

    2016-01-01

    This study provides a broad understanding of vascular plant richness and community structure of mountain grassland (Matri) at Bandipora, Kashmir and links it various environmental variables. Employing a stratified sampling design, six sites were selected wherein vegetation was sampled by placing quadrats (n=210). Elucidating an important effect of topography and anthropic pressure, numerical classification TWINSPAN segregated the quadrats into seven community types. Contrary to species rich communities which showed an explicit composition and localized distribution, the other communities depicted a vague composition and stretched unevenly between the lower and middle altitudes. Using canonical correspondence analysis (CCA), elevation and disturbance were found as most influencing factors whereas steepness of slope, organic carbon, soil reaction (pH) and soil salinity (electrical conductivity) were other important factors. Indices of diversity measured at two measurement scales varied differently between communities and at a macro scale (site level) highest values were recorded in least disturbed communities. However, on a micro scale (quadrat level) the indices behaved differently. For effective conservation of these species rich grasslands, acknowledging the local level variability in vegetation structure is all but crucial. (author)

  16. Meta-scale mountain grassland observatories uncover commonalities as well as specific interactions among plant and non-rhizosphere soil bacterial communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yashiro, Erika; Pinto-Figueroa, Eric; Buri, Aline; Spangenberg, Jorge E; Adatte, Thierry; Niculita-Hirzel, Helene; Guisan, Antoine; van der Meer, Jan Roelof

    2018-04-10

    Interactions between plants and bacteria in the non-rhizosphere soil are rarely assessed, because they are less direct and easily masked by confounding environmental factors. By studying plant vegetation alliances and soil bacterial community co-patterning in grassland soils in 100 sites across a heterogeneous mountain landscape in the western Swiss Alps, we obtained sufficient statistical power to disentangle common co-occurrences and weaker specific interactions. Plant alliances and soil bacterial communities tended to be synchronized in community turnover across the landscape, largely driven by common underlying environmental factors, such as soil pH or elevation. Certain alliances occurring in distinct, local, environmental conditions were characterized by co-occurring specialist plant and bacterial species, such as the Nardus stricta and Thermogemmatisporaceae. In contrast, some generalist taxa, like Anthoxanthum odoratum and 19 Acidobacteria species, spanned across multiple vegetation alliances. Meta-scale analyses of soil bacterial community composition and vegetation surveys, complemented with local edaphic measurements, can thus prove useful to identify the various types of plant-bacteria interactions and the environments in which they occur.

  17. Ecological analysis of plant cover of the permanent grassland ecosystem located in the vicinity of Novi Kneževac, Serbia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Knežević Aleksa

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available A total of 205 taxa and stands of 12 plant communities were found to comprise the plant cover of the permanent grassland on the solonetz and solonchakic solonetz soils located in the vicinity of the town of Novi Kneževac (Vojvodina Province, Serbia. The registered taxa included 177 plant species, six subspecies, eight varieties, 13 forms and one lusus. The ecological analysis of the flora involved 191 taxa. That group consisted of 177 species, six subspecies, three varieties and five forms. The three varieties, Aster tripolium L. var. pannonicus ( Jacq. Beck, Chenopodium rubrum L. subsp. botryoides Sm. var. crassifolium (Hornem Kov. and Sonchus arvensis L. var. uliginosus (M.B. Grec. were used for analysis because their higher taxonomic categories were not recorded in the studied flora. The five forms, Aster sedifolius L. f. subsquamosus Soy, Bromus commutatus Schrad. f. violaceus Podp., Mentha aquatica L. f. erromera Top., Poa bulbosa L. f. vivipara Koel. and Scleranthus annus L. f. minimus Schur., were used for the same reason. The ecological analysis encompassed stands of all 12 recorded communities, i.e. ass. Scirpo-Phragmitetum W. Koch 1926, ass. Bolboschoenetum maritimi continentale Soy (1927 1957, ass. Acorelletum pannonici Soy (1939 1947, ass. Puccinelletum limosae (Rapcs. 1927 Soy 1930, ass. Pholiuro-Plantaginetum tenuiflorae (Rapcs. 1927 Wendel. 1943, ass. Hordeetum histricis (Soy 1933 Wendel. 1943, ass. Camphorosmetum annuae (Rapcs. 1916 Soy 1933 corr. Soy 1938, ass. Agrostio-Alopecuretum pratensis Soy (1933 1947, ass. Agrostio-Eleochariti-Alopecuretu geniculati (Magyar1928 Soy (1939 1947, ass. Artemisio-Festucetum pseudovinae (Magyar 1928 Soy 1945, ass. Achilleo-Festucetum pseudovinae (Magyar 1928 Soy 1945 and ass. Festuco-Andropogonetum ischaemi Vučk. 1985. The ecological analysis of the plant cover indicated that halophytes made 30.37% of the flora of the permanent grassland near the town of Novi Kneževac, and that the stands of

  18. Does interspecific competition alter effects of early season ozone exposure on plants from wet grasslands? Results of a three-year experiment in open-top chambers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tonneijck, A E G; Franzaring, J; Brouwer, G; Metselaar, K; Dueck, Th A

    2004-09-01

    Chronic effects of ozone on wet grassland species early in the growing season might be altered by interspecific competition. Individual plants of Holcus lanatus, Lychnis flos-cuculi, Molinia caerulea and Plantago lanceolata were grown in monocultures and in mixed cultures with Agrostis capillaris. Mesocosms were exposed to charcoal-filtered air plus 25 nl l(-1) ozone (CF+25), non-filtered air (NF), non-filtered air plus 25 nl l(-1) ozone (NF+25) and non-filtered air plus 50 nl l(-1) ozone (NF+50) early in the growing seasons of 2000 through 2002. Ozone-enhanced senescence and visible foliar injury were recorded on some of the target plants in the first year only. Ozone effects on biomass production were minimal and plant response to ozone did not differ between monocultures and mixed cultures. After three years, above-ground biomass of the plants in mixed culture compared to monocultures was three times greater for H. lanatus and two to four times smaller for the other species.

  19. Does interspecific competition alter effects of early season ozone exposure on plants from wet grasslands? Results of a three-year experiment in open-top chambers

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Tonneijck, A.E.G.; Franzaring, J.; Brouwer, G.; Metselaar, K.; Dueck, Th.A

    2004-09-01

    Chronic effects of ozone on wet grassland species early in the growing season might be altered by interspecific competition. Individual plants of Holcus lanatus, Lychnis flos-cuculi, Molinia caerulea and Plantago lanceolata were grown in monocultures and in mixed cultures with Agrostis capillaris. Mesocosms were exposed to charcoal-filtered air plus 25 nl l{sup -1} ozone (CF + 25), non-filtered air (NF), non-filtered air plus 25 nl l{sup -1} ozone (NF + 25) and non-filtered air plus 50 nl l{sup -1} ozone (NF + 50) early in the growing seasons of 2000 through 2002. Ozone-enhanced senescence and visible foliar injury were recorded on some of the target plants in the first year only. Ozone effects on biomass production were minimal and plant response to ozone did not differ between monocultures and mixed cultures. After three years, above-ground biomass of the plants in mixed culture compared to monocultures was three times greater for H. lanatus and two to four times smaller for the other species.

  20. Does interspecific competition alter effects of early season ozone exposure on plants from wet grasslands? Results of a three-year experiment in open-top chambers

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tonneijck, A.E.G.; Franzaring, J.; Brouwer, G.; Metselaar, K.; Dueck, Th.A.

    2004-01-01

    Chronic effects of ozone on wet grassland species early in the growing season might be altered by interspecific competition. Individual plants of Holcus lanatus, Lychnis flos-cuculi, Molinia caerulea and Plantago lanceolata were grown in monocultures and in mixed cultures with Agrostis capillaris. Mesocosms were exposed to charcoal-filtered air plus 25 nl l -1 ozone (CF + 25), non-filtered air (NF), non-filtered air plus 25 nl l -1 ozone (NF + 25) and non-filtered air plus 50 nl l -1 ozone (NF + 50) early in the growing seasons of 2000 through 2002. Ozone-enhanced senescence and visible foliar injury were recorded on some of the target plants in the first year only. Ozone effects on biomass production were minimal and plant response to ozone did not differ between monocultures and mixed cultures. After three years, above-ground biomass of the plants in mixed culture compared to monocultures was three times greater for H. lanatus and two to four times smaller for the other species

  1. Soil environmental conditions and microbial build-up mediate the effect of plant diversity on soil nitrifying and denitrifying enzyme activities in temperate grasslands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xavier Le Roux

    Full Text Available Random reductions in plant diversity can affect ecosystem functioning, but it is still unclear which components of plant diversity (species number - namely richness, presence of particular plant functional groups, or particular combinations of these and associated biotic and abiotic drivers explain the observed relationships, particularly for soil processes. We assembled grassland communities including 1 to 16 plant species with a factorial separation of the effects of richness and functional group composition to analyze how plant diversity components influence soil nitrifying and denitrifying enzyme activities (NEA and DEA, respectively, the abundance of nitrifiers (bacterial and archaeal amoA gene number and denitrifiers (nirK, nirS and nosZ gene number, and key soil environmental conditions. Plant diversity effects were largely due to differences in functional group composition between communities of identical richness (number of sown species, though richness also had an effect per se. NEA was positively related to the percentage of legumes in terms of sown species number, the additional effect of richness at any given legume percentage being negative. DEA was higher in plots with legumes, decreased with increasing percentage of grasses, and increased with richness. No correlation was observed between DEA and denitrifier abundance. NEA increased with the abundance of ammonia oxidizing bacteria. The effect of richness on NEA was entirely due to the build-up of nitrifying organisms, while legume effect was partly linked to modified ammonium availability and nitrifier abundance. Richness effect on DEA was entirely due to changes in soil moisture, while the effects of legumes and grasses were partly due to modified nitrate availability, which influenced the specific activity of denitrifiers. These results suggest that plant diversity-induced changes in microbial specific activity are important for facultative activities such as denitrification

  2. Effects of plant diversity, N fertilization, and elevated carbon dioxide on grassland soil N cycling in a long-term experiment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mueller, Kevin E; Hobbie, Sarah E; Tilman, David; Reich, Peter B

    2013-04-01

    The effects of global environmental changes on soil nitrogen (N) pools and fluxes have consequences for ecosystem functions such as plant productivity and N retention. In a 13-year grassland experiment, we evaluated how elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2 ), N fertilization, and plant species richness alter soil N cycling. We focused on soil inorganic N pools, including ammonium and nitrate, and two N fluxes, net N mineralization and net nitrification. In contrast with existing hypotheses, such as progressive N limitation, and with observations from other, often shorter, studies, elevated CO2 had relatively static and small, or insignificant, effects on soil inorganic N pools and fluxes. Nitrogen fertilization had inconsistent effects on soil N transformations, but increased soil nitrate and ammonium concentrations. Plant species richness had increasingly positive effects on soil N transformations over time, likely because in diverse subplots the concentrations of N in roots increased over time. Species richness also had increasingly positive effects on concentrations of ammonium in soil, perhaps because more carbon accumulated in soils of diverse subplots, providing exchange sites for ammonium. By contrast, subplots planted with 16 species had lower soil nitrate concentrations than less diverse subplots, especially when fertilized, probably due to greater N uptake capacity of subplots with 16 species. Monocultures of different plant functional types had distinct effects on N transformations and nitrate concentrations, such that not all monocultures differed from diverse subplots in the same manner. The first few years of data would not have adequately forecast the effects of N fertilization and diversity on soil N cycling in later years; therefore, the dearth of long-term manipulations of plant species richness and N inputs is a hindrance to forecasting the state of the soil N cycle and ecosystem functions in extant plant communities. © 2012 Blackwell

  3. Grassland biodiversity can pay.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Binder, Seth; Isbell, Forest; Polasky, Stephen; Catford, Jane A; Tilman, David

    2018-04-10

    The biodiversity-ecosystem functioning (BEF) literature provides strong evidence of the biophysical basis for the potential profitability of greater diversity but does not address questions of optimal management. BEF studies typically focus on the ecosystem outputs produced by randomly assembled communities that only differ in their biodiversity levels, measured by indices such as species richness. Landholders, however, do not randomly select species to plant; they choose particular species that collectively maximize profits. As such, their interest is not in comparing the average performance of randomly assembled communities at each level of biodiversity but rather comparing the best-performing communities at each diversity level. Assessing the best-performing mixture requires detailed accounting of species' identities and relative abundances. It also requires accounting for the financial cost of individual species' seeds, and the economic value of changes in the quality, quantity, and variability of the species' collective output-something that existing multifunctionality indices fail to do. This study presents an assessment approach that integrates the relevant factors into a single, coherent framework. It uses ecological production functions to inform an economic model consistent with the utility-maximizing decisions of a potentially risk-averse private landowner. We demonstrate the salience and applicability of the framework using data from an experimental grassland to estimate production relationships for hay and carbon storage. For that case, our results suggest that even a risk-neutral, profit-maximizing landowner would favor a highly diverse mix of species, with optimal species richness falling between the low levels currently found in commercial grasslands and the high levels found in natural grasslands.

  4. Soil disturbance as a grassland restoration measure

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Schnoor, Tim; Bruun, Hans Henrik; Olsson, Pål Axel

    2015-01-01

    Soil disturbance is recognized as an important driver of biodiversity in dry grasslands, and can therefore be implemented as a restoration measure. However, because community re-assembly following disturbance includes stochastic processes, a focus only on species richness or establishment success...... to experimental disturbance treatments (ploughing or rotavation), and the vegetation was surveyed during four subsequent years of succession. Treated plots were compared with control plots representing untreated grassland, as well as nearby plots characterized by plant communities representing the restoration...

  5. Population expanding with the phalanx model and lineages split by environmental heterogeneity: a case study of Primula obconica in subtropical China.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hai-Fei Yan

    Full Text Available Current and historical events have both affected the current distribution patterns and intraspecific divergence of plants. While numerous studies have focused on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP, the impacts of such events on the flora of subtropical China remain poorly understood. Subtropical China is famous for its highly complex topography and the limited impact from glaciation during the Pleistocene; this may have resulted in a different genetic legacy for species in this region compared to fully glaciated areas.We used plastid and nuclear DNA sequence data and distribution modeling to analyze the divergence patterns and demographic history of Primula obconica Hance, a widespread herbaceous montane species in subtropical China. The phylogenetic analysis revealed two major lineages (lineage A and lineage B, representing a west-east split into the Yunnan and Eastern groups, and the Sichuan and Central groups, respectively. The Eastern and Central groups comprised relatively new derived haplotypes. Nested Clade Analysis and Bayesian Skyline Plot analyses both indicated that P. obconica mainly experienced a gradual expansion of populations. In addition, the simulated distribution of P. obconica during the Last Glacial Maximum was slightly larger than its present-day distribution.Our results are the first to identify a west-east migration of P. obconica. The gradual expansion pattern and a larger potential distribution range in cold periods detected for P. obconica indicate that the population expansion of this species is consistent with the phalanx model. In addition, the current patterns of genetic differentiation have persisted as a result of the extensive environmental heterogeneity that exists in subtropical China.

  6. Species turnover drives β-diversity patterns across multiple spatial scales of plant-galling interactions in mountaintop grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coelho, Marcel Serra; Carneiro, Marco Antônio Alves; Branco, Cristina Alves; Borges, Rafael Augusto Xavier; Fernandes, Geraldo Wilson

    2018-01-01

    This study describes differences in species richness and composition of the assemblages of galling insects and their host plants at different spatial scales. Sampling was conducted along altitudinal gradients composed of campos rupestres and campos de altitude of two mountain complexes in southeastern Brazil: Espinhaço Range and Mantiqueira Range. The following hypotheses were tested: i) local and regional richness of host plants and galling insects are positively correlated; ii) beta diversity is the most important component of regional diversity of host plants and galling insects; and iii) Turnover is the main mechanism driving beta diversity of both host plants and galling insects. Local richness of galling insects and host plants increased with increasing regional richness of species, suggesting a pattern of unsaturated communities. The additive partition of regional richness (γ) into local and beta components shows that local richnesses (α) of species of galling insects and host plants are low relative to regional richness; the beta (β) component incorporates most of the regional richness. The multi-scale analysis of additive partitioning showed similar patterns for galling insects and host plants with the local component (α) incorporated a small part of regional richness. Beta diversity of galling insects and host plants were mainly the result of turnover, with little contribution from nesting. Although the species composition of galling insects and host plant species varied among sample sites, mountains and even mountain ranges, local richness remained relatively low. In this way, the addition of local habitats with different landscapes substantially affects regional richness. Each mountain contributes fundamentally to the composition of regional diversity of galling insects and host plants, and so the design of future conservation strategies should incorporate multiple scales.

  7. Greater soil carbon accumulation in deeper soils in native- than in exotic-dominated grassland plantings in the southern Plains

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilsey, B. J.; Xu, X.; Polley, H. W.; Hofmockel, K. S.

    2017-12-01

    Global change includes invasion by non-native plant species, and invasion may affect carbon cycling and storage. We tested predictions in central Texas in an experiment that compares mixtures of all exotic or all native species under two summer irrigation treatments (128 or 0 mm) that varies the amount of summer drought stress. At the end of the eighth growing season after establishment, soils were sampled in 10 cm increments to 100 cm depth to determine if soil C differed among treatments, and if treatments differentially affected soil C in deeper soils. Soil C content was significantly (5%) higher under native plantings than under exotic species plantings (P plantings increased with depth, and native plantings had higher soil C in deeper soil layers than in surface layers (native-exotic x depth, P plantings had decreasing soil C with depth. Soil C:N ratio and δ13C/12C were also significantly affected by native-exotic status, with soils in exotic plots having a significantly greater C4 contribution than native soils. Soil C was unaffected by summer irrigation treatments. Our results suggest that a significant amount of carbon could be sequestered by replacing exotic plant species with native species in the southern Plains, and that more work should be conducted at deeper soil depths. If we had restricted our analyses to surface soil layers (e.g. top 30 cm), we would have failed to detect depth differences between natives and exotics.

  8. SOWING GRASSLANDS – EFFICIENT SOLUTION FOR ZOOTEHNICAL PRODUCTION

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    VALENTINA OFELIA ROBESCU

    2008-05-01

    Full Text Available Recruitment is critical for the maintenance of plant populations and community diversity, but sexual regeneration is considered to be infrequent in climatically harsh habitats such as sub alpine grasslands. For this reasons it is very important to improve the grassland. In this paper we study the interaction among milk production, fertilizations and flower composition in sub alpine grasslands. The agrochemical indicators are important because they influence the pasture value and at the final the milk production.

  9. Satellite-based assessment of grassland yields

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grant, K.; Siegmund, R.; Wagner, M.; Hartmann, S.

    2015-04-01

    Cutting date and frequency are important parameters determining grassland yields in addition to the effects of weather, soil conditions, plant composition and fertilisation. Because accurate and area-wide data of grassland yields are currently not available, cutting frequency can be used to estimate yields. In this project, a method to detect cutting dates via surface changes in radar images is developed. The combination of this method with a grassland yield model will result in more reliable and regional-wide numbers of grassland yields. For the test-phase of the monitoring project, a study area situated southeast of Munich, Germany, was chosen due to its high density of managed grassland. For determining grassland cutting robust amplitude change detection techniques are used evaluating radar amplitude or backscatter statistics before and after the cutting event. CosmoSkyMed and Sentinel-1A data were analysed. All detected cuts were verified according to in-situ measurements recorded in a GIS database. Although the SAR systems had various acquisition geometries, the amount of detected grassland cut was quite similar. Of 154 tested grassland plots, covering in total 436 ha, 116 and 111 cuts were detected using CosmoSkyMed and Sentinel-1A radar data, respectively. Further improvement of radar data processes as well as additional analyses with higher sample number and wider land surface coverage will follow for optimisation of the method and for validation and generalisation of the results of this feasibility study. The automation of this method will than allow for an area-wide and cost efficient cutting date detection service improving grassland yield models.

  10. (134)Cs and ¹³⁷Cs levels in a grassland, 32 km northwest of the Fukushima 1 Nuclear Power Plant, measured for two seasons after the fallout.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Terashima, Ichiro; Shiyomi, Masae; Fukuda, Hiroo

    2014-01-01

    We measured the levels of radioactive caesium (RACs; ¹³⁴Cs and ¹³⁷Cs) in plants and soil in a grassland, 32 km northwest of the Fukushima 1 Nuclear Power Plant, from June 2011 to October 2012. In 2011, the highest RACs levels (¹³⁴Cs + ¹³⁷Cs) in plants and in the 0-5 cm soil layer were approximately 80 kBq per kg dry weight (DW). Forage grasses and clovers in this grassland showed similar RACs levels. On a DW basis, the levels of RACs in these plants tended to increase with increasing biomass over both years, but the absolute levels decreased in 2012. The RACs levels in the soil decreased sharply with soil depth; the RACs level in the 5-10 cm soil layer was only 3 % of that in the 0-5 cm layer. The transfer factor (ratio of radioactivity in plant parts on DW basis to that in the 0-10 cm soil layer) was 0.5 and 1.0 for the aboveground and belowground plant parts, respectively, in 2011, and these values decreased by approximately 50 % in 2012. We discuss the possible mechanisms underlying these trends, and strategies to decrease the level of RACs in plants to the permissible level for forage.

  11. Effect of four plant species on soil 15N-access and herbage yield in temporary agricultural grasslands

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pirhofter-Walzl, Karin; Eriksen, Jørgen; Rasmussen, Jim

    2013-01-01

    access to greater amounts of soil 15N compared with a shallow-rooting binary mixture, and if leguminous plants affect herbage yield and soil 15N-access. Methods 15N-enriched ammonium-sulphate was placed at three different soil depths (0.4, 0.8 and 1.2 m) to determine the depth dependent soil 15N....... This positive plant diversity effect could not be explained by complementary soil 15N-access of the different plant species from 0.4, 0.8 and 1.2 m soil depths, even though deep-rooting chicory acquired relatively large amounts of deep soil 15N and shallow-rooting perennial ryegrass when grown in a mixture...

  12. Relative Importance of Current and Past Landscape Structure and Local Habitat Conditions for Plant Species Richness in Dry Grassland-Like Forest Openings

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Husáková, I.; Münzbergová, Zuzana

    2014-01-01

    Roč. 9, č. 5 (2014), s. 1-15 E-ISSN 1932-6203 Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : landscape structure * species richness * dry grassland Subject RIV: EF - Botanics Impact factor: 3.234, year: 2014

  13. Competitive interactions between a nonmycorrhizal invasive plant, Alliaria petiolata, and a suite of mycorrhizal grassland, old field, and forest species.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Poon, Gary T; Maherali, Hafiz

    2015-01-01

    The widespread invasion of the nonmycorrhizal biennial plant, Alliaria petiolata in North America is hypothesized to be facilitated by the production of novel biochemical weapons that suppress the growth of mycorrhizal fungi. As a result, A. petiolata is expected to be a strong competitor against plant species that rely on mycorrhizal fungi for nutrient uptake services. If A. petiolata is also a strong competitor for soil resources, it should deplete nutrients to levels lower than can be tolerated by weaker competitors. Because the negative effect of losing the fungal symbiont for mycorrhizal plants is greatest when nutrients are low, the ability of A. petiolata to simultaneously suppress fungi and efficiently take up soil nutrients should further strengthen its competitive ability against mycorrhizal plants. To test this hypothesis, we grew 27 mycorrhizal tree, forb and grass species that are representative of invaded habitats in the absence or presence of competition with A. petiolata in soils that had previously been experimentally planted with the invader or left as a control. A history of A. petiolata in soil reduced plant available forms of nitrogen by >50% and phosphorus by 17% relative to control soil. Average mycorrhizal colonization of competitor species was reduced by >50% in A. petiolata history versus control soil. Contrary to expectations, competition between A. petiolata and other species was stronger in control than history soil. The invader suppressed the biomass of 70% of competitor species in control soil but only 26% of species in history soil. In addition, A. petiolata biomass was reduced by 56% in history versus control soil, whereas the average biomass of competitor species was reduced by 15%. Thus, our results suggest that the negative effect of nutrient depletion on A. petiolata was stronger than the negative effect of suppressing mycorrhizal colonization on competitor species. These findings indicate that the inhibitory potential of A

  14. Relative importance of current and past landscape structure and local habitat conditions for plant species richness in dry grassland-like forest openings.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Husáková, Iveta; Münzbergová, Zuzana

    2014-01-01

    In fragmented landscapes, plant species richness may depend not only on local habitat conditions but also on landscape structure. In addition, both present and past landscape structure may be important for species richness. There are, however, only a few studies that have investigated the relative importance of all of these factors. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of current and past landscape structures and habitat conditions on species richness at dry grassland-like forest openings in a forested landscape and to assess their relative importance for species richness. We analyzed information on past and present landscape structures using aerial photographs from 1938, 1973, 1988, 2000 and 2007. We calculated the area of each locality and its isolation in the present and in the past and the continuity of localities in GIS. At each locality, we recorded all vascular plant species (296 species in 110 forest openings) and information on abiotic conditions of the localities. We found that the current species richness of the forest openings was significantly determined by local habitat conditions as well as by landscape structure in the present and in the past. The highest species richness was observed on larger and more heterogeneous localities with rocks and shallow soils, which were already large and well connected to other localities in 1938. The changes in the landscape structure in the past can thus have strong effects on current species richness. Future studies attempting to understand determinants of species diversity in fragmented landscapes should also include data on past landscape structure, as it may in fact be more important than the present structure.

  15. Effects Of Elevated Ozone On Leaf {delta} {sup 13} C And Leaf Conductance Of Plant Species Grown In Semi-Natural Grassland With Or Without Irrigation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Jaeggi, M.; Saurer, M.; Volk, M. [Agroscope-FAL (Switzerland); Fuhrer, J. [Agroscope-FAL (Switzerland)

    2005-03-01

    At the Swiss prealpine site Le Mouret (754 m a.s.l. 46deg 45min N / 7deg 10min E), semi-natural grassland species were kept under ambient or elevated ozone, paired with or without additional irrigation. Two of the four investigated grassland species showed an additive increase in {sup 13}C-values under drought and elevated ozone conditions. (author)

  16. Description and identification of four species of plant parasitic nematodes associated with grassland, fruit trees and maize in Romania.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Badi, M; Geraert, E

    2002-01-01

    Three species of plant parasitic nematodes present in two romanian soil samples were described and identified in the present study. The species belong to order tylenchida and to taxonomical families Tylenchidae (Basiria aberrans) and Belonolaimidae (Tylenchorhynchus georgiensis and Merlinius brevidens). The identification of the present specimens was based on the classical taxonomy, following morphological and morphometrical characters in the species specific identification keys.

  17. Life-history constraints in grassland plant species: a growth-defence trade-off is the norm

    Science.gov (United States)

    E.M. Lind; E.T. Borer; E.W. Seabloom; P.B. Adler; J.D. Bakker; D.M. Blumenthal; M. Crawley; K.F. Davies; J. Firn; D.S. Gruner; S. Harpole; Y. Hautier; H. Hillebrand; J.M.H. Knops; B.A. Melbourne; B. Mortensen; A.C. Risch; M. Schuetz; C.J. Stevens; P.D. Wragg

    2013-01-01

    Plant growth can be limited by resource acquisition and defence against consumers, leading to contrasting trade-off possibilities. The competition-defence hypothesis posits a trade-off between competitive ability and defence against enemies (e.g. herbivores and pathogens). The growth-defence hypothesis suggests that strong competitors for nutrients are also defended...

  18. Positive plant diversity-soil stability relationships are mediated through roots in the Songnen Grassland: Chronosequence evidence

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liang-Jun Hu; Ping Li; Qinfeng Guo

    2013-01-01

    Living plant diversity (excluding the litter issue) may affect below-ground properties and processes, which is critical to obtaining an integrated biodiversity-ecosystem functioning theory. However, related patterns and underlying mechanisms have rarely been examined, especially lacking long-term evidence. We conducted a factorial crossed sample survey to examine the...

  19. Water- and plant-mediated responses of ecosystem carbon fluxes to warming and nitrogen addition on the Songnen grassland in northeast China.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Li Jiang

    Full Text Available Understanding how grasslands are affected by a long-term increase in temperature is crucial to predict the future impact of global climate change on terrestrial ecosystems. Additionally, it is not clear how the effects of global warming on grassland productivity are going to be altered by increased N deposition and N addition.In-situ canopy CO(2 exchange rates were measured in a meadow steppe subjected to 4-year warming and nitrogen addition treatments. Warming treatment reduced net ecosystem CO(2 exchange (NEE and increased ecosystem respiration (ER; but had no significant impacts on gross ecosystem productivity (GEP. N addition increased NEE, ER and GEP. However, there were no significant interactions between N addition and warming. The variation of NEE during the four experimental years was correlated with soil water content, particularly during early spring, suggesting that water availability is a primary driver of carbon fluxes in the studied semi-arid grassland.Ecosystem carbon fluxes in grassland ecosystems are sensitive to warming and N addition. In the studied water-limited grassland, both warming and N addition influence ecosystem carbon fluxes by affecting water availability, which is the primary driver in many arid and semiarid ecosystems. It remains unknown to what extent the long-term N addition would affect the turn-over of soil organic matter and the C sink size of this grassland.

  20. Changes in plant functional groups, litter quality, and soil carbon and nitrogen mineralization with sheep grazing in an Inner Mongolian Grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barger, N.N.; Ojima, D.S.; Belnap, J.; Shiping, W.; Yanfen, W.; Chen, Z.

    2004-01-01

    This study reports on changes in plant functional group composition, litter quality, and soil C and N mineralization dynamics from a 9-year sheep grazing study in Inner Mongolia. Addressed are these questions: 1) How does increasing grazing intensity affect plant community composition? 2) How does increasing grazing intensity alter soil C and N mineralization dynamics? 3) Do changes in soil C and N mineralization dynamics relate to changes in plant community composition via inputs of the quality or quantity of litter? Grazing plots were set up near the Inner Mongolia Grassland Ecosystem Research Station (IMGERS) with 5 grazing intensities: 1.3, 2.7, 4.0, 5.3, and 6.7 sheep ha -1??yr-1. Plant cover was lower with increasing grazing intensity, which was primarily due to a dramatic decline in grasses, Carex duriuscula, and Artemisia frigida. Changes in litter mass and percentage organic C resulted in lower total C in the litter layer at 4.0 and 5.3 sheep ha-1??yr-1 compared with 2.7 sheep ha -1??yr-1. Total litter N was lower at 5.3 sheep ha-1??yr-1 compared with 2.7 sheep ha -1??yr-1. Litter C:N ratios, an index of litter quality, were significantly lower at 4.0 sheep ha-1??yr -1 relative to 1.3 and 5.3 sheep ha-1??yr -1. Cumulative C mineralized after 16 days decreased with increasing grazing intensity. In contrast, net N mineralization (NH4+ + NO3-) after a 12-day incubation increased with increasing grazing intensity. Changes in C and N mineralization resulted in a narrowing of CO2-C:net Nminratios with increasing grazing intensity. Grazing explained 31% of the variability in the ratio of CO 2-C:net Nmin. The ratio of CO2-C:net N min was positively correlated with litter mass. Furthermore, there was a positive correlation between litter mass and A. frigida cover. Results suggest that as grazing intensity increases, microbes become more C limited resulting in decreased microbial growth and demand for N.

  1. Plant species and functional group effects on abiotic and microbial soil properties and plant-soil feedback responses in two grasslands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bezemer, T.M.; Lawson, C.S.; Hedlund, K.; Edwards, A.R.; Brooks, A.J.; Igual, J.M.; Mortimer, S.R.; Putten, van der W.H.

    2006-01-01

    1 Plant species differ in their capacity to influence soil organic matter, soil nutrient availability and the composition of soil microbial communities. Their influences on soil properties result in net positive or negative feedback effects, which influence plant performance and plant community

  2. The California Valley grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keeley, J.E.; Schoenherr, Allan A.

    1990-01-01

    Grasslands are distributed throughout California from Oregon to Baja California Norte and from the coast to the desert (Brown 1982) (Figure 1). This review will focus on the dominant formation in cismontane California, a community referred to as Valley Grassland (Munz 1959). Today, Valley Grassland is dominated by non-native annual grasses in genera such as Avena (wild oat), Bromus (brome grass), and Hordeum (barley), and is often referred to as the California annual grassland. On localized sites, native perennial bunchgrasses such as Stipa pultra (purple needle grass) may dominate and such sites are interpreted to be remnants of the pristine valley grassland. In northwestern California a floristically distinct formation of the Valley Grassland, known as Coast Prairie (Munz 1959) or Northern Coastal Grassland (Holland and Keil 1989) is recognized. The dominant grasses include many native perennial bunchgrasses in genera such as Agrostis, Calamagrostis, Danthonia, Deschampsia, Festuca, Koeleria and Poa (Heady et al. 1977). Non-native annuals do not dominate, but on some sites non-native perennials like Anthoxanthum odoratum may colonize the native grassland (Foin and Hektner 1986). Elevationally, California's grasslands extend from sea level to at leas 1500 m. The upper boundary is vague because montane grassland formations are commonly referred to as meadows; a community which Munz (1959) does not recognize. Holland and Keil (1989) describe the montane meadow as an azonal community; that is, a community restricted not so much to a particular climatic zone but rather controlled by substrate characteristics. They consider poor soil-drainage an over-riding factor in the development of montane meadows and, in contrast to grasslands, meadows often remain green through the summer drought. Floristically, meadows are composed of graminoids; Cyperaceae, Juncaceae, and rhizomatous grasses such as Agropyron (wheat grass). Some bunchgrasses, such as Muhlenbergia rigens, are

  3. Decomposition of standing litter in arid grasslands: Interactions between sunlight, non-rainfall moisture, microbes, and plant traits

    Science.gov (United States)

    Logan, J. R. V.; Jacobson, P. J.; Jacobson, K. M.; Evans, S.

    2017-12-01

    Although arid lands make up 40% of the Earth's land surface, we still lack a strong understanding of carbon cycling and plant decomposition in these systems. One reason for this is that field studies typically only focus on decomposition at or below the ground surface even though standing dead litter (material that has not yet fallen to the ground) accounts for more than 50% of total necromass in many of these systems. While recent work has begun to recognize the important and unique aspects of standing litter decomposition, few studies have investigated specific mechanisms controlling rates of mass loss. We hypothesized that initial photodegradation of the outer plant cuticle of standing litter is an important determinant of litter decomposition because this process increases moisture absorption and subsequent opportunities for biological decomposition. Our preliminary results offer support for this hypothesis. We found that standing grass stems with their cuticles artificially removed had greater water absorbance and more than 400% greater mass loss over a 6-month period relative to controls with intact cuticles. Additionally, spectroscopic measurements of cuticle integrity showed damage to the litter surface after a period of extended photodegradation, allowing increased moisture uptake during simulated fog/dew events. These findings are especially important in the context of recent work by us and others showing that non-rainfall moisture (fog, dew, and water vapor) plays a much larger role in arid land decomposition than previously thought. Improving our understanding of the mechanisms driving decomposition of standing litter will enable us to develop a more predictive understanding of carbon storage in arid lands.

  4. Soil acidification and liming in grassland production and grassland soil fertility in Slovenia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jure ČOP

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available This paper reviews the evidences on grassland soil acidity and liming in relation to soil processes and herbage production. There is also an outline of the present state of soil acidity and acidity-related traits – contents of organic matter (OM, phosphorus (P and potassium (K in Slovene grassland. In grassland, soil acidification is an ongoing process under humid climate conditions. It is mainly driven by leaching of nutrients, net loss of cations due to retention in livestock products, use of physiologically acid fertilizers, acid rain and N2 fixation. This process is reduced by strong pH buffering capacity of the soil and by physiologically basic fertilizers. Acid grassland soils in Slovenia are widely distributed in spite of the fact that 44% of the total land has developed from a carbonate parent material. Of the 1713 grassland soil samples analysed during 2005-2007 45% were regarded as acid ones (pH < 5.5; in KCl, 57% as soils with very low P status (˂ 6 mg P2O5/100 g soil and 22% as soils with very low K status (˂ 10 mg K2O/100 soil. Increased content of soil organic matter was identified for alpine pastures (˃ 10 % OM in 44% of samples, mainly as a result of low decomposition rate. Liming of acid grassland soils did not always reflect in a higher herbage yield. The cause for this inefficiency is plant composition of grassland. Thus, many grassland plants with relatively high production potential have adapted to acid soil conditions. To illustrate the inconsistent liming effect three researches are reviewed. In the first two researches liming along with fertilizer application did not increase the yield comparing to the fertilized control while in the third research the increase amounted 26 %. Liming improves considerably botanical composition of the acid grassland (e.g. sward where Common Bent – Agrostis tenuis Sibth. – prevails and thus indirectly affects palatability and nutritive value of herbage. Grassland liming has a weak

  5. [Research progress and trend on grassland agroecology].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ren, Jizhou; Li, Xianglin; Hou, Fujiang

    2002-08-01

    The connotation, progress, research frontiers and developmental trend of grassland agroecology are discussed in this paper. The interface theory, structure and function, coupling and discordance, and health assessment of grassland agroecosystems were recognized as the four research frontiers of the discipline. There exist three primary interfaces in a grassland agroecosystem, i.e., vegetation-site, grassland-animal and production-management. Research into a series of the ecological processes that occurred at these interfaces is the key to revealing the features of the system behavior. There are four sections in a grassland agroecosystem, i.e., pre-plant, plant, animal and post-biotic sections. System coupling and discordance are the two important concepts to describe interactions among the production sections. System coupling among the sections can lead to system improvement by exerting the potential of system capacity. Health of an ecosystem is a reflection of its structure and function, and health assessment is a measurement of its orderliness and service value.

  6. Dry flue gas desulfurization by-product application effects on plant uptake and soil storage changes in a managed grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burgess-Conforti, Jason R; Brye, Kristofor R; Miller, David M; Pollock, Erik D; Wood, Lisa S

    2018-02-01

    Environmental regulations mandate that sulfur dioxide (SO 2 ) be removed from the flue gases of coal-fired power plants, which results in the generation of flue gas desulfurization (FGD) by-products. These FGD by-products may be a viable soil amendment, but the large amounts of trace elements contained in FGD by-products are potentially concerning. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of land application of a high-Ca dry FGD (DFGD) by-product on trace elements in aboveground biomass and soil. A high-Ca DFGD by-product was applied once at a rate of 9 Mg ha -1 on May 18, 2015 to small plots with mixed-grass vegetation. Soil and biomass were sampled prior to application and several times thereafter. Aboveground dry matter and tissue As, Co, Cr, Hg, Se, U, and V concentrations increased (P  0.05) from pre-application levels or the unamended control within 3 to 6 months of application. Soil pH in the amended treatment 6 months after application was greater (P by-product application compared to the unamended control. High-Ca DFGD by-products appear to be useful as a soil amendment, but cause at least a temporary increase in tissue concentrations of trace elements, which may be problematic for animal grazing situations.

  7. Radiocesium fallout in the grasslands on Sakhalin, Kunashir and Shikotan Islands due to Fukushima accident: the radioactive contamination of soil and plants in 2011

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ramzaev, V.; Barkovsky, A.; Goncharova, Yu.; Gromov, A.; Kaduka, M.; Romanovich, I.

    2013-01-01

    The accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant has resulted in radioactive contamination of environmental media and food in the Far East of Russia, particularly in the Sakhalin Region. To obtain the knowledge about the 134 Cs and 137 Cs spatial distribution in the Sakhalin Region, soil samples were collected at 31 representative grassland sites on Sakhalin, Kunashir and Shikotan islands (43.80°–46.40° N and 142.73°–146.84° E) in the middle of May and around the end of September to early October 2011. In the autumn, vegetation samples (mixed grass/forb crop and bamboo, Sasa sp.) were collected together with soil samples. Maximum measured activity concentrations (on dry weight) of 134 Cs and 137 Cs in soil were 30 Bq kg −1 and 210 Bq kg −1 , respectively. Within soil profile, 134 Cs activity concentrations declined rapidly with depth. Although for both sampling occasions (in the spring and autumn) the radionuclide was completely retained in the upper 3–4 cm of soil, a deeper penetration of the contaminant into the ground was observed in the autumn. In contrast with 134 Cs, activity concentrations of 137 Cs demonstrated a broad range of the vertical distribution in soil; at most sites, the radionuclide was found down to a depth of 20 cm. This resulted from interfering the aged pre-accidental 137 Cs and the new Fukushima-borne 137 Cs. To calculate contribution of these sources to the inventory of 137 Cs, the 134 Cs: 137 Cs activity ratio of 1:1 in Fukushima fallout (the reference date 15 March 2011) was used. The maximum deposition density of Fukushima-derived 137 Cs was found on Shikotan and Kunashir Islands with average density of 0.124 ± 0.018 kBq m −2 and 0.086 ± 0.026 kBq m −2 , respectively. Sakhalin Island was less contaminated by Fukushima-derived 137 Cs of 0.021 ± 0.018 kBq m −2 . For the south of Sakhalin Island, the reference inventory of pre-Fukushima 137 Cs was calculated as 1.93 ± 0.25 kBq m −2 (reference date 15

  8. Modeling impacts of climate change and grazing effects on plant biomass and soil organic carbon in the Qinghai-Tibetan grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Wenjuan; Zhang, Feng; Qi, Jiaguo; Hou, Fujiang

    2017-12-01

    The Qinghai Province supports over 40 % of the human population of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) but occupies about 29 % of its land area, and thus it plays an important role in the plateau. The dominant land cover is grassland, which has been severely degraded over the last decade due to a combination of increased human activities and climate change. Numerous studies indicate that the plateau is sensitive to recent global climate change, but the drivers and consequences of grassland ecosystem change are controversial, especially the effects of climate change and grazing patterns on the grassland biomass and soil organic carbon (SOC) storage in this region. In this study, we used the DeNitrification-DeComposition (DNDC) model and two climate change scenarios (representative concentration pathways: RCP4.5 and RCP8.5) to understand how the grassland biomass and SOC pools might respond to different grazing intensities under future climate change scenarios. More than 1400 grassland biomass sampling points and 46 SOC points were used to validate the simulated results. The simulated above-ground biomass and SOC concentrations were in good agreement with the measured data (R2 0.71 and 0.73 for above-ground biomass and SOC, respectively). The results showed that climate change may be the major factor that leads to fluctuations in the grassland biomass and SOC, and it explained 26.4 and 47.7 % of biomass and SOC variation, respectively. Meanwhile, the grazing intensity explained 6.4 and 2.3 % variation in biomass and SOC, respectively. The project average biomass and SOC between 2015 and 2044 was significantly smaller than past 30 years (1985-2014), and it was 191.17 g C m-2, 63.44 g C kg-1 and 183.62 g C m-2, 63.37 g C kg-1 for biomass and SOC under RCP4.5 and RCP8.5, respectively. The RCP8.5 showed the more negative effect on the biomass and SOC compared with RCP4.5. Grazing intensity had a negative relationship with biomass and positive relationship with SOC

  9. A checklist of the plants of the forests and grasslands in the Weza district, southern KwaZulu-Natal and a review of their status in the Red Data List

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Graham R.H. Grieve

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available Eastern mistbelt forests are naturally fragmented forests with grassland which occur from the Eastern Cape to KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. These were heavily logged by colonial settlers and continue to be harvested despite being protected. Consequently we documented a checklist of the plants of the forests and grasslands in the Weza district (3029DA WEZA, southern KwaZulu-Natal, including Ngeli Forest and nearby indigenous forest patches to highlight their biodiversity status and need for conservation. We also reviewed their status in the Red Data List. Of the 1554 records included in this summary of plant species for the Weza district, there were 6 lichens (0.4%, 46 bryophytes (3.0%, 58 pteridophytes (3.7%, 6 gymnosperms (0.4% and the remaining 1424 species angiosperms (92.5%. Of the angiosperms, 27.3% were monocotyledons and 72.7% were dicotyledons. The most species-rich family was Asteraceae (239 species followed by Fabaceae (115 species, Liliaceae (used for purposes of comparison against older studies – 89 species, Orchidaceae (89 species, Iridaceae (59 species, Poaceae (58 species, Asclepidaceae (again used for purposes of comparison against older studies – 57 species, Scrophulariaceae (42 species, Euphorbiaceae (32 species, Lamiaceae (32 species and Rubiaceae (27 species. These 10 families each comprised more than 2% of the species in the list. Together they contributed 55% of the angiosperm species and 34.1% of the angiosperm genera. The biodiversity and conservation value of the study area are conserved pockets of eastern mistbelt forest, Drakensberg foothill moist grassland and mistbelt grassland. More than 4% of the species are under some degree of threat, as was evidenced by the number of species regarded as endangered (5, vulnerable (18, near threatened (10, critically rare (1, rare (20 or declining (11 amongst the 1554 species covered in the list. Conservation implications: In terms of taxa under some degree of threat, number of

  10. Reconsideration for conservation units of wild Primula sieboldii in Japan based on adaptive diversity and molecular genetic diversity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yoshida, Yasuko; Honjo, Masanori; Kitamoto, Naoko; Ohsawa, Ryo

    2009-08-01

    Primula sieboldii E. Morren is a perennial clonal herb that is widely distributed in Japan, but in danger of extinction in the wild. In a previous study, we revealed the genetic diversity of the species using chloroplast and nuclear DNA and used this information to define conservation units. However, we lacked information on adaptive genetic diversity, which is important for long-term survival and, thus, for the definition of conservation units. In order to identify adaptive traits that showed adaptive differentiation among populations, we studied the genetic variation in six quantitative traits within and among populations for 3 years in a common garden using 110 genets from five natural populations from three regions of Japan. The number of days to bud initiation was adaptive quantitative trait for which the degree of genetic differentiation among populations (QST) was considerably larger than that in eight microsatellite markers (FST). The relationship between this trait and environmental factors revealed that the number of days to bud initiation was negatively correlated, with the mean temperature during the growing period at each habitat. This suggests that adaptive differentiation in the delay before bud initiation was caused by selective pressure resulting from temperature differences among habitats. Our results suggest that based on adaptive diversity and neutral genetic diversity, the Saitama population represents a new conservation unit.

  11. Draft Genome Sequence of Bacillus velezensis 3A-25B, a Strain with Biocontrol Activity against Fungal and Oomycete Root Plant Phytopathogens, Isolated from Grassland Soil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martínez-Raudales, Inés; De La Cruz-Rodríguez, Yumiko; Vega-Arreguín, Julio; Alvarado-Gutiérrez, Alejandro; Fraire-Mayorga, Atzin; Alvarado-Rodríguez, Miguel; Balderas-Hernández, Victor; Gómez-Soto, José Manuel; Fraire-Velázquez, Saúl

    2017-09-28

    Here, we present the draft genome of Bacillus velezensis 3A-25B, which totaled 4.01 Mb with 36 contigs, 3,948 genes, and a GC content of 46.34%. This strain, which demonstrates biocontrol activity against root rot causal phytopathogens in horticultural crops and friendly interactions in roots of pepper plantlets, was obtained from grassland soil in Zacatecas Province, Mexico. Copyright © 2017 Martínez-Raudales et al.

  12. The influence of boundary features on grassland-edge communities of Alta Murgia

    OpenAIRE

    Cassano, Stefania; Alignier, Audrey; Forte, Luigi; Labadessa, Rocco; Mairota, Paola

    2016-01-01

    Many studies suggest the importance of boundary features on plant community dynamics. Our aim was to investigate the influence of boundary features on edge plant assemblages in semi-natural dry grasslands. For this purpose we selected 16 grassland edges in the central portion of the Natura 2000 site Murgia Alta, in southeastern Italy. These sites were selected according to a combination of boundary features, i.e. the adjoining land use type (road or cereal crop), slope (grassland tilted towar...

  13. Assessing the Effects of Grassland Management on Forage Production and Environmental Quality to Identify Paths to Ecological Intensification in Mountain Grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loucougaray, Grégory; Dobremez, Laurent; Gos, Pierre; Pauthenet, Yves; Nettier, Baptiste; Lavorel, Sandra

    2015-11-01

    Ecological intensification in grasslands can be regarded as a process for increasing forage production while maintaining high levels of ecosystem functions and biodiversity. In the mountain Vercors massif, where dairy cattle farming is the main component of agriculture, how to achieve forage autonomy at farm level while sustaining environmental quality for tourism and local dairy products has recently stimulated local debate. As specific management is one of the main drivers of ecosystem functioning, we assessed the response of forage production and environmental quality at grassland scale across a wide range of management practices. We aimed to determine which components of management can be harnessed to better match forage production and environmental quality. We sampled the vegetation of 51 grasslands stratified across 13 grassland types. We assessed each grassland for agronomic and environmental properties, measuring forage production, forage quality, and indices based on the abundance of particular plant species such as timing flexibility, apiarian potential, and aromatic plants. Our results revealed an expected trade-off between forage production and environmental quality, notably by stressing the contrasts between sown and permanent grasslands. However, strong within-type variability in both production and environmental quality as well as in flexibility of timing of use suggests possible ways to improve this trade-off at grassland and farm scales. As achieving forage autonomy relies on increasing both forage production and grassland resilience, our results highlight the critical role of the ratio between sown and permanent grasslands as a major path for ecological intensification in mountain grasslands.

  14. Methods for evaluation of the invasibility of grasslands

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Strandberg, M. T.; Strandberg, B.; Erneberg, M.

    The number of non-native plant species in Danish dry acidic grasslands was positively correlated with the cover of disturbance in the form of molehills, anthills, mouseholes and erosion due trampling or digging by large herbivores/livestock. Natural disturbance in acidic grassland ecosystems...... not grazed by livestock therefore is important for the occurrence of non-native species, and probably also for the occurrence of a high native floristic diversity....

  15. No consistent effect of plant species richness on resistance to simulated climate change for above- or below-ground processes in managed grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dormann, Carsten F; von Riedmatten, Lars; Scherer-Lorenzen, Michael

    2017-06-17

    Species richness affects processes and functions in many ecosystems. Since management of temperate grasslands is directly affecting species composition and richness, it can indirectly govern how systems respond to fluctuations in environmental conditions. Our aim in this study was to investigate whether species richness in managed grasslands can buffer the effects of drought and warming manipulations and hence increase the resistance to climate change. We established 45 plots in three regions across Germany, each with three different management regimes (pasture, meadow and mown pasture). We manipulated spring warming using open-top chambers and summer drought using rain-out shelters for 4 weeks. Measurements of species richness, above- and below-ground biomass and soil carbon and nitrogen concentrations showed significant but inconsistent differences among regions, managements and manipulations. We detected a three-way interaction between species richness, management and region, indicating that our study design was sensitive enough to detect even intricate effects. We could not detect a pervasive effect of species richness on biomass differences between treatments and controls, indicating that a combination of spring warming and summer drought effects on grassland systems are not consistently moderated by species richness. We attribute this to the relatively high number of species even at low richness levels, which already provides the complementarity required for positive biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships. A review of the literature also indicates that climate manipulations largely fail to show richness-buffering, while natural experiments do, suggesting that such manipulations are milder than reality or incur treatment artefacts.

  16. Soil communities promote temporal stability and species asynchrony in experimental grassland communities

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Pellkofer, Sarah; Van Der Heijden, Marcel G A; Schmid, Bernhard; Wagg, Cameron

    2016-01-01

    Background Over the past two decades many studies have demonstrated that plant species diversity promotes primary productivity and stability in grassland ecosystems. Additionally, soil community characteristics have also been shown to influence the productivity and composition of plant communities,

  17. Homogenization of the soil surface following fire in semiarid grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carleton S. White

    2011-01-01

    Semiarid grasslands accumulate soil beneath plant "islands" that are raised above bare interspaces. This fine-scale variation in microtopographic relief is plant-induced and is increased with shrub establishment. Research found that fire-induced water repellency enhanced local-scale soil erosion that reduced variation in microtopographic relief, suggesting...

  18. Flower resource and land management drives hoverfly communities and bee abundance in seminatural and agricultural grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lucas, Andrew; Bull, James C; de Vere, Natasha; Neyland, Penelope J; Forman, Dan W

    2017-10-01

    Pollination is a key ecosystem service, and appropriate management, particularly in agricultural systems, is essential to maintain a diversity of pollinator guilds. However, management recommendations frequently focus on maintaining plant communities, with the assumption that associated invertebrate populations will be sustained. We tested whether plant community, flower resources, and soil moisture would influence hoverfly (Syrphidae) abundance and species richness in floristically-rich seminatural and floristically impoverished agricultural grassland communities in Wales (U.K.) and compared these to two Hymenoptera genera, Bombus, and Lasioglossum . Interactions between environmental variables were tested using generalized linear modeling, and hoverfly community composition examined using canonical correspondence analysis. There was no difference in hoverfly abundance, species richness, or bee abundance, between grassland types. There was a positive association between hoverfly abundance, species richness, and flower abundance in unimproved grasslands. However, this was not evident in agriculturally improved grassland, possibly reflecting intrinsically low flower resource in these habitats, or the presence of plant species with low or relatively inaccessible nectar resources. There was no association between soil moisture content and hoverfly abundance or species richness. Hoverfly community composition was influenced by agricultural improvement and the amount of flower resource. Hoverfly species with semiaquatic larvae were associated with both seminatural and agricultural wet grasslands, possibly because of localized larval habitat. Despite the absence of differences in hoverfly abundance and species richness, distinct hoverfly communities are associated with marshy grasslands, agriculturally improved marshy grasslands, and unimproved dry grasslands, but not with improved dry grasslands. Grassland plant community cannot be used as a proxy for pollinator

  19. Effect of degradation intensity on grassland ecosystem services in the alpine region of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, China.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lu Wen

    Full Text Available The deterioration of alpine grassland has great impact on ecosystem services in the alpine region of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. However, the effect of grassland degradation on ecosystem services and the consequence of grassland deterioration on economic loss still remains a mystery. So, in this study, we assessed four types of ecosystem services following the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment classification, along a degradation gradient. Five sites of alpine grassland at different levels of degradation were investigated in Guoluo Prefecture of Qinghai Province, China. The species composition, aboveground biomass, soil total organic carbon (TOC, and soil total nitrogen (TN were tested to evaluate major ecological services of the alpine grassland. We estimated the value of primary production, carbon storage, nitrogen recycling, and plant diversity. The results show the ecosystem services of alpine grassland varied along the degradation gradient. The ecosystem services of degraded grassland (moderate, heavy and severe were all significantly lower than non-degraded grassland. Interestingly, the lightly degraded grassland provided more economic benefit from carbon maintenance and nutrient sequestration compared to non-degraded. Due to the destruction of the alpine grassland, the economic loss associated with decrease of biomass in 2008 was $198/ha. Until 2008, the economic loss caused by carbon emissions and nitrogen loss on severely degraded grassland was up to $8 033/ha and $13 315/ha, respectively. Urgent actions are required to maintain or promote the ecosystem services of alpine grassland in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.

  20. Effect of degradation intensity on grassland ecosystem services in the alpine region of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wen, Lu; Dong, Shikui; Li, Yuanyuan; Li, Xiaoyan; Shi, Jianjun; Wang, Yanlong; Liu, Demei; Ma, Yushou

    2013-01-01

    The deterioration of alpine grassland has great impact on ecosystem services in the alpine region of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. However, the effect of grassland degradation on ecosystem services and the consequence of grassland deterioration on economic loss still remains a mystery. So, in this study, we assessed four types of ecosystem services following the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment classification, along a degradation gradient. Five sites of alpine grassland at different levels of degradation were investigated in Guoluo Prefecture of Qinghai Province, China. The species composition, aboveground biomass, soil total organic carbon (TOC), and soil total nitrogen (TN) were tested to evaluate major ecological services of the alpine grassland. We estimated the value of primary production, carbon storage, nitrogen recycling, and plant diversity. The results show the ecosystem services of alpine grassland varied along the degradation gradient. The ecosystem services of degraded grassland (moderate, heavy and severe) were all significantly lower than non-degraded grassland. Interestingly, the lightly degraded grassland provided more economic benefit from carbon maintenance and nutrient sequestration compared to non-degraded. Due to the destruction of the alpine grassland, the economic loss associated with decrease of biomass in 2008 was $198/ha. Until 2008, the economic loss caused by carbon emissions and nitrogen loss on severely degraded grassland was up to $8 033/ha and $13 315/ha, respectively. Urgent actions are required to maintain or promote the ecosystem services of alpine grassland in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.

  1. Classification of Grassland Successional Stages Using Airborne Hyperspectral Imagery

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Thomas Möckel

    2014-08-01

    Full Text Available Plant communities differ in their species composition, and, thus, also in their functional trait composition, at different stages in the succession from arable fields to grazed grassland. We examine whether aerial hyperspectral (414–2501 nm remote sensing can be used to discriminate between grazed vegetation belonging to different grassland successional stages. Vascular plant species were recorded in 104.1 m2 plots on the island of Öland (Sweden and the functional properties of the plant species recorded in the plots were characterized in terms of the ground-cover of grasses, specific leaf area and Ellenberg indicator values. Plots were assigned to three different grassland age-classes, representing 5–15, 16–50 and >50 years of grazing management. Partial least squares discriminant analysis models were used to compare classifications based on aerial hyperspectral data with the age-class classification. The remote sensing data successfully classified the plots into age-classes: the overall classification accuracy was higher for a model based on a pre-selected set of wavebands (85%, Kappa statistic value = 0.77 than one using the full set of wavebands (77%, Kappa statistic value = 0.65. Our results show that nutrient availability and grass cover differences between grassland age-classes are detectable by spectral imaging. These techniques may potentially be used for mapping the spatial distribution of grassland habitats at different successional stages.

  2. The Eurasian Dry Grassland Group (EDGG in 2016–2017

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Venn Stephen

    2018-06-01

    Full Text Available This report summarizes the activities and achievements of the Eurasian Dry Grassland Group (EDGG from mid-2016 through to the end of 2017. During this period, the 13th Eurasian Grassland Conference took place in Sighişoara, Romania, and the 14th conference was held in Riga, Latvia. The 10th EDGG Field Workshop on Biodiversity patterns across a precipitation gradient in the Central Apennine mountains was conducted in the Central Apennines, Italy, this time in addition to multi-scale sampling of vascular plants, bryophytes and lichens, also including one animal group (leaf hoppers. Apart from the quarterly issues of its own electronic journal (Bulletin of the Eurasian Dry Grassland Group, EDGG also finalised five grassland-related Special Features/Issues during the past 1.5 years in the following international journals: Applied Vegetation Science, Biodiversity and Conservation, Phytocoenologia, Tuexenia and Hacquetia. Beyond that, EDGG facilitated various national and supra-national vegetationplot databases of grasslands and established its own specialised database for standardised multi-scale plot data of Palaearctic grasslands (GrassPlot.

  3. Plant functional traits and canopy structure control the relationship between photosynthetic CO2 uptake and far-red sun-induced fluorescence in a Mediterranean grassland under different nutrient availability.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Migliavacca, Mirco; Perez-Priego, Oscar; Rossini, Micol; El-Madany, Tarek S; Moreno, Gerardo; van der Tol, Christiaan; Rascher, Uwe; Berninger, Anna; Bessenbacher, Verena; Burkart, Andreas; Carrara, Arnaud; Fava, Francesco; Guan, Jin-Hong; Hammer, Tiana W; Henkel, Kathrin; Juarez-Alcalde, Enrique; Julitta, Tommaso; Kolle, Olaf; Martín, M Pilar; Musavi, Talie; Pacheco-Labrador, Javier; Pérez-Burgueño, Andrea; Wutzler, Thomas; Zaehle, Sönke; Reichstein, Markus

    2017-05-01

    Sun-induced fluorescence (SIF) in the far-red region provides a new noninvasive measurement approach that has the potential to quantify dynamic changes in light-use efficiency and gross primary production (GPP). However, the mechanistic link between GPP and SIF is not completely understood. We analyzed the structural and functional factors controlling the emission of SIF at 760 nm (F 760 ) in a Mediterranean grassland manipulated with nutrient addition of nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) or nitrogen-phosphorous (NP). Using the soil-canopy observation of photosynthesis and energy (SCOPE) model, we investigated how nutrient-induced changes in canopy structure (i.e. changes in plant forms abundance that influence leaf inclination distribution function, LIDF) and functional traits (e.g. N content in dry mass of leaves, N%, Chlorophyll a+b concentration (Cab) and maximum carboxylation capacity (V cmax )) affected the observed linear relationship between F 760 and GPP. We conclude that the addition of nutrients imposed a change in the abundance of different plant forms and biochemistry of the canopy that controls F 760 . Changes in canopy structure mainly control the GPP-F 760 relationship, with a secondary effect of Cab and V cmax . In order to exploit F 760 data to model GPP at the global/regional scale, canopy structural variability, biodiversity and functional traits are important factors that have to be considered. © 2017 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2017 New Phytologist Trust.

  4. Trichoderma Biofertilizer Links to Altered Soil Chemistry, Altered Microbial Communities, and Improved Grassland Biomass

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fengge Zhang

    2018-04-01

    Full Text Available In grasslands, forage and livestock production results in soil nutrient deficits as grasslands typically receive no nutrient inputs, leading to a loss of grassland biomass. The application of mature compost has been shown to effectively increase grassland nutrient availability. However, research on fertilization regime influence and potential microbial ecological regulation mechanisms are rarely conducted in grassland soil. We conducted a two-year experiment in meadow steppe grasslands, focusing on above- and belowground consequences of organic or Trichoderma biofertilizer applications and potential soil microbial ecological mechanisms underlying soil chemistry and microbial community responses. Grassland biomass significantly (p = 0.019 increased following amendment with 9,000 kg ha−1 of Trichoderma biofertilizer (composted cattle manure + inoculum compared with other assessed organic or biofertilizer rates, except for BOF3000 (fertilized with 3,000 kg ha−1 biofertilizer. This rate of Trichoderma biofertilizer treatment increased soil antifungal compounds that may suppress pathogenic fungi, potentially partially responsible for improved grassland biomass. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling (NMDS revealed soil chemistry and fungal communities were all separated by different fertilization regime. Trichoderma biofertilizer (9,000 kg ha−1 increased relative abundances of Archaeorhizomyces and Trichoderma while decreasing Ophiosphaerella. Trichoderma can improve grassland biomass, while Ophiosphaerella has the opposite effect as it may secrete metabolites causing grass necrosis. Correlations between soil properties and microbial genera showed plant-available phosphorus may influence grassland biomass by increasing Archaeorhizomyces and Trichoderma while reducing Ophiosphaerella. According to our structural equation modeling (SEM, Trichoderma abundance was the primary contributor to aboveground grassland biomass. Our results suggest Trichoderma

  5. Trichoderma Biofertilizer Links to Altered Soil Chemistry, Altered Microbial Communities, and Improved Grassland Biomass.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Fengge; Huo, Yunqian; Cobb, Adam B; Luo, Gongwen; Zhou, Jiqiong; Yang, Gaowen; Wilson, Gail W T; Zhang, Yingjun

    2018-01-01

    In grasslands, forage and livestock production results in soil nutrient deficits as grasslands typically receive no nutrient inputs, leading to a loss of grassland biomass. The application of mature compost has been shown to effectively increase grassland nutrient availability. However, research on fertilization regime influence and potential microbial ecological regulation mechanisms are rarely conducted in grassland soil. We conducted a two-year experiment in meadow steppe grasslands, focusing on above- and belowground consequences of organic or Trichoderma biofertilizer applications and potential soil microbial ecological mechanisms underlying soil chemistry and microbial community responses. Grassland biomass significantly ( p = 0.019) increased following amendment with 9,000 kg ha -1 of Trichoderma biofertilizer (composted cattle manure + inoculum) compared with other assessed organic or biofertilizer rates, except for BOF3000 (fertilized with 3,000 kg ha -1 biofertilizer). This rate of Trichoderma biofertilizer treatment increased soil antifungal compounds that may suppress pathogenic fungi, potentially partially responsible for improved grassland biomass. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) revealed soil chemistry and fungal communities were all separated by different fertilization regime. Trichoderma biofertilizer (9,000 kg ha -1 ) increased relative abundances of Archaeorhizomyces and Trichoderma while decreasing Ophiosphaerella . Trichoderma can improve grassland biomass, while Ophiosphaerella has the opposite effect as it may secrete metabolites causing grass necrosis. Correlations between soil properties and microbial genera showed plant-available phosphorus may influence grassland biomass by increasing Archaeorhizomyces and Trichoderma while reducing Ophiosphaerella . According to our structural equation modeling (SEM), Trichoderma abundance was the primary contributor to aboveground grassland biomass. Our results suggest Trichoderma

  6. Comparative intra-and inter-specific sexual organ reciprocity in four distylous Primula species in the Himalaya-Hengduan Mountains.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Hai-Dong; Ren, Zong-Xin; Zhou, Wei; Bernhardt, Peter; Zhao, Yan-Hui; Wu, Zhi-Kun; Li, De-Zhu; Wang, Hong

    2018-04-23

    Distyly is a mechanism promoting cross-pollination within a balanced polymorphism. Numerous studies show that the degree of inter-morph sexual organ reciprocity (SOR) within species relates to its pollen-mediated gene flow. Similarly, a lower inter-specific SOR should promote inter-specific isolation when congeners are sympatric, co-blooming, and share pollinators. In this comparative study, we address the significance of SOR at both intra- and inter-specific levels. Seventeen allopatric and eight sympatric populations representing four Primula species (P. anisodora, P. beesiana, P. bulleyana and P. poissonii) native to the Himalaya-Hengduan Mountains were measured for eight floral traits in both long- and short-styled morphs. GLMM and spatial overlap methods were used to compare intra- and inter-specific SOR. While floral morphology differed among four Primula species. SOR within species was generally higher than between species, but species pairs P. poissonii / P. anisodora and P. beesiana / P. bulleyana, the SOR was high at both intra- and inter-specific levels. We didn't detect a significant variation in intra-specific SOR or inter-specific SOR when compare allopatric vs. sympatric populations for all species studied. As intra-specific SOR increased, disassortative mating may be promoted. As inter-specific SOR decreased, inter-specific isolation between co-flowering species pairs also may increase. Hybridization between congeners occurred when inter-specific SOR increased in sympatric populations was confirmed in two species pairs, P. poissonii / P. anisodora and P. beesiana / P. bulleyana. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  7. Plutonium in a grassland ecosystem

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Little, C.A.

    1976-08-01

    A study was made of plutonium contamination of grassland at the Rocky Flats plant northwest of Denver, Colorado. Of interest were: the definition of major plutonium-containing ecosystem compartments; the relative amounts in those compartments; how those values related to studies done in other geographical areas; whether or not the predominant isotopes, 238 Pu and 239 Pu, behaved differently; and what mechanisms might have allowed for the observed patterns of contamination. Samples of soil, litter, vegetation, arthropods, and small mammals were collected for Pu analysis and mass determination from each of two macroplots. Small aliquots (5 g or less) were analyzed by a rapid liquid scintillation technique and by alpha spectrometry. Of the compartments sampled, greater than 99 percent of the total plutonium was contained in the soil and the concentrations were significantly inversely correlated with distance from the contamination source, depth of the sample, and particle size of the sieved soil samples. The soil data suggested that the distribution of contamination largely resulted from physical transport processes

  8. Variation in the carbon and oxygen isotope composition of plant biomass and its relationship to water-use efficiency at the leaf- and ecosystem-scales in a northern Great Plains grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flanagan, Lawrence B; Farquhar, Graham D

    2014-02-01

    Measurements of the carbon (δ(13) Cm ) and oxygen (δ(18) Om ) isotope composition of C3 plant tissue provide important insights into controls on water-use efficiency. We investigated the causes of seasonal and inter-annual variability in water-use efficiency in a grassland near Lethbridge, Canada using stable isotope (leaf-scale) and eddy covariance measurements (ecosystem-scale). The positive relationship between δ(13) Cm and δ(18) Om values for samples collected during 1998-2001 indicated that variation in stomatal conductance and water stress-induced changes in the degree of stomatal limitation of net photosynthesis were the major controls on variation in δ(13) Cm and biomass production during this time. By comparison, the lack of a significant relationship between δ(13) Cm and δ(18) Om values during 2002, 2003 and 2006 demonstrated that water stress was not a significant limitation on photosynthesis and biomass production in these years. Water-use efficiency was higher in 2000 than 1999, consistent with expectations because of greater stomatal limitation of photosynthesis and lower leaf ci /ca during the drier conditions of 2000. Calculated values of leaf-scale water-use efficiency were 2-3 times higher than ecosystem-scale water-use efficiency, a difference that was likely due to carbon lost in root respiration and water lost during soil evaporation that was not accounted for by the stable isotope measurements. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  9. Crude protein changes on grassland along a degradation gradient ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Evapotranspiration was determined by quantifying the soil-water balance equation with the aid of runoff plots and soil-water content measurements. Crude protein ... The study shows that it is important to keep grassland in optimal condition to utilize limited soil water for sustainable plant and therefore animal production.

  10. Relationship between soil chemical factors and grassland diversity

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Janssens, F; Peeters, A; Tallowin, JRB; Bakker, JP; Bekker, RM; Fillat, F; Oomes, MJM

    Many studies carried out during these last few years have focused on the factors influencing plant diversity in species-rich grasslands. This is due to the fact that these ecosystems, among the most diversified in temperate climates, are extremely threatened; in some areas, they have almost

  11. Grassland birds wintering at U.S. Navy facilities in southern Texas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Woodin, Marc C.; Skoruppa, Mary Kay; Bryan, Pearce D.; Ruddy, Amanda J.; Hickman, Graham C.

    2010-01-01

    Grassland birds have undergone widespread decline throughout North America during the past several decades. Causes of this decline include habitat loss and fragmentation because of conversion of grasslands to cropland, afforestation in the East, brush and shrub invasion in the Southwest and western United States, and planting of exotic grass species to enhance forage production. A large number of exotic plant species, including grasses, have been introduced in North America, but most research on the effects of these invasions on birds has been limited to breeding birds, primarily those in northern latitudes. Research on the effects of exotic grasses on birds in winter has been extremely limited.This is the first study in southern Texas to examine and compare winter bird responses to native and exotic grasslands. This study was conducted during a period of six years (2003–2009) on United States Navy facilities in southern Texas including Naval Air Station–Corpus Christi, Naval Air Station–Kingsville, Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Waldron, Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Orange Grove, and Escondido Ranch, all of which contained examples of native grasslands, exotic grasslands, or both. Data from native and exotic grasslands were collected and compared for bird abundance and diversity; ground cover, vegetation density, and floristic diversity; bird and vegetation relationships; diversity of insects and arachnids; and seed abundance and diversity. Effects of management treatments in exotic grasslands were evaluated by comparing numbers and diversity of birds and small mammals in mowed, burned, and control areas.To determine bird abundance and bird species richness, birds were surveyed monthly (December–February) during the winters of 2003–2008 in transects (100 meter × 20 meter) located in native and exotic grasslands distributed at all five U.S. Navy facilities. To compare vegetation in native and exotic grasslands, vegetation characteristics were measured

  12. Effects of elevated CO₂, warming and precipitation change on plant growth, photosynthesis and peroxidation in dominant species from North China grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, Zhenzhu; Shimizu, Hideyuki; Ito, Shoko; Yagasaki, Yasumi; Zou, Chunjing; Zhou, Guangsheng; Zheng, Yuanrun

    2014-02-01

    Warming, watering and elevated atmospheric CO₂-concentration effects have been extensively studied separately; however, their combined impact on plants is not well understood. In the current research, we examined plant growth and physiological responses of three dominant species from the Eurasian Steppe with different functional traits to a combination of elevated CO₂, high temperature, and four simulated precipitation patterns. Elevated CO₂ stimulated plant growth by 10.8-41.7 % for a C₃ leguminous shrub, Caragana microphylla, and by 33.2-52.3 % for a C₃ grass, Stipa grandis, across all temperature and watering treatments. Elevated CO₂, however, did not affect plant biomass of a C₄ grass, Cleistogenes squarrosa, under normal or increased precipitation, whereas a 20.0-69.7 % stimulation of growth occurred with elevated CO₂ under drought conditions. Plant growth was enhanced in the C₃ shrub and the C₄ grass by warming under normal precipitation, but declined drastically with severe drought. The effects of elevated CO₂ on leaf traits, biomass allocation and photosynthetic potential were remarkably species-dependent. Suppression of photosynthetic activity, and enhancement of cell peroxidation by a combination of warming and severe drought, were partly alleviated by elevated CO₂. The relationships between plant functional traits and physiological activities and their responses to climate change were discussed. The present results suggested that the response to CO₂ enrichment may strongly depend on the response of specific species under varying patterns of precipitation, with or without warming, highlighting that individual species and multifactor dependencies must be considered in a projection of terrestrial ecosystem response to climatic change.

  13. Pollination biology in a tropical high-altitude grassland in Brazil: Interactions at the community level

    OpenAIRE

    Freitas, L; Sazima, M

    2006-01-01

    Surveys of local assemblages of plants and their pollinators are among the most useful ways to evaluate specialization in pollination and to discuss the patterns of plant-pollinator interactions among ecosystems. The high-altitude grasslands from southeastern Brazil constitute diminutive island-like formations surrounded by montane rainforests. We registered the floral traits of 124 species from the Serra da Bricaina grasslands (about 60% of the animal-pollinated species of this flora), and d...

  14. Plutonium in a grassland ecosystem

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Little, C.A.

    1976-01-01

    This study was concerned with plutonium contamination of grassland at the U.S. Energy Research and Development Administration Rocky Flats plant northwest of Denver, Colorado. Of interest were: the definition of major plutonium-containing ecosystem compartments; the relative amounts in those compartments; how those values related to studies done in other geogrphical areas; whether or not the predominant isotopes, 238 Pu and 239 Pu, behaved differently; and what mechanisms might have allowed for the observed patterns of contamination. Samples of soil, litter, vegetation, arthropods, and small mammals were collected for plutonium analysis and mass determination from each of two macroplots. Small aliquots (5 g or less) were analyzed by a rapid liquid scintillation technique and by alpha spectrometry. Of the compartments sampled, greater than 99% of the total plutonium was contained in the soil. The concentrations of plutonium in soil were significantly inversely correlated with distance from the contamination source, depth of the sample, and particle size of the sieved soil samples. The soil data suggested that the distribution of contamination largely resulted from physical transport processes. A mechanism of agglomerated submicron plutonium oxide particles and larger (1-500 μm) host soil particles was proposed. Concentrations of Pu in litter and vegetation were inversely correlated to distance from the source and directly correlated to soil concentrations at the same location. Comparatively high concentration ratios of vegetation to soil suggested wind resuspension of contamination as an important transport mechanism. Arthropod and small mammal samples were highly skewed, kurtotic, and quite variable, having coefficients of variation (standard deviation/mean) as high as 600%. Bone Pu concentrations were lower than other tissues. Hide, GI, and lung were generally not higher in Pu than kidney, liver and muscle

  15. Restoration of species-rich grasslands on ex-arable land: Seed addition outweighs soil fertility reduction

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kardol, P.; Van der Wal, A.; Bezemer, T.M.; De Boer, W.; Duyts, H.; Holtkamp, R.; Van der Putten, W.H.

    2008-01-01

    A common practice in biodiversity conservation is restoration of former species-rich grassland on ex-arable land. Major constraints for grassland restoration are high soil fertility and limited dispersal ability of plant species to target sites. Usually, studies focus on soil fertility or on methods

  16. Protecting Mongolia's grassland steppes | CRDI - Centre de ...

    International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Digital Library (Canada)

    ... windy grassland region is severely damaged, desertification can quickly set in. ... to marketing to the sound use of (grassland) resources," explains Ykhanbai, who ... is going to require improvement in the skills of researchers, adds Ykhanbai.

  17. Plant-conservative agriculture of acid and degraded Raña-grassland enhances diversity of the common soil mites (Oribatida)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Jorrín, J.; González-Fernández, P.

    2016-11-01

    The seminatural prairie of the Raña of Cañamero (Spain) is a degraded and unproductive agrosystem with acid and stony soils, and low coverage of xerophytic grasses. In a project about secondary reconversion of the raña-prairie to a more productive cropland, an experimental field (EF) was established to assess the effect on plot-productivity of the interaction between correction of soil pH (liming) with three cropping systems: a no-tilled and annually fertilized and improved prairies, and a conventionally-tilled forage crop. The EF model of management was designed as plant-conservative, because no herbicide was applied after seeding to preserve the post-emergence of wild herbs and the natural grass diversity of the prairie. Between 2008 and 2012, we analysed the effect of managing factors (initial conventional-tillage, fertilization, liming and cropping) and agricultural predictors (pH, C:N ratio, soil bulk density and herbaceous biomass) on the alpha(α)-diversity of one of the major group of soil animals, the oribatids. In relation to the raña-prairie, all EF-plots improved their soil bulk density (ρs) and herbaceous biomass (t/ha), and enhanced desirable α-diversity values (richness, abundance and community equity). We conclude that the plant-conservative model: i) do not affect statistically the species richness of the prairie; ii) the desirable α-diversity responses are negatively correlated with soil bulk density and positively with herbaceous biomass, and iii) the low input or minimum intervention model, of an initial and conventional till and annual fertilisation, is the threshold and optimal model of agricultural management to improving oribatids diversity of the raña-soil. (Author)

  18. Appreciation of grassland functions by European stakeholders

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Pol, van den A.; Golinski, P.; Hennessy, D.; Huyghe, C.; Parente, G.; Peyraud, J.L.

    2014-01-01

    In order to promote sustainable and competitive ruminant production systems, the European Multisward project was aimed at improving farmer trust in grassland and grassland mixtures. A questionnaire on grassland functions was submitted in eight languages, in order to better understand the importance

  19. Effects of elevated ozone on leaf {delta}{sup 13}C and leaf conductance of plant species grown in semi-natural grassland with or without irrigation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Jaeggi, M. [Agroscope FAL Reckenholz, Swiss Federal Research Station for Agroecology and Agriculture, Air Pollution/Climate Group, CH-8046 Zurich (Switzerland)]. E-mail: maya.jaeggi@psi.ch; Saurer, M. [Paul Scherrer Institut, CH-5232 Villigen PSI (Switzerland); Volk, M. [Agroscope FAL Reckenholz, Swiss Federal Research Station for Agroecology and Agriculture, Air Pollution/Climate Group, CH-8046 Zurich (Switzerland); Fuhrer, J. [Agroscope FAL Reckenholz, Swiss Federal Research Station for Agroecology and Agriculture, Air Pollution/Climate Group, CH-8046 Zurich (Switzerland)

    2005-03-01

    Stable carbon isotope ratios ({delta}{sup 13}C) and leaf conductance (g{sub s}) were measured (2002, 2003) in Holcus lanatus L., Plantago lanceolata L. Ranunculus friesianus (Jord.), and Trifolium pratense L. at two levels of ozone (O{sub 3}) with or without irrigation. In non-irrigated control plots, R. friesianus showed the least negative {delta}{sup 13}C, and the smallest response to the treatments. Irrigation caused more negative {delta}{sup 13}C, especially in H. lanatus. Irrespective of irrigation, O{sub 3} increased {delta}{sup 13}C in relationship to a decrease in g{sub s} in P. lanceolata and T. pratense. The strongest effect of O{sub 3} on {delta}{sup 13}C occurred in the absence of irrigation, suggesting that under field conditions lack of moisture in the top soil does not always lead to protection from O{sub 3} uptake. It is concluded that in species such as T. pratense plants can maintain stomatal O{sub 3} uptake during dry periods when roots can reach deeper soil layers where water is not limiting. - Under natural field conditions, lack of precipitation may not protect semi-natural vegetation from O{sub 3} effects on leaf gas exchange.

  20. Effects of elevated ozone on leaf δ13C and leaf conductance of plant species grown in semi-natural grassland with or without irrigation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Jaeggi, M.; Saurer, M.; Volk, M.; Fuhrer, J.

    2005-01-01

    Stable carbon isotope ratios (δ 13 C) and leaf conductance (g s ) were measured (2002, 2003) in Holcus lanatus L., Plantago lanceolata L. Ranunculus friesianus (Jord.), and Trifolium pratense L. at two levels of ozone (O 3 ) with or without irrigation. In non-irrigated control plots, R. friesianus showed the least negative δ 13 C, and the smallest response to the treatments. Irrigation caused more negative δ 13 C, especially in H. lanatus. Irrespective of irrigation, O 3 increased δ 13 C in relationship to a decrease in g s in P. lanceolata and T. pratense. The strongest effect of O 3 on δ 13 C occurred in the absence of irrigation, suggesting that under field conditions lack of moisture in the top soil does not always lead to protection from O 3 uptake. It is concluded that in species such as T. pratense plants can maintain stomatal O 3 uptake during dry periods when roots can reach deeper soil layers where water is not limiting. - Under natural field conditions, lack of precipitation may not protect semi-natural vegetation from O 3 effects on leaf gas exchange

  1. Monitoring in South African grasslands

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Mentis, MT

    1984-12-01

    Full Text Available The main purpose of this document is to propose how ecological monitoring might be developed in the Grassland Biome of South Africa. Monitoring is defined as the maintenance of regular surveillance to test the null hypothesis of no change...

  2. Terrestrial ecology. Comprehensive study of the grassland biome

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Anon.

    1976-01-01

    Terrestrial ecology and grassland biome studies are designed to characterize the biota of the Hanford Reservation, elucidate seasonal dynamics of plant productivity, decomposition and mineral behavior patterns of important plant communities, and, to study the response of these communities to important natural environmental stresses, such as weather, wildfire and man-induced alterations of communities (influenced by grazing cattle and severe mechanical disturbance of the soil, such as affected by plowing or burial of waste materials or construction activities). A detailed account of the important findings of a 5-yr study is currently being prepared by the terrestrial ecology section staff for publication as a contribution to the International Biological Program Grassland Biome project

  3. Are Agrofuels a conservation threat or opportunity for grassland birds in the United States?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robertson, Bruce A.; Rice, Robert A.; Ribic, Christine; Babcock, Bruce A.; Landis, Douglas A.; Herkert, James R.; Fletcher, Robert J.; Fontaine, Joseph J; Doran, Patrick J.; Schemske, Douglas W.

    2012-01-01

    In the United States, government-mandated growth in the production of crops dedicated to biofuel (agrofuels) is predicted to increase the demands on existing agricultural lands, potentially threatening the persistence of populations of grassland birds they support. We review recently published literature and datasets to (1) examine the ability of alternative agrofuel crops and their management regimes to provide habitat for grassland birds, (2) determine how crop placement in agricultural landscapes and agrofuel-related land-use change will affect grassland birds, and (3) identify critical research and policy-development needs associated with agrofuel production. We find that native perennial plants proposed as feedstock for agrofuel (switchgrass, Panicum virgatum, and mixed grass—forb prairie) have considerable potential to provide new habitat to a wide range of grassland birds, including rare and threatened species. However, industrialization of agrofuel production that maximizes biomass, homogenizes vegetation structure, and results in the cultivation of small fields within largely forested landscapes is likely to reduce species richness and/or abundance of grassland-dependent birds. Realizing the potential benefits of agrofuel production for grassland birds' conservation will require the development of new policies that encourage agricultural practices specifically targeting the needs of grassland specialists. The broad array of grower-incentive programs in existence may deliver new agrofuel policies effectively but will require coordination at a spatial scale broader than currently practiced, preferably within an adaptive-management framework.

  4. [Community structure and diversity of soil arthropods in naturally restored sandy grasslands after grazing].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Ren-tao; Zhao, Ha-lin; Zhao, Xue-yong

    2010-11-01

    Taking the Naiman Desertification Research Station under Chinese Academy of Sciences as a base, an investigation was conducted on the community structure of soil arthropods in the naturally restored sandy grasslands after different intensity grazing disturbance, with the effects of vegetation and soil on this community structure approached. In the non-grazing grassland, soil arthropods were rich in species and more in individuals, and had the highest diversity. In the restored grassland after light grazing, soil arthropods had the lowest evenness and diversity. In the restored grassland after moderate grazing, the individuals of soil arthropods were lesser but the major groups were more, and the evenness and diversity were higher. In the restored grassland after heavy grazing, the individuals of soil arthropods were more but the major groups were lesser, and the diversity was higher. Plant individuals' number, vegetation height and coverage, and soil alkalinity were the main factors affecting the soil arthropod community in naturally restored grasslands after different intensity grazing disturbance. It was implied that after 12-year exclosure of grassland, soil arthropod community could be recovered to some degree, while grazing disturbance had long-term negative effects on the arthropod community.

  5. Stable carbon isotope analysis of soil organic matter illustrates vegetation change at the grassland/woodland boundary in southeastern Arizona, USA.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McPherson, G R; Boutton, T W; Midwood, A J

    1993-02-01

    In southeastern Arizona, Prosopis juliflora (Swartz) DC. and Quercus emoryi Torr. are the dominant woody species at grassland/woodland boundaries. The stability of the grassland/woodland boundary in this region has been questioned, although there is no direct evidence to confirm that woodland is encroaching into grassland or vice versa. We used stable carbon isotope analysis of soil organic matter to investigate the direction and magnitude of vegetation change along this ecotone. δ 13 C values of soil organic matter and roots along the ecotone indicated that both dominant woody species (C 3 ) are recent components of former grasslands (C 4 ), consistent with other reports of recent increases in woody plant abundance in grasslands and savannas throughout the world. Data on root biomass and soil organic matter suggest that this increase in woody plant abundance in grasslands and savannas may increase carbon storage in these ecosystems, with implications for the global carbon cycle.

  6. Research on the Mechanism of Cross Regional Grassland Ecological Compensation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Ran; Ma, Jun

    2018-01-01

    In recent years, grassland environmental damage has become serious, and grassland resources protection task has become heavy, grassland ecological compensation has become an effective way to solve this problem; but the current grassland ecological compensation standards were low, the effect is poor. The fundamental reason is the model of administrative division destroys the integrity of grassland. Based on the analysis of the status quo of grassland compensation, this paper tries to protect the grassland integrity, breaks the administrative division restriction, implements the space regulation, constructs the framework of cross-regional grassland ecological compensation mechanism, describes its operation process. It provides new way to realize the sustainable development of the grassland environment.

  7. Assessing the biophysical naturalness of grassland in eastern North Dakota with hyperspectral imagery

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, Qiang

    Over the past two decades, non-native species within grassland communities have quickly developed due to human migration and commerce. Invasive species like Smooth Brome grass (Bromus inermis) and Kentucky Blue Grass (Poa pratensis), seriously threaten conservation of native grasslands. This study aims to discriminate between native grasslands and planted hayfields and conservation areas dominated by introduced grasses using hyperspectral imagery. Hyperspectral imageries from the Hyperion sensor on EO-1 were acquired in late spring and late summer on 2009 and 2010. Field spectra for widely distributed species as well as smooth brome grass and Kentucky blue grass were collected from the study sites throughout the growing season. Imagery was processed with an unmixing algorithm to estimate fractional cover of green and dry vegetation and bare soil. As the spectrum is significantly different through growing season, spectral libraries for the most common species are then built for both the early growing season and late growing season. After testing multiple methods, the Adaptive Coherence Estimator (ACE) was used for spectral matching analysis between the imagery and spectral libraries. Due in part to spectral similarity among key species, the results of spectral matching analysis were not definitive. Additional indexes, "Level of Dominance" and "Band variance", were calculated to measure the predominance of spectral signatures in any area. A Texture co-occurrence analysis was also performed on both "Level of Dominance" and "Band variance" indexes to extract spatial characteristics. The results suggest that compared with disturbed area, native prairie tend to have generally lower "Level of Dominance" and "Band variance" as well as lower spatial dissimilarity. A final decision tree model was created to predict presence of native or introduced grassland. The model was more effective for identification of Mixed Native Grassland than for grassland dominated by a single

  8. Grassland response to herbicides and seeding of native grasses 6 years posttreatment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bryan A. Endress; Catherine G. Parks; Bridgett J. Naylor; Steven R. Radosevich; Mark. Porter

    2012-01-01

    Herbicides are the primary method used to control exotic, invasive plants. This study evaluated restoration efforts applied to grasslands dominated by an invasive plant, sulfur cinquefoil, 6 yr after treatments. Of the five herbicides we evaluated, picloram continued to provide the best control of sulfur cinquefoil over 6 yr. We found the timing of picloram...

  9. Vegetation in clear-cuts depends on previous land use: a century-old grassland legacy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jonason, Dennis; Ibbe, Mathias; Milberg, Per; Tunér, Albert; Westerberg, Lars; Bergman, Karl-Olof

    2014-01-01

    Plant species richness in central and northern European seminatural grasslands is often more closely linked to past than present habitat configuration, which is indicative of an extinction debt. In this study, we investigate whether signs of historical grassland management can be found in clear-cuts after at least 80 years as coniferous production forest by comparing floras between clear-cuts with a history as meadow and as forest in the 1870s in Sweden. Study sites were selected using old land-use maps and data on present-day clear-cuts. Species traits reflecting high capacities for dispersal and persistence were used to explain any possible links between the plants and the historical land use. Clear-cuts that were formerly meadow had, on average, 36% higher species richness and 35% higher richness of grassland indicator species, as well as a larger overall seed mass and lower anemochory, compared to clear-cuts with history as forest. We suggest that the plants in former meadows never disappeared after afforestation but survived as remnant populations. Many contemporary forests in Sweden were managed as grasslands in the 1800s. As conservation of remaining grassland fragments will not be enough to reduce the existing extinction debts of the flora, these young forests offer opportunities for grassland restoration at large scales. Our study supports the concept of remnant populations and highlights the importance of considering historical land use for understanding the distribution of grassland plant species in fragmented landscapes, as well as for policy-making and conservation. PMID:25540690

  10. Relationships between botanical and chemical composition of forages: a multivariate approach to grasslands in the Western Italian Alps.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ravetto Enri, Simone; Renna, Manuela; Probo, Massimiliano; Lussiana, Carola; Battaglini, Luca M; Lonati, Michele; Lombardi, Giampiero

    2017-03-01

    Plant composition of species-rich mountain grasslands can affect the sensorial and chemical attributes of dairy and meat products, with implications for human health. A multivariate approach was used to analyse the complex relationships between vegetation characteristics (botanical composition and plant community variables) and chemical composition (proximate constituents and fatty acid profile) in mesophilic and dry vegetation ecological groups, comprising six different semi-natural grassland types in the Western Italian Alps. Mesophilic and dry grasslands were comparable in terms of phenology, biodiversity indices and proportion of botanical families. The content of total fatty acids and that of the most abundant fatty acids (alpha-linolenic, linoleic and palmitic acids) were mainly associated to nutrient-rich plant species, belonging to the mesophilic grassland ecological group. Mesophilic grasslands showed also higher values of crude protein, lower values of fibre content and they were related to higher pastoral values of vegetation compared to dry grasslands. The proximate composition and fatty acid profile appeared mainly single species dependent rather than botanical family dependent. These findings highlight that forage from mesophilic grasslands can provide higher nutritive value for ruminants and may be associated to ruminant-derived food products with a healthier fatty acid profile. © 2016 Society of Chemical Industry. © 2016 Society of Chemical Industry.

  11. The biological transport of radionuclides in grassland and freshwater ecosystems

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rudge, S.A.

    1989-12-01

    This thesis examines the biological transport of radionuclides through terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, with particular reference to radiocaesium. The semi-natural grassland habitat was located at Drigg, W. Cumbria, contaminated primarily by radioactive fallout, from several sources over the past decade. Advantage was made of the deposition of radionuclides from the Chernobyl reactor incident, which occurred during the early stages of the investigation. The study examined the distribution of radiocaesium for the major components of the grassland ecosystem, within the soil-plant-invertebrate-small mammal food chain. Data concerning temporal fluctuation of radionuclide transfer factors between food chain components are presented. The final section examines the spatial distribution of radiocaesium in sediment and the freshwater eel (Anguilla anguilla) in a small stream contaminated by radioactive effluent. The relationship between activity levels in eels and the sediments in which they rest and forage was investigated. Factors influencing uptake of radiocaesium in freshwater fish were also examined. (author)

  12. Effects of Government Grassland Conservation Policy on Household Livelihoods and Dependence on Local Grasslands: Evidence from Inner Mongolia, China

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Du, Bingzhen; Zhen, Lin; Yan, Huimin; Groot, de Dolf

    2016-01-01

    Grassland degradation intensifies human-environment conflicts and adversely affects local residents’ livelihoods. To reduce grassland degradation in Inner Mongolia, China, the government has enforced (since 1998) a series of grassland conservation and management policies that restrict the use of

  13. Water relations in grassland and desert ecosystems exposed to elevated atmospheric CO2.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morgan, J A; Pataki, D E; Körner, C; Clark, H; Del Grosso, S J; Grünzweig, J M; Knapp, A K; Mosier, A R; Newton, P C D; Niklaus, P A; Nippert, J B; Nowak, R S; Parton, W J; Polley, H W; Shaw, M R

    2004-06-01

    Atmospheric CO2 enrichment may stimulate plant growth directly through (1) enhanced photosynthesis or indirectly, through (2) reduced plant water consumption and hence slower soil moisture depletion, or the combination of both. Herein we describe gas exchange, plant biomass and species responses of five native or semi-native temperate and Mediterranean grasslands and three semi-arid systems to CO2 enrichment, with an emphasis on water relations. Increasing CO2 led to decreased leaf conductance for water vapor, improved plant water status, altered seasonal evapotranspiration dynamics, and in most cases, periodic increases in soil water content. The extent, timing and duration of these responses varied among ecosystems, species and years. Across the grasslands of the Kansas tallgrass prairie, Colorado shortgrass steppe and Swiss calcareous grassland, increases in aboveground biomass from CO2 enrichment were relatively greater in dry years. In contrast, CO2-induced aboveground biomass increases in the Texas C3/C4 grassland and the New Zealand pasture seemed little or only marginally influenced by yearly variation in soil water, while plant growth in the Mojave Desert was stimulated by CO2 in a relatively wet year. Mediterranean grasslands sometimes failed to respond to CO2-related increased late-season water, whereas semiarid Negev grassland assemblages profited. Vegetative and reproductive responses to CO2 were highly varied among species and ecosystems, and did not generally follow any predictable pattern in regard to functional groups. Results suggest that the indirect effects of CO2 on plant and soil water relations may contribute substantially to experimentally induced CO2-effects, and also reflect local humidity conditions. For landscape scale predictions, this analysis calls for a clear distinction between biomass responses due to direct CO2 effects on photosynthesis and those indirect CO2 effects via soil moisture as documented here.

  14. [Diversity and distribution of grasshoppers (Orthoptera: Acridoidea) in grasslands of the Southern Pampas region, Argentina].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mariottini, Yanina; De Wysiecki, María Laura; Lange, Carlos Ernesto

    2013-03-01

    In Argentina, the grasslands of Pampas region comprise approximately 15% of the country. As in other grasslands of the world, grasshoppers are among the most important native herbivores. Their economic importance has been recognized in Argentina since the mid to late nineteenth century, since outbreaks of different species have become recurrent phenomena. Therefore, the main objective of this work was to study their diversity and distribution in grasslands of the Southern Pampas region (Laprida county, Buenos Aires province), as one of the most affected areas. The study was conducted during five seasons (2005-10). Sampling sites were represented by the most common plant communities in this area, classified in four categories: native grasslands, disturbed grasslands, implanted pastures and halophilous grasslands. The samplings were conducted from mid-spring to early autumn, with five or six samples per season. We estimated the following population descriptors: species richness (S), eveness (E), dominance (J), and diversity index (H'). In order to evaluate the similitude of the grasshopper communities present in the different plant communities, we used qualitative and quantitative coefficients of similitude. A total of 22 species of grasshoppers were collected, of which 21 belong to the family Acrididae. The subfamily Melanoplinae was the most diverse with eight species. The largest species richness was recorded in native grasslands (18). The different communities of grasshoppers had similar indices of evenness and dominance (p>0.05). Considering all plant communities, the average value of Shannon-Wiener index was 1.58+/-0.075. There was a positive correlation between evenness index and species richness (pgrasshoppers species richness, and diversity of grasshoppers. According to the qualitative indices applied, the similitude between different grasshopper communities was higher than 60%. In general, the species that had a higher frequency of occurrence showed greater

  15. Quantifying the pedo-ecohydrological structure and function of degraded, grassland ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brazier, Richard E.

    2015-04-01

    Grassland ecosystems cover significant areas of the terrestrial land mass, across a range of geoclimates, from arctic tundra, through temperate and semi-arid landscapes. In very few locations, such grasslands may be termed 'pristine' in that they remain undamaged by human activities and resilient to changing climates. In far more cases, grasslands are being degraded, often irreversibly so, with significant implications for a number of ecosystem services related to water resources, soil quality, nutrient cycles, and therefore both global food and water security. This paper draws upon empirical research that has been undertaken over the last decade to characterise a range of different grasslands in terms of soil properties, vegetation structure and geomorphology and to understand how these structures or patterns might interact or control how the grassland ecosystems function. Particular emphasis is placed upon quantifying fluxes of water, within and from grasslands, but also fluxes of sediment, via the processes of soil erosion and finally fluxes of the macronutrients Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Carbon from the landscape to surface waters. Data are presented from semi-arid grasslands, which are subject to severe encroachment by woody species, temperate upland grasslands that have been 'improved' via drainage to support grazing, temperate lowland grasslands, that are unimproved (Culm or Rhôs pastures) and finally intensively managed grasslands in temperate regions, that have been significantly modified via land management practices to improve productivity. It is hypothesised that, once degraded, the structure and function of these very diverse grassland ecosystems follows the same negative trajectory, resulting in depleted soil depths, nutrient storage capacities and therefore reduced plant growth and long-term carbon sequestration. Results demonstrate that similar, but highly complex and non-linear responses to perturbation of the ecosystem are observed, regardless of

  16. A study of the carbon dynamics of Japanese grassland and forest using 14C and 13C

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Katsuno, Kazumi; Miyairi, Yosuke; Tamura, Kenji; Matsuzaki, Hiroyuki; Fukuda, Kenji

    2010-01-01

    We quantified the carbon contents of grassland and forest soil using conventional methods and studied the changes in their dynamics by measuring δ 13 C and Δ 14 C. Soil samples were taken from a neighboring Miscanthus sinensis grassland and Pinus densiflora forest in central Japan. Both had been maintained as grassland until the 1960s, when the latter was abandoned and became a pine forest by natural succession. The soil carbon content of the forest was much lower than that of the grassland, implying that the soil carbon decreased as the grassland became forest. The δ 13 C values were very similar in the grassland and forest, at approximately -20 per mille , suggesting that M. sinensis (a C4 plant) contributed to carbon storage, whereas there was little carbon accumulation from P. densiflora (a C3 plant) in forest soil. The Δ 14 C values and calculated soil carbon mean residence time (MRT) showed that the soil carbon in the upper A horizon was older, and that in the lower A horizon was younger in forest than in grassland. From these results, we conclude that young, fast-MRT soil carbon is decomposed in the upper A horizon, and old, stable soil carbon was decomposed in the lower A horizon after the pine invasion.

  17. Changes in productivity of grassland with ageing

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hoogerkamp, M.

    1984-01-01

    The productivity of grassland may change greatly with ageing. Frequently, a productive ley period, occurring in the first time after (re)seeding, is followed by a period in which productivity decreases. Under conditions favourable to grassland this may be temporary. A production level

  18. Energy production from grassland - Assessing the sustainability of different process chains under German conditions

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Roesch, Christine; Skarka, J.; Raab, K.; Stelzer, V.

    2009-01-01

    In many regions of Europe, grassland shapes the landscape and fulfils important functions in protecting nature, soil, and water. However, the traditional uses of grassland for forage production are vanishing with progress in breeding and structural adaptations in agriculture. On the other hand, the demand for biomass energy is rising due to political sustainability goals and financial measures to support renewable energy. Against this background, the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis investigated the applicability, economic efficiency, and sustainability of different techniques for energy production from grassland as well as from grassland converted into maize fields or short-rotation poplars under German conditions. The results show that despite relatively high energy prices and the financial support for bioenergy, the effects of energy production from grassland on employment in agriculture and farmers' income are modest. What is beneficial are savings in non-renewable energy, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and local provision of energy carriers. If grassland biomass (grass silage or hay) is used for energy purposes, this brings the further advantages of preserving biodiversity and the cultural landscape and protecting of soil and groundwater. Negative impacts on sustainable development result from an increase in emissions, which leads to acidification, eutrophication, and risks to human health. The overall evaluation indicates that short-rotation poplars are comparatively advantageous from the economic and ecological point of view. Therefore, a development plan for grassland is required to identify areas where grassland could be used as an energy resource or where it would be favourable to install energy plantations with fast-growing perennial plants

  19. Effects of forest expansion on mountain grassland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Guidi, Claudia; Magid, Jakob; Rodeghiero, Mirco

    2014-01-01

    Background and aims. Grassland abandonment followed by forest succession is the dominant land-use change in the European Alps. We studied the impact of current forest expansion on mountain grassland on changes in physical soil organic carbon (SOC) fractions along a land-use and management gradient......, focusing on changes in aggregate stability and particulate organic matter (POM). Methods. Four successional stages were investigated: managed grassland, two transitional phases in which grassland abandonment led to colonization by Picea abies (L.) Karst., and old mixed forest dominated by Fagus sylvatica L....... Results. The dimension of aggregates assessed by aggregate size fractionation tended to increase, whereas SOC allocation to stable aggregates assessed by sizedensity fractionation decreased following conversion of grassland to forest (e.g. from 81 to 59 % in the 0–5 cm layer). The amount of SOC stored...

  20. Hierarchical traits distances explain grassland Fabaceae species' ecological niches distances

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fort, Florian; Jouany, Claire; Cruz, Pablo

    2015-01-01

    Fabaceae species play a key role in ecosystem functioning through their capacity to fix atmospheric nitrogen via their symbiosis with Rhizobium bacteria. To increase benefits of using Fabaceae in agricultural systems, it is necessary to find ways to evaluate species or genotypes having potential adaptations to sub-optimal growth conditions. We evaluated the relevance of phylogenetic distance, absolute trait distance and hierarchical trait distance for comparing the adaptation of 13 grassland Fabaceae species to different habitats, i.e., ecological niches. We measured a wide range of functional traits (root traits, leaf traits, and whole plant traits) in these species. Species phylogenetic and ecological distances were assessed from a species-level phylogenetic tree and species' ecological indicator values, respectively. We demonstrated that differences in ecological niches between grassland Fabaceae species were related more to their hierarchical trait distances than to their phylogenetic distances. We showed that grassland Fabaceae functional traits tend to converge among species with the same ecological requirements. Species with acquisitive root strategies (thin roots, shallow root systems) are competitive species adapted to non-stressful meadows, while conservative ones (coarse roots, deep root systems) are able to tolerate stressful continental climates. In contrast, acquisitive species appeared to be able to tolerate low soil-P availability, while conservative ones need high P availability. Finally we highlight that traits converge along the ecological gradient, providing the assumption that species with similar root-trait values are better able to coexist, regardless of their phylogenetic distance. PMID:25741353

  1. Hierarchical traits distances explain grassland Fabaceae species’ ecological niches distances

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Florian eFort

    2015-02-01

    Full Text Available Fabaceae species play a key role in ecosystem functioning through their capacity to fix atmospheric nitrogen via their symbiosis with Rhizobium bacteria. To increase benefits of using Fabaceae in agricultural systems, it is necessary to find ways to evaluate species or genotypes having potential adaptations to sub-optimal growth conditions. We evaluated the relevance of phylogenetic distance, absolute trait distance and hierarchical trait distance for comparing the adaptation of 13 grassland Fabaceae species to different habitats, i.e. ecological niches. We measured a wide range of functional traits (root traits, leaf traits and whole plant traits in these species. Species phylogenetic and ecological distances were assessed from a species-level phylogenetic tree and species’ ecological indicator values, respectively. We demonstrated that differences in ecological niches between grassland Fabaceae species were related more to their hierarchical trait distances than to their phylogenetic distances. We showed that grassland Fabaceae functional traits tend to converge among species with the same ecological requirements. Species with acquisitive root strategies (thin roots, shallow root systems are competitive species adapted to non-stressful meadows, while conservative ones (coarse roots, deep root systems are able to tolerate stressful continental climates. In contrast, acquisitive species appeared to be able to tolerate low soil-P availability, while conservative ones need high P availability. Finally we highlight that traits converge along the ecological gradient, providing the assumption that species with similar root-trait values are better able to coexist, regardless of their phylogenetic distance.

  2. Variability of annual CO2 exchange from Dutch grasslands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Jacobs, C.M.J.; Jacobs, A.F.G.; Bosveld, F.C.; Hendriks, D.M.D.; Hensen, A.; Kroon, P.; Moors, E.J.; Nol, L.; Schrier-Uijl, A.P.; Veenendaal, E.M.

    2007-01-01

    An intercomparison is made of the Net Ecosystem Exchange of CO2, NEE, for eight Dutch grassland sites: four natural grasslands, two production grasslands and two meteorological stations within a rotational grassland region. At all sites the NEE was determined during at least 10 months per site,

  3. Land-use intensification causes multitrophic homogenization of grassland communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gossner, Martin M; Lewinsohn, Thomas M; Kahl, Tiemo; Grassein, Fabrice; Boch, Steffen; Prati, Daniel; Birkhofer, Klaus; Renner, Swen C; Sikorski, Johannes; Wubet, Tesfaye; Arndt, Hartmut; Baumgartner, Vanessa; Blaser, Stefan; Blüthgen, Nico; Börschig, Carmen; Buscot, Francois; Diekötter, Tim; Jorge, Leonardo Ré; Jung, Kirsten; Keyel, Alexander C; Klein, Alexandra-Maria; Klemmer, Sandra; Krauss, Jochen; Lange, Markus; Müller, Jörg; Overmann, Jörg; Pašalić, Esther; Penone, Caterina; Perović, David J; Purschke, Oliver; Schall, Peter; Socher, Stephanie A; Sonnemann, Ilja; Tschapka, Marco; Tscharntke, Teja; Türke, Manfred; Venter, Paul Christiaan; Weiner, Christiane N; Werner, Michael; Wolters, Volkmar; Wurst, Susanne; Westphal, Catrin; Fischer, Markus; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Allan, Eric

    2016-12-08

    Land-use intensification is a major driver of biodiversity loss. Alongside reductions in local species diversity, biotic homogenization at larger spatial scales is of great concern for conservation. Biotic homogenization means a decrease in β-diversity (the compositional dissimilarity between sites). Most studies have investigated losses in local (α)-diversity and neglected biodiversity loss at larger spatial scales. Studies addressing β-diversity have focused on single or a few organism groups (for example, ref. 4), and it is thus unknown whether land-use intensification homogenizes communities at different trophic levels, above- and belowground. Here we show that even moderate increases in local land-use intensity (LUI) cause biotic homogenization across microbial, plant and animal groups, both above- and belowground, and that this is largely independent of changes in α-diversity. We analysed a unique grassland biodiversity dataset, with abundances of more than 4,000 species belonging to 12 trophic groups. LUI, and, in particular, high mowing intensity, had consistent effects on β-diversity across groups, causing a homogenization of soil microbial, fungal pathogen, plant and arthropod communities. These effects were nonlinear and the strongest declines in β-diversity occurred in the transition from extensively managed to intermediate intensity grassland. LUI tended to reduce local α-diversity in aboveground groups, whereas the α-diversity increased in belowground groups. Correlations between the β-diversity of different groups, particularly between plants and their consumers, became weaker at high LUI. This suggests a loss of specialist species and is further evidence for biotic homogenization. The consistently negative effects of LUI on landscape-scale biodiversity underscore the high value of extensively managed grasslands for conserving multitrophic biodiversity and ecosystem service provision. Indeed, biotic homogenization rather than local diversity

  4. [Effects of desertification on C and N storages in grassland ecosystem on Horqin sandy land].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhao, Ha-lin; Li, Yu-qiang; Zhou, Rui-lian

    2007-11-01

    Sandy grassland is widespread in northern China, where desertification is very common because of overgrazing and estrepement. However, little is known about the effects of desertification on grassland C and N storages in this region. A field survey was conducted on Horqin sandy grassland, and desertification gradients were established to evaluate the effects of desertification on C and N storages in soil, plant, and litter. The results showed that desertification had deep effects on the contents and storages of grassland C and N. The C and N contents and storages in the grassland decreased significantly with increasing desertification degree. Comparing with those in un-desertified grassland, the C and N contents in lightly, moderately, heavily, and severely desertified grasslands decreased by 56.06% and 48.72%, 78.43% and 74.36%, 88.95% and 84.62%, and 91.64% and 84.62% in 0-100 cm soil layer, and by 8.61% and 6.43%, 0.05% and 25.71%, 2.58% and 27.14%, and 8. 61% and 27. 86% in plant components, respectively. Relevantly, the C and N storages decreased by 50.95% and 43.38%, 75.19% and 71.04%, 86.76% and 81.48%, and 91.17% and 83.17% in plant underground components in 0-100 cm soil layer, and by 25.08% and 27.62%, 30.90% and 46.55%, 73.84% and 80.62%, and 90.89% and 87.31% in plant aboveground components, respectively. In 2000, the total area of desertified grassland in Horqin sandy land was 30152. 7 km2, and the C and N loss via desertification reached up to 107.53 and 9.97 Mt, respectively. Correlation analysis indicated that the decrease of soil C and N contents was mainly come from the decreased soil fine particles caused by wind erosion in the process of desertification, and the degradation of soil texture- and nutrient status led finally to the rapid decrease of C and N storages in plant biomass and litter.

  5. LEAF AREA DYNAMICS AND ABOVEGROUND BIOMASS OF SPECIFIC VEGETATION TYPES OF A SEMI-ARID GRASSLAND IN SOUTHERN ETHIOPIA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bosco Kidake Kisambo

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available Leaf Area Index (LAI dynamics and aboveground biomass of a semi-arid grassland region in Southern Ethiopia were determined over a long rain season. The vegetation was categorized into four distinct vegetation types namely Grassland (G, Tree-Grassland (TG, Bushed-Grassland (BG and Bush-Tree grassland (BT. LAI was measured using a Plant Canopy Analyzer (LAI2000. Biomass dynamics of litter and herbaceous components were determined through clipping while the above ground biomass of trees and shrubs were estimated using species-specific allometric equations from literature. LAI showed a seasonal increase over the season with the maximum recorded in the BG vegetation (2.52. Total aboveground biomass for the different vegetation types ranged from 0.61 ton C/ha in areas where trees were non-existent to 8.80 ± 3.81ton C/ha in the Tree-Grassland vegetation in the study site. A correlation of LAI and AGB yielded a positive relationship with an R2 value of 0.55. The results demonstrate the importance of tropical semi-arid grasslands as carbon sinks hence their potential in mitigation of climate change.

  6. Biology and ecology of sickleweed (Falcaria vulgaris) in the Fort Pierre National Grassland of South Dakota

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brian L. Korman

    2011-01-01

    In the last two decades the exotic plant sickleweed (Falcaria vulgaris Bernh., Apiaceae) has invaded, and come to dominate, large areas of the Fort Pierre National Grassland (FPNG) in central South Dakota, USA. Currently sickleweed is estimated to infest over 3200 ha of FPNG. The purpose of this study was to examine several of the biological and ecological traits that...

  7. Simple models to predict grassland ecosystem C exchange and actual evapotranspiration using NDVI and environmental variables

    Science.gov (United States)

    Semiarid grasslands contribute significantly to net terrestrial carbon flux as plant productivity and heterotrophic respiration in these moisture-limited systems are correlated with metrics related to water availability (e.g., precipitation, Actual EvapoTranspiration or AET). These variables are als...

  8. Dependence of the conservation status of acid grasslands at the Pohorje and Kozjak on socioeconomic parameters

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Karmen KETIŠ

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Grassland habitats were studied on twenty farms on the area of the Radlje ob Dravi administration unit, in the transect from Kozjak to Pohorje at different altitudes. The aim of the study was to investigate how environmental and  socio-economic parameters influence the diversity of plant species and, consequently, the conservation of grassland on acid soils, which are rare in Slovenia and are therefore more protected. The socioeconomic structure of farms was studied on the basis of an inquiry carried out on farms. Part-time farms prevail; the average age of farmers is 56.5 years, and 30% of farmers has no education or just elementary school. The relationship among the environmental, socio-economic parameters and floristic structures of grasslands was studied using canonic-correspondence analysis. The impact of 16 parameters was analysed, of which six were determined not to be statistically significant. The occurrence of chosen plant species was analysed in relation to environmental and socioeconomic parameters. The efficiency of agro-environmental subsidies in relation to plant species diversity was evaluated. It was determined that the education and age of farmers influence the intensity of farming and consequently have an impact on the diversity of plants species and the conservation status of grasslands.

  9. A prototype application of state and transition simulation modeling in support of grassland management

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matt Reeves; Paulette Ford; Leonardo Frid; David Augustine; Justin Derner

    2016-01-01

    The Great Plains grasslands of North America provide a multitude of ecosystem services including clean water, forage, habitat, recreation, and pollination of native and agricultural plants. A general lack of quantitative information regarding the effects of varied management strategies on these spatially heterogeneous landscapes complicates our understanding...

  10. High potential of sub-Mediterranean dry grasslands for sheep epizoochory

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kaligarič Mitja

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available There is a general decline of grasslands across Europe due to habitat loss and degradation. Ensuring plant dispersal thus becomes a key process for preserving grassland patches in all scales. We examined diaspore dispersal by sheep epizoochory in the pastures of the North Adriatic Karst (NW Slovenia and determined the qualitative and quantitative features of diaspores in fur. We recorded 25,650 diaspores of 141 plant taxa (with 107 taxa and 23,350 diaspores determined to species level, using three different methods: (i the “whole-coat method”, (ii the “part-of-thecoat method” and (iii a “seedling emergence method”. A comparison of these techniques revealed that the “wholecoat method” provided the highest number of diaspores and plant species. All diaspores were clustered into five emergent groups based on seven functional traits (diaspore weight, length, width, height, volume, specific weight and the diaspore surface structure. Our research revealed that sheep represent an important dispersal vector, since about half of the plant species recorded in the pastures were found as diaspores in fur. This study contributes to knowledge about the modes of seed dispersal in seminatural grasslands. Taking into account that livestock play a key role in vegetation dynamics, understanding their effects on seed dispersal is essential for conservation and restoration of these species-rich grassland communities.

  11. Grassland invader responses to realistic changes in native species richness.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rinella, Matthew J; Pokorny, Monica L; Rekaya, Romdhane

    2007-09-01

    The importance of species richness for repelling exotic plant invasions varies from ecosystem to ecosystem. Thus, in order to prioritize conservation objectives, it is critical to identify those ecosystems where decreasing richness will most greatly magnify invasion risks. Our goal was to determine if invasion risks greatly increase in response to common reductions in grassland species richness. We imposed treatments that mimic management-induced reductions in grassland species richness (i.e., removal of shallow- and/or deep-rooted forbs and/or grasses and/or cryptogam layers). Then we introduced and monitored the performance of a notorious invasive species (i.e., Centaurea maculosa). We found that, on a per-gram-of-biomass basis, each resident plant group similarly suppressed invader growth. Hence, with respect to preventing C. maculosa invasions, maintaining overall productivity is probably more important than maintaining the productivity of particular plant groups or species. But at the sites we studied, all plant groups may be needed to maintain overall productivity because removing forbs decreased overall productivity in two of three years. Alternatively, removing forbs increased productivity in another year, and this led us to posit that removing forbs may inflate the temporal productivity variance as opposed to greatly affecting time-averaged productivity. In either case, overall productivity responses to single plant group removals were inconsistent and fairly modest, and only when all plant groups were removed did C. maculosa growth increase substantially over a no-removal treatment. As such, it seems that intense disturbances (e.g., prolonged drought, overgrazing) that deplete multiple plant groups may often be a prerequisite for C. maculosa invasion.

  12. Description of the Grassland Biome Project

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Mentis, MT

    1982-10-01

    Full Text Available The objectives, organization and research programme of the Grassland Biome Project are described against a background of the biome's ecological characteristics and environmental problems. Four principal research topics wil 1 be focused upon: (i...

  13. Asymmetric responses of primary productivity to precipitation extremes: A synthesis of grassland precipitation manipulation experiments

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Wilcox, K. R.; Shi, Z.; Gherardi, L. A.; Lemoine, N. P.; Koerner, S. E.; Hoover, D. L.; Bork, E.; Byrne, K. M.; Cahill, J.; Collins, S. L.; Evans, S.M.; Gilgen, Anna K.; Holub, Petr; Jiang, L.; Knapp, A. K.; LeCain, D.; Liang, J.; Garcia-Palacios, P.; Penuelas, J.; Pockman, W. T.; Smith, M. D.; Sun, S.; White, S. R.; Yahdjian, L.; Zhu, K.; Luo, Y.

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 23, č. 10 (2017), s. 4376-4385 ISSN 1354-1013 Institutional support: RVO:86652079 Keywords : net primary productivity * terrestrial ecosystems * temperate grassland * biomass allocation * plant-communities * tallgrass prairie * climate extremes * use efficiency * united-states * global-change * aboveground net primary productivity * belowground net primary productivity * biomass allocation * climate change * grasslands * meta-analysis * root biomass Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour OBOR OECD: Environmental sciences (social aspects to be 5.7) Impact factor: 8.502, year: 2016

  14. Evaluation of the nitrification inhibitor 3,4-dimethylpyrazole phosphate (DMPP) for N2O mitigation after grassland cultivation

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kong, Xianwang

    Temporary grasslands cover ca. 11 million ha and constitute more than 10% of the total arable land within EU-28; in Denmark, ca. 60% of the grasslands are included in crop rotations. The high productivity and the positive residual effect on succeeding crops are the main reasons of placing...... archaea (AOA), as revealed by mRNA transcripts of amoA gene. This inhibitory effect could be limited to the soil volume in close contact with residues, where residue decomposition and subsequent nitrification took place. In the field study, there was a trend towards lower biomass yield and N...... grasslands in crop rotations. At the transition phase, the mineralization of grass and clover residues incorporated by grassland cultivation can supply nitrogen to a succeeding crop; however, the plant N-uptake is low for several weeks at the early growth stage. During this period, as a result of increasing...

  15. Grassland communities in the USA and expected trends associated with climate change

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David Paul Belesky

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available Grasslands, including managed grazinglands, represent one of the largest ecosystems on the planet. Managed grazinglands in particular tend to occupy marginal climatic and edaphic resource zones, thus exacerbating responses in net primary productivity relative to changes in system resources, including anthropogenic factors. Climate dynamism, as evident from the fossil record, appears to be a putative feature of our planet. Recent global trends in temperature and precipitation patterns seem to differ from long-term patterns and have been associated with human activities linked with increased greenhouse gas emissions; specifically CO2. Thus grasslands, with their diverse floristic components, and interaction with and dependence upon herbivores, have a remarkable ability to persist and sustain productivity in response to changing resource conditions. This resistance and resilience to change, including uncertain long-term weather conditions, establishes managed grasslands as an important means of protecting food security. We review responses of grassland communities across regions of the USA and consider the responses in productivity and system function with respect to climatic variation. Research is needed to identify plant resources and management technologies that strengthen our ability to capitalize upon physiological and anatomical features prevalent in grassland communities associated with varying growing conditions.

  16. Air quality and human health impacts of grasslands and shrublands in the United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gopalakrishnan, Varsha; Hirabayashi, Satoshi; Ziv, Guy; Bakshi, Bhavik R.

    2018-06-01

    Vegetation including canopy, grasslands, and shrublands can directly sequester pollutants onto the plant surface, resulting in an improvement in air quality. Until now, several studies have estimated the pollution removal capacity of canopy cover at the level of a county, but no such work exists for grasslands and shrublands. This work quantifies the air pollution removal capacity of grasslands and shrublands at the county-level in the United States and estimates the human health benefits associated with pollution removal using the i-Tree Eco model. Sequestration of pollutants is estimated based on the Leaf Area Index (LAI) obtained from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) derived dataset estimates of LAI and the percentage land cover obtained from the National Land Cover Database (NLCD) for the year 2010. Calculation of pollution removal capacity using local environmental data indicates that grasslands and shrublands remove a total of 6.42 million tonnes of air pollutants in the United States and the associated monetary benefits total 268 million. Human health impacts and associated monetary value due to pollution removal was observed to be significantly high in urban areas indicating that grasslands and shrublands are equally critical as canopy in improving air quality and human health in urban regions.

  17. Factors affecting the ozone sensitivity of temperate European grasslands: An overview

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bassin, S. [Agroscope FAL Reckenholz, Swiss Federal Research Station for Agroecology and Agriculture, Air Pollution/Climate Group, Reckenholzstrasse 191, CH-8046 Zurich (Switzerland)]. E-mail: seraina.bassin@fal.admin.ch; Volk, M. [Agroscope FAL Reckenholz, Swiss Federal Research Station for Agroecology and Agriculture, Air Pollution/Climate Group, Reckenholzstrasse 191, CH-8046 Zurich (Switzerland); Fuhrer, J. [Agroscope FAL Reckenholz, Swiss Federal Research Station for Agroecology and Agriculture, Air Pollution/Climate Group, Reckenholzstrasse 191, CH-8046 Zurich (Switzerland)

    2007-04-15

    This overview of experimentally induced effects of ozone aims to identify physiological and ecological principles, which can be used to classify the sensitivity to ozone of temperate grassland communities in Europe. The analysis of data from experiments with single plants, binary mixtures and multi-species communities illustrates the difficulties to relate individual responses to communities, and thus to identify grassland communities most at risk. Although there is increasing evidence that communities can be separated into broad classes of ozone sensitivity, the database from experiments under realistic conditions with representative systems is too small to draw firm conclusions. But it appears that risk assessments, based on results from individuals or immature mixtures exposed in chambers, are only applicable to intensively managed, productive grasslands, and that the risk of ozone damage for most of perennial grasslands with lower productivity tends to be less than previously expected. - An overview of experimentally induced ozone effects suggests that temperate grasslands could be separated into broad classes of ozone sensitivity based on physiological and ecological principles.

  18. Factors affecting the ozone sensitivity of temperate European grasslands: An overview

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bassin, S.; Volk, M.; Fuhrer, J.

    2007-01-01

    This overview of experimentally induced effects of ozone aims to identify physiological and ecological principles, which can be used to classify the sensitivity to ozone of temperate grassland communities in Europe. The analysis of data from experiments with single plants, binary mixtures and multi-species communities illustrates the difficulties to relate individual responses to communities, and thus to identify grassland communities most at risk. Although there is increasing evidence that communities can be separated into broad classes of ozone sensitivity, the database from experiments under realistic conditions with representative systems is too small to draw firm conclusions. But it appears that risk assessments, based on results from individuals or immature mixtures exposed in chambers, are only applicable to intensively managed, productive grasslands, and that the risk of ozone damage for most of perennial grasslands with lower productivity tends to be less than previously expected. - An overview of experimentally induced ozone effects suggests that temperate grasslands could be separated into broad classes of ozone sensitivity based on physiological and ecological principles

  19. Discrimination of grassland species and their classification in botanical families by laboratory scale hyperspectral imaging NIR: preliminary results

    Science.gov (United States)

    The objective of this study was to discriminate by on-line hyperspectral imaging, taxonomic plant families comprised of different grassland species. Plants were collected from semi-natural meadows of the National Apuseni Park, Apuseni Mountains, Gârda area (Romania) according to botanical families. ...

  20. Small-scale shifting mosaics of two dominant grassland species: the possible role of soil-borne pathogens

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Olff, H.; Hoorens, B.; De Goede, R.G.M.; Van der Putten, W.H.; Gleichman, J.M.

    2000-01-01

    We analyzed the dynamics of dominant plant species in a grazed grassland over 17 years, and investigated whether local shifts in these dominant species, leading to vegetation mosaics, could be attributed to interactions between plants and soil-borne pathogens. We found that Festuca rubra and Carer

  1. Small-scale shifting mosaics of two dominant grassland species : the possible role of soil-borne pathogens

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Olff, H.; Hoorens, B.; Goede, R.G.M. de; Putten, W.H. van der; Gleichman, J.M.

    2000-01-01

    We analyzed the dynamics of dominant plant species in a grazed grassland over 17 years, and investigated whether local shifts in these dominant species, leading to vegetation mosaics, could be attributed to interactions between plants and soil-borne pathogens. We found that Festuca rubra and Carex

  2. Soil seed-bank composition reveals the land-use history of calcareous grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Karlík, Petr; Poschlod, Peter

    2014-07-01

    We compared soil seed banks and vegetation of recent (established on abandoned arable fields) and ancient (continuously managed as pastures at least since 1830) calcareous grasslands if there is any impact of former arable field use. The study was carried out in two regions of Southern Germany with well-preserved dry grassland vegetation: the western Jurassic mountains (Kaltes Feld) and the climatically drier eastern part of Southern Germany (Kallmünz). Total number of species in the seed bank was similar in both regions, but species composition partly differed, reflecting phytogeographical differences between the regions. The total number of emerged seedlings showed a large disparity (5457 compared to 2523 seedlings/m2 in Kaltes Feld and Kallmünz, respectively). Though there were differences in seed bank composition and size, we found a uniform pattern of plant traits (affiliation to phytosociological groups, Raunkiaer plant life-forms and seed longevity), which depended on the age of the grassland. The main conclusion is that seed banks in contemporary calcareous grasslands still reflect the history of former land use - in this case arable cultivation, even though it occurred a long time ago (up to 150 years). Indicators of former arable fields are germinable seeds of weeds which have persisted in the soil to the present. By contrast, weedy species are completely absent from the seed banks of ancient grasslands. Soil seed banks of recent grasslands may be of substantial conservation importance because they may store seeds of rare and endangered weed species such as Kickxia spuria, Silene noctiflora and Stachys annua, the majority of which have already gone extinct from the current vegetation of the study sites.

  3. A comunidade de abelhas (Hymenoptera, Apidae s. l. em uma área restrita de campo natural no Parque Estadual de Vila Velha, Paraná: diversidade, fenologia e fontes florais de alimento The bee community (Hymenoptera, Apidae s. l. in a restricted area of native grassland in the Vila Velha State Park, Paraná: diversity, phenology and food plants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rodrigo B. Gonçalves

    2005-12-01

    Full Text Available Coletas sistemáticas de abelhas em uma área restrita no Parque Estadual de Vila Velha, Paraná, no período de outubro de 2002 a outubro de 2003, resultaram em 1552 espécimes pertencentes a 181 espécies. Estas espécies estão distribuídas em 58 gêneros, 24 tribos e 5 subfamílias. As plantas visitadas correspondem a 113 espécies, em 72 gêneros e 38 famílias. Megachile com 20 espécies foi o gênero mais rico e Ceratina o gênero mais abundante dentre os gêneros nativos. Apis mellifera foi a espécie mais coletada, correspondendo a 28% do total de indivíduos, e Bombus atratus foi a espécie mais abundante dentre as abelhas nativas. A riqueza e a equitabilidade nos meses foram variáveis, sendo março o mais rico e novembro o de maior equitabilidade. Apesar de tradicionalmente considerados parte das estepes sulinas, os campos de Vila Velha apresentam uma fauna de abelhas contendo várias espécies típicas de cerrado. O igual número de espécies entre as subfamílias Apinae e Halictinae também apontam para uma peculiaridade de sua fauna. Listas de abelhas e plantas coletadas são apresentadas em anexo.A standardized survey of bees visiting blooming plants in an area covered by natural grasslands in the Vila Velha State Park was conducted from October, 2002, to October, 2003. A total of 1552 specimens belonging to 181 species were collected. These species are distributed in 58 genera, 24 tribes and 5 subfamilies. The visited plants belong to 113 species, in 72 genera and 38 families. Megachile, with 20 species, was the richest genus, while Ceratina was the most abundant native genus. Apis mellifera was the most abundant species, with 28% of all bees collected. Among the native species, Bombus atratus was the most abundant. Monthly richness and equitability varied along the year, March being the richest, and November, the most equitable. Despite being traditionally placed within the southern steppes, the open grasslands of Vila Velha

  4. Effects of grassland management on the emission of methane from grassland on peat soils

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Van Dasselaar, A. [Dept. of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, Wageningen Agricultural Univ. (Netherlands); Oenema, O. [NMI, Wageningen (Netherlands)

    1995-11-01

    Net methane (CH{sub 4}) emissions from managed grassland on peat soils in the Netherlands have been monitored with vented closed flux chambers in the period January - June 1994. Net CH{sub 4} emissions from two intensively managed grasslands were low, in general less than 0.1 mg CH{sub 4} m{sup -2} d{sup -l}. On these sites, the effect of management was negligibly small. CH{sub 4} emission from three extensively managed grasslands in a nature preserve ranged from 0 to 185 mg CH{sub 4} m{sup -2} d{sup -l}. The results presented here indicate that CH{sub 4} emissions are 2-3 orders of magnitude higher on extensively managed grasslands than on intensively managed grasslands. 2 figs., 6 refs.

  5. Grassland canopy parameters and their relationships to remotely sensed vegetation indices in the Nebraska Sand Hills

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wylie, Bruce K.; DeJong, Donovan D.; Tieszen, Larry L.; Biondini, Mario E.

    1996-01-01

    Relationships among spectral vegetation indices and grassland biophysical parameters including the effects of varying levels of standing dead vegetation, range sites, and range plant communities were examined. Range plant communities consisting of northern mixed grass prairie and a smooth brome field as well as range sites and management in a Sand Hills bluestem prairie were sampled with a ground radiometer and for LAI, biomass, chlorophy

  6. Combining social policy and scientific knowledge with stakeholder participation can benefit on salted grassland production in Northeast China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Deli; Yang, Zhiming; Wang, Ling; Sun, Wei

    2015-04-01

    Soil salinization is a serious environmental problem across the Eurasian steppes, where millions people have been living for at least five thousand years and will still depend on it in the near future. During the last several decades, ecologists and grassland scientists have done much research on rational grassland utilization avoiding land degradation and reduction in ecological services. Meanwhile, the central and local governments took some attempts of agricultural policy and ecological subsidy to mitigate large scale land salinization in Northeast China. Fortunately, more and more farmers and stakeholders begin to adopt rational grassland management with the guidance of scientists and the help of local governments. However, up to date, there is still a gap between farmers, scientists and governments, which often negatively affect grassland production and remission of soil salinization in these areas. We conducted a case study on sustainable grassland production adapted to steppe salinization funded by EC project from 2011 to 2013. Our goal is trying to establish a mode of adaptive grassland management integrating previous scientific knowledge (grazing and seeding), current agricultural policies (ecological subsidy) and stakeholders' participation or performance. The study showed that: A. Despite of some grassland utilization techniques available for stakeholders (regulating stocking rate and seeding in pastures, or planting high quality forages), they tended to take the simplest action to enhance animal production and prevent grassland salinization; B. Compared to educating or training stakeholders, demonstration of grazing management is the most effective mean for knowledge dissemination or technology transfer; C. Ecological subsidy is absolutely welcome to the local people, and technology transfer became easier when combined with ecological subsidy; D. There was a contrasting effect in grassland production and land degradation mitigation for experimental farm

  7. A Satellite-Based Model for Simulating Ecosystem Respiration in the Tibetan and Inner Mongolian Grasslands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rong Ge

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available It is important to accurately evaluate ecosystem respiration (RE in the alpine grasslands of the Tibetan Plateau and the temperate grasslands of the Inner Mongolian Plateau, as it serves as a sensitivity indicator of regional and global carbon cycles. Here, we combined flux measurements taken between 2003 and 2013 from 16 grassland sites across northern China and the corresponding MODIS land surface temperature (LST, enhanced vegetation index (EVI, and land surface water index (LSWI to build a satellite-based model to estimate RE at a regional scale. First, the dependencies of both spatial and temporal variations of RE on these biotic and climatic factors were examined explicitly. We found that plant productivity and moisture, but not temperature, can best explain the spatial pattern of RE in northern China’s grasslands; while temperature plays a major role in regulating the temporal variability of RE in the alpine grasslands, and moisture is equally as important as temperature in the temperate grasslands. However, the moisture effect on RE and the explicit representation of spatial variation process are often lacking in most of the existing satellite-based RE models. On this basis, we developed a model by comprehensively considering moisture, temperature, and productivity effects on both temporal and spatial processes of RE, and then, we evaluated the model performance. Our results showed that the model well explained the observed RE in both the alpine (R2 = 0.79, RMSE = 0.77 g C m−2 day−1 and temperate grasslands (R2 = 0.75, RMSE = 0.60 g C m−2 day−1. The inclusion of the LSWI as the water-limiting factor substantially improved the model performance in arid and semi-arid ecosystems, and the spatialized basal respiration rate as an indicator for spatial variation largely determined the regional pattern of RE. Finally, the model accurately reproduced the seasonal and inter-annual variations and spatial variability of RE, and it avoided

  8. Grassland degradation caused by tourism activities in Hulunbuir, Inner Mongolia, China

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Le, C; Ikazaki, K; Siriguleng; Kosaki, T; Kadono, A

    2014-01-01

    The recent increase in the number of tourists has raised serious concerns about grassland degradation by tourism activities in Inner Mongolia. Thus, we evaluated the effects of tourism activities on the vegetation and soil in Hulunbuir grassland. We identified all the plant species, measured the number and height of plant and plant coverage rate, and calculated species diversity, estimated above-ground biomass in use plot and non-use plot. We also measured soil hardness, and collected soil samples for physical and chemical analysis in both plots. The obtained results were as follows: a) the height of the dominant plants, plant coverage rate, species diversity, and above-ground biomass were significantly lower in use plot than in non-use plot, b) Carex duriuscula C.A.Mey., indicator plant for soil degradation, was dominant in use plot, c) soil hardness was significantly higher in use plot than in non-use plot, and spatial dependence of soil hardness was only found in the use plot, d) CEC, TC, TN and pH in the topsoil were significantly lower in use plot than non-use plot. On the basis of the results, we concluded that the tourism activities can be another major cause of the grassland degradation in Inner Mongolia

  9. Grassland degradation caused by tourism activities in Hulunbuir, Inner Mongolia, China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Le, C.; Ikazaki, K.; Siriguleng; Kadono, A.; Kosaki, T.

    2014-02-01

    The recent increase in the number of tourists has raised serious concerns about grassland degradation by tourism activities in Inner Mongolia. Thus, we evaluated the effects of tourism activities on the vegetation and soil in Hulunbuir grassland. We identified all the plant species, measured the number and height of plant and plant coverage rate, and calculated species diversity, estimated above-ground biomass in use plot and non-use plot. We also measured soil hardness, and collected soil samples for physical and chemical analysis in both plots. The obtained results were as follows: a) the height of the dominant plants, plant coverage rate, species diversity, and above-ground biomass were significantly lower in use plot than in non-use plot, b) Carex duriuscula C.A.Mey., indicator plant for soil degradation, was dominant in use plot, c) soil hardness was significantly higher in use plot than in non-use plot, and spatial dependence of soil hardness was only found in the use plot, d) CEC, TC, TN and pH in the topsoil were significantly lower in use plot than non-use plot. On the basis of the results, we concluded that the tourism activities can be another major cause of the grassland degradation in Inner Mongolia.

  10. Plant Community and Soil Environment Response to Summer Fire in the Northern Great Plains

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fire is a keystone process in many ecosystems, especially grasslands. However, documentation of plant community and soil environment responses to fire is limited for semiarid grasslands relative to that for mesic grasslands. Replicated summer fire research is lacking, but much needed because summe...

  11. Preliminary Research on Grassland Fine-classification Based on MODIS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hu, Z W; Zhang, S; Yu, X Y; Wang, X S

    2014-01-01

    Grassland ecosystem is important for climatic regulation, maintaining the soil and water. Research on the grassland monitoring method could provide effective reference for grassland resource investigation. In this study, we used the vegetation index method for grassland classification. There are several types of climate in China. Therefore, we need to use China's Main Climate Zone Maps and divide the study region into four climate zones. Based on grassland classification system of the first nation-wide grass resource survey in China, we established a new grassland classification system which is only suitable for this research. We used MODIS images as the basic data resources, and use the expert classifier method to perform grassland classification. Based on the 1:1,000,000 Grassland Resource Map of China, we obtained the basic distribution of all the grassland types and selected 20 samples evenly distributed in each type, then used NDVI/EVI product to summarize different spectral features of different grassland types. Finally, we introduced other classification auxiliary data, such as elevation, accumulate temperature (AT), humidity index (HI) and rainfall. China's nation-wide grassland classification map is resulted by merging the grassland in different climate zone. The overall classification accuracy is 60.4%. The result indicated that expert classifier is proper for national wide grassland classification, but the classification accuracy need to be improved

  12. Some Insights on Grassland Health Assessment Based on Remote Sensing

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dandan Xu

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Grassland ecosystem is one of the largest ecosystems, which naturally occurs on all continents excluding Antarctica and provides both ecological and economic functions. The deterioration of natural grassland has been attracting many grassland researchers to monitor the grassland condition and dynamics for decades. Remote sensing techniques, which are advanced in dealing with the scale constraints of ecological research and provide temporal information, become a powerful approach of grassland ecosystem monitoring. So far, grassland health monitoring studies have mostly focused on different areas, for example, productivity evaluation, classification, vegetation dynamics, livestock carrying capacity, grazing intensity, natural disaster detecting, fire, climate change, coverage assessment and soil erosion. However, the grassland ecosystem is a complex system which is formed by soil, vegetation, wildlife and atmosphere. Thus, it is time to consider the grassland ecosystem as an entity synthetically and establish an integrated grassland health monitoring system to combine different aspects of the complex grassland ecosystem. In this review, current grassland health monitoring methods, including rangeland health assessment, ecosystem health assessment and grassland monitoring by remote sensing from different aspects, are discussed along with the future directions of grassland health assessment.

  13. Some insights on grassland health assessment based on remote sensing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, Dandan; Guo, Xulin

    2015-01-29

    Grassland ecosystem is one of the largest ecosystems, which naturally occurs on all continents excluding Antarctica and provides both ecological and economic functions. The deterioration of natural grassland has been attracting many grassland researchers to monitor the grassland condition and dynamics for decades. Remote sensing techniques, which are advanced in dealing with the scale constraints of ecological research and provide temporal information, become a powerful approach of grassland ecosystem monitoring. So far, grassland health monitoring studies have mostly focused on different areas, for example, productivity evaluation, classification, vegetation dynamics, livestock carrying capacity, grazing intensity, natural disaster detecting, fire, climate change, coverage assessment and soil erosion. However, the grassland ecosystem is a complex system which is formed by soil, vegetation, wildlife and atmosphere. Thus, it is time to consider the grassland ecosystem as an entity synthetically and establish an integrated grassland health monitoring system to combine different aspects of the complex grassland ecosystem. In this review, current grassland health monitoring methods, including rangeland health assessment, ecosystem health assessment and grassland monitoring by remote sensing from different aspects, are discussed along with the future directions of grassland health assessment.

  14. Importance and functions of European grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carlier, L; De Vliegher, A; Van Cleemput, O; Boeckx, P

    2005-01-01

    The European agricultural policy is not simple and needs to accommodate also social and environmental requirements. Grassland will continue to be an important form of land use in Europe, but with increased diversity in management objectives and systems used. Besides its role as basic nutrient for herbivores and ruminants grasslands have opportunities for adding value by exploiting positive health characteristics in animal products from grassland and through the delivery of environmental benefits. In fact grasslands contribute to a high degree to the struggle against erosion and to the regularizing of water regimes, to the purification of fertilizers and pesticides and to biodiversity. Finally they have aesthetic role and recreational function as far as they provide public access that other agricultural uses do not allow. But even for grassland it is very difficult to create a good frame for its different tasks (1) the provision of forage for livestock, (2) protection and conservation of soil and water resources, (3) furnishing a habitat for wildlife, both flora and fauna and (4) contribution to the attractiveness of the landscape. Nevertheless it is the only crop, able to fulfil so many tasks and to fit so many requirements.

  15. The relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem services and the effects of grazing cessation in semi-natural grasslands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. Wehn

    2018-04-01

    Full Text Available Land use change can affect biodiversity, and this has an impact on ecosystem services (ESs, but the relationships between biodiversity and ESs are complex and poorly understood. Biodiversity is declining due to the abandonment of extensively grazed semi-natural grasslands.We therefore aim to explore relationships between biodiversity and ESs provided by extensively managed semi-natural grasslands. Focusing on vascular plant species richness, as well as the ESs fodder quantity, quality, and stability, allergy control, climate regulation, nutrient cycling, pollination, and aesthetic appreciation, we carried out botanical field surveys of 28 paired extensively grazed and abandoned semi-natural grassland plots, with four subplots of 4 m2 in each plot. The management of the semi-natural grasslands is and has been at low intensity. We calculated the influence of abandonment on the ES indicators, measured the correlation between the biodiversity measure of vascular plant species richness and ES indicators, and finally determined how the relationships between plant species richness and the ES indicators were affected by the cessation of the extensive management.ES indicators are often, but not always, positively correlated with species richness. Cessation of extensive grazing has both negative and positive effects on ES indicators but the relationships between species richness and ES indicators are often different in extensively managed and abandoned semi-natural grasslands. The relationships between species richness and ES indicators are less pronounced in the extensively managed semi-natural grassland than for the abandoned. One possible reason for this outcome is high functional redundancy in the extensively managed semi-natural grasslands.

  16. USING CALIBRATED RGB IMAGERY FROM LOW-COST UAVS FOR GRASSLAND MONITORING: CASE STUDY AT THE RENGEN GRASSLAND EXPERIMENT (RGE), GERMANY

    OpenAIRE

    U. Lussem; J. Hollberg; J. Hollberg; J. Menne; J. Schellberg; J. Schellberg; G. Bareth; G. Bareth

    2017-01-01

    Monitoring the spectral response of intensively managed grassland throughout the growing season allows optimizing fertilizer inputs by monitoring plant growth. For example, site-specific fertilizer application as part of precision agriculture (PA) management requires information within short time. But, this requires field-based measurements with hyper- or multispectral sensors, which may not be feasible on a day to day farming practice. Exploiting the information of RGB images from consumer g...

  17. Roles of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi and Soil Abiotic Conditions in the Establishment of a Dry Grassland Community.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jana Knappová

    Full Text Available The importance of soil biota in the composition of mature plant communities is commonly acknowledged. In contrast, the role of soil biota in the early establishment of new plant communities and their relative importance for soil abiotic conditions are still poorly understood.The aim of this study was to understand the effects of soil origin and soil fungal communities on the composition of a newly established dry grassland plant community. We used soil from two different origins (dry grassland and abandoned field with different pH and nutrient and mineral content. Grassland microcosms were established by sowing seeds of 54 species of dry grassland plants into the studied soils. To suppress soil fungi, half of the pots were regularly treated with fungicide. In this way, we studied the independent and combined effects of soil origin and soil community on the establishment of dry grassland communities.The effect of suppressing the soil fungal community on the richness and composition of the plant communities was much stronger than the effect of soil origin. Contrary to our expectations, the effects of these two factors were largely additive, indicating the same degree of importance of soil fungal communities in the establishment of species-rich plant communities in the soils from both origins. The negative effect of suppressing soil fungi on species richness, however, occurred later in the soil from the abandoned field than in the soil from the grassland. This result likely occurred because the negative effects of the suppression of fungi in the field soil were caused mainly by changes in plant community composition and increased competition. In contrast, in the grassland soil, the absence of soil fungi was limiting for plants already at the early stages of their establishment, i.e., in the phases of germination and early recruitment. While fungicide affects not only arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi but also other biota, our data indicate that changes

  18. Distinguishing Intensity Levels of Grassland Fertilization Using Vegetation Indices

    OpenAIRE

    Jens L. Hollberg; Jürgen Schellberg

    2017-01-01

    Monitoring the reaction of grassland canopies on fertilizer application is of major importance to enable a well-adjusted management supporting a sustainable production of the grass crop. Up to date, grassland managers estimate the nutrient status and growth dynamics of grasslands by costly and time-consuming field surveys, which only provide low temporal and spatial data density. Grassland mapping using remotely-sensed Vegetation Indices (VIs) has the potential to contribute to solving these ...

  19. Bird communities and biomass yields in potential bioenergy grasslands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Peter J Blank

    Full Text Available Demand for bioenergy is increasing, but the ecological consequences of bioenergy crop production on working lands remain unresolved. Corn is currently a dominant bioenergy crop, but perennial grasslands could produce renewable bioenergy resources and enhance biodiversity. Grassland bird populations have declined in recent decades and may particularly benefit from perennial grasslands grown for bioenergy. We asked how breeding bird community assemblages, vegetation characteristics, and biomass yields varied among three types of potential bioenergy grassland fields (grass monocultures, grass-dominated fields, and forb-dominated fields, and assessed tradeoffs between grassland biomass production and bird habitat. We also compared the bird communities in grassland fields to nearby cornfields. Cornfields had few birds compared to perennial grassland fields. Ten bird Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN were observed in perennial grassland fields. Bird species richness and total bird density increased with forb cover and were greater in forb-dominated fields than grass monocultures. SGCN density declined with increasing vertical vegetation density, indicating that tall, dense grassland fields managed for maximum biomass yield would be of lesser value to imperiled grassland bird species. The proportion of grassland habitat within 1 km of study sites was positively associated with bird species richness and the density of total birds and SGCNs, suggesting that grassland bioenergy fields may be more beneficial for grassland birds if they are established near other grassland parcels. Predicted total bird density peaked below maximum biomass yields and predicted SGCN density was negatively related to biomass yields. Our results indicate that perennial grassland fields could produce bioenergy feedstocks while providing bird habitat. Bioenergy grasslands promote agricultural multifunctionality and conservation of biodiversity in working landscapes.

  20. Ornamental Eudicotyledons from grasslands of Pampa biome in Rio Grande do Sul

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ana De Araújo Carrion

    2012-10-01

    Full Text Available The present study aims at investigating the group of Eudicotyledons native plants with ornamental potential of grasslands from the Pampa biome in the south of Brazil. The Pampa presents a high level of biodiversity; however, it requires studies related to the richness of vascular plants and its biological and ecological knowledge. The purpose of this work is to elaborate a preliminary inventory of this group of plants, analyzing the ornamental potential of each specie and indicating those that could be considered as being priorities for the purpose of sustainable use with this objective. Some grassland species were selected through the search for information in herbarium registers, national and international works about decorative plants, floristic surveys, besides the authors´ practical knowledge. Some parameters and values were associated, aiming at reducing the subjectivity of the choice. The survey resulted in a list of 177 species distributed in 36 families and 101 genera. Among these species, ten presented high ornamental potential. These data show that the richness of the grassland native ornamental flora is high, even though its use is poorly known. The use of these plants, if in a sustainable manner, can produce economic and ecological benefits.

  1. Ecosystem development in roadside grasslands: biotic control, plant–soil interactions and dispersal limitations

    Science.gov (United States)

    García-Palacios, Pablo; Bowker, Matthew A.; Maestre, Fernando T.; Soliveres, Santiago; Valladares, Fernando; Papadopoulos, Jorge; Escudero, Adrián

    2015-01-01

    Roadside grasslands undergoing secondary succession are abundant, and represent ecologically meaningful examples of novel, human-created ecosystems. Interactions between plant and soil communities (hereafter plant–soil interactions) are of major importance in understanding the role of biotic control in ecosystem functioning, but little is known about these links in the context of ecosystem restoration and succession. The assessment of the key biotic communities and interactions driving ecosystem development will help practitioners to better allocate the limited resources devoted to roadside grassland restoration. We surveyed roadside grasslands from three successional stages (0–2, 7–9 and > 20 years) in two Mediterranean regions of Spain. Structural equation modeling was used to evaluate how interactions between plants, biological soil crusts [BSCs], and soil microbial functional diversity [soil microorganisms] affect indicators of ecosystem development and restoration: plant similarity to the reference ecosystem, erosion control and soil C storage and N accumulation. Changes in plant community composition along the successional gradient exerted the strongest influence on these indicators. High BSC cover was associated with high soil stability, and high soil microbial functional diversity from late-successional stages was associated with high soil fertility. Contrary to our expectations, the indirect effects of plants, mediated by either BSCs or soil microorganisms, were very weak in both regions, suggesting a minor role for plant–soil interactions upon ecosystem development indicators over long periods. Our results suggest that natural vegetation dynamics effectively improved ecosystem development within a time frame of 20 years in the grasslands evaluated. They also indicate that this time could be shortened if management actions focus on: 1) maintain well-conserved natural areas close to roadsides to enhance plant compositional changes towards late

  2. Grassland ecology and diversity (Ecologia y diversidad de pastizales)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laurie B. Abbott

    2006-01-01

    Grasslands of the Chihuahuan Desert region are ecologically and economically important. These grasslands are valued for their rangeland, wildlife, watershed, and recreation resources. Biological diversity also raises the value of grassland communities. The potential for multiple uses within the region increases as the diversity of the resource base increases. In order...

  3. Appreciation of the functions of grasslands by Irish stakeholders

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hennessy, D.; Pol-van Dasselaar, van den A.

    2014-01-01

    The European project MultiSward studied the appreciation of different functions of grasslands by European stakeholders. This paper describes the importance of grasslands for stakeholders in Ireland. Ireland currently has approximately 4.6 million ha of grassland, which is 90% of the total utilized

  4. Predation drives nesting success in moist highland grasslands: the ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    By focusing on process-oriented data rather than inventory-type data, this study provides a robust understanding of the effects of agricultural management on grassland bird reproductive output in the moist highland grasslands (MHGs) of South Africa. Four-hundred and four nests of 12 grassland-breeding bird species were ...

  5. COENOLOGICAL SHIFT FOLLOWING FERTILIZATION IN MEDITERRANEAN GRASSLAND

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    ALESSANDRO SERAFINI SAULI

    2006-05-01

    Full Text Available In Rome both meadows of CentraI-European affinity and Mediterranean dry grasslands are presento We studied a site (Parco Regionale Urbano de] Pineto in Rome with very diverse vegetation, where species belonging to both coenologica] groups oceur. Wc fertilized a grassland with a combination of phosphorus (P and nitrogen (N. After fertilization diagDostie species of Helianthemetea guttati (Thcrophytes dccrease while species of MolinioArrhenatheretea (Hemicriptophytes increase. In a climate as that of Rome, transition between Mediterranean (with summer drought and Central European (without summer drought, nutrients availability modulates the distribution of vegetation Classes with respectively Mediterranean or Central-Europe affinities.

  6. Using Calibrated RGB Imagery from Low-Cost Uavs for Grassland Monitoring: Case Study at the Rengen Grassland Experiment (rge), Germany

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lussem, U.; Hollberg, J.; Menne, J.; Schellberg, J.; Bareth, G.

    2017-08-01

    Monitoring the spectral response of intensively managed grassland throughout the growing season allows optimizing fertilizer inputs by monitoring plant growth. For example, site-specific fertilizer application as part of precision agriculture (PA) management requires information within short time. But, this requires field-based measurements with hyper- or multispectral sensors, which may not be feasible on a day to day farming practice. Exploiting the information of RGB images from consumer grade cameras mounted on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) can offer cost-efficient as well as near-real time analysis of grasslands with high temporal and spatial resolution. The potential of RGB imagery-based vegetation indices (VI) from consumer grade cameras mounted on UAVs has been explored recently in several. However, for multitemporal analyses it is desirable to calibrate the digital numbers (DN) of RGB-images to physical units. In this study, we explored the comparability of the RGBVI from a consumer grade camera mounted on a low-cost UAV to well established vegetation indices from hyperspectral field measurements for applications in grassland. The study was conducted in 2014 on the Rengen Grassland Experiment (RGE) in Germany. Image DN values were calibrated into reflectance by using the Empirical Line Method (Smith & Milton 1999). Depending on sampling date and VI the correlation between the UAV-based RGBVI and VIs such as the NDVI resulted in varying R2 values from no correlation to up to 0.9. These results indicate, that calibrated RGB-based VIs have the potential to support or substitute hyperspectral field measurements to facilitate management decisions on grasslands.

  7. USING CALIBRATED RGB IMAGERY FROM LOW-COST UAVS FOR GRASSLAND MONITORING: CASE STUDY AT THE RENGEN GRASSLAND EXPERIMENT (RGE, GERMANY

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    U. Lussem

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available Monitoring the spectral response of intensively managed grassland throughout the growing season allows optimizing fertilizer inputs by monitoring plant growth. For example, site-specific fertilizer application as part of precision agriculture (PA management requires information within short time. But, this requires field-based measurements with hyper- or multispectral sensors, which may not be feasible on a day to day farming practice. Exploiting the information of RGB images from consumer grade cameras mounted on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV can offer cost-efficient as well as near-real time analysis of grasslands with high temporal and spatial resolution. The potential of RGB imagery-based vegetation indices (VI from consumer grade cameras mounted on UAVs has been explored recently in several. However, for multitemporal analyses it is desirable to calibrate the digital numbers (DN of RGB-images to physical units. In this study, we explored the comparability of the RGBVI from a consumer grade camera mounted on a low-cost UAV to well established vegetation indices from hyperspectral field measurements for applications in grassland. The study was conducted in 2014 on the Rengen Grassland Experiment (RGE in Germany. Image DN values were calibrated into reflectance by using the Empirical Line Method (Smith & Milton 1999. Depending on sampling date and VI the correlation between the UAV-based RGBVI and VIs such as the NDVI resulted in varying R2 values from no correlation to up to 0.9. These results indicate, that calibrated RGB-based VIs have the potential to support or substitute hyperspectral field measurements to facilitate management decisions on grasslands.

  8. BETA DIVERSITY AND COMMUNITY DIFFERENTIATION IN DRY PERENNIAL SAND GRASSLANDS

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E. KOVACS-LANG

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available The spatial variability of species composition was studied in perennial sand grasslands in Hungary at multiple scales. Three sites were compared along an aridity gradient. Existing differences in climate along this ca. 200 km gradient correspond to regional climate changes predicted for the next 20-30 years. Six stands of Festucetum vaginatae grasslands were selected at each site within 400 x 1200 m areas for representing the coarse-scale within-site heterogeneity. Fine-scale compositional heterogeneity of vegetation within stands was sampled by recording the presence of species along 52 m long circular belt transects of 1040 units of 5 cm x 5 cm contiguous microquadrats. This sampling design enabled us to study the patterns of species combinations at a wide range of scales. The highest variability of plant species combinations appeared at very fine scales, between 10 cm and 25 cm. Differences in beta diversity along the gradient were scale-dependent. We found a decreasing trend of beta diversity with increasing aridity at fine scale, and on the contrary, an increasing trend at landscape scale. We conclude that the major trend of the vegetation differentiation due to aridity is the decrease of compositional variability at fine-scale accompanied by a coarse-scale diversification.

  9. Radioecological sensitivity of permanent grasslands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Besson, Benoit

    2009-01-01

    The project 'SENSIB' of the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) aims at characterizing and classifying parameters with significant impact on the transfer of radioactive contaminants in the environment. This thesis is focused on permanent grassland areas. Its objectives are the analysis of the activity variations of two artificial radionuclides ( 137 Cs and 90 Sr) in the chain from soil to dairy products as well as the categorization of ecological and anthropogenic parameters, which determine the sensitivity of the studied area. For this study, in situ sampling is carried out in 15 farms in 3 different French regions (Charente, Puy-de-Dome and Jura). The sampling sites are chosen according to their natural variations (geology, altitude and climate) and the soil types. Additionally to the radiologic measurements, geographic, soil and vegetation data as well as data concerning cattle-rearing and cheese manufacturing processes are gathered. From the soil to the grass vegetation, 137 Cs transfer factors vary between 3 x 10-3 and 148 x 10-3 Bq kg-1 (dry weight) per Bq kg-1 (dry weight) (N = 73). Theses transfer factors are significantly higher in the Puy-de-Dome region than in the Jura region. The 137 Cs transfer factor from cattle feed to milk varies from 5.9 x 10-3 to 258 x 10-3 Bq kg-1 (fresh weight) per Bq kg-1 (dry weight) (N = 28). Statistically, it is higher in the Charente region. Finally, the 90 Sr transfer factor from milk to cheese ranges from 3.9 to 12.1. The studied site with the highest factor is the Jura (N = 25). The link between milk and dairy products is the stage with the most 137 Cs and 90 Sr transfers. A nonlinear approach based on a discretization method of the transfer factor with multiple comparison tests admits a classification of the sensitivity factors from soil to grass vegetation. We can determine 20 factors interfering in the 137 Cs transfer into the vegetation, for instance, the clay rate of the soils or a marker

  10. Sustaining the grassland sea: Regional perspectives on identifying, protecting and restoring the Sky Island region's most intact grassland valley landscapes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gitanjali S. Bodner; Peter Warren; David Gori; Karla Sartor; Steven Bassett

    2013-01-01

    Grasslands of the Sky Islands region once covered over 13 million acres in southeastern Arizona and adjacent portions of New Mexico, Sonora, and Chihuahua. Attempts to evaluate current ecological conditions suggest that approximately two thirds of these remain as intact or restorable grassland habitat. These grasslands provide watershed services such as flood control...

  11. Grasslands feeling the heat: The effects of elevated temperatures on a subtropical grassland

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rowan D. Buhrmann

    2016-12-01

    Conclusions: OTCs can simulate realistic increases of air temperature in subtropical grasslands. Graminoids and shrubs appear to benefit from elevated temperatures whilst forbs decrease in abundance, possibly through competition and/or direct physiological effects.

  12. Evaluation of Rgb-Based Vegetation Indices from Uav Imagery to Estimate Forage Yield in Grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lussem, U.; Bolten, A.; Gnyp, M. L.; Jasper, J.; Bareth, G.

    2018-04-01

    Monitoring forage yield throughout the growing season is of key importance to support management decisions on grasslands/pastures. Especially on intensely managed grasslands, where nitrogen fertilizer and/or manure are applied regularly, precision agriculture applications are beneficial to support sustainable, site-specific management decisions on fertilizer treatment, grazing management and yield forecasting to mitigate potential negative impacts. To support these management decisions, timely and accurate information is needed on plant parameters (e.g. forage yield) with a high spatial and temporal resolution. However, in highly heterogeneous plant communities such as grasslands, assessing their in-field variability non-destructively to determine e.g. adequate fertilizer application still remains challenging. Especially biomass/yield estimation, as an important parameter in assessing grassland quality and quantity, is rather laborious. Forage yield (dry or fresh matter) is mostly measured manually with rising plate meters (RPM) or ultrasonic sensors (handheld or mounted on vehicles). Thus the in-field variability cannot be assessed for the entire field or only with potential disturbances. Using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) equipped with consumer grade RGB cameras in-field variability can be assessed by computing RGB-based vegetation indices. In this contribution we want to test and evaluate the robustness of RGB-based vegetation indices to estimate dry matter forage yield on a recently established experimental grassland site in Germany. Furthermore, the RGB-based VIs are compared to indices computed from the Yara N-Sensor. The results show a good correlation of forage yield with RGB-based VIs such as the NGRDI with R2 values of 0.62.

  13. Arbuscular mycorrhiza fungi mediate soil respiration response to climate change in California grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Estruch, Carme; Mcfarland, Jack; Haw, Monica P.; Schulz, Marjorie S.; Pugnaire, Francisco I.; Waldrop, Mark P.

    2017-04-01

    California grasslands store ca. 100 Tg of soil organic carbon (SOC) and almost 40% of those ecosystems are prone to land use changes. The fate of these carbon pools will largely depend on how the main components of soil respiration - i.e., roots, mycorrhiza, and 'bulk soil' communities- respond to such changes. In order to determine the sensitivity to environmental drivers we set up an experiment to address the effect of plant community composition, soil age and warming on soil respiration rate during the 2014-2015 winter. We tested differences among microbial, fungal and root respiration using an exclusion technique to assess the effect of plant community (open grasslands vs oak woodland) in two field sites differing in soil properties as nutrient content, related to geologic soil age (92 and 137 kyr). We also used open top chambers (OTC) to simulate global change effects on grasslands. Our results showed that arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi were the main drivers of differences recorded between soils of different age, and that those differences were linked to nutrient availability. Bulk soil respiration was more sensitive to environmental variation than mycorrhizal or root respiration, indicating that the presence of mycorrhizae and roots can regulate the capacity of CO2 emission to the atmosphere. Soil age affected CO2 flux from grasslands but not under oak canopies, likely due to the high concentration of SOM in oak canopies which moderated any affect of soil mineralogy on nutrient availability. Overall our study shows that the ability of grasslands to mitigate CO2 emissions depends on interactions between vegetation and their rhizosphere on soil microbial communities.

  14. Effects of water and nitrogen addition on species turnover in temperate grasslands in northern China.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zhuwen Xu

    Full Text Available Global nitrogen (N deposition and climate change have been identified as two of the most important causes of current plant diversity loss. However, temporal patterns of species turnover underlying diversity changes in response to changing precipitation regimes and atmospheric N deposition have received inadequate attention. We carried out a manipulation experiment in a steppe and an old-field in North China from 2005 to 2009, to test the hypothesis that water addition enhances plant species richness through increase in the rate of species gain and decrease in the rate of species loss, while N addition has opposite effects on species changes. Our results showed that water addition increased the rate of species gain in both the steppe and the old field but decreased the rates of species loss and turnover in the old field. In contrast, N addition increased the rates of species loss and turnover in the steppe but decreased the rate of species gain in the old field. The rate of species change was greater in the old field than in the steppe. Water interacted with N to affect species richness and species turnover, indicating that the impacts of N on semi-arid grasslands were largely mediated by water availability. The temporal stability of communities was negatively correlated with rates of species loss and turnover, suggesting that water addition might enhance, but N addition would reduce the compositional stability of grasslands. Experimental results support our initial hypothesis and demonstrate that water and N availabilities differed in the effects on rate of species change in the temperate grasslands, and these effects also depend on grassland types and/or land-use history. Species gain and loss together contribute to the dynamic change of species richness in semi-arid grasslands under future climate change.

  15. On the stability of mixed grasslands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schulte, R.P.O.

    2001-01-01

    Recent years have seen a renewed interest in the use of white clover (Trifolium repens) in grasslands, as a more sustainable alternative to fertiliser nitrogen inputs. However, mixtures of grasses and white clover have frequently been associated with unstable and hence unreliable herbage

  16. Purpose and Need for a Grassland Assessment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deborah M. Finch; Cathy W. Dahms

    2004-01-01

    This report is volume 1 of an ecological assessment of grassland ecosystems in the Southwestern United States, and it is one of a series of planned publications addressing major ecosystems of the Southwest. The first assessment, General Technical Report RM-GTR- 295, An Assessment of Forest Ecosystem Health in the Southwest (by Dahms and Geils, technical editors,...

  17. [Spatiotemporal characteristics of MODIS NDVI in Hulunber Grassland].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Hong-Bin; Yang, Gui-Xia; Wu, Wen-Bin; Li, Gang; Chen, Bao-Rui; Xin, Xiao-Ping

    2009-11-01

    Time-series MODIS NDVI datasets from 2000 to 2008 were used to study the spatial change trend, fluctuation degree, and occurrence time of the annual NDVImax of four typical grassland types, i.e., lowland meadow, temperate steppe, temperate meadow steppe, and upland meadow, in Hulunber Grassland. In 2000-2008, the vegetation in Hulunber Grassland presented an obvious deterioration trend. The mean annual NDVImax of the four grassland types had a great fluctuation, especially in temperate steppe where the maximum change in the mean value of annual NDVImax approximated to 50%. As for the area change of different grade grasslands, the areas with NDVImax between 0.4 and 1 accounted for about 91% of the total grassland area, which suggested the good vegetation coverage in the Grassland. However, though the areas with NDVImax values in (0.4, 0.8) showed an increasing trend, the areas with NDVImax values in (0.2, 0.4) and (0.8, 1) decreased greatly in the study period. Overall, the deteriorating grassland took up about 66.25% of the total area, and the restoring grassland took the rest. There was about 62.85% of the grassland whose NDVImax occurred between the 193rd day and the 225th day in each year, indicating that this period was the most important vegetation growth season in Hulunber Grassland.

  18. Improved parameterization of managed grassland in a global process-based vegetation model using Bayesian statistics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rolinski, S.; Müller, C.; Lotze-Campen, H.; Bondeau, A.

    2010-12-01

    More than a quarter of the Earth’s land surface is covered by grassland, which is also the major part (~ 70 %) of the agricultural area. Most of this area is used for livestock production in different degrees of intensity. The dynamic global vegetation model LPJmL (Sitch et al., Global Change Biology, 2003; Bondeau et al., Global Change Biology, 2007) is one of few process-based model that simulates biomass production on managed grasslands at the global scale. The implementation of managed grasslands and its evaluation has received little attention so far, as reference data on grassland productivity are scarce and the definition of grassland extent and usage are highly uncertain. However, grassland productivity is related to large areas, and strongly influences global estimates of carbon and water budgets and should thus be improved. Plants are implemented in LPJmL in an aggregated form as plant functional types assuming that processes concerning carbon and water fluxes are quite similar between species of the same type. Therefore, the parameterization of a functional type is possible with parameters in a physiologically meaningful range of values. The actual choice of the parameter values from the possible and reasonable phase space should satisfy the condition of the best fit of model results and measured data. In order to improve the parameterization of managed grass we follow a combined procedure using model output and measured data of carbon and water fluxes. By comparing carbon and water fluxes simultaneously, we expect well-balanced refinements and avoid over-tuning of the model in only one direction. The comparison of annual biomass from grassland to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) per country provide an overview about the order of magnitude and the identification of deviations. The comparison of daily net primary productivity, soil respiration and water fluxes at specific sites (FluxNet Data) provides

  19. Grassland/atmosphere response to changing climate: Coupling regional and local scales

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Coughenour, M.B.; Kittel, T.G.F.; Pielke, R.A.; Eastman, J.

    1993-10-01

    The objectives of the study were: to evaluate the response of grassland ecosystems to atmospheric change at regional and site scales, and to develop multiscaled modeling systems to relate ecological and atmospheric models with different spatial and temporal resolutions. A menu-driven shell was developed to facilitate use of models at different temporal scales and to facilitate exchange information between models at different temporal scales. A detailed ecosystem model predicted that C 3 temperate grasslands wig respond more strongly to elevated CO 2 than temperate C 4 grasslands in the short-term while a large positive N-PP response was predicted for a C 4 Kenyan grassland. Long-term climate change scenarios produced either decreases or increases in Colorado plant productivity (NPP) depending on rainfall, but uniform increases in N-PP were predicted in Kenya. Elevated CO 2 is likely to have little effect on ecosystem carbon storage in Colorado while it will increase carbon storage in Kenya. A synoptic climate classification processor (SCP) was developed to evaluate results of GCM climate sensitivity experiments. Roughly 80% agreement was achieved with manual classifications. Comparison of lx and 2xCO 2 GCM Simulations revealed relatively small differences

  20. Experimental control of Spanish broom (Spartium junceum invading natural grasslands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cristina Sanhueza

    2012-12-01

    Full Text Available A group of legumes generically known as brooms are among the most successful shrubs invading grasslands in South America and otherregions. These species share a set of biological features that enhance their invasiveness, such as abundant and long-lasting seed banks,aggressive root systems and rapid growth, combined with their ability for re-sprouting after cutting or burning and for avoiding herbivores.They grow in dense stands that exclude native vegetation and are able to change ecological processes, increasing fire frequency and intensity,and fixing atmospheric nitrogen. The Spanish broom (Spartium junceum is a shrub native form the Mediterranean that was introduced intothe Argentine Pampas grasslands where it spreads over remnants of pristine ecosystems, threatening their biodiversity. This paper reports theresults obtained after an adaptive management strategy aimed at controlling this species in a nature reserve, and compares the efficiency ofdifferent mechanical and chemical control techniques in terms of the number of plants killed and the effects on surrounding vegetation andon the recruitment of broom seedlings. Control was implemented in two phases, the first included three treatments: i cut at the base of theplant, ii cut followed by the immediate application of Togar (Picloram 3% + Triclopyr 6%, at a 5% dilution in diesel oil on top of the cut stump, and iii foliar spraying with Togar. The follow-up treatments, implemented one year later, consisted of spraying the re-sprouts with Togar (5% in diesel oil or Glyphosate 36% (2% in water. The best option in terms of controlling Spanish broom was spraying the resprouts with Togar which gave 100% mortality of the treated plants, compared with values of 40% - 100% re-sprouting for the other optionstested. None of the methods was associated with an increase in seedling recruitment, nor with significant changes in the vegetation in the immediate vicinity of the controlled brooms.

  1. Prescribed burning supports grassland biodiversity - A multi-species study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Valkó, Orsolya; Deák, Balázs; Magura, Tibor; Török, Péter; Kelemen, András; Tóth, Katalin; Horváth, Roland; Nagy, Dávid; Debnár, Zsuzsanna; Zsigrai, György; Kapocsi, István; Tóthmérész, Béla

    2017-04-01

    During ancient times, fire was an important factor shaping European landscapes. Nowadays, prescribed burning can be one of the most effective conservation tools for the management of open landscapes, controlling dominant species, reducing accumulated litter or decreasing wildfire risk. In a prescribed burning experiment, we studied the effects of fire on dry alkaline grasslands. We tested whether autumn prescribed burning can be an alternative conservation measure in these grasslands. We selected six sites in Hungary: in three sites, prescribed burning was applied in November 2011, while three sites remained unburnt. We studied the effects of fire on soil characteristics, plant biomass and on the vegetation and arthropod assemblages (isopods, spiders, ground beetles and rove beetles). Soluble salt content increased significantly in the burnt sites, but soil pH, organic matter, potassium and phosphorous did not change. We found that prescribed fire had several positive effects from the nature conservation viewpoint. Diversity and the number of flowering shoots were higher, and the cover of the dominant grass was lower in the burnt sites. Graminoid biomass was lower, while total, green and forb biomass were higher in the burnt plots compared to the control ones. Our findings suggest that prescribed burning fire did not harm arthropods; species-level analyses showed that out of the most abundant invertebrate species, the abundance of ten was not affected, one decreased and one increased after burning. Our findings highlight that mosaic prescribed fire is a viable management tool in open landscapes, because it supports plant diversity and does not threaten arthropods.

  2. Perennial filter strips reduce nitrate levels in soil and shallow groundwater after grassland-to-cropland conversion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xiaobo Zhou; Matthew J. Helmers; Heidi Asbjornsen; Randy Kolka; Mark D. Tomer

    2010-01-01

    Many croplands planted to perennial grasses under the Conservation Reserve Program are being returned to crop production, and with potential consequences for water quality. The objective of this study was to quantify the impact of grassland-to-cropland conversion on nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N) concentrations in soil and shallow groundwater and to...

  3. Studying long-term, large-scale grassland restoration outcomes to improve seeding methods and reveal knowledge gaps

    Science.gov (United States)

    1) Considerable research is currently focused on restoring the World’s degraded grasslands by introducing species from seed. The research is continually providing valuable new insights into early seeded plant establishment, but more emphasis on longer, larger studies is needed to better quantify s...

  4. Earthworm-induced N mineralization in fertilized grassland increases both N2O emission and crop-N uptake

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Lubbers, I.M.; Brussaard, L.; Otten, W.; Groenigen, van J.W.

    2011-01-01

    Earthworms can increase plant nitrogen (N) availability by stimulating mineralization of organic matter. However, recent studies show that they can also cause elevated emission of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O). It is unclear to what extent these two effects occur in fertilized grasslands,

  5. Interactions between above- and belowground biota: importance for small-scale vegetation mosaics in a grassland ecosystem

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Blomqvist, M.M.; Olff, H.; Blaauw, M.B.; Bongers, T.; Van der Putten, W.H.

    2000-01-01

    Grasslands are often characterised by small-scale mosaics in plant community composition that contribute to their diversity. Although above- and belowground biota can both cause such mosaics, few studies have addressed their interacting effects. We studied multi-trophic interactions between

  6. Interactions between above- and belowground biota : importance for small-scale vegetation mosaics in a grassland ecosystem

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Blomqvist, N.M.; Olff, H.; Blaauw, M.B.; Bongers, T.; Putten, van der W.H.

    2000-01-01

    Grasslands are often characterised by small-scale mosaics in plant community composition that contribute to their diversity. Although above- and belowground biota can both cause such mosaics, few studies have addressed their interacting effects. We studied multi-trophic interactions between

  7. Past tree influence and prescribed fire mediate biotic interactions and community reassembly in a grassland-restoration experiment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Charles B. Halpern; Joseph A. Antos; Donald McKenzie; Annette M. Olson; Lara Souza

    2016-01-01

    1. Woody plant encroachment of grasslands is occurring globally, with profound ecological consequences. Attempts to restore herbaceous dominance may fail if the woody state is resilient or if intervention leads to an alternate, undesirable state. Restoration outcomes often hinge on biotic interactions – particularly on priority effects that inhibit or promote community...

  8. Dry grassland biodiversity conservation using low-intensity sheep and goat grazing management: case study in Prague (Czech republic)

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Dostálek, J.; Frantík, Tomáš

    2008-01-01

    Roč. 17, č. 3 (2008), s. 1439-1454 ISSN 0960-3115 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z60050516 Keywords : dry grassland * grazing * plant diversity conservation Subject RIV: EF - Botanics Impact factor: 1.473, year: 2008

  9. The nutritive value of Valjevac grassland - Zasavica reservation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Grdović Svetlana

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Valjevac pasture of Zasavica reservation with its area of 300 ha presents a significant area for grazing cattle. In order to evaluate its potential for livestock production, the botanical and chemical composition of hay in three different time periods was observed (spring, summer and autumn. The determined plants species confirmed the richness of Zasavica grasslands, as well as the presence of dry, moist and forest habitat plants. The analyzed plants mostly belong to the Poaceae, Fabaceae, Asteraceae and Plantaginaceae families. Chemical analysis determined that the protein content decreased (P<0.01 from April (17.22±0.40 % to October (10.30±0.16 %, and cellulose content increased (P<0.01 (from 19.07±0.38 % in April to 21.65±0.41 % in October. The calculated energy density of hay samples ranged from 0.425 Starch Units (SU in October, 0.443 SU in April to 0.448 SU in June. The Valjevac pasture with its numerous plant species is of great importance in upkeeping biodiversity and also presents a solid base for livestock production. The determined levels of manganese and copper point out to the need of copper supplementation especially during the late summer and autumn periods. [Projekat Ministarstva nauke Republike Srbije, br. III46002

  10. Reducing classification error of grassland overgrowth by combing low-density lidar acquisitions and optical remote sensing data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pitkänen, T. P.; Käyhkö, N.

    2017-08-01

    Mapping structural changes in vegetation dynamics has, for a long time, been carried out using satellite images, orthophotos and, more recently, airborne lidar acquisitions. Lidar has established its position as providing accurate material for structure-based analyses but its limited availability, relatively short history, and lack of spectral information, however, are generally impeding the use of lidar data for change detection purposes. A potential solution in respect of detecting both contemporary vegetation structures and their previous trajectories is to combine lidar acquisitions with optical remote sensing data, which can substantially extend the coverage, span and spectral range needed for vegetation mapping. In this study, we tested the simultaneous use of a single low-density lidar data set, a series of Landsat satellite frames and two high-resolution orthophotos to detect vegetation succession related to grassland overgrowth, i.e. encroachment of woody plants into semi-natural grasslands. We built several alternative Random Forest models with different sets of variables and tested the applicability of respective data sources for change detection purposes, aiming at distinguishing unchanged grassland and woodland areas from overgrown grasslands. Our results show that while lidar alone provides a solid basis for indicating structural differences between grassland and woodland vegetation, and orthophoto-generated variables alone are better in detecting successional changes, their combination works considerably better than its respective parts. More specifically, a model combining all the used data sets reduces the total error from 17.0% to 11.0% and omission error of detecting overgrown grasslands from 56.9% to 31.2%, when compared to model constructed solely based on lidar data. This pinpoints the efficiency of the approach where lidar-generated structural metrics are combined with optical and multitemporal observations, providing a workable framework to

  11. Density and success of bird nests relative to grazing on western Montana grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fondell, Thomas F.; Ball, I.J.

    2004-01-01

    Grassland birds are declining at a faster rate than any other group of North American bird species. Livestock grazing is the primary economic use of grasslands in the western United States, but the effects of this use on distribution and productivity of grassland birds are unclear. We examined nest density and success of ground-nesting birds on grazed and ungrazed grasslands in western Montana. In comparison to grazed plots, ungrazed plots had reduced forb cover, increased litter cover, increased litter depth, and increased visual obstruction readings (VOR) of vegetation. Nest density among 10 of 11 common bird species was most strongly correlated with VOR of plots, and greatest nest density for each species occurred where mean VOR of the plot was similar to mean VOR at nests. Additionally, all bird species were relatively consistent in their choice of VOR at nests despite substantial differences in VOR among plots. We suggest that birds selected plots based in part on availability of suitable nest sites and that variation in nest density relative to grazing reflected the effect of grazing on availability of nest sites. Nest success was similar between grazed plots and ungrazed plots for two species but was lower for nests on grazed plots than on ungrazed plots for two other species because of increased rates of predation, trampling, or parasitism by brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater). Other species nested almost exclusively on ungrazed plots (six species) or grazed plots (one species), precluding evaluation of the effects of grazing on nest success. We demonstrate that each species in a diverse suite of ground-nesting birds preferentially used certain habitats for nesting and that grazing altered availability of preferred nesting habitats through changes in vegetation structure and plant species composition. We also show that grazing directly or indirectly predisposed some bird species to increased nesting mortality. Management alternatives that avoid

  12. Resource-Mediated Indirect Effects of Grassland Management on Arthropod Diversity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simons, Nadja K.; Gossner, Martin M.; Lewinsohn, Thomas M.; Boch, Steffen; Lange, Markus; Müller, Jörg; Pašalić, Esther; Socher, Stephanie A.; Türke, Manfred; Fischer, Markus; Weisser, Wolfgang W.

    2014-01-01

    Intensive land use is a driving force for biodiversity decline in many ecosystems. In semi-natural grasslands, land-use activities such as mowing, grazing and fertilization affect the diversity of plants and arthropods, but the combined effects of different drivers and the chain of effects are largely unknown. In this study we used structural equation modelling to analyse how the arthropod communities in managed grasslands respond to land use and whether these responses are mediated through changes in resource diversity or resource quantity (biomass). Plants were considered resources for herbivores which themselves were considered resources for predators. Plant and arthropod (herbivores and predators) communities were sampled on 141 meadows, pastures and mown pastures within three regions in Germany in 2008 and 2009. Increasing land-use intensity generally increased plant biomass and decreased plant diversity, mainly through increasing fertilization. Herbivore diversity decreased together with plant diversity but showed no response to changes in plant biomass. Hence, land-use effects on herbivore diversity were mediated through resource diversity rather than quantity. Land-use effects on predator diversity were mediated by both herbivore diversity (resource diversity) and herbivore quantity (herbivore biomass), but indirect effects through resource quantity were stronger. Our findings highlight the importance of assessing both direct and indirect effects of land-use intensity and mode on different trophic levels. In addition to the overall effects, there were subtle differences between the different regions, pointing to the importance of regional land-use specificities. Our study underlines the commonly observed strong effect of grassland land use on biodiversity. It also highlights that mechanistic approaches help us to understand how different land-use modes affect biodiversity. PMID:25188423

  13. The impact of nitrogen deposition on acid grasslands in the Atlantic region of Europe

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Stevens, Carly J.; Dupre, Cecilia; Dorland, Edu; Gaudnik, Cassandre; Gowing, David J.G.; Bleeker, Albert; Diekmann, Martin; Alard, Didier; Bobbink, Roland; Fowler, David; Corcket, Emmanuel; Mountford, J. Owen; Vandvik, Vigdis

    2011-01-01

    A survey of 153 acid grasslands from the Atlantic biogeographic region of Europe indicates that chronic nitrogen deposition is changing plant species composition and soil and plant-tissue chemistry. Across the deposition gradient (2-44 kg N ha -1 yr -1 ) grass richness as a proportion of total species richness increased whereas forb richness decreased. Soil C:N ratio increased, but soil extractable nitrate and ammonium concentrations did not show any relationship with nitrogen deposition. The above-ground tissue nitrogen contents of three plant species were examined: Agrostis capillaris (grass), Galium saxatile (forb) and Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus (bryophyte). The tissue nitrogen content of neither vascular plant species showed any relationship with nitrogen deposition, but there was a weak positive relationship between R. squarrosus nitrogen content and nitrogen deposition. None of the species showed strong relationships between above-ground tissue N:P or C:N and nitrogen deposition, indicating that they are not good indicators of deposition rate. - Highlights: → N deposition is negatively correlated with forb richness as a proportion of species richness. → Soil C:N ratio increased with increasing N deposition. → Soil extractable nitrate and ammonium were not related to nitrogen deposition. → Plant-tissue N content was not a good indicator of N deposition. - Atmospheric nitrogen deposition affects soils, plant-tissue chemistry and plant species composition in acid grasslands in the Atlantic biogeographic region of Europe.

  14. The impact of nitrogen deposition on acid grasslands in the Atlantic region of Europe

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Stevens, Carly J., E-mail: c.j.stevens@open.ac.uk [Department of Life Sciences, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA (United Kingdom); Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YQ (United Kingdom); Dupre, Cecilia [Institute of Ecology, FB 2, University of Bremen, Leobener Str., DE-28359 Bremen (Germany); Dorland, Edu [Ecology and Biodiversity Group, Department of Biology, Institute of Environmental Biology, Utrecht University, PO Box 80.058, 3508 TB Utrecht (Netherlands); Gaudnik, Cassandre [University of Bordeaux 1, UMR INRA 1202 Biodiversity, Genes and Communities, Equipe Ecologie des Communautes, Batiment B8 - Avenue des Facultes, F-33405 Talence (France); Gowing, David J.G. [Department of Life Sciences, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA (United Kingdom); Bleeker, Albert [Department of Air Quality and Climate Change, Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands, PO Box 1, 1755 ZG Petten (Netherlands); Diekmann, Martin [Institute of Ecology, FB 2, University of Bremen, Leobener Str., DE-28359 Bremen (Germany); Alard, Didier [University of Bordeaux 1, UMR INRA 1202 Biodiversity, Genes and Communities, Equipe Ecologie des Communautes, Batiment B8 - Avenue des Facultes, F-33405 Talence (France); Bobbink, Roland [B-WARE Research Centre, Radboud University, PO Box 9010, 6525 ED Nijmegen (Netherlands); Fowler, David [NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Bush Estate, Penicuik, Midlothian EH26 0QB (United Kingdom); Corcket, Emmanuel [University of Bordeaux 1, UMR INRA 1202 Biodiversity, Genes and Communities, Equipe Ecologie des Communautes, Batiment B8 - Avenue des Facultes, F-33405 Talence (France); Mountford, J. Owen [NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, MacLean Building, Benson Lane, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, Oxfordshire OX10 8BB (United Kingdom); Vandvik, Vigdis [Department of Biology, University of Bergen, Box 7800, N-5020 Bergen (Norway)

    2011-10-15

    A survey of 153 acid grasslands from the Atlantic biogeographic region of Europe indicates that chronic nitrogen deposition is changing plant species composition and soil and plant-tissue chemistry. Across the deposition gradient (2-44 kg N ha{sup -1} yr{sup -1}) grass richness as a proportion of total species richness increased whereas forb richness decreased. Soil C:N ratio increased, but soil extractable nitrate and ammonium concentrations did not show any relationship with nitrogen deposition. The above-ground tissue nitrogen contents of three plant species were examined: Agrostis capillaris (grass), Galium saxatile (forb) and Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus (bryophyte). The tissue nitrogen content of neither vascular plant species showed any relationship with nitrogen deposition, but there was a weak positive relationship between R. squarrosus nitrogen content and nitrogen deposition. None of the species showed strong relationships between above-ground tissue N:P or C:N and nitrogen deposition, indicating that they are not good indicators of deposition rate. - Highlights: > N deposition is negatively correlated with forb richness as a proportion of species richness. > Soil C:N ratio increased with increasing N deposition. > Soil extractable nitrate and ammonium were not related to nitrogen deposition. > Plant-tissue N content was not a good indicator of N deposition. - Atmospheric nitrogen deposition affects soils, plant-tissue chemistry and plant species composition in acid grasslands in the Atlantic biogeographic region of Europe.

  15. Carbohydrates and thermal properties indicate a decrease in stable aggregate carbon following forest colonization of mountain grassland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Guidi, Claudia; Cannella, David; Leifeld, Jens

    2015-01-01

    and thermally labile C showed similar patterns in bulk soil, suggesting that thermal analysis can be used to complement chemical analysis although a straightforward relationship could not be established. Following forest expansion on abandoned grassland, ratios of microbially to plant-derived carbohydrates......In mountainous areas of Europe, the abandonment of grasslands followed by forest expansion is the dominant land-use change. Labile (i.e. easily decomposable) litter represents the major source for soil microbial products, which promote soil aggregation and long-term C stabilization. Our objective...... was to investigate changes in the content and origin of soil C components involved into aggregate stabilization (i.e. carbohydrates) following forest expansion on abandoned grassland in the Alps, where only few studies have been conducted. Changes in carbohydrates and thermally labile C were assessed along a land...

  16. Contrasting responses of grassland water and carbon exchanges to climate change between Tibetan Plateau and Inner Mongolia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, D.; Li, Y.; Wang, T.; Peylin, P. P.; MacBean, N.; Ciais, P.; Jia, G.; Ma, M.; Ma, Y.; Shen, M.; Zhang, X.; Piao, S.

    2017-12-01

    he grassland in Tibetan Plateau (TP) and Inner Mongolia (IM) of China play important roles in climate change mitigation. These two regions have increasingly experienced warming and changing precipitation regimes over the past three decades. However, it remains uncertain to what extent temperature and water availability regulate the water and carbon fluxes across alpine (TP) and temperate (IM) grasslands. Here, we optimize a process-based model of carbon and water fluxes using eddy covariance (EC) data and analyze the simulated results based upon the optimized model exposed to a range of annual temperature and precipitation anomalies. We found that the changes of NEE of TP grassland are relatively small because of compatible increasing rate of ecosystem respiration (Re) and the gross primary productivity (GPP) under warming. The NEE of IM grassland increases with warming due to faster reduction of GPP than Re under warm-induced drought. We also found suppression of plant transpiration as the primary cause for the muted response of evapotranspiration to warming in IM, which is in contrast to enhanced transpiration in TP. We therefore highlight that the underlying processes regulating the responses of water and carbon cycles to warming are fundamentally different between TP and IM grasslands.

  17. Initial Soil Organic Matter Content Influences the Storage and Turnover of Litter-, Root- and Soil Carbon in Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, L.; Xu, S.; Li, P.; Sayer, E. J.

    2017-12-01

    Grassland degradation is a worldwide problem that often leads to substantial loss of soil organic matter (SOM). Understanding how SOM content influences the stabilization of plant carbon (C) to form soil C is important to evaluate the potential of degraded grasslands to sequester additional C. We conducted a greenhouse experiment using C3 soils with six levels of SOM content and planted the C4 grass Cleistogenes squarrosa and/or added its litter to investigate how SOM content regulates the storage of new soil C derived from litter and roots, the decomposition of extant soil C, and the formation of soil aggregates. We found that microbial biomass carbon (MBC) increased with SOM content, and increased the mineralization of litter C. Both litter addition and planted treatments increased the amount of new C inputs to soil. However, litter addition had no significant impacts on the mineralization of extant soil C, but the presence of living roots significantly accelerated it. Thus, by the end of the experiment, soil C content was significantly higher in the litter addition treatments, but was not affected by planted treatments. The soil macroaggregate fraction increased with SOM content and was positively related to MBC. Overall, our study suggests that as SOM content increases, plant growth and soil microbes become more active, which allows microbes to process more plant-derived C and increases new soil C formation. The interactions between SOM content and plant C inputs should be considered when evaluating soil C turnover in degraded grasslands.

  18. Energy analysis of various grassland utilisation systems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jozef Ržonca

    2005-01-01

    Full Text Available In 2003 and 2004 was carried out the energy analysis of the different types of permanent grassland utilization on the Hrubý Jeseník locality. There were estimated values of the particular entrances of additional energy. Energy entrances moved according to the pratotechnologies from 2.17 GJ. ha–1 to 22.70 GJ.ha–1. The biggest share on energy entrances had fertilizers. It was 84.93% by the nitrogen fertilisation. The most energy benefit of brutto and nettoenergy was marked by the low intensive utilisation (33.40 GJ.ha–1 NEL and 32.40 GJ.ha–1 NEV on average. The highest value of energy efficiency (13.23% was marked by the low intensive utilization of permanent grassland. By using of higher doses of industrial fertilizers has energy efficiency decreased. From view of energy benefit and intensiveness on energy entrances it appears the most available utilisation of permanent grassland with three cuts per year (first cut on May 31st at the latest, every next after 60 days or two cuts per year (first cut on July 15th, next cuts after 90 days.

  19. The Effects of Land-Use Change from Grassland to Miscanthus x giganteus on Soil N2O Emissions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael Williams

    2013-09-01

    Full Text Available A one year field trial was carried out on three adjacent unfertilised plots; an 18 year old grassland, a 14 year old established Miscanthus crop, and a 7 month old newly planted Miscanthus crop. Measurements of N2O, soil temperature, water filled pore space (WFPS, and inorganic nitrogen concentrations, were made every one to two weeks. Soil temperature, WFPS and NO3− and NH4+ concentrations were all found to be significantly affected by land use. Temporal crop effects were also observed in soil inorganic nitrogen dynamics, due in part to C4 litter incorporation into the soil under Miscanthus. Nonetheless, soil N2O fluxes were not significantly affected by land use. Cumulative yearly N2O fluxes were relatively low, 216 ± 163, 613 ± 294, and 377 ± 132 g·N·ha−1·yr−1 from the grassland, newly planted Miscanthus, and established Miscanthus plots respectively, and fell within the range commonly observed for unfertilised grasslands dominated by perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne. Higher mean cumulative fluxes were measured in the newly planted Miscanthus, which may be linked to a possible unobserved increase immediately after establishment. However, these differences were not statistically significant. Based on the results of this experiment, land-use change from grassland to Miscanthus will have a neutral impact on medium to long-term N2O emissions.

  20. Seeding method influences warm-season grass abundance and distribution but not local diversity in grassland restoration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yurkonis, Kathryn A.; Wilsey, Brian J.; Moloney, Kirk A.; Drobney, Pauline; Larson, Diane L.

    2010-01-01

    Ecological theory predicts that the arrangement of seedlings in newly restored communities may influence future species diversity and composition. We test the prediction that smaller distances between neighboring seeds in drill seeded grassland plantings would result in lower species diversity, greater weed abundance, and larger conspecific patch sizes than otherwise similar broadcast seeded plantings. A diverse grassland seed mix was either drill seeded, which places seeds in equally spaced rows, or broadcast seeded, which spreads seeds across the ground surface, into 24 plots in each of three sites in 2005. In summer 2007, we measured species abundance in a 1 m2 quadrat in each plot and mapped common species within the quadrat by recording the most abundant species in each of 64 cells. Quadrat-scale diversity and weed abundance were similar between drilled and broadcast plots, suggesting that processes that limited establishment and controlled invasion were not affected by such fine-scale seed distribution. However, native warm-season (C4) grasses were more abundant and occurred in less compact patches in drilled plots. This difference in C4 grass abundance and distribution may result from increased germination or vegetative propagation of C4 grasses in drilled plots. Our findings suggest that local plant density may control fine-scale heterogeneity and species composition in restored grasslands, processes that need to be further investigated to determine whether seed distributions can be manipulated to increase diversity in restored grasslands.

  1. Organic vs. conventional grassland management: do (15)N and (13)C isotopic signatures of hay and soil samples differ?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klaus, Valentin H; Hölzel, Norbert; Prati, Daniel; Schmitt, Barbara; Schöning, Ingo; Schrumpf, Marion; Fischer, Markus; Kleinebecker, Till

    2013-01-01

    Distinguishing organic and conventional products is a major issue of food security and authenticity. Previous studies successfully used stable isotopes to separate organic and conventional products, but up to now, this approach was not tested for organic grassland hay and soil. Moreover, isotopic abundances could be a powerful tool to elucidate differences in ecosystem functioning and driving mechanisms of element cycling in organic and conventional management systems. Here, we studied the δ(15)N and δ(13)C isotopic composition of soil and hay samples of 21 organic and 34 conventional grasslands in two German regions. We also used Δδ(15)N (δ(15)N plant - δ(15)N soil) to characterize nitrogen dynamics. In order to detect temporal trends, isotopic abundances in organic grasslands were related to the time since certification. Furthermore, discriminant analysis was used to test whether the respective management type can be deduced from observed isotopic abundances. Isotopic analyses revealed no significant differences in δ(13)C in hay and δ(15)N in both soil and hay between management types, but showed that δ(13)C abundances were significantly lower in soil of organic compared to conventional grasslands. Δδ(15)N values implied that management types did not substantially differ in nitrogen cycling. Only δ(13)C in soil and hay showed significant negative relationships with the time since certification. Thus, our result suggest that organic grasslands suffered less from drought stress compared to conventional grasslands most likely due to a benefit of higher plant species richness, as previously shown by manipulative biodiversity experiments. Finally, it was possible to correctly classify about two third of the samples according to their management using isotopic abundances in soil and hay. However, as more than half of the organic samples were incorrectly classified, we infer that more research is needed to improve this approach before it can be efficiently

  2. Organic vs. Conventional Grassland Management: Do 15N and 13C Isotopic Signatures of Hay and Soil Samples Differ?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klaus, Valentin H.; Hölzel, Norbert; Prati, Daniel; Schmitt, Barbara; Schöning, Ingo; Schrumpf, Marion; Fischer, Markus; Kleinebecker, Till

    2013-01-01

    Distinguishing organic and conventional products is a major issue of food security and authenticity. Previous studies successfully used stable isotopes to separate organic and conventional products, but up to now, this approach was not tested for organic grassland hay and soil. Moreover, isotopic abundances could be a powerful tool to elucidate differences in ecosystem functioning and driving mechanisms of element cycling in organic and conventional management systems. Here, we studied the δ15N and δ13C isotopic composition of soil and hay samples of 21 organic and 34 conventional grasslands in two German regions. We also used Δδ15N (δ15N plant - δ15N soil) to characterize nitrogen dynamics. In order to detect temporal trends, isotopic abundances in organic grasslands were related to the time since certification. Furthermore, discriminant analysis was used to test whether the respective management type can be deduced from observed isotopic abundances. Isotopic analyses revealed no significant differences in δ13C in hay and δ15N in both soil and hay between management types, but showed that δ13C abundances were significantly lower in soil of organic compared to conventional grasslands. Δδ15N values implied that management types did not substantially differ in nitrogen cycling. Only δ13C in soil and hay showed significant negative relationships with the time since certification. Thus, our result suggest that organic grasslands suffered less from drought stress compared to conventional grasslands most likely due to a benefit of higher plant species richness, as previously shown by manipulative biodiversity experiments. Finally, it was possible to correctly classify about two third of the samples according to their management using isotopic abundances in soil and hay. However, as more than half of the organic samples were incorrectly classified, we infer that more research is needed to improve this approach before it can be efficiently used in practice

  3. Soil invertebrate fauna enhances grassland succession and diversity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    De Deyn, Gerlinde B; Raaijmakers, Ciska E; Zoomer, H Rik; Berg, Matty P; de Ruiter, Peter C; Verhoef, Herman A; Bezemer, T Martijn; van der Putten, Wim H

    2003-04-17

    One of the most important areas in ecology is to elucidate the factors that drive succession in ecosystems and thus influence the diversity of species in natural vegetation. Significant mechanisms in this process are known to be resource limitation and the effects of aboveground vertebrate herbivores. More recently, symbiotic and pathogenic soil microbes have been shown to exert a profound effect on the composition of vegetation and changes therein. However, the influence of invertebrate soil fauna on succession has so far received little attention. Here we report that invertebrate soil fauna might enhance both secondary succession and local plant species diversity. Soil fauna from a series of secondary grassland succession stages selectively suppress early successional dominant plant species, thereby enhancing the relative abundance of subordinate species and also that of species from later succession stages. Soil fauna from the mid-succession stage had the strongest effect. Our results clearly show that soil fauna strongly affects the composition of natural vegetation and we suggest that this knowledge might improve the restoration and conservation of plant species diversity.

  4. Effects of grassland management on the emission of methane from grassland on peat soils

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Oenema, O. [Department of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, Wageningen Agricultural University, Wageningen (Netherlands)

    1995-12-31

    The aim of the project on the title subject is to provide insight into the major controlling factors that contribute to the net exchange rates of methane (CH4) between grassland and atmosphere, and to provide quantitative net CH4 emission rates. Net CH4 emissions have been monitored with vented closed flux chambers on both intensively managed grasslands and grasslands in a nature preserve on peat soil in the Netherlands. Net CH4 emissions from intensively managed grasslands (Zegveld, Netherlands) were low in the period January-December 1994, in general in the range of -0.2 to 0.2 mg CH4 m{sup -2} d{sup -1}. Only in the relatively warm summer of 1994, consumption of atmospheric CH4 of about 0.4 mg m{sup -2} d{sup -1} was measured. Effects of ground water level in the range of 30-60 cm below surface were very small. There were also no clear effects of nitrogen fertilization and grazing versus mowing on CH4 emission from the soil. Net CH4 emissions from three extensively managed grasslands in a nature preserve (Nieuwkoopse Plassen area in the Netherlands) ranged from 0-215 mg CH4 m{sup -2} d{sup -1} in the period January 1994-June 1995. Differences between the three sites were quite large, as were the spatial variations at each of the sites. The results presented here indicate that a shift of intensively managed peat grasslands into more natural ecosystems will significantly increase the contribution of Dutch peat soils to the total CH4 emission. refs.

  5. More than a century of Grain for Green Program is expected to restore soil carbon stock on alpine grassland revealed by field {sup 13}C pulse labeling

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Li, Qi; Chen, Dongdong; Zhao, Liang [Key Laboratory of Adaptation and Evolution of Plateau Biota, Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xining 810008, Qinghai (China); Yang, Xue [Department of Education of Qinghai Province, Xining 810008, Qinghai (China); Xu, Shixiao [Key Laboratory of Adaptation and Evolution of Plateau Biota, Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xining 810008, Qinghai (China); Zhao, Xinquan, E-mail: xqzhao@nwipb.cas.cn [Key Laboratory of Adaptation and Evolution of Plateau Biota, Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xining 810008, Qinghai (China); Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu 10041, Sichuan (China)

    2016-04-15

    Anthropogenic changes in land use/cover have altered the vegetation, soil, and carbon (C) cycling on the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau (QTP) over the last ~ 50 years. As a result, the Grain for Green Program (GfGP) has been widely implemented over the last 10 years to mitigate the impacts of cultivation. To quantify the effects of the GfGP on C partitioning and turnover rates at the ecosystem scale, an in situ {sup 13}C pulse labeling experiment was conducted on natural and GfGP grasslands in an agro-pastoral ecotone in the Lake Qinghai region on the QTP. We found that there were significant differences in the C stocks of all the considered pools in both the natural and GfGP grasslands, with higher CO{sub 2} uptake rates in the GfGP grassland than that in the natural grassland. Partitioning of photoassimilate (% of recovered {sup 13}C) in C pools of both grasslands was similar 25 days after labeling, except in the roots of the 0–15 and 5–15 cm soil layer. Soil organic C (SOC) sequestration rate in the GfGP grassland was 11.59 ± 1.89 g C m{sup −2} yr{sup −1} significantly greater than that in the natural grassland. The results confirmed that the GfGP is an efficient approach for grassland restoration and C sequestration. However, it will take more than a century (119.19 ± 20.26 yr) to restore the SOC stock from the current cropland baseline level to the approximate level of natural grassland. We suggest that additional measures are needed in the selection of suitable plant species for vegetation restoration, and in reasonable grazing management. - Highlights: • Grain for Green Project initiated in 1999 converts cropland to grassland/shrubland. • Impact of Grain for Green on carbon cycling on Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau is unknown. • Effects on carbon partitioning and turnover were accessed by {sup 13}CO{sub 2} pulse labeling. • Different mass of {sup 13}C in excess, similar {sup 13}C partitioning are shown in grasslands. • Soil organic carbon of

  6. More than a century of Grain for Green Program is expected to restore soil carbon stock on alpine grassland revealed by field "1"3C pulse labeling

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Li, Qi; Chen, Dongdong; Zhao, Liang; Yang, Xue; Xu, Shixiao; Zhao, Xinquan

    2016-01-01

    Anthropogenic changes in land use/cover have altered the vegetation, soil, and carbon (C) cycling on the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau (QTP) over the last ~ 50 years. As a result, the Grain for Green Program (GfGP) has been widely implemented over the last 10 years to mitigate the impacts of cultivation. To quantify the effects of the GfGP on C partitioning and turnover rates at the ecosystem scale, an in situ "1"3C pulse labeling experiment was conducted on natural and GfGP grasslands in an agro-pastoral ecotone in the Lake Qinghai region on the QTP. We found that there were significant differences in the C stocks of all the considered pools in both the natural and GfGP grasslands, with higher CO_2 uptake rates in the GfGP grassland than that in the natural grassland. Partitioning of photoassimilate (% of recovered "1"3C) in C pools of both grasslands was similar 25 days after labeling, except in the roots of the 0–15 and 5–15 cm soil layer. Soil organic C (SOC) sequestration rate in the GfGP grassland was 11.59 ± 1.89 g C m"−"2 yr"−"1 significantly greater than that in the natural grassland. The results confirmed that the GfGP is an efficient approach for grassland restoration and C sequestration. However, it will take more than a century (119.19 ± 20.26 yr) to restore the SOC stock from the current cropland baseline level to the approximate level of natural grassland. We suggest that additional measures are needed in the selection of suitable plant species for vegetation restoration, and in reasonable grazing management. - Highlights: • Grain for Green Project initiated in 1999 converts cropland to grassland/shrubland. • Impact of Grain for Green on carbon cycling on Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau is unknown. • Effects on carbon partitioning and turnover were accessed by "1"3CO_2 pulse labeling. • Different mass of "1"3C in excess, similar "1"3C partitioning are shown in grasslands. • Soil organic carbon of cropland will be restored to natural

  7. Modeled Changes in Potential Grassland Productivity and in Grass-Fed Ruminant Livestock Density in Europe over 1961-2010.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chang, Jinfeng; Viovy, Nicolas; Vuichard, Nicolas; Ciais, Philippe; Campioli, Matteo; Klumpp, Katja; Martin, Raphaël; Leip, Adrian; Soussana, Jean-François

    2015-01-01

    About 25% of European livestock intake is based on permanent and sown grasslands. To fulfill rising demand for animal products, an intensification of livestock production may lead to an increased consumption of crop and compound feeds. In order to preserve an economically and environmentally sustainable agriculture, a more forage based livestock alimentation may be an advantage. However, besides management, grassland productivity is highly vulnerable to climate (i.e., temperature, precipitation, CO2 concentration), and spatial information about European grassland productivity in response to climate change is scarce. The process-based vegetation model ORCHIDEE-GM, containing an explicit representation of grassland management (i.e., herbage mowing and grazing), is used here to estimate changes in potential productivity and potential grass-fed ruminant livestock density across European grasslands over the period 1961-2010. Here "potential grass-fed ruminant livestock density" denotes the maximum density of livestock that can be supported by grassland productivity in each 25 km × 25 km grid cell. In reality, livestock density could be higher than potential (e.g., if additional feed is supplied to animals) or lower (e.g., in response to economic factors, pedo-climatic and biotic conditions ignored by the model, or policy decisions that can for instance reduce livestock numbers). When compared to agricultural statistics (Eurostat and FAOstat), ORCHIDEE-GM gave a good reproduction of the regional gradients of annual grassland productivity and ruminant livestock density. The model however tends to systematically overestimate the absolute values of productivity in most regions, suggesting that most grid cells remain below their potential grassland productivity due to possible nutrient and biotic limitations on plant growth. When ORCHIDEE-GM was run for the period 1961-2010 with variable climate and rising CO2, an increase of potential annual production (over 3%) per decade

  8. Not seeing the grass for the trees: Timber plantations and agriculture shrink tropical montane grassland by two-thirds over four decades in the Palani Hills, a Western Ghats Sky Island.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arasumani, M; Khan, Danish; Das, Arundhati; Lockwood, Ian; Stewart, Robert; Kiran, Ravi A; Muthukumar, M; Bunyan, Milind; Robin, V V

    2018-01-01

    Tropical montane habitats, grasslands, in particular, merit urgent conservation attention owing to the disproportionate levels of endemic biodiversity they harbour, the ecosystem services they provide, and the fact that they are among the most threatened habitats globally. The Shola Sky Islands in the Western Ghats host a matrix of native forest-grassland matrix that has been planted over the last century, with exotic timber plantations. The popular discourse on the landscape change is that mainly forests have been lost to the timber plantations and recent court directives are to restore Shola forest trees. In this study, we examine spatiotemporal patterns of landscape change over the last 40 years in the Palani Hills, a significant part of the montane habitat in the Western Ghats. Using satellite imagery and field surveys, we find that 66% of native grasslands and 31% of native forests have been lost over the last 40 years. Grasslands have gone from being the dominant, most contiguous land cover to one of the rarest and most fragmented. They have been replaced by timber plantations and, to a lesser extent, expanding agriculture. We find that the spatial pattern of grassland loss to plantations differs from the loss to agriculture, likely driven by the invasion of plantation species into grasslands. We identify remnant grasslands that should be prioritised for conservation and make specific recommendations for conservation and restoration of grasslands in light of current management policy in the Palani Hills, which favours large-scale removal of plantations and emphasises the restoration of native forests.

  9. Precipitation alters interactions in a grassland ecological community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deguines, Nicolas; Brashares, Justin S; Prugh, Laura R

    2017-03-01

    Climate change is transforming precipitation regimes world-wide. Changes in precipitation regimes are known to have powerful effects on plant productivity, but the consequences of these shifts for the dynamics of ecological communities are poorly understood. This knowledge gap hinders our ability to anticipate and mitigate the impacts of climate change on biodiversity. Precipitation may affect fauna through direct effects on physiology, behaviour or demography, through plant-mediated indirect effects, or by modifying interactions among species. In this paper, we examined the response of a semi-arid ecological community to a fivefold change in precipitation over 7 years. We examined the effects of precipitation on the dynamics of a grassland ecosystem in central California from 2007 to 2013. We conducted vegetation surveys, pitfall trapping of invertebrates, visual surveys of lizards and capture-mark-recapture surveys of rodents on 30 plots each year. We used structural equation modelling to evaluate the direct, indirect and modifying effects of precipitation on plants, ants, beetles, orthopterans, kangaroo rats, ground squirrels and lizards. We found pervasive effects of precipitation on the ecological community. Although precipitation increased plant biomass, direct effects on fauna were often stronger than plant-mediated effects. In addition, precipitation altered the sign or strength of consumer-resource and facilitative interactions among the faunal community such that negative or neutral interactions became positive or vice versa with increasing precipitation. These findings indicate that precipitation influences ecological communities in multiple ways beyond its recognized effects on primary productivity. Stochastic variation in precipitation may weaken the average strength of biotic interactions over time, thereby increasing ecosystem stability and resilience to climate change. © 2016 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology © 2016 British Ecological

  10. Soil respiration and organic carbon dynamics with grassland conversions to woodlands in temperate china.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wei Wang

    Full Text Available Soils are the largest terrestrial carbon store and soil respiration is the second-largest flux in ecosystem carbon cycling. Across China's temperate region, climatic changes and human activities have frequently caused the transformation of grasslands to woodlands. However, the effect of this transition on soil respiration and soil organic carbon (SOC dynamics remains uncertain in this area. In this study, we measured in situ soil respiration and SOC storage over a two-year period (Jan. 2007-Dec. 2008 from five characteristic vegetation types in a forest-steppe ecotone of temperate China, including grassland (GR, shrubland (SH, as well as in evergreen coniferous (EC, deciduous coniferous (DC and deciduous broadleaved forest (DB, to evaluate the changes of soil respiration and SOC storage with grassland conversions to diverse types of woodlands. Annual soil respiration increased by 3%, 6%, 14%, and 22% after the conversion from GR to EC, SH, DC, and DB, respectively. The variation in soil respiration among different vegetation types could be well explained by SOC and soil total nitrogen content. Despite higher soil respiration in woodlands, SOC storage and residence time increased in the upper 20 cm of soil. Our results suggest that the differences in soil environmental conditions, especially soil substrate availability, influenced the level of annual soil respiration produced by different vegetation types. Moreover, shifts from grassland to woody plant dominance resulted in increased SOC storage. Given the widespread increase in woody plant abundance caused by climate change and large-scale afforestation programs, the soils are expected to accumulate and store increased amounts of organic carbon in temperate areas of China.

  11. Interactions between the flooding regime and floodplain grasslands in the Tana River Delta, in Kenya

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leauthaud, Crystele; Musila, Winfred; Duvail, Stéphanie; Kergoat, Laurent; Hiernaux, Pierre; Grippa, Manuela; Albergel, Jean

    2017-04-01

    The floodplain grasslands of the Tana River Delta, located on the East African coast in Kenya, form part of an intertwined socio-ecological deltaic system of high biodiversity value that delivers numerous goods and services. Mainly composed of Echinochloa stagnina (Retz) P. Beauv., a high-value forage species, this ecosystem is the major dry-season grazing grounds of the local pastoralist communities. The construction of hydroelectric infrastructure has led to a modification of the flooding regime. The impacts of the resulting reduction of floods in the deltaic zone on ecosystem properties and services still need to be assessed. In such a perspective, this study characterizes the link between the flooding regime of the Tana River and the growth pattern of its floodplain grassland. Aboveground dry phytomass was sampled for 15 months under a wide variety of naturally flooded and non-flooded conditions and controlled irrigation and cutting frequency treatments. Annual aboveground dry phytomass attained high values between 11 T.ha-1 and 32 T.ha-1 and annual net primary production of the grasslands reached 35 T.ha-1.year-1. Growth rates clearly depended on the flooding regime, management and climate conditions and were on average more than twice as fast during, and 50% faster after the floods, relative to pre-flood conditions. A plant growth model allowed testing the effect of different flooding regimes on plant productivity, confirming very low productivity in the absence of floods. These results suggest that rangeland and water management for the Tana River deltaic wetlands are tightly linked. The projected construction of another dam could lead to a reduction of flood extent and period and a decrease of grassland productivity and growth duration. Mitigation of this type of negative impacts, which will have direct and adverse consequences for the pastoralist communities as well as on the delivery of other goods and services, needs to be undertaken.

  12. The community ecology of barley/cereal yellow dwarf viruses in Western US grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Power, Alison G; Borer, Elizabeth T; Hosseini, Parviez; Mitchell, Charles E; Seabloom, Eric W

    2011-08-01

    Research on plant viruses in natural ecosystems has been increasing rapidly over the past decade. This paper reviews recent research on the barley and cereal yellow dwarf viruses (B/CYDVs) in grasslands of the western US, beginning with the evidence that the disease caused by these viruses facilitated the invasion of western US grasslands by European annual grasses. Observational and experimental studies of B/CYDVs were carried out along a latitudinal gradient (33.8-48.8°N) from southern California to southern Canada. The prevalence and community composition of B/CYDVs were assessed over a variety of scales and under a range of biotic and abiotic conditions. The findings indicate that both biotic and abiotic factors are important influences on virus ecology and epidemiology. Introduced annual grasses are high-quality hosts that amplify both virus and vector populations in this system, but our research suggests that endemic perennial grasses are critically important for sustaining virus populations in contemporary grasslands largely composed of introduced species. Experiments indicated that increased phosphorus supply to hosts resulted in greater host biomass and higher virus prevalence. Using experimental exclosures, it was found that the presence of grazing vertebrate herbivores increased the abundance of annual grasses, resulting in increased virus prevalence. The results of these studies suggest that patterns of B/CYDV prevalence and coinfection in western US grasslands are strongly shaped by the interactions of host plants, vectors, vertebrate herbivores, and abiotic drivers including nutrients. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  13. Supporting biodiversity by prescribed burning in grasslands - A multi-taxa approach.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Valkó, Orsolya; Deák, Balázs; Magura, Tibor; Török, Péter; Kelemen, András; Tóth, Katalin; Horváth, Roland; Nagy, Dávid D; Debnár, Zsuzsanna; Zsigrai, György; Kapocsi, István; Tóthmérész, Béla

    2016-12-01

    There are contrasting opinions on the use of prescribed burning management in European grasslands. On the one hand, prescribed burning can be effectively used for the management of open landscapes, controlling dominant species, reducing accumulated litter or decreasing wildfire risk. On the other hand burning can have a detrimental impact on grassland biodiversity by supporting competitor grasses and by threatening several rare and endangered species, especially arthropods. We studied the effects of prescribed burning in alkaline grasslands of high conservation interest. Our aim was to test whether dormant-season prescribed burning can be an alternative conservation measure in these grasslands. We selected six sites in East-Hungary: in three sites, a prescribed fire was applied in November 2011, while three sites remained unburnt. We studied the effects of burning on soil characteristics, plant biomass and on the composition of vegetation and arthropod assemblages (isopods, spiders, ground beetles and rove beetles). Soil pH, organic matter, potassium and phosphorous did not change, but soluble salt content increased significantly in the burnt sites. Prescribed burning had several positive effects from the nature conservation viewpoint. Shannon diversity and the number of flowering shoots were higher, and the cover of the dominant grass Festuca pseudovina was lower in the burnt sites. Graminoid biomass was lower, while total, green and forb biomass were higher in the burnt plots compared to the control. The key finding of our study was that prescribed burning did not decrease the abundance and diversity of arthropod taxa. Species-level analyses showed that out of the most abundant invertebrate species, 10 were not affected, 1 was negatively and 1 was positively affected by burning. Moreover, our results suggest that prescribed burning leaving unburnt patches can be a viable management tool in open landscapes, because it supports plant diversity and does not threaten

  14. Conservation reserve program: benefit for grassland birds in the northern plains

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reynolds, R.E.; Shaffer, T.L.; Sauer, J.R.; Peterjohn, B.G.

    1994-01-01

    cropland in some counties has been converted primarily to grass. In North Dakota, nearly 3 million acres have been enrolled. Over 90 percent of the CRP plantings in North Dakota are grass and grass-legume mix composed primarily of wheatgrass (Agropyron spp.), smooth brome (Bromus inermis), alfalfa (Medicago saliva) and sweetclover (Melilotus spp.). Mixes of these species have been reported to attract high densities of nesting ducks (Duebbert and Kantrud 1974). According to the CRP provisions, the land must remain idle for the 10-year contract period, with the exception of emergency provisions for haying or grazing. CRP appears to have great potential for benefiting many species of grassland-nesting birds. There have been efforts to document the importance of the CRP to migratory birds in the Upper Great Plains of the U.S. Kantrud (1993) studied duck nest success in CRP cover and concluded that nest success was higher than in planted cover on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs). Johnson and Schwartz (1993a) measured the use of CRP fields by nonwaterfowl birds and reported that several species have responded positively by colonizing CRP fields. They concluded that CRP has the potential to help reverse the population declines of several species. We investigated the importance of CRP to upland-nesting ducks and certain other grassland-nesting birds. For ducks, we compared nest success in CRP cover with nest success in planted cover on WPAs in the same period (1992-93) and with that of an earlier period (1980-84). For nonwaterfowl, we used BBS data to compare the trends in populations of certain species found in CRP, for the periods 1966-86 (pre-CRP cover establishment) and 1987-92 (post-CRP cover establishment) in North Dakota.

  15. Landscape and Local Controls of Insect Biodiversity in Conservation Grasslands: Implications for the Conservation of Ecosystem Service Providers in Agricultural Environments

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Thomas O. Crist

    2014-07-01

    Full Text Available The conservation of biodiversity in intensively managed agricultural landscapes depends on the amount and spatial arrangement of cultivated and natural lands. Conservation incentives that create semi-natural grasslands may increase the biodiversity of beneficial insects and their associated ecosystem services, such as pollination and the regulation of insect pests, but the effectiveness of these incentives for insect conservation are poorly known, especially in North America. We studied the variation in species richness, composition, and functional-group abundances of bees and predatory beetles in conservation grasslands surrounded by intensively managed agriculture in Southwest Ohio, USA. Characteristics of grassland patches and surrounding land-cover types were used to predict insect species richness, composition, and functional-group abundance using linear models and multivariate ordinations. Bee species richness was positively influenced by forb cover and beetle richness was positively related to grass cover; both taxa had greater richness in grasslands surrounded by larger amounts of semi-natural land cover. Functional groups of bees and predatory beetles defined by body size and sociality varied in their abundance according to differences in plant composition of grassland patches, as well as the surrounding land-cover diversity. Intensive agriculture in the surrounding landscape acted as a filter to both bee and beetle species composition in conservation grasslands. Our results support the need for management incentives to consider landscape-level processes in the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

  16. Vegetation structure and heavy metal uptake by plants in the mining ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    This study assessed the plant species composition and the heavy metal uptake by plants in the mining-impacted and non mining-impacted areas of the southern Lake Victoria basin. The vegetation of the wetlands was stratified into riverine forest, riverine thickets, swampy grassland, open woodland and floodplain grassland ...

  17. Functional Trait Changes, Productivity Shifts and Vegetation Stability in Mountain Grasslands during a Short-Term Warming.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Debouk, Haifa; de Bello, Francesco; Sebastià, Maria-Teresa

    2015-01-01

    Plant functional traits underlie vegetation responses to environmental changes such as global warming, and consequently influence ecosystem processes. While most of the existing studies focus on the effect of warming only on species diversity and productivity, we further investigated (i) how the structure of community plant functional traits in temperate grasslands respond to experimental warming, and (ii) whether species and functional diversity contribute to a greater stability of grasslands, in terms of vegetation composition and productivity. Intact vegetation turves were extracted from temperate subalpine grassland (highland) in the Eastern Pyrenees and transplanted into a warm continental, experimental site in Lleida, in Western Catalonia (lowland). The impacts of simulated warming on plant production and diversity, functional trait structure, and vegetation compositional stability were assessed. We observed an increase in biomass and a reduction in species and functional diversity under short-term warming. The functional structure of the grassland communities changed significantly, in terms of functional diversity and community-weighted means (CWM) for several traits. Acquisitive and fast-growing species with higher SLA, early flowering, erect growth habit, and rhizomatous strategy became dominant in the lowland. Productivity was significantly positively related to species, and to a lower extent, functional diversity, but productivity and stability after warming were more dependent on trait composition (CWM) than on diversity. The turves with more acquisitive species before warming changed less in composition after warming. Results suggest that (i) the short-term warming can lead to the dominance of acquisitive fast growing species over conservative species, thus reducing species richness, and (ii) the functional traits structure in grassland communities had a greater influence on the productivity and stability of the community under short-term warming

  18. Functional Trait Changes, Productivity Shifts and Vegetation Stability in Mountain Grasslands during a Short-Term Warming.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Haifa Debouk

    Full Text Available Plant functional traits underlie vegetation responses to environmental changes such as global warming, and consequently influence ecosystem processes. While most of the existing studies focus on the effect of warming only on species diversity and productivity, we further investigated (i how the structure of community plant functional traits in temperate grasslands respond to experimental warming, and (ii whether species and functional diversity contribute to a greater stability of grasslands, in terms of vegetation composition and productivity. Intact vegetation turves were extracted from temperate subalpine grassland (highland in the Eastern Pyrenees and transplanted into a warm continental, experimental site in Lleida, in Western Catalonia (lowland. The impacts of simulated warming on plant production and diversity, functional trait structure, and vegetation compositional stability were assessed. We observed an increase in biomass and a reduction in species and functional diversity under short-term warming. The functional structure of the grassland communities changed significantly, in terms of functional diversity and community-weighted means (CWM for several traits. Acquisitive and fast-growing species with higher SLA, early flowering, erect growth habit, and rhizomatous strategy became dominant in the lowland. Productivity was significantly positively related to species, and to a lower extent, functional diversity, but productivity and stability after warming were more dependent on trait composition (CWM than on diversity. The turves with more acquisitive species before warming changed less in composition after warming. Results suggest that (i the short-term warming can lead to the dominance of acquisitive fast growing species over conservative species, thus reducing species richness, and (ii the functional traits structure in grassland communities had a greater influence on the productivity and stability of the community under short

  19. Distinguishing Intensity Levels of Grassland Fertilization Using Vegetation Indices

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jens L. Hollberg

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Monitoring the reaction of grassland canopies on fertilizer application is of major importance to enable a well-adjusted management supporting a sustainable production of the grass crop. Up to date, grassland managers estimate the nutrient status and growth dynamics of grasslands by costly and time-consuming field surveys, which only provide low temporal and spatial data density. Grassland mapping using remotely-sensed Vegetation Indices (VIs has the potential to contribute to solving these problems. In this study, we explored the potential of VIs for distinguishing five differently-fertilized grassland communities. Therefore, we collected spectral signatures of these communities in a long-term fertilization experiment (since 1941 in Germany throughout the growing seasons 2012–2014. Fifteen VIs were calculated and their seasonal developments investigated. Welch tests revealed that the accuracy of VIs for distinguishing these grassland communities varies throughout the growing season. Thus, the selection of the most promising single VI for grassland mapping was dependent on the date of the spectra acquisition. A random forests classification using all calculated VIs reduced variations in classification accuracy within the growing season and provided a higher overall precision of classification. Thus, we recommend a careful selection of VIs for grassland mapping or the utilization of temporally-stable methods, i.e., including a set of VIs in the random forests algorithm.

  20. Cattle slurry on grassland - application methods and nitrogen use efficiency

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Lalor, S.T.J.

    2014-01-01

    Cattle slurry represents a significant resource on grassland-based farming systems. The objective of this thesis was to investigate and devise cattle slurry application methods and strategies that can be implemented on grassland farms to improve the efficiency with which nitrogen (N) in

  1. Ecological transition in Arizona's subalpine and montane grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Michael R. White

    2000-01-01

    Important components of Southwest forest ecosystem are subalpine and montane grassland communities, Grassland communities provide habitat diversity for wildlife, forage for domestic livestock and wildlife, and contribute to the visual quality of an area. The objectives of this research were to determine if: 1) vegetation attributes and soil-surface cover variables of...

  2. Influence of density on the seasonal utilization of broad grassland ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    We monitored seasonal use of grassland types by white rhinos at two sites within the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park (HiP). Thirty-two rhinos were removed from one site to reduce rhino density. Seasonal use of grassland types was similar at both sites, but differed to what a previous study reported. This was likely due to higher food ...

  3. Grassland Aboveground Biomass in Inner Mongolia: Dynamics (2001-2016) and Driving force

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, F.; Zeng, Y.; Chen, J.; Wu, B.

    2017-12-01

    Plant biomass is the most critical measure of carbon stored in an ecosystem, yet it remains imprecisely modeled for many terrestrial biomes. This lack of modeling capacity for biomass and its change through time and space has impeded scientists from making headway concerning issues in the geographic and social sciences. Satellite remote sensing techniques excel at detecting changes in the Earth's surface; however, accurate estimates of biomass for the heterogeneous biome landscapes based on remote sensing techniques are few and far between, which has led to many repetitive studies. Here, we argued that our ability to assess biomass in a heterogeneous landscape using satellite remote sensing techniques would be effectively enhanced through a stratification of landscapes, i.e homogenizing landscapes. Specifically, above-ground biomass (AGB) for an extended heterogeneous grassland biome over the entirety of Inner Mongolia during the past 16 years (2001-2016) was explored using remote sensing time series data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). Massive and extensive in-situ measurement AGB data and pure vegetation index (PVI) models, developed from normal remote sensing vegetation indices such as the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and the enhanced vegetation index (EVI), were highlighted in the accomplishment of this study. Taking into full consideration the landscape heterogeneity for the grassland biome over Inner Mongolia, we achieved a series of AGB models with high R2 (>0.85) and low RMSE ( 20.85 g/m2). The total average amount of fresh AGB for the entirety of Inner Mongolia grasslands over the past 16 years was estimated as 87 Tg with an inter-annual standard deviation of 9 Tg. Overall, the grassland AGB for Inner Mongolia increased sporadically. We found that the dynamics of AGB in the grassland biome of Inner Mongolia were substantially dominated by variation in precipitation despite the accommodation of a huge

  4. Phosphorus cycles of forest and upland grassland ecosystems and some effects of land management practices.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harrison, A F

    The distribution of phosphorus capital and net annual transfers of phosphorus between the major components of two unfertilized phosphorus-deficient UK ecosystems, an oak--ash woodland in the Lake District and an Agrostis-Festuca grassland in Snowdonia (both on acid brown-earth soils), have been estimted in terms of kg P ha--1. In both ecosystems less than 3% of the phosphorus, totalling 1890 kg P ha--1 and 3040 kg P ha--1 for the woodland and grassland, respectively, is contained in the living biomass and half that is below ground level. Nearly all the phosphorus is in the soil matrix. Although the biomass phosphorus is mostly in the vegetation, the soil fauna and vegetation is slower (25%) than in the grassland vegetatation (208%). More than 85% of the net annual vegetation uptake of phosphorus from the soil is returned to the soil, mainly in organic debris, which in the grassland ecosystem is more than twice as rich in phosphorus (0.125% P) as in the woodland ecosystem (0.053% P). These concentrations are related to the rates of turnover (input/P content) of phosphorus in the litter layer on the soil surface; it is faster in the grassland (460%) than in the woodland (144%). In both cycles plant uptake of phosphorus largely depends on the release of phosphorus through decomposition of the organic matter returned to soil. In both the woodland and the grassland, the amount of cycling phosphorus is potentially reduced by its immobilization in tree and sheep production and in undecomposed organic matter accumulating in soil. It is assumed that the reductions are counterbalanced by the replenishment of cycling phosphorus by (i) some mineralization of organically bound phosphorus in the mineral soil, (ii) the income in rainfall and aerosols not being effectively lost in soil drainage waters and (iii) rock weathering. The effects of the growth of conifers and sheep grazing on the balance between decomposition and accumulation of organic matter returned to soil are

  5. Nearly Increased Dry-season Flows after Reforesting Degraded Fire-climax Grassland in the Philippines

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Meerveld, I. H. J.; Zhang, J.; Bruijnzeel, L. A.; Tripoli, R.; Quiñones, C. M. O.

    2017-12-01

    After decades of logging and shifting cultivation, vast tracts in tropical SE Asia have turned to fire-climax grassland. Whilst the hydrological functioning of Imperata grasslands has been studied little, the general perception is they are major contributors to downstream flooding and siltation. As such, Imperata grasslands are targeted widely for reforestation in the expectation to improve regional hydrology. Yet, numerous small catchment studies within and outside the tropics have typically shown decreased annual water yield after reforestation of grass- or cropland, with the bulk of the decrease observed during times of baseflow. Yet, it is theoretically possible that the higher water use of the planted trees is compensated by improved soil infiltration capacity after reforestation which should lead to higher baseflows, the so-called infiltration trade-off. To examine a rare claim of increased baseflow after reforesting an Imperata grassland in northern Leyte (Philippines) we compared a 3.2 ha degraded headwater catchment under Imperata with a nearby 8.7 ha catchment under 23-year-old reforestation. Both catchments were underlain by mafic rock, had perennial flow and were demonstrably watertight, thus allowing comparisons to be made. Grassland saturated soil hydraulic conductivity (Ksat) decreased from 10 mm h-1 at the surface to 2.9 mm h-1 at 20-40 cm depth and <1 mm h-1 below 60 cm, suggesting not only possibly frequent overland flow but also perched groundwater conditions at 20 cm depth. By contrast, Ksat of the forest soil decreased from 370 mm h-1 in the top 5 cm via 60 mm h-1 at 20 cm, with lower values found only deeper in the profile (7.3 and 2.6 mm h-1 at 60 and 90 cm, respectively). Thus, stormflows Qq for the reforestation were smaller and less `flashy' compared to the grassland catchment. Depending on how the annual reduction in catchment-wide infiltration (assumed equal to the difference in total Qq between catchments) was estimated, the trade

  6. Effects of Government Grassland Conservation Policy on Household Livelihoods and Dependence on Local Grasslands: Evidence from Inner Mongolia, China

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bingzhen Du

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available Grassland degradation intensifies human-environment conflicts and adversely affects local residents’ livelihoods. To reduce grassland degradation in Inner Mongolia, China, the government has enforced (since 1998 a series of grassland conservation and management policies that restrict the use of grasslands. To ease the impact on the residents’ livelihoods, the national and regional governments have offered a series of top-down arrangements to stimulate sustainable use of the grasslands. Simultaneously, local households spontaneously developed bottom-up countermeasures. To determine the effects of these processes, we interviewed members of 135 households using a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods. We analyzed the effects on household dependence on local grasslands and on perceptions of the future of grassland use. Our findings show that the implementation of the grassland conservation policies significantly affected household livelihoods, which in turn affected household use of natural assets (primarily the land, their agricultural assets (farming and grazing activities and their financial assets (income and consumption, resulting in fundamental transformation of their lifestyles. The households developed adaptation measures to account for the dependence of their livelihood on local ecosystems by initializing strategies, such as seeking off-farm work, leasing pasture land, increasing purchases of fodder for stall-fed animals and altering their diet and fuel consumption to compensate for their changing livelihoods.

  7. Sensitive Indicators of Zonal Stipa Species to Changing Temperature and Precipitation in Inner Mongolia Grassland, China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lv, Xiaomin; Zhou, Guangsheng; Wang, Yuhui; Song, Xiliang

    2016-01-01

    Climate change often induces shifts in plant functional traits. However, knowledge related to sensitivity of different functional traits and sensitive indicator representing plant growth under hydrothermal change remains unclear. Inner Mongolia grassland is predicted to be one of the terrestrial ecosystems which are most vulnerable to climate change. In this study, we analyzed the response of four zonal Stipa species (S. baicalensis, S. grandis, S. breviflora, and S. bungeana) from Inner Mongolia grassland to changing temperature (control, increased 1.5, 2, 4, and 6°C), precipitation (decreased 30 and 15%, control, increased 15 and 30%) and their combined effects via climate control chambers. The relative change of functional traits in the unit of temperature and precipitation change was regarded as sensitivity coefficient and sensitive indicators were examined by pathway analysis. We found that sensitivity of the four Stipa species to changing temperature and precipitation could be ranked as follows: S. bungeana > S. grandis > S. breviflora > S. baicalensis. In particular, changes in leaf area, specific leaf area and root/shoot ratio could account for 86% of the changes in plant biomass in the four Stipa species. Also these three measurements were more sensitive to hydrothermal changes than the other functional traits. These three functional indicators reflected the combination of plant production capacity (leaf area), adaptive strategy (root/shoot ratio), instantaneous environmental effects (specific leaf area), and cumulative environmental effects (leaf area and root/shoot ratio). Thus, leaf area, specific leaf area and root/shoot ratio were chosen as sensitive indicators in response to changing temperature and precipitation for Stipa species. These results could provide the basis for predicting the influence of climate change on Inner Mongolia grassland based on the magnitude of changes in sensitive indicators. PMID:26904048

  8. Mapping grasslands suitable for cellulosic biofuels in the Greater Platte River Basin, United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wylie, Bruce K.; Gu, Yingxin

    2012-01-01

    Biofuels are an important component in the development of alternative energy supplies, which is needed to achieve national energy independence and security in the United States. The most common biofuel product today in the United States is corn-based ethanol; however, its development is limited because of concerns about global food shortages, livestock and food price increases, and water demand increases for irrigation and ethanol production. Corn-based ethanol also potentially contributes to soil erosion, and pesticides and fertilizers affect water quality. Studies indicate that future potential production of cellulosic ethanol is likely to be much greater than grain- or starch-based ethanol. As a result, economics and policy incentives could, in the near future, encourage expansion of cellulosic biofuels production from grasses, forest woody biomass, and agricultural and municipal wastes. If production expands, cultivation of cellulosic feedstock crops, such as switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) and miscanthus (Miscanthus species), is expected to increase dramatically. The main objective of this study is to identify grasslands in the Great Plains that are potentially suitable for cellulosic feedstock (such as switchgrass) production. Producing ethanol from noncropland holdings (such as grassland) will minimize the effects of biofuel developments on global food supplies. Our pilot study area is the Greater Platte River Basin, which includes a broad range of plant productivity from semiarid grasslands in the west to the fertile corn belt in the east. The Greater Platte River Basin was the subject of related U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) integrated research projects.

  9. The conversion of grasslands to forests in Southern South America: Shifting evapotranspiration, stream flow and groundwater dynamics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jobbagy, E. G.; Nosetto, M. D.; Pineiro, G.; Farley, K. A.; Palmer, S. M.; Jackson, R. B.

    2005-12-01

    Vegetation changes, particularly those involving transitions between tree- and grass-dominated systems, often modify evaporation as a result of plant-mediated shifts in moisture access and demand. The establishment of tree plantations (fast growing eucalypts and pines) on native grasslands is emerging as a major land-use change, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere, where cheap land and labor, public subsidies, and prospective C sequestration rewards provide converging incentives. What are the hydrological consequences of grassland afforestation? How are crucial ecosystem services such as fresh water supply and hydrological regulation being affected? We explore these questions focusing on a) evapotranspiration, b) stream flow, and c) groundwater recharge-discharge patterns across a network of paired stands and small watershed occupied by native grassland and tree plantation in Argentina and Uruguay. Radiometric information obtained from Landsat satellite images was used to estimate daily evapotranspiration in >100 tree plantations and grasslands stands in the humid plains of the Uruguay River (mean annual precipitation, MAP= 1350 mm). In spite of their lower albedo, tree plantations were 0.5 C° cooler than grasslands. Energy balance calculations suggested 80% higher evapotranspiration in afforested plots with relative differences becoming larger during dry periods. Seasonal stream flow measurements in twelve paired watershed (50-500 Ha) in the hills of Comechingones (MAP= 800 mm) and Minas (MAP= 1200 mm) showed declining water yields following afforestation. Preliminary data in Cordoba showed four-fold reductions of base flow in the dry season and two-fold reductions of peak flow after storms. A network of twenty paired grassland-plantation stands covering a broad range of sediment textures in the Pampas (MAP= 1000 mm, typical groundwater depth= 1-5 m) showed increased groundwater salinity in afforested stands (plantation:grassland salinity ratio = 1.2, 10, and

  10. The effects of tree establishment on water and salt dynamics in naturally salt-affected grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nosetto, Marcelo D; Jobbágy, Esteban G; Tóth, Tibor; Di Bella, Carlos M

    2007-07-01

    Plants, by influencing water fluxes across the ecosystem-vadose zone-aquifer continuum, can leave an imprint on salt accumulation and distribution patterns. We explored how the conversion of native grasslands to oak plantations affected the abundance and distribution of salts on soils and groundwater through changes in the water balance in naturally salt-affected landscapes of Hortobagy (Hungary), a region where artificial drainage performed approximately 150 years ago lowered the water table (from -2 to -5 m) decoupling it from the surface ecosystem. Paired soil sampling and detailed soil conductivity transects revealed consistently different salt distribution patterns between grasslands and plantations, with shallow salinity losses and deep salinity gains accompanying tree establishment. Salts accumulated in the upper soil layers during pre-drainage times have remained in drained grasslands but have been flushed away under tree plantations (65 and 83% loss of chloride and sodium, respectively, in the 0 to -0.5 m depth range) as a result of a five- to 25-fold increase in infiltration rates detected under plantations. At greater depth, closer to the current water table level, the salt balance was reversed, with tree plantations gaining 2.5 kg sodium chloride m(-2) down to 6 m depth, resulting from groundwater uptake and salt exclusion by tree roots in the capillary fringe. Diurnal water table fluctuations, detected in a plantation stand but not in the neighbouring grasslands, together with salt mass balances suggest that trees consumed approximately 380 mm groundwater per year, re-establishing the discharge regime and leading to higher salt accumulation rates than those interrupted by regional drainage practices more than a century ago. The strong influences of vegetation changes on water dynamics can have cascading consequences on salt accumulation and distribution, and a broad ecohydrological perspective that explicitly considers vegetation-groundwater links is

  11. Seedling responses to water pulses in shrubs with contrasting histories of grassland encroachment.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Steven R Woods

    Full Text Available Woody plant encroachment into grasslands has occurred worldwide, but it is unclear why some tree and shrub species have been markedly more successful than others. For example, Prosopis velutina has proliferated in many grasslands of the Sonoran Desert in North America over the past century, while other shrub species with similar growth form and life history, such as Acacia greggii, have not. We conducted a glasshouse experiment to assess whether differences in early seedling development could help explain why one species and not the other came to dominate many Sonoran Desert grasslands. We established eight watering treatments mimicking a range of natural precipitation patterns and harvested seedlings 16 or 17 days after germination. A. greggii had nearly 7 times more seed mass than P. velutina, but P. velutina emerged earlier (by 3.0±0.3 d and grew faster (by 8.7±0.5 mg d⁻¹. Shoot mass at harvest was higher in A. greggii (99±6 mg seedling⁻¹ than in P. velutina (74±2 mg seedling⁻¹, but there was no significant difference in root mass (54±3 and 49±2 mg seedling⁻¹, respectively. Taproot elongation was differentially sensitive to water supply: under the highest initial watering pulse, taproots were 52±19 mm longer in P. velutina than in A. greggii. Enhanced taproot elongation under favorable rainfall conditions could give nascent P. velutina seedlings growth and survivorship advantages by helping reduce competition with grasses and maintain contact with soil water during drought. Conversely, A. greggii's greater investment in mass per seed appeared to provide little return in early seedling growth. We suggest that such differences in recruitment traits and their sensitivities to environmental conditions may help explain ecological differences between species that are highly similar as adults and help identify pivotal drivers of shrub encroachment into grasslands.

  12. An assessment of rehabilitation success in an African grassland using ants as bioindicators

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Samantha-Leigh Jamison

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available Many studies that evaluate rehabilitation make use of invertebrate bioindicators. Invertebrates, especially ants, make useful indicators as they are sensitive to environmental change. We compared ant assemblages in rehabilitated and control sites in the Rietvlei Nature Reserve, a protected area important for grassland conservation in South Africa. Pitfall traps were used to sample ant assemblages at six control sites and six rehabilitated sites. In addition, environmental and vegetation surveys were conducted at each site. We found that the ant assemblages differed significantly between the control and rehabilitated sites, although there was considerable overlap; the control sites supported a greater species density and higher abundance of ants than the rehabilitated sites. In total, 36 ant species were collected (control sites: 34 species; rehabilitated sites: 26 species. The environmental survey revealed that percentages of bare ground and coarse sand, as well as soil pH, differed significantly between the control and rehabilitated sites. The control and rehabilitated sites also supported significantly different plant assemblages. Three indicator ant species were identified for the control sites: Crematogaster rectinota, Crematogaster amita and Monomorium fastidium. No indicator species were identified for the rehabilitated sites. These results suggest that recovery from the previous agricultural use of the area is still incomplete and highlights the lack of research examining the success of rehabilitation in the grassland biome. Conservation implications: The present study illustrates the need for further research on rehabilitation techniques utilised in the grassland biome. This is of value as the remainder of South African grasslands are considered critically endangered.

  13. Priming of soil carbon decomposition in two inner Mongolia grassland soils following sheep dung addition: A study using13C natural abundance approach

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ma, Xiuzhi; Ambus, Per; Wang, Shiping

    2013-01-01

    To investigate the effect of sheep dung on soil carbon (C) sequestration, a 152 days incubation experiment was conducted with soils from two different Inner Mongolian grasslands, i.e. a Leymus chinensis dominated grassland representing the climax community (2.1% organic matter content) and a heav......To investigate the effect of sheep dung on soil carbon (C) sequestration, a 152 days incubation experiment was conducted with soils from two different Inner Mongolian grasslands, i.e. a Leymus chinensis dominated grassland representing the climax community (2.1% organic matter content......) and a heavily degraded Artemisia frigida dominated community (1.3% organic matter content). Dung was collected from sheep either fed on L. chinensis (C3 plant with δ13C = -26.8‰; dung δ13C = -26.2‰) or Cleistogenes squarrosa (C4 plant with δ13C = -14.6‰; dung δ13C = -15.7‰). Fresh C3 and C4 sheep dung was mixed......-amended controls. In both grassland soils, ca. 60% of the evolved CO2 originated from the decomposing sheep dung and 40% from the native soil C. Priming effects of soil C decomposition were observed in both soils, i.e. 1.4 g and 1.6 g additional soil C kg-1 dry soil had been emitted as CO2 for the L. chinensis...

  14. Land use change and ecosystem service provision in Pampas and Campos grasslands of southern South America

    Science.gov (United States)

    Modernel, P.; Rossing, W. A. H.; Corbeels, M.; Dogliotti, S.; Picasso, V.; Tittonell, P.

    2016-11-01

    New livestock production models need to simultaneously meet the increasing global demand for meat and preserve biodiversity and ecosystem services. Since the 16th century beef cattle has been produced on the Pampas and Campos native grasslands in southern South America, with only small amounts of external inputs. We synthesised 242 references from peer-reviewed and grey literature published between 1945 and mid-2015 and analysed secondary data to examine the evidence on the ecosystem services provided by this grassland biodiversity hotspot and the way they are affected by land use changes and their drivers. The analysis followed the requirements of systematic review from the PRISMA statement (Moher et al 2009 Acad. Clin. Ann. Intern. Med. 151 264-9). The Pampas and Campos provide feed for 43 million heads of cattle and 14 million sheep. The biome is habitat of 4000 native plant species, 300 species of birds, 29 species of mammals, 49 species of reptiles and 35 species of amphibians. The soils of the region stock 5% of the soil organic carbon of Latin America on 3% of its area. Driven by high prices of soybean, the soybean area increased by 210% between 2000 and 2010, at the expense of 2 million ha (5%) of native grassland, mostly in the Pampas. Intensification of livestock production was apparent in two spatially distinct forms. In subregions where cropping increased, intensification of livestock production was reflected in an increased use of grains for feed as part of feedlots. In subregions dominated by native grasslands, stocking rates increased. The review showed that land use change and grazing regimes with low forage allowances were predominantly associated with negative effects on ecosystem service provision by reducing soil organic carbon stocks and the diversity of plants, birds and mammals, and by increasing soil erosion. We found little quantitative information on changes in the ecosystem services water provision, nutrient cycling and erosion control

  15. Indirect Effects of Energy Development in Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Duquette, Cameron Albert

    Grassland landscapes in North America are undergoing rapid industrialization due to energy development facilitated by the growing popularity of fracking and horizontal drilling technology. Each year over 3 million hectares are lost from grassland and shrubland habitats to well infrastructure. Direct footprints from energy infrastructure cause impacts to vegetation cover, available cattle forage, carbon sequestration potential, and usable space for wildlife. However, legacy effects from well construction and noise pollution, light pollution, and altered viewsheds have the potential to impact areas beyond this direct footprint, causing additive and persistent changes to nearby grassland function. While these additional areas may be small on a well pad basis, they may have substantial cumulative impacts over time. To investigate these effects via a diversity of mechanisms, we studied the seasonal habitat selection of northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus, hereafter bobwhite) in an energy-producing landscape to evaluate space use patterns relative to energy infrastructure. Habitat selection was modeled in the breeding and nonbreeding season using resource Utilization functions (RUFs). We then investigated patterns of vegetation, arthropod, and soil characteristics surrounding well pads to assess small scale environmental gradients extending away from drilling pads via a combination of multivariate and univariate techniques (i.e., Nonmetric dimensional scaling and ANOVA). We found minimal avoidance of energy structures by quail, suggesting a tolerance of moderate development levels. All small-scale effects studied except for soil moisture were impacted at the pad itself (P < 0.01). Off-pad impacts to arthropod abundance and biomass were spatially limited to areas close to pads, while vegetation cover was typically lower than the surrounding habitat beyond 10 m of pads. Soil surface temperature was higher at distances close to well pads, and soil moisture was not

  16. Drought consistently alters the composition of soil fungal and bacterial communities in grasslands from two continents.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ochoa-Hueso, Raúl; Collins, Scott L; Delgado-Baquerizo, Manuel; Hamonts, Kelly; Pockman, William T; Sinsabaugh, Robert L; Smith, Melinda D; Knapp, Alan K; Power, Sally A

    2018-03-05

    The effects of short-term drought on soil microbial communities remain largely unexplored, particularly at large scales and under field conditions. We used seven experimental sites from two continents (North America and Australia) to evaluate the impacts of imposed extreme drought on the abundance, community composition, richness, and function of soil bacterial and fungal communities. The sites encompassed different grassland ecosystems spanning a wide range of climatic and soil properties. Drought significantly altered the community composition of soil bacteria and, to a lesser extent, fungi in grasslands from two continents. The magnitude of the fungal community change was directly proportional to the precipitation gradient. This greater fungal sensitivity to drought at more mesic sites contrasts with the generally observed pattern of greater drought sensitivity of plant communities in more arid grasslands, suggesting that plant and microbial communities may respond differently along precipitation gradients. Actinobateria, and Chloroflexi, bacterial phyla typically dominant in dry environments, increased their relative abundance in response to drought, whereas Glomeromycetes, a fungal class regarded as widely symbiotic, decreased in relative abundance. The response of Chlamydiae and Tenericutes, two phyla of mostly pathogenic species, decreased and increased along the precipitation gradient, respectively. Soil enzyme activity consistently increased under drought, a response that was attributed to drought-induced changes in microbial community structure rather than to changes in abundance and diversity. Our results provide evidence that drought has a widespread effect on the assembly of microbial communities, one of the major drivers of soil function in terrestrial ecosystems. Such responses may have important implications for the provision of key ecosystem services, including nutrient cycling, and may result in the weakening of plant-microbial interactions and a

  17. Frequent fire promotes diversity and cover of biological soil crusts in a derived temperate grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Bryan, Katharine E; Prober, Suzanne Mary; Lunt, Ian D; Eldridge, David J

    2009-04-01

    The intermediate disturbance hypothesis (IDH) predicts that species diversity is maximized at moderate disturbance levels. This model is often applied to grassy ecosystems, where disturbance can be important for maintaining vascular plant composition and diversity. However, effects of disturbance type and frequency on cover and diversity of non-vascular plants comprising biological soil crusts are poorly known, despite their potentially important role in ecosystem function. We established replicated disturbance regimes of different type (fire vs. mowing) and frequency (2, 4, 8 yearly and unburnt) in a high-quality, representative Themeda australis-Poa sieberiana derived grassland in south-eastern Australia. Effects on soil crust bryophytes and lichens (hereafter cryptogams) were measured after 12 years. Consistent with expectations under IDH, cryptogam richness and abundance declined under no disturbance, likely due to competitive exclusion by vascular plants as well as high soil turnover by soil invertebrates beneath thick grass. Disturbance type was also significant, with burning enhancing richness and abundance more than mowing. Contrary to expectations, however, cryptogam richness increased most dramatically under our most frequent and recent (2 year) burning regime, even when changes in abundance were accounted for by rarefaction analysis. Thus, from the perspective of cryptogams, 2-year burning was not an adequately severe disturbance regime to reduce diversity, highlighting the difficulty associated with expression of disturbance gradients in the application of IDH. Indeed, significant correlations with grassland structure suggest that cryptogam abundance and diversity in this relatively mesic (600 mm annual rainfall) grassland is maximised by frequent fires that reduce vegetation and litter cover, providing light, open areas and stable soil surfaces for colonisation. This contrasts with detrimental effects of 2-year burning on native perennial grasses

  18. The effects of warming and nitrogen addition on soil nitrogen cycling in a temperate grassland, northeastern China.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lin-Na Ma

    Full Text Available Both climate warming and atmospheric nitrogen (N deposition are predicted to affect soil N cycling in terrestrial biomes over the next century. However, the interactive effects of warming and N deposition on soil N mineralization in temperate grasslands are poorly understood.A field manipulation experiment was conducted to examine the effects of warming and N addition on soil N cycling in a temperate grassland of northeastern China from 2007 to 2009. Soil samples were incubated at a constant temperature and moisture, from samples collected in the field. The results showed that both warming and N addition significantly stimulated soil net N mineralization rate and net nitrification rate. Combined warming and N addition caused an interactive effect on N mineralization, which could be explained by the relative shift of soil microbial community structure because of fungal biomass increase and strong plant uptake of added N due to warming. Irrespective of strong intra- and inter-annual variations in soil N mineralization, the responses of N mineralization to warming and N addition did not change during the three growing seasons, suggesting independence of warming and N responses of N mineralization from precipitation variations in the temperate grassland.Interactions between climate warming and N deposition on soil N cycling were significant. These findings will improve our understanding on the response of soil N cycling to the simultaneous climate change drivers in temperate grassland ecosystem.

  19. Effects of large herbivores on grassland arthropod diversity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Klink, R; van der Plas, F; van Noordwijk, C G E Toos; WallisDeVries, M F; Olff, H

    2015-05-01

    Both arthropods and large grazing herbivores are important components and drivers of biodiversity in grassland ecosystems, but a synthesis of how arthropod diversity is affected by large herbivores has been largely missing. To fill this gap, we conducted a literature search, which yielded 141 studies on this topic of which 24 simultaneously investigated plant and arthropod diversity. Using the data from these 24 studies, we compared the responses of plant and arthropod diversity to an increase in grazing intensity. This quantitative assessment showed no overall significant effect of increasing grazing intensity on plant diversity, while arthropod diversity was generally negatively affected. To understand these negative effects, we explored the mechanisms by which large herbivores affect arthropod communities: direct effects, changes in vegetation structure, changes in plant community composition, changes in soil conditions, and cascading effects within the arthropod interaction web. We identify three main factors determining the effects of large herbivores on arthropod diversity: (i) unintentional predation and increased disturbance, (ii) decreases in total resource abundance for arthropods (biomass) and (iii) changes in plant diversity, vegetation structure and abiotic conditions. In general, heterogeneity in vegetation structure and abiotic conditions increases at intermediate grazing intensity, but declines at both low and high grazing intensity. We conclude that large herbivores can only increase arthropod diversity if they cause an increase in (a)biotic heterogeneity, and then only if this increase is large enough to compensate for the loss of total resource abundance and the increased mortality rate. This is expected to occur only at low herbivore densities or with spatio-temporal variation in herbivore densities. As we demonstrate that arthropod diversity is often more negatively affected by grazing than plant diversity, we strongly recommend considering the

  20. Seasonal methane dynamics in three temperate grasslands on peat

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Schäfer, Carolyn; Elsgaard, Lars; Hoffmann, Carl Christian

    2012-01-01

    Background and Aims Drained peatlands are considered to be insignificant CH4 sources, but the effect of drainage on CH4 dynamics has not been extensively studied. We investigated seasonal dynamics of CH4 in two fen peat soils and one bog peat soil under permanent grassland in Denmark. Methods Soil......, even though soil CH4 concentrations of up to 155 and 1000 μmol CH4 dm−3 were measured in one of the fen peats and in the bog peat, respectively. Significant CH4 concentrations were observed above the water table. Methane production assays confirmed the presence of viable methanogens in the upper parts...... of the bog peat soil. The aerenchymous plant Juncus effusus L. liberated CH4 from the peat at rates of up to 3.3 mg CH4 m−2 h−1. No CH4 dynamics were observed in the second fen peat which, in contrast to the other two sites, had high sulfate concentrations. Conclusions Peat type and the distribution...

  1. The role of grasslands in food security and climate change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Mara, F P

    2012-11-01

    Grasslands are a major part of the global ecosystem, covering 37 % of the earth's terrestrial area. For a variety of reasons, mostly related to overgrazing and the resulting problems of soil erosion and weed encroachment, many of the world's natural grasslands are in poor condition and showing signs of degradation. This review examines their contribution to global food supply and to combating climate change. Grasslands make a significant contribution to food security through providing part of the feed requirements of ruminants used for meat and milk production. Globally, this is more important in food energy terms than pig meat and poultry meat. Grasslands are considered to have the potential to play a key role in greenhouse gas mitigation, particularly in terms of global carbon storage and further carbon sequestration. It is estimated that grazing land management and pasture improvement (e.g. through managing grazing intensity, improved productivity, etc) have a global technical mitigation potential of almost 1·5 Gt CO(2) equivalent in 2030, with additional mitigation possible from restoration of degraded lands. Milk and meat production from grassland systems in temperate regions has similar emissions of carbon dioxide per kilogram of product as mixed farming systems in temperate regions, and, if carbon sinks in grasslands are taken into account, grassland-based production systems can be as efficient as high-input systems from a greenhouse gas perspective. Grasslands are important for global food supply, contributing to ruminant milk and meat production. Extra food will need to come from the world's existing agricultural land base (including grasslands) as the total area of agricultural land has remained static since 1991. Ruminants are efficient converters of grass into humanly edible energy and protein and grassland-based food production can produce food with a comparable carbon footprint as mixed systems. Grasslands are a very important store of carbon, and

  2. Facilitation by a Spiny Shrub on a Rhizomatous Clonal Herbaceous in Thicketization-Grassland in Northern China: Increased Soil Resources or Shelter from Herbivores

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Saixiyala

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available The formation of fertility islands by shrubs increases soil resources heterogeneity in thicketization-grasslands. Clonal plants, especially rhizomatous or stoloniferous clonal plants, can form large clonal networks and use heterogeneously distributed resources effectively. In addition, shrubs, especially spiny shrubs, may also provide herbaceous plants with protection from herbivores, acting as ‘shelters’. The interaction between pre-dominated clonal herbaceous plants and encroaching shrubs remains unclear in thicketization-grassland under grazing pressure. We hypothesized that clonal herbaceous plants can be facilitated by encroached shrubs as a ‘shelter from herbivores’ and/or as an ‘increased soil resources’ under grazing pressure. To test this hypothesis, a total of 60 quadrats were chosen in a thicket-grassland in northern China that was previously dominated by Leymus chinensis and was encroached upon by the spiny leguminous plant Caragana intermedia. The soil and plant traits beneath and outside the shrub canopies were sampled, investigated and contrasted with an enclosure. The soil organic matter, soil total nitrogen and soil water content were significantly higher in the soil beneath the shrub canopies than in the soil outside the canopies. L. chinensis beneath the shrub canopies had significantly higher plant height, single shoot biomass, leaf length and width than outside the shrub canopies. There were no significantly differences between plant growth in enclosure and outside the shrub canopies. These results suggested that under grazing pressure in a grassland undergoing thicketization, the growth of the rhizomatous clonal herbaceous plant L. chinensis was facilitated by the spiny shrub C. intermedia as a ‘shelter from herbivores’ more than through ‘increased soil resources’. We propose that future studies should focus on the community- and ecosystem-level impacts of plant clonality.

  3. The roles of precipitation regimes on juniper forest encroachment on grasslands in Oklahoma

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, J.; Xiao, X.; Qin, Y.

    2017-12-01

    Woody plant encroachment into grasslands has been dominantly explained by fire suppression, grazing and CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. As different root depths of grasses and trees in soils, increased precipitation intensity was expected to facilitate the woody plant abundance, which was demonstrated by the field precipitation test in a sub-tropical savanna ecosystem. However, it is lacking to compressively examine the roles of precipitation regimes on woody plant encroachment at regional scales based on long-term observation data. This study examined the relationships between changes of precipitation regimes (amounts, frequency and intensity) and dynamics of juniper forest coverage using site-based rainfall data and remote sensing-based juniper forest maps in 1994-2010 over Oklahoma State. Our results showed that precipitation amount and intensity played larger roles than frequency on the juniper forest encroachment into the grassland in Oklahoma, and increased precipitation amount and intensity could facilitate the juniper woody encroachment. This practice based on observation data at the regional scale could be used to support precipitation experiments and model simulations and predicting the juniper forest encroachment.

  4. Disentangling the Effects of Precipitation Amount and Frequency on the Performance of 14 Grassland Species

    Science.gov (United States)

    Didiano, Teresa J.; Johnson, Marc T. J.; Duval, Tim P.

    2016-01-01

    Climate change is causing shifts in the amount and frequency of precipitation in many regions, which is expected to have implications for plant performance. Most research has examined the impacts of the amount of precipitation on plants rather than the effects of both the amount and frequency of precipitation. To understand how climate-driven changes in precipitation can affect grassland plants, we asked: (i) How does the amount and frequency of precipitation affect plant performance? (ii) Do plant functional groups vary in their response to variable precipitation? To answer these questions we grew 14 monocot and eudicot grassland species and conducted a factorial manipulation of the amount (70 vs 90mm/month) and frequency (every 3, 15, or 30 days) of precipitation under rainout shelters. Our results show that both the amount and frequency of precipitation impact plant performance, with larger effects on eudicots than monocots. Above- and below-ground biomass were affected by the amount of precipitation and/or the interaction between the amount and frequency of precipitation. Above-ground biomass increased by 21–30% when the amount of precipitation was increased. When event frequency was decreased from 3 to 15 or 30 days, below-ground biomass generally decreased by 18–34% in the 70 mm treatment, but increased by 33–40% in the 90 mm treatment. Changes in stomatal conductance were largely driven by changes in event frequency. Our results show that it is important to consider changes in both the amount and frequency of precipitation when predicting how plant communities will respond to variable precipitation. PMID:27622497

  5. The VOC-Ozone connection: a grassland case study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wohlfahrt, G.; Hoertnagl, L.; Bamberger, I.; Schnitzhofer, R.; Dunkel, J.; Hammerle, A.; Graus, M.; Hansel, A.

    2009-04-01

    Trophospheric ozone (O3) is formed in the presence of sunlight through the interaction of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and NOx (NO, NO2). O3 damages plants in several ways, most importantly by reducing net photosynthesis and growth. The extent of this damage depends on the time-integrated absorbed O3 flux (i.e. the dose), which is a function of leaf stomatal conductance and ambient O3 concentration, and further influenced by plant species specific defence mechanisms. VOCs are produced by plants through a variety of pathways and in response to a large number of different driving forces. A large variety of VOCs are emitted by plants in response to stress conditions, including the foliar uptake of O3. Here we present preliminary data from an ongoing study where concurrent measurements of the fluxes of VOCs and O3 are made above a managed mountain grassland in Tyrol/Austria. Fluxes of several different VOCs and O3 are measured by means of the eddy covariance method and a proton transfer reaction mass spectrometer (PTR-MS) and an ozone analyser, respectively. Our findings show that the Methanol (MeOH) flux is correlated with the daily time-integrated O3 uptake by vegetation (integrated daily from sunrise - a surrogate for the O3 dose absorbed and the oxidative stress experienced by plants) - MeOH deposition and emission prevailing at low and high time-integrated O3 uptake rates, respectively. Fluxes of other VOCs were not related to the time-integrated O3 uptake. Integrated over longer time scales (several weeks) no correlation between the O3 uptake and MeOH emissions were found. Our study thus confirms earlier leaf-level studies, who found that MeOH emission increase with O3 dose, at the ecosystems scale. As the reaction with the hydroxyl radical (OH), which is responsible for the destruction of the greenhouse gas methane (CH4), is the major sink of atmospheric MeOH, this process provides a potentially important indirect radiative forcing.

  6. Effect of sulfate fertilization on soil biota in grassland columns

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ikoyi, Israel; Donohue, John; Fowler, Andrew; Schmalenberger, Achim

    2017-04-01

    Sulfur (S) is an important macronutrient element in plant nutrition as a component of protein, enzymes, enzyme cofactors as well as being the major constituent of the amino acids cysteine and methionine. Organically bound S is the predominant form of S in the soil constituting up to 95% of S in agricultural soils. The most important form of S in terms of plant nutrition is inorganic sulfate which forms only about 5% of the total soil S content. Air pollution was the major source of S (as SO2) for plants, with up to 80% of the S obtained from this source. However, common effects of S limitation on crops such as chlorosis, yield reduction, and decrease in crop quality are becoming increasingly evident as atmospheric S supply has decreased in recent years. Recent research has shown that organically-bound S in soils is also plant-bioavailable, likely due to interconversion of organic S forms to inorganic sulfate by soil microbes. In this study, soil columns were setup in a greenhouse using moderate S (equivalent to Wisconsin S soil availability index of below 30) soils. The columns were planted with Lolium perenne and fertilized with 0 (control), 5 (low), 10 (medium) and 20 (high) kg/ha sulfate S alongside a full complement of other nutrients. Results after 14 weeks of management show a significant decrease (Pbacterial abundance of heterotrophs and aromatic sulfonate-utilizing bacteria upon S fertilization. In addition, soil from the top 20 cm of the column had significantly higher sulfatase activity compared to the bottom 20 cm. The medium and high S treatments had significantly higher grass dry matter yield compared to the control and low S treatments. All S treatments significantly shifted the bacterial community structure compared to the control. Overall, our preliminary results suggest that applying 5 kg/ ha S had similar effects on the soil biota as the control while the application of medium and high S had similar effects on most parameters. Moreover, this study

  7. Measurement of grassland evaporation using a surface-layer ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Measurement of grassland evaporation using a surface-layer scintillometer. ... Water SA. Journal Home · ABOUT THIS JOURNAL · Advanced Search ... of soil heat flux and net irradiance, evaporation rates were calculated as a residual of the ...

  8. Ecological mechanisms underlying arthropod species diversity in grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Joern, Anthony; Laws, Angela N

    2013-01-01

    Arthropods are an important component of grassland systems, contributing significantly to biodiversity and ecosystem structure and function. Climate, fire, and grazing by large herbivores are important drivers in grasslands worldwide. Arthropod responses to these drivers are highly variable and clear patterns are difficult to find, but responses are largely indirect with respect to changes in resources, species interactions, habitat structure, and habitat heterogeneity resulting from interactions among fire, grazing, and climate. Here, we review these ecological mechanisms influencing grassland arthropod diversity. We summarize hypotheses describing species diversity at local and regional scales and then discuss specific factors that may affect arthropod diversity in grassland systems. These factors include direct and indirect effects of grazing, fire, and climate, species interactions, above- and belowground interactions, and landscape-level effects.

  9. Soil Organic Carbon Responses to Forest Expansion on Mountain Grasslands

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Guidi, Claudia

    . Changes in labile soil C were assessed by carbohydrate and thermal analyses of soil samples and fractions. Forest expansion on mountain grasslands caused a decrease in SOC stocks within the mineral soil. The SOC accumulation within the organic layers following forest establishment could not fully...... and thermally labile to resistant components decreased from grassland to forest successional stages, and corresponded to decreased SOC protection within stable aggregates. This PhD thesis showed that mineral SOC stocks and physically protected SOC fractions decreased following forest expansion on mountain......Grassland abandonment followed by progressive forest expansion is the dominant land-use change in the European Alps. Contrasting trends in soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks have been reported for mountainous regions following forest expansion on grasslands. Moreover, its effects on SOC properties...

  10. Impact intensities of climatic changes on grassland ecosystems in ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    DR. NJ TONUKARI

    2012-03-22

    Mar 22, 2012 ... Construction of the impact intensity model of climatic changes on grassland ecosystem ... the temperature and rainfall (Sun and Mu, 2011). Thus, the study ... of the equation, the study transformed the measurement unit Mu of.

  11. Modeling the grazing effect on dry grassland carbon cycling with modified Biome-BGC grazing model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Luo, Geping; Han, Qifei; Li, Chaofan; Yang, Liao

    2014-05-01

    Identifying the factors that determine the carbon source/sink strength of ecosystems is important for reducing uncertainty in the global carbon cycle. Arid grassland ecosystems are a widely distributed biome type in Xinjiang, Northwest China, covering approximately one-fourth the country's land surface. These grasslands are the habitat for many endemic and rare plant and animal species and are also used as pastoral land for livestock. Using the modified Biome-BGC grazing model, we modeled carbon dynamics in Xinjiang for grasslands that varied in grazing intensity. In general, this regional simulation estimated that the grassland ecosystems in Xinjiang acted as a net carbon source, with a value of 0.38 Pg C over the period 1979-2007. There were significant effects of grazing on carbon dynamics. An over-compensatory effect in net primary productivity (NPP) and vegetation carbon (C) stock was observed when grazing intensity was lower than 0.40 head/ha. Grazing resulted in a net carbon source of 23.45 g C m-2 yr-1, which equaled 0.37 Pg in Xinjiang in the last 29 years. In general, grazing decreased vegetation C stock, while an increasing trend was observed with low grazing intensity. The soil C increased significantly (17%) with long-term grazing, while the soil C stock exhibited a steady trend without grazing. These findings have implications for grassland ecosystem management as it relates to carbon sequestration and climate change mitigation, e.g., removal of grazing should be considered in strategies that aim to increase terrestrial carbon sequestrations at local and regional scales. One of the greatest limitations in quantifying the effects of herbivores on carbon cycling is identifying the grazing systems and intensities within a given region. We hope our study emphasizes the need for large-scale assessments of how grazing impacts carbon cycling. Most terrestrial ecosystems in Xinjiang have been affected by disturbances to a greater or lesser extent in the past

  12. Responses of nocturnal rodents to shrub encroachment in Banni grasslands, Gujarat, India

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jayadevan, A.

    2016-12-01

    Shrub encroachment is one of the greatest threats to grasslands globally. These woodlands can strongly influence the behaviour of small mammals adapted to more open habitats, which rely on high visibility for early detection of predators. In semi-arid grasslands, rodents are considered keystone species. Although shrub encroachment is known to negatively affect rodent assemblages, its impact on the foraging behaviour of rodents, which is known to vary in response to risky situations, is unknown. Understanding whether shrub encroachment alters such antipredator behaviour is important as antipredator behaviour can alter the distribution, abundance and ultimately, survival of prey species. In this study, I explored the effects of shrub encroachment on the foraging behaviour of nocturnal rodent communities in the Banni grasslands, India. I examined foraging behaviour, quantified using the giving-up density (GUD) framework and the number of rodent crossings around food patches, in two habitats that differed in the extent of shrub encroachment. Under the GUD framework, the amount of food left behind by a forager in a food patch reflects the costs of feeding at the patch. Higher GUDs imply higher foraging costs. I also investigated how removal of an invasive woody plant, Prosopis juliflora would affect foraging behaviour of nocturnal rodents. High shrub encroachment was associated with higher foraging costs (higher GUDs) and lower activity than the sparsely wooded habitat, likely due to low visibility in the densely wooded habitat. The dense habitat also supported a higher richness and relative abundance of generalist rodents than the sparse habitat, likely due to the increased heterogeneity of the habitat. The tree removal experiment revealed that rodents had lower GUDs (i.e., low foraging costs) after the event of tree cutting. This may be due to the reduction of cover in the habitat, leading to higher visibility and lower predation risk. My results suggest that shrub

  13. Increased competition does not lead to increased phylogenetic overdispersion in a native grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bennett, Jonathan A; Lamb, Eric G; Hall, Jocelyn C; Cardinal-McTeague, Warren M; Cahill, James F

    2013-09-01

    That competition is stronger among closely related species and leads to phylogenetic overdispersion is a common assumption in community ecology. However, tests of this assumption are rare and field-based experiments lacking. We tested the relationship between competition, the degree of relatedness, and overdispersion among plants experimentally and using a field survey in a native grassland. Relatedness did not affect competition, nor was competition associated with phylogenetic overdispersion. Further, there was only weak evidence for increased overdispersion at spatial scales where plants are likely to compete. These results challenge traditional theory, but are consistent with recent theories regarding the mechanisms of plant competition and its potential effect on phylogenetic structure. We suggest that specific conditions related to the form of competition and trait conservatism must be met for competition to cause phylogenetic overdispersion. Consequently, overdispersion as a result of competition is likely to be rare in natural communities. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

  14. Modeling and validating tritium transfer in a grassland ecosystem in response to {sup 3}H releases

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Le Dizes, S. [Institute for Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety, IRSN/PRP-ENV/SERIS/LM2E, Centre de Cadarache, Saint-Paul-lez-Durance (France); Maro, D.; Rozet, M.; Hebert, D. [IRSN/PRP-ENV/SERIS/LRC, Cherbourg-Octeville (France)

    2015-03-15

    In this paper a radioecological model (TOCATTA) for tritium transfer in a grassland ecosystem developed on an hourly time-step basis is proposed and compared with the first data set obtained in the vicinity of the AREVA-NC reprocessing plant of La Hague (France). The TOCATTA model aims at simulating dynamics of tritium transfer in agricultural soil and plant ecosystems exposed to time-varying HTO concentrations in air water vapour and possibly in irrigation and rain water. In the present study, gaseous releases of tritium from the AREVA NC nuclear reprocessing plant in normal operation can be intense and intermittent over a period of less than 24 hours. A first comparison of the model predictions with the field data has shown that TOCATTA should be improved in terms of kinetics of tritium transfer.

  15. Biodiversity in temperate European grasslands: origin and conservation.

    OpenAIRE

    Pärtel, Meelis; Bruun, Hans Henrik; Sammul, Marek

    2005-01-01

    Northern Europe is in the forest zone, but wild megaherbivores have maintained grass-dominated vegetation here for the last 1.8 million years. Continuity of the grassland biome through glacialinterglacial cycles and connection to steppe vegetation has resulted in the evolution, immigration, and survival of a large number of grassland species. During the last millennia the effect of wild ungulates has been replaced by domestic grazers and hay making, and the persistence of grasslan...

  16. PV water pumping systems for grassland and farmland conservation

    OpenAIRE

    Campana, Pietro Elia

    2013-01-01

    Grassland degradation is considered as one of the worst environmental and economic problems in China because of the negative impacts on water and food security. The application of the photovoltaic water pumping (PVWP) technology for irrigation is an innovative and sustainable solution to curb the progress of grassland desertification and to promote the conservation of farmland in remote areas. The combination of PVWP with water saving irrigation techniques and the sustainable management of th...

  17. Grassland to woodland transitions: Dynamic response of microbial community structure and carbon use patterns

    Science.gov (United States)

    Creamer, Courtney A.; Filley, Timothy R.; Boutton, Thomas W.; Rowe, Helen I.

    2016-06-01

    Woodland encroachment into grasslands is a globally pervasive phenomenon attributed to land use change, fire suppression, and climate change. This vegetation shift impacts ecosystem services such as ground water allocation, carbon (C) and nutrient status of soils, aboveground and belowground biodiversity, and soil structure. We hypothesized that woodland encroachment would alter microbial community structure and function and would be related to patterns in soil C accumulation. To address this hypothesis, we measured the composition and δ13C values of soil microbial phospholipids (PLFAs) along successional chronosequences from C4-dominated grasslands to C3-dominated woodlands (small discrete clusters and larger groves) spanning up to 134 years. Woodland development increased microbial biomass, soil C and nitrogen (N) concentrations, and altered microbial community composition. The relative abundance of gram-negative bacteria (cy19:0) increased linearly with stand age, consistent with decreases in soil pH and/or greater rhizosphere development and corresponding increases in C inputs. δ13C values of all PLFAs decreased with time following woody encroachment, indicating assimilation of woodland C sources. Among the microbial groups, fungi and actinobacteria in woodland soils selectively assimilated grassland C to a greater extent than its contribution to bulk soil. Between the two woodland types, microbes in the groves incorporated relatively more of the relict C4-C than those in the clusters, potentially due to differences in below ground plant C allocation and organo-mineral association. Changes in plant productivity and C accessibility (rather than C chemistry) dictated microbial C utilization in this system in response to shrub encroachment.

  18. Impacts of Future Grassland Changes on Surface Climate in Mongolia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fan Zhang

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Climate change caused by land use/cover change (LUCC is becoming a hot topic in current global change, especially the changes caused by the grassland degradation. In this paper, based on the baseline underlying surface data of 1993, the predicted underlying surface data which can be derived through overlaying the grassland degradation information to the map of baseline underlying surface, and the atmospheric forcing data of RCP 6.0 from CMIP5, climatological changes caused by future grassland changes for the years 2010–2020 and 2040–2050 with the Weather Research Forecast model (WRF are simulated. The model-based analysis shows that future grassland degradation will significantly result in regional climate change. The grassland degradation in future could lead to an increasing trend of temperature in most areas and corresponding change range of the annual average temperature of −0.1°C–0.4°C, and it will cause a decreasing trend of precipitation and corresponding change range of the annual average precipitation of 10 mm–50 mm. This study identifies lines of evidence for effects of future grassland degradation on regional climate in Mongolia which provides meaningful decision-making information for the development and strategy plan making in Mongolia.

  19. Non-market value of Estonian seminatural grasslands: a contingent valuation study. Eesti poolloodusliku rohumaa turuväline väärtus: tingliku hindamise uuring

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Helli Lepasaar

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Seminatural grasslands i.e. the floodplain meadows, seashore meadows, wooded meadows, dry meadows, wooded pastures are the very traditional part of Estonian landscapes, which play an important role in the appearance of the landscape in general and also serve as an important habitat for many plant and animal species. In order to preserve the seminatural grasslands continuous annual mowing and/or pasturing is needed. This activity is not economically profitable and needs subsidizing. The authors of the work raise a hypothesis that the Estonian seminatural grasslands could be viewed as a valuable non-market environmental good for which a significant public demand exists. In order to find out the non-market value of the seminatural grasslands a contingent valuation study was carried out among the Estonian working-age population (size of the sample 1061 individuals. The average individual willingness to pay was 11.3 euros. During the study, the authors constructed the total demand function and discovered that the total annual demand for seminatural grasslands was 17.9 million euros.

  20. Are land use and short time climate change effective on soil carbon compositions and their relationships with soil properties in alpine grassland ecosystems on Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhao, Zhenzhen; Dong, Shikui; Jiang, Xiaoman; Zhao, Jinbo; Liu, Shiliang; Yang, Mingyue; Han, Yuhui; Sha, Wei

    2018-06-01

    Fencing and grass plantation are two key interventions to preserve the degraded grassland on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP). Climate warming and N deposition have substantially affected the alpine grassland ecosystems. However, molecular composition of soil organic carbon (SOC), the indicator of degradation of SOC, and its responses to climate change are still largely unclear. In this study, we conducted the experiments in three types of land use on the QTP: alpine meadow (AM), alpine steppe (AS), and cultivated grassland (CG) under 2°C climatic warming, 5 levels of nitrogen deposition rates at 8, 24, 40, 56, and 72kg N ha -1 year -1 , as well as a combination of climatic warming and N deposition (8kg N ha -1 year -1 ). Our findings indicate that all three types of land use were dominated by O-alkyl carbon. The alkyl/O-alkyl ratio, aromaticity and hydrophobicity index of the CG were larger than those of the AM and AS, and this difference was generally stable under different treatments. Most of the SOC in the alpine grasslands was derived from fresh plants, and the carbon in the CG was more stable than that in the AM and AS. The compositions of all the alpine ecosystems were stable under short-term climatic changes, suggesting the short-term climate warming and nitrogen deposition likely did not affect the molecular composition of the SOC in the restored grasslands. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  1. Habitat associations of migrating and overwintering grassland birds in Southern Texas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Igl, Lawrence D.; Ballard, Bart M.

    1999-01-01

    We report on the habitat associations of 21 species of grassland birds overwintering in or migrating through southern Texas, during 1991-1992 and 1992-1993. Ninety percent of our grassland bird observations were made during winter and spring, and only 10% occurred during fall. Grassland species made up a high proportion of the total bird densities in grassland and shrub-grassland habitats, but much lower proportions in the habitats with more woody vegetation. Fewer grassland species were observed in grassland and woodland than in brushland, parkland, and shrub-grassland habitats. Grassland birds generally were found in higher densities in habitats that had woody canopy coverage of < 30%; densities of grassland birds were highest in shrub-grassland habitat and lowest in woodland habitat. Species that are grassland specialists on their breeding grounds tended to be more habitat specific during the nonbreeding season compared to shrub-grassland specialists, which were more general in their nonbreeding-habitat usage. Nonetheless, our data demonstrate that grassland birds occur in a variety of habitats during the nonbreeding season and seem to occupy a broader range of habitats than previously described.

  2. Seasonal change in CO2 and H2O exchange between grassland and atmosphere

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    T. Oikawa

    Full Text Available The seasonal change in CO2 flux over an artificial grassland was analyzed from the ecological and meteorological point of view. This grassland contains C3 and C4 plants; the three dominant species belonging to the Gramineae; Festuca elatior (C3 dominated in early spring, and Imperata cylindrica (C4 and Andropogon virginicus (C4 grew during early summer and became dominant in mid-summer. CO2 flux was measured by the gradient method, and the routinely observed data for the surface-heat budget were used to analyze the CO2 and H2O exchange between the grassland and atmosphere. From August to October in 1993, CO2 flux was reduced to around half under the same solar-radiation conditions, while H2O flux decreased 20% during the same period. The monthly values of water use efficiency, i.e., ratio of CO2 flux to H2O flux decreased from 5.8 to 3.3 mg CO2/g H2O from August to October, the Bowen ratio increased from 0.20 to 0.30, and the ratio of the bulk latent heat transfer coefficient CE to the sensible heat transfer coefficient CH was maintained around 0.40-0.50. The increase in the Bowen ratio was explained by the decrease in air temperature from 22.3 °C in August to 16.6 °C in October without considering biological effects such as stomatal closure on the individual leaves. The nearly constant CE/CH ratios suggested that the contribution ratio of canopy resistance to aerodynamic resistance did not change markedly, although the meteorological conditions changed seasonally. The decrease in the water use efficiency, however, suggested that the photosynthetic rate decreased for individual leaves from August to October under the same radiation conditions. Diurnal variations of CO2 exchange were simulated by the multi-layer canopy model taking into account the differences in the stomatal conductance and photosynthetic pathway between C3 and C4 plants. The results suggested that C4 plants played a major role in the CO2 exchange in August, the contribution

  3. Seasonal change in CO2 and H2O exchange between grassland and atmosphere

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    N. Saigusa

    1996-03-01

    Full Text Available The seasonal change in CO2 flux over an artificial grassland was analyzed from the ecological and meteorological point of view. This grassland contains C3 and C4 plants; the three dominant species belonging to the Gramineae; Festuca elatior (C3 dominated in early spring, and Imperata cylindrica (C4 and Andropogon virginicus (C4 grew during early summer and became dominant in mid-summer. CO2 flux was measured by the gradient method, and the routinely observed data for the surface-heat budget were used to analyze the CO2 and H2O exchange between the grassland and atmosphere. From August to October in 1993, CO2 flux was reduced to around half under the same solar-radiation conditions, while H2O flux decreased 20% during the same period. The monthly values of water use efficiency, i.e., ratio of CO2 flux to H2O flux decreased from 5.8 to 3.3 mg CO2/g H2O from August to October, the Bowen ratio increased from 0.20 to 0.30, and the ratio of the bulk latent heat transfer coefficient CE to the sensible heat transfer coefficient CH was maintained around 0.40-0.50. The increase in the Bowen ratio was explained by the decrease in air temperature from 22.3 °C in August to 16.6 °C in October without considering biological effects such as stomatal closure on the individual leaves. The nearly constant CE/CH ratios suggested that the contribution ratio of canopy resistance to aerodynamic resistance did not change markedly, although the meteorological conditions changed seasonally. The decrease in the water use efficiency, however, suggested that the photosynthetic rate decreased for individual leaves from August to October under the same radiation conditions. Diurnal variations of CO2 exchange were simulated by the multi-layer canopy model taking into account the differences in the stomatal conductance and photosynthetic pathway between C3 and C4 plants. The results suggested that C4 plants played a major role in the CO2 exchange in August, the contribution

  4. Seasonal change in CO2 and H2O exchange between grassland and atmosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saigusa, N.; Liu, S.; Oikawa, T.; Watanabe, T.

    1996-03-01

    The seasonal change in CO2 flux over an artificial grassland was analyzed from the ecological and meteorological point of view. This grassland contains C3 and C4 plants; the three dominant species belonging to the Gramineae; Festuca elatior (C3) dominated in early spring, and Imperata cylindrica (C4) and Andropogon virginicus (C4) grew during early summer and became dominant in mid-summer. CO2 flux was measured by the gradient method, and the routinely observed data for the surface-heat budget were used to analyze the CO2 and H2O exchange between the grassland and atmosphere. From August to October in 1993, CO2 flux was reduced to around half under the same solar-radiation conditions, while H2O flux decreased 20% during the same period. The monthly values of water use efficiency, i.e., ratio of CO2 flux to H2O flux decreased from 5.8 to 3.3 mg CO2/g H2O from August to October, the Bowen ratio increased from 0.20 to 0.30, and the ratio of the bulk latent heat transfer coefficient CE to the sensible heat transfer coefficient CH was maintained around 0.40-0.50. The increase in the Bowen ratio was explained by the decrease in air temperature from 22.3 °C in August to 16.6 °C in October without considering biological effects such as stomatal closure on the individual leaves. The nearly constant CE/CH ratios suggested that the contribution ratio of canopy resistance to aerodynamic resistance did not change markedly, although the meteorological conditions changed seasonally. The decrease in the water use efficiency, however, suggested that the photosynthetic rate decreased for individual leaves from August to October under the same radiation conditions. Diurnal variations of CO2 exchange were simulated by the multi-layer canopy model taking into account the differences in the stomatal conductance and photosynthetic pathway between C3 and C4 plants. The results suggested that C4 plants played a major role in the CO2 exchange in August, the contribution of C4 plants

  5. Soil Aggregate Stability and Grassland Productivity Associations in a Northern Mixed-Grass Prairie.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kurt O Reinhart

    Full Text Available Soil aggregate stability data are often predicted to be positively associated with measures of plant productivity, rangeland health, and ecosystem functioning. Here we revisit the hypothesis that soil aggregate stability is positively associated with plant productivity. We measured local (plot-to-plot variation in grassland community composition, plant (aboveground biomass, root biomass, % water-stable soil aggregates, and topography. After accounting for spatial autocorrelation, we observed a negative association between % water-stable soil aggregates (0.25-1 and 1-2 mm size classes of macroaggregates and dominant graminoid biomass, and negative associations between the % water-stable aggregates and the root biomass of a dominant sedge (Carex filifolia. However, variation in total root biomass (0-10 or 0-30 cm depths was either negatively or not appreciably associated with soil aggregate stabilities. Overall, regression slope coefficients were consistently negative thereby indicating the general absence of a positive association between measures of plant productivity and soil aggregate stability for the study area. The predicted positive association between factors was likely confounded by variation in plant species composition. Specifically, sampling spanned a local gradient in plant community composition which was likely driven by niche partitioning along a subtle gradient in elevation. Our results suggest an apparent trade-off between some measures of plant biomass production and soil aggregate stability, both known to affect the land's capacity to resist erosion. These findings further highlight the uncertainty of plant biomass-soil stability associations.

  6. Does Evapotranspiration Increase When Forests are converted to Grasslands?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Varcoe, Robert; Sterling, Shannon

    2017-04-01

    The conversion of forests to grasslands (FGC) is a widespread land cover change (LCC) and is also among the most commonly studied changes with respect to its impact on ET; such research employs a variety of experimental approaches, including, paired catchment (PC), Budyko and land surface models (LSM), and measurement methods, including the catchment water balance (CWB), eddy covariance (EC) and remote sensing (RS). Until recently, there has been consensus in the scientific literature that rates of ET decrease when a forest is converted to grassland; however, this consensus has recently come into question. Williams (2012) applied the Budyko framework to a global network of eddy covariance measurements with the results that grasslands have a 9% greater evaporative index than forests. In addition, HadGEM2, a recent Hadley Centre LSM, produced increased ET in the northern Amazon Basin after simulating global scale tropical deforestation (Brovkin et al., 2015). Here we present an analysis of available estimates of how ET rates change with FGC to increase our understanding of the forest - grassland-ET paradigm. We used two datasets to investigate the impacts land cover change on ET. I compiled a dataset of change in ET with land cover change (ΔETLCC) using published experiments that compare forest and grassland ET under conditions controlled for meteorological and landscape influences. Using the ΔETLCC dataset, we show that, in all cases, forest ET is higher than grassland under controlled conditions. Results suggest that the eddy covariance method measures smaller changes in ET when forests are converted to grasslands, though more data are needed for this result to be statistically significant. Finally, GETA2.0, a new global dataset of annual ET, projects that forest ET is greater than grassland, except at high latitudes and areas where orography influences precipitation (P). The data included in this study represent the data available on forest and grassland ET

  7. Long-term grassland management effects on soil Phosphorus status on rewetted Histosols

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heller, Sebastian; Müller, Jürgen; Kayser, Manfred

    2017-04-01

    Since the Neolithic Period, the cultivation of wetlands has played a significant role for the settlement of Humans northwest Germany. A continuing drainage of the wetlands over the centuries and an intensified soil cultivation during the last decades has caused irreversible peat degradation and led to fundamental changes in the landscape. Nowadays, almost 70 % of the 4345 km2 peatland of Lower Saxony is altered by agriculture. For the revitalization of wetland ecosystems, permanent rewetting is an integral component to preserve the functions of organic soils and achieve resilient, speciesrich wetlands. However, permanent rewetting measures are not always feasible. In our study area at the Osterfeiner Moor, a fen located in the Dümmer lowlands near Osnabrück, intensive forage cropping areas were converted into extensive permanent grasslands accompanied by temporary rewetting during winter. This management practice combined with zero fertilization and a low mowing and grazing intensity aims at mitigating mineralisation of peat layers and creating a habitat for endangered meadow bird species. In this semi-natural ecosystem soil phosphorus (P) dynamics play a crucial role. However, longterm research results on P availability of degraded and rewetted fens are still lacking. Thus, we investigated the interaction of different grassland uses and P dynamics in the soil. We described P depletion of the topsoil over a time scale of 17 years after the implementation of restoration measures. Our study site comprises of 180 ha protected grassland divided into 52 management plots. According to the management system, we divided the plots into meadows, pastures and combinations of cutting and grazing. The soils in our study area can be characterised as drained organic soils, WRB: Rheic Sapric Histosols (Drainic), with drastic degradation properties through moorsh forming processes. Plant-available P (double lactate extraction method: PDL) was analysed from representative topsoil

  8. Root chemistry and soil fauna, but not soil abiotic conditions explain the effects of plant diversity on root decomposition

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Chen, Hongmei; Oram, Natalie J.; Barry, Kathryn E.; Mommer, Liesje; Ruijven, van Jasper; Kroon, de Hans; Ebeling, Anne; Eisenhauer, Nico; Fischer, Christine; Gleixner, Gerd; Gessler, Arthur; González Macé, Odette; Hacker, Nina; Hildebrandt, Anke; Lange, Markus; Scherer-lorenzen, Michael; Scheu, Stefan; Oelmann, Yvonne; Wagg, Cameron; Wilcke, Wolfgang; Wirth, Christian; Weigelt, Alexandra

    2017-01-01

    Plant diversity influences many ecosystem functions including root decomposition. However, due to the presence of multiple pathways via which plant diversity may affect root decomposition, our mechanistic understanding of their relationships is limited. In a grassland biodiversity experiment, we

  9. Carbohydrates and thermal analysis reflects changes in soil organic matter stability after forest expansion on abandoned grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guidi, Claudia; Vesterdal, Lars; Cannella, David; Leifeld, Jens; Gianelle, Damiano; Rodeghiero, Mirco

    2014-05-01

    Grassland abandonment, followed by progressive forest expansion, is the dominant land-use change in the Southern Alps, Europe. Land-use change can affect not only the amount of organic matter (OM) in soil but also its composition and stability. Our objective was to investigate changes in organic matter properties after forest expansion on abandoned grasslands, combining analysis of carbohydrates, indicative of labile OM compounds with prevalent plant or microbial origin, with thermal analysis. Thermal analysis was used as a rapid assessment method for the characterization of SOM stability. A land-use gradient was investigated in four land-use types in the subalpine area of Trentino region, Italy: i) managed grassland, mown and fertilized for the past 100 years; ii) grassland abandoned since 10 years, with sparse shrubs and Picea abies saplings; iii) early-stage forest, dominated by P. abies and established on a grassland abandoned around 1970; iv) old forest, dominated by Fagus sylvatica and P. abies. Mineral soil was sampled at three subplots in each land use type with eight soil cores, which were subsequently pooled by depth (0-5 cm, 5-10 cm, 10-20 cm). Sugars were extracted from bulk soil samples through acid hydrolysis with H2SO4 (0.5 M). The analytical composition of sugar monomers was performed with HPAEC technology (Dionex ICS5000), equipped with PAD-detection. Thermal stability was assessed with a differential scanning calorimeter DSC100, heating soil samples up to 600°C at a heating rate of 10°C min-1 in synthetic air. Peak height (W g OC-1) of 1st DSC exotherm, dominated by burning of labile OM compounds, was used as thermal stability index. In the abandoned grassland, carbohydrates compounds accounted for a greater proportion of soil OC than in other land use types. Microbially derived sugars, as rhamnose and galactose, were more abundant in managed and abandoned grasslands compared with early-stage and old forest. The amount of thermally labile sugars

  10. Reduced germination success of temperate grassland seeds sown in dung: consequences for post-dispersal seed fate.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Milotić, T; Hoffmann, M

    2016-11-01

    Endozoochory is one of the main drivers shaping temperate grassland communities by maintaining plant populations of its constituents and enabling plants to colonize new habitats. Successful endozoochorous dispersal implies that seeds not only get consumed and survive the digestive tract but are also able to develop into viable seedlings in a dung environment. We experimentally assessed the germination probability and timing of 15 annual and perennial temperate European grassland species in cattle and horse dung and in different climatic conditions (greenhouse and outdoor conditions). Interspecific variation in germinability and germination timing are found, while life strategy had only an effect on germination timing. We found adverse effects of both cattle and horse dung on the germination characteristics of all tested grassland species, but the effects of cattle dung were more pronounced. In comparison with the control treatment, fewer seeds emerged in dung and more time was needed to germinate. Also, germination metrics clearly differed between the artificial greenhouse and outdoor conditions, with generally a lower germinability in outdoor conditions. According to our results, a large cost seems to be associated with endozoochorous dispersal in this stage of the life cycle, as seed dispersal effectiveness strongly depends on the quality of the deposition site with a lowered survival and germination probability when seeds are deposited in dung. © 2016 German Botanical Society and The Royal Botanical Society of the Netherlands.

  11. Analysis of Grassland Ecosystem Physiology at Multiple Scales Using Eddy Covariance, Stable Isotope and Remote Sensing Techniques

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flanagan, L. B.; Geske, N.; Emrick, C.; Johnson, B. G.

    2006-12-01

    Grassland ecosystems typically exhibit very large annual fluctuations in above-ground biomass production and net ecosystem productivity (NEP). Eddy covariance flux measurements, plant stable isotope analyses, and canopy spectral reflectance techniques have been applied to study environmental constraints on grassland ecosystem productivity and the acclimation responses of the ecosystem at a site near Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. We have observed substantial interannual variation in grassland productivity during 1999-2005. In addition, there was a strong correlation between peak above-ground biomass production and NEP calculated from eddy covariance measurements. Interannual variation in NEP was strongly controlled by the total amount of precipitation received during the growing season (April-August). We also observed significant positive correlations between a multivariate ENSO index and total growing season precipitation, and between the ENSO index and annual NEP values. This suggested that a significant fraction of the annual variability in grassland productivity was associated with ENSO during 1999-2005. Grassland productivity varies asymmetrically in response to changes in precipitation with increases in productivity during wet years being much more pronounced than reductions during dry years. Strong increases in plant water-use efficiency, based on carbon and oxygen stable isotope analyses, contribute to the resilience of productivity during times of drought. Within a growing season increased stomatal limitation of photosynthesis, associated with improved water-use efficiency, resulted in apparent shifts in leaf xanthophyll cycle pigments and changes to the Photochemical Reflectance Index (PRI) calculated from hyper-spectral reflectance measurements conducted at the canopy-scale. These shifts in PRI were apparent before seasonal drought caused significant reductions in leaf area index (LAI) and changes to canopy-scale "greenness" based on NDVI values. With

  12. Short-Term Effects of Changing Precipitation Patterns on Shrub-Steppe Grasslands: Seasonal Watering Is More Important than Frequency of Watering Events.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Densmore-McCulloch, Justine A; Thompson, Donald L; Fraser, Lauchlan H

    2016-01-01

    Climate change is expected to alter precipitation patterns. Droughts may become longer and more frequent, and the timing and intensity of precipitation may change. We tested how shifting precipitation patterns, both seasonally and by frequency of events, affects soil nitrogen availability, plant biomass and diversity in a shrub-steppe temperate grassland along a natural productivity gradient in Lac du Bois Grasslands Protected Area near Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. We manipulated seasonal watering patterns by either exclusively watering in the spring or the fall. To simulate spring precipitation we restricted precipitation inputs in the fall, then added 50% more water than the long term average in the spring, and vice-versa for the fall precipitation treatment. Overall, the amount of precipitation remained roughly the same. We manipulated the frequency of rainfall events by either applying water weekly (frequent) or monthly (intensive). After 2 years, changes in the seasonality of watering had greater effects on plant biomass and diversity than changes in the frequency of watering. Fall watering reduced biomass and increased species diversity, while spring watering had little effect. The reduction in biomass in fall watered treatments was due to a decline in grasses, but not forbs. Plant available N, measured by Plant Root Simulator (PRS)-probes, increased from spring to summer to fall, and was higher in fall watered treatments compared to spring watered treatments when measured in the fall. The only effect observed due to frequency of watering events was greater extractable soil N in monthly applied treatments compared to weekly watering treatments. Understanding the effects of changing precipitation patterns on grasslands will allow improved grassland conservation and management in the face of global climatic change, and here we show that if precipitation is more abundant in the fall, compared to the spring, grassland primary productivity will likely be

  13. Potential nitrogen critical loads for northern Great Plains grassland vegetation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Symstad, Amy J.; Smith, Anine T.; Newton, Wesley E.; Knapp, Alan K.

    2015-01-01

    nitrogen concentration. To determine critical loads for the NGP plant communities in our experiment, we followed the NPS’s precautionary principle in assuming that it is better to be cautious than to let harm occur to the environment. Thus, the critical loads we derived are the lowest nitrogen level that any of our data suggest has a measureable effect on any of the response variables measured.Badlands sparse vegetation, a low-productivity plant community that is an important part of the scenery at Badlands National Park and provides habitat for rare plant species, was the most sensitive of the three vegetation types. More aspects of this vegetation type responded to nitrogen addition, and at lower levels, than at the other two sites. Our data suggest that nitrogen deposition levels of 4- 6 kg N/ha/yr may increase biomass production, and consequently the amount of dead plant material on the ground in this plant community. Slightly higher critical loads are suggested for the two more productive vegetation types more characteristic of most NGP grasslands: 6-10 kg N/ha/yr for biomass production, grass tissue nitrogen concentration, or non-native species (especially annual brome grasses) cover. Highly variable results among years, as well as inconsistent responses to an increasing dose of nitrogen within sites, complicated the derivation of critical loads in this experiment, however. A less precautionary approach to deriving critical loads yielded higher values of 10-38 kg N/ha/yr.

  14. Application of Multi-Source Remote Sensing Image in Yunnan Province Grassland Resources Investigation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, J.; Wen, G.; Li, D.

    2018-04-01

    Trough mastering background information of Yunnan province grassland resources utilization and ecological conditions to improves grassland elaborating management capacity, it carried out grassland resource investigation work by Yunnan province agriculture department in 2017. The traditional grassland resource investigation method is ground based investigation, which is time-consuming and inefficient, especially not suitable for large scale and hard-to-reach areas. While remote sensing is low cost, wide range and efficient, which can reflect grassland resources present situation objectively. It has become indispensable grassland monitoring technology and data sources and it has got more and more recognition and application in grassland resources monitoring research. This paper researches application of multi-source remote sensing image in Yunnan province grassland resources investigation. First of all, it extracts grassland resources thematic information and conducts field investigation through BJ-2 high space resolution image segmentation. Secondly, it classifies grassland types and evaluates grassland degradation degree through high resolution characteristics of Landsat 8 image. Thirdly, it obtained grass yield model and quality classification through high resolution and wide scanning width characteristics of MODIS images and sample investigate data. Finally, it performs grassland field qualitative analysis through UAV remote sensing image. According to project area implementation, it proves that multi-source remote sensing data can be applied to the grassland resources investigation in Yunnan province and it is indispensable method.

  15. Large-scale Patterns of 14C Age of Bulk Organic Carbon and Various Molecular Components in Grassland Soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jia, J.; Liu, Z.; Cao, Z.; Chen, L.; He, J. S.; Haghipour, N.; Wacker, L.; Eglinton, T. I.; Feng, X.

    2017-12-01

    Unraveling the fate of organic carbon (OC) in soils is essential to understanding the impact of global changes on the global carbon cycle. Previous studies have shown that while various soil OC components have different decomposability, chemically labile OC can have old 14C ages. However, few studies have compared the 14C age of various soil OC components on a large scale, which may provide important information on the link between the age or turnover of soil OC components to their sources, molecular structures as well as environmental variables. In this project, a suite of soil profiles were sampled along a large-scale transect of temperate and alpine grasslands across the Tibetan and Mongolian Plateaus in China with contrasting climatic, vegetation and soil properties. Bulk OC and source-specific compounds (including fatty acids (FAs), diacids (DAs) and lignin phenols) were radiocarbon-dated to investigate the age and turnover dynamics of different OC pools and the mechanisms controlling their stability. Our results show that lignin phenols displayed a large 14C variability. Short-chain (C16, 18) FAs sourced from vascular plants as well as microorganisms were younger than plant-derived long-chain FAs and DAs, indicating that short-chain FAs were easier to be decomposed or newly synthesized. In the temperate grasslands, long-chain DAs were younger than FAs, while the opposite trend was observed in the alpine grasslands. Preliminary correlation analysis suggests that the age of short-chain FAs were mainly influenced by clay contents and climate, while reactive minerals, clay or silt particles were important factors in the stabilization of long-chain FAs, DAs and lignin phenols. Overall, our study provided a unique 14 C dataset of soil OC components in grasslands, which will provide important constraints on soil carbon turnover in future investigations.

  16. Non-native earthworms promote plant invasion by ingesting seeds and modifying soil properties

    OpenAIRE

    Clause, J.; Forey, E.; Lortie, C. J.; Lambert, A. M.; Barot, Sébastien

    2015-01-01

    Earthworms can have strong direct effects on plant communities through consumption and digestion of seeds, however it is unclear how earthworms may influence the relative abundance and composition of plant communities invaded by non-native species. In this study, earthworms, seed banks, and the standing vegetation were sampled in a grassland of central California. Our objectives were i) to examine whether the abundances of non-native, invasive earthworm species and non-native grassland plant ...

  17. Incorporating grassland management in a global vegetation model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chang, Jinfeng; Viovy, Nicolas; Vuichard, Nicolas; Ciais, Philippe; Wang, Tao; Cozic, Anne; Lardy, Romain; Graux, Anne-Isabelle; Klumpp, Katja; Martin, Raphael; Soussana, Jean-François

    2013-04-01

    Grassland is a widespread vegetation type, covering nearly one-fifth of the world's land surface (24 million km2), and playing a significant role in the global carbon (C) cycle. Most of grasslands in Europe are cultivated to feed animals, either directly by grazing or indirectly by grass harvest (cutting). A better understanding of the C fluxes from grassland ecosystems in response to climate and management requires not only field experiments but also the aid of simulation models. ORCHIDEE process-based ecosystem model designed for large-scale applications treats grasslands as being unmanaged, where C / water fluxes are only subject to atmospheric CO2 and climate changes. Our study describes how management of grasslands is included in the ORCHIDEE, and how management affects modeled grassland-atmosphere CO2 fluxes. The new model, ORCHIDEE-GM (Grassland Management) is capable with a management module inspired from a grassland model (PaSim, version 5.0), of accounting for two grassland management practices (cutting and grazing). The evaluation of the results of ORCHIDEE-GM compared with those of ORCHIDEE at 11 European sites equipped with eddy covariance and biometric measurements, show that ORCHIDEE-GM can capture realistically the cut-induced seasonal variation in biometric variables (LAI: Leaf Area Index; AGB: Aboveground Biomass) and in CO2 fluxes (GPP: Gross Primary Productivity; TER: Total Ecosystem Respiration; and NEE: Net Ecosystem Exchange). But improvements at grazing sites are only marginal in ORCHIDEE-GM, which relates to the difficulty in accounting for continuous grazing disturbance and its induced complex animal-vegetation interactions. Both NEE and GPP on monthly to annual timescales can be better simulated in ORCHIDEE-GM than in ORCHIDEE without management. At some sites, the model-observation misfit in ORCHIDEE-GM is found to be more related to ill-constrained parameter values than to model structure. Additionally, ORCHIDEE-GM is able to simulate

  18. Effects of nitrogen and water addition on trace element stoichiometry in five grassland species

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Cai, Jiangping; Weiner, Jacob; Wang, Ruzhen

    2017-01-01

    A 9-year manipulative experiment with nitrogen (N) and water addition, simulating increasing N deposition and changing precipitation regime, was conducted to investigate the bioavailability of trace elements, iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), and zinc (Zn) in soil, and their uptake by plants...... in the organism and the chemical concentration in the growth substrate) and foliar Fe:Mn ratio in each plant was calculated. Our results showed that soil available Fe, Mn and Cu concentrations increased under N addition and were negatively correlated with both soil pH and cation exchange capacity. Water addition...... under the two environmental change factors in a semi-arid grassland of Inner Mongolia. We measured concentrations of trace elements in soil and in foliage of five common herbaceous species including 3 forbs and 2 grasses. In addition, bioaccumulation factors (BAF, the ratio of the chemical concentration...

  19. Ecology and Conservation of Steppes and Semi-Natural Grasslands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Valkó Orsolya

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available Palaearctic grasslands encompass a diverse variety of habitats, many of high nature value and vulnerability. The main challenges are climate-change, land-use change, agricultural intensification and abandonment. Many measures are in place to address these challenges, through restoration and appropriate management, though more work is necessary. We present eight studies from China/Germany, Greece, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine. The papers cover a wide range of grassland and steppe habitats and cover vegetation ecology, syntaxonomy and zoology. We also conducted a systematic search on steppe and grassland diversity. The greatest number of studies was from China, followed by Germany and England. We conclude that the amount of research being carried out on Eurasian grasslands is inadequate considering their high levels of biodiversity and vulnerability. We hope to encourage readers to address current major challenges, such as how to manage grasslands for the benefit of diverse taxa, to ensure that conservation initiatives concentrate on sites where there is good potential for success and for the generation of realistic and viable conservation strategies.

  20. Grassland ecology and population growth: striking a balance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hou, D; Duan, C; Zhang, D

    2000-06-01

    Degradation of forest and grasslands in western China attributes to the soil erosion and desertification in the country. Researchers have established that the primary reason for the degradation of grasslands is overgrazing, which in turn is caused by a number of factors, including over-population and over-reliance on animal husbandry. In addition, the existing administrative system has also proved ineffective in ensuring sustainable development. On contrary, many local governments even encourage exploitative development of grassland; thus, localities opened up grassland for growing crops in an effort to increase income. According to estimates, degraded grassland accounts for more than one-third of utilizable acreage and another one-third suffers from a profusion of rats and pests. To redress the situation, central government should implement strategies in achieving sustainable development, such as providing banking and tax incentives for the development of the secondary and tertiary industries, and supporting education and training of youths from herding areas. Moreover, government should increase spending on infrastructural construction and ecological preservation. Finally, the family planning program needs to be enforced to control population growth and improve the quality of peoples¿ lives.

  1. Biomass production in experimental grasslands of different species richness during three years of climate warming

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Boeck, H. J.; Lemmens, C. M. H. M.; Zavalloni, C.; Gielen, B.; Malchair, S.; Carnol, M.; Merckx, R.; van den Berge, J.; Ceulemans, R.; Nijs, I.

    2008-04-01

    Here we report on the single and combined impacts of climate warming and species richness on the biomass production in experimental grassland communities. Projections of a future warmer climate have stimulated studies on the response of terrestrial ecosystems to this global change. Experiments have likewise addressed the importance of species numbers for ecosystem functioning. There is, however, little knowledge on the interplay between warming and species richness. During three years, we grew experimental plant communities containing one, three or nine grassland species in 12 sunlit, climate-controlled chambers in Wilrijk, Belgium. Half of these chambers were exposed to ambient air temperatures (unheated), while the other half were warmed by 3°C (heated). Equal amounts of water were added to heated and unheated communities, so that warming would imply drier soils if evapotranspiration was higher. Biomass production was decreased due to warming, both aboveground (-29%) and belowground (-25%), as negative impacts of increased heat and drought stress in summer prevailed. Complementarity effects, likely mostly through both increased aboveground spatial complementarity and facilitative effects of legumes, led to higher shoot and root biomass in multi-species communities, regardless of the induced warming. Surprisingly, warming suppressed productivity the most in 9-species communities, which may be attributed to negative impacts of intense interspecific competition for resources under conditions of high abiotic stress. Our results suggest that warming and the associated soil drying could reduce primary production in many temperate grasslands, and that this will not necessarily be mitigated by efforts to maintain or increase species richness.

  2. Using natural range of variation to set decision thresholds: a case study for great plains grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Symstad, Amy J.; Jonas, Jayne L.; Edited by Guntenspergen, Glenn R.

    2014-01-01

    Natural range of variation (NRV) may be used to establish decision thresholds or action assessment points when ecological thresholds are either unknown or do not exist for attributes of interest in a managed ecosystem. The process for estimating NRV involves identifying spatial and temporal scales that adequately capture the heterogeneity of the ecosystem; compiling data for the attributes of interest via study of historic records, analysis and interpretation of proxy records, modeling, space-for-time substitutions, or analysis of long-term monitoring data; and quantifying the NRV from those data. At least 19 National Park Service (NPS) units in North America’s Great Plains are monitoring plant species richness and evenness as indicators of vegetation integrity in native grasslands, but little information on natural, temporal variability of these indicators is available. In this case study, we use six long-term vegetation monitoring datasets to quantify the temporal variability of these attributes in reference conditions for a variety of Great Plains grassland types, and then illustrate the implications of using different NRVs based on these quantities for setting management decision thresholds. Temporal variability of richness (as measured by the coefficient of variation, CV) is fairly consistent across the wide variety of conditions occurring in Colorado shortgrass prairie to Minnesota tallgrass sand savanna (CV 0.20–0.45) and generally less than that of production at the same sites. Temporal variability of evenness spans a greater range of CV than richness, and it is greater than that of production in some sites but less in other sites. This natural temporal variability may mask undesirable changes in Great Plains grasslands vegetation. Consequently, we suggest that managers consider using a relatively narrow NRV (interquartile range of all richness or evenness values observed in reference conditions) for designating a surveillance threshold, at which

  3. Negative effects of climate change on upland grassland productivity and carbon fluxes are not attenuated by nitrogen status.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eze, Samuel; Palmer, Sheila M; Chapman, Pippa J

    2018-05-09

    Effects of climate change on managed grassland carbon (C) fluxes and biomass production are not well understood. In this study, we investigated the individual and interactive effects of experimental warming (+3 °C above ambient summer daily range of 9-12 °C), supplemental precipitation (333 mm +15%) and drought (333 mm -23%) on plant biomass, microbial biomass C (MBC), net ecosystem exchange (NEE) and dissolved organic C (DOC) flux in soil cores from two upland grasslands of different soil nitrogen (N) status (0.54% and 0.37%) in the UK. After one month of acclimation to ambient summer temperature and precipitation, five replicate cores of each treatment were subjected to three months of experimental warming, drought and supplemental precipitation, based on the projected regional summer climate by the end of the 21st Century, in a fully factorial design. NEE and DOC flux were measured throughout the experimental duration, alongside other environmental variables including soil temperature and moisture. Plant biomass and MBC were determined at the end of the experiment. Results showed that warming plus drought resulted in a significant decline in belowground plant biomass (-29 to -37%), aboveground plant biomass (-35 to -77%) and NEE (-13 to -29%), regardless of the N status of the soil. Supplemental precipitation could not reverse the negative effects of warming on the net ecosystem C uptake and plant biomass production. This was attributed to physiological stress imposed by warming which suggests that future summer climate will reduce the C sink capacity of the grasslands. Due to the low moisture retention observed in this study, and to verify our findings, it is recommended that future experiments aimed at measuring soil C dynamics under climate change should be carried out under field conditions. Longer term experiments are recommended to account for seasonal and annual variability, and adaptive changes in biota. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All

  4. Prescribed burning to affect a state transition in a shrub-encroached desert grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prescribed burning is a commonly advocated and historical practice for control of woody species encroachment into grasslands on all continents. However, desert grasslands of the southwestern United States often lack needed herbaceous fuel loads for effective prescriptions, dominant perennial gramin...

  5. Micronutrient metal speciation is controlled by competitive organic chelation in grassland soils

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Boiteau, Rene M.; Shaw, Jared B.; Pasa Tolic, Ljiljana; Koppenaal, David W.; Jansson, Janet K.

    2018-05-01

    Many elements are scarcely soluble in aqueous conditions found in high pH environments, such as calcareous grassland soils, unless complexed to strong binding organic ligands. To overcome this limitation, some plants and microbes produce chelators that solubilize micronutrient metals such as Fe, Ni, Cu, and Zn from mineral phases. These complexes are taken up by organisms via specific membrane receptors, thereby differentially impacting the bioavailability of these metals to the plant and microbial community. Although the importance of these chelation strategies for individual organisms has been well established, little is known about which pathways coexist within rhizosphere microbiomes or how they interact and compete for metal binding. Identifying these metallo-organic species within natural ecosystems has remained a formidable analytical challenge due to the vast diversity of compounds and poorly defined metabolic processes in complex soil matrix. Herein, we employed recently developed liquid chromatography (LC) mass spectrometry (MS) methods to characterize the speciation of water-soluble dissolved trace elements (Fe, Ni, Cu, and Zn) from Kansas Prairie soil. Both plant and fungal chelators were identified, revealing compound-specific patterns of chelation to biologically essential metals. Numerous metabolites typically implicated in plant iron acquisition and homeostasis, including mugineic acids, deoxymugineic acid, nicotianamine, and hydroxynicotianamine, dominated the speciation of divalent metals such as Ni, Cu, and Zn (2-57 pmol / g soil). In contrast, the fungal siderophore ferricrocine bound comparatively more trivalent Fe (9pmol / g soil). These results define biochemical pathways that underpin the regulation of metals in the grassland rhizosphere. They also raise new questions about the competition of these compounds for metal binding and their bioavailability to different members of the rhizosphere population. Even small structural differences

  6. Micronutrient metal speciation is driven by competitive organic chelation in grassland soils.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boiteau, R.; Shaw, J. B.; Paša-Tolić, L.; Koppenaal, D.; Jansson, J.

    2017-12-01

    Many elements are scarcely soluble in aqueous conditions found in high pH environments, such as calcareous grassland soils, unless complexed to strong binding organic ligands. To overcome this limitation, some plants and microbes produce chelators that solubilize micronutrient metals such as Fe, Ni, Cu, and Zn from mineral phases. These complexes are taken up by organisms via specific membrane receptors, thereby differentially impacting the bioavailability of these metals to the plant and microbial community. Although the importance of these chelation strategies for individual organisms has been well established, little is known about which pathways coexist within rhizosphere microbiomes or how they interact and compete for metal binding. Identifying these metallo-organic species within natural ecosystems has remained a formidable analytical challenge due to the vast diversity of compounds and poorly defined metabolic processes in complex soil matrix. Herein, we employed recently developed liquid chromatography (LC) mass spectrometry (MS) methods to characterize the speciation of water-soluble dissolved trace elements (Fe, Ni, Cu, and Zn) from Kansas Prairie soil. Both plant and fungal chelators were identified, revealing compound-specific patterns of chelation to biologically essential metals. Numerous metabolites typically implicated in plant iron acquisition and homeostasis, including mugineic acids, deoxymugineic acid, nicotianamine, and hydroxynicotianamine, dominated the speciation of divalent metals such as Ni, Cu, and Zn (2-57 pmol / g soil). In contrast, the fungal siderophore ferricrocine bound comparatively more trivalent Fe (9pmol / g soil). These results define biochemical pathways that underpin the regulation of metals in the grassland rhizosphere. They also raise new questions about the competition of these compounds for metal binding and their bioavailability to different members of the rhizosphere population.

  7. Carbon fluxes from an urban tropical grassland

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ng, B.J.L.; Hutyra, L.R.; Nguyen, H.; Cobb, A.R.; Kai, F.M.; Harvey, C.; Gandois, L.

    2015-01-01

    Turfgrass covers a large fraction of the urbanized landscape, but the carbon exchange of urban lawns is poorly understood. We used eddy covariance and flux chambers in a grassland field manipulative experiment to quantify the carbon mass balance in a Singapore tropical turfgrass. We also assessed how management and variations in environmental factors influenced CO 2 respiration. Standing aboveground turfgrass biomass was 80 gC m −2 , with a mean ecosystem respiration of 7.9 ± 1.1 μmol m −2  s −1 . The contribution of autotrophic respiration was 49–76% of total ecosystem respiration. Both chamber and eddy covariance measurements suggest the system was in approximate carbon balance. While we did not observe a significant relationship between the respiration rates and soil temperature or moisture, daytime fluxes increased during the rainy interval, indicating strong overall moisture sensitivity. Turfgrass biomass is small, but given its abundance across the urban landscape, it significantly influences diurnal CO 2 concentrations. - Highlights: • We measured urban turfgrass CO 2 respiration rates and soil characteristics. • Mean observed ecosystem respiration was 7.9 ± 1.1 μmol m −2  s −1 . • Soil temperature and moisture were largely insignificant drivers of observed flux. - We found a Singapore urban turfgrass to be approximately carbon neutral, with a mean ecosystem respiration of 7.9 ± 1.1 μmol m −2  s −1

  8. Modeling and validating tritium transfer in a grassland ecosystem in response to {sup 3}H releases

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Le Dizes, S.; Maro, D.; Rozet, M.; Hebert, D.; Solier, L.; Nicoulaud, V. [Institut de radioportection et de surete nucleaire - IRSN (France); Vermorel, F.; Aulagnier, C. [Electricite de France - EDF (France)

    2014-07-01

    Tritium ({sup 3}H) is a major radionuclide released in several forms (HTO, HT) by nuclear facilities under normal operating conditions. In terrestrial ecosystems, tritium can be found under two forms: tritium in tissue free water (TFWT) following absorption of tritiated water by leaves or roots and Organically Bound Tritium (OBT) resulting from TFWT incorporation by the plant organic matter during photosynthesis. In order to study transfers of tritium from atmospheric releases to terrestrial ecosystem such as grasslands, an in-situ laboratory has been set up by IRSN on a ryegrass field plot located 2 km downwind the AREVA NC La Hague nuclear reprocessing plant (North-West of France), as was done in the past for the assessment of transfer of radiocarbon in grasslands. The objectives of this experimental field are: (i) to better understand the OBT formation in plant by photosynthesis, (ii) to evaluate transfer processes of tritium in several forms (HT, HTO) from the atmosphere (air and rainwater) to grass and soil, (iii) to develop a modeling allowing to reproduce the dynamic response of the ecosystem to tritium atmospheric releases depending of variable environmental conditions. For this purpose, tritium activity measurements will be carried out in grass (monthly measurements of HTO, OBT), in air, rainwater, soil (daily measurements of HT, HTO) and CO{sub 2}, H{sub 2}O fluxes between soil and air compartments will be carried out. Then, the TOCATTA-c model previously developed to simulate {sup 14}C transfers to pasture on a hourly time-step basis will be adapted to take account for processes specific to tritium. The model will be tested by a comparison between simulated results and measurements. The objectives of this presentation are (1) to present the organization of the experimental design of the VATO study (Validation of TOCATTA) dedicated to transfers of tritium in a grassland ecosystem, (2) to document the major assumptions, conceptual modelling and

  9. Assessing the effects of abiotic stress and livestock grazing disturbance on an alpine grassland with CSR model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Jun; Luo, Peng; Mou, Chengxiang; Yang, Hao; Mo, Li; Luo, Chuan; Kattge, Jens

    2016-04-01

    How the abiotic factors represented by cold environment and biotic factors represented by livestock grazing will affect the vegetation structure of alpine grassland is a core issue in understanding the cause of biodiversity change on Tibetan Plateau. Past studies on changes of floristic composition, growth forms did not adequately answer question. Given the fact that the response of plant to environment change depend on its life strategy, a synthetical method that based on plant life strategy may deepen our understanding of the mechanism. Using Grime's concept of CSR plant classification, we carried out a vegetation survey along a gradient (three levels) of graze intensity on the south-east of Tibet Plateau, in order to evaluate the role and mechanism of abiotic stress and grazing disturbance in driving plant diversity change, by analyzing the plant life strategy compositions in each of the community and by comparing the characteristic of the strategy compositions along the graze gradient. When the graze intensity was relative low, the dominant plant life strategy gathered in the stress tolerance corner, which conformed the theory of environmental filter, indicating that the ideal top plant community may be dominated by the species with stress tolerant strategy. We also found that the response of strategy dominance to graze intensity increase is positively correlated with the competitive capacity (R 2=0.671; Pstrategy (R 2=0.047; P=0.42). This reflected a general shift of plant strategy from stress tolerant to competitive (rather than ruderal as expected) and suggested that the mechanism of graze to affect plant community is different from that of other disturbance like fire, clipping, till, etc. The particular selective foraging and escaping from feces may provide more opportunities for competitive than ruderal strategy to dominant the community. This study demonstrated that CSR plant strategy be a useful tool to evaluate the effects of abiotic and biotic factors

  10. Evaluating productivity-biodiversity relationship and spectral diversity in prairie grasslands under different fire management treatments using in-situ and remote sensing hyperspectral data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gholizadeh, H.; Gamon, J. A.; Zygielbaum, A. I.; Schweiger, A. K.; Cavender-Bares, J.; Yang, Y.; Knops, J. M. H.

    2017-12-01

    Grasslands cover as much as 25% of the Earth's surface and account for approximately 20% of overall terrestrial productivity and contribute to global biodiversity. To optimize the status of grasslands and to counteract their degradation, different management practices have been adopted. Fire has been shown to be an important management practice in the maintenance of grasslands. Our main goals were 1) to evaluate the productivity-biodiversity relationship in grasslands under fire treatment, and 2) to evaluate the capability of hyperspectral remote sensing in estimating biodiversity using spectral data (i.e. spectral diversity). We used above-ground biomass (as a surrogate for productivity), species richness (SR; as a surrogate for biodiversity), and airborne hyperspectral data from a natural grassland with fire treatment (20 plots), and a natural grassland without fire treatment (21 plots), all located at the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve in Central Minnesota, USA. The productivity-biodiversity relationship for the fire treatment plots showed a hump-shaped model with adjusted R2=0.37, whereas the relationship for the non-burned plots were non-significant. The relationship between SR and spectral diversity (SD) were positive linear for both treatments; however, the relationship for plots with fire treatment was higher (adjusted R2 = 0.34 vs. 0.19). It is assumed that post-fire foliar nutrients increase soil nitrogen and phosphorus which facilitate post-fire growth and induce higher above-ground biomass and chlorophyll content in plants. Overall, the results of this study showed that management practices affect the productivity-biodiversity relationship and illustrated the effect of fire treatment on remote sensing of biodiversity.

  11. Landscape structure affects specialists but not generalists in naturally fragmented grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Jesse E.D.; Damschen, Ellen Ingman; Harrison, Susan P.; Grace, James B.

    2015-01-01

    Understanding how biotic communities respond to landscape spatial structure is critically important for conservation management as natural landscapes become increasingly fragmented. However, empirical studies of the effects of spatial structure on plant species richness have found inconsistent results, suggesting that more comprehensive approaches are needed. In this study, we asked how landscape structure affects total plant species richness and the richness of a guild of specialized plants in a multivariate context. We sampled herbaceous plant communities at 56 dolomite glades (insular, fire-adapted grasslands) across the Missouri Ozarks, and used structural equation modeling (SEM) to analyze the relative importance of landscape structure, soil resource availability, and fire history for plant communities. We found that landscape spatial structure-defined as the area-weighted proximity of glade habitat surrounding study sites (proximity index)-had a significant effect on total plant species richness, but only after we controlled for environmental covariates. Richness of specialist species, but not generalists, was positively related to landscape spatial structure. Our results highlight that local environmental filters must be considered to understand the influence of landscape structure on communities, and that unique species guilds may respond differently to landscape structure than the community as a whole. These findings suggest that both local environment and landscape context should be considered when developing management strategies for species of conservation concern in fragmented habitats.

  12. Elevated atmospheric CO2 in a semi-natural grassland: Root dynamics, decomposition and soil C balances

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sindhoej, Erik

    2001-01-01

    This thesis focuses on how elevated atmospheric CO 2 affects a semi-natural grassland, with emphasis on root growth, decomposition and the subsequent long-term effects on soil C balances. Parts of a semi-natural grassland in Central Sweden were enclosed in open-top chambers and exposed to ambient and elevated levels of CO 2 (+350 μmol mol -1 ) from 1995 to 2000, while chamberless rings were used for controls. Root dynamics were observed with minirhizotrons while root biomass and production were studied with soil cores and ingrowth cores. Roots collected from ingrowth cores were incubated under controlled conditions for 160 days to measure root decomposition rates. Treatment-induced differences in microclimate, C input and root decomposability were entered into the ICBM soil C balance model for 30-year projections of soil C balances for the three treatments. Elevated CO 2 chambers had higher biomass production both above and below ground compared to ambient, however the root response increased over the years while the shoot response decreased. Plants grown under elevated CO 2 had greater water-use efficiency compared to ambient, which was shown in higher soil moisture and greater biomass production during slightly dry years. Elevated CO 2 chambers showed higher root appearance rates in spring and higher disappearance rates during autumn and winter. Roots from plants grown under elevated CO 2 decomposed more rapidly. The decreased input and the drier conditions in the ambient chambers were projected to lead to a 1.7% decrease in soil C over 30 years. Under elevated CO 2 , however, the increased input compensated for the higher root decomposability and moister soil conditions and lead only to a projected 1.3% decrease in soil C. This work shows that six years of elevated CO 2 exposure had extensive effects on this semi-natural grassland. The CO 2 response of the grassland was dependent on weather conditions and production increased most when under slight water stress

  13. Modeling effects of conservation grassland losses on amphibian habitat

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mushet, David M.; Neau, Jordan L.; Euliss, Ned H.

    2014-01-01

    Amphibians provide many ecosystem services valued by society. However, populations have declined globally with most declines linked to habitat change. Wetlands and surrounding terrestrial grasslands form habitat for amphibians in the North American Prairie Pothole Region (PPR). Wetland drainage and grassland conversion have destroyed or degraded much amphibian habitat in the PPR. However, conservation grasslands can provide alternate habitat. In the United States, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is the largest program maintaining grasslands on agricultural lands. We used an ecosystem services model (InVEST) parameterized for the PPR to quantify amphibian habitat over a six-year period (2007–2012). We then quantified changes in availability of amphibian habitat under various land-cover scenarios representing incremental losses (10%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%) of CRP grasslands from 2012 levels. The area of optimal amphibian habitat in the four PPR ecoregions modeled (i.e., Northern Glaciated Plains, Northwestern Glaciated Plains, Lake Agassiz Plain, Des Moines Lobe) declined by approximately 22%, from 3.8 million ha in 2007 to 2.9 million ha in 2012. These losses were driven by the conversion of CRP grasslands to croplands, primarily for corn and soybean production. Our modeling identified an additional 0.8 million ha (26%) of optimal amphibian habitat that would be lost if remaining CRP lands are returned to crop production. An economic climate favoring commodity production over conservation has resulted in substantial losses of amphibian habitat across the PPR that will likely continue into the future. Other regions of the world face similar challenges to maintaining amphibian habitats.

  14. Inter-specific competition, but not different soil microbial communities, affects N chemical forms uptake by competing graminoids of upland grasslands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eduardo Medina-Roldán

    Full Text Available Evidence that plants differ in their ability to take up both organic (ON and inorganic (IN forms of nitrogen (N has increased ecologists' interest on resource-based plant competition. However, whether plant uptake of IN and ON responds to differences in soil microbial community composition and/or functioning has not yet been explored, despite soil microbes playing a key role in N cycling. Here, we report results from a competition experiment testing the hypothesis that soil microbial communities differing in metabolic activity as a result of long-term differences to grazing exposure could modify N uptake of Eriophorum vaginatum L. and Nardus stricta L. These graminoids co-occur on nutrient-poor, mountain grasslands where E. vaginatum decreases and N. stricta increases in response to long-term grazing. We inoculated sterilised soil with soil microbial communities from continuously grazed and ungrazed grasslands and planted soils with both E. vaginatum and N. stricta, and then tracked uptake of isotopically labelled NH(4 (+ (IN and glycine (ON into plant tissues. The metabolically different microbial communities had no effect on N uptake by either of the graminoids, which might suggest functional equivalence of soil microbes in their impacts on plant N uptake. Consistent with its dominance in soils with greater concentrations of ON relative to IN in the soluble N pool, Eriophorum vaginatum took up more glycine than N. stricta. Nardus stricta reduced the glycine proportion taken up by E. vaginatum, thus increasing niche overlap in N usage between these species. Local abundances of these species in mountain grasslands are principally controlled by grazing and soil moisture, although our results suggest that changes in the relative availability of ON to IN can also play a role. Our results also suggest that coexistence of these species in mountain grasslands is likely based on non-equilibrium mechanisms such as disturbance and/or soil heterogeneity.

  15. Tools for Management for Grassland Ecosystem Sustainability: Thinking "Outside the Box"

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gerald J. Gottfried

    2004-01-01

    Grassland ecosystem management is dynamic and has adapted to the development of new tools and ideas. Our ancestors were indirectly managing grasslands when they learned to move livestock to take advantage of better water and greener forage. One could argue that even their hunting of grassland wildlife, especially the use of fire to drive animals to waiting hunters, had...

  16. Resilience and stability of the grasslands of the Transkei | B | African ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    In spite of very high stocking rates the grasslands of Transkei still have in many areas a high cover and many climax species. The concepts of resilience and stability are used in an attempt to explain dynamics of the grasslands. Keywords: resiliences|stabilities|grasslands|Transkei|stocking rates|basal covers|grass ...

  17. Evapotranspiration and soil moisture dynamics in a temperate grassland ecosystem in Inner Mongolia China

    Science.gov (United States)

    L. Hao; Ge Sun; Yongqiang Liu; G. S. Zhou; J. H.   Wan;  L. B. Zhang; J. L. Niu; Y. H. Sang;  J. J He

    2015-01-01

    Precipitation, evapotranspiration (ET), and soil moisture are the key controls for the productivity and functioning of temperate grassland ecosystems in Inner Mongolia, northern China. Quantifying the soil moisture dynamics and water balances in the grasslands is essential to sustainable grassland management under global climate change. We...

  18. Voluntary intake and in vivo digestibility of forages from semi-natural grasslands in dairy cows

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bruinenberg, M.H.; Valk, H.; Struik, P.C.

    2003-01-01

    To study in vivo digestibility of forages from semi-natural grasslands two experiments were carried out. In the first experiment lactating dairy cows were offered three different silage-based diets. Silage originated from intensively managed grassland (IM), extensively managed species-poor grassland

  19. Forest and grassland carbon in North America: A short course for land managers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chris Swanston; Michael J. Furniss; Kristen Schmitt; Jeffrey Guntle; Maria Janowiak; Sarah Hines

    2012-01-01

    This multimedia short-course presents a range of information on the science, management and policy of forest and grassland carbon. Forests and grasslands worldwide play a critical role in storing carbon and sequestering greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. The U.S. Forest Service, which manages 193 million acres of forests and grasslands, emphasizes the need for...

  20. Modeled Changes in Potential Grassland Productivity and in Grass-Fed Ruminant Livestock Density in Europe over 1961–2010

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chang, Jinfeng; Viovy, Nicolas; Vuichard, Nicolas; Ciais, Philippe; Campioli, Matteo; Klumpp, Katja; Martin, Raphaël; Leip, Adrian; Soussana, Jean-François

    2015-01-01

    About 25% of European livestock intake is based on permanent and sown grasslands. To fulfill rising demand for animal products, an intensification of livestock production may lead to an increased consumption of crop and compound feeds. In order to preserve an economically and environmentally sustainable agriculture, a more forage based livestock alimentation may be an advantage. However, besides management, grassland productivity is highly vulnerable to climate (i.e., temperature, precipitation, CO2 concentration), and spatial information about European grassland productivity in response to climate change is scarce. The process-based vegetation model ORCHIDEE-GM, containing an explicit representation of grassland management (i.e., herbage mowing and grazing), is used here to estimate changes in potential productivity and potential grass-fed ruminant livestock density across European grasslands over the period 1961–2010. Here “potential grass-fed ruminant livestock density” denotes the maximum density of livestock that can be supported by grassland productivity in each 25 km × 25 km grid cell. In reality, livestock density could be higher than potential (e.g., if additional feed is supplied to animals) or lower (e.g., in response to economic factors, pedo-climatic and biotic conditions ignored by the model, or policy decisions that can for instance reduce livestock numbers). When compared to agricultural statistics (Eurostat and FAOstat), ORCHIDEE-GM gave a good reproduction of the regional gradients of annual grassland productivity and ruminant livestock density. The model however tends to systematically overestimate the absolute values of productivity in most regions, suggesting that most grid cells remain below their potential grassland productivity due to possible nutrient and biotic limitations on plant growth. When ORCHIDEE-GM was run for the period 1961–2010 with variable climate and rising CO2, an increase of potential annual production (over 3

  1. Modeled Changes in Potential Grassland Productivity and in Grass-Fed Ruminant Livestock Density in Europe over 1961-2010.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jinfeng Chang

    Full Text Available About 25% of European livestock intake is based on permanent and sown grasslands. To fulfill rising demand for animal products, an intensification of livestock production may lead to an increased consumption of crop and compound feeds. In order to preserve an economically and environmentally sustainable agriculture, a more forage based livestock alimentation may be an advantage. However, besides management, grassland productivity is highly vulnerable to climate (i.e., temperature, precipitation, CO2 concentration, and spatial information about European grassland productivity in response to climate change is scarce. The process-based vegetation model ORCHIDEE-GM, containing an explicit representation of grassland management (i.e., herbage mowing and grazing, is used here to estimate changes in potential productivity and potential grass-fed ruminant livestock density across European grasslands over the period 1961-2010. Here "potential grass-fed ruminant livestock density" denotes the maximum density of livestock that can be supported by grassland productivity in each 25 km × 25 km grid cell. In reality, livestock density could be higher than potential (e.g., if additional feed is supplied to animals or lower (e.g., in response to economic factors, pedo-climatic and biotic conditions ignored by the model, or policy decisions that can for instance reduce livestock numbers. When compared to agricultural statistics (Eurostat and FAOstat, ORCHIDEE-GM gave a good reproduction of the regional gradients of annual grassland productivity and ruminant livestock density. The model however tends to systematically overestimate the absolute values of productivity in most regions, suggesting that most grid cells remain below their potential grassland productivity due to possible nutrient and biotic limitations on plant growth. When ORCHIDEE-GM was run for the period 1961-2010 with variable climate and rising CO2, an increase of potential annual production (over

  2. Temporal and spatial variations of soil CO2, CH4 and N2O fluxes at three differently managed grasslands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    D. Imer

    2013-09-01

    Full Text Available A profound understanding of temporal and spatial variabilities of soil carbon dioxide (CO2, methane (CH4 and nitrous oxide (N2O fluxes between terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere is needed to reliably quantify these fluxes and to develop future mitigation strategies. For managed grassland ecosystems, temporal and spatial variabilities of these three soil greenhouse gas (GHG fluxes occur due to changes in environmental drivers as well as fertilizer applications, harvests and grazing. To assess how such changes affect soil GHG fluxes at Swiss grassland sites, we studied three sites along an altitudinal gradient that corresponds to a management gradient: from 400 m a.s.l. (intensively managed to 1000 m a.s.l. (moderately intensive managed to 2000 m a.s.l. (extensively managed. The alpine grassland was included to study both effects of extensive management on CH4 and N2O fluxes and the different climate regime occurring at this altitude. Temporal and spatial variabilities of soil GHG fluxes and environmental drivers on various timescales were determined along transects of 16 static soil chambers at each site. All three grasslands were N2O sources, with mean annual soil fluxes ranging from 0.15 to 1.28 nmol m−2 s−1. Contrastingly, all sites were weak CH4 sinks, with soil uptake rates ranging from −0.56 to −0.15 nmol m−2 s−1. Mean annual soil and plant respiration losses of CO2, measured with opaque chambers, ranged from 5.2 to 6.5 μmol m−2 s−1. While the environmental drivers and their respective explanatory power for soil N2O emissions differed considerably among the three grasslands (adjusted r2 ranging from 0.19 to 0.42, CH4 and CO2 soil fluxes were much better constrained (adjusted r2 ranging from 0.46 to 0.80 by soil water content and air temperature, respectively. Throughout the year, spatial heterogeneity was particularly high for soil N2O and CH4 fluxes. We found permanent hot spots for soil N2O emissions as well as

  3. Long-term nutrient fertilization and the carbon balance of permanent grassland: any evidence for sustainable intensification?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fornara, Dario A.; Wasson, Elizabeth-Anne; Christie, Peter; Watson, Catherine J.

    2016-09-01

    Sustainable grassland intensification aims to increase plant yields while maintaining the ability of soil to act as a sink rather than sources of atmospheric CO2. High biomass yields from managed grasslands, however, can be only maintained through long-term nutrient fertilization, which can significantly affect soil carbon (C) storage and cycling. Key questions remain about (1) how long-term inorganic vs. organic fertilization influences soil C stocks, and (2) how soil C gains (or losses) contribute to the long-term C balance of managed grasslands. Using 43 years of data from a permanent grassland experiment, we show that soils not only act as significant C sinks but have not yet reached C saturation. Even unfertilized control soils showed C sequestration rates of 0.35 Mg C ha-1 yr-1 (i.e. 35 g C m-2 yr-1; 0-15 cm depth) between 1970 and 2013. High application rates of liquid manure (i.e. cattle slurry) further increased soil C sequestration to 0.86 Mg C ha-1 yr-1 (i.e. 86 g C m-2 yr-1) and a key cause of this C accrual was greater C inputs from cattle slurry. However, average coefficients of slurry-C retention in soils suggest that 85 % of C added yearly through liquid manure is lost possibly via CO2 fluxes and organic C leaching. Inorganically fertilized soils (i.e. NPK) had the lowest C-gain efficiency (i.e. unit of C gained per unit of N added) and lowest C sequestration (similar to control soils). Soils receiving cattle slurry showed higher C-gain and N-retention efficiencies compared to soils receiving NPK or pig slurry. We estimate that net rates of CO2-sequestration in the top 15 cm of the soil can offset 9-25 % of GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions from intensive management. However, because of multiple GHG sources associated with livestock farming, the net C balance of these grasslands remains positive (9-12 Mg CO2-equivalent ha-1 yr-1), thus contributing to climate change. Further C-gain efficiencies (e.g. reduced enteric fermentation and use of feed

  4. Effects of haying on breeding birds in CRP grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Igl, Lawrence D.; Johnson, Douglas H.

    2016-01-01

    The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is a voluntary program that is available to agricultural producers to help protect environmentally sensitive or highly erodible land. Management disturbances of CRP grasslands generally are not allowed unless authorized to provide relief to livestock producers during severe drought or a similar natural disaster (i.e., emergency haying and grazing) or to improve the quality and performance of the CRP cover (i.e., managed haying and grazing). Although CRP grasslands may not be hayed or grazed during the primary bird-nesting season, these disturbances may have short-term (1 yr after disturbance) and long-term (≥2 yr after disturbance) effects on grassland bird populations. We assessed the effects of haying on 20 grassland bird species in 483 CRP grasslands in 9 counties of 4 states in the northern Great Plains, USA between 1993 and 2008. We compared breeding bird densities (as determined by total-area counts) in idle and hayed fields to evaluate changes 1, 2, 3, and 4 years after haying. Haying of CRP grasslands had either positive or negative effects on grassland birds, depending on the species, the county, and the number of years after the initial disturbance. Some species (e.g., horned lark [Eremophila alpestris], bobolink [Dolichonyx oryzivorus]) responded positively after haying, and others (e.g., song sparrow [Melospiza melodia]) responded negatively. The responses of some species changed direction as the fields recovered from haying. For example, densities for common yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas), sedge wren (Cistothorus platensis), and clay-colored sparrow (Spizella pallida) declined the first year after haying but increased in the subsequent 3 years. Ten species showed treatment × county interactions, indicating that the effects of haying varied geographically. This long-term evaluation on the effects of haying on breeding birds provides important information on the strength and direction of changes in

  5. Impacts of climate and management on water balance and nitrogen leaching from montane grassland soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fu, Jin; Gasche, Rainer; Wang, Na; Lu, Haiyan; Butterbach-Bahl, Klaus; Kiese, Ralf

    2017-04-01

    The impacts of climate and management on the water balance and nutrient leaching of montane grasslands have rarely been investigated, though such ecosystems may represent a major source for ground and surface water nitrates. In this study nitrogen (nitrate, ammonium, dissolved organic nitrogen) and dissolved organic carbon leaching as well as water balance components (precipitation, evapotranspiration, and groundwater recharge) were quantified (2012-2014) by means of replicated (N=3 per site/ treatment) measurements of weighable grassland lysimeters (1 m2 area, 1.2 m soil depth) at three sites (E860: 860 m a.s.l., E770: 770 m a.s.l. and E600: 600 m a.s.l.) in the pre-alpine region of S-Germany. Two grassland management strategies were investigated: a) intensive management with 5 cuts per year and cattle slurry application rates of 280 kg N ha-1 yr-1, and b) extensive management with 3 cuts per year and cattle slurry application rates of 56 kg N ha-1 yr-1. Our results show that at E600, the site with highest air temperature (8.6 °C) and lowest precipitation (981.9 mm), evapotranspiration losses were 100.7 mm higher as at the E860 site, i.e. the site with lowest mean annual air temperature (6.5 °C) and highest precipitation (1359.3 mm). On the other hand groundwater recharge was substantial lower at E600 (-440.9 mm) as compared to E860. Compared to climate, impacts of grassland management on water balance components were negligible. However, intensive management significantly increased mean total nitrogen leaching rates across sites as compared to extensive management from 2.6 kg N ha-1 year-1 (range: 0.5-6.0 kg N ha-1 year-1) to 4.8 kg N ha-1 year-1 (range: 0.9-12.9 kg N ha-1 year-1). N leaching losses were dominated by nitrate (64.7 %) and equally less by ammonium (14.6 %) and DON (20.7 %). The rather low rates of N leaching (0.8 - 6.9 % of total applied N) suggest a highly efficient nitrogen uptake by plants as measured by plant total N content at harvest

  6. Root Characteristics of Perennial Warm-Season Grasslands Managed for Grazing and Biomass Production

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rattan Lal

    2013-07-01

    Full Text Available Minirhizotrons were used to study root growth characteristics in recently established fields dominated by perennial C4-grasses that were managed either for cattle grazing or biomass production for bioenergy in Virginia, USA. Measurements over a 13-month period showed that grazing resulted in smaller total root volumes and root diameters. Under biomass management, root volume was 40% higher (49 vs. 35 mm3 and diameters were 20% larger (0.29 vs. 0.24 mm compared to grazing. While total root length did not differ between grazed and biomass treatments, root distribution was shallower under grazed areas, with 50% of total root length in the top 7 cm of soil, compared to 41% in ungrazed exclosures. These changes (i.e., longer roots and greater root volume in the top 10 cm of soil under grazing but the reverse at 17–28 cm soil depths were likely caused by a shift in plant species composition as grazing reduced C4 grass biomass and allowed invasion of annual unsown species. The data suggest that management of perennial C4 grasslands for either grazing or biomass production can affect root growth in different ways and this, in turn, may have implications for the subsequent carbon sequestration potential of these grasslands.

  7. Functional group, biomass, and climate change effects on ecological drought in semiarid grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Scott D.; Schlaepfer, Daniel R.; Bradford, John B.; Lauenroth, William K.; Duniway, Michael C.; Hall, Sonia A.; Jamiyansharav, Khishigbayar; Jia, Gensuo; Lkhagva, Ariuntsetseg; Munson, Seth M.; Pyke, David A.; Tietjen, Britta

    2018-01-01

    Water relations in plant communities are influenced both by contrasting functional groups (grasses, shrubs) and by climate change via complex effects on interception, uptake and transpiration. We modelled the effects of functional group replacement and biomass increase, both of which can be outcomes of invasion and vegetation management, and climate change on ecological drought (soil water potential below which photosynthesis stops) in 340 semiarid grassland sites over 30‐year periods. Relative to control vegetation (climate and site‐determined mixes of functional groups), the frequency and duration of drought were increased by shrubs and decreased by annual grasses. The rankings of shrubs, control vegetation, and annual grasses in terms of drought effects were generally consistent in current and future climates, suggesting that current differences among functional groups on drought effects predict future differences. Climate change accompanied by experimentally‐increased biomass (i.e. the effects of invasions that increase community biomass, or management that increases productivity through fertilization or respite from grazing) increased drought frequency and duration, and advanced drought onset. Our results suggest that the replacement of perennial temperate semiarid grasslands by shrubs, or increased biomass, can increase ecological drought both in current and future climates.

  8. Woody encroachment in northern Great Plains grasslands: Perceptions, actions, and needs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Symstad, Amy J.; Leis, Sherry A.

    2017-01-01

    The United States Northern Great Plains (NGP) has a high potential for landscape-scale conservation, but this grassland landscape is threatened by encroachment of woody species. We surveyed NGP land managers to identify patterns in, and illustrate a broad range of, individual managers' perceptions on (1) the threat of woody encroachment to grasslands they manage, and (2) what management practices they use that may influence woody encroachment in this region. In the 34 surveys returned, which came from predominantly public lands in the study area, 79% of responses reported moderate or substantial woody encroachment. Eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana) and Rocky Mountain juniper (Juniperus scopulorum) were the most problematic encroachers. Thirty-one survey respondents said that prescribed fire was used on the lands they manage, and 64% of these responses reported that controlling woody encroachment was a fire management objective. However, only 18% of survey respondents using prescribed fire were achieving their desired fire return interval. Most respondents reported using mechanical and/or chemical methods to control woody species. In contrast to evidence from the central and southern Great Plains, few survey respondents viewed grazing as affecting encroachment. Although the NGP public land managers we surveyed clearly recognize woody encroachment as a problem and are taking steps to address it, many feel that the rate of their management is not keeping pace with the rate of encroachment. Developing strategies for effective woody plant control in a variety of NGP management contexts requires filling ecological science gaps and overcoming societal barriers to using prescribed fire.

  9. The importance of ammonium mobility in nitrogen-impacted unfertilized grasslands: A critical reassessment

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Mian, Ishaq Ahmad; Riaz, Muhammad; Cresser, Malcolm S.

    2009-01-01

    The physico-chemical absorption characteristics of ammonium-N for 10 soils from 5 profiles in York, UK, show its high potential mobility in N deposition-impacted, unfertilized, permanent grassland soils. Substantial proportions of ammonium-N inputs were retained in the solution phase, indicating that ammonium translocation plays an important role in the N cycling in, and losses from, such soils. This conclusion was further supported by measuring the ammonium-N leaching from intact plant/soil microcosms. The ammonium-N absorption characteristics apparently varied with soil pH, depth and soil texture. It was concluded for the most acid soils especially that ammonium-N leached from litter horizons could be seriously limiting the capacity of underlying soils to retain ammonium. Contrary to common opinion, more attention therefore needs to be paid to ammonium leaching and its potential role in biogeochemical N cycling in semi-natural soil systems subject to atmospheric pollution. - Ammonium mobility is more important than previously thought in N-impacted, unfertilized grasslands

  10. Shifts of growing-season precipitation peaks decrease soil respiration in a semiarid grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ru, Jingyi; Zhou, Yaqiong; Hui, Dafeng; Zheng, Mengmei; Wan, Shiqiang

    2018-03-01

    Changing precipitation regimes could have profound influences on carbon (C) cycle in the biosphere. However, how soil C release from terrestrial ecosystems responds to changing seasonal distribution of precipitation remains unclear. A field experiment was conducted for 4 years (2013-2016) to examine the effects of altered precipitation distributions in the growing season on soil respiration in a temperate steppe in the Mongolian Plateau. Over the 4 years, both advanced and delayed precipitation peaks suppressed soil respiration, and the reductions mainly occurred in August. The decreased soil respiration could be primarily attributable to water stress and subsequently limited plant growth (community cover and belowground net primary productivity) and soil microbial activities in the middle growing season, suggesting that precipitation amount in the middle growing season is more important than that in the early, late, or whole growing seasons in regulating soil C release in grasslands. The observations of the additive effects of advanced and delayed precipitation peaks indicate semiarid grasslands will release less C through soil respiratory processes under the projected seasonal redistribution of precipitation in the future. Our findings highlight the potential role of intra-annual redistribution of precipitation in regulating ecosystem C cycling in arid and semiarid regions. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  11. Seedling recruitment of forb species under experimental microhabitats in alpine grassland

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Li, S. S.; Yu, L.; Lin, W. G.; Pingi, T. F.

    2015-01-01

    Which factors limit plant seedling recruitment in alpine meadow of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP), China? This study examined the relative influence of seed mass and microsites (resulted from grazing disturbance) on field seedling emergence and survival of nineteen alpine herbaceous species with a range of traits in QTP. Seed mass had significant effects on seedling emergence and survival eliminating influence of light and nutrient variances among these species. The larger-seed species had more advantageous than the smaller-seed species in seedling survival, but it was disadvatage for seedling emergence, especially under high nutrient availability and low light intensity conditions. Light had obvious effects on seedling survival, but less effects on seedling emergence for these species. Moreover, nutrient and light treatments altered the regression relationships of seed mass and seedling emergence and survival and the order of significances was L25>L50>L100>L10>L4. These results suggested that seed mass may restrict seedling recruitment processes, however, light and nutrient availability all have significant effects on seedling emergence and survival for these alpine species. Moderate light intensity was propitious to seedling emergence and survival in alpine grassland. This suggests that ecological factors in alpine grassland provide a stochastic influence on different seed-mass species. These trends may help to explain why many small-seeded species of Asteraceae and Gramineae tend to be more abundant in disturbed habitats. (author)

  12. The ecological and economic consequences of changing land use in the southern Drakensberg grasslands, South Africa

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    JK Turpie

    2014-05-01

    Full Text Available The grassland biome of the southern Drakensberg region of South Africa is characterized by a relatively rich floral biodiversity, including a high level of endemics.  Land use in the area was traditionally dominated by livestock ranching based mainly on indigenous grassland that conserved biodiversity to some degree.  Currently however, market demands and risk factors are shifting land use in the area to a matrix of beef, cropping, dairy and particularly, towards plantation forestry.  A spreadsheet model was constructed to understand how expected land use conversion will likely influence the biodiversity, and consequently, the total economic value (TEV of the area.  Six scenarios of increasing dairy and forestry intensification were modelled that incorporated biophysical and legal constraints to development.  Results indicate that enhanced development is likely to have significant negative biodiversity impacts including the reduction of the alpha diversity of the indigenous plants in the region, a diminished local invertebrate diversity, an increase in invasions, and could also jeopardize the long term survival of the rare Wattled Crane and Oribi.  Furthermore, while the direct use value derived from agriculture and forestry increases with increasing development, its negative influence on the indirect value of water runoff, by far the greatest value of the area, is sufficient to potentially offset the benefits.  Other major direct-use, indirect-use, option and existence values are also considered.

  13. Temporal and spatial variations of canopy temperature over a C3C4 mixture grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shimoda, S.; Oikawa, T.

    2006-10-01

    This study discusses the photosynthetic pathway types involved in canopy temperature measurements on a mixed grassland consisting of C3 and C4 plants (dominant species in biomass were Solidago altissima (C3), Miscanthus sinensis (C4), and Imperata cylindrica (C4)). In the wet conditions immediately after the rainy season, the mean canopy temperature for S. altissima was the lowest among the dominant species, mainly due to its leaf conductance being twice as large as the other two species. Despite using the same C4 photosynthetic pathway, M. sinensis had a lower apparent canopy temperature than I. cylindrica due to a smaller proportion of sunlit elements in the field of view. In the dry conditions during late July, the mean canopy temperatures of the three dominant species were within 0.3 °C of one another. These results can be explained by poor water conditions for C3 species (S. altissima). The simultaneous survey of vegetation and thermal imaging can help clarify characteristics of C3 and C4 canopy temperature over complicated grassland.

  14. Nitrogen management in grasslands and forage-based production systems – Role of biological nitrification inhibition (BNI

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    G.V. Subbarao

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available Nitrogen (N, the most critical and essential nutrient for plant growth, largely determines the productivity in both extensive and intensive grassland systems. Nitrification and denitrification processes in the soil are the primary drivers of generating reactive N (NO3-, N2O and NO, largely responsible for N loss and degradation of grasslands. Suppressing nitrification can thus facilitate retention of soil N to sustain long-term productivity of grasslands and forage-based production systems. Certain plants can suppress soil nitrification by releasing inhibitors from roots, a phenomenon termed ‘biological nitrification inhibition’ (BNI. Recent methodological developments [e.g. bioluminescence assay to detect biological nitrification inhibitors (BNIs from plant-root systems] led to significant advances in our ability to quantify and characterize BNI function in pasture grasses. Among grass pastures, BNI capacity is strongest in low-N environment grasses such as Brachiaria humidicola and weakest in high-N environment grasses such as Italian ryegrass (Lolium perenne and B. brizantha. The chemical identity of some of the BNIs produced in plant tissues and released from roots has now been established and their mode of inhibitory action determined on nitrifying Nitrosomonas bacteria. Synthesis and release of BNIs is a highly regulated and localized process, triggered by the presence of NH4+ in the rhizosphere, which facilitates release of BNIs close to soil-nitrifier sites. Substantial genotypic variation is found for BNI capacity in B. humidicola, which opens the way for its genetic manipulation. Field studies suggest that Brachiaria grasses suppress nitrification and N2O emissions from soil. The potential for exploiting BNI function (from a genetic improvement and a system perspective to develop production systems, that are low-nitrifying, low N2O-emitting, economically efficient and ecologically sustainable, is discussed.

  15. Species Richness Responses to Structural or Compositional Habitat Diversity between and within Grassland Patches: A Multi-Taxon Approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lengyel, Szabolcs; Déri, Eszter; Magura, Tibor

    2016-01-01

    Habitat diversity (spatial heterogeneity within and between habitat patches in a landscape, HD) is often invoked as a driver of species diversity at small spatial scales. However, the effect of HD on species richness (SR) of multiple taxa is not well understood. We quantified HD and SR in a wet-dry gradient of open grassland habitats in Hortobágy National Park (E-Hungary) and tested the effect of compositional and structural factors of HD on SR of flowering plants, orthopterans, true bugs, spiders, ground beetles and birds. Our dataset on 434 grassland species (170 plants, 264 animals) showed that the wet-dry gradient (compositional HD at the between-patch scale) was primarily related to SR in orthopterans, ground-dwelling arthropods, and all animals combined. The patchiness, or plant association richness, of the vegetation (compositional HD at the within-patch scale) was related to SR of vegetation-dwelling arthropods, whereas vegetation height (structural HD at the within-patch scale) was related to SR of ground-dwelling arthropods and birds. Patch area was related to SR only in birds, whereas management (grazing, mowing, none) was related to SR of plants and true bugs. All relationships between HD and SR were positive, indicating increasing SR with increasing HD. However, total SR was not related to HD because different taxa showed similar positive responses to different HD variables. Our findings, therefore, show that even though HD positively influences SR in a wide range of grassland taxa, each taxon responds to different compositional or structural measures of HD, resulting in the lack of a consistent relationship between HD and SR when taxon responses are pooled. The idiosyncratic responses shown here exemplify the difficulties in detecting general HD-SR relationships over multiple taxa. Our results also suggest that management and restoration aimed specifically to sustain or increase the diversity of habitats are required to conserve biodiversity in

  16. Habitat‐ and rainfall‐dependent biodiversity responses to cattle removal in an arid woodland–grassland environment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frank, Anke S K; Wardle, Glenda M; Dickman, Chris R; Greenville, Aaron C

    Biodiversity conservation in rangeland environments is often addressed by removing livestock, but inconsistent responses by biota mean that the efficacy of this form of management is hotly debated. Reasons for this inconsistency include the usually short duration and small spatial scale of manipulations compared to the area of grazing properties, as well as divergent responses amongst biota. In low-productivity arid environments, the pulse-reserve dynamic also complicates the outcome of manipulations. Here, we tested and extended these ideas in a heterogeneous desert environment in central Australia that consists of small patches of open woodland (gidgee) in a grassland (spinifex) matrix. Taking advantage of a controlled property-scale removal of cattle, and a rain event that stimulated productivity, we first quantified differences in the vegetation and small vertebrates of these two habitats, and then tracked the diversity, composition, and abundance of these biota for 6–19 months post-rain. We predicted that the two habitats would differ in the structure, composition, and reproductive output of their constituent plant species. We predicted also that the effects of cattle removal would interact with these habitat differences, with the abundance, richness, and diversity of small mammals and reptiles differing across habitats and grazing treatments. As anticipated, plant species composition in woodland was distinct from that in grassland and varied over time. The effects of cattle removal were habitat specific: Plant composition responded to de-stocking in woodland, but not in grassland; flowers were more abundant, and palatable plant cover also was greater following cessation of grazing pressure. The responses of small mammals but not reptiles showed some accord with our predictions, varying over time but inconsistently with treatment, and perhaps reflected high variability in capture success. We conclude that the timing and length of sampling are important when

  17. Species Richness Responses to Structural or Compositional Habitat Diversity between and within Grassland Patches: A Multi-Taxon Approach.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Szabolcs Lengyel

    Full Text Available Habitat diversity (spatial heterogeneity within and between habitat patches in a landscape, HD is often invoked as a driver of species diversity at small spatial scales. However, the effect of HD on species richness (SR of multiple taxa is not well understood. We quantified HD and SR in a wet-dry gradient of open grassland habitats in Hortobágy National Park (E-Hungary and tested the effect of compositional and structural factors of HD on SR of flowering plants, orthopterans, true bugs, spiders, ground beetles and birds. Our dataset on 434 grassland species (170 plants, 264 animals showed that the wet-dry gradient (compositional HD at the between-patch scale was primarily related to SR in orthopterans, ground-dwelling arthropods, and all animals combined. The patchiness, or plant association richness, of the vegetation (compositional HD at the within-patch scale was related to SR of vegetation-dwelling arthropods, whereas vegetation height (structural HD at the within-patch scale was related to SR of ground-dwelling arthropods and birds. Patch area was related to SR only in birds, whereas management (grazing, mowing, none was related to SR of plants and true bugs. All relationships between HD and SR were positive, indicating increasing SR with increasing HD. However, total SR was not related to HD because different taxa showed similar positive responses to different HD variables. Our findings, therefore, show that even though HD positively influences SR in a wide range of grassland taxa, each taxon responds to different compositional or structural measures of HD, resulting in the lack of a consistent relationship between HD and SR when taxon responses are pooled. The idiosyncratic responses shown here exemplify the difficulties in detecting general HD-SR relationships over multiple taxa. Our results also suggest that management and restoration aimed specifically to sustain or increase the diversity of habitats are required to conserve

  18. Spatial variations in larch needle and soil δ15N at a forest-grassland boundary in northern Mongolia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fujiyoshi, Lei; Sugimoto, Atsuko; Tsukuura, Akemi; Kitayama, Asami; Lopez Caceres, M Larry; Mijidsuren, Byambasuren; Saraadanbazar, Ariunaa; Tsujimura, Maki

    2017-03-01

    The spatial patterns of plant and soil δ 15 N and associated processes in the N cycle were investigated at a forest-grassland boundary in northern Mongolia. Needles of Larix sibirica Ledeb. and soils collected from two study areas were analysed to calculate the differences in δ 15 N between needle and soil (Δδ 15 N). Δδ 15 N showed a clear variation, ranging from -8 ‰ in the forest to -2 ‰ in the grassland boundary, and corresponded to the accumulation of organic layer. In the forest, the separation of available N produced in the soil with 15 N-depleted N uptake by larch and 15 N-enriched N immobilization by microorganisms was proposed to cause large Δδ 15 N, whereas in the grassland boundary, small Δδ 15 N was explained by the transport of the most available N into larch. The divergence of available N between larch and microorganisms in the soil, and the accumulation of diverged N in the organic layer control the variation in Δδ 15 N.

  19. Passive restoration augments active restoration in deforested landscapes: the role of root suckering adjacent to planted stands of Acacia koa

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paul G. Scowcroft; Justin T. Yeh

    2013-01-01

    Active forest restoration in Hawaii’s Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge has produced a network of Acacia koa tree corridors and islands in deforested grasslands. Passive restoration by root suckering has potential to expand tree cover and close gaps between planted stands. This study documents rates of encroachment into grassland, clonal...

  20. Cytotoxic activity of some medicinal plants from hamedan district of iran.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Behzad, Sahar; Pirani, Atefeh; Mosaddegh, Mahmoud

    2014-01-01

    Medicinal plants have been investigated for possible anti-cancer effects. The aim of the present study was to examine the cytotoxic activity of several medicinal plants on different tumor cell lines. 11 selected plant species which have been used in folkloric prescriptions were collected from different sites of Hamedan district of Iran. The methanolic extracts of the plants were prepared and their cytotoxic effects on four human cancer cell lines (A549, human lung adenocarcinoma; MCF7, human breast adenocarcinoma; HepG2, hepatocellular carcinoma and HT-29, human colon carcinoma) and one normal cell line (MDBK, bovine kidney) were examined using the MTT assay. Three of these were exhibited antiproliferative activity against one or more of the cell lines. The extract from Primula auriculata demonstrated the highest cytotoxicity with IC50 of 25.79, 35.79 and 43.34 μg.mL-1 against MCF7, HepG2 and HT- 29 cells, respectively. For some of the plants, their traditional use was correlated with the cytotoxic results, whereas for others the results may support the non-cytotoxicity of species used traditionally as natural remedies. The cytotoxic species could be considered as potential of anticancer compounds.

  1. Community structure of grassland ground-dwelling arthropods along increasing soil salinities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pan, Chengchen; Feng, Qi; Liu, Jiliang; Li, Yulin; Li, Yuqiang; Yu, Xiaoya

    2018-03-01

    Ground-dwelling arthropod communities are influenced by numerous biotic and abiotic factors. Little is known, however, about the relative importance of vegetation structure and abiotic environmental factors on the patterns of ground-dwelling arthropod community across a wide range of soil salinities. Here, a field survey was conducted to assess the driving forces controlling ground-dwelling arthropod community in the salinized grasslands in the Hexi Corridor, Gansu Province, China. The data were analyzed by variance partitioning with canonical correspondence analysis (CCA). We found that vegetation structure and edaphic factors were at least of similar importance to the pattern of the whole ground-dwelling arthropod community. However, when all collected ground-dwelling arthropods were categorized into three trophic guilds (predators, herbivores, and decomposers), as these groups use different food sources, their populations were controlled by different driving forces. Predators and decomposers were mainly determined by biotic factors such as vegetation cover and aboveground plant biomass and herbivores by plant density and vegetation cover. Abiotic factors were also major determinants for the variation occurring in these guilds, with predators strongly affected by soil electrical conductivity (EC) and the content of fine particles (silt + clay, CS), herbivores by soil N:P, EC, and CS, and decomposers by soil EC and organic matter content (SOM). Since plant cover, density, and aboveground biomass can indicate resource availability, which are mainly constrained by soil N:P, EC, CS, and SOM, we consider that the ground-dwelling arthropod community in the salinized grasslands was mainly influenced by resource availability.

  2. Growing Periandra mediterranea on post-mining substrate: native Fabaceae with potential for revegetation of degraded rupestrian grasslands in Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maurilio Assis Figueiredo

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available ABSTRACT Recovery of degraded areas of rupestrian grasslands is hampered mainly by the limited knowledge regarding substrate management and the biology of native species suitable for revegetation of these areas. The aim of our study was to examine the establishment and growth of Periandra mediterranea in different textures of lateritic substrate from a mining-degraded area. The growth of P. mediterranea was evaluated using fine and coarse laterite, both with and without the addition of topsoil. Survival, dry biomass, content of chemical elements and nodulation were evaluated in ten individuals per treatment sixteen months after planting. Although the substrate has low nutrient content, yet high metal concentrations, all plants survived. Plants growing on coarse laterite had 140 % greater biomass than those growing on fine laterite. The addition of topsoil increased biomass in coarse and fine laterite by 46 and 151 %, respectively, and doubled the number of nodulated plants, regardless of grain size. The biomass accumulation of P. mediterranea to a dystrophic substrate revealed its potential for use in the revegetation of degraded areas of rupestrian grasslands. Furthermore, the addition of topsoil facilitated the association of P. mediterranea with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, and increased its growth and capacity to improve substrate fertility.

  3. Comparative seed germination traits in alpine and subalpine grasslands: higher elevations are associated with warmer germination temperatures.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fernández-Pascual, E; Jiménez-Alfaro, B; Bueno, Á

    2017-01-01

    Seed germination traits in alpine grasslands are poorly understood, despite the sensitivity of these communities to climate change. We hypothesise that germination traits predict species occurrence along the alpine-subalpine elevation gradient. Phylogenetic comparative analyses were performed using fresh seeds of 22 species from alpine and subalpine grasslands (1600-2400 m) of the Cantabrian Mountains, Spain (43° N, 5° W). Laboratory experiments were conducted to characterise germinability, optimum germination temperature and effect of cold and warm stratification on dormancy breaking. Variability in these traits was reduced by phylogenetic principal component analysis (phyl.PCA). Phylogenetic generalised least squares regression (PGLS) was used to fit a model in which species average elevation was predicted from their position on the PCA axes. Most subalpine species germinated in snow-like conditions, whereas most alpine species needed accumulation of warm temperatures. Phylogenetic signal was low. PCA1 ordered species according to overall germinability, whilst PCA2 ordered them according to preference for warm or cold germination. PCA2 significantly predicted species occurrence in the alpine-subalpine gradient, as higher elevation species tended to have warmer germination preferences. Our results show that germination traits in high-mountain grasslands are closely linked to the alpine-subalpine gradient. Alpine species, especially those from stripped and wind-edge communities, prefer warmer germination niches, suggesting that summer emergence prevents frost damage during seedling establishment. In contrast, alpine snowfield and subalpine grassland plants have cold germination niches, indicating that winter emergence may occur under snow to avoid drought stress. © 2016 German Botanical Society and The Royal Botanical Society of the Netherlands.

  4. Asymmetric Responses of Primary Productivity to Altered Precipitation Simulated by Land Surface Models across Three Long-term Grassland Sites

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, D.; Ciais, P.; Viovy, N.; Knapp, A.; Wilcox, K.; Bahn, M.; Smith, M. D.; Ito, A.; Arneth, A.; Harper, A. B.; Ukkola, A.; Paschalis, A.; Poulter, B.; Peng, C.; Reick, C. H.; Hayes, D. J.; Ricciuto, D. M.; Reinthaler, D.; Chen, G.; Tian, H.; Helene, G.; Zscheischler, J.; Mao, J.; Ingrisch, J.; Nabel, J.; Pongratz, J.; Boysen, L.; Kautz, M.; Schmitt, M.; Krohn, M.; Zeng, N.; Meir, P.; Zhang, Q.; Zhu, Q.; Hasibeder, R.; Vicca, S.; Sippel, S.; Dangal, S. R. S.; Fatichi, S.; Sitch, S.; Shi, X.; Wang, Y.; Luo, Y.; Liu, Y.; Piao, S.

    2017-12-01

    Changes in precipitation variability including the occurrence of extreme events strongly influence plant growth in grasslands. Field measurements of aboveground net primary production (ANPP) in temperate grasslands suggest a positive asymmetric response with wet years resulting in ANPP gains larger than ANPP declines in dry years. Whether land surface models used for historical simulations and future projections of the coupled carbon-water system in grasslands are capable to simulate such non-symmetrical ANPP responses remains an important open research question. In this study, we evaluate the simulated responses of grassland primary productivity to altered precipitation with fourteen land surface models at the three sites of Colorado Shortgrass Steppe (SGS), Konza prairie (KNZ) and Stubai Valley meadow (STU) along a rainfall gradient from dry to wet. Our results suggest that: (i) Gross primary production (GPP), NPP, ANPP and belowground NPP (BNPP) show nonlinear response curves (concave-down) in all the models, but with different curvatures and mean values. In contrast across the sites, primary production increases and then saturates along increasing precipitation with a flattening at the wetter site. (ii) Slopes of spatial relationships between modeled primary production and precipitation are steeper than the temporal slopes (obtained from inter-annual variations). (iii) Asymmetric responses under nominal precipitation range with modeled inter-annual primary production show large uncertainties, and model-ensemble median generally suggests negative asymmetry (greater declines in dry years than increases in wet years) across the three sites. (iv) Primary production at the drier site is predicted to more sensitive to precipitation compared to wetter site, and median sensitivity consistently indicates greater negative impacts of reduced precipitation than positive effects of increased precipitation under extreme conditions. This study implies that most models

  5. Soil-vegetation relationships in hyperseasonal cerrado, seasonal cerrado, and wet grassland in Emas National Park (central Brazil)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amorim, Priscilla Kobayashi; Batalha, Marco Antônio

    2007-11-01

    In South America, the largest savanna region is the Brazilian cerrado, in which there are few areas that become waterlogged in the rainy season. However, we found a small cerrado area in which the soil is poorly drained and becomes waterlogged at the end of the rainy season, allowing the appearance of a hyperseasonal cerrado. We investigated the soil-vegetation relationships in three vegetation forms: hyperseasonal cerrado, seasonal cerrado, and wet grassland. We collected vegetation and soil samples in these three vegetation forms and submitted obtained data to a canonical correspondence analysis. Our results showed a distinction among hyperseasonal cerrado, seasonal cerrado and wet grassland, which presented different floristic compositions and species abundances. The edaphic variables best related to the hyperseasonal and seasonal cerrados were sand, base saturation, pH, and magnesium. The wet grassland was related to higher concentrations of clay, organic matter, aluminium saturation, aluminium, phosphorus, and potassium. Although it is not possible to infer causal relationships based on our results, we hypothesize that the duration of waterlogging in the hyperseasonal cerrado may not be long enough to alter most of its soil characteristics, such as organic matter, phosphorus, and potassium, but may be long enough to alter some, such as pH and base saturation, as the soils under both cerrados were more similar to one another than to the soil under the wet grassland. Since waterlogging may alter soil characteristics and since these characteristics were enough to explain the plant community variation, we may conclude that water excess—permanent or seasonal—is one of the main factors to distinguish the three vegetation forms, which presented different floristic compositions and species abundances.

  6. The Evaluation of Disturbed Grassland After the Ecological Restoration and Phytoremediation in the Low Tatras National Park

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ján Novák

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available At present the grasslands in the conservation areas are often degraded folowing the abandonment of the pasture and it is necessary to restore them. The aim of this paper was to evaluate the grasslands after the ecological restoration and phytoremediation by different methods. In 2004 the experiment was established on degraded sites at locality Low Tatras National Park (1 126 m a.s.l. with three treatments (U – unmanaged control, C – managed by cutting, CS – managed by seeding and cutting. In 2013 on C treatment we noticed the increase of the number of species (threefold, the increase of the coverage of plants (twofold and also the significant increase of the species diversity in comparison with the year 2004. On CS treatment the species diversity has decreased slightly but the forage value has increased more than twofold since 2004. U treatment has remained without changes. The results show the method of seeding the autochthonous species is highly appropriate to increase the forage value of grassland. Spearman correlations between environmental factors (p ≤ 0.05 prove the effect of treatment on the amount of P-soil, P-fyt, K-soil and K-fyt, which show strong negative correlation with the time. On the other hand number of species and EGQ (The evaluation of the grassland qualitycorrelate with time positively (p ≤ 0.05. The restoration by the mowing is recommended on sites, where the increase of diversity is important. Legumes, C, grasses, K-soil, EGQ, number of species, P-soil, time, dry matter hit the variability of the species significantly (to 96.80% of the total variability. The strongest effect on the overall variability of species had legumes, which is 61% of the total variability. Cutting explain 26% of the variability. The soil in the Low Tatras National Park was recovered to the original state through the reduction of soil nutrient – phytoremediation.

  7. Immediate skin and mucosal symptoms from pot plants and vegetables in gardeners and greenhouse workers

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Paulsen, E; Skov, Per Stahl; Andersen, Klaus Ejner

    1998-01-01

    cacti, Stephanotis floribunda, Euphorbia pulcherrima and Gerbera reactions. Other new species implicated in immediate-type reactions included Ficus pumila, Gardenia jasminoides, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, Campanula, Columnea, Epipremnum aureum, Pelargonium and Primula vulgaris. Because of the high...

  8. Elevated tropospheric CO2 and O3 concentrations impair organic pollutant removal from grassland soil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ai, Fuxun; Eisenhauer, Nico; Jousset, Alexandre; Butenschoen, Olaf; Ji, Rong; Guo, Hongyan

    2018-04-03

    The concentrations of tropospheric CO 2 and O 3 have been rising due to human activities. These rising concentrations may have strong impacts on soil functions as changes in plant physiology may lead to altered plant-soil interactions. Here, the effects of eCO 2 and eO 3 on the removal of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) pollutants in grassland soil were studied. Both elevated CO 2 and O 3 concentrations decreased PAH removal with lowest removal rates at elevated CO 2 and elevated O 3 concentrations. This effect was linked to a shift in soil microbial community structure by structural equation modeling. Elevated CO 2 and O 3 concentrations reduced the abundance of gram-positive bacteria, which were tightly linked to soil enzyme production and PAH degradation. Although plant diversity did not buffer CO 2 and O 3 effects, certain soil microbial communities and functions were affected by plant communities, indicating the potential for longer-term phytoremediation approaches. Results of this study show that elevated CO 2 and O 3 concentrations may compromise the ability of soils to degrade organic pollutants. On the other hand, the present study also indicates that the targeted assembly of plant communities may be a promising tool to shape soil microbial communities for the degradation of organic pollutants in a changing world.

  9. Interspecific neighbor interactions promote the positive diversity-productivity relationship in experimental grassland communities.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yuhua Zhang

    Full Text Available Because the frequency of heterospecific interactions inevitably increases with species richness in a community, biodiversity effects must be expressed by such interactions. However, little is understood how heterospecific interactions affect ecosystem productivity because rarely are biodiversity ecosystem functioning experiments spatially explicitly manipulated. To test the effect of heterospecific interactions on productivity, direct evidence of heterospecific neighborhood interaction is needed. In this study we conducted experiments with a detailed spatial design to investigate whether and how heterospecific neighborhood interactions promote primary productivity in a grassland community. The results showed that increasing the heterospecific: conspecific contact ratio significantly increased productivity. We found there was a significant difference in the variation in plant height between monoculture and mixture communities, suggesting that height-asymmetric competition for light plays a central role in promoting productivity. Heterospecific interactions make tall plants grow taller and short plants become smaller in mixtures compared to monocultures, thereby increasing the efficiency of light interception and utilization. Overyielding in the mixture communities arises from the fact that the loss in the growth of short plants is compensated by the increased growth of tall plants. The positive correlation between species richness and primary production was strengthened by increasing the frequency of heterospecific interactions. We conclude that species richness significantly promotes primary ecosystem production through heterospecific neighborhood interactions.

  10. Interspecific neighbor interactions promote the positive diversity-productivity relationship in experimental grassland communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Yuhua; Wang, Yongfan; Yu, Shixiao

    2014-01-01

    Because the frequency of heterospecific interactions inevitably increases with species richness in a community, biodiversity effects must be expressed by such interactions. However, little is understood how heterospecific interactions affect ecosystem productivity because rarely are biodiversity ecosystem functioning experiments spatially explicitly manipulated. To test the effect of heterospecific interactions on productivity, direct evidence of heterospecific neighborhood interaction is needed. In this study we conducted experiments with a detailed spatial design to investigate whether and how heterospecific neighborhood interactions promote primary productivity in a grassland community. The results showed that increasing the heterospecific: conspecific contact ratio significantly increased productivity. We found there was a significant difference in the variation in plant height between monoculture and mixture communities, suggesting that height-asymmetric competition for light plays a central role in promoting productivity. Heterospecific interactions make tall plants grow taller and short plants become smaller in mixtures compared to monocultures, thereby increasing the efficiency of light interception and utilization. Overyielding in the mixture communities arises from the fact that the loss in the growth of short plants is compensated by the increased growth of tall plants. The positive correlation between species richness and primary production was strengthened by increasing the frequency of heterospecific interactions. We conclude that species richness significantly promotes primary ecosystem production through heterospecific neighborhood interactions.

  11. DYNAMICS OF CARBON SEQUESTRATION IN ABANDONED GRASSLANDS OF NORTHEASTERN MEXICO

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    José Israel Yerena Yamallel

    2014-04-01

    Full Text Available Livestock activities due to the improper handling of the load capacity, suffer from low productivity in their grasslands, which are abandoned giving rise to the appearance of species considered invasive and undesirable for producers, without knowing the qualities of these as mitigating of climate change. The objective of the present study was to estimate the carbon content in tamaulipan thornscrub and three abandoned grasslands with a time of abandonment of 10, 20 and 30 years. For the estimation of the carbon content was used a systematic sampling design, in each area were established four sampling sites of 1,600 m2. The primary scrub is the system that resulted in the largest value of carbon content of 14.25 Mg ha-1, followed by the grasslands of 30, 20 and 10 years with 8.03, 7.33 and 4.13 Mg ha-1 respectively. It was concluded that recovering the initial state of the primary scrub take many years, as can be seen in the grasslands system 30 years reaching only 56% of what it had in reserves of primary scrub.

  12. Quantitative ecological relationships in the alpine grassland of ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    A survey, based on 56 000 points at 102 sampling sites in the Tsehlanyane valley of the Oxbow (Madibamatso) Dam catchment in the alpine grassland of Lesotho, indicates that the area is generally in good condition. Physiographic and floristic criteria were measured and the association between pairs of criteria statistically ...

  13. Intensification of grassland and forage use: driving forces and constraints

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Oenema, O.; Klein, de C.; Alfaro, M.

    2014-01-01

    The increasing demand for safe and nutritional dairy and beef products in a globalising world, together with the needs to increase resource use efficiency and to protect biodiversity, provide strong incentives for intensification of grassland and forage use. This paper addresses the question: 'Does

  14. Achieving grassland production and quality that matches animal needs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Pol, van den A.; Busqué, Juan; Golinski, P.; Noorkõiv, Katrin; O'Donovan, Michael; Peratoner, Giovanni; Reheul, D.

    2016-01-01

    Permanent grasslands are exploited by grazing animals or as meadows depending on different
    constraints. Grazing is the most common use in large parts of Europe, especially in the northwest of
    Europe. However, certain areas are less suitable for grazing. In the Alps e.g. meadows are the

  15. Achieving grassland production and quality that matching animal needs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Pol, van den A.; Busqué, Juan; Golinski, P.; Noorkõiv, Katrin; O'Donovan, Michael; Peratoner, Giovanni; Reheul, D.

    2016-01-01

    Permanent grasslands are exploited by grazing animals or as meadows depending on different constraints. Grazing is the most common use in large parts of Europe, especially in the northwest of Europe. However, certain areas are less suitable for grazing. In the Alps e.g. meadows are the most relevant

  16. Avian diversity in the Naliya Grassland, Abdasa Taluka, Kachchh, India

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sandeep B Munjpara

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available Naliya Grassland is one of the significant grasslands of Gujarat. In this study the importance of the Naliya Grassland has been explored with special reference to avian diversity. Field work for the study was carried out throughout the year of 2007 on a monthly basis covering three distinct seasons to explore avian diversity. A total of 177 species belonging to 54 families were recorded wherein most species belonged to the family Accipitridae (20 species followed by Alaudidae (11 species. Of the total families, five were represented by more than seven species, 18 families by 3-7 species and 31 families by one or two species respectively. Among the species observed, 16 species ware globally threatened (three Critically Endangered, four Endangered and nine Near Threatened. Most of the species were chiefly terrestrial (68.2%, about 23.9% species were freshwater dependant and 7.9% utilized mixed habitats. Maximum species richness was recorded in the monsoons and minimum in summer. Constant turnover and fluctuation in species richness occurred because of seasonal immigration and emigration. Maximum emigration took place during February and March and maximum immigration occurred during June and July. Many water dependant birds attracted to the flooded grassland during the monsoons explained the high species richness during this season. In winter, the area was inhabited by resident species as well as many migratory species.

  17. Evaluation of SPOT imagery for the estimation of grassland biomass

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dusseux, P.; Hubert-Moy, L.; Corpetti, T.; Vertès, F.

    2015-06-01

    In many regions, a decrease in grasslands and change in their management, which are associated with agricultural intensification, have been observed in the last half-century. Such changes in agricultural practices have caused negative environmental effects that include water pollution, soil degradation and biodiversity loss. Moreover, climate-driven changes in grassland productivity could have serious consequences for the profitability of agriculture. The aim of this study was to assess the ability of remotely sensed data with high spatial resolution to estimate grassland biomass in agricultural areas. A vegetation index, namely the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), and two biophysical variables, the Leaf Area Index (LAI) and the fraction of Vegetation Cover (fCOVER) were computed using five SPOT images acquired during the growing season. In parallel, ground-based information on grassland growth was collected to calculate biomass values. The analysis of the relationship between the variables derived from the remotely sensed data and the biomass observed in the field shows that LAI outperforms NDVI and fCOVER to estimate biomass (R2 values of 0.68 against 0.30 and 0.50, respectively). The squared Pearson correlation coefficient between observed and estimated biomass using LAI derived from SPOT images reached 0.73. Biomass maps generated from remotely sensed data were then used to estimate grass reserves at the farm scale in the perspective of operational monitoring and forecasting.

  18. Transformation of a savanna grassland by drought and grazing | O ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The relative effects of drought and heavy grazing on the floristic composition, population size and and structure, and basal cover of an African savanna grassland were differentiated by comparing changes over eight years over eight years, which included a severe drought year, across a gradient of grazing history. Drought ...

  19. Controlling nitrous oxide emissions from grassland livestock production systems

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Oenema, O.; Gebauer, G.; Rodriguez, M.; Sapek, A.; Jarvis, S.C.; Corré, W.J.; Yamulki, S.

    1998-01-01

    There is growing awareness that grassland livestock production systems are major sources of nitrous oxide (N2O). Controlling these emissions requires a thorough understanding of all sources and controlling factors at the farm level. This paper examines the various controlling factors and proposes

  20. Effects of large herbivores on grassland arthropod diversity

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van Klink, R.; van der Plas, F.; van Noordwijk, C. G. E. (Toos); WallisDeVries, M. F.; Olff, H.

    Both arthropods and large grazing herbivores are important components and drivers of biodiversity in grassland ecosystems, but a synthesis of how arthropod diversity is affected by large herbivores has been largely missing. To fill this gap, we conducted a literature search, which yielded 141

  1. Potassium cycling and losses in grassland systems : a review

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kayser, M; Isselstein, J

    Cycling of potassium in grassland systems has received relatively little attention in research and practice in recent years. Balanced nutrient systems require consideration of nutrients other than nitrogen (N). Potassium (K) is needed in large amounts and is closely related to N nutrition. In

  2. The effect of grassland management on enchytraeids (Oligochaeta) communities

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Maraldo, Kristine; Schmelz, Rüdiger; Christensen, Bent Tolstrup

    2012-01-01

    Enchytraeids (small white earthworms between 3 to 35 mm) are important regulators of nitrogen turnover in grasslands, as their activities accelerate the decomposition and nutrient recycling processes. In this study, the effect of management on species composition, abundance and biomass of the enc...... biomass and density of the grazed plots are due to compaction by grazing animals....

  3. Effect of burn area on invertebrate recolonization in grasslands in ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Our study examined the short-term response of grassland invertebrate communities to fire in the South African Drakensberg, in relation to distance from the edge of a burn. We aimed to establish which species survive fire and the dynamics of the post-fire recolonization process, and thereby contribute to establishing the ...

  4. Organic matter dynamics and N mineralization in grassland soils

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hassink, J.

    1995-01-01


    The aims of this study are i) to improve our understanding of the interactions between soil texturelsoil structure, soil organic matter, soil biota and mineralization in grassland soils, ii) to develop a procedure that yields soil organic matter fractions that can be determined directly

  5. Vegetation diversity of salt-rich grasslands in Southeast Europe

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Eliáš, P. Jr.; Sopotlieva, D.; Dítě, D.; Hájková, Petra; Apostolova, I.; Senko, D.; Melečková, Z.; Hájek, Michal

    2013-01-01

    Roč. 16, č. 3 (2013), s. 521-537 ISSN 1402-2001 R&D Projects: GA ČR GA206/09/0329 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z60050516 Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : salt marshes * vegetation survey * grasslands Subject RIV: EF - Botanics Impact factor: 2.416, year: 2013

  6. Positive effects of plant species diversity on productivity in the absence of legumes

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ruijven, van J.; Berendse, F.

    2003-01-01

    We investigated the effect of species richness on productivity in randomly assembled grassland communities without legumes. Aboveground biomass increased with increasing species richness and different measures of complementarity showed strong increases with plant species richness. Increasing

  7. The integrated nitrous oxide and methane grassland project

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Leffelaar, P.A.; Langeveld, C.A.; Hofman, J.E.; Segers, R.; Van den Pol-van Dasselaar, A.; Goudriaan, J.; Rabbinge, R.; Oenema, O. [Department of Theoretical Production Ecology, Wageningen Agricultural University, Wageningen (Netherlands)

    2000-07-01

    The integrated nitrous oxide (N{sub 2}O) and methane (CH{sub 4}) grassland project aims to estimate and explain emissions of these greenhouse gases from two ecosystems, namely drained agricultural peat soil under grass at the experimental farm Zegveld and undrained peat in the nature preserve Nieuwkoopse Plassen, both Netherlands. Peat soils were chosen because of their expected considerable contribution to the greenhouse gas budget considering the prevailing wet and partial anaerobic conditions. The emission dynamics of these ecosystems are considered representatives of large peat areas because the underlying processes are rather general and driven by variables like organic matter characteristics, water and nutrient conditions and type of vegetation. The research approach comprises measurements and modelling at different integration levels relating to the microbiology of the production and consumption of N{sub 2}O and CH{sub 4} (laboratory studies), their movement through peat soil (rhizolab and field studies), and the resulting fluxes (field studies). Typical emissions from drained soil were 15-40 kg ha{sup -1} y{sup -1} N{sub 2}O and virtually zero for CH{sub 4}. The undrained soil in the nature preserve emitted 100-280 kg ha{sup -1} y{sup -1} CH{sub 4}, and probably little N{sub 2}O. The process knowledge, collected and partly integrated in the models, helps to explain these data. For example, the low methane emission from drained peat can more coherently be understood and extrapolated because: (1) upper soil layers are aerobic, thus limiting methane production and stimulating methane oxidation, (2) absence of aerenchymatous roots of wetland plants that connect deeper anaerobic soil layers where methane is produced to the atmosphere and supply labile carbon, (3) a low methane production potential in deep layers due to the low decomposability of organic matter, and (4) long anaerobic periods needed in the topsoil to develop a methane production potential. This

  8. Managed grassland alters soil N dynamics and N2O emissions in temperate steppe.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, Lijun; Xu, Xingliang; Tang, Xuejuan; Xin, Xiaoping; Ye, Liming; Yang, Guixia; Tang, Huajun; Lv, Shijie; Xu, Dawei; Zhang, Zhao

    2018-04-01

    Reclamation of degraded grasslands as managed grasslands has been increasingly accelerated in recent years in China. Land use change affects soil nitrogen (N) dynamics and nitrous oxide (N 2 O) emissions. However, it remains unclear how large-scale grassland reclamation will impact the grassland ecosystem as a whole. Here, we investigated the effects of the conversion from native to managed grasslands on soil N dynamics and N2O emissions by field experiments in Hulunber in northern China. Soil (0-10cm), nitrate (NO 3 - ), ammonium (NH 4 + ), and microbial N were measured in plots in a temperate steppe (Leymus chinensis grassland) and two managed grasslands (Medicago sativa and Bromus inermis grasslands) in 2011 and 2012. The results showed conversion of L. chinensis grassland to M. sativa or B. inermis grasslands decreased concentrations of NO 3 - -N, but did not change NH 4 + -N. Soil microbial N was slightly decreased by the conversion of L. chinensis grassland to M. sativa, but increased by the conversion to B. inermis. The conversion of L. chinensis grassland to M. sativa (i.e., a legume grass) increased N 2 O emissions by 26.2%, while the conversion to the B. inermis (i.e., a non-legume grass) reduced N 2 O emissions by 33.1%. The conversion from native to managed grasslands caused large created variations in soil NO 3 - -N and NH 4 + -N concentrations. Net N mineralization rates did not change significantly in growing season or vegetation type, but to net nitrification rate. These results provide evidence on how reclamation may impact the grassland ecosystem in terms of N dynamics and N 2 O emissions. Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  9. Effects of temperature and precipitation on grassland bird nesting success as mediated by patch size.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zuckerberg, Benjamin; Ribic, Christine A; McCauley, Lisa A

    2018-02-06

    Grassland birds are declining faster than any other bird guild across North America. Shrinking ranges and population declines are attributed to widespread habitat loss and increasingly fragmented landscapes of agriculture and other land uses that are misaligned with grassland bird conservation. Concurrent with habitat loss and degradation, temperate grasslands have been disproportionally affected by climate change relative to most other terrestrial biomes. Distributions of grassland birds often correlate with gradients in climate, but few researchers have explored the consequences of weather on the demography of grassland birds inhabiting a range of grassland fragments. To do so, we modeled the effects of temperature and precipitation on nesting success rates of 12 grassland bird species inhabiting a range of grassland patches across North America (21,000 nests from 81 individual studies). Higher amounts of precipitation in the preceding year were associated with higher nesting success, but wetter conditions during the active breeding season reduced nesting success. Extremely cold or hot conditions during the early breeding season were associated with lower rates of nesting success. The direct and indirect influence of temperature and precipitation on nesting success was moderated by grassland patch size. The positive effects of precipitation in the preceding year on nesting success were strongest in relatively small grassland patches and had little effect in large patches. Conversely, warm temperatures reduced nesting success in small grassland patches but increased nesting success in large patches. Mechanisms underlying these differences may be patch-size-induced variation in microclimates and predator activity. Although the exact cause is unclear, large grassland patches, the most common metric of grassland conservation, appears to moderate the effects of weather on grassland-bird demography and could be an effective component of climate-change adaptation.

  10. Data-model synthesis of grassland carbon metabolism. Quantifying direct, indirect & interactive effects of warming & elevated CO2

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Pendall, Elise [Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie, WY (United States); Ogle, Kiona [Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie, WY (United States); Parton, William [Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie, WY (United States)

    2016-02-29

    This research project improved understanding of how climate change (elevated atmospheric CO2, warming and altered precipitation) can affect grassland ecosystem productivity and nutrient availability. Our advanced experimental and modeling methods allowed us to test 21 specific hypotheses. We found that ecosystem changes over years of exposure to climate change can shift the plant communities and potentially make them more resilient to future climate changes. These changes in plant communities may be related to increased growth of belowground roots and enhanced nutrient uptake by some species. We also found that climate change can increase the spread of invasive and noxious weeds. These findings are important for land managers to make adaptive planning decisions for domestic livestock production in response to climate variability in semi-arid grasslands.

  11. Relationships of Biomass with Environmental Factors in the Grassland Area of Hulunbuir, China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Miao; Liu, Guohua; Gong, Li; Wang, Dongbo; Sun, Jian

    2014-01-01

    Many studies have focused on the relationship between vegetation biomass and environmental factors in grassland. However, several questions remain to be answered, especially with regards to the spatial pattern of vegetation biomass. Thus, the distributed mechanism will be explored in the present study. Here, plant biomass was measured at 23 sites along a transect survey during the peak growing season in 2006. The data were analyzed with a classification and regression tree (CART) model. The structural equation modeling (SEM) was conducted to explicitly evaluate the both direct and indirect effects of these critical environmental elements on vegetation biomass. The results demonstrated that mean annual temperature (MAT) affected aboveground biomass (AGB) scored at −0.811 (Pbiomass (BGB) was −0.490 (Pbiomass distribution. PMID:25032808

  12. Plague bacterium as a transformer species in prairie dogs and the grasslands of western North America

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eads, David A.; Biggins, Dean E.

    2015-01-01

    Invasive transformer species change the character, condition, form, or nature of ecosystems and deserve considerable attention from conservation scientists. We applied the transformer species concept to the plague bacterium Yersinia pestis in western North America, where the pathogen was introduced around 1900. Y. pestis transforms grassland ecosystems by severely depleting the abundance of prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) and thereby causing declines in native species abundance and diversity, including threatened and endangered species; altering food web connections; altering the import and export of nutrients; causing a loss of ecosystem resilience to encroaching invasive plants; and modifying prairie dog burrows. Y. pestis poses an important challenge to conservation biologists because it causes trophic-level perturbations that affect the stability of ecosystems. Unfortunately, understanding of the effects of Y. pestis on ecosystems is rudimentary, highlighting an acute need for continued research.

  13. Plague bacterium as a transformer species in prairie dogs and the grasslands of western North America.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eads, David A; Biggins, Dean E

    2015-08-01

    Invasive transformer species change the character, condition, form, or nature of ecosystems and deserve considerable attention from conservation scientists. We applied the transformer species concept to the plague bacterium Yersinia pestis in western North America, where the pathogen was introduced around 1900. Y. pestis transforms grassland ecosystems by severely depleting the abundance of prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) and thereby causing declines in native species abundance and diversity, including threatened and endangered species; altering food web connections; altering the import and export of nutrients; causing a loss of ecosystem resilience to encroaching invasive plants; and modifying prairie dog burrows. Y. pestis poses an important challenge to conservation biologists because it causes trophic-level perturbations that affect the stability of ecosystems. Unfortunately, understanding of the effects of Y. pestis on ecosystems is rudimentary, highlighting an acute need for continued research. © 2015 Society for Conservation Biology.

  14. Genetic sorting of subordinate species in grassland modulated by intraspecific variation in dominant species.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Danny J Gustafson

    Full Text Available Genetic variation in a single species can have predictable and heritable effects on associated communities and ecosystem processes, however little is known about how genetic variation of a dominant species affects plant community assembly. We characterized the genetic structure of a dominant grass (Sorghastrum nutans and two subordinate species (Chamaecrista fasciculata, Silphium integrifolium, during the third growing season in grassland communities established with genetically distinct (cultivated varieties or local ecotypes seed sources of the dominant grasses. There were genetic differences between subordinate species growing in the cultivar versus local ecotype communities, indicating that intraspecific genetic variation in the dominant grasses affected the genetic composition of subordinate species during community assembly. A positive association between genetic diversity of S. nutans, C. fasciculata, and S. integrifolium and species diversity established the role of an intraspecific biotic filter during community assembly. Our results show that intraspecific variation in dominant species can significantly modulate the genetic composition of subordinate species.

  15. Leaf trait response to nutrients and herbivore exclusion across a globally replicated grassland experiment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Firn, Jennifer

    2017-04-01

    Leaf trait response to nutrients and herbivore exclusion across a globally replicated grassland experiment Jennifer Firn1, James McGree2, Eric Lind3, Elizabeth Borer3, Eric Seabloom3, Lauren Sullivan3, Kimberly Lapierre4 and the Nutrient Network 1Queensland University of Technology (QUT), School of Earth, Environmental and Biological Sciences, Science and Engineering Faculty, Brisbane, QLD, 4001 Australia 2Queensland University of Technology (QUT), School of Mathematical Sciences, Science and Engineering Faculty, Brisbane, QLD, 4001 Australia 3Universtiy of Minnesota, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, 1479 Gortner Avenue, 140 Gortner Laboratory, St. Paul, MN 55108 USA 4Department of integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720 USA Functional trait research has developed with the aim of finding general patterns in how the function of plant assemblages changes with respect to different land-uses. Most studies have compared sites within and across regions with variations in land-use history, but not necessarily with standardized treatments in an experimental framework. The trends that have emerged from this research is that characteristics of leaf traits such as specific leaf area (SLA) correlate with carbon acquisition strategies known to influence ecosystem functioning. SLA has been found to represent a plant's investment in growing light-capturing area per dry mass content. Species with a relatively high SLA tend to have a higher rate of return on the resources invested into making tissue (cheaper leaves in terms of energy and resources needed to produce them) when compared to species with a lower SLA (more expensive leaves to produce). Few studies have examined quantitatively measured traits in an experimental framework. The Nutrient Network experiment, globally distributed experiment, presents a unique opportunity to examine the response of functional traits across grassland ecosystems characterised by a diverse range of

  16. Semi-arid grassland bird responses to patch-burn grazing and drought

    Science.gov (United States)

    Skagen, Susan K.; Augustine, David J.; Derner, Justin D.

    2018-01-01

    As grassland birds of central North America experience steep population declines with changes in land use, management of remaining tracts becomes increasingly important for population viability. The integrated use of fire and grazing may enhance vegetation heterogeneity and diversity in breeding birds, but the subsequent effects on reproduction are unknown. We examined the influence of patch-burn grazing management in shortgrass steppe in eastern Colorado on habitat use and reproductive success of 3 grassland bird species, horned lark (Eremophila alpestris), lark bunting (Calamospiza melanocorys), and McCown’s longspur (Rhynchophanes mccownii), at several spatial scales during 2011 and 2012. Although no simple direct relationship to patch-burn grazing treatment existed, habitat selection depended on precipitation- and management-induced vegetation conditions and spatial scale. All species selected taller-than-expected vegetation at the nest site, whereas at the territory scale, horned larks and McCown’s longspurs selected areas with low vegetation height and sparse cover of tall plants (taller than the dominant shortgrasses). Buntings nested primarily in unburned grassland under average rainfall. Larks and longspurs shifted activity from patch burns during average precipitation (2011) to unburned pastures during drought (2012). Daily survival rate (DSR) of nests varied with time in season, species, weather, and vegetation structure. Daily survival rate of McCown’s longspur nests did not vary with foliar cover of relatively tall vegetation at the nest under average precipitation but declined with increasing cover during drought. At the 200-m scale, increasing cover of shortgrasses, rather than taller plant species, improved DSR of larks and longspurs. These birds experience tradeoffs in the selection of habitat at different spatial scales: tall structure at nests may reduce visual detection by predators and provide protection from sun, wind, and rain, yet

  17. Dinitrogen emissions as an overlooked component of the N balance of montane grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zistl-Schlingmann, M.; Feng, J.; Ralf, K.; Stephan, R.; Dannenmann, M.

    2017-12-01

    The aim of the SUSALPS project (www.susalps.de), formed by several Universities (Bayreuth, TUM) governmental research organizations (KIT, HMGU, Bavarian State Research Centre for Agriculture) and private industry (WWL) is to improve our knowledge on the effects of current and future climate and management on ecosystem functions performed by grasslands. SUSALPS experimental work quantifies impacts of climate and land management changes on plant and microbial diversity, nutrient use efficiencies, biomass production and quality, soil carbon and nitrogen storage and turnover, greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient leaching at several sites covering different elevations and thus, climatic conditions. Numerous studies have been conducted on the dynamics and annual budget of NOx, NH3 and especially N2O emissions, since it is a potent greenhouse gas. The emissions and its role in the N budget remain unclear for the inert and environmentally harmless N2, mainly due to the lack of reliable measurement techniques. The helium incubation technique developed by Butterbach-Bahl, Willibald & Papen (2002) allows us to conduct reliable N2 measurements with intact soil cores and thus field like conditions in the lab. In our studies, we investigated N2 and N2O fluxes and calculated the N2/(N2O+ N2) ratio from grassland ecosystems in southern Germany. A space-for-time approach was used to simulate climate change via the translocation of intact soil cores along an altitudinal gradient. Both climate change and fertilization events were investigated on their influence on gaseous N losses from the plant-soil system. Peak emissions, which occurred subsequently to fertilization events revealed a loss of almost 50% of the applied N via N-gas-emissions. The cumulative annual N-gas-emissions have additionally shown around six fold higher N losses via N2 compared to NH3, contributing about 80% of all gaseous N losses from the ecosystem. This led us to the conclusion, that N2 is an overlooked key

  18. Aboveground vertebrate and invertebrate herbivore impact on net N mineralization in subalpine grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Risch, Anita C; Schotz, Martin; Vandegehuchte, Martijn L; Van Der Putten, Wim H; Duyts, Henk; Raschein, Ursina; Gwiazdowicz, Dariusz J; Busse, Matt D; Page-dumroese, Deborah S; Zimmermann, Stephan

    2015-12-01

    Aboveground herbivores have strong effects on grassland nitrogen (N) cycling. They can accelerate or slow down soil net N mineralization depending on ecosystem productivity and grazing intensity. Yet, most studies only consider either ungulates or invertebrate herbivores, but not the combined effect of several functionally different vertebrate and invertebrate herbivore species or guilds. We assessed how a diverse herbivore community affects net N mineralization in subalpine grasslands. By using size-selective fences, we progressively excluded large, medium, and small mammals, as well as invertebrates from two vegetation types, and assessed how the exclosure types (ET) affected net N mineralization. The two vegetation types differed in long-term management (centuries), forage quality, and grazing history and intensity. To gain a more mechanistic understanding of how herbivores affect net N mineralization, we linked mineralization to soil abiotic (temperature; moisture; NO3-, NH4+, and total inorganic N concentrations/pools; C, N, P concentrations; pH; bulk density), soil biotic (microbial biomass; abundance of collembolans, mites, and nematodes) and plant (shoot and root biomass; consumption; plant C, N, and fiber content; plant N pool) properties. Net N mineralization differed between ET, but not between vegetation types. Thus, short-term changes in herbivore community composition and, therefore, in grazing intensity had a stronger effect on net N mineralization than long-term management and grazing history. We found highest N mineralization values when only invertebrates were present, suggesting that mammals had a negative effect on net N mineralization. Of the variables included in our analyses, only mite abundance and aboveground plant biomass explained variation in net N mineralization among ET. Abundances of both mites and leaf-sucking invertebrates were positively correlated with aboveground plant biomass, and biomass increased with progressive exclusion

  19. Mowing exacerbates the loss of ecosystem stability under nitrogen enrichment in a temperate grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Yunhai; Loreau, Michel; He, Nianpeng; Zhang, Guangming; Han, Xingguo

    2017-08-04

    1. Global reactive nitrogen (N) is projected to further increase in the coming years. Previous studies have demonstrated that N enrichment weakens the temporal stability of the ecosystem and the primary productivity through decreased biodiversity and species asynchrony. Mowing is a globally common practise in grasslands; and infrequent mowing can maintain or increase plant diversity under N enrichment conditions. However, it is unclear how infrequent mowing affects ecosystem stability in the face of N enrichment. 2. By independently manipulating the frequency (twice vs. monthly additions per year) and rate (i.e. 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, and 50 g N m -2 year -1 ) of NH 4 NO 3 inputs and mowing (unmown vs. mown) over 3 years (2011-2013) in a temperate grassland of northern China, we aimed to examine the interactive effects of N enrichment and mowing on ecosystem stability. 3. The results show that mowing maintained a positive relationship between species richness and ecosystem stability despite N addition, but that it exacerbated the negative effects of N addition on ecosystem stability. Mowing increased mean primary productivity and plant species richness, but it also increased the synchrony of population fluctuations and the variability of primary productivity under N enrichment, thereby contributing to a decline in the ecosystem stability. 4. Thus, our study reveals that infrequent mowing can buffer the negative effects of N enrichment on biodiversity to some extent and further increase the primary productivity, but it exacerbates the loss of ecosystem stability with N enrichment, thereby threatening local and/or semiarid regional food security.

  20. Long-term effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 on species composition and productivity of a southern African C4 dominated grassland in the vicinity of a CO2 exhalation.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Stock, W.D.; Ludwig, F.; Morrow, C.; Midgley, G.F.; Wand, S.J.E.; Allsopp, N.; Bell, T.L.

    2005-01-01

    We describe the long-term effects of a CO2 exhalation, created more than 70 years ago, on a natural C4 dominated sub-tropical grassland in terms of ecosystem structure and functioning. We tested whether long-term CO2 enrichment changes the competitive balance between plants with C3 and C4

  1. Multi-index time series monitoring of drought and fire effects on desert grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Villarreal, Miguel; Norman, Laura M.; Buckley, Steven; Wallace, Cynthia S.A.; Coe, Michelle A.

    2016-01-01

    The Western United States is expected to undergo both extended periods of drought and longer wildfire seasons under forecasted global climate change and it is important to understand how these disturbances will interact and affect recovery and composition of plant communities in the future. In this research paper we describe the temporal response of grassland communities to drought and fire in southern Arizona, where land m