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Sample records for rengen grassland experiment

  1. Changes in vegetation types and Ellenberg indicator values after 65 years of fertilizer application in the Rengen Grassland Experiment, Germany

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Chytry, M.; Hejcman, M.; Hennekens, S.M.; Schellberg, J.

    2009-01-01

    Question: How does semi-natural grassland diversify after 65 years of differential application of Ca, N, P, and K fertilizers? Is fertilizer application adequately reflected by the Ellenberg indicator values (EIVs)? Location: Eifel Mountains, West Germany. Methods: The Rengen Grassland Experiment

  2. The Rengen Grassland experiment: bryophytes biomass and element concentrations after 65 years of fertilizer application.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hejcman, Michal; Száková, Jirina; Schellberg, Jürgen; Srek, Petr; Tlustos, Pavel; Balík, Jirí

    2010-07-01

    The Rengen Grassland Experiment in Germany, established in 1941, consists of the following fertilizer treatments applied under a two cut management: control, Ca, CaN, CaNP, CaNP-KCl, and CaNP-K(2)SO(4). The aim of this study was (1) to identify effects of fertilizer application on biomass and species composition of bryophytes and (2) to investigate the impact of fertilizer application on macro- (N, P, K, Ca, Mg), micro- (Cu, Fe, Mn, Zn), and toxic (As, Cd, Cr, Pb, Ni) element concentrations in bryophyte biomass. In June 2006, Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus was the only bryophyte species recorded in the control. In treatment Ca, R. squarrosus was the dominant bryophyte species whereas Brachythecium rutabulum occurred sporadically only in a single plot of that treatment. The latter was the only bryophyte species collected in CaN, CaNP, CaNP-KCl, and CaNP-K(2)SO(4) treatments. Dry matter accumulation of bryophytes was highest in the control (180 g m(-2)) followed by Ca (46 g m(-2)), CaNP (25 g m(-2)), CaNP-KCl (15 g m(-2)), CaNP-K(2)SO(4) (9 g m(-2)), and CaN (2 g m(-2)) treatments. A negative correlation between biomass production of bryophytes and dry matter production of vascular plants was revealed up to a threshold value of 400 g m(-2). Above this limit, biomass production of bryophytes remained obviously unaffected by further increase in biomass production of vascular plants. A significant effect of treatment on As, Cd, Cr, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, P, Ca, Mg, K, and N concentrations was revealed. Concentrations of these elements were a function of amount of elements supplied with fertilizers. Bryophytes seem to be promising bio-indicators not only for airborne deposition of toxic element but also for fertilizer introduced as well.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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...

  6. 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;

  7. Heterogeneity of water flow in grassland soil during irrigation experiment

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Lichner, Ľ.; Dušek, J.; Tesař, Miroslav; Czachor, H.; Mészároš, I.

    2014-01-01

    Roč. 69, č. 11 (2014), s. 1555-1561 ISSN 0006-3088 R&D Projects: GA TA ČR(CZ) TA0201451 Grant - others:ERDF ITMS26240120004 Institutional support: RVO:67985874 Keywords : degree of preferential flow * effective cross section * infiltration experiment * radioactive tracer technique * sandy soil Subject RIV: DA - Hydrology ; Limnology Impact factor: 0.827, year: 2014

  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. An African grassland responds similarly to long-term fertilization to the Park Grass experiment.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David Ward

    Full Text Available We compared the results of a long-term (65 years experiment in a South African grassland with the world's longest-running ecological experiment, the Park Grass study at Rothamsted, U.K. The climate is warm and humid in South Africa and cool and temperate in England. The African grassland has been fertilized with two forms of nitrogen applied at four levels, phosphorus and lime in a crossed design in 96 plots. In 1951, about 84% of plant cover consisted of Themeda triandra, Tristachya leucothrix and Setaria nigrirostris. Currently, the dominant species are Panicum maximum, Setaria sphacelata and Eragrostis curvula, making up 71% of total biomass. As in the Park Grass experiment, we found a significant (additive interaction effect on ANPP of nitrogen and phosphorus, and a (marginally significant negative correlation between ANPP and species richness. Unlike the Park Grass experiment, there was no correlation between ANPP and species richness when pH was included as a covariate. There was also a significant negative effect of nitrogen amount and nitrogen form and a positive effect of lime on species richness and species diversity. Soil pH had an important effect on species richness. Liming was insufficient to balance the negative effects on species richness of nitrogen fertilization. There was a significant effect of pH on biomass of three abundant species. There were also significant effects of light on the biomass of four species, with only Panicum maximum having a negative response to light. In all of the abundant species, adding total species richness and ANPP to the model increased the amount of variance explained. The biomass of Eragrostis curvula and P. maximum were negatively correlated with species richness while three other abundant species increased with species richness, suggesting that competition and facilitation were active. Consistent with the results from the Park Grass and other long-term fertilization experiments of grasslands

  10. 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

  11. Impacts of tree rows on grassland birds and potential nest predators: a removal experiment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ellison, Kevin S; Ribic, Christine A; Sample, David W; Fawcett, Megan J; Dadisman, John D

    2013-01-01

    Globally, grasslands and the wildlife that inhabit them are widely imperiled. Encroachment by shrubs and trees has widely impacted grasslands in the past 150 years. In North America, most grassland birds avoid nesting near woody vegetation. Because woody vegetation fragments grasslands and potential nest predator diversity and abundance is often greater along wooded edge and grassland transitions, we measured the impacts of removing rows of trees and shrubs that intersected grasslands on potential nest predators and the three most abundant grassland bird species (Henslow's sparrow [Ammodramus henslowii], Eastern meadowlark [Sturnella magna], and bobolink [Dolichonyx oryzivorus]) at sites in Wisconsin, U.S.A. We monitored 3 control and 3 treatment sites, for 1 yr prior to and 3 yr after tree row removal at the treatment sites. Grassland bird densities increased (2-4 times for bobolink and Henslow's sparrow) and nesting densities increased (all 3 species) in the removal areas compared to control areas. After removals, Henslow's sparrows nested within ≤50 m of the treatment area, where they did not occur when tree rows were present. Most dramatically, activity by woodland-associated predators nearly ceased (nine-fold decrease for raccoon [Procyon lotor]) at the removals and grassland predators increased (up to 27 times activity for thirteen-lined ground squirrel [Ictidomys tridecemlineatus]). Nest success did not increase, likely reflecting the increase in grassland predators. However, more nests were attempted by all 3 species (175 versus 116) and the number of successful nests for bobolinks and Henslow's sparrows increased. Because of gains in habitat, increased use by birds, greater production of young, and the effective removal of woodland-associated predators, tree row removal, where appropriate based on the predator community, can be a beneficial management action for conserving grassland birds and improving fragmented and degraded grassland ecosystems.

  12. Impacts of tree rows on grassland birds and potential nest predators: a removal experiment.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kevin S Ellison

    Full Text Available Globally, grasslands and the wildlife that inhabit them are widely imperiled. Encroachment by shrubs and trees has widely impacted grasslands in the past 150 years. In North America, most grassland birds avoid nesting near woody vegetation. Because woody vegetation fragments grasslands and potential nest predator diversity and abundance is often greater along wooded edge and grassland transitions, we measured the impacts of removing rows of trees and shrubs that intersected grasslands on potential nest predators and the three most abundant grassland bird species (Henslow's sparrow [Ammodramus henslowii], Eastern meadowlark [Sturnella magna], and bobolink [Dolichonyx oryzivorus] at sites in Wisconsin, U.S.A. We monitored 3 control and 3 treatment sites, for 1 yr prior to and 3 yr after tree row removal at the treatment sites. Grassland bird densities increased (2-4 times for bobolink and Henslow's sparrow and nesting densities increased (all 3 species in the removal areas compared to control areas. After removals, Henslow's sparrows nested within ≤50 m of the treatment area, where they did not occur when tree rows were present. Most dramatically, activity by woodland-associated predators nearly ceased (nine-fold decrease for raccoon [Procyon lotor] at the removals and grassland predators increased (up to 27 times activity for thirteen-lined ground squirrel [Ictidomys tridecemlineatus]. Nest success did not increase, likely reflecting the increase in grassland predators. However, more nests were attempted by all 3 species (175 versus 116 and the number of successful nests for bobolinks and Henslow's sparrows increased. Because of gains in habitat, increased use by birds, greater production of young, and the effective removal of woodland-associated predators, tree row removal, where appropriate based on the predator community, can be a beneficial management action for conserving grassland birds and improving fragmented and degraded grassland

  13. Research priorities for grassland science: the need of long term integrated experiments networks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    G. Lemaire

    2007-07-01

    Full Text Available Grasslands have to be considered not only as a mean for providing foods for domestic herbivore but also as an important biome of terrestrial biosphere. This function of grasslands as an active component of our environment requires specific studies on the role and impact of this ecosystem on soil erosion and soil quality, quality and quantity of water resources, atmosphere composition and greenhouse gas emission or sequestration, biodiversity dynamics at different scales from field plot to landscape. All these functions have to be evaluated in conjunction with the function of providing animal products for increasing human population. So multifunctionality of grasslands become a new paradigm for grassland science. Environmental and biodiversity outputs require long term studies, being the long term retro-active processes within soil, vegetation and micro-organism communities in relation to changes in management programme. So grassland science needs to carry on long term integrated experimentation for studying all the environmental outputs and ecological services associated to grassland management systems.

  14. Dynamics of a grassland ecosystem: botanical equilibrium in the Park Grass Experiment

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Silvertown, J

    1980-01-01

    The published results of the Park Grass Experiment (PGE), begun in 1856, provide up to 30 yr of annual data which may be used to determine whether the botanical composition of these grasslands was at equilibrium. Data covering a period exceeding 80 yr are available to test for relationships between hay yield (biomass), species diversity, species number and time. Species diversity and species number show negative relationships with plot biomass and with pH. These relationships were constant over time. The effects of biomass and pH on species number and species diversity were additive. Analysis of the flora of nine plots, each divided into grasses, legumes and a miscellaneous component showed that these components were at equilibrium. The effect of various endogenous factors on this botanical equilibrium was examined. No regular or irregular cycles of component biomass operating between years were detected and it is inferred that populations were regulated by processes operating within individual years. The biomasses of all three components were positively correlated within an unfertilized plot but the floristic components of plots receiving a fertilizer treatment showed few within-plot correlations. By contrast between-plot correlations of components were common for all plots with the exception of those receiving nitrogen fertilizer. The mechanisms of population regulation which maintained the park grass ecosystem at equilibrium are discussed and tests for these are proposed.

  15. 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...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilcox, Kevin R; Shi, Zheng; Gherardi, Laureano A; Lemoine, Nathan P; Koerner, Sally E; Hoover, David L; Bork, Edward; Byrne, Kerry M; Cahill, James; Collins, Scott L; Evans, Sarah; Gilgen, Anna K; Holub, Petr; Jiang, Lifen; Knapp, Alan K; LeCain, Daniel; Liang, Junyi; Garcia-Palacios, Pablo; Peñuelas, Josep; Pockman, William T; Smith, Melinda D; Sun, Shanghua; White, Shannon R; Yahdjian, Laura; Zhu, Kai; Luo, Yiqi

    2017-10-01

    Climatic changes are altering Earth's hydrological cycle, resulting in altered precipitation amounts, increased interannual variability of precipitation, and more frequent extreme precipitation events. These trends will likely continue into the future, having substantial impacts on net primary productivity (NPP) and associated ecosystem services such as food production and carbon sequestration. Frequently, experimental manipulations of precipitation have linked altered precipitation regimes to changes in NPP. Yet, findings have been diverse and substantial uncertainty still surrounds generalities describing patterns of ecosystem sensitivity to altered precipitation. Additionally, we do not know whether previously observed correlations between NPP and precipitation remain accurate when precipitation changes become extreme. We synthesized results from 83 case studies of experimental precipitation manipulations in grasslands worldwide. We used meta-analytical techniques to search for generalities and asymmetries of aboveground NPP (ANPP) and belowground NPP (BNPP) responses to both the direction and magnitude of precipitation change. Sensitivity (i.e., productivity response standardized by the amount of precipitation change) of BNPP was similar under precipitation additions and reductions, but ANPP was more sensitive to precipitation additions than reductions; this was especially evident in drier ecosystems. Additionally, overall relationships between the magnitude of productivity responses and the magnitude of precipitation change were saturating in form. The saturating form of this relationship was likely driven by ANPP responses to very extreme precipitation increases, although there were limited studies imposing extreme precipitation change, and there was considerable variation among experiments. This highlights the importance of incorporating gradients of manipulations, ranging from extreme drought to extreme precipitation increases into future climate change

  17. 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

  18. Vegetation recovery in slash-pile scars following conifer removal in a grassland-restoration experiment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Charles B. Halpern; Joseph A. Antos; Liam M. Beckman

    2014-01-01

    A principal challenge to restoring tree-invaded grasslands is the removal of woody biomass. Burning of slash piles to reduce woody residues from forest restoration practices generates intense, prolonged heating, with adverse effects on soils and vegetation. In this study, we examined vegetation responses to pile burning following tree removal from conifer-invaded...

  19. WATCHING GRASS GROW- A PILOT STUDY ON THE SUITABILITY OF PHOTOGRAMMETRIC TECHNIQUES FOR QUANTIFYING CHANGE IN ABOVEGROUND BIOMASS IN GRASSLAND EXPERIMENTS

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. Kröhnert

    2018-05-01

    Full Text Available Grassland ecology experiments in remote locations requiring quantitative analysis of the biomass in defined plots are becoming increasingly widespread, but are still limited by manual sampling methodologies. To provide a cost-effective automated solution for biomass determination, several photogrammetric techniques are examined to generate 3D point cloud representations of plots as a basis, to estimate aboveground biomass on grassland plots, which is a key ecosystem variable used in many experiments. Methods investigated include Structure from Motion (SfM techniques for camera pose estimation with posterior dense matching as well as the usage of a Time of Flight (TOF 3D camera, a laser light sheet triangulation system and a coded light projection system. In this context, plants of small scales (herbage and medium scales are observed. In the first pilot study presented here, the best results are obtained by applying dense matching after SfM, ideal for integration into distributed experiment networks.

  20. Successive sheep grazing reduces population density of Brandt's voles in steppe grassland by altering food resources: a large manipulative experiment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Guoliang; Yin, Baofa; Wan, Xinrong; Wei, Wanhong; Wang, Guiming; Krebs, Charles J; Zhang, Zhibin

    2016-01-01

    Livestock grazing has shaped grassland ecosystems around the world. Previous studies indicated grazing showed various impacts on small rodents; however, most studies were conducted over 1-2 years without controlling for confounding factors such as immigration/emigration and predation in rodents. Brandt's voles (Lasiopodomys brandtii) are generally recognized as pests because of food overlap with domestic herbivores, but are also important for biodiversity conservation because they provide nests or food to many birds. Fully understanding the ecological relationship between domestic herbivores and small mammals is essential to making ecosystem management decisions. To address these needs, we carried out a field experiment during the period 2010-2013 to assess the effects of sheep grazing on vegetation and the population density of Brandt's voles along a gradient of three grazing intensities by using 12 large-scale enclosures. Responses of Brandt's voles to livestock grazing varied with grazing intensity and year. As compared to the control group, sheep grazing had no effect on vole abundance in the first year but an overall negative effect on vole abundance in the following 3 years. Successive grazing caused decreases in survival and male body mass of voles, but had no significant effect on fecundity. Negative effects of grazing were associated with a grazing-induced deterioration in both food quantity (reflected by biomass and cover of less-preferred plants), and food quality (measured by tannin and total phenol content). Our findings highlight the urgent need for more flexible management of yearly rotational grazing to optimize livestock production while maintaining species diversity and ecosystem health.

  1. Dynamics of ammonia exchange with cut grassland: synthesis of results and conclusions of the GRAMINAE Integrated Experiment

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. A. Sutton

    2009-12-01

    Full Text Available Improved data on biosphere-atmosphere exchange are fundamental to understanding the production and fate of ammonia (NH3 in the atmosphere. The GRAMINAE Integrated Experiment combined novel measurement and modelling approaches to provide the most comprehensive analysis of the interactions to date. Major inter-comparisons of micrometeorological parameters and NH3 flux measurements using the aerodynamic gradient method and relaxed eddy accumulation (REA were conducted. These showed close agreement, though the REA systems proved insufficiently precise to investigate vertical flux divergence. Grassland management had a large effect on fluxes: emissions increased after grass cutting (−50 to 700 ng m−2 s−1 NH3 and after N-fertilization (0 to 3800 ng m−2 s−1 compared with before the cut (−60 to 40 ng m−2 s−1.

    Effects of advection and air chemistry were investigated using horizontal NH3 profiles, acid gas and particle flux measurements. Inverse modelling of NH3 emission from an experimental farm agreed closely with inventory estimates, while advection errors were used to correct measured grassland fluxes. Advection effects were caused both by the farm and by emissions from the field, with an inverse dispersion-deposition model providing a reliable new approach to estimate net NH3 fluxes. Effects of aerosol chemistry on net NH3 fluxes were small, while the measurements allowed NH3-induced particle growth rates to be calculated and aerosol fluxes to be corrected.

    Bioassays estimated the emission potential Γ = [NH4+]/[H+] for different plant pools, with the apoplast having the smallest values (30–1000. The main within-canopy sources of NH3 emission appeared to be leaf litter and the soil surface, with Γ up to 3 million and

  2. 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...

  3. 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.

  4. Variation in soil moisture and N availability modulates carbon and water exchange in a California grassland experiment

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    St. Clair, S.B.; Sudderth, E.; Fischer, M.L.; Torn, M.S.; Stuart, S.; Salve, R.; Eggett, D.; Ackerly, D.

    2009-03-15

    Variability in the magnitude and timing of precipitation is predicted to change under future climate scenarios. The primary objective of this study was to understand how variation in precipitation patterns consisting of soil moisture pulses mixed with intermittent dry down events influence ecosystem gas fluxes. We characterized the effects of precipitation amount and timing, N availability, and plant community composition on whole ecosystem and leaf gas exchange in a California annual grassland mesocosm study system that allowed precise control of soil moisture conditions. Ecosystem CO2 and fluxes increased significantly with greater precipitation and were positively correlated with soil moisture. A repeated 10 day dry down period following 11 days of variable precipitation inputs strongly depressed net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE) across a range of season precipitation totals, and plant community types. Ecosystem respiration (Re), evapotranspiration (ET) and leaf level photosynthesis (Amax) showed greatest sensitivity to dry down periods in low precipitation plots. Nitrogen additions significantly increased NEE, Re and Amax, particularly as water availability was increased. These results demonstrate that N availability and intermittent periods of soil moisture deficit (across a wide range of cumulative season precipitation totals) strongly modulate ecosystem gas exchange.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Soil fertilization leads to a decline in between-samples variability of microbial community δ13C profiles in a grassland fertilization experiment.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stavros D Veresoglou

    Full Text Available Gas chromatography combustion isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC-C-IRMS was used to measure the (13C/(12C ratios of PLFAs at natural abundance levels from a temperate grassland nitrogen (N and phosphorus (P factorial fertilization experiment in northern Greece. In each plot two rhizosphere samples were derived centred around individual Agrostis capillaris and Prunella vulgaris plants. It was hypothesized that the isotopic signal of microbes that preferentially feed on recalcitrant litter such as fungi would be modified by fertilization more strongly than that of opportunistic microbes using labile C. Microbial community δ(13C was affected by both P and N fertilization regime and plant species identity. However, we have been unable to detect significant nutrient effects on individual groups of microbes when analyzed separately in contrast to our original hypothesis. Intra-treatment variability, as evaluated from Hartley's F(max tests in the five first PCA components axes as well as the size of the convex hulls in PCA scoreplots and Mahalanobis distances, was considerably higher in the non-fertilized controls. Moreover, a significant relationship was established between the change in PLFA abundances and their respective changes in δ(13C for the aggregate of samples and those simultaneously fertilized with N and P. We conclude that use of compound specific isotope analysis in the absence of labelling represents a valuable and overlooked tool in obtaining an insight of microbial community functioning.

  8. 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

  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. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. Root biomass and carbon storage in differently managed multispecies temporary grasslands

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Eriksen, Jørgen; Mortensen, Tine Bloch; Søegaard, Karen

    2012-01-01

    Species-rich grasslands may potentially increase carbon (C) storage in soil, and an experiment was established to investigate C storage in highly productive temporary multi-species grasslands. Plots were established with three mixtures: (1) a herb mixture containing salad burnet (Sanguisorba minor...

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. [Vegetation index estimation by chlorophyll content of grassland based on spectral analysis].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xiao, Han; Chen, Xiu-Wan; Yang, Zhen-Yu; Li, Huai-Yu; Zhu, Han

    2014-11-01

    Comparing the methods of existing remote sensing research on the estimation of chlorophyll content, the present paper confirms that the vegetation index is one of the most practical and popular research methods. In recent years, the increasingly serious problem of grassland degradation. This paper, firstly, analyzes the measured reflectance spectral curve and its first derivative curve in the grasslands of Songpan, Sichuan and Gongger, Inner Mongolia, conducts correlation analysis between these two spectral curves and chlorophyll content, and finds out the regulation between REP (red edge position) and grassland chlorophyll content, that is, the higher the chlorophyll content is, the higher the REIP (red-edge inflection point) value would be. Then, this paper constructs GCI (grassland chlorophyll index) and selects the most suitable band for retrieval. Finally, this paper calculates the GCI by the use of satellite hyperspectral image, conducts the verification and accuracy analysis of the calculation results compared with chlorophyll content data collected from field of twice experiments. The result shows that for grassland chlorophyll content, GCI has stronger sensitivity than other indices of chlorophyll, and has higher estimation accuracy. GCI is the first proposed to estimate the grassland chlorophyll content, and has wide application potential for the remote sensing retrieval of grassland chlorophyll content. In addition, the grassland chlorophyll content estimation method based on remote sensing retrieval in this paper provides new research ideas for other vegetation biochemical parameters' estimation, vegetation growth status' evaluation and grassland ecological environment change's monitoring.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Threshold responses to interacting global changes in a California grassland ecosystem

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Field, Christopher [Carnegie Inst. of Science, Stanford, CA (United States); Mooney, Harold [Stanford Univ., CA (United States); Vitousek, Peter [Stanford Univ., CA (United States)

    2015-02-02

    Building on the history and infrastructure of the Jasper Ridge Global Change Experiment, we conducted experiments to explore the potential for single and combined global changes to stimulate fundamental type changes in ecosystems that start the experiment as California annual grassland. Using a carefully orchestrated set of seedling introductions, followed by careful study and later removal, the grassland was poised to enable two major kinds of transitions that occur in real life and that have major implications for ecosystem structure, function, and services. These are transitions from grassland to shrubland/forest and grassland to thistle patch. The experiment took place in the context of 4 global change factors – warming, elevated CO2, N deposition, and increased precipitation – in a full-factorial array, present as all possible 1, 2, 3, and 4-factor combinations, with each combination replicated 8 times.

  5. 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...

  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. Effect of phosphorus availability on the selection of species with different ploidy levels and genome sizes in a long-term grassland fertilization experiment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Šmarda, Petr; Hejcman, Michal; Březinová, Alexandra; Horová, Lucie; Steigerová, Helena; Zedek, František; Bureš, Petr; Hejcmanová, Pavla; Schellberg, Jürgen

    2013-11-01

    Polyploidy and increased genome size are hypothesized to increase organismal nutrient demands, namely of phosphorus (P), which is an essential and abundant component of nucleic acids. Therefore, polyploids and plants with larger genomes are expected to be selectively disadvantaged in P-limited environments. However, this hypothesis has yet to be experimentally tested. We measured the somatic DNA content and ploidy level in 74 vascular plant species in a long-term fertilization experiment. The differences between the fertilizer treatments regarding the DNA content and ploidy level of the established species were tested using phylogeny-based statistics. The percentage and biomass of polyploid species clearly increased with soil P in particular fertilizer treatments, and a similar but weaker trend was observed for the DNA content. These increases were associated with the dominance of competitive life strategy (particularly advantageous in the P-treated plots) in polyploids and the enhanced competitive ability of dominant polyploid grasses at high soil P concentrations, indicating their increased P limitation. Our results verify the hypothesized effect of P availability on the selection of polyploids and plants with increased genome sizes, although the relative contribution of increased P demands vs increased competitiveness as causes of the observed pattern requires further evaluation. © 2013 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2013 New Phytologist Trust.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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...

  11. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brazier, Richard E.

    2015-04-01

    the environmental setting or wider climatic conditions that the grasslands experience. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that the relatively stable ecosystem state that has prevailed in the 'pristine' grasslands studied, is in fact very fragile and may be easily altered, either by anthropogenic forcing, due to land management or by 'semi-natural' processes, related to climate change or changes in the incidence of wildfires (for example). Once structurally altered, it is also shown that positive feedbacks will occur to accelerate the loss of critical resources (topsoil and nutrients) from the ecosystem, in particular in drylands, resulting in widespread land degradation that cannot be reversed. In the temperate grasslands studied, it is shown that anthropogenic intervention may halt or even to some degree reverse the degradation of the soil-vegetation-water continuum. However, such 'landscape restoration' approaches are costly and require long-term management commitment if they are to succeed. degrade these critical ecosystems further. Finally, analysis of water, sediment and nutrient fluxes from this range of grasslands also demonstrates how critical ecosystem services that grasslands can provide; including soil water storage to buffer downstream flooding, soil carbon storage and enhanced biodiversity are reduced, often to the point where restoration of the original (pristine) landscape function is impossible. To conclude, discussion is made of how we can learn across grass landscapes globally, to ensure that those ecosystems that might be restored to build resilient landscapes under future climates are well understood and that future efforts to manage grasslands for increased food production do not degrade these critical ecosystems further.

  13. 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.

  14. Competition under high and low nutrient levels among three grassland species occupying different positions in a successional sequence

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schippers, P.; Snoeijing, I.; Kropff, M.J.

    1999-01-01

    To clarify the role of seasonal change, competitive response and nutrient availability in the competitive asymmetry of grassland species a competition experiment was conducted on Holcus lanatus, Anthoxanthum odoratum and Festuca ovina, which represent a successional sequence of decreasing nutrient

  15. 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,

  16. Herbage intake regulation and growth of rabbits raised on grasslands: back to basics and looking forward.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martin, G; Duprat, A; Goby, J-P; Theau, J-P; Roinsard, A; Descombes, M; Legendre, H; Gidenne, T

    2016-10-01

    Organic agriculture is developing worldwide, and organic rabbit production has developed within this context. It entails raising rabbits in moving cages or paddocks, which enables them to graze grasslands. As organic farmers currently lack basic technical information, the objective of this article is to characterize herbage intake, feed intake and the growth rate of rabbits raised on grasslands in different environmental and management contexts (weather conditions, grassland type and complete feed supplementation). Three experiments were performed with moving cages at an experimental station. From weaning, rabbits grazed a natural grassland, a tall fescue grassland and a sainfoin grassland in experiments 1, 2 and 3, respectively. Rabbit diets were supplemented with a complete pelleted feed limited to 69 g dry matter (DM)/rabbit per day in experiment 1 and 52 g DM/rabbit per day in experiments 2 and 3. Herbage allowance and fiber, DM and protein contents, as well as rabbit intake and live weight, were measured weekly. Mean herbage DM intake per rabbit per day differed significantly (P<0.001) between experiments. It was highest in experiment 1 (78.5 g DM/day) and was 43.9 and 51.2 g DM/day in experiments 2 and 3, respectively. Herbage allowance was the most significant determinant of herbage DM intake during grazing, followed by rabbit metabolic weight (live weight0.75) and herbage protein and fiber contents. Across experiments, a 10 g DM increase in herbage allowance and a 100 g increase in rabbit metabolic weight corresponded to a mean increase of 6.8 and 9.6 g of herbage DM intake, respectively. When including complete feed, daily mean DM intakes differed significantly among experiments (P<0.001), ranging from 96.1 g DM/rabbit per day in experiment 2 to 163.6 g DM/rabbit per day in experiment 1. Metabolic weight of rabbits raised on grasslands increased linearly over time in all three experiments, yielding daily mean growth rates of 26.2, 19.2 and 28.5 g/day in

  17. 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.

  18. Drought and Carbon Cycling of Grassland Ecosystems under Global Change: A Review

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tianjie Lei

    2016-10-01

    Full Text Available In recent years, the increased intensity and duration of droughts have dramatically altered the structure and function of grassland ecosystems, which have been forced to adapt to this change in climate. Combinations of global change drivers such as elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration, warming, nitrogen (N deposition, grazing, and land-use change have influenced the impact that droughts have on grassland C cycling. This influence, to some extent, can modify the relationship between droughts and grassland carbon (C cycling in the multi-factor world. Unfortunately, prior reviews have been primarily anecdotal from the 1930s to the 2010s. We investigated the current state of the study on the interactive impacts of multiple factors under drought scenarios in grassland C cycling and provided scientific advice for dealing with droughts and managing grassland C cycling in a multi-factor world. Currently, adequate information is not available on the interaction between droughts and global change drivers, which would advance our understanding of grassland C cycling responses. It was determined that future experiments and models should specifically test how droughts regulate grassland C cycling under global changes. Previous multi-factor experiments of current and future global change conditions have studied various drought scenarios poorly, including changes in precipitation frequency and amplitude, timing, and interactions with other global change drivers. Multi-factor experiments have contributed to quantifying these potential changes and have provided important information on how water affects ecosystem processes under global change. There is an urgent need to establish a systematic framework that can assess ecosystem dynamic responses to droughts under current and future global change and human activity, with a focus on the combined effects of droughts, global change drivers, and the corresponding hierarchical responses of an ecosystem.

  19. 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...

  20. 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...

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  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. Fate of leaf-litter N in forest and grassland along a pedo-climatic gradient in south-western Siberia: an in situ 15N-labelling experiment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brédoire, Félix; Zeller, Bernd; Nikitich, Polina; Barsukov, Pavel A.; Rusalimova, Olga; Bakker, Mark R.; Legout, Arnaud; Bashuk, Alexander; Kayler, Zachary E.; Derrien, Delphine

    2017-04-01

    The suitability of Siberia for agriculture is expected to increase in the next decades due to strong and rapid climatic changes, but little is known on the environmental drivers of soil fertility there, especially nitrogen (N). Plant-available N is mainly derived from litter decomposition. South-western (SW) Siberia is located on the transition between several bioclimatic zones that are predicted to shift and extend along with climate change (steppe, forest-steppe, sub-taiga). The soils of this region are formed on a common loess deposit but they are submitted to different climatic conditions and vegetation cover. In the south of the region, typically in steppe/forest-steppe, soil freezes over winter because of a relatively shallow snow-pack, and water shortages are frequent in summer. In the north, typically in sub-taiga, the soil is barely frozen in winter due to a thick snow-pack and sufficient soil moisture in summer. In this study, we characterized the dynamics of leaf litter decomposition and the transfer of N from leaf litter to the soil and back to plants. Four sites were chosen along a climate gradient (temperature, precipitation and snow depth). At each site, we applied 15N-labelled leaf litter on the soil surface in experimental plots in an aspen (Populus tremula L.) forest and in a grassland. Twice a year during three years, we tracked the 15N derived from the decomposing labelled-litter in the organic layers, in the first 15 cm of the soil, and in above-ground vegetation. Soil temperature and moisture were monitored at a daily timestep over three years and soil water budgets were simulated (BILJOU model, Granier et al. 1999). We observed contrasting patterns in the fate of litter-derived 15N between bioclimatic zones. Over three years, along with faster decay rates, the release of leaf litter-N was faster in sub-taiga than in forest-steppe. As such, higher quantities of 15N were transferred into the soil in sub-taiga. The transfer was also deeper there

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. [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.

  12. 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

  13. Black-tailed prairie dogs, cattle, and the conservation of North America's arid grasslands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rodrigo Sierra-Corona

    Full Text Available Prairie dogs (Cynomys spp. have been eliminated from over 95% of their historic range in large part from direct eradication campaigns to reduce their purported competition with cattle for forage. Despite the longstanding importance of this issue to grassland management and conservation, the ecological interactions between cattle and prairie dogs have not been well examined. We address this issue through two complementary experiments to determine if cattle and prairie dogs form a mutualistic grazing association similar to that between prairie dogs and American bison. Our experimental results show that cattle preferentially graze along prairie dog colony edges and use their colony centers for resting, resembling the mutualistic relationship prairie dogs have with American bison. Our results also show that prairie dog colonies are not only an important component of the grassland mosaic for maintaining biodiversity, but also provide benefits to cattle, thereby challenging the long-standing view of prairie dogs as an undesirable pest species in grasslands.

  14. 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 ...

  15. 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.

  16. Constraints on tree seedling establishment in montane grasslands of the Valles Caldera, New Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jonathan D. Coop; Thomas J. Givnish

    2008-01-01

    Montane and subalpine grasslands are prominent, but poorly understood, features of the Rocky Mountains. These communities frequently occur below reversed tree lines on valley floors, where nightly cold air accumulation is spatially coupled with fine soil texture. We used field experiments to assess the roles of minimum temperature, soil texture, grass competition, and...

  17. Nitrogen Fertilizer Replacement Value of Concentrated Liquid Fraction of Separated Pig Slurry Applied to Grassland

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Middelkoop, Van J.C.; Holshof, G.

    2017-01-01

    Seven grassland experiments on sandy and clay soils were performed during a period of 4 years to estimate the nitrogen (N) fertilizer replacement value (NFRV) of concentrated liquid fractions of separated pig slurry (mineral concentrate: MC). The risk of nitrate leaching when applying MC was

  18. 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

  19. Mechanical soil disturbance as a determinant of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities in semi-natural grassland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Schnoor, Tim Krone; Lekberg, Ylva; Rosendahl, Søren

    2011-01-01

    an ongoing grassland restoration experiment that contained replicated plowed and control plots. The AM fungal community in roots was determined using nested PCR and LSU rDNA primers. We identified 38 phylotypes within the Glomeromycota, of which 29 belonged to Glomus A, six to Glomus B, and three...

  20. 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

  1. 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...

  2. 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

  3. 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 ...

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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...

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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,...

  11. [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.

  12. 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.

  13. Transient behavior of cadmium in a grassland arthropod food chain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Van Hook, R.I.; Yates, A.J.

    1975-01-01

    Biological assimilation and transport of cadmium were determined for an arthropod food chain in an east Tennessee grassland community. Laboratory experiments demonstrated that there were no significant differences (P greater than 0.05) in assimilation rates (17 percent assimilation per day) or biological half-lives (7 days) of 109 Cd either as soluble nitrate or insoluble oxide in crickets under identical conditions. Field experiments demonstrated that primary consumers (crickets) accumulated 109 Cd much more rapidly (uptake rate = 0.55 day -1 ) than did the spider predators (uptake rate = 0.08 day -1 ). Equilibrium concentrations in crickets were obtained in 9 days (0.04 ppM cadmium), while equilibrium was not reached in spiders during the 30-day study. Food-chain concentration of cadmium did not occur as crickets accumulated levels of cadmium 60 percent of that in their vegetation food sources and spiders accumulated only 70 percent of the cadmium present in the cricket tissues

  14. Greenhouse Gas Emission from Beef Cattle Grazing Systems on Temperate Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rice, C. W.; Rivera-Zayas, J.

    2017-12-01

    At a global scale, cattle production is responsible for 65% of GHG emissions. During 2014 cattle management was the largest emitters of methane (CH4) representing a 23.2% of the total CH4 from anthropogenic activities. Since 2014, gas samples have been gathered and analyzed for carbon dioxide (CO2), CH4 and nitrous oxide (N2O) from three grazing areas under three different burning regimes at the temperate grassland of Konza Prairie Biological Station in Kansas. Burning regimes included one site in annually burned, and two sites with patch burned every three years on offset years. Burning regimes showed no effect in N2O emissions (pconsumed on grazed grassland soils; with an increase in consumption with patch burning. Results quantify the role of temperate grasslands as a sink of CH4, and a possible sink of N2O. This experiment evidence CO2, CH4 and N2O emissions behavior as a consequence of burning regimes, and quantify the role of temperate grasslands as a sink of CH4 and N2O in order to understand best practice for resilience of beef cattle management.

  15. Feasibility Study on: Reforestation of Degraded Grasslands in Indonesia as a Climate Change Mitigation Option

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Dalfelt, A; Naess, L O; Sutamihardja, R T.M.; Gintings, N

    1997-12-31

    The report deals with a cooperation project between Norway and Indonesia dealing with a feasibility study on sustainable reforestation of degraded grasslands in Indonesia. Poor forest management and uncontrolled land use changes contribute a significant share anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases, especially CO{sub 2}, and one of many ways to reduce the CO{sub 2} emission is to encourage reforestation and better forest management. The report contains a brief overview of the issue of Imperata (alang-alang) grasslands, an outline of the present status, a discussion of potential costs and benefits associated with reforestation, and suggestions of strategies which could be applied to reach the desired goals. Case studies are presented from three locations where field work has been undertaken. The case studies provide baseline data about the sites and the imperata grasslands, experiences from earlier efforts to rehabilitate the grasslands, the common attitude to reforestation among the local communities, a discussion of the feasibility of reforestation, and finally, recommendations for the future. 142 refs., 11 figs., 15 tabs.

  16. 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

  17. Multiscale Trend Analysis for Pampa Grasslands Using Ground Data and Vegetation Sensor Imagery

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fernando C. Scottá

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available This study aimed to evaluate changes in the aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP of grasslands in the Pampa biome by using experimental plots and changes in the spectral responses of similar vegetation communities obtained by remote sensing and to compare both datasets with meteorological variations to validate the transition scales of the datasets. Two different geographic scales were considered in this study. At the local scale, an analysis of the climate and its direct influences on grassland ANPP was performed using data from a long-term experiment. At the regional scale, the influences of climate on the grassland reflectance patterns were determined using vegetation sensor imagery data. Overall, the monthly variations of vegetation canopy growth analysed using environmental changes (air temperature, total rainfall and total evapotranspiration were similar. The results from the ANPP data and the NDVI data showed the that variations in grassland growth were similar and independent of the analysis scale, which indicated that local data and the relationships of local data with climate can be considered at the regional scale in the Pampa biome by using remote sensing.

  18. Feasibility Study on: Reforestation of Degraded Grasslands in Indonesia as a Climate Change Mitigation Option

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Dalfelt, A.; Naess, L.O.; Sutamihardja, R.T.M.; Gintings, N.

    1996-12-31

    The report deals with a cooperation project between Norway and Indonesia dealing with a feasibility study on sustainable reforestation of degraded grasslands in Indonesia. Poor forest management and uncontrolled land use changes contribute a significant share anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases, especially CO{sub 2}, and one of many ways to reduce the CO{sub 2} emission is to encourage reforestation and better forest management. The report contains a brief overview of the issue of Imperata (alang-alang) grasslands, an outline of the present status, a discussion of potential costs and benefits associated with reforestation, and suggestions of strategies which could be applied to reach the desired goals. Case studies are presented from three locations where field work has been undertaken. The case studies provide baseline data about the sites and the imperata grasslands, experiences from earlier efforts to rehabilitate the grasslands, the common attitude to reforestation among the local communities, a discussion of the feasibility of reforestation, and finally, recommendations for the future. 142 refs., 11 figs., 15 tabs.

  19. Trajectories of grassland ecosystem change in response to experimental manipulations of precipitation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knapp, Alan; Smith, Melinda; Collins, Scott; Blair, John; Briggs, John

    2010-05-01

    Understanding and predicting the dynamics of ecological systems has always been central to Ecology. Today, ecologists recognize that in addition to natural and human-caused disturbances, a fundamentally different type of ecosystem change is being driven by the combined and cumulative effects of anthropogenic activities affecting earth's climate and biogeochemical cycles. This type of change is historically unprecedented in magnitude, and as a consequence, such alterations are leading to trajectories of change in ecological responses that differ radically from those observed in the past. Through both short- and long-term experiments, we have been trying to better understand the mechanisms and consequences of ecological change in grassland ecosystems likely to result from changes in precipitation regimes. We have manipulated a key resource for most grasslands (water) and modulators of water availability (temperature) in field experiments that vary from 1-17 years in duration, and used even longer-term monitoring data from the Konza Prairie LTER program to assess how grassland communities and ecosystems will respond to changes in water availability. Trajectories of change in aboveground net primary production (ANPP) in sites subjected to 17 years of soil water augmentation were strongly non-linear with a marked increase in the stimulation of ANPP after year 8 (from 25% to 65%). Lags in alterations in grassland community composition are posited to be responsible for the form of this trajectory of change. In contrast, responses in ANPP to chronic increases in soil moisture variability appear to have decreased over a 10-yr period of manipulation, although the net effects of more variable precipitation inputs were to reduce ANPP, alter the genetic structure of the dominant grass species, increase soil nitrogen availability and reduce soil respiration. The loss of sensitivity to increased resource variability was not reflected in adjacent plots where precipitation was

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Regional Variation in the Temperature Sensitivity of Soil Organic Matter Decomposition in China's Forests and Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Y.; He, N.; Zhu, J.; Yu, G.; Xu, L.; Niu, S.; Sun, X.; Wen, X.

    2017-12-01

    How to assess the temperature sensitivity (Q10) of soil organic matter (SOM) decomposition and its regional variation with high accuracy is one of the largest uncertainties in determining the intensity and direction of the global carbon (C) cycle in response to climate change. In this study, we collected a series of soils from 22 forest sites and 30 grassland sites across China to explore regional variation in Q10 and its underlying mechanisms. We conducted a novel incubation experiment with periodically changing temperature (5-30 °C), while continuously measuring soil microbial respiration rates. The results showed that Q10 varied significantly across different ecosystems, ranging from 1.16 to 3.19 (mean 1.63). Q10 was ordered as follows: alpine grasslands (2.01) > temperate grasslands (1.81) > tropical forests (1.59) > temperate forests (1.55) > subtropical forests (1.52). The Q10 of grasslands (1.90) was significantly higher than that of forests (1.54). Furthermore, Q10 significantly increased with increasing altitude and decreased with increasing longitude. Environmental variables and substrate properties together explained 52% of total variation in Q10 across all sites. Overall, pH and soil electrical conductivity primarily explained spatial variation in Q10. The general negative relationships between Q10 and substrate quality among all ecosystem types supported the C quality temperature (CQT) hypothesis at a large scale, which indicated that soils with low quality should have higher temperature sensitivity. Furthermore, alpine grasslands, which had the highest Q10, were predicted to be more sensitive to climate change under the scenario of global warming.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Impact of Grassland Reseeding, Herbicide spraying and Ploughing on Diversity and Abundance of Soil Arthropods.

    OpenAIRE

    Wei Liu; Wei Liu; Wei Liu; Junling Zhang; Stuart L Norris; Phil Murray

    2016-01-01

    In order to determine the interactive effect of reseeding, herbicide spraying and ploughing on soil fauna communities, we conducted a grassland reseeding experiment combined with pre-reseed management to examine how with the whole reseeding process affects soil faunal composition. Sampling occasions and exact treatments were as follows: 1) before chemical herbicide spray; 2) after spray but before ploughing; 3) after ploughing but before reseeding; and 4) after one year of recovery. Our resul...

  7. Greenhouse gas balance of an establishing Sphagnum culture on a former bog grassland in Germany

    OpenAIRE

    A. Günther; G. Jurasinski; K. Albrecht; G. Gaudig; M. Krebs; S. Glatzel

    2017-01-01

    The cultivation of Sphagnum mosses on re-wetted peat bogs for use in horticulture is a new land use strategy. We provide the first greenhouse gas balances for a field-scale Sphagnum farming experiment on former bog grassland, in its establishment phase. Over two years we used closed chambers to make measurements of GHG exchange on production strips of Sphagnum palustre L. and Sphagnum papillosum Lindb. and on irrigation ditches. Methane fluxes of both Sphagnum species showed a significant dec...

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. Interference between perennial grassland and Lavandula stoechas subsp. pedunculata seedlings: a case of spatial segregation cause by competition

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sánchez, Ana M.; Peco, Begoña

    2004-07-01

    This paper analyses the relationship between Lavandula stoechas subsp. pedunculata, a common Mediterranean scrub species in central Iberia, and perennial grasslands. While Lavandula gives rise to almost monospecific formations in intermediate and upper hill zones, perennial grasses occupy the low areas. The proposed explanatory hypothesis for this spatial distribution is that the scrub is unable to establish itself in grasslands with heavy spatial occupation. We designed two experiments to test this hypothesis, one which analysed the effect of perennial grass cover on Lavandula establishment, and another which focused on its influence on previously implanted seedling survival and growth, distinguishing the effect of shoot and root interference. The results show negative interference during establishment and later in the use of light and nutrients. This results in a very low overall survival probability, with only 1.4% of seedlings surviving the first growth period. This low success rate explains the existence of a clear spatial segregation between scrub patches and perennial-dominated grasslands.

  11. 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

  12. 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...

  13. 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 ...

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Monitoring soil greenhouse gas emissions from managed grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Díaz-Pinés, Eugenio; Lu, Haiyan; Butterbach-Bahl, Klaus; Kiese, Ralf

    2014-05-01

    Grasslands in Central Europe are of enormous social, ecological and economical importance. They are intensively managed, but the influence of different common practices (i.e. fertilization, harvesting) on the total greenhouse gas budget of grasslands is not fully understood, yet. In addition, it is unknown how these ecosystems will react due to climate change. Increasing temperatures and changing precipitation will likely have an effect on productivity of grasslands and on bio-geo-chemical processes responsible for emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). In the frame of the TERENO Project (www.tereno.net), a long-term observatory has been implemented in the Ammer catchment, southern Germany. Acting as an in situ global change experiment, 36 big lysimeters (1 m2 section, 150 cm height) have been translocated along an altitudinal gradient, including three sites ranging from 600 to 860 meters above sea level. In addition, two treatments have been considered, corresponding to different management intensities. The overall aim of the pre-alpine TERENO observatory is improving our understanding of the consequences of climate change and management on productivity, greenhouse gas balance, soil nutritional status, nutrient leaching and hydrology of grasslands. Two of the sites are equipped with a fully automated measurement system in order to continuously and accurately monitor the soil-atmosphere greenhouse gas exchange. Thus, a stainless steel chamber (1 m2 section, 80 cm height) is controlled by a robotized system. The chamber is hanging on a metal structure which can move both vertically and horizontally, so that the chamber is able to be set onto each of the lysimeters placed on the field. Furthermore, the headspace of the chamber is connected with a gas tube to a Quantum Cascade Laser, which continuously measures CO2, CH4, N2O and H2O mixing ratios. The chamber acts as a static chamber and sets for 15 minutes onto each lysimeter

  17. The response of sward-dwelling arthropod communities to reduced grassland management intensity in pastures

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Helden Alvin J.

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available We compared arthropod taxon richness, diversity and community structure of two replicated grassland husbandry experiments to investigate effects of reduced management intensity, as measured by nutrient input levels (390, 224 and 0 kg/ha per year N in one experiment, and 225 and 88 kg/ha per year N in another. Suction sampling was used to collect Araneae, Coleoptera, Hemiptera and Hymenoptera, with Araneae and Coleoptera also sampled with pitfall trapping. Univariate analyses found no significant differences in abundance and species density between treatments. However, with multivariate analysis, there were significant differences in arthropod community structure between treatments in both experiments.

  18. Effects of Erosion from Mounds of Different Termite Genera on Distinct Functional Grassland Types in an African Savannah.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gosling, Cleo M; Cromsigt, Joris P G M; Mpanza, Nokukhanya; Olff, Han

    A key aspect of savannah vegetation heterogeneity is mosaics formed by two functional grassland types, bunch grasslands, and grazing lawns. We investigated the role of termites, important ecosystem engineers, in creating high-nutrient patches in the form of grazing lawns. Some of the ways termites can contribute to grazing lawn development is through erosion of soil from aboveground mounds to the surrounding soil surface. This may alter the nutrient status of the surrounding soils. We hypothesize that the importance of this erosion varies with termite genera, depending on feeding strategy and mound type. To test this, we simulated erosion by applying mound soil from three termite genera ( Macrotermes , Odontotermes , and Trinervitermes ) in both a field experiment and a greenhouse experiment. In the greenhouse experiment, we found soils with the highest macro nutrient levels (formed by Trinervitermes ) promoted the quality and biomass of both a lawn ( Digitaria longiflora ) and a bunch ( Sporobolus pyramidalis ) grass species. In the field we found that soils with the highest micro nutrient levels (formed by Macrotermes ) showed the largest increase in cover of grazing lawn species. By linking the different nutrient availability of the mounds to the development of different grassland states, we conclude that the presence of termite mounds influences grassland mosaics, but that the type of mound plays a crucial role in determining the nature of the effects.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. Enhancing the diversity of breeding invertebrates within field margins of intensively managed grassland: Effects of alternative management practices.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fritch, Rochelle A; Sheridan, Helen; Finn, John A; McCormack, Stephen; Ó hUallacháin, Daire

    2017-11-01

    Severe declines in biodiversity have been well documented for many taxonomic groups due to intensification of agricultural practices. Establishment and appropriate management of arable field margins can improve the diversity and abundance of invertebrate groups; however, there is much less research on field margins within grassland systems. Three grassland field margin treatments (fencing off the existing vegetation "fenced"; fencing with rotavation and natural regeneration "rotavated" and; fencing with rotavation and seeding "seeded") were compared to a grazed control in the adjacent intensively managed pasture. Invertebrates were sampled using emergence traps to investigate species breeding and overwintering within the margins. Using a manipulation experiment, we tested whether the removal of grazing pressure and nutrient inputs would increase the abundance and richness of breeding invertebrates within grassland field margins. We also tested whether field margin establishment treatments, with their different vegetation communities, would change the abundance and richness of breeding invertebrates in the field margins. Exclusion of grazing and nutrient inputs led to increased abundance and richness in nearly all invertebrate groups that we sampled. However, there were more complex effects of field margin establishment treatment on the abundance and richness of invertebrate taxa. Each of the three establishment treatments supported a distinct invertebrate community. The removal of grazing from grassland field margins provided a greater range of overwintering/breeding habitat for invertebrates. We demonstrate the capacity of field margin establishment to increase the abundance and richness in nearly all invertebrate groups in study plots that were located on previously more depauperate areas of intensively managed grassland. These results from grassland field margins provide evidence to support practical actions that can inform Greening (Pillar 1) and agri

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Optimising stocking rate and grazing management to enhance environmental and production outcomes for native temperate grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Badgery, Warwick; Zhang, Yingjun; Huang, Ding; Broadfoot, Kim; Kemp, David; Mitchell, David

    2015-04-01

    Stocking rate and grazing management can be altered to enhance the sustainable production of grasslands but the relative influence of each has not often been determined for native temperate grasslands. Grazing management can range from seasonal rests through to intensive rotational grazing involving >30 paddocks. In large scale grazing, it can be difficult to segregate the influence of grazing pressure from the timing of utilisation. Moreover, relative grazing pressure can change between years as seasonal conditions influence grassland production compared to the relative constant requirements of animals. This paper reports on two studies in temperate native grasslands of northern China and south eastern Australia that examined stocking rate and regionally relevant grazing management strategies. In China, the grazing experiment involved combinations of a rest, moderate or heavy grazing pressure of sheep in spring, then moderate or heavy grazing in summer and autumn. Moderate grazing pressure at 50% of the current district average, resulted in the better balance between maintaining productive and diverse grasslands, a profitable livestock system, and mitigation of greenhouse gases through increased soil carbon, methane uptake by the soil, and efficient methane emissions per unit of weight gain. Spring rests best maintained a desirable grassland composition, but had few other benefits and reduced livestock productivity due to lower feed quality from grazing later in the season. In Australia, the grazing experiment compared continuous grazing to flexible 4- and 20-paddock rotational grazing systems with sheep. Stocking rates were adjusted between systems biannually based on the average herbage mass of the grassland. No treatment degraded the perennial pasture composition, but ground cover was maintained at higher levels in the 20-paddock system even though this treatment had a higher stocking rate. Overall there was little difference in livestock production (e.g. kg

  5. Grazing reduces soil greenhouse gas fluxes in global grasslands: a meta-analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tang, Shiming; Tian, Dashuan; Niu, Shuli

    2017-04-01

    Grazing causes a worldwide degradation in grassland and likely alters soil greenhouse gas fluxes (GHGs). However, the general patterns of grazing-induced changes in grassland soil GHGs and the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Thus, we synthesized 63 independent experiments in global grasslands that examined grazing impacts on soil GHGs (CO2, CH4 and N2O). We found that grazing with light or moderate intensity did not significantly influence soil GHGs, but consistently depressed them under heavy grazing, reducing CO2 emission by 10.55%, CH4 uptake by 19.24% and N2O emission by 28.04%. The reduction in soil CO2 was mainly due to decreased activity in roots and microbes (soil respiration per unit root and microbial biomass), which was suppressed by less water availability due to higher soil temperature induced by lower community cover under heavy grazing. N2O emission decreased with grazing-caused decline in soil total N. The inhibitory effect on methanotroph activities by water stress is responsible for the decreased CH4 uptake. Furthermore, grazing duration and precipitation also influenced the direction and magnitude of responses in GHGs fluxes. Overall, our results indicate that the reduction in soil CO2 and N2O emission under heavy grazing is partially compensated by the decrease in CH4 uptake, which is mainly regulated by variations in soil moisture.

  6. NDVI and meteorological data as indicators of the Pampa biome natural grasslands growth

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Denise Cybis Fontana

    2018-04-01

    Full Text Available ABSTRACT The present study aimed to characterize the dynamics of NDVI and meteorological conditions, relating both to the annual dynamics of biomass accumulation in natural pastures of the Pampa biome as a way of subsidizing growth modeling. Forage accumulation rate data from a long-term experiment, NDVI data from the MODIS images, and meteorological data measured at the surface were used. We verify that the agrometeorological element associated to the accumulation of forage in the natural grasslands is different according to the season, which is typical of the subtropical climate. Winter is the critical season for livestock production due to the lower forage accumulation rate and lower values of NDVI, conditioned by the decrease of solar radiation and air temperature. In the summer, the limiting factor to forage accumulation is the hydric condition. It was also verified that the variability in the growth of grasslands can be associated with the ENSO phenomenon, being the El Niño favorable and the La Niña unfavorable, especially in the spring-summer period. Considering the verified associations, spectral indices combined with agrometeorological elements are recommended to the adjustment of models of forage accumulation in the Pampa biome natural grasslands.

  7. A new framework for evaluating the impacts of drought on net primary productivity of grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lei, Tianjie; Wu, Jianjun; Li, Xiaohan; Geng, Guangpo; Shao, Changliang; Zhou, Hongkui; Wang, Qianfeng; Liu, Leizhen

    2015-12-01

    This paper presented a valuable framework for evaluating the impacts of droughts (single factor) on grassland ecosystems. This framework was defined as the quantitative magnitude of drought impact that unacceptable short-term and long-term effects on ecosystems may experience relative to the reference standard. Long-term effects on ecosystems may occur relative to the reference standard. Net primary productivity (NPP) was selected as the response indicator of drought to assess the quantitative impact of drought on Inner Mongolia grassland based on the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) and BIOME-BGC model. The framework consists of six main steps: 1) clearly defining drought scenarios, such as moderate, severe and extreme drought; 2) selecting an appropriate indicator of drought impact; 3) selecting an appropriate ecosystem model and verifying its capabilities, calibrating the bias and assessing the uncertainty; 4) assigning a level of unacceptable impact of drought on the indicator; 5) determining the response of the indicator to drought and normal weather state under global-change; and 6) investigating the unacceptable impact of drought at different spatial scales. We found NPP losses assessed using the new framework were more sensitive to drought and had higher precision than the long-term average method. Moreover, the total and average losses of NPP are different in different grassland types during the drought years from 1961-2009. NPP loss was significantly increased along a gradient of increasing drought levels. Meanwhile, NPP loss variation under the same drought level was different in different grassland types. The operational framework was particularly suited for integrative assessing the effects of different drought events and long-term droughts at multiple spatial scales, which provided essential insights for sciences and societies that must develop coping strategies for ecosystems for such events. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  8. BVOCs emission in a semi-arid grassland under climate warming and nitrogen deposition

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    H. J. Wang

    2012-04-01

    Full Text Available Biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs profoundly affect atmospheric chemistry and ecosystem functioning. BVOCs emission and their responses to global change are still unclear in grasslands, which cover one quarter of the Earth's land surface and are currently undergoing the largest changes. Over two growing seasons, we conducted a field experiment in a semi-arid grassland (Inner Mongolia, China to examine the emission and the responses of BVOCs emissions to warming and nitrogen deposition. The natural emission rate (NER of monoterpene (dominant BVOCs here is 107 ± 16 μg m−2 h−1 in drought 2007, and 266 ± 53 μg m−2 h−1 in wet 2008, respectively. Warming decreased the standard emission factor (SEF by 24% in 2007, while it increased by 43% in 2008. The exacerbated soil moisture loss caused by warming in dry season might be responsible for the decrease of SEF in 2007. A possible threshold of soil moisture (8.2% (v/v, which controls the direction of warming effects on monoterpene emission, existed in the semiarid grassland. Nitrogen deposition decreased the coverage of Artemisia frigida and hence reduced the NER by 24% across the two growing seasons. These results suggest that the grasslands dominated by the extended Artemisia frigida are an important source for BVOCs, while the responses of their emissions to global changes are more uncertain since they depend on multifactorial in-situ conditions.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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 ...

  12. 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.

  13. 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...

  14. 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.

  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. 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....

  17. 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...

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  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. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Improvement of native grassland by legumes introduction and tillage techniques

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Syamsu Bahar

    1999-10-01

    Full Text Available A factorial design using three species of legumes (Siratro, Centro and Stylo and three different of tillage techniques (no-tillage, minimum tillage and total tillage was applied in this experiment. The results showed that there was no interaction between species and tillage techniques. There was significant reductions on bulk density from 1.23±0.03 g/cm3 (no-tillage to 1.07±0.02 g/cm3 (minimum tillage and 1.05±0.03 g/cm3 (total tillage. Also reductions on penetration resistance from 17.47±3.84 kg/cm2 (no-tillage to 3.31±0.43 kg/cm2 (minimum tillage and 3.19±0.45 kg/cm2 (total tillage. Otherwise significant increasing on aeration porosity from 12.80±0.80% vol. (no-tillage to 21.70±0.95% vol. (minimum tillage and 20.70±0.35% vol. (total tillage. Total tillage gives increased dry matter yield. Also both total tillage and minimum tillage give yields with a higher percentage of legumes compared with no-tillage. It was concluded that total tillage and minimum tillage could be used for improving native grassland.

  5. 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...

  6. Social and Ecological Factors Influencing Attitudes Toward the Application of High-Intensity Prescribed Burns to Restore Fire Adapted Grassland Ecosystems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David Toledo

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available Fire suppression in grassland systems that are adapted to episodic fire has contributed to the recruitment of woody species in grasslands worldwide. Even though the ecology of restoring these fire prone systems back to grassland states is becoming clearer, a major hurdle to the reintroduction of historic fires at a landscape scale is its social acceptability. Despite the growing body of literature on the social aspects of fire, an understanding of the human dimensions of applying high-intensity prescribed burns in grassland and savanna systems is lacking. We used structural equation modeling to examine how landowners' attitudes toward high-intensity prescribed burns are affected by previous experience with burning, perceptions of brush encroachment, land condition, proximity constraints, risk orientation, fire management knowledge and skill, access to fire management equipment, and subjective norms. Our results suggest that experience, risk taking orientation, and especially social norms, i.e., perceived support from others, when implementing prescribed burns play an important role in determining the attitudes of landowners toward the use of high-intensity prescribed burns. Concern over lack of skill, knowledge, and insufficient resources have a moderately negative effect on these attitudes. Our results highlight the importance of targeted engagement strategies to address risk perceptions, subjective norms, and landowner's concerns. With these concerns allayed, it is possible to increase the adoption of high-intensity prescribed burns that lead to landscape-scale grassland restoration and conservation.

  7. Different responses of ecosystem carbon exchange to warming in three types of alpine grassland on the central Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ganjurjav, Hasbagan; Hu, Guozheng; Wan, Yunfan; Li, Yue; Danjiu, Luobu; Gao, Qingzhu

    2018-02-01

    Climate is a driver of terrestrial ecosystem carbon exchange, which is an important product of ecosystem function. The Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau has recently been subjected to a marked increase in temperature as a consequence of global warming. To explore the effects of warming on carbon exchange in grassland ecosystems, we conducted a whole-year warming experiment between 2012 and 2014 using open-top chambers placed in an alpine meadow, an alpine steppe, and a cultivated grassland on the central Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. We measured the gross primary productivity, net ecosystem CO 2 exchange (NEE), ecosystem respiration, and soil respiration using a chamber-based method during the growing season. The results show that after 3 years of warming, there was significant stimulation of carbon assimilation and emission in the alpine meadow, but both these processes declined in the alpine steppe and the cultivated grassland. Under warming conditions, the soil water content was more important in stimulating ecosystem carbon exchange in the meadow and cultivated grassland than was soil temperature. In the steppe, the soil temperature was negatively correlated with ecosystem carbon exchange. We found that the ambient soil water content was significantly correlated with the magnitude of warming-induced change in NEE. Under high soil moisture condition, warming has a significant positive effect on NEE, while it has a negative effect under low soil moisture condition. Our results highlight that the NEE in steppe and cultivated grassland have negative responses to warming; after reclamation, the natural meadow would subject to loose more C in warmer condition. Therefore, under future warmer condition, the overextension of cultivated grassland should be avoided and scientific planning of cultivated grassland should be achieved.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. Establishing Sphagnum cultures on bog grassland, cut-over bogs, and floating mats: procedures, costs and area potential in Germany

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. Wichmann

    2017-04-01

    Full Text Available Sphagnum biomass is valued as a high-quality constituent of horticultural growing media. The cultivation of Sphagnum (peatmoss was tested successfully on peat soil and on artificial mats floating on acidic water bodies. But whether Sphagnum farming is economically feasible is unclear. Drawing on experience gained during four research projects in Germany we compared the procedures, costs and area potential for establishing large-scale Sphagnum cultures. Establishment costs were clearly lower for soil-based cultivation (€8.35 m-2 to €12.80 m 2 than for water-based cultivation (€17.34 m-2 to €21.43 m-2. Relating costs to the predicted dry mass yield over the total cultivation time resulted in values of €1,723 t-1 on cut-over bog, €2,646 t-1 on former bog grassland, €9,625 t -1 on floating mats without pre-cultivation and €11,833 t-1 on pre-cultivated Sphagnum mats. The high production costs of the mats (without pre-cultivation 54 % and with pre-cultivation 63 % of total costs resulted in the highest overall costs. In the case of soil-based Sphagnum cultures, the costs of purchasing Sphagnum diaspores were most influential (on bog grassland 46 % and on cut-over bog 71 % of total costs. The lowest costs relate to cut-over bog because of the smaller effort required for site preparation compared to taking off the topsoil of former bog grassland and the limited costs for the assumed irrigation system. In the case of former bog grassland, the high investment costs for the project-specific automatic water management boosted the establishment costs. Taking into account potential savings on the irrigation system and the high area potential, bog grassland emerges as the most promising land category for Sphagnum farming in Germany.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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...

  16. 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.

  17. Effects of different diets on utilization of nitrogen from cattle slurry applied to grassland on a sandy soil in the Netherlands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Reijs, J.W.; Sonneveld, M.P.W.; Sorensen, P.; Schils, R.L.M.; Groot, J.C.J.; Lantinga, E.A.

    2007-01-01

    Dietary adjustments have been suggested as a means to reduce N losses from dairy systems. Differences in fertilizing value of dairy slurry as a result of dietary adjustments were evaluated in a 1-year grassland experiment and by long-term modelling. Slurry composition of non-lactating dairy cows was

  18. 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.

  19. 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...

  20. 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 ...

  1. 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...

  2. 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...

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. Sudden changes in environmental conditions do not increase invasion risk in grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruprecht, Eszter; Fenesi, Annamária; Nijs, Ivan

    2013-02-01

    After direct habitat transformation, biological invasions are considered to be the second most important threat to biodiversity. A better understanding of the factors affecting invasion success in new areas is crucial, and may provide insight into potential control actions. We hypothesized that invasion risk increases in habitats undergoing a sudden change in the disturbance regime or environmental conditions. For testing this assumption we initiated a seed sowing experiment while introducing two novel treatments, mowing twice and fertilizer application, in two grassland sites (one dryer and one mesic) in Romania. The seeds of two invasive species, Solidago canadensis and Rudbeckia laciniata, and two resident natives of similar seed sizes, life-forms and strategies were sowed in treated and control plots, and seed germination, seedling establishment and growth were followed during four months. Contrary to our expectations, there was no difference in the treatment effects on seed germination and seedling establishment between species, while there was on seedling vigour of the larger seeded species in the dryer grassland site, where the native had a higher performance especially in increased nutrient conditions. Indifferently from applied treatments, invasive species had greater cumulative germination in the mesic site, while natives were far more successful in seedling establishment in the drier site. At the same time, seed size was found to be a very important factor explaining germination and establishment success, with large seeded species outperforming small seeded species in any circumstances. Our results call the attention upon management interventions in mesic, productive grassland sites opening colonization windows for the recruitment of those invasive species of which ecological requirements correspond to local environmental conditions.

  6. Effects of hay management and native species sowing on grassland community structure, biomass, and restoration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foster, Bryan L; Kindscher, Kelly; Houseman, Greg R; Murphy, Cheryl A

    2009-10-01

    Prairie hay meadows are important reservoirs of grassland biodiversity in the tallgrass prairie regions of the central United States and are the object of increasing attention for conservation and restoration. In addition, there is growing interest in the potential use of such low-input, high-diversity (LIHD) native grasslands for biofuel production. The uplands of eastern Kansas, USA, which prior to European settlement were dominated by tallgrass prairie, are currently utilized for intensive agriculture or exist in a state of abandonment from agriculture. The dominant grasslands in the region are currently high-input, low-diversity (HILD) hay fields seeded to introduced C3 hay grasses. We present results from a long-term experiment conducted in a recently abandoned HILD hay field in eastern Kansas to evaluate effects of fertilization, haying, and native species sowing on community dynamics, biomass, and potential for restoration to native LIHD hay meadow. Fertilized plots maintained dominance by introduced grasses, maintained low diversity, and were largely resistant to colonization throughout the study. Non-fertilized plots exhibited rapid successional turnover, increased diversity, and increased abundance of C4 grasses over time. Haying led to modest changes in species composition and lessened the negative impact of fertilization on diversity. In non-fertilized plots, sowing increased representation by native species and increased diversity, successional turnover, and biomass production. Our results support the shifting limitations hypothesis of community organization and highlight the importance of species pools and seed limitations in constraining successional turnover, community structure, and ecosystem productivity under conditions of low fertility. Our findings also indicate that several biological and functional aspects of LIHD hay meadows can be restored from abandoned HILD hay fields by ceasing fertilization and reintroducing native species through

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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 ...

  12. 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.

  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. 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...

  19. 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

  20. 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 ...

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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....

  5. 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 ...

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  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. FIFE data analysis: Testing BIOME-BGC predictions for grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hunt, E. Raymond, Jr.

    1994-01-01

    The First International Satellite Land Surface Climatology Project (ISLSCP) Field Experiment (FIFE) was conducted in a 15 km by 15 km research area located 8 km south of Manhattan, Kansas. The site consists primarily of native tallgrass prairie mixed with gallery oak forests and croplands. The objectives of FIFE are to better understand the role of biology in controlling the interactions between the land and the atmosphere, and to determine the value of remotely sensed data for estimating climatological parameters. The goals of FIFE are twofold: the upscale integration of models, and algorithm development for satellite remote sensing. The specific objectives of the field campaigns carried out in 1987 and 1989 were the simultaneous acquisition of satellite, atmospheric, and surface data; and the understanding of the processes controlling surface energy and mass exchange. Collected data were used to study the dynamics of various ecosystem processes (photosynthesis, evaporation and transpiration, autotrophic and heterotrophic respiration, etc.). Modelling terrestrial ecosystems at scales larger than that of a homogeneous plot led to the development of simple, generalized models of biogeochemical cycles that can be accurately applied to different biomes through the use of remotely sensed data. A model was developed called BIOME-BGC (for BioGeochemical Cycles) from a coniferous forest ecosystem model, FOREST-BGC, where a biome is considered a combination of a life forms in a specified climate. A predominately C4-photosynthetic grassland is probably the most different from a coniferous forest possible, hence the FIFE site was an excellent study area for testing BIOME-BGC. The transition from an essentially one-dimensional calculation to three-dimensional, landscape scale simulations requires the introduction of such factors as meteorology, climatology, and geomorphology. By using remotely sensed geographic information data for important model inputs, process

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Differential Responses of Soil Microbial Community to Four-Decade Long Grazing and Cultivation in a Semi-Arid Grassland

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yating He

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Grazing and cultivation are two important management practices worldwide that can cause significant soil organic carbon (SOC losses. However, it remains elusive how soil microbes have responded to soil carbon changes under these two practices. Based on a four-decade long field experiment, this study investigated the effects of grazing and cultivation on SOC stocks and microbial properties in the semi-arid grasslands of China. We hypothesize that grazing and cultivation would deplete SOC and depress microbial activities under both practices. However, our hypotheses were only partially supported. As compared with the adjacent indigenous grasslands, SOC and microbial biomass carbon (MBC were decreased by 20% or more under grazing and cultivation, which is consistent with the reduction of fungi abundance by 40% and 71%, respectively. The abundance of bacteria and actinomycetes was decreased under grazing but increased under cultivation, which likely enhanced microbial diversity in cultivation. Invertase activity decreased under the two treatments, while urease activity increased under grazing. These results suggest that nitrogen fertilizer input during cultivation may preferentially favor bacterial growth, in spite of SOC loss, due to rapid decomposition, while overgrazing may deteriorate the nitrogen supply to belowground microbes, thus stimulating the microbial production of nitrogen acquisition enzymes. This decade-long study demonstrated differential soil microbial responses under grazing and cultivation and has important applications for better management practices in the grassland ecosystem.

  14. 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.

  15. Effects of long-term grassland management on the carbon and nitrogen pools of different soil aggregate fractions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Egan, Gary; Crawley, Michael J; Fornara, Dario A

    2018-02-01

    Common grassland management practices include animal grazing and the repeated addition of lime and nutrient fertilizers to soils. These practices can greatly influence the size and distribution of different soil aggregate fractions, thus altering the cycling and storage of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) in grassland soils. So far, very few studies have simultaneously addressed the potential long-term effect that multiple management practices might have on soil physical aggregation. Here we specifically ask whether and how grazing, liming and nutrient fertilization might influence C and N content (%) as well as C and N pools of different soil aggregate fractions in a long-term grassland experiment established in 1991 at Silwood Park, Berkshire, UK. We found that repeated liming applications over 23years significantly decreased the C pool (i.e. gCKg -1 soil) of Large Macro Aggregate (LMA>2mm) fractions and increased C pools within three smaller soil aggregate fractions: Small Macro Aggregate (SMA, 250μm-2mm), Micro Aggregate (MiA, 53-250μm), and Silt Clay Aggregate (SCAfractions was mainly caused by positive liming effects on aggregate fraction mass rather than on changes in soil C (and N) content (%). Liming effects could be explained by increases in soil pH, as this factor was significantly positively related to greater soil C and N pools of smaller aggregate fractions. Long-term grazing and inorganic nutrient fertilization had much weaker effects on both soil aggregate-fraction mass and on soil C and N concentrations, however, our evidence is that these practices could also contribute to greater C and N pools of smaller soil fractions. Overall our study demonstrates how agricultural liming can contribute to increase C pools of small (more stable) soil fractions with potential significant benefits for the long-term C balance of human-managed grassland soils. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Balancing forest-regeneration probabilities and maintenance costs in dry grasslands of high conservation priority

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bolliger, Janine; Edwards, Thomas C.; Eggenberg, Stefan; Ismail, Sascha; Seidl, Irmi; Kienast, Felix

    2011-01-01

    Abandonment of agricultural land has resulted in forest regeneration in species-rich dry grasslands across European mountain regions and threatens conservation efforts in this vegetation type. To support national conservation strategies, we used a site-selection algorithm (MARXAN) to find optimum sets of floristic regions (reporting units) that contain grasslands of high conservation priority. We sought optimum sets that would accommodate 136 important dry-grassland species and that would minimize forest regeneration and costs of management needed to forestall predicted forest regeneration. We did not consider other conservation elements of dry grasslands, such as animal species richness, cultural heritage, and changes due to climate change. Optimal sets that included 95–100% of the dry grassland species encompassed an average of 56–59 floristic regions (standard deviation, SD 5). This is about 15% of approximately 400 floristic regions that contain dry-grassland sites and translates to 4800–5300 ha of dry grassland out of a total of approximately 23,000 ha for the entire study area. Projected costs to manage the grasslands in these optimum sets ranged from CHF (Swiss francs) 5.2 to 6.0 million/year. This is only 15–20% of the current total estimated cost of approximately CHF30–45 million/year required if all dry grasslands were to be protected. The grasslands of the optimal sets may be viewed as core sites in a national conservation strategy.

  19. Grassland futures in Great Britain - Productivity assessment and scenarios for land use change opportunities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Qi, Aiming; Holland, Robert A; Taylor, Gail; Richter, Goetz M

    2018-09-01

    To optimise trade-offs provided by future changes in grassland use intensity, spatially and temporally explicit estimates of respective grassland productivities are required at the systems level. Here, we benchmark the potential national availability of grassland biomass, identify optimal strategies for its management, and investigate the relative importance of intensification over reversion (prioritising productivity versus environmental ecosystem services). Process-conservative meta-models for different grasslands were used to calculate the baseline dry matter yields (DMY; 1961-1990) at 1km 2 resolution for the whole UK. The effects of climate change, rising atmospheric [CO 2 ] and technological progress on baseline DMYs were used to estimate future grassland productivities (up to 2050) for low and medium CO 2 emission scenarios of UKCP09. UK benchmark productivities of 12.5, 8.7 and 2.8t/ha on temporary, permanent and rough-grazing grassland, respectively, accounted for productivity gains by 2010. By 2050, productivities under medium emission scenario are predicted to increase to 15.5 and 9.8t/ha on temporary and permanent grassland, respectively, but not on rough grassland. Based on surveyed grassland distributions for Great Britain in 2010 the annual availability of grassland biomass is likely to rise from 64 to 72milliontonnes by 2050. Assuming optimal N application could close existing productivity gaps of ca. 40% a range of management options could deliver additional 21∗10 6 tonnes of biomass available for bioenergy. Scenarios of changes in grassland use intensity demonstrated considerable scope for maintaining or further increasing grassland production and sparing some grassland for the provision of environmental ecosystem services. Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  20. Dactylorhiza maculata, Platanthera bifolia and Listera ovata survive N application under P limitation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hejcman, Michal; Schellberg, Jürgen; Pavlů, Vilém

    2010-11-01

    Increased nutrient availability is generally believed to be harmful for terrestrial orchids. However, no information is available on whether grassland orchids survive decades-long calcium (Ca), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) application. We took advantage of sampling in one of the oldest long-term experiments in the world, the Rengen Grassland Experiment (RGE), which was established in Germany in 1941 on low-productive Violion caninae grassland, and we monitored orchids from 2005 to 2009. Dactylorhiza maculata, Platanthera bifolia and Listera ovata survived decades-long application of Ca and CaN fertilizer, but not CaN together with P. Cover of D. maculata was highest in areas of Ca treatment. The number of flowers per plant of L. ovata was significantly higher in the CaN treatment compared with the control indicating that enhanced N availability stimulated its growth. Long-term N application (NH 4NO 3 at an annual rate of 100 kg N ha -1) was not fatal to the studied orchids if not accompanied by P application. It is more likely that enhanced N availability can cause loss of studied orchids only where the availability of P in soil is high enough to enable the growth of productive species that can better compete for light on eutrophic soils.

  1. Species-rich semi-natural grasslands have a higher resistance but a lower resilience than intensively managed agricultural grasslands in response to climate anomalies

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Keersmaecker, De Wanda; Rooijen, van Nils; Lhermitte, Stef; Tits, Laurent; Schaminée, Joop; Coppin, Pol; Honnay, Olivier; Somers, Ben

    2016-01-01

    The stable delivery of ecosystem services provided by grasslands is strongly dependent on the stability of grassland ecosystem functions such as biomass production. Biomass production is in turn strongly affected by the frequency and intensity of climate extremes. The aim of this study is to

  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. Direct effects of cattle on grassland birds in Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bleho, Barbara I; Koper, Nicola; Machtans, Craig S

    2014-06-01

    Effects of grazing on grassland birds are generally thought to be indirect, through alteration of vegetation structure; however, livestock can also affect nest survival directly through trampling and other disturbances (e.g., livestock-induced abandonment). We extracted data on nest fates from 18 grazing studies conducted in Canada. We used these data to assess rates of nest destruction by cattle among 9 ecoregions and between seasonal and rotational grazing systems. Overall, few nests were destroyed by cattle (average 1.5% of 9132 nests). Nest destruction was positively correlated with grazing pressure (i.e., stocking rate or grazing intensity), but nest survival was higher in more heavily grazed areas for some species. Because rates of destruction of grassland bird nests by cattle are low in Canada, management efforts to reduce such destruction may not be of ecological or economic value in Canada. © 2014 Society for Conservation Biology.

  4. 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)

  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. Species interactions reverse grassland responses to changing climate.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suttle, K B; Thomsen, Meredith A; Power, Mary E

    2007-02-02

    Predictions of ecological response to climate change are based largely on direct climatic effects on species. We show that, in a California grassland, species interactions strongly influence responses to changing climate, overturning direct climatic effects within 5 years. We manipulated the seasonality and intensity of rainfall over large, replicate plots in accordance with projections of leading climate models and examined responses across several trophic levels. Changes in seasonal water availability had pronounced effects on individual species, but as precipitation regimes were sustained across years, feedbacks and species interactions overrode autecological responses to water and reversed community trajectories. Conditions that sharply increased production and diversity through 2 years caused simplification of the food web and deep reductions in consumer abundance after 5 years. Changes in these natural grassland communities suggest a prominent role for species interactions in ecosystem response to climate change.

  7. Anaerobic oxidation of methane in grassland soils used for cattle husbandry

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Bannert

    2012-10-01

    Full Text Available While the importance of anaerobic methane oxidation has been reported for marine ecosystems, the role of this process in soils is still questionable. Grasslands used as pastures for cattle overwintering show an increase in anaerobic soil micro-sites caused by animal treading and excrement deposition. Therefore, anaerobic potential methane oxidation activity of severely impacted soil from a cattle winter pasture was investigated in an incubation experiment under anaerobic conditions using 13C-labelled methane. We were able to detect a high microbial activity utilizing CH4 as nutrient source shown by the respiration of 13CO2. Measurements of possible terminal electron acceptors for anaerobic oxidation of methane were carried out. Soil sulfate concentrations were too low to explain the oxidation of the amount of methane added, but enough nitrate and iron(III were detected. However, only nitrate was consumed during the experiment. 13C-PLFA analyses clearly showed the utilization of CH4 as nutrient source mainly by organisms harbouring 16:1ω7 PLFAs. These lipids were also found as most 13C-enriched fatty acids by Raghoebarsing et al. (2006 after addition of 13CH4 to an enrichment culture coupling denitrification of nitrate to anaerobic oxidation of methane. This might be an indication for anaerobic oxidation of methane by relatives of "Candidatus Methylomirabilis oxyfera" in the investigated grassland soil under the conditions of the incubation experiment.

  8. Composition, phenology and restoration of campo rupestre mountain grasslands - Brazil

    OpenAIRE

    Le Stradic, Soizig

    2012-01-01

    Global environmental changes, especially land-use changes, have profound effects on both ecosystem functioning and biodiversity, having already altered many ecosystem services. These losses emphasize the need to preserve what remains; however when conservation programs are not sufficient, restoring areas that have been destroyed or disturbed can improve conservation efforts and mitigate damages. This work focuses on campos rupestres, Neotropical grasslands found at altitudes, which are part o...

  9. Carbon dynamics in an Imperata grassland in Northeast India

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Amrabati Thokchom

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Carbon stocks and soil CO2 flux were assessed in an Imperata cylindrica grassland of Manipur, Northeast India. Carbon stocks in the vegetative components were estimated to be 11.17 t C/ha and soil organic carbon stocks were 55.94 t C/ha to a depth of 30 cm. The rates of carbon accumulation in above-ground and below-ground biomass were estimated to be 11.85 t C/ha/yr and 11.71 t C/ha/yr, respectively. Annual soil CO2 flux was evaluated as 6.95 t C/ha and was highly influenced by soil moisture, soil temperature and soil organic carbon as well as by C stocks in above-ground biomass. Our study on the carbon budget of the grassland ecosystem revealed that annually 23.56 t C/ha was captured by the vegetation through photosynthesis, and 6.95 t C/ha was returned to the atmosphere through roots and microbial respiration, with a net balance of 16.61 t C/ha/yr being retained in the grassland ecosystem. Thus the present Imperata grassland exhibited a high capacity to remove atmospheric CO2 and to induce high C stocks in the soil provided it is protected from burning and overgrazing.Keywords: Above-ground biomass, below-ground biomass, carbon stocks, carbon storage, net primary productivity, soil CO2 flux.DOI: 10.17138/TGFT(419-28  

  10. Carbon balance of renovated grasslands: input- or output-driven?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Choncubhair, Órlaith Ní; Osborne, Bruce; Lanigan, Gary

    2015-04-01

    Temperate grasslands constitute over 30% of the Earth's naturally-occurring biomes and make an important contribution towards the partial mitigation of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions by terrestrial ecosystems. In permanent temperate grasslands, biomass production and sward quality can deteriorate over time and periodic renovation activities, involving soil tillage and reseeding, are commonly carried out to halt this decline. Long-term cultivation of agricultural land has been associated with soil aggregate degradation and reduced soil carbon storage. However, the impact of these single tillage disturbances on C cycling in grasslands is less clear. This study evaluated gaseous and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) losses following a single tillage event by subjecting grassland lysimeters with contrasting soil drainage characteristics to simulated conventional inversion or minimum tillage. Field-scale CO2 emissions after conventional tillage were also quantified and empirically modelled over short- and medium-term timeframes to delineate the ecosystem response to environmental variables. Soil moisture was the limiting determinant of ecosystem carbon release following conventional tillage. Freshly-tilled soils were associated with reduced water retention and increased sensitivity to soil moisture, which was particularly pronounced following rewetting events. Significantly elevated but ephemeral CO2 effluxes were detected in the hours following inversion ploughing, however tillage disturbance did not generate significantly enhanced C emission rates in the medium term. Equally, DOC losses were not significantly amplified by conventional tillage compared with conservative minimum tillage and were predominantly controlled by soil drainage across tillage regimes. Our results suggest that a net ecosystem source of 120 to 210 g C m-2 over an approximately two-month period was most likely a consequence of reduced productivity and C input rather than enhanced soil CO2

  11. Making Grasslands Sustainable in Mongolia: Herders' Livelihoods and Climate Change

    OpenAIRE

    Asian Development Bank (ADB)

    2014-01-01

    The threats posed by climate change have significant impacts on Mongolia’s grassland ecosystems and herders’ livelihoods. This publication discusses the auses of climate change and its impacts on livelihoods and ecosystems for herders and the general public. It explains how good pasture management and livestock roductivity are important for increasing incomes and provides information on adaptation practices. It also identifies sustainable management practices that can increase communities’ re...

  12. Resuspension and redistribution of radionuclides during grassland and forest fires in the Chernobyl exclusion zone: part II. Modeling the transport process

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Yoschenko, V.I.; Kashparov, V.A.; Levchuk, S.E.; Glukhovskiy, A.S.; Khomutinin, Yu.V.; Protsak, V.P.; Lundin, S.M.; Tschiersch, J.

    2006-01-01

    To predict parameters of radionuclide resuspension, transport and deposition during forest and grassland fires, several model modules were developed and adapted. Experimental data of controlled burning of prepared experimental plots in the Chernobyl exclusion zone have been used to evaluate the prognostic power of the models. The predicted trajectories and elevations of the plume match with those visually observed during the fire experiments in the grassland and forest sites. Experimentally determined parameters could be successfully used for the calculation of the initial plume parameters which provide the tools for the description of various fire scenarios and enable prognostic calculations. In summary, the model predicts a release of some per mille from the radionuclide inventory of the fuel material by the grassland fires. During the forest fire, up to 4% of 137 Cs and 9 Sr and up to 1% of the Pu isotopes can be released from the forest litter according to the model calculations. However, these results depend on the parameters of the fire events. In general, the modeling results are in good accordance with the experimental data. Therefore, the considered models were successfully validated and can be recommended for the assessment of the resuspension and redistribution of radionuclides during grassland and forest fires in contaminated territories

  13. Effects of wind turbines on upland nesting birds in Conservation Reserve Program grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leddy, K.L.; Higgins, K.F.; Naugle, D.E.

    1999-01-01

    Grassland passerines were surveyed during summer 1995 on the Buffalo Ridge Wind Resource Area in southwestern Minnesota to determine the relative influence of wind turbines on overall densities of upland nesting birds in Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) grasslands. Birds were surveyed along 40 m fixed width transects that were placed along wind turbine strings within three CRP fields and in three CRP fields without turbines. Conservation Reserve Program grasslands without turbines and areas located 180 m from turbines supported higher densities (261.0-312.5 males/100 ha) of grassland birds than areas within 80 m of turbines (58.2-128.0 males/100 ha). Human disturbance, turbine noise, and physical movements of turbines during operation may have disturbed nesting birds. We recommend that wind turbines be placed within cropland habitats that support lower densities of grassland passerines than those found in CRP grasslands.

  14. 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

  15. Soil Respiration in Semiarid Temperate Grasslands under Various Land Management.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zhen Wang

    Full Text Available Soil respiration, a major component of the global carbon cycle, is significantly influenced by land management practices. Grasslands are potentially a major sink for carbon, but can also be a source. Here, we investigated the potential effect of land management (grazing, clipping, and ungrazed enclosures on soil respiration in the semiarid grassland of northern China. Our results showed the mean soil respiration was significantly higher under enclosures (2.17 μmol.m(-2.s(-1 and clipping (2.06 μmol.m(-2.s(-1 than under grazing (1.65 μmol.m-(2.s(-1 over the three growing seasons. The high rates of soil respiration under enclosure and clipping were associated with the higher belowground net primary productivity (BNPP. Our analyses indicated that soil respiration was primarily related to BNPP under grazing, to soil water content under clipping. Using structural equation models, we found that soil water content, aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP and BNPP regulated soil respiration, with soil water content as the predominant factor. Our findings highlight that management-induced changes in abiotic (soil temperature and soil water content and biotic (ANPP and BNPP factors regulate soil respiration in the semiarid temperate grassland of northern China.

  16. Soil Respiration in Semiarid Temperate Grasslands under Various Land Management.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Zhen; Ji, Lei; Hou, Xiangyang; Schellenberg, Michael P

    2016-01-01

    Soil respiration, a major component of the global carbon cycle, is significantly influenced by land management practices. Grasslands are potentially a major sink for carbon, but can also be a source. Here, we investigated the potential effect of land management (grazing, clipping, and ungrazed enclosures) on soil respiration in the semiarid grassland of northern China. Our results showed the mean soil respiration was significantly higher under enclosures (2.17 μmol.m(-2).s(-1)) and clipping (2.06 μmol.m(-2).s(-1)) than under grazing (1.65 μmol.m-(2).s(-1)) over the three growing seasons. The high rates of soil respiration under enclosure and clipping were associated with the higher belowground net primary productivity (BNPP). Our analyses indicated that soil respiration was primarily related to BNPP under grazing, to soil water content under clipping. Using structural equation models, we found that soil water content, aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) and BNPP regulated soil respiration, with soil water content as the predominant factor. Our findings highlight that management-induced changes in abiotic (soil temperature and soil water content) and biotic (ANPP and BNPP) factors regulate soil respiration in the semiarid temperate grassland of northern China.

  17. 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.

  18. Evaluation of semiarid grassland degradation in North China from multiple perspectives

    Science.gov (United States)

    Han, D.; Wang, G.; Xue, B. L.; Xu, X.

    2017-12-01

    There has been increasing interest in grassland ecosystem degradation resulting from intensive human activity and climate change, especially in arid and semiarid regions. Species composition, grassland desertification, and aboveground biomass (AGB) are used as indicators of grassland degradation in this study. We comprehensively analyzed variations in these three indicators in semiarid grassland in North China, on multiple time scales, based on MODIS products and field sampling datasets. Since 1984, species composition has become simpler and species indicative of grassland degradation, such as Potentilla acaulis and Artemisia frigida, have become dominant. These changes indicate that serious grassland degradation has occurred since 1984. Grassland degradation was also analyzed on shorter time scales. Analyses of interannual variations during 2005-2015 showed that desertification decreased and average AGB in the growth season increased over the study area, indicating that grassland was recovering. Analyses of spatial variations showed that the position of slightly desertified grassland shifted and formed a band in the west, where the lowest AGB in the growth season was recorded but tendency ratio of AGB increased from 2005 to 2015. Climatic factors had critical effects on grassland degradation, as identified by the three indicators on different time scales. The simpler species composition resulted from the increase in average temperature and decrease in average precipitation over the past 30 years. For nearly a decade, an increase in precipitation and decreases in temperature and potential evapotranspiration reduced desertification and increased AGB in the growth season overall. Consequently, there has distinct difference in grassland degradation between analysis results on above two time scales, indicating multiple perspectives should be considered to accurately assess the state and characteristics of grassland degradation.

  19. Exacerbated grassland degradation and desertification in Central Asia during 2000-2014.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Geli; Biradar, Chandrashekhar M; Xiao, Xiangming; Dong, Jinwei; Zhou, Yuting; Qin, Yuanwei; Zhang, Yao; Liu, Fang; Ding, Mingjun; Thomas, Richard J

    2018-03-01

    Grassland degradation and desertification is a complex process, including both state conversion (e.g., grasslands to deserts) and gradual within-state change (e.g., greenness dynamics). Existing studies hardly separated the two components and analyzed it as a whole based on time series vegetation index data, which cannot provide a clear and comprehensive picture for grassland degradation and desertification. Here we propose an integrated assessment strategy, by considering both state conversion and within-state change of grasslands, to investigate grassland degradation and desertification process in Central Asia. First, annual maps of grasslands and sparsely vegetated land were generated to track the state conversions between them. The results showed increasing grasslands were converted to sparsely vegetated lands from 2000 to 2014, with the desertification region concentrating in the latitude range of 43-48° N. A frequency analysis of grassland vs. sparsely vegetated land classification in the last 15 yr allowed a recognition of persistent desert zone (PDZ), persistent grassland zone (PGZ), and transitional zone (TZ). The TZ was identified in southern Kazakhstan as one hotspot that was unstable and vulnerable to desertification. Furthermore, the trend analysis of Enhanced Vegetation Index during thermal growing season (EVI TGS ) was investigated in individual zones using linear regression and Mann-Kendall approaches. An overall degradation across the area was found; moreover, the second desertification hotspot was identified in northern Kazakhstan with significant decreasing in EVI TGS , which was located in PGZ. Finally, attribution analyses of grassland degradation and desertification were conducted by considering precipitation, temperature, and three different drought indices. We found persistent droughts were the main factor for grassland degradation and desertification in Central Asia. Considering both state conversion and gradual within-state change

  20. 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...

  1. Inadequate thermal refuge constrains landscape habitability for a grassland bird species.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tomecek, John M; Pierce, Brian L; Reyna, Kelly S; Peterson, Markus J

    2017-01-01

    Ecologists have long recognized the influence that environmental conditions have on abundance and range extent of animal species. We used the northern bobwhite ( Colinus virginianus ; hereafter bobwhite) as a model species for studying how microclimates serve as refuge against severe weather conditions. This species serves as an indicator or umbrella species for other sensitive ground-nesting, grassland obligate species. We conducted a mensurative field experiment in the rolling plains of Texas, USA, a semi-arid ecosystem on the southwestern periphery of bobwhite range, to determine whether native bunch grasses, apparently suitable for bobwhite nesting, could reduce ambient temperature below levels harmful for eggs. During the nesting season, we compared temperature and relative humidity readings at daily heat maxima (i.e., the 3 h during each day with highest temperatures) during the nesting season over the course of two years at 63 suitable nest sites paired with 63 random locations ( n = 126) using two sensors at ∼10 and ∼60 cm above ground level. Mean temperature at nest height was 2.3% cooler at nest sites (35.99 °C ± 0.07 SE) compared to random locations (36.81 °C ± 0.07 SE); at ambient height, nest sites were slightly cooler (32.78 °C ± 0.06 SE) than random location (32.99 °C ± 0.06 SE). Mean relative humidity at nest sites was greater at nest height (34.53% ± 0.112 SE) and ambient height (36.22% ± 0.10 SE) compared to random locations at nest (33.35% ± 0.12 SE) and ambient height (35.75% ± 0.10 SE). Based on these results, cover at sites that appear visually suitable for nesting by bobwhites and other ground nesting birds provided adequate thermal refuge in the rolling plains by maintaining cooler, moister microclimates than surrounding non-nesting locations. Post-hoc analyses of data revealed that habitat conditions surrounding suitable nest sites strongly influenced thermal suitability of the substrate. Given that eggs of bobwhites and

  2. Inadequate thermal refuge constrains landscape habitability for a grassland bird species

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    John M. Tomecek

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available Ecologists have long recognized the influence that environmental conditions have on abundance and range extent of animal species. We used the northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus; hereafter bobwhite as a model species for studying how microclimates serve as refuge against severe weather conditions. This species serves as an indicator or umbrella species for other sensitive ground-nesting, grassland obligate species. We conducted a mensurative field experiment in the rolling plains of Texas, USA, a semi-arid ecosystem on the southwestern periphery of bobwhite range, to determine whether native bunch grasses, apparently suitable for bobwhite nesting, could reduce ambient temperature below levels harmful for eggs. During the nesting season, we compared temperature and relative humidity readings at daily heat maxima (i.e., the 3 h during each day with highest temperatures during the nesting season over the course of two years at 63 suitable nest sites paired with 63 random locations (n = 126 using two sensors at ∼10 and ∼60 cm above ground level. Mean temperature at nest height was 2.3% cooler at nest sites (35.99 °C ± 0.07 SE compared to random locations (36.81 °C ± 0.07 SE; at ambient height, nest sites were slightly cooler (32.78 °C ± 0.06 SE than random location (32.99 °C ± 0.06 SE. Mean relative humidity at nest sites was greater at nest height (34.53% ± 0.112 SE and ambient height (36.22% ± 0.10 SE compared to random locations at nest (33.35% ± 0.12 SE and ambient height (35.75% ± 0.10 SE. Based on these results, cover at sites that appear visually suitable for nesting by bobwhites and other ground nesting birds provided adequate thermal refuge in the rolling plains by maintaining cooler, moister microclimates than surrounding non-nesting locations. Post-hoc analyses of data revealed that habitat conditions surrounding suitable nest sites strongly influenced thermal suitability of the substrate. Given that eggs of bobwhites

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. Grassland Soil Carbon Responses to Nitrogen Additions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hofmockel, K. S.; Tfailly, M.; Callister, S.; Bramer, L.; Thompson, A.

    2017-12-01

    Using a long-term continental scale experiment, we tested if increases in nitrogen (N) inputs augment the accumulation of plant and microbial residues onto mineral soil surfaces. This research investigates N effects on molecular biogeochemistry across six sites from the Nutrient Network (NutNet) experiment. The coupling between concurrently changing carbon (C) and N cycles remains a key uncertainty in understanding feedbacks between the terrestrial C cycle and climate change. Existing models do not consider the full suite of linked C-N processes, particularly belowground, that could drive future C-climate feedbacks. Soil harbors a wealth of diverse organic molecules, most of which have not been measured in hypothesis driven field research. For the first time we systematically assess the chemical composition of soil organic matter (SOM) and functional characteristics of the soil microbiome, to enhance our understanding of the molecular underpinnings of ecosystem C and N cycling. We have acquired soils from 5 ecosystem experiments across the US that have been subjected to 8 years of N addition treatments. These soils have been analyzed for chemical composition to identify how the soil fertility and stability is altered by N fertilization. We found distinct SOM signatures from our field experiments and shifts in soil chemistry in response to 8 years of N fertilization. Across all sites, we found the molecular composition of SOM varied with clay content, supporting the importance of soil mineralogy in the accumulation of specific chemical classes of SOM. While many molecules were common across sites, we discovered a suite of molecules that were site specific. N fertilization had a significant effect on SOM composition. Differences between control and N amended plots were greater in sites rich in lipids and more complex molecules, compared to sites with SOM rich in amino-sugar and protein like substances. Our results have important implications for how SOM is

  6. 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.

  7. 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...

  8. 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

  9. A more holistic understanding of soil organic matter pools of alpine and pre-alpine grassland soils in a changing climate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garcia Franco, Noelia; Wiesmeier, Martin; Kiese, Ralf; Dannenmann, Michael; Wolf, Benjamin; Brandhuber, Robert; Beck, Robert; Kögel-Knabner, Ingrid

    2016-04-01

    In southern Germany, the alpine and pre-alpine grassland systems (> 1 Mio ha) provide an important economic value via fodder used for milk and meat production and grassland soils support environmental key functions (C and N storage, water retention, erosion control and biodiversity hot spot). In addition, these grassland soils constitute important regions for tourism and recreation. However, the different land use and management practices in this area introduce changes which are likely to accelerate due to climate change. The newly launched SUPSALPS project within the BonaRes Initiative of the German Ministry for Education and Research is focused on the development and evaluation of innovative grassland management strategies under climate change with an emphasis on soil functions, which are on the one hand environmental sustainable and on the other hand economically viable. Several field experiments of the project will be initialized in order to evaluate grassland soil functioning for a range of current and climate adapted management practices. A multi-factorial design combines ongoing and new plant-soil meso-/macrocosm and field studies at a multitude of existing long-term research sites along an elevation gradient in Bavaria. One of the specific objectives of the project is to improve our knowledge on the sensitivity of specific soil organic matter (SOM) fractions to climate change. Moreover, the project aims to determine the processes and mechanisms involved in the build-up and stabilization of C and N pools under different management practices. In order to derive sensitive SOM pools, a promising physical fractionation method was developed that enables the separation of five different SOM fractions by density, ultrasonication and sieving separation: fine particulate organic matter (fPOM), occluded particulate organic matter (oPOM>20μm and oPOM 20 μm; medium + fine silt and clay, management changes.

  10. Ecosystem properties of semi-arid savanna grassland in West Africa and its relationship to environmental variability

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Tagesson, Torbern; Fensholt, Rasmus; Guiro, Idrissa

    2015-01-01

    he Dahra field site in Senegal, West Africa, was established in 2002 to monitor ecosystem properties of semiarid savanna grassland and their responses to climatic and environmental change. This article describes the environment and the ecosystem properties of the site using a unique set of in situ......), biomass, vegetation water content, and land-atmosphere exchanges of carbon (NEE) and energy. The Dahra field site experiences a typical Sahelian climate and is covered by coexisting trees (~3% canopy cover) and grass species, characterizing large parts of the Sahel. This makes the site suitable...

  11. Estimating N2O processes during grassland renewal and grassland conversion to maize cropping using N2O isotopocules

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buchen, Caroline; Well, Reinhard; Flessa, Heinz; Fuß, Roland; Helfrich, Mirjam; Lewicka-Szczebak, Dominika

    2017-04-01

    Grassland break-up due to grassland renewal and grassland conversion to cropland can lead to a flush of mineral nitrogen from decomposition of the old grass sward and the decomposition of soil organic matter. Moreover, increased carbon and nitrogen mineralisation can result in enhanced nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. As N2O is known to be an important greenhouse gas and a major precursor for ozone depletion, its emissions need to be mitigated by adjusting agricultural management practices. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the N2O processes involved, as well as the contribution of N2O reduction to N2. Apart from the widely used 15N gas flux method, natural abundance isotopic analysis of the four most abundant isotopocules of N2O species is a promising alternative to assess N2O production pathways. We used stable isotope analyses of soil-emitted N2O (δ18ON2O, δ15NN2Obulk and δ15NN2OSP= intramolecular distribution of 15N within the linear N2O molecule) with an isotopocule mapping approach to simultaneously estimate the magnitude of N2O reduction to N2 and the fraction of N2O originating from the bacterial denitrification pathway or fungal denitrification and/or nitrification. This approach is based on endmember areas of isotopic values for the N2O produced from different sources reported in the literature. For this purpose, we calculated two main scenarios with different assumptions for N2O produced: N2O is reduced to N2 before residual N2O is mixed with N2O of various sources (Scenario a) and vice versa (Scenario b). Based on this, we applied seven different scenario variations, where we evaluated the range of possible values for the potential N2O production pathways (heterotrophic bacterial denitrification and/or nitrifier denitrification and fungal denitrification and/or nitrification). This was done by using a range of isotopic endmember values and assuming different fractionation factors of N2O reduction in order to find the most reliable scenario

  12. 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

  13. Machine Learning to Assess Grassland Productivity in Southeastern Arizona

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ponce-Campos, G. E.; Heilman, P.; Armendariz, G.; Moser, E.; Archer, V.; Vaughan, R.

    2015-12-01

    We present preliminary results of machine learning (ML) techniques modeling the combined effects of climate, management, and inherent potential on productivity of grazed semi-arid grasslands in southeastern Arizona. Our goal is to support public land managers determine if agency management policies are meeting objectives and where to focus attention. Monitoring in the field is becoming more and more limited in space and time. Remotely sensed data cover the entire allotments and go back in time, but do not consider the key issue of species composition. By estimating expected vegetative production as a function of site potential and climatic inputs, management skill can be assessed through time, across individual allotments, and between allotments. Here we present the use of Random Forest (RF) as the main ML technique, in this case for the purpose of regression. Our response variable is the maximum annual NDVI, a surrogate for grassland productivity, as generated by the Google Earth Engine cloud computing platform based on Landsat 5, 7, and 8 datasets. PRISM 33-year normal precipitation (1980-2013) was resampled to the Landsat scale. In addition, the GRIDMET climate dataset was the source for the calculation of the annual SPEI (Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index), a drought index. We also included information about landscape position, aspect, streams, ponds, roads and fire disturbances as part of the modeling process. Our results show that in terms of variable importance, the 33-year normal precipitation, along with SPEI, are the most important features affecting grasslands productivity within the study area. The RF approach was compared to a linear regression model with the same variables. The linear model resulted in an r2 = 0.41, whereas RF showed a significant improvement with an r2 = 0.79. We continue refining the model by comparison with aerial photography and to include grazing intensity and infrastructure from units/allotments to assess the

  14. 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

  15. Grassland carbon sequestration and emissions following cultivation in a mixed crop rotation

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Acharya, Bharat Sharma; Rasmussen, Jim; Eriksen, Jørgen

    2012-01-01

    Grasslands are potential carbon sinks to reduce unprecedented increase in atmospheric CO2. Effect of age (1–4-year-old) and management (slurry, grazing multispecies mixture) of a grass phase mixed crop rotation on carbon sequestration and emissions upon cultivation was compared with 17-year...... biomass was highest in 4-year-old grassland, but all 1–4-year-old grasslands were in between the pea field (0.81 ± 0.094 g kg−1 soil) and the 17-year-old grassland (3.17 ± 0.22 g kg−1 soil). Grazed grasslands had significantly higher root biomass than cut grasslands. There was no significant difference...... in the CO2 emissions within 1–4-year-old grasslands. Only the 17-year-old grassland showed markedly higher CO2 emissions (4.9 ± 1.1 g CO2 kg−1 soil). Differences in aboveground and root biomass did not affect CO2 emissions, and slurry application did not either. The substantial increase in root biomass...

  16. Response of predominant soil bacteria to grassland succession as monitored by ribosomal RNA analyses

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Felske, A.

    1999-01-01

    The research described in this thesis was aimed to provide insight into the effects of grassland succession on the composition of the soil bacteria community in the Drentse A agricultural research area. The Drentse A meadows represent grassland succession at different stages. Since 30 years

  17. Modelling the carbon cycle of grassland in the Netherlands under various management strategies and environmental conditions.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Pol-van Dasselaar, van den A.; Lantinga, E.A.

    1995-01-01

    A simulation model of the grassland carbon cycle (CCGRASS) was developed to evaluate the long-term effects of different management strategies and various environmental conditions on carbon sequestration in a loam soil under permanent grassland in the Netherlands. The model predicted that the rate of

  18. The Impact of Ecological Construction Programs on Grassland Conservation in Inner Mongolia, China

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Liu, Min; Dries, Liesbeth; Heijman, Wim; Huang, Jikun; Zhu, Xueqin; Hu, Yuanning; Chen, Haibin

    2018-01-01

    A series of Ecological Construction Programs have been initiated to protect the condition of grasslands in China during recent decades. However, grassland degradation is still severe, and conditions have not been restored as intended. This paper aims to empirically examine the effectiveness of these

  19. 78 FR 19444 - Pawnee National Grassland, Colorado; Oil and Gas Leasing Analysis Environmental Impact Statement

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-04-01

    ... Leasing Analysis on the Pawnee National Grassland (PNG), was signed. That decision determined which Lands... National Grassland. Much of the PNG's federal mineral estate made available per the 1997 ROD has already... [36 CFR 228.102(e)]. Accordingly, the PNG finds it is necessary to disclose the potential effects of...

  20. Long-term after-effects of fertilisation on restoration of calcareous grasslands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Smits, N.A.C.; Bobbink, R.; Willems, J.H.

    2008-01-01

    Question: What are the long-term implications of former fertilisation for the ecological restoration of calcareous grasslands? Location: Gerendal, Limburg, The Netherlands. Methods: In 1970, ten permanent plots were established in just abandoned agricultural calcareous grassland under a regime of

  1. 77 FR 75119 - Dakota Prairie Grasslands, North Dakota; Oil and Gas Development Supplemental Environmental...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-12-19

    ... DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Dakota Prairie Grasslands, North Dakota; Oil and Gas... to prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement. SUMMARY: In June of 2003, the Dakota... Dakota Prairie Grasslands Land and Resource Management Plan, based on the 2001 Northern Great Plains...

  2. Differentiating climate- and human-induced drivers of grassland degradation in the Liao River Basin, China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    He, Chunyang; Tian, Jie; Gao, Bin; Zhao, Yuanyuan

    2015-01-01

    Quantitatively distinguishing grassland degradation due to climatic variations from that due to human activities is of great significance to effectively governing degraded grassland and realizing sustainable utilization. The objective of this study was to differentiate these two types of drivers in the Liao River Basin during 1999-2009 using the residual trend (RESTREND) method and to evaluate the applicability of the method in semiarid and semihumid regions. The relationship between the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and each climatic factor was first determined. Then, the primary driver of grassland degradation was identified by calculating the change trend of the normalized residuals between the observed and the predicted NDVI assuming that climate change was the only driver. We found that the RESTREND method can be used to quantitatively and effectively differentiate climate and human drivers of grassland degradation. We also found that the grassland degradation in the Liao River Basin was driven by both natural processes and human activities. The driving factors of grassland degradation varied greatly across the study area, which included regions having different precipitation and altitude. The degradation in the Horqin Sandy Land, with lower altitude, was driven mainly by human activities, whereas that in the Kungl Prairie, with higher altitude and lower precipitation, was caused primarily by climate change. Therefore, the drivers of degradation and local conditions should be considered in an appropriate strategy for grassland management to promote the sustainability of grasslands in the Liao River Basin.

  3. Efficacy of exclosures in conserving local shrub biodiversity in xeric sandy grassland, Inner Mongolia, China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feng-Rui Li; Zhi-Yu Zhou; Li-Ya Zhao; Ai-Sheng Zhang; Ling-Fen Kang

    2007-01-01

    This study investigated the abundance and frequency of occurrence of all shrub species present in the standing vegetation at four sites, including a 5-year exclosure (protected grassland) and three adjacent unprotected grazing sites that had been subjected to different levels of degradation (light, moderate and severe), in xeric sandy grassland of Inner Mongolia for...

  4. Variation in soil organic carbon within highland grasslands of Langtang National Park, Nepal

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Keshab Shrestha

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available Grassland also plays important role in food security. The estimated grassland area in Nepal is about 1.75 million ha. Most of the grassland in Nepal is located in higher elevation above, 2000 meter. The aim of this research is to observe difference in SOC of grassland in different altitude. Soil samples were collected from grasslands of altitude: 1500- 2000m, 2001- 2500m, 2501-3000m, 3001- 3500m and 3501- 4000m. The soil samples were collected at successive depths in each grassland i.e. 0 – 10 cm, 10 – 20 cm and 20 – 30 cm. The maximum SOC was found in grassland at altitude 3001 m- 3500m. The lowest was SOC was found in grassland at altitude 3051m – 4000m. Correlation analysis between altitude and SOC shows that SOC is positively correlated with altitude with correlation coefficient 0.850 (significant at P<0.05 level. But SOC decreases sharply in treeline with negative correlation (Significant at P<0.05.International Journal of Environment Vol.5(3 2016, pp.57-65

  5. Grassland simulation with the LPJmL model : version 3.4.018

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Boons-Prins, E.R.

    2010-01-01

    One third of the land surface is covered with natural and cultivated grasslands. Most of these grasslands are intensively or extensively exploited by humans to feed animals. With growing wealth, causing an increase of meat consumption, there is a need to better understand the processes that

  6. Effects of nitrogen fertilization and grazing on the emission of nitrous oxide from grassland

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Velthof, G.L.; Brader, A.B.; Oenema, O. [NMI, Dept. of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, Wageningen Agricultural Univ. (Netherlands)

    1995-11-01

    In the Netherlands, managed grasslands are potentially a large source of nitrous oxide (N{sub 2}O), because of the large nitrogen (N) input and the relatively high ground water levels. To provide insight into the major factors that contribute to N{sub 2}O emission from grassland and to provide quantitative N{sub 2}O emission rates, a monitoring study was carried out on four sites, during March 1992 to March 1994. Fluxes of N{sub 2}O increased after N fertilizer application and grazing, especially during wet conditions. Fluxes were higher from peat soils than from sand and clay soils. Fluxes were low during the winter periods. Total N{sub 2}O losses were 2 to 4.5 times higher on grassland fertilized with 160-460 kg N ha{sup -1} yr{sup -1} than on unfertilized grassland. Losses from grazed grasslands were 1.5 to 3.5 times higher than losses from mown grassland. This study shows that management practice of grassland and soil type are major factors controlling N{sub 2}O emission from grasslands. 2 figs., 3 refs.

  7. 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

  8. Spatial probability models of fire in the desert grasslands of the southwestern USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fire is an important driver of ecological processes in semiarid environments; however, the role of fire in desert grasslands of the Southwestern US is controversial and the regional fire distribution is largely unknown. We characterized the spatial distribution of fire in the desert grassland region...

  9. 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...

  10. Spatial patterns of grasses and shrubs in an arid grassland environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    In the Chihuahuan Desert of Mexico and New Mexico, shrub invasion is a common problem, and once-abundant grassland ecosystems are being replaced by shrub-dominated habitat. The spatial arrangement of grasses and shrubs in these arid grasslands can provide better insight into community dynamics and c...

  11. Linear objects impact on grassland degradation in the typical steppe region of China

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Li, Suying; Verburg, Peter H.; Lv, Shihai; Gao, Shangyu; Wu, Jingle

    2011-01-01

    Despite growing recognition of the issue of grassland degradation, few regional estimates of linear object impacts on grassland degradation [1]. We presented a methodology for evaluating regional impacts on steppe degradation from linear objects which were two uppermost types, rivers and roads, in

  12. Secondary succession after fire in Imperata grasslands of East Kalimantan Indonesia

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Yassir, I.; Kamp, van der J.; Buurman, P.

    2010-01-01

    Regeneration of grassland areas is becoming increasingly important, not only to create new secondary forest and recover the original biodiversity, but also recover for agriculture. We studied an early succession in Imperata grasslands in East Kalimantan, Indonesia, using plots that last burned 3

  13. Potential of endozoochorous seed dispersal by sheep in calcareous grasslands: correlations with seed traits.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kuiters, A.T.; Huiskes, H.P.J.

    2010-01-01

    Questions: What is the potential of sheep to serve as seed dispersers via ingestion and defecation in calcareous grasslands? Is the presence of viable seeds from dung correlated with specific seed traits? Location: Calcareous grasslands, South Limburg, the Netherlands/Belgium. Methods: Dung samples

  14. Hemiptera community and species responses to grassland sward islets

    OpenAIRE

    Helden, Alvin J.; Dittrich, Alex D. K.

    2016-01-01

    Sward islet is a term that has been used to describe a patch of longer vegetation in a pasture produced by a reduction in cattle grazing around their dung. They are known to affect the abundance and distribution of grassland arthropods. Hemiptera, like other groups, are found in higher densities within islets than the surrounding sward. Does this modify the community composition or is there just a density effect? Evidence from a paired (islets, non-islets) study at an Irish cattle-grazed site...

  15. Organic matter dynamics and N mineralization in grassland soils

    OpenAIRE

    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 and can be used in soil organic matter models, iii) to develop a model that predicts the long-term dynamics of soil organic matter, iv) to develop a simple model that can be used by farmers and advi...

  16. Aerosol fluxes and particle growth above managed grassland

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E. Nemitz

    2009-08-01

    Full Text Available Particle deposition velocities (11–3000 nm diameter measured above grassland by eddy covariance during the EU GRAMINAE experiment in June 2000 averaged 0.24 and 0.03 mm s−1 to long (0.75 m and short (0.07 m grass, respectively. After fertilisation with 108 kg N ha−1 as calcium ammonium nitrate, sustained apparent upward fluxes of particles were observed. Analysis of concentrations and fluxes of potential precursor gases, including NH3, HNO3, HCl and selected VOCs, shows that condensation of HNO3 and NH3 on the surface of existing particles is responsible for this effect. A novel approach is developed to derive particle growth rates at the field scale, from a combination of measurements of vertical fluxes and particle size-distributions. For the first 9 days after fertilization, growth rates of 11 nm particles of 7.04 nm hr−1 and 1.68 nm hr−1 were derived for day and night-time conditions, respectively. This implies total NH4NO3 production rates of 1.11 and 0.44 μg m−3 h−1, respectively. The effect translates into a small error in measured ammonia fluxes (0.06% day, 0.56% night and a large error in NH4+ and NO3 aerosol fluxes of 3.6% and 10%, respectively. By converting rapidly exchanged NH3 and HNO3 into slowly depositing NH4NO3, the reaction modifies the total N budget, though this effect is small (<1% for the 10 days following fertilization, as NH3 emission dominates the net flux. It is estimated that 3.8% of the fertilizer N was volatilised as NH3, of which 0.05% re-condensed to form NH4NO3 particles within the lowest 2 m of the surface layer. This surface induced process would at least scale up to a global NH4NO3 formation of ca. 0.21 kt N yr

  17. 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.

  18. Mapping spatio-temporal variation of grassland quantity and quality using MERIS data and the PROSAIL model

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Si, Y.; Schlerf, M.; Zurita-Milla, R.; Skidmore, A.K.; Wang, T.

    2012-01-01

    Accurate estimates of the quantity and quality of grasslands, as they vary in space and time and from regional to global scales, furthers our understanding of grassland ecosystems. The Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) is a promising sensor for measuring and monitoring grasslands due to

  19. 78 FR 65609 - Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland; Wyoming; Thunder Basin...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-11-01

    ... National Grassland; Wyoming; Thunder Basin National Grassland Prairie Dog Amendment Environmental Impact... Cooperating Agencies. No changes to the Proposed Action or Purpose of and Need for Action have been made... alternatives will be analyzed in the Thunder Basin National Grassland Prairie Dog Amendment EIS. The EIS will...

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Grasslands of Mexico: A perspective on their conservation (Los pastizales del norte de Mexico: Una perspectiva para su conservacion)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patricia Manzano; Rurik List

    2006-01-01

    Grasslands are areas dominated by grasses and herbs with few or no trees. Grasslands receive too much rain for a desert environment and too little for a forest. Temperate North American grasslands, especially, have undergone changes on a continental level. Their high productivity and fertility, added to their level topography and lack of trees, make them ideal sites...

  3. Future productivity and phenology changes in European grasslands for different warming levels: implications for grassland management and carbon balance

    OpenAIRE

    Chang, Jinfeng; Ciais, Philippe; Viovy, Nicolas; Soussana, Jean-Fran?ois; Klumpp, Katja; Sultan, Benjamin

    2017-01-01

    Background Europe has warmed more than the global average (land and ocean) since pre-industrial times, and is also projected to continue to warm faster than the global average in the twenty-first century. According to the climate models ensemble projections for various climate scenarios, annual mean temperature of Europe for 2071?2100 is predicted to be 1?5.5??C higher than that for 1971?2000. Climate change and elevated CO2 concentration are anticipated to affect grassland management and liv...

  4. 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.

  5. Weathering controls on mechanisms of carbon storage in grassland soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Masiello, C.A.; Chadwick, O.A.; Southon, J.; Torn, M.S.; Harden, J.W.

    2004-01-01

    On a sequence of soils developed under similar vegetation, temperature, and precipitation conditions, but with variations in mineralogical properties, we use organic carbon and 14C inventories to examine mineral protection of soil organic carbon. In these soils, 14C data indicate that the creation of slow-cycling carbon can be modeled as occurring through reaction of organic ligands with Al3+ and Fe3+ cations in the upper horizons, followed by sorption to amorphous inorganic Al compounds at depth. Only one of these processes, the chelation Al3+ and Fe3+ by organic ligands, is linked to large carbon stocks. Organic ligands stabilized by this process traverse the soil column as dissolved organic carbon (both from surface horizons and root exudates). At our moist grassland site, this chelation and transport process is very strongly correlated with the storage and long-term stabilization of soil organic carbon. Our 14C results show that the mechanisms of organic carbon transport and storage at this site follow a classic model previously believed to only be significant in a single soil order (Spodosols), and closely related to the presence of forests. The presence of this process in the grassland Alfisol, Inceptisol, and Mollisol soils of this chronosequence suggests that this process is a more significant control on organic carbon storage than previously thought. Copyright 2004 by the American Geophysical Union.

  6. 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

  7. Short-term bioavailability of carbon in soil organic matter fractions of different particle sizes and densities in grassland ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Breulmann, Marc; Masyutenko, Nina Petrovna; Kogut, Boris Maratovich; Schroll, Reiner; Dörfler, Ulrike; Buscot, François; Schulz, Elke

    2014-11-01

    The quality, stability and availability of organic carbon (OC) in soil organic matter (SOM) can vary widely between differently managed ecosystems. Several approaches have been developed for isolating SOM fractions to examine their ecological roles, but links between the bioavailability of the OC of size-density fractions and soil microbial communities have not been previously explored. Thus, in the presented laboratory study we investigated the potential bioavailability of OC and the structure of associated microbial communities in different particle-size and density fractions of SOM. For this we used samples from four grassland ecosystems with contrasting management intensity regimes and two soil types: a Haplic Cambisol and a typical Chernozem. A combined size-density fractionation protocol was applied to separate clay-associated SOM fractions (CF1, <1 μm; CF2, 1-2 μm) from light SOM fractions (LF1, <1.8 g cm(-3); LF2, 1.8-2.0 g cm(-3)). These fractions were used as carbon sources in a respiration experiment to determine their potential bioavailability. Measured CO2-release was used as an index of substrate accessibility and linked to the soil microbial community structure, as determined by phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA) analysis. Several key factors controlling decomposition processes, and thus the potential bioavailability of OC, were identified: management intensity and the plant community composition of the grasslands (both of which affect the chemical composition and turnover of OC) and specific properties of individual SOM fractions. The PLFA patterns highlighted differences in the composition of microbial communities associated with the examined grasslands, and SOM fractions, providing the first broad insights into their active microbial communities. From observed interactions between abiotic and biotic factors affecting the decomposition of SOM fractions we demonstrate that increasing management intensity could enhance the potential bioavailability of

  8. Ammonia emission from a permanent grassland on volcanic soil after the treatment with dairy slurry and urea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salazar, F.; Martínez-Lagos, J.; Alfaro, M.; Misselbrook, T.

    2014-10-01

    Ammonia (NH3) is an air pollutant largely emitted from agricultural activities including the application of livestock manures and fertilizers to grassland. This gas has been linked with important negative impacts on natural ecosystems. In southern Chile, the use of inorganic and organic fertilizers (e.g. slurries) has increased in cattle production systems over recent years, heightening the risk of N losses to the wider environment. The objectives of this study were to evaluate on permanent grasslands on a volcanic ash soil in southern Chile: 1) the N loss due to NH3 volatilization following surface application of dairy slurry and urea fertilizer; and 2) the effect of a urease inhibitor on NH3 emissions from urea fertilizer application. Small plot field experiments were conducted over spring, fall, winter and summer seasons, using a system of wind tunnels to measure ammonia emissions. Ammonia losses ranged from 1.8 (winter) to 26.0% (fall) and 3.1 (winter) to 20.5% (summer) of total N applied for urea and slurry, respectively. Based on the readily available N applied (ammoniacal N for dairy slurry and urea N for urea fertilizer), losses from dairy slurry were much greater, at 16.1 and 82.0%, for winter and summer, respectively. The use of a urease inhibitor proved to be an effective option to minimize the N loss due NH3 volatilization from urea fertilizer, with an average reduction of 71% across all seasons. The results of this and other recent studies regarding N losses suggest that ammonia volatilization is the main pathway of N loss from grassland systems in southern Chile on volcanic ash soils when urea and slurry are used as an N source. The use of good management practices, such as the inclusion of a urease inhibitor with urea fertilizer could have a beneficial impact on reducing N losses due NH3 volatilization and the environmental and economic impact of these emissions.

  9. N management of European grasslands: can the exchange of gaseous N species be influenced at the operational level?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Calanca, P; Neftel, A; Fuhrer, J

    2001-11-30

    Grassland ecosystems can be regarded as biochemical reactors in which large amounts of organic nitrogen (N) are converted into inorganic N, and vice versa. If managed in a sustainable manner, grasslands should operate in a quasi steady state, characterized by an almost perfect balance between total N input and output. As a consequence, the exchange of gaseous N species (NH3, NO, NO2, N2O, and N2) between grasslands and the atmosphere is very small compared to the total N turnover. In this study, the effects of two management options (mowing and fertilization) on production and emission of nitrous oxide (N2O) from a grass/clover crop were examined on the basis of observations and model results referring to an experiment carried out on the Swiss Plateau in late summer of 2000. It was found that production and emission of N2O induced by mowing were of the same order of magnitude as those brought about by fertilization, suggesting a possible transfer of N from clover to the soil after defoliation. Emissions were strongly modulated by precipitation on time scales ranging from 1 day to 1 week. This indicates that effective control of N2O emissions through management on a day-to-day basis requires reliable medium-range weather forecasts. Model calculations were not able to reproduce essential characteristics of the emissions. The model slightly overestimated the background emissions, but severely underestimated the emission peaks following fertilizer application, and largely failed to reproduce emission induced by mowing. Shortfalls in the model used for this study were found in relation to the description of soil-water fluxes, soil organic matter, and the physiology of clover.

  10. N Management of European Grasslands: Can the Exchange of Gaseous N Species Be Influenced at the Operational Level?

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    P. Calanca

    2001-01-01

    Full Text Available Grassland ecosystems can be regarded as biochemical reactors in which large amounts of organic nitrogen (N are converted into inorganic N, and vice versa. If managed in a sustainable manner, grasslands should operate in a quasi steady state, characterized by an almost perfect balance between total N input and output. As a consequence, the exchange of gaseous N species (NH3, NO, NO2, N2O, and N2 between grasslands and the atmosphere is very small compared to the total N turnover. In this study, the effects of two management options (mowing and fertilization on production and emission of nitrous oxide (N2O from a grass/clover crop were examined on the basis of observations and model results referring to an experiment carried out on the Swiss Plateau in late summer of 2000. It was found that production and emission of N2O induced by mowing were of the same order of magnitude as those brought about by fertilization, suggesting a possible transfer of N from clover to the soil after defoliation. Emissions were strongly modulated by precipitation on time scales ranging from 1 day to 1 week. This indicates that effective control of N2O emissions through management on a day-to-day basis requires reliable medium-range weather forecasts. Model calculations were not able to reproduce essential characteristics of the emissions. The model slightly overestimated the background emissions, but severely underestimated the emission peaks following fertilizer application, and largely failed to reproduce emission induced by mowing. Shortfalls in the model used for this study were found in relation to the description of soil-water fluxes, soil organic matter, and the physiology of clover.

  11. Priming of soil carbon decomposition in two Inner Mongolia grassland soils following sheep dung addition: a study using ¹³C natural abundance approach.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ma, Xiuzhi; Ambus, Per; Wang, Shiping; Wang, Yanfen; Wang, Chengjie

    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 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 with the two grassland soils and incubated under controlled conditions for analysis of ¹³C-CO₂ emissions. Soil samples were taken at days 17, 43, 86, 127 and 152 after sheep dung addition to detect the δ¹³C signal in soil and dung components. Analysis revealed that 16.9% and 16.6% of the sheep dung C had decomposed, of which 3.5% and 2.8% was sequestrated in the soils of L. chinensis and A. frigida grasslands, respectively, while the remaining decomposed sheep dung was emitted as CO₂. The cumulative amounts of C respired from dung treated soils during 152 days were 7-8 times higher than in the un-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 and A. frigida soils, respectively. Hence, the net C losses from L. chinensis and A. frigida soils were 0.6 g and 0.9 g C kg⁻¹ soil, which was 2.6% and 7.0% of the total C in L. chinensis and A. frigida grasslands soils, respectively. Our results suggest that grazing of degraded Inner Mongolian pastures may cause a net soil C loss due to the positive priming effect, thereby accelerating soil deterioration.

  12. Understanding of Grassland Ecosystems under Climate Change and Economic Development Pressures in the Mongolia Plateau

    Science.gov (United States)

    Qi, J.; Chen, J.; Shan, P.; Pan, X.; Wei, Y.; Wang, M.; Xin, X.

    2011-12-01

    The land use and land cover change, especially in the form of grassland degradation, in the Mongolian Plateau, exhibited a unique spatio-temporal pattern that is a characteristic of a mixed stress from economic development and climate change of the region. The social dimension of the region played a key role in shaping the landscape and land use change, including the cultural clashes with economic development, conflicts between indigenous people and business ventures, and exogenous international influences. Various research projects have been conducted in the region to focus on physical degradation of grasslands and/or on economic development but there is a lack of understanding how the social and economic dimensions interact with grassland ecosystems and changes. In this talk, a synthesis report was made based on the most recent workshop held in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, of China, that specifically focused on climate change and grassland ecosystems. The report analyzed the degree of grassland degradation, its climate and social drivers, and coupling nature of economic development and conservation of traditional grassland values. The goal is to fully understand the socio-ecological-economic interactions that together shape the trajectory of the grassland ecosystems in the Mongolia Plateau.

  13. Impact of Climate Change on Temperate and Alpine Grasslands in China during 1982–2006

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    Xiangjin Shen

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Based on GIMMS NDVI and climate data from 1982 to 2006, this study analyzed the impact of climate change on grassland in China. During the growing season, there were significant effects of precipitation on the growth of all the grassland types (P<0.05, except for meadow vegetation. For the air temperatures, there existed asymmetrical effects of maximum temperature (Tmax and minimum temperature (Tmin on grassland vegetation, especially for the temperate grasslands and alpine steppe. The growing season NDVI correlated negatively with Tmax but positively with Tmin for temperate grasslands. Seasonally, these opposite effects were only observed in summer. For alpine steppe, the growing season NDVI correlated positively with Tmax but negatively with Tmin, and this pattern of asymmetrical responses was only obvious in spring and autumn. Under the background of global asymmetric warming, more attention should be paid to this asymmetric response of grassland vegetation to daytime and night-time warming, especially when we want to predict the productivity of China’s grasslands in the future.

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

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    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.

  15. Prairie dog decline reduces the supply of ecosystem services and leads to desertification of semiarid grasslands.

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    Lourdes Martínez-Estévez

    Full Text Available Anthropogenic impacts on North American grasslands, a highly endangered ecosystem, have led to declines of prairie dogs, a keystone species, over 98% of their historical range. While impacts of this loss on maintenance of grassland biodiversity have been widely documented, much less is known about the consequences on the supply of ecosystem services. Here we assessed the effect of prairie dogs in the supply of five ecosystem services by comparing grasslands currently occupied by prairie dogs, grasslands devoid of prairie dogs, and areas that used to be occupied by prairie dogs that are currently dominated by mesquite scrub. Groundwater recharge, regulation of soil erosion, regulation of soil productive potential, soil carbon storage and forage availability were consistently quantitatively or qualitatively higher in prairie dog grasslands relative to grasslands or mesquite scrub. Our findings indicate a severe loss of ecosystem services associated to the absence of prairie dogs. These findings suggest that contrary to a much publicize perception, especially in the US, prairie dogs are fundamental in maintaining grasslands and their decline have strong negative impacts in human well - being through the loss of ecosystem services.

  16. [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.

  17. Grasslands and Croplands Have Different Microbial Biomass Carbon Levels per Unit of Soil Organic Carbon

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    Terence P. McGonigle

    2017-07-01

    Full Text Available Primarily using cropped systems, previous studies have reported a positive linear relationship between microbial biomass carbon (MBC and soil organic carbon (SOC. We conducted a meta-analysis to explore this relationship separately for grasslands and croplands using available literature. Studies were limited to those using fumigation–extraction for MBC for field samples. Trials were noted separately where records were distinct in space or time. Grasslands were naturally occurring, restored, or seeded. Cropping systems were typical of the temperate zone. MBC had a positive linear response to increasing SOC that was significant in both grasslands (p < 0.001; r2 = 0.76 and croplands (p < 0.001; r2 = 0.48. However, MBC increased 2.5-fold more steeply per unit of increasing SOC for grassland soils, as compared to the corresponding response in cropland soils. Expressing MBC as a proportion of SOC across the regression overall, slopes corresponded to 2.7% for grasslands and 1.1% for croplands. The slope of the linear relationship for grasslands was significantly (p = 0.0013 steeper than for croplands. The difference between the two systems is possibly caused by a greater proportion of SOC in grasslands being active rather than passive, relative to that in croplands, with that active fraction promoting the formation of MBC.

  18. 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

  19. Lesser prairie-chicken avoidance of trees in a grassland landscape

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lautenbach, Joseph M.; Plumb, Reid T.; Robinson, Samantha G.; Hagen, Christian A.; Haukos, David A.; Pitman, James C.

    2016-01-01

    Grasslands are among the most imperiled ecosystems in North America. Reasons that grasslands are threatened include conversion to row-crop agriculture, fragmentation, and changes in fire regimes. The reduction of fire processes in remaining prairies has resulted in tree encroachment and establishment in grasslands, further reducing grassland quantity and quality. Grassland birds have been experiencing precipitous population declines in recent decades, commensurate with landscape changes to grasslands. The lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus Ridgway) is a declining species of prairie grouse of conservation concern. We used second- and third-order habitat selection metrics to test if female lesser prairie-chickens avoid grasslands where trees were present. Our results indicated that female lesser prairie-chickens selected habitats avoiding the nearest trees by 283 m on average, nearly twice as far as would be expected at random. Lesser prairie-chickens were 40 times more likely to use habitats with tree densities of 0 trees ∙ ha− 1 than habitats with 5 trees ∙ ha− 1. Probability of use indicated that lesser prairie-chickens were 19 times more likely to use habitats 1000 m from the nearest tree when compared with using habitats 0 m from the nearest tree. Nest survival was not affected at densities 2 trees ∙ ha− 1. Avoidance of trees could be due to perceived increased predation risk, reduced habitat quality, or a combination of these potentially confounding factors. Preventing further establishment and expansion of trees in landscapes occupied by lesser prairie-chickens could contribute to the continued persistence of the species. Additionally, restoring grasslands through tree removal may facilitate conservation efforts for grassland species such as the lesser prairie-chicken by improving habitat quality and promoting expansion of occupied range.

  20. Effects of 10-Year Management Regimes on the Soil Seed Bank in Saline-Alkaline Grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ma, Hongyuan; Yang, Haoyu; Liang, Zhengwei; Ooi, Mark K. J.

    2015-01-01

    Background Management regimes for vegetation restoration of degraded grasslands can significantly affect the process of ecological succession. However, few studies have focused on variation in the soil seed bank during vegetation restoration under different management regimes, especially in saline-alkaline grassland habitats. Our aim was to provide insights into the ecological effects of grassland management regimes on soil seed bank composition and vegetation establishment in mown, fenced, transplanted and natural grassland sites, all dominated by the perennial rhizomatous grass Leymus chinensis. Methodology We studied species composition and diversity in both the soil seed bank and aboveground vegetation in differently managed grasslands in Northeast China. An NMDS (nonmetric multidimensional scaling) was used to evaluate the relationship between species composition, soil seed banks, aboveground vegetation and soil properties. Principal Findings Fenced and mown grassland sites had high density and species richness in both the soil seed bank and aboveground vegetation. The Transplanted treatment exhibited the highest vegetation growth and seed production of the target species L. chinensis. Seeds of L. chinensis in the soil occurred only in transplanted and natural grassland. Based on the NMDS analysis, the number of species in both the soil seed bank and aboveground vegetation were significantly related to soil Na+, Cl-, RSC (residual sodium carbonate), alkalinity, ESP (exchangeable sodium percentage) and AP (available phosphorus). Conclusions Soil seed bank composition and diversity in the saline-alkaline grassland were significantly affected by the management regimes implemented, and were also significantly related to the aboveground vegetation and several soil properties. Based on vegetative growth, reproductive output and maintenance of soil seed bank, the transplanting was identified as the most effective method for relatively rapid restoration of the target

  1. Traditional cattle grazing in a mosaic alkali landscape: effects on grassland biodiversity along a moisture gradient.

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    Péter Török

    Full Text Available Extensively managed pastures are of crucial importance in sustaining biodiversity both in local- and landscape-level. Thus, re-introduction of traditional grazing management is a crucial issue in grassland conservation actions worldwide. Traditional grazing with robust cattle breeds in low stocking rates is considered to be especially useful to mimic natural grazing regimes, but well documented case-studies are surprisingly rare on this topic. Our goal was to evaluate the effectiveness of traditional Hungarian Grey cattle grazing as a conservation action in a mosaic alkali landscape. We asked the following questions: (i How does cattle grazing affect species composition and diversity of the grasslands? (ii What are the effects of grazing on short-lived and perennial noxious species? (iii Are there distinct effects of grazing in dry-, mesophilous- and wet grassland types? Vegetation of fenced and grazed plots in a 200-ha sized habitat complex (secondary dry grasslands and pristine mesophilous- and wet alkali grasslands was sampled from 2006-2009 in East-Hungary. We found higher diversity scores in grazed plots compared to fenced ones in mesophilous- and wet grasslands. Higher cover of noxious species was typical in fenced plots compared to their grazed counterparts in the last year in every studied grassland type. We found an increasing effect of grazing from the dry- towards the wet grassland types. The year-to-year differences also followed similar pattern: the site-dependent effects were the lowest in the dry grassland and an increasing effect was detected along the moisture gradient. We found that extensive Hungarian Grey cattle grazing is an effective tool to suppress noxious species and to create a mosaic vegetation structure, which enables to maintain high species richness in the landscape. Hungarian Grey cattle can feed in open habitats along long moisture gradient, thus in highly mosaic landscapes this breed can be the most suitable

  2. Recent trends, drivers, and projections of carbon cycle processes in forests and grasslands of North America

    Science.gov (United States)

    Domke, G. M.; Williams, C. A.; Birdsey, R.; Pendall, E.

    2017-12-01

    In North America forest and grassland ecosystems play a major role in the carbon cycle. Here we present the latest trends and projections of United States and North American carbon cycle processes, stocks, and flows in the context of interactions with global scale budgets and climate change impacts in managed and unmanaged grassland and forest ecosystems. We describe recent trends in natural and anthropogenic disturbances in these ecosystems as well as the carbon dynamics associated with land use and land cover change. We also highlight carbon management science and tools for informing decisions and opportunities for improving carbon measurements, observations, and projections in forests and grasslands.

  3. Effects of management practices on grassland birds: Grasshopper Sparrow

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dechant, Jill A.; Sondreal, Marriah L.; Johnson, Douglas H.; Igl, Lawrence D.; Goldade, Christopher M.; Nenneman, Melvin P.; Euliss, Betty R.

    1998-01-01

    Information on the habitat requirements and effects of habitat management on grassland birds were summarized from information in more than 5,500 published and unpublished papers. A range map is provided to indicate the relative densities of the species in North America, based on Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data. Although birds frequently are observed outside the breeding range indicated, the maps are intended to show areas where managers might concentrate their attention. It may be ineffectual to manage habitat at a site for a species that rarely occurs in an area. The species account begins with a brief capsule statement, which provides the fundamental components or keys to management for the species. A section on breeding range outlines the current breeding distribution of the species in North America, including areas that could not be mapped using BBS data. The suitable habitat section describes the breeding habitat and occasionally microhabitat characteristics of the species, especially those habitats that occur in the Great Plains. Details on habitat and microhabitat requirements often provide clues to how a species will respond to a particular management practice. A table near the end of the account complements the section on suitable habitat, and lists the specific habitat characteristics for the species by individual studies. A special section on prey habitat is included for those predatory species that have more specific prey requirements. The area requirements section provides details on territory and home range sizes, minimum area requirements, and the effects of patch size, edges, and other landscape and habitat features on abundance and productivity. It may be futile to manage a small block of suitable habitat for a species that has minimum area requirements that are larger than the area being managed. The Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) is an obligate brood parasite of many grassland birds. The section on cowbird brood parasitism summarizes rates

  4. Nocturnal activity of nesting shrubland and grassland passerines: Chapter 9

    Science.gov (United States)

    Slay, Christy M.; Ellison, Kevin S.; Ribic, Christine; Smith, Kimberly G.; Schmitz, Carolyn M.

    2013-01-01

    Nocturnal activity of nesting passerines is largely undocumented in field situations. We used video recordings to quantify sleep patterns of four shrubland and three grassland bird species during the nestling period. All species exhibited “back sleep” (bill tucked under scapular feathers); individuals woke frequently for vigils of their surroundings. Sleep-bout duration varied from 6 minutes (grasshopper sparrow) to 28 minutes (blue-winged warbler, field sparrow). Duration on nest varied from 6.4 hours (field sparrow) to 8.8 hours (indigo bunting). Adults woke 20–30 minutes before sunrise. First morning absence from the nest was short; nestlings were fed within 12 minutes of a parent’s departure. Further research is needed to understand energetic costs of sleep and behavioral adaptations to environmental pressures.

  5. 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.

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

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    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.

  7. Surface temperature retrieval in a temperate grassland with multiresolution sensors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goetz, S. J.; Halthore, R. N.; Hall, F. G.; Markham, B. L.

    1995-12-01

    Radiometric surface temperatures retrieved at various spatial resolutions from aircraft and satellite measurements at the FIFE site in eastern Kansas were compared with near-surface temperature measurements to determine the accuracy of the retrieval techniques and consistency between the various sensors. Atmospheric characterizations based on local radiosonde profiles of temperature, pressure, and water vapor were used with the LOWTRAN-7 and MODTRAN atmospheric radiance models to correct measured thermal radiances of water and grassland targets for atmospheric attenuation. Comparison of retrieved surface temperatures from a helicopter-mounted modular multispectral radiometer (MMR) (˜5-m "pixel"), C-130 mounted thematic mapper simulator (TMS) (NS001, ˜20-m pixel), and the Landsat 5 thematic mapper (TM) (120-m pixel) was done. Differences between atmospherically corrected radiative temperatures and near-surface measurements ranged from less than 1°C to more than 8°C. Corrected temperatures from helicopter-MMR and NS001-TMS were in general agreement with near-surface infrared radiative thermometer (IRT) measurements collected from automated meteorological stations, with mean differences of 3.2°C and 1.7°C for grassland targets. Much better agreement (within 1°C) was found between the retrieved aircraft surface temperatures and near-surface measurements acquired with a hand-held mast equipped with a MMR and IRT. The NS001-TMS was also in good agreement with near-surface temperatures acquired over water targets. In contrast, the Landsat 5 TM systematically overestimated surface temperature in all cases. This result has been noted previously but not consistently. On the basis of the results reported here, surface measurements were used to provide a calibration of the TM thermal channel. Further evaluation of the in-flight radiometric calibration of the TM thermal channel is recommended.

  8. Modelling nitrous oxide emissions from grazed grassland systems

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wang Junye; Cardenas, Laura M.; Misselbrook, Tom H.; Cuttle, Steve; Thorman, Rachel E.; Li Changsheng

    2012-01-01

    Grazed grassland systems are an important component of the global carbon cycle and also influence global climate change through their emissions of nitrous oxide and methane. However, there are huge uncertainties and challenges in the development and parameterisation of process-based models for grazed grassland systems because of the wide diversity of vegetation and impacts of grazing animals. A process-based biogeochemistry model, DeNitrification-DeComposition (DNDC), has been modified to describe N 2 O emissions for the UK from regional conditions. This paper reports a new development of UK-DNDC in which the animal grazing practices were modified to track their contributions to the soil nitrogen (N) biogeochemistry. The new version of UK-DNDC was tested against datasets of N 2 O fluxes measured at three contrasting field sites. The results showed that the responses of the model to changes in grazing parameters were generally in agreement with observations, showing that N 2 O emissions increased as the grazing intensity increased. - Highlights: ► Parameterisation of grazing system using grazing intensity. ► Modification of UK D NDC for the UK soil and weather conditions. ► Validation of the UK D NDC against measured data of N 2 O emissions in three UK sites. ► Estimating influence of animal grazing practises on N 2 O emissions. - Grazing system was parameterised using grazing intensity and UK-DNDC model was modified and validated against measured data of N 2 O emissions in three UK sites.

  9. Grassland communities of traditional orchards in the Western Carpathians (Slovakia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hubert Zarnovican

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available Traditional orchards are a valuable feature of the rural landscape and they are specific for regions with scattered settlement such as the Myjava hilly land and White Carpathians. Here, the permanent species-rich grasslands beneath trees were regularly managed in the traditional manner until some were replaced in the 1970’s and 80’s by intensively managed orchards, some of which were abandoned in the early 1990’s. Our 2011–2015 phytosociological research followed the standard Braun-Blanquet approach. We classified 178 phytosociological relevés recorded in orchard meadows (156 relevés, former intensively managed orchards (16 relevés, and two relevés from a semi-intensively grazed orchard. Traditionally managed orchard meadows were classified in the following five units: (i Pastinaco sativae-Arrhenatheretum elatioris – thermophilous variant, (ii Pastinaco sativae-Arrhenatheretum elatioris – transitional variant to Alchemillo-Arrhenatheretum elatioris, (iii Ranunculo bulbosi-Arrhenatheretum elatioris, (iv Onobrychido viciifoliae-Brometum erecti, and (v Brachypodio pinnati-Molinietum arundinaceae. Formerly intensively managed large-scale orchards were classified as Pastinaco sativae-Arrhenatheretum elatioris association and the semi-intensively grazed orchard as Lolio perennis-Cynosuretum cristati association. The species composition varies considerably due to tree-shading and different management treatments applied in the orchards, so the relevés of the delimited syntaxonomic units are not typical and have transitional character. Moisture, soil nutrients, and soil reaction were identified as the main environmental gradients influencing species composition. We tested four management treatments in direct gradient analysis and found that abandonment has the strongest effect on species composition. Comparison of grassland vegetation in the studied traditional orchards with that described in Germany reveals differences in species

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Uncertainty analysis of a coupled ecosystem response model simulating greenhouse gas fluxes from a temperate grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liebermann, Ralf; Kraft, Philipp; Houska, Tobias; Breuer, Lutz; Müller, Christoph; Kraus, David; Haas, Edwin; Klatt, Steffen

    2015-04-01

    Among anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, CO2 is the dominant driver of global climate change. Next to its direct impact on the radiation budget, it also affects the climate system by triggering feedback mechanisms in terrestrial ecosystems. Such mechanisms - like stimulated photosynthesis, increased root exudations and reduced stomatal transpiration - influence both the input and the turnover of carbon and nitrogen compounds in the soil. The stabilization and decomposition of these compounds determines how increasing CO2 concentrations change the terrestrial trace gas emissions, especially CO2, N2O and CH4. To assess the potential reaction of terrestrial greenhouse gas emissions to rising tropospheric CO2 concentration, we make use of a comprehensive ecosystem model integrating known processes and fluxes of the carbon-nitrogen cycle in soil, vegetation and water. We apply a state-of-the-art ecosystem model with measurements from a long term field experiment of CO2 enrichment. The model - a grassland realization of LandscapeDNDC - simulates soil chemistry coupled with plant physiology, microclimate and hydrology. The data - comprising biomass, greenhouse gas emissions, management practices and soil properties - has been attained from a FACE (Free Air Carbon dioxide Enrichment) experiment running since 1997 on a temperate grassland in Giessen, Germany. Management and soil data, together with weather records, are used to drive the model, while cut biomass as well as CO2 and N2O emissions are used for calibration and validation. Starting with control data from installations without CO2 enhancement, we begin with a GLUE (General Likelihood Uncertainty Estimation) assessment using Latin Hypercube to reduce the range of the model parameters. This is followed by a detailed sensitivity analysis, the application of DREAM-ZS for model calibration, and an estimation of the effect of input uncertainty on the simulation results. Since first results indicate problems with

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Evaporation from Pinus caribaea plantations on former grassland soils under maritime tropical conditions.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Waterloo, M.J.; Bruijnzeel, L.A.; Vugts, H.F.; Rawaqa, T.T.

    1999-01-01

    Wet canopy and dry canopy evaporation from young and mature plantations of Pinus caribaea on former grassland soils under maritime tropical conditions in southwestern Viti Levu, Fiji, were determined using micrometeorological and hydrological techniques. Modeled annual evaporation totals (ET) of

  17. Evaporation from Pinus caribaea plantations on former grassland soils under maritime tropical conditions

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Waterloo, M.J.; Bruijnzeel, L.A.; Vugts, H.F.; Rawaqa, T.T.

    1999-01-01

    Wet canopy and dry canopy evaporation from young and mature plantations of Pinus caribaea on former grassland soils under maritime tropical conditions in southwestern Viti Levu, Fiji, were determined using micrometeorological and hydrological techniques. Modeled annual evaporation totals (ET) of

  18. NPP Grassland: Beacon Hill, U.K., 1972-1993, R1

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This data set contains two ASCII text files, one providing productivity measurements for a chalk grassland on Beacon Hill, West Sussex, U.K. (50.92 N, -0.85 W) and...

  19. 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,

  20. 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

  1. Monitoring Grassland Tourist Season of Inner Mongolia, China Using Remote Sensing Data

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Quansheng Ge

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available Phenology-driven events, such as spring wildflower displays or fall tree colour, are generally appreciated by tourists for centuries around the world. Monitoring when tourist seasons occur using satellite data has been an area of growing research interest in recent decades. In this paper, a valid methodology for detecting the grassland tourist season using remote sensing data was presented. On average, the beginning, the best, and the end of grassland tourist season of Inner Mongolia, China, occur in late June (±30 days, early July (±30 days, and late July (±50 days, respectively. In south region, the grassland tourist season appeared relatively late. The length of the grassland tourist season is about 90 days with strong spatial trend. South areas exhibit longer tourist season.

  2. 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

  3. Spontaneous colonization of restored dry grasslands by target species: restoration proceeds beyond sowing regional seed mixtures

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Johanidesová, E.; Fajmon, K.; Jongepierová, I.; Prach, Karel

    2015-01-01

    Roč. 70, č. 4 (2015), s. 631-638 ISSN 0142-5242 Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : restoration * grasslands * spontaneous colonization Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour Impact factor: 1.617, year: 2015

  4. PCDD/F and Aromatic Emissions from Simulated Forest and Grassland Fires

    Science.gov (United States)

    Emissions of polychlorinated dibenzodioxin and polychlorinated dibenzofuran (PCDD/F) from simulated grassland and forest fires were quantitatively sampled to derive emission factors in support of PCDD/F inventory development. Grasses from Kentucky and Minnesota; forest shrubs fro...

  5. Strategic Grassland Bird Conservation throughout the annual cycle: Linking policy alternatives, landowner decisions, and biological population outcomes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Drum, Ryan G.; Ribic, Christine; Koch, Katie; Lonsdorf, Eric V.; Grant, Edward C.; Ahlering, Marissa; Barnhill, Laurel; Dailey, Thomas; Lor, Socheata; Mueller, Connie; Pavlacky, D.C.; Rideout, Catherine; Sample, David W.

    2015-01-01

    Grassland bird habitat has declined substantially in the United States. Remaining grasslands are increasingly fragmented, mostly privately owned, and vary greatly in terms of habitat quality and protection status. A coordinated strategic response for grassland bird conservation is difficult, largely due to the scope and complexity of the problem, further compounded by biological, sociological, and economic uncertainties. We describe the results from a collaborative Structured Decision Making (SDM) workshop focused on linking social and economic drivers of landscape change to grassland bird population outcomes. We identified and evaluated alternative strategies for grassland bird conservation using a series of rapid prototype models. We modeled change in grassland and agriculture cover in hypothetical landscapes resulting from different landowner decisions in response to alternative socio-economic conservation policy decisions. Resulting changes in land cover at all three stages of the annual cycle (breeding, wintering, and migration) were used to estimate changes in grassland bird populations. Our results suggest that successful grassland bird conservation may depend upon linkages with ecosystem services on working agricultural lands and grassland-based marketing campaigns to engage the public. With further development, spatial models that link landowner decisions with biological outcomes can be essential tools for making conservation policy decisions. A coordinated non-traditional partnership will likely be necessary to clearly understand and systematically respond to the many conservation challenges facing grassland birds.

  6. Strategic Grassland Bird Conservation throughout the Annual Cycle: Linking Policy Alternatives, Landowner Decisions, and Biological Population Outcomes.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ryan G Drum

    Full Text Available Grassland bird habitat has declined substantially in the United States. Remaining grasslands are increasingly fragmented, mostly privately owned, and vary greatly in terms of habitat quality and protection status. A coordinated strategic response for grassland bird conservation is difficult, largely due to the scope and complexity of the problem, further compounded by biological, sociological, and economic uncertainties. We describe the results from a collaborative Structured Decision Making (SDM workshop focused on linking social and economic drivers of landscape change to grassland bird population outcomes. We identified and evaluated alternative strategies for grassland bird conservation using a series of rapid prototype models. We modeled change in grassland and agriculture cover in hypothetical landscapes resulting from different landowner decisions in response to alternative socio-economic conservation policy decisions. Resulting changes in land cover at all three stages of the annual cycle (breeding, wintering, and migration were used to estimate changes in grassland bird populations. Our results suggest that successful grassland bird conservation may depend upon linkages with ecosystem services on working agricultural lands and grassland-based marketing campaigns to engage the public. With further development, spatial models that link landowner decisions with biological outcomes can be essential tools for making conservation policy decisions. A coordinated non-traditional partnership will likely be necessary to clearly understand and systematically respond to the many conservation challenges facing grassland birds.

  7. 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...

  8. 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

  9. 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...

  10. Farming for pests? Local and landscape-scale effects of grassland management on rabbit densities

    OpenAIRE

    Petrovan , Silviu O.; Barrio , Isabel C.; Ward , Alastair I.; Wheeler , Philip M.

    2010-01-01

    Abstract In recent decades in the UK, there has been an increasing trend in numbers of the European wild rabbit, a significant agricultural pest typically associated with grassland habitats. However, the relationship between rabbit abundance and grassland management, in particular grazing, has not been sufficiently explained. We studied rabbit densities in seven pasture-dominated sites in north-east England between autumn and spring in two consecutive years, and used generalised li...

  11. Responses of soil fungal community to the sandy grassland restoration in Horqin Sandy Land, northern China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Shao-Kun; Zuo, Xiao-An; Zhao, Xue-Yong; Li, Yu-Qiang; Zhou, Xin; Lv, Peng; Luo, Yong-Qing; Yun, Jian-Ying

    2016-01-01

    Sandy grassland restoration is a vital process including re-structure of soils, restoration of vegetation, and soil functioning in arid and semi-arid regions. Soil fungal community is a complex and critical component of soil functioning and ecological balance due to its roles in organic matter decomposition and nutrient cycling following sandy grassland restoration. In this study, soil fungal community and its relationship with environmental factors were examined along a habitat gradient of sandy grassland restoration: mobile dunes (MD), semi-fixed dunes (SFD), fixed dunes (FD), and grassland (G). It was found that species abundance, richness, and diversity of fungal community increased along with the sandy grassland restoration. The sequences analysis suggested that most of the fungal species (68.4 %) belonged to the phylum of Ascomycota. The three predominant fungal species were Pleospora herbarum, Wickerhamomyces anomalus, and Deconica Montana, accounting for more than one fourth of all the 38 species. Geranomyces variabilis was the subdominant species in MD, Pseudogymnoascus destructans and Mortierella alpine were the subdominant species in SFD, and P. destructans and Fungi incertae sedis were the dominant species in FD and G. The result from redundancy analysis (RDA) and stepwise regression analysis indicated that the vegetation characteristics and soil properties explain a significant proportion of the variation in the fungal community, and aboveground biomass and C:N ratio are the key factors to determine soil fungal community composition during sandy grassland restoration. It was suggested that the restoration of sandy grassland combined with vegetation and soil properties improved the soil fungal diversity. Also, the dominant species was found to be alternative following the restoration of sandy grassland ecosystems.

  12. Effect of soil properties and hydrology on Archaeal community composition in three temperate grasslands on peat

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Görres, Carolyn-Monika; Conrad, Ralf; Petersen, Søren O

    2013-01-01

    Grasslands established on drained peat soils are regarded as negligible methane (CH4) sources; however, they can still exhibit considerable soil CH4 dynamics. We investigated archaeal community composition in two different fen peat soils and one bog peat soil under permanent grassland in Denmark........ Overall, there seemed to be a significant coupling between peat type and archaeal community composition, with local hydrology modifying the strength of this coupling....

  13. Effects of short term and long term soil warming on ecosystem phenology of a sub-arctic grassland: an NDVI-based approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leblans, Niki; Sigurdsson, Bjarni D.; Janssens, Ivan A.

    2014-05-01

    Phenology has been defined as the study of the timing of recurring biological events and the causes of their timing with regard to abiotic and biotic factors. Ecosystem phenology, including the onset of the growing season and its senescence in autumn, plays an important role in the carbon, water and energy exchange between biosphere and atmosphere at higher latitudes. Factors that influence ecosystem phenology can therefore induce important climate-controlling feedback mechanisms. Global surface temperatures have been predicted to increase in the coming decades. Hence, a better understanding of the effect of temperature on ecosystem phenology is essential. Natural geothermal soil temperature gradients in Iceland offer a unique opportunity to study the soil temperature (Ts) dependence of ecosystem phenology and distinguish short-term (transient) warming effects (in recently established Ts gradients) from long-term (permanent) effects (in centuries-old Ts gradients). This research was performed in the framework of an international research project (ForHot; www.forhot.is). ForHot includes two natural grassland areas with gradients in Ts, dominated by Festuca sp., Agrostis sp.. The first warmed area was created in 2008, when an earthquake in S-Iceland caused geothermal systems to be shifted to previously cold soils. The second area is located about 3 km away from this newly warmed grassland. For this area, there are proofs that the natural soil warming has been continuous for at least 300 year. In the present study we focus on Ts elevation gradients of +0 to +10°C. The experiment consists of five transects with five temperature levels (+0,+1,+3,+5 and +10°C) in the two aforementioned grassland ecosystems (n=25 in each grassland). From April until November 2013, weekly measurements of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) were taken. In the short-term warmed grassland, the greening of the vegetation was 36 days advanced at +10°C Ts and the date of 50

  14. Grassland habitat restoration: lessons learnt from long term monitoring of Swanworth Quarry, UK, 1997–2014

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Barbara Maria Smith

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available Habitat restoration projects are often conducted when prior use or extraction of natural resources results in land degradation. The success of restoration programmes, however, is variable, and studies that provide evidence of long term outcomes are valuable for evaluation purposes. This study focused on the restoration of vegetation within a limestone quarry in Dorset, UK between 1997 and 2014. Using a randomised block design, the effect of seed mix and seed rate on the development of community assemblage was investigated in comparison to a nearby target calcareous grassland site. We hypothesised that seed mix composition and sowing rate would influence both the trajectory of the grassland assemblage and final community composition. We found that species composition (in relation to both richness and community assemblage was strongly influenced by time and to some extent by seed rate and seed mix. However, no treatments achieved strong resemblance to the calcareous grassland target vegetation; rather they resembled mesotrophic communities. We conclude that (as with previous studies there is no “quick fix” for the establishment of a grassland community; long-term monitoring provides useful information on the trajectory of community development; sowing gets you something (in our case mesotrophic grassland, but, it may not be the target vegetation (e.g., calcicolous grassland you want that is difficult to establish and regenerate; it is important to sow a diverse mix as subsequent recruitment opportunities are probably limited; post-establishment management should be explored further and carefully considered as part of a restoration project.

  15. Striking a balance: socioeconomic development and conservation in grassland through community-based zoning.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Craig Leisher

    Full Text Available The goal of preserving nature is often in conflict with economic development and the aspirations of the rural poor. Nowhere is this more striking than in native grasslands, which have been extensively converted until a mere fraction of their original extent remains. This is not surprising; grasslands flourish in places coveted by humans, primed for agriculture, plantations, and settlements that nearly always trump conservation efforts. The Umgano grassland conservation and poverty reduction project in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa uses community-based spatial planning to balance the conversion of its lower-conservation value grasslands to a timber plantation, while conserving higher-value grasslands for heritage purposes and managed livestock grazing. Ten years after project launch, we measured the ecological and socioeconomic impacts of the project using Normalized Differential Vegetation Index remote sensing data and over 500 household interviews, as compared with similar non-conserved areas. Zoned management of the Umgano area had resulted in between 9% and 17% greater average peak production in the grassland areas compared to control sites. There was also a 21% gain in incomes for the roughly one hundred people employed by the forestry efforts, when compared to others in their village. Community-based spatial zoning is an overlooked tool for balancing conservation and development but may require, as we found in Umgano, certain critical factors including strong local leadership, an accountable financial management mechanism to distribute income, outside technical expertise for the zoning design, and community support.

  16. Increasing temperature reduces the coupling between available nitrogen and phosphorus in soils of Chinese grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Geng, Yan; Baumann, Frank; Song, Chao; Zhang, Mi; Shi, Yue; Kühn, Peter; Scholten, Thomas; He, Jin-Sheng

    2017-03-01

    Changes in climatic conditions along geographical gradients greatly affect soil nutrient cycling processes. Yet how climate regimes such as changes in temperature influence soil nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) concentrations and their stoichiometry is not well understood. This study investigated the spatial pattern and variability of soil N and P availability as well as their coupling relationships at two soil layers (0-10 and 10-20 cm) along a 4000-km climate transect in two grassland biomes of China, the Inner Mongolian temperate grasslands and the Tibetan alpine grasslands. Our results found that in both grasslands, from cold to warm sites the amounts of soil total N, total P and available P all decreased. By contrast, the amount of available N was positively related to mean annual temperature in the Tibetan grasslands. Meanwhile, with increasing temperature ratio of available N to P significantly increased but the linear relationship between them was considerably reduced. Thus, increasing temperature may not only induce a stoichiometric shift but also loose the coupling between available N and P. This N-P decoupling under warmer conditions was more evident in the Tibetan alpine grasslands where P limitation might become more widespread relative to N as temperatures continue to rise.

  17. The effect of warming on grassland evapotranspiration partitioning using laser-based isotope monitoring techniques

    KAUST Repository

    Wang, Lixin; Niu, Shuli; Good, Stephen P.; Soderberg, Keir; McCabe, Matthew; Sherry, Rebecca A.; Luo, Yiqi; Zhou, Xuhui; Xia, Jianyang; Caylor, Kelly K.

    2013-01-01

    The proportion of transpiration (T) in total evapotranspiration (ET) is an important parameter that provides insight into the degree of biological influence on the hydrological cycles. Studies addressing the effects of climatic warming on the ecosystem total water balance are scarce, and measured warming effects on the T/ET ratio in field experiments have not been seen in the literature. In this study, we quantified T/ET ratios under ambient and warming treatments in a grassland ecosystem using a stable isotope approach. The measurements were made at a long-term grassland warming site in Oklahoma during the May-June peak growing season of 2011. Chamber-based methods were used to estimate the δ2H isotopic composition of evaporation (δE), transpiration (δT) and the aggregated evapotranspiration (δET). A modified commercial conifer leaf chamber was used for δT, a modified commercial soil chamber was used for δE and a custom built chamber was used for δET. The δE, δET and δT were quantified using both the Keeling plot approach and a mass balance method, with the Craig-Gordon model approach also used to calculate δE. Multiple methods demonstrated no significant difference between control and warming plots for both δET and δT. Though the chamber-based estimates and the Craig-Gordon results diverged by about 12‰, all methods showed that δE was more depleted in the warming plots. This decrease in δE indicates that the evaporation flux as a percentage of total water flux necessarily decreased for δET to remain constant, which was confirmed by field observations. The T/ET ratio in the control treatment was 0.65 or 0.77 and the ratio found in the warming treatment was 0.83 or 0.86, based on the chamber method and the Craig-Gordon approach. Sensitivity analysis of the Craig-Gordon model demonstrates that the warming-induced decrease in soil liquid water isotopic composition is the major factor responsible for the observed δE depletion and the temperature

  18. The effect of warming on grassland evapotranspiration partitioning using laser-based isotope monitoring techniques

    KAUST Repository

    Wang, Lixin

    2013-06-01

    The proportion of transpiration (T) in total evapotranspiration (ET) is an important parameter that provides insight into the degree of biological influence on the hydrological cycles. Studies addressing the effects of climatic warming on the ecosystem total water balance are scarce, and measured warming effects on the T/ET ratio in field experiments have not been seen in the literature. In this study, we quantified T/ET ratios under ambient and warming treatments in a grassland ecosystem using a stable isotope approach. The measurements were made at a long-term grassland warming site in Oklahoma during the May-June peak growing season of 2011. Chamber-based methods were used to estimate the δ2H isotopic composition of evaporation (δE), transpiration (δT) and the aggregated evapotranspiration (δET). A modified commercial conifer leaf chamber was used for δT, a modified commercial soil chamber was used for δE and a custom built chamber was used for δET. The δE, δET and δT were quantified using both the Keeling plot approach and a mass balance method, with the Craig-Gordon model approach also used to calculate δE. Multiple methods demonstrated no significant difference between control and warming plots for both δET and δT. Though the chamber-based estimates and the Craig-Gordon results diverged by about 12‰, all methods showed that δE was more depleted in the warming plots. This decrease in δE indicates that the evaporation flux as a percentage of total water flux necessarily decreased for δET to remain constant, which was confirmed by field observations. The T/ET ratio in the control treatment was 0.65 or 0.77 and the ratio found in the warming treatment was 0.83 or 0.86, based on the chamber method and the Craig-Gordon approach. Sensitivity analysis of the Craig-Gordon model demonstrates that the warming-induced decrease in soil liquid water isotopic composition is the major factor responsible for the observed δE depletion and the temperature

  19. Estimating photosynthesis with high resolution field spectroscopy in a Mediterranean grassland under different nutrient availability

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perez-Priego, O.; Guan, J.; Fava, F.; Rossini, M.; Wutzler, T.; Moreno, G.; Carrara, A.; Kolle, O.; Schrumpf, M.; Reichstein, M.; Migliavacca, M.

    2014-12-01

    Recent studies have shown how human induced N:P imbalances are affecting essential processes (e.g. photosynthesis, plant growth rate) that lead to important changes in ecosystem structure and function. In this regard, the accuracy of the approaches based on remotely-sensed data for monitoring and modeling gross primary production (GPP) relies on the ability of vegetation indices (VIs) to track the dynamics of vegetation physiological and biophysical properties/variables. Promising results have been recently obtained when Chlorophyll-sensitive VIs and Chlorophyll fluorescence are combined with structural indices in the framework of the Monteith's light use efficiency (LUE) model. However, further ground-based experiments are required to validate LUE model performances, and their capability to be generalized under different nutrient availability conditions. In this study, the overall objective was to investigate the sensitivity of VIs to track short- and long-term GPP variations in a Mediterranean grassland under different N and P fertilization treatments. Spectral VIs were acquired manually using high resolution spectrometers (HR4000, OceanOptics, USA) along a phenological cycle. The VIs examined included photochemical reflectance index (PRI), MERIS terrestrial-chlorophyll index (MTCI) and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI). Solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence calculated at the oxygen absorption band O2-A (F760) using spectral fitting methods was also used. Simultaneously, measurements of GPP and environmental variables were conducted using a transient-state canopy chamber. Overall, GPP, F760 and VIs showed a clear seasonal time-trend in all treatments, which was driven by the phenological development of the grassland. Results showed significant differences (p<0.05) in midday GPP values between N and without N addition plots, in particular at the peak of the growing season during the flowering stage and at the end of the season during senescence. While

  20. Soil emission and uptake of carbonyl sulfide at a temperate mountain grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kitz, Florian; Hammerle, Albin; Laterza, Tamara; Spielmann, Felix M.; Wohlfahrt, Georg

    2016-04-01

    Flux partitioning, i.e. inferring gross primary productivity (GPP) and ecosystem respiration from the measured net ecosystem carbon dioxide (CO2) exchange, is one uncertainty in modelling the carbon cycle and in times where robust models are needed to assess future global changes a persistent problem. A promising new approach is to derive GPP by measuring carbonyl sulfide (COS), the most abundant sulfur-containing trace gas in the atmosphere, with a mean concentration of about 500 pptv in the troposphere. This is possible because COS and CO2 enter the leaf via a similar pathway and are processed by the same enzyme (carbonic anhydrase). A prerequisite to use COS as a proxy for canopy photosynthesis is a robust estimation of COS sources and sinks in an ecosystem. Past studies described soils either as a sink or source, depending on properties like soil temperature and soil water content. The main aim of this study was to quantify the soil COS exchange and its drivers of a temperate mountain grassland in order to aid the use of COS as tracer for canopy CO2 and water vapor exchange. We conducted a field campaign with a Quantum cascade laser at a temperate mountain grassland to estimate the soil COS fluxes under ambient conditions and while simulating a drought. We used self-built fused silica (i.e. light-transparent) soil chambers to avoid COS emissions from built-in materials and to assess the impact of radiation. Vegetation was removed within the chambers, therefor more radiation reached the soil surface compared to natural conditions. This might be the reason for highly positive fluxes during daytime more similar to agricultural study sites. To further investigate this large soil COS source we conducted within canopy concentration measurements near the soil surface and still recorded fluxes confirming the soil as a COS source during daytime. Results from the drought experiment suggested a strong impact of incoming radiation on soil COS fluxes followed by soil

  1. 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

  2. A summary of eight traits of Coleoptera, Hemiptera, Orthoptera and Araneae, occurring in grasslands in Germany

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gossner, Martin M.; Simons, Nadja K.; Achtziger, Roland; Blick, Theo; Dorow, Wolfgang H. O.; Dziock, Frank; Köhler, Frank; Rabitsch, Wolfgang; Weisser, Wolfgang W.

    2015-03-01

    Analyses of species traits have increased our understanding of how environmental drivers such as disturbances affect the composition of arthropod communities and related processes. There are, however, few studies on which traits in the arthropod community are affected by environmental changes and which traits affect ecosystem functioning. The assembly of arthropod traits of several taxa is difficult because of the large number of species, limited availability of trait databases and differences in available traits. We sampled arthropod species data from a total of 150 managed grassland plots in three regions of Germany. These plots represent the spectrum from extensively used pastures to mown pastures to intensively managed and fertilized meadows. In this paper, we summarize information on body size, dispersal ability, feeding guild and specialization (within herbivores), feeding mode, feeding tissue (within herbivorous suckers), plant part (within herbivorous chewers), endophagous lifestyle (within herbivores), and vertical stratum use for 1,230 species of Coleoptera, Hemiptera (Heteroptera, Auchenorrhyncha), Orthoptera (Saltatoria: Ensifera, Caelifera), and Araneae, sampled by sweep-netting between 2008 and 2012. We compiled traits from various literature sources and complemented data from reliable internet sources and the authors’ experience.

  3. Impact of Grassland Reseeding, Herbicide Spraying and Ploughing on Diversity and Abundance of Soil Arthropods

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Wei; Zhang, Junling; Norris, Stuart L.; Murray, Philip J.

    2016-01-01

    In order to determine the interactive effect of reseeding, herbicide spraying and ploughing on soil fauna communities, we conducted a grassland reseeding experiment combined with pre-reseed management to examine how with the whole reseeding process affects soil faunal composition. Sampling occasions and exact treatments were as follows: (1) before chemical herbicide spray; (2) after spray but before ploughing; (3) after ploughing but before reseeding; and (4) after 1 year of recovery. Our results demonstrate that, Acari and Collembola were the two soil fauna taxa with the highest abundance and accounted for around 96% of the relative total abundance among the various managements. Herbicide application tended to increase soil invertebrate abundance. Conversely, subsequent ploughing significantly reduced soil invertebrate abundance and had an obvious negative effect on soil primary and secondary decomposers, which were mainly due to the variations of Acari (especially Oribatida) and Coleoptera group abundance. Moreover, reseeding also reduced the individual number of the groups mentioned above, and favored those predators with a larger body size and individual weight. After 1 year recovery, Collembola abundance recovered to the pre-treatment levels, while with Arthropod and Acari groups were still fluctuating. PMID:27555863

  4. Greenhouse gas balance of an establishing Sphagnum culture on a former bog grassland in Germany

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Günther

    2017-04-01

    Full Text Available The cultivation of Sphagnum mosses on re-wetted peat bogs for use in horticulture is a new land use strategy. We provide the first greenhouse gas balances for a field-scale Sphagnum farming experiment on former bog grassland, in its establishment phase. Over two years we used closed chambers to make measurements of GHG exchange on production strips of Sphagnum palustre L. and Sphagnum papillosum Lindb. and on irrigation ditches. Methane fluxes of both Sphagnum species showed a significant decrease over the study period. This trend was stronger for S. papillosum. In contrast, the estimated CO2 fluxes did not show a significant temporal trend over the study period. The production strips of both Sphagnum species were net GHG sinks of 5–9 t ha 1 a 1 (in CO2-equivalents during the establishment phase of the moss carpets. In comparison, the ditches were a CO2 source instead of a CO2 sink and emitted larger amounts of CH4, resulting in net GHG release of ~11 t ha 1 a 1 CO2-equivalents. We conclude that Sphagnum farming fields should be designed to minimise the area covered by irrigation ditches. Overall, Sphagnum farming on bogs has lower on-field GHG emissions than low-intensity agriculture.

  5. Impact of Grassland Reseeding, Herbicide Spraying and Ploughing on Diversity and Abundance of Soil Arthropods.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Wei; Zhang, Junling; Norris, Stuart L; Murray, Philip J

    2016-01-01

    In order to determine the interactive effect of reseeding, herbicide spraying and ploughing on soil fauna communities, we conducted a grassland reseeding experiment combined with pre-reseed management to examine how with the whole reseeding process affects soil faunal composition. Sampling occasions and exact treatments were as follows: (1) before chemical herbicide spray; (2) after spray but before ploughing; (3) after ploughing but before reseeding; and (4) after 1 year of recovery. Our results demonstrate that, Acari and Collembola were the two soil fauna taxa with the highest abundance and accounted for around 96% of the relative total abundance among the various managements. Herbicide application tended to increase soil invertebrate abundance. Conversely, subsequent ploughing significantly reduced soil invertebrate abundance and had an obvious negative effect on soil primary and secondary decomposers, which were mainly due to the variations of Acari (especially Oribatida) and Coleoptera group abundance. Moreover, reseeding also reduced the individual number of the groups mentioned above, and favored those predators with a larger body size and individual weight. After 1 year recovery, Collembola abundance recovered to the pre-treatment levels, while with Arthropod and Acari groups were still fluctuating.

  6. Impact of Grassland Reseeding, Herbicide spraying and Ploughing on Diversity and Abundance of Soil Arthropods.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wei Liu

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available In order to determine the interactive effect of reseeding, herbicide spraying and ploughing on soil fauna communities, we conducted a grassland reseeding experiment combined with pre-reseed management to examine how with the whole reseeding process affects soil faunal composition. Sampling occasions and exact treatments were as follows: 1 before chemical herbicide spray; 2 after spray but before ploughing; 3 after ploughing but before reseeding; and 4 after one year of recovery. Our results demonstrate that, Acari and Collembola were the two soil fauna taxa with the highest abundance and accounted for around 96% of the relative total abundance among the various managements. Herbicide application tended to increase soil invertebrate abundance. Conversely, subsequent ploughing significantly reduced soil invertebrate abundance and had an obvious negative effect on soil primary and secondary decomposers, which were mainly due to the variations of Acari (especially Oribatida and Coleoptera group abundance. Moreover, reseeding also reduced the individual number of the groups mentioned above, and favoured those predators with a larger body size and individual weight. After one year recovery, Collembola abundance recovered to the pre-treatment levels, while with Arthropod and Acari groups were still fluctuating.

  7. Using Remotely Sensed Fluorescence and Soil Moisture to Better Understand the Seasonal Cycle of Tropical Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Dakota Carlysle

    Seasonal grasslands account for a large area of Earth's land cover. Annual and seasonal changes in these grasslands have profound impacts on Earth's carbon, energy, and water cycles. In tropical grasslands, growth is commonly water-limited and the landscape oscillates between highly productive and unproductive. As the monsoon begins, soils moisten providing dry grasses the water necessary to photosynthesize. However, along with the rain come clouds that obscure satellite products that are commonly used to study productivity in these areas. To navigate this issue, we used solar induced fluorescence (SIF) products from OCO-2 along with soil moisture products from the Soil Moisture Active Passive satellite (SMAP) to "see through" the clouds to monitor grassland productivity. To get a broader understanding of the vegetation dynamics, we used the Simple Biosphere Model (SiB4) to simulate the seasonal cycles of vegetation. In conjunction with SiB4, the remotely sensed SIF and soil moisture observations were utilized to paint a clearer picture of seasonal productivity in tropical grasslands. The remotely sensed data is not available for every place at one time or at every time for one place. Thus, the study was focused on a large area from 15° E to 35° W and from 8°S to 20°N in the African Sahel. Instead of studying productivity relative to time, we studied it relative to soil moisture. Through this investigation we found soil moisture thresholds for the emergence of grassland growth, near linear grassland growth, and maturity of grassland growth. We also found that SiB4 overestimates SIF by about a factor of two for nearly every value of soil moisture. On the whole, SiB4 does a surprisingly good job of predicting the response of seasonal growth in tropical grasslands to soil moisture. Future work will continue to integrate remotely sensed SIF & soil moisture with SiB4 to add to our growing knowledge of carbon, water, and energy cycling in tropical grasslands.

  8. Seasonal/Interannual Variations of Carbon Sequestration and Carbon Emission in a Warm-Season Perennial Grassland

    OpenAIRE

    Deepa Dhital; Tomoharu Inoue; Hiroshi Koizumi

    2014-01-01

    Carbon sequestration and carbon emission are processes of ecosystem carbon cycling that can be affected while land area converted to grassland resulting in increased soil carbon storage and below-ground respiration. Discerning the importance of carbon cycle in grassland, we aimed to estimate carbon sequestration in photosynthesis and carbon emission in respiration from soil, root, and microbes, for four consecutive years (2007–2010) in a warm-season perennial grassland, Japan. Soil carbon emi...

  9. Measuring denitrification after grassland renewal and grassland conversion to cropland by using the 15N gas-flux method

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buchen, Caroline; Eschenbach, Wolfram; Flessa, Heinz; Giesemann, Anette; Lewicka-Szczebak, Dominika; Well, Reinhard

    2015-04-01

    Denitrification, the reduction of oxidized forms of inorganic N to N2O and N2 is an important pathway of gaseous nitrogen losses. Measuring denitrification, especially the reduction of N2O to N2, expressed in the product ratio (N2O/(N2O + N2)), is rather difficult and hence rarely performed under field conditions. But using the 15N gas-flux method allows determining N transformation processes in their natural environment. In order to develop effective climate mitigation strategies understanding the N2O source is essential. We used the 15N gas-flux method to determine N2O and N2 emissions following grassland renewal and conversion techniques. Therefore we selected three different treatments: control (C), mechanical grassland renovation (GR) (autumn 2013) and grassland conversion to maize (GM) (spring 2014) from field plot trials on two different sites (Histic Gleysoil and Plaggic Anthrosol) near Oldenburg, Lower Saxony, Germany. We applied 15N labeled KNO3- (60 atom. % 15N) at a rate equivalent to common farming practices (150 kg N*ha-1) using needle injection of fertilizer solution in three different depths (10 cm, 15 cm, 20 cm) for homogeneous soil labeling up to 30 cm in microplots. During the first 10 days after application (May 2014) gas flux measurements from closed chambers were performed every second day and then weekly following a period of 8 weeks. Gas samples were analyzed for δ15N of N2 and N2O by IRMS according to Lewicka-Szczebak et al. (2013). Concentration and 15N enrichment of NO3- in soil water was determined on weekly samples using the SPIN-MAS technique (Stange et al. 2007). Fluxes of N2 and N2O evolved from the 15N labeled soil nitrogen pool were calculated using the equations of Spott et al. (2006). Peak events of N2 and N2O emissions occurred during the first 10 days of measurement, showing differences in soil types, as well as treatment variations. N2 fluxes up to 178 g*ha-1*day-1 and N2O fluxes up to 280 g*ha-1*day-1 were measured on the

  10. Evaluating the Impacts of Grassland Conversions to Experimental Forest on Groundwater Recharge in the Nebraska Sand Hills

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adane, Zablon A.

    The Nebraska Sand Hills grasslands provide the greatest groundwater recharge rates in the High Plains Aquifer. However, the grasslands and their ecological services have become vulnerable to land use change and degradation. This study used a series of field data to investigate the effects of grassland conversions to forest on recharge rates in a century-old experimental forest in the Sand Hills. The results show that the impact of grassland conversion on recharge was dependent on the species and plantation density. Estimated recharge rates beneath the dense plantations represent reductions of 86-94% relative to the native grassland. Results of 1H Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectral analysis suggested that the surface soil organic carbon beneath pine plantations also contain up to 3 times the ratio of hydrophobic components than the native grasslands and may alter the soil hydraulic properties. This investigation further uncovered a previously overlooked feedback between the effect of soil organic carbon chemical shift generated by the ponderosa pine needle litter decomposition; namely that the alteration may have a link to reduced groundwater recharge rates. Thus, a global optimizer algorithm was used to estimate the effective soil hydraulic parameters from monthly soil moisture contents and recharge rates were then estimated through HYDRUS 1-D numerical modeling for grassland and pine forest soils. The impact of grassland conversion to pine was an overall reduction of groundwater recharge by nearly 100%. These outcomes highlight the significance of the grasslands for recharge, in the Sand Hills and the sustainability of the High Plains Aquifer.

  11. Effect of soil saturation on denitrification in a grassland soil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    L. M. Cardenas

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available Nitrous oxide (N2O is of major importance as a greenhouse gas and precursor of ozone (O3 destruction in the stratosphere mostly produced in soils. The soil-emitted N2O is generally predominantly derived from denitrification and, to a smaller extent, nitrification, both processes controlled by environmental factors and their interactions, and are influenced by agricultural management. Soil water content expressed as water-filled pore space (WFPS is a major controlling factor of emissions and its interaction with compaction, has not been studied at the micropore scale. A laboratory incubation was carried out at different saturation levels for a grassland soil and emissions of N2O and N2 were measured as well as the isotopocules of N2O. We found that flux variability was larger in the less saturated soils probably due to nutrient distribution heterogeneity created from soil cracks and consequently nutrient hot spots. The results agreed with denitrification as the main source of fluxes at the highest saturations, but nitrification could have occurred at the lower saturation, even though moisture was still high (71 % WFSP. The isotopocules data indicated isotopic similarities in the wettest treatments vs. the two drier ones. The results agreed with previous findings where it is clear there are two N pools with different dynamics: added N producing intense denitrification vs. soil N resulting in less isotopic fractionation.

  12. 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.

  13. Metacommunity analysis of amoeboid protists in grassland soils.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fiore-Donno, Anna Maria; Weinert, Jan; Wubet, Tesfaye; Bonkowski, Michael

    2016-01-11

    This study reveals the diversity and distribution of two major ubiquitous groups of soil amoebae, the genus Acanthamoeba and the Myxomycetes (plasmodial slime-moulds) that are rarely, if ever, recovered in environmental sampling studies. We analyzed 150 grassland soil samples from three Biodiversity Exploratories study regions in Germany. We developed specific primers targeting the V2 variable region in the first part of the small subunit of the ribosomal RNA gene for high-throughput pyrotag sequencing. From ca. 1 million reads, applying very stringent filtering and clustering parameters to avoid overestimation of the diversity, we obtained 273 acanthamoebal and 338 myxomycete operational taxonomic units (OTUs, 96% similarity threshold). This number is consistent with the genetic diversity known in the two investigated lineages, but unequalled to date by any environmental sampling study. Only very few OTUs were identical to already known sequences. Strikingly different OTUs assemblages were found between the three German regions (PerMANOVA p.value = 0.001) and even between sites of the same region (multiple-site Simpson-based similarity indices <0.4), showing steep biogeographical gradients.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. Microbial Enzyme Activity and Carbon Cycling in Grassland Soil Fractions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allison, S. D.; Jastrow, J. D.

    2004-12-01

    Extracellular enzymes are necessary to degrade complex organic compounds present in soils. Using physical fractionation procedures, we tested whether old soil carbon is spatially isolated from degradative enzymes across a prairie restoration chronosequence in Illinois, USA. We found that carbon-degrading enzymes were abundant in all soil fractions, including macroaggregates, microaggregates, and the clay fraction, which contains carbon with a mean residence time of ~200 years. The activities of two cellulose-degrading enzymes and a chitin-degrading enzyme were 2-10 times greater in organic matter fractions than in bulk soil, consistent with the rapid turnover of these fractions. Polyphenol oxidase activity was 3 times greater in the clay fraction than in the bulk soil, despite very slow carbon turnover in this fraction. Changes in enzyme activity across the restoration chronosequence were small once adjusted for increases in soil carbon concentration, although polyphenol oxidase activity per unit carbon declined by 50% in native prairie versus cultivated soil. These results are consistent with a `two-pool' model of enzyme and carbon turnover in grassland soils. In light organic matter fractions, enzyme production and carbon turnover both occur rapidly. However, in mineral-dominated fractions, both enzymes and their carbon substrates are immobilized on mineral surfaces, leading to slow turnover. Soil carbon accumulation in the clay fraction and across the prairie restoration chronosequence probably reflects increasing physical isolation of enzymes and substrates on the molecular scale, rather than the micron to millimeter scale.

  17. 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...

  18. Analysis of the production stability of mixed grasslands. II. A mathematical framework for the quantification of production stability of grassland ecosystems

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schulte, R.P.O.

    2003-01-01

    The analysis of the intrinsic properties and processes of ecosystems, which regulate the production stability of mixed grasslands, has been complicated by the environmental noise caused by stochastic weather fluctuations. A mathematical framework is presented to deduct the actual, the extrinsic and

  19. Changing patterns of basic household consumption in the Inner Mongolian grasslands: a case study of policy-oriented adoptive changes in the use of grasslands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Du, B.; Zhen, L.; Groot, de R.S.; Goulden, C.E.; Long, X.; Cao, X.; Wu, R.; Sun, C.

    2014-01-01

    Grassland ecosystems, as the basic natural resources in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, are becoming increasingly sensitive to human intervention, leading to deterioration in fragile ecosystems. The goal of this study was to describe the restoration policy-oriented adoptive changes to basic

  20. [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

  1. 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

  2. Grassland to shrubland state transitions enhance carbon sequestration in the northern Chihuahuan Desert.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Petrie, M D; Collins, S L; Swann, A M; Ford, P L; Litvak, M E

    2015-03-01

    The replacement of native C4 -dominated grassland by C3 -dominated shrubland is considered an ecological state transition where different ecological communities can exist under similar environmental conditions. These state transitions are occurring globally, and may be exacerbated by climate change. One consequence of the global increase in woody vegetation may be enhanced ecosystem carbon sequestration, although the responses of arid and semiarid ecosystems may be highly variable. During a drier than average period from 2007 to 2011 in the northern Chihuahuan Desert, we found established shrubland to sequester 49 g C m(-2) yr(-1) on average, while nearby native C4 grassland was a net source of 31 g C m(-2) yr(-1) over this same period. Differences in C exchange between these ecosystems were pronounced--grassland had similar productivity compared to shrubland but experienced higher C efflux via ecosystem respiration, while shrubland was a consistent C sink because of a longer growing season and lower ecosystem respiration. At daily timescales, rates of carbon exchange were more sensitive to soil moisture variation in grassland than shrubland, such that grassland had a net uptake of C when wet but lost C when dry. Thus, even under unfavorable, drier than average climate conditions, the state transition from grassland to shrubland resulted in a substantial increase in terrestrial C sequestration. These results illustrate the inherent tradeoffs in quantifying ecosystem services that result from ecological state transitions, such as shrub encroachment. In this case, the deleterious changes to ecosystem services often linked to grassland to shrubland state transitions may at least be partially offset by increased ecosystem carbon sequestration. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  3. Community-specific hydraulic conductance potential of soil water decomposed for two Alpine grasslands by small-scale lysimetry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frenck, Georg; Leitinger, Georg; Obojes, Nikolaus; Hofmann, Magdalena; Newesely, Christian; Deutschmann, Mario; Tappeiner, Ulrike; Tasser, Erich

    2018-02-01

    For central Europe in addition to rising temperatures an increasing variability in precipitation is predicted. This will increase the probability of drought periods in the Alps, where water supply has been sufficient in most areas so far. For Alpine grasslands, community-specific imprints on drought responses are poorly analyzed so far due to the sufficient natural water supply. In a replicated mesocosm experiment we compared evapotranspiration (ET) and biomass productivity of two differently drought-adapted Alpine grassland communities during two artificial drought periods divided by extreme precipitation events using high-precision small lysimeters. The drought-adapted vegetation type showed a high potential to utilize even scarce water resources. This is combined with a low potential to translate atmospheric deficits into higher water conductance and a lower biomass production as those measured for the non-drought-adapted type. The non-drought-adapted type, in contrast, showed high water conductance potential and a strong increase in ET rates when environmental conditions became less constraining. With high rates even at dry conditions, this community appears not to be optimized to save water and might experience drought effects earlier and probably more strongly. As a result, the water use efficiency of the drought-adapted plant community is with 2.6 gDW kg-1 of water much higher than that of the non-drought-adapted plant community (0.16 gDW kg-1). In summary, the vegetation's reaction to two covarying gradients of potential evapotranspiration and soil water content revealed a clear difference in vegetation development and between water-saving and water-spending strategies regarding evapotranspiration.

  4. Application of a crop model forced with remote sensing data at high spatio-temporal resolution to estimate evaporation and yields of irrigated grasslands in the South Eastern France

    Science.gov (United States)

    Couralt, D.; Hadria, R.; Ruget, F.; Duchemin, B.; Hagolle, O.

    2009-09-01

    This study focused on the feasibility of using remote sensing data acquired at high spatial and temporal resolution (FORMOSAT-2 images(http://www.spotimage.fr/web/en/977--formosat-2-images.php) for crop monitoring at regional scale. The monitoring of agricultural practices such as grassland mowing and irrigation is essential to simulate accurately all processes related to crop system. This information is needed for example in crop simulation models to estimate production, water and fertilizer consumption and can thus serve to better understand the interactions between agriculture and climate. The analysis of these interactions is especially important in Mediterranean region where the effects of climate changes and crop management modifications are increasingly marked. In this context, an experiment was conducted in 2006 in Crau region in the South-Eastern France. In this area, permanent grassland represents 67 % of the usable agricultural area, and it is often used with irrigation (47 % of the permanent grassland). A time series of 36 FORMOSAT-2 images was acquired with a three days frequency from March to October 2006. Information concerning grassland mowing and irrigation was collected through a survey over 120 fields. The high FORMOSAT-2 revisit frequency allowed replicating the dynamics of Leaf Area index (LAI), and detecting to some extents cultural practices like vegetation cut. Simple automatic algorithms were developed to obtain daily values of LAI for each grasslands field linked with the main agricultural practices performed (cut and irrigation dates). This information was then used in a crop model called STICS (http://147.100.66.194/stics/) to estimate the spatial variability of evapotranspiration and drainage associated with the aerial biomass productions. Comparisons between simulated and observed yields gave satisfactory results. The great spatial variations of evapotranspiration were strongly related to the crop and water management. Such

  5. Quantifying nitrous oxide emissions from Chinese grasslands with a process-based model

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    F. Zhang

    2010-06-01

    Full Text Available As one of the largest land cover types, grassland can potentially play an important role in the ecosystem services of natural resources in China. Nitrous oxide (N2O is a major greenhouse gas emitted from grasslands. Current N2O inventory at a regional or national level in China relies on the emission factor method, which is based on limited measurements. To improve the accuracy of the inventory by capturing the spatial variability of N2O emissions under the diverse climate, soil and management conditions across China, we adopted an approach by utilizing a process-based biogeochemical model, DeNitrification-DeComposition (DNDC, to quantify N2O emissions from Chinese grasslands. In the present study, DNDC was tested against datasets of N2O fluxes measured at eight grassland sites in China with encouraging results. The validated DNDC was then linked to a GIS database holding spatially differentiated information of climate, soil, vegetation and management at county-level for all the grasslands in the country. Daily weather data for 2000–2007 from 670 meteorological stations across the entire domain were employed to serve the simulations. The modelled results on a national scale showed a clear geographic pattern of N2O emissions. A high-emission strip showed up stretching from northeast to central China, which is consistent with the eastern boundary between the temperate grassland region and the major agricultural regions of China. The grasslands in the western mountain regions, however, emitted much less N2O. The regionally averaged rates of N2O emissions were 0.26, 0.14 and 0.38 kg nitrogen (N ha−1 y−1 for the temperate, montane and tropical/subtropical grasslands, respectively. The annual mean N2O emission from the total 337 million ha of grasslands in China was 76.5 ± 12.8 Gg N for the simulated years.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. No Significant Changes in Topsoil Carbon in the Grasslands of Northern China Between the 1980s and 2000s

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, S.; Yang, Y.; Shen, H.; Hu, H.; Zhao, X.; Li, H.; Liu, T.; Fang, J.

    2017-12-01

    The grasslands of northern China store a large amount of soil organic carbon (SOC), and the small changes in SOC stock could significantly affect the regional C cycle. However, recent estimates of SOC changes in this region are highly controversial. In this study, we examined and mapped the changes in the SOC density (SOCD) in the upper 30 cm of the grasslands of northern China between the 1980s and 2000s, using an improved approach that integrates field-based measurements into machine learning algorithms (artificial neural network and random forest). The random forest-generated SOCD averaged 5.55 kg C m-2 in the 1980s and 5.53 kg C m-2 in the 2000s. The change ranged between -0.17 and 0.22 kg C m-2 at the 95% confidence level, suggesting that the overall SOCD did not change significantly during the study period. However, the change in SOCD exhibited large regional variability. The topsoil of the Inner Mongolian grasslands experienced a significant C loss (4.86 vs. 4.33 kg C m-2), whereas that of the Xinjiang grasslands exhibited an accumulation of C (5.55 vs. 6.46 kg C m-2). In addition, the topsoil C in the Tibetan alpine grasslands remained relatively stable (6.12 vs. 6.06 kg C m-2). A comparison of different grassland types indicated that SOCD exhibited significant decreases in typical steppe, whereas showed increases in mountain meadow, and were stable in the remaining grasslands (alpine meadow, alpine steppe, mountain steppe and desert steppe). Climate variables were shown to be the main determines of the change of SOCD. Increases in precipitation could lead to SOC increase in temperate grasslands and SOC loss in alpine grasslands, while climate warming is likely to cause SOC loss in temperate grasslands. Overall, our study shows that northern grasslands in China remained a neutral SOC sink between the 1980s and 2000s.

  10. Evaporation from Pinus caribaea plantations on former grassland soils under maritime tropical conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Waterloo, M. J.; Bruijnzeel, L. A.; Vugts, H. F.; Rawaqa, T. T.

    1999-07-01

    Wet canopy and dry canopy evaporation from young and mature plantations of Pinus caribaea on former grassland soils under maritime tropical conditions in southwestern Viti Levu, Fiji, were determined using micrometeorological and hydrological techniques. Modeled annual evaporation totals (ET) of 1926 and 1717 mm were derived for the 6- and the 15-year-old stands, respectively. Transpiration made up 72% and 70% of annual ET, and modeled rainfall interception by the trees and litter layer was 20-22% and 8-9% in the young and the mature stands respectively. Monthly ET was related to forest leaf area index and was much higher than that for the kind of tall fire-climax Pennisetum polystachyon grassland replaced by the forests. Grassland reforestation resulted in a maximum decrease in annual water yield of 1180 mm on a plot basis, although it is argued that a reduction of (at least) 500-700 mm would be more realistic at the catchment scale. The impact of reforesting grassland on the water resources in southwest Viti Levu is enhanced by its location in a maritime, seasonal climate in the outer tropics, which favors a larger difference between annual forest and grassland evaporation totals than do equatorial regions.

  11. 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.

  12. FLORISTIC CHANGES ALONG THE TOPOGRAPHICAL GRADIENT IN MONTANE GRASSLANDS IN MONTI PICENTINI (CAMPANIA, SW ITALY

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. CUTINI

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Populations of xerotolerant species (Achnatherum calamagrostis, Stipa crassiculmis subsp. picentina, are scattered along a wide altitudinal gradient on slopes at mid- and high elevation in Monti Picentini, a subcoastal mesozoic limestone ridge in Tyrrhenian Southern Italy. Their stands are widespread in grasslands of mostly secondary origin. At lower altitudes these grasslands replace former deciduous forest communities dominated by oaks or beech, while at higher altitudes they reach the summits, where they apparently merge into the remnants of the still partially grazed, zonal climatogenic, grasslands ranging above the local tree-line. Nevertheless primary stands of these grasslands are to be found around the many clusters of highly dynamic sites of the montane and sub-alpine levels, scattered around screes and rocky outcrops of the prevalently dolomitic morphology of the slopes. This virtual continuity of non arboreal communities across more than 1000 metres of the local topographical gradient, where azonal, relic stands of Pinus nigra s.l. are transitional between the grasslands and the surrounding zonal broadleaved forest vegetation, stresses patterns of the coenological changes between Festuco-Brometea and Elyno-Seslerietea along the catena, which suggest fragmentary persistence of a paleozonation.

  13. FLORISTIC CHANGES ALONG THE TOPOGRAPHICAL GRADIENT IN MONTANE GRASSLANDS IN MONTI PICENTINI (CAMPANIA, SW ITALY

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    F. SPADA

    2010-04-01

    Full Text Available Populations of xerotolerant species (Achnatherum calamagrostis, Stipa crassiculmis subsp. picentina, are scattered along a wide altitudinal gradient on slopes at mid- and high elevation in Monti Picentini, a subcoastal mesozoic limestone ridge in Tyrrhenian Southern Italy. Their stands are widespread in grasslands of mostly secondary origin. At lower altitudes these grasslands replace former deciduous forest communities dominated by oaks or beech, while at higher altitudes they reach the summits, where they apparently merge into the remnants of the still partially grazed, zonal climatogenic, grasslands ranging above the local tree-line. Nevertheless primary stands of these grasslands are to be found around the many clusters of highly dynamic sites of the montane and sub-alpine levels, scattered around screes and rocky outcrops of the prevalently dolomitic morphology of the slopes. This virtual continuity of non arboreal communities across more than 1000 metres of the local topographical gradient, where azonal, relic stands of Pinus nigra s.l. are transitional between the grasslands and the surrounding zonal broadleaved forest vegetation, stresses patterns of the coenological changes between Festuco-Brometea and Elyno-Seslerietea along the catena, which suggest fragmentary persistence of a paleozonation.

  14. Breeding Biology of Grassland Birds in Western New York: Conservation and Management Implications

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christopher J. Norment

    2010-12-01

    Full Text Available Declining grassland breeding bird populations have led to increased efforts to assess habitat quality, typically by estimating density or relative abundance. Because some grassland habitats may function as ecological traps, a more appropriate metric for determining quality may be breeding success. Between 1994 and 2003 we gathered data on the nest fates of Eastern Meadowlarks (Sturnella magna, Bobolinks (Dolichonyx oryzivorous, and Savannah Sparrows (Passerculus sandwichensis in a series of fallow fields and pastures/hayfields in western New York State. We calculated daily survival probabilities using the Mayfield method, and used the logistic-exposure method to model effects of predictor variables on nest success. Nest survival probabilities were 0.464 for Eastern Meadowlarks (n = 26, 0.483 for Bobolinks (n = 91, and 0.585 for Savannah Sparrows (n = 152. Fledge dates for first clutches ranged between 14 June and 23 July. Only one obligate grassland bird nest was parasitized by Brown-headed Cowbirds (Molothrus ater, for an overall brood parasitism rate of 0.004. Logistic-exposure models indicated that daily nest survival probabilities were higher in pastures/hayfields than in fallow fields. Our results, and those from other studies in the Northeast, suggest that properly managed cool season grassland habitats in the region may not act as ecological traps, and that obligate grassland birds in the region may have greater nest survival probabilities, and lower rates of Brown-headed Cowbird parasitism, than in many parts of the Midwest.

  15. 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.

  16. Shift in soil microbial communities with shrub encroachment in Inner Mongolia grasslands, China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shen, H.; Li, H.; Zhang, J.; Hu, H.; Chen, L.; Zhu, Y.; Fang, J.

    2017-12-01

    The ongoing expansion of shrub encroachment into grasslands represents a unique form of land cover change. How this process affects soil microbial communities is poorly understood. In this study, we aim to assess the effects of shrub encroachment on soil microbial biomass, abundance and composition by comparing data between shrub patches and neighboring herb patches in shrub-encroached grasslands (SEGs) in Inner Mongolia, China. Fourteen SEG sites from two ecosystem types (typical and desert grasslands) were investigated. The phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) method was used to analyze the composition and biomass of the soil microbial community. Our results showed that the top-soil microbial biomass and abundances of gram-negative bacteria, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, and actinomycetes were significantly higher in shrub patches than in herb patches in both typical and desert grasslands (P fungi to bacteria ratio was significantly higher in shrub patches than in herb patches in desert grassland (P soil microbial communities, which makes the microbial communities toward a fresh organic carbon-based structure. This study highlights the importance of edaphic and climate factors in microbial community shifts in SEGs.

  17. 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.

  18. Floristic composition, environmental variation and species distribution patterns in burned grassland in southern Brazil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Overbeck, G E; Müller, S C; Pillar, V D; Pfadenhauer, J

    2006-11-01

    In regularly burned grassland on Morro Santana, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil, we investigated differences in the floristic composition and their relation to soil properties, aspect and distance from the forest border. In 48 plots of 0.75 m2, we identified a total of 201 species from a local species pool of approximately 450 to 500 species. Most species occurred in low frequencies, showing clumpy distribution patterns in the studied area. Multivariate analysis showed that plots close to the forest edge clearly differed from plots in the open grassland concerning composition and structure. Plots exposed to the north differed from plots on the top of the hill both in the composition of species as well as in soil variables, mainly due to shallower soil in the former. No strong relation between soil properties and variation in vegetation composition could be detected at a finer scale. The studied grassland, as all grassland vegetation in southern Brazil, is very rich in species compared to other grassland formations worldwide. However, this high biodiversity and conservational value of Campos vegetation in general has so far not been recognized properly. Disturbance is essential to maintain this open vegetation type and its species richness. Fire should be considered as a management option in the absence of grazing.

  19. Habitat fragmentation effects on birds in grasslands and wetlands: A critique of our knowledge

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, D.H.

    2001-01-01

    Habitat fragmentation exacerbates the problem of habitat loss for grassland and wetland birds. Remaining patches of grasslands and wetlands may be too small, too isolated, and too influenced by edge effects to maintain viable populations of some breeding birds. Knowledge of the effects of fragmentation on bird populations is critically important for decisions about reserve design, grassland and wetland management, and implementation of cropland set-aside programs that benefit wildlife. In my review of research that has been conducted on habitat fragmentation, I found at least five common problems in the methodology used. The results of many studies are compromised by these problems: passive sampling (sampling larger areas in larger patches), confounding effects of habitat heterogeneity, consequences of inappropriate pooling of data from different species, artifacts associated with artificial nest data, and definition of actual habitat patches. As expected, some large-bodied birds with large territorial requirements, such as the northern harrier (Circus cyaneus), appear area sensitive. In addition, some small species of grassland birds favor patches of habitat far in excess of their territory size, including the Savannah (Passerculus sandwichensis), grasshopper (Ammodramus savannarum) and Henslow's (A. henslowii) sparrows, and the bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus). Other species may be area sensitive as well, but the data are ambiguous. Area sensitivity among wetland birds remains unknown since virtually no studies have been based on solid methodologies. We need further research on grassland bird response to habitat that distinguishes supportable conclusions from those that may be artifactual.

  20. 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.

  1. Association of wintering raptors with Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program grasslands in Pennsylvania

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, A.; Brittingham, M.; Grove, G.

    2010-01-01

    Conservation grasslands can provide valuable habitat resource for breeding songbirds, but their value for wintering raptors has received little attention. We hypothesized that increased availability of grassland habitat through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) has resulted in an increase or redistribution in numbers of four species of raptors in Pennsylvania since 2001. We tested this by analyzing winter raptor counts from volunteer surveys, conducted from 2001 to 2008, for Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis), Rough-legged Hawks (Buteo lagopus), Northern Harriers (Circus cyaneus), and American Kestrels (Falco sparverius). During that period, numbers of wintering Northern Harriers increased by more than 20% per year. Log-linear Poisson regression models show that all four species increased in the region of Pennsylvania that had the most and longest-established conservation grasslands. At the county scale (N= 67), Bayesian spatial models showed that spatial and temporal population trends of all four species were positively correlated with the amount of conservation grassland. This relationship was particularly strong for Northern Harriers, with numbers predicted to increase by 35.7% per year for each additional 1% of farmland enrolled in CREP. Our results suggest that conservation grasslands are likely the primary cause of the increase in numbers of wintering Northern Harriers in Pennsylvania since 2001. ?? 2010 The Authors. Journal of Field Ornithology ?? 2010 Association of Field Ornithologists.

  2. Assessment of Grassland Health Based on Spatial Information Technology in Changji Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang

    Science.gov (United States)

    Du, M. J.; Zheng, J. H.; Mu, C.

    2018-04-01

    Based on the "pressure-state-response" (PSR) model, comprehensively applied GIS and RS techniques, 20 evaluation indicators were selected based on pressure, state and response, the entropy weight method was used to determine the weight of each index and build a grassland health evaluation system in Changji Prefecture, Xinjiang. Based on this, evaluation and dynamic analysis of grassland health in Changji Prefecture from 2000 to 2016, using GIS/RS technology, the trend of grassland health status in Changji is analyzed and studied. The results show that: 1) Grassland with low health leveld, lower health level, sub-health level, health level and high health level accounts for 1.46 %,27.67 %,38.35 %,29.21 % and 3.31 % of the total area of Changji. Qitai County, Hutubi County, and Manas County are lower health levels, Jimsar County, Changji City, and Mulei County are at a relatively high level, and Fukang City has a healthy level of health. 2) The level of grassland health in Changji County decreased slightly during the 17 years, accounting for 38.42 % of the total area. The area of 23,87 % showed a stable trend, and the improved area accounted for 37.31 % of the vertical surface area.

  3. Non-destructive soil amendment application techniques on heavy metal-contaminated grassland: Success and long-term immobilising efficiency.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Friesl-Hanl, Wolfgang; Platzer, Klaus; Riesing, Johann; Horak, Othmar; Waldner, Georg; Watzinger, Andrea; Gerzabek, Martin H

    2017-01-15

    Extensive contamination of grassland with cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb) and zinc (Zn) is a typical problem close to Pb/Zn smelter sites. The entry of Cd or Pb into the food chain is very likely, as are toxicity effects of Zn in plants. Previous promising results from pot and field experiments showed the high potential of using amendments for immobilisation to reduce metal input into the food chain via crops grown on smelter-contaminated soils at Arnoldstein (Austria) (Friesl et al., 2006). The aim of this study was to find a practical solution for large-scale contaminations in hilly regions that avoids erosion. Field application of amendments without destroying the vegetation cover (grassland) involved two approaches: (a) slurrying (Slu) the amendments into cut gaps in the vegetation cover and (b) injecting (Inj) the amendments through the vegetation cover. Here, we investigate the immobilising and long-term efficiency of treatments [gravel sludge (2.5%) + red mud (0.5%) (GS + RM)]. Risk assessment was based on soil, plant and water samples taken over a period of 10 years. Ammonium-nitrate-extractable Cd was reduced up to 50%, Pb up to 90%, and Zn over 90%. Plant uptake into the grass mixture and narrow leaf plantain was significantly reduced for Cd, Pb, and Zn. Harvesting early in vegetation period can further reduce uptake and meet the threshold for fodder crops. The reduction of these elements in the seepage water in 24 samplings within these 10 years reached 40%, 45% and 50%, respectively. Immobilisation increased microbial biomass and decreased human bioaccessibility for Pb. Our investigation of the long-term efficiency of GS + RM in all treatments shows that the Slu and Inj amendment application techniques have promising potential as a realistic and practical method for extensively contaminated hilly land. Slurrying performed best. We conclude that grassland remediation methods involving tillage are counterproductive from the viewpoint of bioaccessibility

  4. Molecular Investigation of the Short-term Sequestration of Natural Abundance 13C -labelled Cow Dung in the Surface Horizons of a Temperate Grassland Soil

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dungait, J.; Bol, R.; Evershed, R. P.

    2004-12-01

    An adequate understanding of the carbon (C) sequestration potential of grasslands requires that the quantity and residence times of C inputs be measured. Herbivore dung is largely comprised of plant cell wall material, a significant source of stable C in intensively grazed temperate grassland ecosystems that contributes to the soil carbon budget. Our work uses compound-specific isotope analysis to identify the pattern of input of dung-derived compounds from natural abundance 13C/-labelled cow dung into the surface horizons of a temperate grassland soil over one year. C4 dung (δ 13C \\-12.6 ‰ ) from maize fed cows was applied to a temperate grassland surface (δ 13C \\-29.95 ‰ ) at IGER-North Wyke (Devon, UK), and dung remains and soil cores beneath the treatments collected at ŧ = 7, 14, 28, 56, 112, 224 and 372 days. Bulk dung carbon present in the 0\\-1 cm and 1\\-5 cm surface horizons of a grassland soil over one year was estimated using Δ 13C between C4 dung and C3 dung, after Bol {\\et al.} (2000). The major biochemical components of dung were quantified using proximate forage fibre analyses, after Goering and Van Soest (1970) and identified using `wet' chemical and GC-MS methods. Plant cell wall polysaccharides and lignin were found to account for up to 67 {%} of dung dry matter. Hydrolysed polysaccharides were prepared as alditol acetates for analyses (after Docherty {\\et al.}, 2001), and a novel application of an off-line pyrolysis method applied to measure lignin-derived phenolic compounds (after Poole & van Bergen, 2002). This paper focuses on major events in the incorporation of dung carbon, estimated using natural abundance 13C&-slash;labelling technique. This revealed a major bulk input of dung carbon after a period of significant rainfall with a consequent decline in bulk soil δ 13C values until the end of the experiment (Dungait {\\et al.}, submitted). Findings will be presented revealing contribution of plant cell wall polysaccharides and

  5. Changes of agrochemical properties of cambisol under grassland after abandonment

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ján Jančovič

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available On the grassland (association Lolio-Cynosuretum cristati R. 1937 with brown acidic soil (cambisol the basic agrochemical properties (pH, Cox, Nt, P, K was studied during the years 1986–2006. Various systems of management (fertilizing + cutting, liming, no management had different influences to the cambisol qualities, but had not so significant effect. The pH of the soil decreased after application of mineral fertilization and also in the period without anthropogenic interference. The balanced content of oxidizable carbon (Cox preserved during the experimental period. The total nitrogen content (Nt increased in the period of fertilization and the aftermath of fertilization. The content of phosphorus (P decreased significantly in the years of fertilization and this trend continued after the absence of fertilization too. The content of potassium (K decreased in the period of fertilization, except for a variant with PK nutrition. The content of potassium (K increased on the all variants in both sampling depths of almost 1.5-fold after a period without management. We found a significant effect of year and depth of soil sampling for most of soil parameters. Variants had not significant impact on all evaluated soil characteristics. Between the years there was relatively great variability at the available nutrients values (8–75 %. The available phosphorus had greatest variability (19–96 % and also potassium (18–82 %. Medium till small variability was characteristic for pH (9–14 %, Cox (17–19 % and Nt (8–16 %. The results are indicating that changes of management systems mean not automatically changes of soil features.

  6. Effects of wind-energy facilities on grassland bird distributions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shaffer, Jill A.; Buhl, Deb

    2016-01-01

    The contribution of renewable energy to meet worldwide demand continues to grow. Wind energy is one of the fastest growing renewable sectors, but new wind facilities are often placed in prime wildlife habitat. Long-term studies that incorporate a rigorous statistical design to evaluate the effects of wind facilities on wildlife are rare. We conducted a before-after-control-impact (BACI) assessment to determine if wind facilities placed in native mixed-grass prairies displaced breeding grassland birds. During 2003–2012, we monitored changes in bird density in 3 study areas in North Dakota and South Dakota (U.S.A.). We examined whether displacement or attraction occurred 1 year after construction (immediate effect) and the average displacement or attraction 2–5 years after construction (delayed effect). We tested for these effects overall and within distance bands of 100, 200, 300, and >300 m from turbines. We observed displacement for 7 of 9 species. One species was unaffected by wind facilities and one species exhibited attraction. Displacement and attraction generally occurred within 100 m and often extended up to 300 m. In a few instances, displacement extended beyond 300 m. Displacement and attraction occurred 1 year after construction and persisted at least 5 years. Our research provides a framework for applying a BACI design to displacement studies and highlights the erroneous conclusions that can be made without the benefit of adopting such a design. More broadly, species-specific behaviors can be used to inform management decisions about turbine placement and the potential impact to individual species. Additionally, the avoidance distance metrics we estimated can facilitate future development of models evaluating impacts of wind facilities under differing land-use scenarios.

  7. 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

  8. Burkholderia megalochromosomata sp. nov., isolated from grassland soil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baek, Inwoo; Seo, Boram; Lee, Imchang; Lee, Kihyun; Park, Sang-Cheol; Yi, Hana; Chun, Jongsik

    2015-03-01

    A Gram-stain negative, rod-shaped, non-spore-forming, obligate aerobic bacterial strain, JC2949(T), was isolated from grassland soil in Gwanak Mountain, Seoul, Republic of Korea. Phylogenetic analysis, based on 16S rRNA sequences, indicated that strain JC2949(T) belongs to the genus Burkholderia, showing highest sequence similarities with Burkholderia grimmiae R27(T) (98.8 %), Burkholderia cordobensis LMG 27620(T) (98.6 %), Burkholderia jiangsuensis MP-1T(T) (98.6 %), Burkholderia zhejiangensis OP-1(T) (98.5 %), Burkholderia humi LMG 22934(T) (97.5 %), Burkholderia terrestris LMG 22937(T) (97.3 %), Burkholderia telluris LMG 22936(T) (97.2 %) and Burkholderia glathei ATCC 29195(T) (97.0 %). The major fatty acids of strain JC2949(T) were C18 : 1ω7c, summed feature 3 (C16 : 1ω7c and/or C16 : 1ω6c) and C16 : 0. Its predominant polar lipids were phosphatidylethanolamine, diphosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylglycerol and an unknown amino phospholipid. The dominant isoprenoid quinone was ubiquinone Q-8. The pairwise average nucleotide identity values between strain JC2949(T) and the genomes of 30 other species of the genus Burkholderia ranged from 73.4-90.4 %, indicating that the isolate is a novel genomic species within this genus. Based on phenotypic and chemotaxonomic comparisons, it is clear that strain JC2949(T) represents a novel species of the genus Burkholderia. We propose the name for this novel species to be Burkholderia megalochromosomata sp. nov. The type strain is JC2949(T) ( = KACC 17925(T) = JCM 19905(T)). © 2015 IUMS.

  9. 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

  10. Effect of climate change on halophytic grasslands loss and its impact in the viability of Gopherus flavomarginatus

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jorge Luis Becerra-López

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available The decrease of the habitat is one of the main factors that affect the survival of G. flavomarginatus. This study assesses the halophytic grasslands loss over a period of 30 years in the distribution area of the Bolson tortoise and the effects of climate change on the habitat suitability of these grasslands and its possible impact on this tortoise. Grassland loss was assessed by an analysis of symmetric differences and the habitat suitability model was carried out by the method of overlapping layers raster. Our results showed a grassland loss of 63.7%; however, our current habitat suitability model points out that much of the grassland loss has occurred where the environmental conditions are suitable. These results suggest that anthropic activity is a main factor in the habitat disturbance in the study area. Likewise, the models for years 2050 and 2070 under the criteria RCP 2.6, RCP 4.5, RCP 6.0, suggest that anthropic activity will continue be the main cause of the grassland loss. Therefore, considering the association between the Bolson tortoise and grassland halophyte Hilaria mutica, which comprises around 60% of its diet, the viability of the Bolson tortoise depends largely on strategies aimed at protecting the soil that allow the presence of this grassland.

  11. The false promises of coal exploitation: How mining affects herdsmen well-being in the grassland ecosystems of Inner Mongolia

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dai, G.S.; Ulgiati, S.; Zhang, Y.S.; Yu, B.H.; Kang, M.Y.; Jin, Y.; Dong, X.B.; Zhang, X.S.

    2014-01-01

    The grasslands of Inner Mongolia are not only the source of the necessary resources for the survival and development of herdsmen, but also represent a significant green ecological barrier in North China. Coal-mining production is important in maintaining GDP growth in Inner Mongolia. However, over-exploitation has created serious problems, such as pollution of the environment and significant decreases in grassland ecosystem services, in addition to impacting the well-being of herdsmen and other humans. Based on questionnaires survey performed among 864 herdsmen addressing the relationship between coal exploitation in grasslands and human well-being in Xilinguole League in Inner Mongolia, we found that (1) coal resource exploitation in these grasslands does not benefit the herdsmen by increasing their income; (2) the rapid development of this resource has not obviously materially improved the life of the herdsmen; and (3) these activities have increased the risks that herdsman will have to endure in the future. Overall, coal resource exploitation in grasslands has more negative than positive effects on the well-being of herdsmen. We propose the conservation of coal resources and improvement of ecological compensation should be carried out without blindly pursuing economic growth, instead of focusing on economic development and structural adjustments. - Highlights: • Evaluation of the human well-being of the Xilinguole grassland, Inner Mongolia, China. • Impact of mining affects herdsmen well-being in grassland ecosystem. • Quantity of questionnaires survey. • Addressing the relationship between coal exploitation in grasslands and human well-being

  12. 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

  13. Evaluating effects of habitat loss and land-use continuity on ant species richness in seminatural grassland remnants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dauber, Jens; Bengtsson, Jan; Lenoir, Lisette

    2006-08-01

    Seminatural grasslands in Europe are susceptible to habitat destruction and fragmentation that result in negative effects on biodiversity because of increased isolation and area effects on extinction rate. However even small habitatpatches of seminatural grasslands might be of value for conservation and restoration of species richness in a landscape with a long history of management, which has been argued to lead to high species richness. We tested whether ant communities have been negatively affected by habitat loss and increased isolation of seminatural grasslands during the twentieth century. We examined species richness and community composition in seminatural grasslands of different size in a mosaic landscape in Central Sweden. Grasslands managed continuously over centuries harbored species-rich and ecologically diverse ant communities. Grassland remnant size had no effect on ant species richness. Small grassland remnants did not harbor a nested subset of the ant species of larger habitats. Community composition of ants was mainly affected by habitat conditions. Our results suggest that the abandonment of traditional land use and the encroachment of trees, rather than the effects of fragmentation, are important for species composition in seminatural grasslands. Our results highlight the importance of considering land-use continuity and dispersal ability of thefocal organisms when examining the effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on biodiversity. Landscape history should be considered in conservation programs focusing on effects of land-use change.

  14. Effects of erosion from mounds of different termite genera on distinct functional grassland types in an African savannah

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Gosling, Cleo M.; Cromsigt, Joris P. G. M.; Mpanza, Nokukhanya; Olff, Han

    A key aspect of savannah vegetation heterogeneity is mosaics formed by two functional grassland types, bunch grasslands, and grazing lawns. We investigated the role of termites, important ecosystem engineers, in creating high-nutrient patches in the form of grazing lawns. Some of the ways termites

  15. Mapping grassland productivity with 250-m eMODIS NDVI and SSURGO database over the Greater Platte River Basin, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gu, Yingxin; Wylie, Bruce K.; Bliss, Norman B.

    2013-01-01

    This study assessed and described a relationship between satellite-derived growing season averaged Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and annual productivity for grasslands within the Greater Platte River Basin (GPRB) of the United States. We compared growing season averaged NDVI (GSN) with Soil Survey Geographic (SSURGO) database rangeland productivity and flux tower Gross Primary Productivity (GPP) for grassland areas. The GSN was calculated for each of nine years (2000–2008) using the 7-day composite 250-m eMODIS (expedited Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) NDVI data. Strong correlations exist between the nine-year mean GSN (MGSN) and SSURGO annual productivity for grasslands (R2 = 0.74 for approximately 8000 pixels randomly selected from eight homogeneous regions within the GPRB; R2 = 0.96 for the 14 cluster-averaged points). Results also reveal a strong correlation between GSN and flux tower growing season averaged GPP (R2 = 0.71). Finally, we developed an empirical equation to estimate grassland productivity based on the MGSN. Spatially explicit estimates of grassland productivity over the GPRB were generated, which improved the regional consistency of SSURGO grassland productivity data and can help scientists and land managers to better understand the actual biophysical and ecological characteristics of grassland systems in the GPRB. This final estimated grassland production map can also be used as an input for biogeochemical, ecological, and climate change models.

  16. Total soil C and N sequestration in a grassland following 10 years of free air CO2 enrichment

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kessel, van C.; Boots, B.; Graaff, de M.A.; Harris, D.; Blum, H.; Six, J.

    2006-01-01

    Soil C sequestration may mitigate rising levels of atmospheric CO2. However, it has yet to be determined whether net soil C sequestration occurs in N-rich grasslands exposed to long-term elevated CO2. This study examined whether N-fertilized grasslands exposed to elevated CO2 sequestered additional

  17. Base cation depletion, eutrophication and acidification of species-rich grasslands in response to long-term simulated nitrogen deposition

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Horswill, Paul [Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Alfred Denny Building, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN (United Kingdom)], E-mail: paul.horswill@naturalengland.org.uk; O' Sullivan, Odhran; Phoenix, Gareth K.; Lee, John A.; Leake, Jonathan R. [Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Alfred Denny Building, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN (United Kingdom)

    2008-09-15

    Pollutant nitrogen deposition effects on soil and foliar element concentrations were investigated in acidic and limestone grasslands, located in one of the most nitrogen and acid rain polluted regions of the UK, using plots treated for 8-10 years with 35-140 kg N ha{sup -2} y{sup -1} as NH{sub 4}NO{sub 3}. Historic data suggests both grasslands have acidified over the past 50 years. Nitrogen deposition treatments caused the grassland soils to lose 23-35% of their total available bases (Ca, Mg, K, and Na) and they became acidified by 0.2-0.4 pH units. Aluminium, iron and manganese were mobilised and taken up by limestone grassland forbs and were translocated down the acid grassland soil. Mineral nitrogen availability increased in both grasslands and many species showed foliar N enrichment. This study provides the first definitive evidence that nitrogen deposition depletes base cations from grassland soils. The resulting acidification, metal mobilisation and eutrophication are implicated in driving floristic changes. - Nitrogen deposition causes base cation depletion, acidification and eutrophication of semi-natural grassland soils.

  18. Using the theory of planned behavior to identify key beliefs underlying Brazilian cattle farmers' intention to use improved natural grassland

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Rossi Borges, Joao; Tauer, Loren Willian; Oude Lansink, Alfons

    2016-01-01

    In biome Pampa, Brazil, cattle farmers have managed the natural grasslands using practices that result in overgrazing, low productivity and low farm income. In addition, farmers in the region converted natural grasslands from beef production to more profitable activities, such as cash crops. This

  19. Application of satellite remote sensing for mapping wind erosion risk and dusk emission-deposition in Inner Mongolia grassland, China

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Reiche, M.; Funk, R.; Zhang, Z.; Hoffmann, C.; Reiche, J.; Wehrhan, M.; Li, Y.; Sommer, M.

    2012-01-01

    Intensive grazing leads to land degradation and desertification of grassland ecosystems followed by serious environmental and social problems. The Xilingol steppe grassland in Inner Mongolia, China, which has been a sink area for dust for centuries, is strongly affected by the negative effects of

  20. Fate of semi-natural grassland in England between 1960 and 2013: A test of national conservation policy

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lucy E. Ridding

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available It is well documented that significant losses in semi-natural grassland occurred across Europe during the second half of the twentieth century. However, comparatively few studies have investigated and quantified the fate of large numbers of individual grassland areas. This is important for understanding the causes of decline, and consequently establishing new policies to conserve and restore lost habitats. This study addresses this problem; GIS was used to compare historic survey data collected between 1960 and 1981 with two contemporary spatial datasets of habitats in England. The datasets included the Priority Habitats Inventory 2013 and the Land Cover Map 2007 and this was undertaken for different types of semi-natural grassland across England. Considerable decreases occurred across the different grassland types, with a loss of 47% of studied semi-natural grasslands sites in England over 32–53 years. Of this, the majority of grassland was lost to conversion to agriculturally-improved grassland or arable cultivation, 45% and 43% respectively. Changes to woodland and urban areas were also evident, but on a much smaller scale. Sites receiving statutory protection as a Site of Special Scientific Interest were found to have retained more grassland (91%, compared with non-protected sites (27%, thus highlighting the effectiveness of this aspect of current conservation policy in England, and the need for this to continue in the future.

  1. Faunal isotope records reveal trophic and nutrient dynamics in twentieth century Yellowstone grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fox-Dobbs, Kena; Nelson, Abigail A; Koch, Paul L; Leonard, Jennifer A

    2012-10-23

    Population sizes and movement patterns of ungulate grazers and their predators have fluctuated dramatically over the past few centuries, largely owing to overharvesting, land-use change and historic management. We used δ(13)C and δ(15)N values measured from bone collagen of historic and recent gray wolves and their potential primary prey from Yellowstone National Park to gain insight into the trophic dynamics and nutrient conditions of historic and modern grasslands. The diet of reintroduced wolves closely parallels that of the historic population. We suggest that a significant shift in faunal δ(15)N values over the past century reflects impacts of anthropogenic environmental changes on grassland ecosystems, including grazer-mediated shifts in grassland nitrogen cycle processes.

  2. Conservation Reserve Program mitigates grassland loss in the lesser prairie-chicken range of Kansas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haukos, David A.; Spencer, David; Hagen, Christian A.; Daniels, Melinda D.; Goodin, Doug

    2017-01-01

    Since the beginning of the 20th century, the overall occupied range of the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) has declined by 84% commensurate with population trends. Much of this decline has been attributed to the loss and fragmentation of native grasslands throughout the lesser prairie-chicken range. However, quantification of changes in land cover in the distribution of the lesser prairie-chicken is lacking. Our objectives were to (1) document changes in the areal extent and connectivity of grasslands in the identified lesser prairie-chicken range in Kansas, USA, (>60% of extant lesser prairie-chicken population) from the 1950s to 2013 using remotely sensed data and (2) assess the potential of the Conservation Reserve Program (U.S. Department of Agriculture Program converting cropland to permanent cover; CRP) to mitigate grassland loss. Digital land cover maps were generated on a decadal time step through spectral classification of LANDSAT images and visual analysis of aerial photographs (1950s and 1960s). Landscape composition and configuration were assessed using FRAGSTATS to compute a variety of landscape metrics measuring changes in the amount of grassland present as well as changes in the size and configuration of grassland patches. With the exception of a single regional portion of the range, nearly all of the grassland converted to cropland in the lesser prairie-chicken range of Kansas occurred prior to the 1950s. Prior to the implementation of CRP, the amount of grassland decreased 3.6% between the 1950s and 1985 from 18,455 km2 to 17,788 km2. Since 1985, the overall amount of grassland in the lesser prairie-chicken range has increased 11.9% to 19,898 km2 due to implementation of CRP, although the area of grassland decreased between 1994 and 2013 as CRP contracts were not renewed by landowners. Since 1986 grassland in Kansas became more connected and less fragmented in response to the CRP. While the CRP has been successful in

  3. Conservation Reserve Program mitigates grassland loss in the lesser prairie-chicken range of Kansas

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David Spencer

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Since the beginning of the 20th century, the overall occupied range of the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus has declined by 84% commensurate with population trends. Much of this decline has been attributed to the loss and fragmentation of native grasslands throughout the lesser prairie-chicken range. However, quantification of changes in land cover in the distribution of the lesser prairie-chicken is lacking. Our objectives were to (1 document changes in the areal extent and connectivity of grasslands in the identified lesser prairie-chicken range in Kansas, USA, (>60% of extant lesser prairie-chicken population from the 1950s to 2013 using remotely sensed data and (2 assess the potential of the Conservation Reserve Program (U.S. Department of Agriculture Program converting cropland to permanent cover; CRP to mitigate grassland loss. Digital land cover maps were generated on a decadal time step through spectral classification of LANDSAT images and visual analysis of aerial photographs (1950s and 1960s. Landscape composition and configuration were assessed using FRAGSTATS to compute a variety of landscape metrics measuring changes in the amount of grassland present as well as changes in the size and configuration of grassland patches. With the exception of a single regional portion of the range, nearly all of the grassland converted to cropland in the lesser prairie-chicken range of Kansas occurred prior to the 1950s. Prior to the implementation of CRP, the amount of grassland decreased 3.6% between the 1950s and 1985 from 18,455 km2 to 17,788 km2. Since 1985, the overall amount of grassland in the lesser prairie-chicken range has increased 11.9% to 19,898 km2 due to implementation of CRP, although the area of grassland decreased between 1994 and 2013 as CRP contracts were not renewed by landowners. Since 1986 grassland in Kansas became more connected and less fragmented in response to the CRP. While the CRP has been successful

  4. The impact of black wattle encroachment of indigenous grasslands on soil carbon, Eastern Cape, South Africa

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Oelofse, Myles; Birch-Thomsen, Torben; Magid, Jakob

    2016-01-01

    adverse environmental impacts in South Africa. Little is known about the effects of black wattle encroachment on soil carbon, therefore the aim of this study was to investigate the impact of black wattle encroachment of natural grassland on soil carbon stocks and dynamics. Focussing on two sites...... in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, the study analysed carbon stocks in soil and litter on a chronosequence of black wattle stands of varying ages (up to >50 years) and compared these with adjacent native grassland. The study found that woody encroachment of grassland at one site had an insignificant effect...... on soil and litter carbon stocks. The second site showed a clear decline in combined soil and litter carbon stocks following wattle encroachment. The lowest stock was in the oldest wattle stand, meaning that carbon stocks are still declining after 50 years of encroachment. The results from the two sites...

  5. Investigation of Rainfall-Runoff Processes and Soil Moisture Dynamics in Grassland Plots under Simulated Rainfall Conditions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nana Zhao

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available The characteristics of rainfall-runoff are important aspects of hydrological processes. In this study, rainfall-runoff processes and soil moisture dynamics at different soil depths and slope positions of grassland with two different row spacings (5 cm and 10 cm, respectively, referred to as R5 and R10 were analyzed, by means of a solution of rainfall simulation experiments. Bare land was also considered as a comparison. The results showed that the mechanism of runoff generation was mainly excess infiltration overland flow. The surface runoff amount of R5 plot was greater than that of R10, while the interflow amount of R10 was larger than that of R5 plot, although the differences of the subsurface runoff processes between plots R5 and R10 were little. The effects of rainfall intensity on the surface runoff were significant, but not obvious on the interflow and recession curve, which can be described as a simple exponential equation, with a fitting degree of up to 0.854–0.996. The response of soil moisture to rainfall and evapotranspiration was mainly in the 0–20 cm layer, and the response at the 40 cm layer to rainfall was slower and generally occurred after the rainfall stopped. The upper slope generally responded fastest to rainfall, and the foot of the slope was the slowest. The results presented here could provide insights into understanding the surface and subsurface runoff processes and soil moisture dynamics for grasslands in semi-arid regions.

  6. Litter Decomposition in a Semiarid Dune Grassland: Neutral Effect of Water Supply and Inhibitory Effect of Nitrogen Addition.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yulin Li

    Full Text Available The decomposition of plant material in arid ecosystems is considered to be substantially controlled by water and N availability. The responses of litter decomposition to external N and water, however, remain controversial, and the interactive effects of supplementary N and water also have been largely unexamined.A 3.5-year field experiment with supplementary nitrogen and water was conducted to assess the effects of N and water addition on mass loss and nitrogen release in leaves and fine roots of three dominant plant species (i.e., Artemisia halondendron, Setaria viridis, and Phragmites australis with contrasting substrate chemistry (e.g. N concentration, lignin content in this study in a desertified dune grassland of Inner Mongolia, China. The treatments included N addition, water addition, combination of N and water, and an untreated control. The decomposition rate in both leaves and roots was related to the initial litter N and lignin concentrations of the three species. However, litter quality did not explain the slower mass loss in roots than in leaves in the present study, and thus warrant further research. Nitrogen addition, either alone or in combination with water, significantly inhibited dry mass loss and N release in the leaves and roots of the three species, whereas water input had little effect on the decomposition of leaf litter and fine roots, suggesting that there was no interactive effect of supplementary N and water on litter decomposition in this system. Furthermore, our results clearly indicate that the inhibitory effects of external N on dry mass loss and nitrogen release are relatively strong in high-lignin litter compared with low-lignin litter.These findings suggest that increasing precipitation hardly facilitates ecosystem carbon turnover but atmospheric N deposition can enhance carbon sequestration and nitrogen retention in desertified dune grasslands of northern China. Additionally, litter quality of plant species

  7. Litter Decomposition in a Semiarid Dune Grassland: Neutral Effect of Water Supply and Inhibitory Effect of Nitrogen Addition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Yulin; Ning, Zhiying; Cui, Duo; Mao, Wei; Bi, Jingdong; Zhao, Xueyong

    2016-01-01

    The decomposition of plant material in arid ecosystems is considered to be substantially controlled by water and N availability. The responses of litter decomposition to external N and water, however, remain controversial, and the interactive effects of supplementary N and water also have been largely unexamined. A 3.5-year field experiment with supplementary nitrogen and water was conducted to assess the effects of N and water addition on mass loss and nitrogen release in leaves and fine roots of three dominant plant species (i.e., Artemisia halondendron, Setaria viridis, and Phragmites australis) with contrasting substrate chemistry (e.g. N concentration, lignin content in this study) in a desertified dune grassland of Inner Mongolia, China. The treatments included N addition, water addition, combination of N and water, and an untreated control. The decomposition rate in both leaves and roots was related to the initial litter N and lignin concentrations of the three species. However, litter quality did not explain the slower mass loss in roots than in leaves in the present study, and thus warrant further research. Nitrogen addition, either alone or in combination with water, significantly inhibited dry mass loss and N release in the leaves and roots of the three species, whereas water input had little effect on the decomposition of leaf litter and fine roots, suggesting that there was no interactive effect of supplementary N and water on litter decomposition in this system. Furthermore, our results clearly indicate that the inhibitory effects of external N on dry mass loss and nitrogen release are relatively strong in high-lignin litter compared with low-lignin litter. These findings suggest that increasing precipitation hardly facilitates ecosystem carbon turnover but atmospheric N deposition can enhance carbon sequestration and nitrogen retention in desertified dune grasslands of northern China. Additionally, litter quality of plant species should be considered

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Mixed artificial grasslands with more roots improved mine soil infiltration capacity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Gao-Lin; Yang, Zheng; Cui, Zeng; Liu, Yu; Fang, Nu-Fang; Shi, Zhi-Hua

    2016-04-01

    Soil water is one of the critical limiting factors in achieving sustainable revegetation. Soil infiltration capacity plays a vital role in determining the inputs from precipitation and enhancing water storage, which are important for the maintenance and survival of vegetation patches in arid and semi-arid areas. Our study investigated the effects of different artificial grasslands on soil physical properties and soil infiltration capacity. The artificial grasslands were Medicago sativa, Astragalus adsurgens, Agropyron mongolicum, Lespedeza davurica, Bromus inermis, Hedysarum scoparium, A. mongolicum + Artemisia desertorum, A. adsurgens + A. desertorum and M. sativa + B. inermis. The soil infiltration capacity index (SICI), which was based on the average infiltration rate of stage I (AIRSI) and the average infiltration rate of stage III (AIRS III), was higher (indicating that the infiltration capacity was greater) under the artificial grasslands than that of the bare soil. The SICI of the A. adsurgens + A. desertorum grassland had the highest value (1.48) and bare soil (-0.59) had the lowest value. It was evident that artificial grassland could improve soil infiltration capacity. We also used principal component analysis (PCA) to determine that the main factors that affected SICI were the soil water content at a depth of 20 cm (SWC20), the below-ground root biomasses at depths of 10 and 30 cm (BGB10, BGB30), the capillary porosity at a depth of 10 cm (CP10) and the non-capillary porosity at a depth of 20 cm (NCP20). Our study suggests that the use of Legume-poaceae mixtures and Legume-shrub mixtures to create grasslands provided an effective ecological restoration approach to improve soil infiltration properties due to their greater root biomasses. Furthermore, soil water content, below-ground root biomass, soil capillary porosity and soil non-capillary porosity were the main factors that affect the soil infiltration capacity.

  11. Intensive management in grasslands causes diffuse water pollution at the farm scale.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peukert, Sabine; Griffith, Bruce A; Murray, Phillip J; Macleod, Christopher J A; Brazier, Richard E

    2014-11-01

    Arable land use is generally assumed to be the largest contributor to agricultural diffuse pollution. This study adds to the growing evidence that conventional temperate intensively managed lowland grasslands contribute significantly to soil erosion and diffuse pollution rates. This is the first grassland study to monitor hydrological characteristics and multiple pollutant fluxes (suspended sediment [SS] and the macronutrients: total oxidized nitrogen-N [TON], total phosphorus [TP], and total carbon [TC]) at high temporal resolution (monitoring up to every 15 min) over 1 yr. Monitoring was conducted across three fields (6.5-7.5 ha) on the North Wyke Farm Platform, UK. The estimated annual erosion rates (up to 527.4 kg ha), TP losses (up to 0.9 kg ha), and TC losses (up to 179 kg ha) were similar to or exceeded the losses reported for other grassland, mixed land-use, and arable sites. Annual yields of TON (up to 3 kg ha) were less than arable land-use fluxes and earlier grassland N studies, an important result as the study site is situated within a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone. The high-resolution monitoring allowed detailed "system's functioning" understanding of hydrological processes, mobilization- transport pathways of individual pollutants, and the changes of the relative importance of diffuse pollutants through flow conditions and time. Suspended sediment and TP concentrations frequently exceeded water quality guidelines recommended by the European Freshwater Fisheries Directive (25 mg L) and the European Water Framework Directive (0.04 mg soluble reactive P L), suggesting that intensively managed grasslands pose a significant threat to receiving surface waters. Such sediment and nutrient losses from intensively managed grasslands should be acknowledged in land management guidelines and advice for future compliance with surface water quality standards. Copyright © by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of

  12. Identifying priority areas for ecosystem service management in South African grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Egoh, Benis N; Reyers, Belinda; Rouget, Mathieu; Richardson, David M

    2011-06-01

    Grasslands provide many ecosystem services required to support human well-being and are home to a diverse fauna and flora. Degradation of grasslands due to agriculture and other forms of land use threaten biodiversity and ecosystem services. Various efforts are underway around the world to stem these declines. The Grassland Programme in South Africa is one such initiative and is aimed at safeguarding both biodiversity and ecosystem services. As part of this developing programme, we identified spatial priority areas for ecosystem services, tested the effect of different target levels of ecosystem services used to identify priority areas, and evaluated whether biodiversity priority areas can be aligned with those for ecosystem services. We mapped five ecosystem services (below ground carbon storage, surface water supply, water flow regulation, soil accumulation and soil retention) and identified priority areas for individual ecosystem services and for all five services at the scale of quaternary catchments. Planning for individual ecosystem services showed that, depending on the ecosystem service of interest, between 4% and 13% of the grassland biome was required to conserve at least 40% of the soil and water services. Thirty-four percent of the biome was needed to conserve 40% of the carbon service in the grassland. Priority areas identified for five ecosystem services under three target levels (20%, 40%, 60% of the total amount) showed that between 17% and 56% of the grassland biome was needed to conserve these ecosystem services. There was moderate to high overlap between priority areas selected for ecosystem services and already-identified terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity priority areas. This level of overlap coupled with low irreplaceability values obtained when planning for individual ecosystem services makes it possible to combine biodiversity and ecosystem services in one plan using systematic conservation planning. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All

  13. Spatial and temporal patterns of water availability in a grass-shrub ecotone and implications for grassland recovery in arid environments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Encroachment of woody shrubs into historic desert grasslands is a major problem throughout the world. Conversion of grasslands to shrub-dominated systems may result in significant alteration of biogeochemical processes and reduced resource availability in shrub interspaces, making grassland recover...

  14. Matrix matters: differences of grand skink metapopulation parameters in native tussock grasslands and exotic pasture grasslands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Konstanze Gebauer

    Full Text Available Modelling metapopulation dynamics is a potentially very powerful tool for conservation biologists. In recent years, scientists have broadened the range of variables incorporated into metapopulation modelling from using almost exclusively habitat patch size and isolation, to the inclusion of attributes of the matrix and habitat patch quality. We investigated the influence of habitat patch and matrix characteristics on the metapopulation parameters of a highly endangered lizard species, the New Zealand endemic grand skink (Oligosoma grande taking into account incomplete detectability. The predictive ability of the developed zxmetapopulation model was assessed through cross-validation of the data and with an independent data-set. Grand skinks occur on scattered rock-outcrops surrounded by indigenous tussock (bunch and pasture grasslands therefore implying a metapopulation structure. We found that the type of matrix surrounding the habitat patch was equally as important as the size of habitat patch for estimating occupancy, colonisation and extinction probabilities. Additionally, the type of matrix was more important than the physical distance between habitat patches for colonisation probabilities. Detection probability differed between habitat patches in the two matrix types and between habitat patches with different attributes such as habitat patch composition and abundance of vegetation on the outcrop. The developed metapopulation models can now be used for management decisions on area protection, monitoring, and the selection of translocation sites for the grand skink. Our study showed that it is important to incorporate not only habitat patch size and distance between habitat patches, but also those matrix type and habitat patch attributes which are vital in the ecology of the target species.

  15. [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.

  16. Greenhouse gas exchange in grasslands: impacts of climate, intensity of management and other factors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, K. A.

    2003-04-01

    Grasslands occupy some 40% of the terrestrial land surface. They are generally categorised as natural (occurring mainly in those regions where the rainfall is too low to support forest ecosystems), semi-natural (where management, mainly by grazing, has changed the vegetation composition), and artificial (where forests have been cleared to create new pasture land). The soils of the natural and semi-natural grasslands constitute a large reservoir of carbon, and make a substantial contribution to the soil sink for atmospheric CH_4. The conversion of much of the natural temperate grassland to arable agriculture, e.g. in North America and Europe, resulted in a considerable decrease in soil organic carbon, and its release to the atmosphere as CO_2 has made a substantial contribution to the total atmospheric concentration of this gas. The associated increase in cycling of soil N (released from the organic matter) will have contributed to N_2O emissions, and land disturbance and fertilisation has resulted in a depletion of the soil CH_4 sink. Conversion of tropical forests to pastures has also been a major source of CO_2, and these pastures show elevated emissions of N_2O for some years after conversion. Seasonally flooded tropical grasslands are a significant source of CH_4 emissions. Consideration of grassland ecosystems in their entirety, in relation to GHG exchange, necessitates the inclusion of CH_4 production by fauna - domesticated livestock and wild herbivores, as well as some species of termites - in the overall assessment. Stocking rates on pasture land have increased, and the total CH_4 emissions likewise. The relationship between animal production and CH_4 emissions is dependent on the nutritional quality of the vegetation, as well as on animal numbers. In both temperate and tropical regions, increased N inputs as synthetic fertilisers and manures (and increased N deposition) are producing possibly a more-than-linear response in terms of emissions of N_2O. In

  17. 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

  18. Generalist dispersers promote germination of an alien fleshy-fruited tree invading natural grasslands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Martín Raúl Amodeo

    Full Text Available Plants with animal-dispersed fruits seem to overcome the barriers that limit their spread into new habitats more easily than other invasive plants and, at the same time, they pose special difficulties for containment, control or eradication. The effects of animals on plant propagules can be very diverse, with positive, neutral or negative consequences for germination and recruitment. Moreover, the environmental conditions where the seeds are deposited and where the post-dispersal processes take place can be crucial for their fate. Prunus mahaleb is a fleshy-fruited tree invading natural grasslands in the Argentine Pampas. In this study, we analyzed the importance of pulp removal, endocarp scarification and the effects of vectors on its germination response, by means of germination experiments both in the laboratory and under semi-natural conditions. Our laboratory results demonstrated that endocarp scarification enhances germination and suggests that vestiges of pulp on the stones have inhibitory effects. Frugivores exert a variety of effects on germination responses and this variation can be explained by their differing influence on pulp removal and endocarp scarification. Most frugivores produced a positive effect on germination under laboratory conditions, in comparison to intact fruits and hand-peeled stones. We observed different degrees of pulp removal from the surface of the stones by the dispersers which was directly correlated to the germination response. On the other hand, all the treatments showed high germination responses under semi-natural conditions suggesting that post-dispersal processes, like seed burial, and the exposure to natural conditions might exert a positive effect on germination response, attenuating the plant's dependence on the dispersers' gut treatment. Our results highlight the need to consider the whole seed dispersal process and the value of combining laboratory and field tests.

  19. Ecosystem properties of semiarid savanna grassland in West Africa and its relationship with environmental variability.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tagesson, Torbern; Fensholt, Rasmus; Guiro, Idrissa; Rasmussen, Mads Olander; Huber, Silvia; Mbow, Cheikh; Garcia, Monica; Horion, Stéphanie; Sandholt, Inge; Holm-Rasmussen, Bo; Göttsche, Frank M; Ridler, Marc-Etienne; Olén, Niklas; Lundegard Olsen, Jørgen; Ehammer, Andrea; Madsen, Mathias; Olesen, Folke S; Ardö, Jonas

    2015-01-01

    The Dahra field site in Senegal, West Africa, was established in 2002 to monitor ecosystem properties of semiarid savanna grassland and their responses to climatic and environmental change. This article describes the environment and the ecosystem properties of the site using a unique set of in situ data. The studied variables include hydroclimatic variables, species composition, albedo, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), hyperspectral characteristics (350-1800 nm), surface reflectance anisotropy, brightness temperature, fraction of absorbed photosynthetic active radiation (FAPAR), biomass, vegetation water content, and land-atmosphere exchanges of carbon (NEE) and energy. The Dahra field site experiences a typical Sahelian climate and is covered by coexisting trees (~3% canopy cover) and grass species, characterizing large parts of the Sahel. This makes the site suitable for investigating relationships between ecosystem properties and hydroclimatic variables for semiarid savanna ecosystems of the region. There were strong interannual, seasonal and diurnal dynamics in NEE, with high values of ~-7.5 g C m(-2)  day(-1) during the peak of the growing season. We found neither browning nor greening NDVI trends from 2002 to 2012. Interannual variation in species composition was strongly related to rainfall distribution. NDVI and FAPAR were strongly related to species composition, especially for years dominated by the species Zornia glochidiata. This influence was not observed in interannual variation in biomass and vegetation productivity, thus challenging dryland productivity models based on remote sensing. Surface reflectance anisotropy (350-1800 nm) at the peak of the growing season varied strongly depending on wavelength and viewing angle thereby having implications for the design of remotely sensed spectral vegetation indices covering different wavelength regions. The presented time series of in situ data have great potential for dryland dynamics

  20. Response of soil CO2 efflux to precipitation manipulation in a semiarid grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wei, Xiaorong; Zhang, Yanjiang; Liu, Jian; Gao, Hailong; Fan, Jun; Jia, Xiaoxu; Cheng, Jimin; Shao, Mingan; Zhang, Xingchang

    2016-07-01

    Soil CO2 efflux (SCE) is an important component of ecosystem CO2 exchange and is largely temperature and moisture dependent, providing feedback between C cycling and the climate system. We used a precipitation manipulation experiment to examine the effects of precipitation treatment on SCE and its dependences on soil temperature and moisture in a semiarid grassland. Precipitation manipulation included ambient precipitation, decreased precipitation (-43%), or increased precipitation (+17%). The SCE was measured from July 2013 to December 2014, and CO2 emission during the experimental period was assessed. The response curves of SCE to soil temperature and moisture were analyzed to determine whether the dependence of SCE on soil temperature or moisture varied with precipitation manipulation. The SCE significantly varied seasonally but was not affected by precipitation treatments regardless of season. Increasing precipitation resulted in an upward shift of SCE-temperature response curves and rightward shift of SCE-moisture response curves, while decreasing precipitation resulted in opposite shifts of such response curves. These shifts in the SCE response curves suggested that increasing precipitation strengthened the dependence of SCE on temperature or moisture, and decreasing precipitation weakened such dependences. Such shifts affected the predictions in soil CO2 emissions for different precipitation treatments. When considering such shifts, decreasing or increasing precipitation resulted in 43 or 75% less change, respectively, in CO2 emission compared with changes in emissions predicted without considering such shifts. Furthermore, the effects of shifts in SCE response curves on CO2 emission prediction were greater during the growing than the non-growing season. Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  1. Surface runoff and transport of sulfonamide antibiotics and tracers on manured grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burkhardt, Michael; Stamm, Christian; Waul, Christopher; Singer, Heinz; Müller, Stephan

    2005-01-01

    Despite their common use in animal production the environmental fate of the veterinary sulfonamide antibiotics after excretion is only poorly understood. We performed irrigation experiments to investigate the transport of these substances with surface runoff on grassland. Liquid manure from pigs treated with sulfadimidine was spiked with sulfadiazine, sulfathiazole, the herbicide atrazine (2-chloro-4-ethylamino-6-isopropylamino-1,3,5-triazine), and the conservative tracer bromide and spread onto eight plots. Four plots received the same amounts of the spiked substances in aqueous solution (controls). Apart from the application matrix we varied the time between application and irrigation. Manure increased the runoff volume up to six times compared with the controls. It seemed that manure enhanced the runoff by sealing the soil surface. On manured plots the relative antibiotic concentrations in runoff were higher than on the controls, reaching an average of 0.3% (sulfadiazine), 0.8% (sulfathiazole), and 1.4% (sulfadimidine) of the input concentrations after a 1-d contact time. The corresponding values on the controls were 0.16% for sulfadiazine and 0.08% for sulfathiazole. After 3 d, the maximum values on the manured plots were even higher, whereas they had fallen below the limit of quantification on the controls. As a consequence, the sulfonamide losses were 10 to 40 times larger on the manured plots. The relative mobility of the sulfonamides on the control plots followed the trend expected from their chromatographic separation but the opposite was found on the manured plots. Hence it is important to consider explicitly the physical and chemical effects of manure when assessing the environmental fate of sulfonamides.

  2. The responses of microbial temperature relationships to seasonal change and winter warming in a temperate grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Birgander, Johanna; Olsson, Pål Axel; Rousk, Johannes

    2018-01-18

    Microorganisms dominate the decomposition of organic matter and their activities are strongly influenced by temperature. As the carbon (C) flux from soil to the atmosphere due to microbial activity is substantial, understanding temperature relationships of microbial processes is critical. It has been shown that microbial temperature relationships in soil correlate with the climate, and microorganisms in field experiments become more warm-tolerant in response to chronic warming. It is also known that microbial temperature relationships reflect the seasons in aquatic ecosystems, but to date this has not been investigated in soil. Although climate change predictions suggest that temperatures will be mostly affected during winter in temperate ecosystems, no assessments exist of the responses of microbial temperature relationships to winter warming. We investigated the responses of the temperature relationships of bacterial growth, fungal growth, and respiration in a temperate grassland to seasonal change, and to 2 years' winter warming. The warming treatments increased winter soil temperatures by 5-6°C, corresponding to 3°C warming of the mean annual temperature. Microbial temperature relationships and temperature sensitivities (Q 10 ) could be accurately established, but did not respond to winter warming or to seasonal temperature change, despite significant shifts in the microbial community structure. The lack of response to winter warming that we demonstrate, and the strong response to chronic warming treatments previously shown, together suggest that it is the peak annual soil temperature that influences the microbial temperature relationships, and that temperatures during colder seasons will have little impact. Thus, mean annual temperatures are poor predictors for microbial temperature relationships. Instead, the intensity of summer heat-spells in temperate systems is likely to shape the microbial temperature relationships that govern the soil-atmosphere C

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

    has shown that S should not be overlooked in grassland nutrition as is often the practice. Further analyses are underway to trace the fate of the applied S, nematode abundance, bacterial diversity and function. Studies like ours are important to feed data into mathematical models on biotic S cycling which serves as predictive tool for fertilizer use in agriculture.

  6. UAV-based NDVI calculation over grassland: An alternative approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mejia-Aguilar, Abraham; Tomelleri, Enrico; Asam, Sarah; Zebisch, Marc

    2016-04-01

    portable spectroradiometer (Spectravista SVC HR-1024i). All data were collected on a dry alpine mountain grassland site in the Matsch valley, Italy, during the vegetation period of 2015. Data acquisition for the first comparison followed a pre-programmed flight plan in which the hyperspectral and alternative dual-camera constellation were mounted separately on an octocopter-UAV during two consecutive flight campaigns. Ground spectral measurements collection took place on the same site and on the same dates (three in total) of the flight campaigns. The proposed technique achieves promising results and therewith constitutes a cheap and simple way of collecting spatially explicit information on vegetated areas even in challenging terrain.

  7. 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

  8. Topographic and Bioclimatic Determinants of the Occurrence of Forest and Grassland in Tropical Montane Forest-Grassland Mosaics of the Western Ghats, India.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Arundhati Das

    Full Text Available The objective of this analysis was to identify topographic and bioclimatic factors that predict occurrence of forest and grassland patches within tropical montane forest-grassland mosaics. We further investigated whether interactions between topography and bioclimate are important in determining vegetation pattern, and assessed the role of spatial scale in determining the relative importance of specific topographic features. Finally, we assessed the role of elevation in determining the relative importance of diverse explanatory factors. The study area consists of the central and southern regions of the Western Ghats of Southern India, a global biodiversity hotspot. Random forests were used to assess prediction accuracy and predictor importance. Conditional inference classification trees were used to interpret predictor effects and examine potential interactions between predictors. GLMs were used to confirm predictor importance and assess the strength of interaction terms. Overall, topographic and bioclimatic predictors classified vegetation pattern with approximately 70% accuracy. Prediction accuracy was higher for grassland than forest, and for mosaics at higher elevations. Elevation was the most important predictor, with mosaics above 2000 m dominated largely by grassland. Relative topographic position measured at a local scale (within a 300 m neighbourhood was another important predictor of vegetation pattern. In high elevation mosaics, northness and concave land surface curvature were important predictors of forest occurrence. Important bioclimatic predictors were: dry quarter precipitation, annual temperature range and the interaction between the two. The results indicate complex interactions between topography and bioclimate and among topographic variables. Elevation and topography have a strong influence on vegetation pattern in these mosaics. There were marked regional differences in the roles of various topographic and bioclimatic

  9. Topographic and Bioclimatic Determinants of the Occurrence of Forest and Grassland in Tropical Montane Forest-Grassland Mosaics of the Western Ghats, India.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Das, Arundhati; Nagendra, Harini; Anand, Madhur; Bunyan, Milind

    2015-01-01

    The objective of this analysis was to identify topographic and bioclimatic factors that predict occurrence of forest and grassland patches within tropical montane forest-grassland mosaics. We further investigated whether interactions between topography and bioclimate are important in determining vegetation pattern, and assessed the role of spatial scale in determining the relative importance of specific topographic features. Finally, we assessed the role of elevation in determining the relative importance of diverse explanatory factors. The study area consists of the central and southern regions of the Western Ghats of Southern India, a global biodiversity hotspot. Random forests were used to assess prediction accuracy and predictor importance. Conditional inference classification trees were used to interpret predictor effects and examine potential interactions between predictors. GLMs were used to confirm predictor importance and assess the strength of interaction terms. Overall, topographic and bioclimatic predictors classified vegetation pattern with approximately 70% accuracy. Prediction accuracy was higher for grassland than forest, and for mosaics at higher elevations. Elevation was the most important predictor, with mosaics above 2000 m dominated largely by grassland. Relative topographic position measured at a local scale (within a 300 m neighbourhood) was another important predictor of vegetation pattern. In high elevation mosaics, northness and concave land surface curvature were important predictors of forest occurrence. Important bioclimatic predictors were: dry quarter precipitation, annual temperature range and the interaction between the two. The results indicate complex interactions between topography and bioclimate and among topographic variables. Elevation and topography have a strong influence on vegetation pattern in these mosaics. There were marked regional differences in the roles of various topographic and bioclimatic predictors across the

  10. [Variation in soil Mn fractions as affected by long-term manure amendment using atomic absorption spectrophotometer in a typical grassland of inner Mongolia].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fu, Ming-ming; Jiang, Yong; Bai, Yong-fei; Zhang, Yu-ge; Xu, Zhu-wen; Li, Bo

    2012-08-01

    The effect of sheep manure amendment on soil manganese fractions was conducted in a 11 year experiment at inner Mongolia grassland, using sequential extraction procedure in modified Community Bureau of Reference, and determined by atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Five treatments with dry sheep manure addition rate 0, 50, 250, 750, and 1500 g x m(-2) x yr(-1), respectively, were carried out in this experiment. Results showed that the recovery rate for total Mn was 91.4%-105.9%, as the percentage recovered from the summation of the improved BCR results with aqua regia extractable contents, and it was 97.2%-102.9% from certified soil reference materials. Plant available exchangeable Mn could be enhanced by 47.89%, but reducible and total Mn contents decreased significantly under heavy application of manure at depth of 0-5 cm. The effect of manure amendment on Mn fractions was greater in 0-5 cm than in 5-10 cm soil layer. The results are benefit to micronutrient fractions determination and nutrient management in grassland soils.

  11. The Effect of Limestone and Stabilized Nitrogen Fertilizers Application on Soil pH Value and on the Forage Production of Permanent Grassland

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pavel Ryant

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available The changes of soil pH and dry forage yield of permanent grassland after application of dolomitic limestone and stabilized nitrogen fertilizers are described in this paper. The small‑plot experiment was located on semi‑natural grassland at Bohemian‑Moravian Highlands, near village Kameničky (Czech Republic, with poor and acidic soil. The experiment was divided into two blocks, within one of whose dolomitic limestone was applied in autumn 2013. In each block, 4 experimental treatments were applied: 1. control (untreated, 2. Urea, 3. Urea with inhibitor of urease, 4. Urea with inhibitor of nitrification. After liming, the pH/CaCl2 soil values increased in both the first as well as the second year after application. Fertilizing by urea, namely urea with inhibitors, did not significantly influence the pH/CaCl2 values. Dry forage productions in both years were comparable. In comparison to the untreated variants, significant increase in dry forage yield was achieved after application of urea and urea with urease inhibitors. The impact of stabilized fertilizers on the yield was not proven. In case of the limed variants, yield drop by 1.12 t/ha (average of both years was observed; the yield decrease may be connected with disturbance of production potential of the stable community of plant species that had been adapted to acidic locations.

  12. Combined use of FORMOSAT-2 images with a crop model for biomass and water monitoring of permanent grassland in Mediterranean region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Courault, D.; Hadria, R.; Ruget, F.; Olioso, A.; Duchemin, B.; Hagolle, O.; Dedieu, G.

    2010-09-01

    The aim of this study is to propose methods to improve crop and water management in Mediterranean regions. At landscape scale, there is a spatial variability of agricultural practices, particularly for grasslands irrigated by flooding. These grasslands are harvested three times per year and produce high quality hay, but their productions decreased significantly during the last few years because of the water scarcity. It is therefore important to assess the real water requirement for crops in order to predict productions in the case of agricultural practice modifications. Until now, the spatial variability of agricultural practices was obtained through surveys from farmers, but this method was tedious to describe an entire region. Thus, the specific aim of the study is to develop and assess a new method based on a crop model for estimating water balance and crop yield constrained by products derived from optical remote sensing data with high spatio-temporal resolution. A methodology, based on the combined use of FORMOSAT-2 images and the STICS crop model, was developed to estimate production, evapotranspiration and drainage of irrigated grasslands in "the Crau" region in the South Eastern France. Numerous surveys and ground measurements were performed during an experiment conducted in 2006. Simple algorithms were developed to retrieve the dynamic of Leaf Area Index (LAI) for each plot and the main agricultural practices such as mowing and irrigation dates. These variables computed from remote sensing were then used to parameterize STICS, applied at region scale to estimate the spatial variability of water budget associated with the biomass productions. Results are displayed at the farm scale. Satisfactory results were obtained when compared to ground measurements. The method for the extrapolation to other regions or crops is discussed as regard to data available.

  13. Combined use of FORMOSAT-2 images with a crop model for biomass and water monitoring of permanent grassland in Mediterranean region

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    D. Courault

    2010-09-01

    Full Text Available The aim of this study is to propose methods to improve crop and water management in Mediterranean regions. At landscape scale, there is a spatial variability of agricultural practices, particularly for grasslands irrigated by flooding. These grasslands are harvested three times per year and produce high quality hay, but their productions decreased significantly during the last few years because of the water scarcity. It is therefore important to assess the real water requirement for crops in order to predict productions in the case of agricultural practice modifications. Until now, the spatial variability of agricultural practices was obtained through surveys from farmers, but this method was tedious to describe an entire region. Thus, the specific aim of the study is to develop and assess a new method based on a crop model for estimating water balance and crop yield constrained by products derived from optical remote sensing data with high spatio-temporal resolution.

    A methodology, based on the combined use of FORMOSAT-2 images and the STICS crop model, was developed to estimate production, evapotranspiration and drainage of irrigated grasslands in "the Crau" region in the South Eastern France. Numerous surveys and ground measurements were performed during an experiment conducted in 2006. Simple algorithms were developed to retrieve the dynamic of Leaf Area Index (LAI for each plot and the main agricultural practices such as mowing and irrigation dates. These variables computed from remote sensing were then used to parameterize STICS, applied at region scale to estimate the spatial variability of water budget associated with the biomass productions. Results are displayed at the farm scale. Satisfactory results were obtained when compared to ground measurements. The method for the extrapolation to other regions or crops is discussed as regard to data available.

  14. 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.

  15. Integrating Agricultural and Ecological Goals into the Management of Species-Rich Grasslands: Learning from the Flowering Meadows Competition in France

    Science.gov (United States)

    Magda, Danièle; de Sainte Marie, Christine; Plantureux, Sylvain; Agreil, Cyril; Amiaud, Bernard; Mestelan, Philippe; Mihout, Sarah

    2015-11-01

    Current agri-environmental schemes for reconciling agricultural production with biodiversity conservation are proving ineffective Europe-wide, increasing interest in results-based schemes (RBSs). We describe here the French "Flowering Meadows" competition, rewarding the "best agroecological balance" in semi-natural grasslands managed by livestock farmers. This competition, which was entered by about a thousand farmers in 50 regional nature parks between 2007 and 2014, explicitly promotes a new style of agri-environmental scheme focusing on an ability to reach the desired outcome rather than adherence to prescriptive management rules. Building on our experience in the design and monitoring of the competition, we argue that the cornerstone of successful RBSs is a collective learning process in which the reconciliation of agriculture and environment is reconsidered in terms of synergistic relationships between agricultural and ecological functioning. We present the interactive, iterative process by which we defined an original method for assessing species-rich grasslands in agroecological terms. This approach was based on the integration of new criteria, such as flexibility, feeding value, and consistency of use, into the assessment of forage production performance and the consideration of biodiversity conservation through its functional role within the grassland ecosystem, rather than simply noting the presence or abundance of species. We describe the adaptation of this methodology on the basis of competition feedback, to bring about a significant shift in the conventional working methods of agronomists and conservationists (including researchers).The potential and efficacy of RBSs for promoting ecologically sound livestock systems are discussed in the concluding remarks, and they relate to the ecological intensification debate.

  16. Monitoring aeolian desertification process in Hulunbir grassland during 1975-2006, Northern China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guo, Jian; Wang, Tao; Xue, Xian; Ma, Shaoxiu; Peng, Fei

    2010-07-01

    The Hulunbir grassland experienced aeolian desertification expansion during 1975-2000, but local rehabilitation during 2000-2006. Northern China suffered severe aeolian desertification during the past 50 years. Hulunbir grassland, the best stockbreeding base in Northern China, was also affected by aeolian desertification. To evaluate the evolution and status of aeolian desertification, as well as its causes, satellite images (acquired in 1975, 1984, 2000, and 2006) and meteorological and socioeconomic data were interpreted and analyzed. The results show there was 2,345.7, 2,899.8, 4,053.9, and 3,859.6 km(2) of aeolian desertified land in 1975, 1984, 2000, and 2006, respectively. The spatial pattern dynamic had three stages: stability during 1975-1984, fast expansion during 1984-2000, and spatial transfer during 2000-2006. The dynamic degree of aeolian desertification is negatively related to its severity. Comprehensive analysis shows that the human factor is the primary cause of aeolian desertification in Hulunbir grassland. Although aeolian desertified land got partly rehabilitated, constant increase of extremely severe aeolian desertified land implied that current measures were not effective enough on aeolian desertification control. Alleviation of grassland pressure may be an effective method.

  17. DESERTIFICATION AND ANIMAL BIODIVERSITY IN THE DESERT GRASSLANDS OF NORTH AMERICA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Studies of breeding birds and small mammals were conducted at a series of sites that form a gradient of severity of desertification. Desert grassland sites represented the least changed landscape units and mesquite coppice dunes represented the most severe degradtion, an irrevers...

  18. 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

  19. Anaerobic oxidation of methane in grassland soils used for cattle husbandry

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Bannert, A.; Bogen, C.; Esperschütz, J.; Koubová, Anna; Buegger, F.; Fischer, D.; Radl, V.; Fuss, R.; Chroňáková, Alica; Elhottová, Dana; Šimek, Miloslav; Schloter, M.

    2012-01-01

    Roč. 9, č. 10 (2012), s. 3891-3899 ISSN 1726-4170 R&D Projects: GA ČR GA526/09/1570 Institutional support: RVO:60077344 Keywords : anaerobic oxidation of methane * grassland soils * cattle husbandry Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour Impact factor: 3.754, year: 2012

  20. Vegetation monitoring on semi-arid grasslands unglazed by domestic livestock

    Science.gov (United States)

    Linda Kennedy; Dan Robinett

    2013-01-01

    The Research Ranch is an 8000-acre sanctuary and research facility in the semi-arid grasslands of southeastern Arizona, USA. Cattle were removed from the property in 1968 to provide a reference area by which various land uses, such as grazing and exurbanization, could be evaluated. Vegetation transects were established in 2000 and 2003 on several ecological sites in...

  1. Artificial sowing of endangered dry grassland species into disused basalt quarries

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Novák, J.; Prach, Karel

    2010-01-01

    Roč. 205, č. 3 (2010), s. 179-183 ISSN 0367-2530 R&D Projects: GA AV ČR IAA600050702 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z60050516 Keywords : dry grasslands * seedling survival * quarries Subject RIV: EF - Botanics Impact factor: 1.657, year: 2010

  2. Testing for thresholds in a semiarid grassland: The influence of prairie dogs and plague

    Science.gov (United States)

    State and transition models for semiarid grasslands in the Great Plains of North America suggest that the presence of herbivorous black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) on a site (1) creates a vegetation state characterized by increased dominance of annual forbs and unpalatable bunchgrasse...

  3. Environmental factors influenting species composition of acidophilous grasslands patches in agricultural landscape

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Halas, Petr

    2012-01-01

    Roč. 20, č. 1 (2012), s. 16-27 ISSN 1210-8812 Institutional support: RVO:68145535 Keywords : acidophilous grasslands * hemeroby * patch isolation * patch area * regression trees Subject RIV: DE - Earth Magnetism, Geodesy, Geography http://www.geonika.cz/EN/research/ENMgr/MGR_2012_01.pdf

  4. Agricultural Set-aside Programs and Grassland Birds: Insights from Broad-scale Population Trends

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. Riffell

    2008-10-01

    Full Text Available The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP is a voluntary set-aside program in the United States designed to amelioratesoil erosion, control crop overproduction, enhance water quality, and provide wildlife habitat by replacing crops with other forms of land cover. Because CRP includes primarily grass habitats, it has great potential to benefitdeclining North American grassland bird populations. We looked at the change in national and state population trends of grassland birds and related changes to cover-specific CRP variables (previous research grouped all CRP practices. Changes in national trends after the initiation of the CRP were inconclusive, but we observed signficant bird-CRP relations at the state level. Most bird-CRP relations were positive, except for some species associated with habitats that CRP replaced. Practice- and configuration-specific CRP variables were related to grassland bird trends, rather than a generic measure of all CRP types combined. Considering all CRP land as a single, distinct habitat type may obscure actual relations between birds and set-aside characteristics. Understanding and predictingthe effects of set-aside programs (like CRP or agri-environment schemes on grassland birds is complex and difficult. Because available broad-scale datasets are less than adequate, studies should be conducted at a variety of spatial and temporal scales.

  5. Behavior of spring discharge dynamic at forest and grassland mountain catchments

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Pavelka, Marian; Acosta, Manuel; Janouš, Dalibor; Czerný, Radek; Tomášková, Ivana

    2007-01-01

    Roč. 1, č. 20 (2007), s. 55-60. ISBN 978-80-7375-069-5 R&D Projects: GA MŠk 1P05OC027 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z60870520 Keywords : precipitation * spring discharge * evapotranspiration * Norway spruce * grassland * roots Subject RIV: GK - Forestry

  6. Behavior of spring discharge dynamic at forest and Grassland mountain catchments

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Pavelka, Marian; Acosta, Manuel; Janouš, Dalibor; Czerný, Radek; Tomášková, Ivana

    2007-01-01

    Roč. 20, č. 1 (2007), s. 55-60 ISSN 1803-2451 R&D Projects: GA MŠk 1P05OC027 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z60870520 Keywords : precipitation * spring discharge * evapotranspiration * Norway spruce * grassland * roots Subject RIV: GK - Forestry

  7. Seasonal and Interannual Variation in Energy Balance in the Semiarid Grassland Area of China

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Qun’ou Jiang

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Near surface energy budget changes have been proved to be induced by the land cover conversion through changing the surface physical properties, which can further impact the regional climate change. This study applies the DLS model to simulate the land cover under the business as usual (BAU scenario and then analyses the seasonal and interannual variation of energy balance in the semiarid grassland area of China based on the simulated land cover with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF model. The results indicate that the grassland will show a growing trend under the BAU scenario. Downward long wave radiation and downward short wave radiation will all have small-scale increase with time going by, while the surface net radiation will decrease from 2030 to 2050. However, there is obvious seasonal variation. Summer has the highest downward long wave radiation and downward short wave radiation, followed by spring and autumn. The lowest are in winter. As for the net surface radiation, there is obvious decrease in southeast of study area due to returning cropland to grassland. Those research conclusions can offer valuable information for the land use planning and relieving the effects of land cover change on climate change at the semiarid grassland area.

  8. Evaluating anthropogenic risk of grassland and forest habitat degradation using land-cover data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kurt Riitters; James Wickham; Timothy Wade

    2009-01-01

    The effects of landscape context on habitat quality are receiving increased attention in conservation biology. The objective of this research is to demonstrate a landscape-level approach to mapping and evaluating the anthropogenic risks of grassland and forest habitat degradation by examining habitat context as defined by intensive anthropogenic land uses at multiple...

  9. 77 FR 9260 - Establishment of Dakota Grassland Conservation Area, North Dakota and South Dakota

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-02-16

    ... under conservation protection. The area's strong and vibrant rural lifestyle, of which agriculture is the dominant land use, is one of the key components to ensuring habitat integrity and wildlife... conservation area are to protect 240,000 acres of wetland and 1.7 million acres of critical grassland habitat...

  10. Microbial transformation of organic matter in soils of montane grasslands under different management

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Uhlířová, Eva; Šimek, Miloslav; Šantrůčková, Hana

    2005-01-01

    Roč. 28, č. 3 (2005), s. 225-235 ISSN 0929-1393 R&D Projects: GA ČR(CZ) GA206/99/1410 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z6066911 Keywords : grassland * mowing * mulching Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour Impact factor: 1.755, year: 2005

  11. Nitrate leaching and nitrous oxide flux in urban forests and grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peter M. Groffman; Candiss O. Williams; Richard V. Pouyat; Lawrence E. Band; Ian D. Yesilonis

    2009-01-01

    Urban landscapes contain a mix of land-use types with different patterns of nitrogen (N) cycling and export. We measured nitrate (NO3-) leaching and soil:atmosphere nitrous oxide (N2O) flux in four urban grassland and eight forested long-term study plots in the Baltimore, Maryland metropolitan area....

  12. 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...

  13. The history of widespread decrease in oak dominance exemplified in a grassland--forest landscape

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brice B. Hanberry; Daniel C. Dey; Hong S. He

    2014-01-01

    Regionally-distinctive open oak forest ecosystems have been replaced either by intensive agriculture and grazing fields or by denser forests throughout eastern North America and Europe. To quantify changes in tree communities and density in the Missouri Plains, a grassland-forest landscape, we used historical surveys from1815 to 1864 and current surveys from 2004 to...

  14. Population ecology of rodents of maize fields and grassland in central Ethiopia

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bekel'e, Afework; Leirs, Herwig

    1997-01-01

    of A.dembeensis reached high values in the grassland. Breeding was seasonal and related to rainfall periods: extended rainy seasons resulting in longer periods with breeding females and higher litter sizes and, consequently, population size increases. These observations suggest that rodent population...

  15. 36 CFR 213.1 - Designation, administration, and development of National Grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-07-01

    ..., Power. Kansas Cimarron Morton, Stevens. Nebraska Oglala Dawes, Sioux. New Mexico Kiowa Colfax, Harding... TENANT ACT BY THE FOREST SERVICE § 213.1 Designation, administration, and development of National... Tenant Act. (c) The National Grasslands shall be administered under sound and progressive principles of...

  16. 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.

  17. LAI and chlorophyll estimation for a heterogeneous grassland using hyperspectral measurements

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Darvishzadeh, R.; Skidmore, A.K.; Schlerf, M.; Atzberger, C.; Corsi, F.; Cho, M.A.

    2008-01-01

    The study shows that leaf area index (LAI), leaf chlorophyll content (LCC) and canopy chlorophyll content (CCC) can be mapped in a heterogeneous Mediterranean grassland from canopy spectral reflectance measurements. Canopy spectral measurements were made in the field using a GER 3700

  18. Lizard community structure across a grassland - creosote bush ecotone in the Chihuahuan Desert

    OpenAIRE

    Menke, Sean B

    2003-01-01

    I investigated the distribution and abundance of lizard species (Aspidoscelis inornatus, Aspidoscelis tesselatus, Aspidoscelis tigris, Aspidoscelis uniparens, Cophosaurus texanus, Crotaphytus collaris, Eumeces obsoletus, Gambelia wislizenii, Holbrookia maculata, Phrynosoma cornutum, Sceloporus magister, and Uta stansburiana) across a desert grassland - creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) ecotone in Dona Ana County, New Mexico. The ecotonal area in the Jomada del Muerto basin has increased drama...

  19. Dry season diets of sympatric ungulates in lowland Nepal: competition and facilitation in alluvial tall grasslands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wegge, P.; Shrestha, A.K.; Moe, S.R.

    2006-01-01

    Based on microhistological analyses of faecal material, we compared the early dry season diets of greater one-horned rhinoceros Rhinoceros unicornis, swamp deer Cervus duvauceli and hog deer Axis porcinus, which inhabit the same alluvial grassland habitat complex in lowland Nepal. Their diets were

  20. A Tale of Two Thresholds: Mistakes and Serendipity in a Desert Grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Semiarid grasslands have crossed thresholds to shrub-dominated states due to heavy grazing episodes and their after-effects. Extreme weather events and restoration actions can catalyze varying degrees of grass recovery. While we understand these thresholds in biophysical terms, we have scarcely expl...

  1. 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...

  2. Irrigation management for optimizing crop production and nitrate leaching on grassland

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hack-ten Broeke, M.J.D.

    2001-01-01

    Six supplementary irrigation management options for grazed grassland were defined and their effects on both agricultural production and nitrate leaching to the groundwater were studied. Data were available from the De Marke experimental farm for sustainable dairy farming. The calibrated and

  3. Seed banks of managed and degraded grasslands in the Krkonoše Mts., Czech Republic

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Handlová, Viola; Münzbergová, Zuzana

    2006-01-01

    Roč. 41, - (2006), s. 275-288 ISSN 1211-9520 R&D Projects: GA ČR GA526/05/0430 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z60050516 Keywords : degradation * mountain grasslands * seed bank Subject RIV: EF - Botanics Impact factor: 1.196, year: 2006

  4. Aboveground vertebrate and invertebrate herbivore impacts on net N mineralization in subalpine grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anita C. Risch; Martin Schutz; Martijn L. Vandegehuchte; Wim H. van der Putten; Henk Duyts; Ursina Raschein; Dariusz J. Gwiazdowicz; Matt D. Busse; Deborah S. Page-Dumroese; Stephan Zimmerman

    2015-01-01

    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...

  5. 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...

  6. Effects of nitrogen fertilization and grazing on the emission of nitrous oxide from grassland

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Velthof, G.L.; Oenema, O. [Nutrient Management Institute NMI, Wageningen Agricultural University, Wageningen (Netherlands)

    1995-12-31

    Nitrous oxide (N2O) is one of the trace gases that possibly contribute to the depletion of stratospheric ozone and to global warming. Soils are a major source of N2O. Thus far, the contribution of agricultural soils and practises in The Netherlands to the total N2O burden of the atmosphere is largely unknown, because in-situ field measurements are scarce. In the research project reported here, effects of nitrogen (N) fertilization, grazing animals and soil type on N2O emission from grassland in The Netherlands were investigated. The aim of these investigations was to provide insight into the major factors that contribute to N2O emission from managed grassland and to provide quantitative N2O emission rates, obtained from field measurements. The research programme was split in three parts. First, a monitoring study, in which fluxes of N2O were measured weekly at four contrasting grassland sites with three different management practices each, during a period of two years. Secondly, field and greenhouse studies, in which the temporal and spatial variability of N2O fluxes, the effects of type and level of N fertilizer application and the effect of groundwater level on N2O emissions from grassland were assessed in detail. Thirdly, model calculations in which the possibilities were assessed of the use of improved nutrient management as tool to reduce N2O losses from dairy farming systems in The Netherlands, using a whole-farm approach. figs., tabs., refs.

  7. 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.

  8. 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...

  9. A functional method for classifying European grasslands for use in joint ecological and economic studies

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hodgson, JG; Montserrat-Marti, G; Cerabolini, B; Ceriani, RM; Maestro-Martinez, M; Peco, B; Wilson, PJ; Thompson, K; Grime, JP; Band, SR; Bogard, A; Castro-Diez, P; Charles, M; Jones, G; Perez-Rontome, MC; Caccianiga, M; Alard, D; Bakker, JP; Cornelissen, JHC; Dutoit, T; Grootjans, AP; Guerrero-Campo, J; Gupta, PL; Hynd, A; Kahmen, S; Poschlod, P; Romo-Diez, A; Rorison, IH; Rosen, E; Schreiber, KF; Tallowin, J; Espuny, LD; Villar-Salvador, P

    2005-01-01

    A simple protocol is presented for a functional classification of European grassland species using attributes that can be quickly and easily measured. These attributes relate to habitat fertility, intensity of grazing and disturbance. As a surrogate for habitat fertility we use leaf nitrogen

  10. 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.

  11. Effects of ecological compensation meadows on arthropod diversity in adjacent intensively managed grassland

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Albrecht, M.; Duelli, P.; Obrist, M.K.; Müller, C.; Schüpbach, B.; Kleijn, D.; Schmid, B.

    2010-01-01

    An important goal of ecological compensation areas (ECAs) is to increase biodiversity in adjacent intensively managed farmland and the agricultural landscape at large. We tested whether this goal can be achieved in the case of the agri-environmental restoration scheme implemented for Swiss grassland

  12. Nitrous oxide fluxes from grassland in the Netherlands. 1. Statistical analysis of flux-chamber measurements

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Velthof, G.L.; Oenema, O.

    1995-01-01

    Accurate estimates of total nitrous oxide (N2O) losses from grasslands derived from flux-chamber measurements are hampered by the large spatial and temporal variability of N2O fluxes from these sites. In this study, four methods for the calculation o

  13. Leaching of dissolved organic and inorganic nitrogen from legume-based grasslands

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kusliene, Gedrime; Eriksen, Jørgen; Rasmussen, Jim

    2015-01-01

    Leaching of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) and dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) is a considerable loss pathway in grassland soils. We investigated the white clover (Trifolium repens) contribution to N transport and temporal N dynamics under a pure stand of white clover and white clover...

  14. Changing tree composition by life history strategy in a grassland-forest landscape

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brice B. Hanberry; John M. Kabrick; Hong S. He

    2014-01-01

    After rapid deforestation in the eastern United States, which generally occurred during the period of 1850-1920, forests did not return to historical composition and structure. We examined forest compositional change and then considered how historical land use and current land use may influence forests in a grassland-forest landscape, the Missouri Plains, where...

  15. Environmental factors influencing the species composition of acidophilous grassland patches in agricultural lanscapes

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Halas, Petr

    2012-01-01

    Roč. 20, č. 1 (2012), s. 16-27 ISSN 1210-8812 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z30860518 Keywords : acidophilous grasslands * hemeroby * patch isolation * regression trees * Bohemian-Moravian Highland Subject RIV: DE - Earth Magnetism, Geodesy, Geography http://www.geonika.cz/CZ/CZresearch/CZMgrArchive.html

  16. Ecosystem services in grassland associated with biotic and abiotic soil parameters

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Eekeren, van N.J.M.; Boer, de Herman; Hanegraaf, M.C.; Bokhorst, J.; Nierop, D.; Bloem, J.; Schouten, T.; Goede, de R.G.M.; Brussaard, L.

    2010-01-01

    Biotic soil parameters have so far seldom played a role in practical soil assessment and management of grasslands. However, the ongoing reduction of external inputs in agriculture would imply an increasing reliance on ecosystem self-regulating processes. Since soil biota play an important role in

  17. Imaging Spectroscopy for On-Farm Measurement of Grassland Yield and Quality

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schut, A.G.T.; Heijden, van der G.W.A.M.; Hoving, I.E.; Stienezen, M.W.J.; Evert, van F.K.; Meuleman, J.

    2006-01-01

    Grassland management has a large influence on the operating cost and environmental impact of dairy farms and requires accurate, detailed, and timely information about the yield and quality of grass. Our objective was to evaluate imaging spectroscopy as a means to obtain accurate, detailed, and rapid

  18. Phenotypic plasticity is a negative, though weak, predictor of the commonness of 105 grassland species

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Dostál, Petr; Fischer, M.; Prati, D.

    2016-01-01

    Roč. 25, č. 4 (2016), s. 464-474 ISSN 1466-822X R&D Projects: GA ČR GA15-09119S Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : niche breadth * temperate grasslands * phenotypic plastic ity Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour Impact factor: 6.045, year: 2016

  19. Grassland to shrubland state transitions enhance carbon sequestration in the northern Chihuahuan Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    M. D. Petrie; S. L. Collins; A. M. Swann; P. L. Ford; M. E. Litvak

    2015-01-01

    The replacement of native C4-dominated grassland by C3-dominated shrubland is considered an ecological state transition where different ecological communities can exist under similar environmental conditions. These state transitions are occurring globally, and may be exacerbated by climate change. One consequence of the global increase in woody vegetation may be...

  20. Edge effects at an induced forest-grassland boundary: forest birds in ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Bird species diversity and guild composition between the edge (5-10 m from the margin) of primary forest abutting grassland and the deep interior (> 500 m from the margin) in the Dngoye Forest Reserve were compared. Edge and interior sites were chosen that were homogeneous with respect to habitat physiognomy i.e. ...

  1. Drivers of carbon dynamics and diagnostic fractions in grassland soils in Bavaria in a changing climate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garcia-Franco, Noelia; Kühnel, Anna; Wiesmeier, Martin; Kiese, Ralf; Dannenmann, Michael; Wolf, Benjamin; Brandhuber, Robert; Treisch, Melanie; Kögel-Knabner, Ingrid

    2017-04-01

    The storage of carbon (C) in grassland soils is affected by two principal controlling factors: management practices and climate change. In particular, mountainous grassland soils may become a source of greenhouse gas emissions under global warming due to large amounts of labile C. In this regard, aggregate-occluded and mineral associated C may play a key role in the mitigation of climate change. Nevertheless, few studies have focused on different soil organic matter (SOM) pools and their main controlling factors in mountainous grassland soils. We analyzed the C development of long-term (1986-2012) monitoring grassland sites in Bavaria using Random Forest models. Sites with low initial C contents showed an increase of C, whereas the opposite trend was observed for sites with high initial C contents. Different controlling factors were related with the two main C trends. In addition, we determined the principal mechanisms involved in the build-up and stabilization of different C pools using a promising physical fractionation method. This method enables the separation of five different SOM fractions by density, ultrasonication and sieving separation: fine particulate organic matter (fPOM), occluded particulate organic matter (oPOM>20µm and oPOM 20 µm; medium + fine silt and clay, soils.

  2. Monitoring Grassland Seasonal Carbon Dynamics, by Integrating MODIS NDVI, Proximal Optical Sampling, and Eddy Covariance Measurements

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Nestola, E.; Calfapietra, Carlo; Emmerton, C. A.; Wrong, Ch. Y. S.; Thayer, D. R.; Gamon, J. A.

    2016-01-01

    Roč. 8, č. 3 (2016), č. článku 260. ISSN 2072-4292 Institutional support: RVO:67179843 Keywords : grassland * NDVI * CO2 flux * optical remote sensing * LUE model * gap filling Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour Impact factor: 3.244, year: 2016

  3. Reliability of Carbon Stock Estimates in Imperata Grassland (East Kalimantan, Indonesia), Using Georeferenced Information

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Yassir, I.; Putten, van B.; Buurman, P.

    2012-01-01

    Knowledge of the spatial distribution of total carbon is important for understanding the impact of regional land use change on the global carbon cycle. We studied spatial total carbon variability using transect sampling in an Imperata grassland area. Spatial variability was modeled following an

  4. Soil carbon changes upon secondary succession in Imperata grasslands (East Kalimantan, Indonesia)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kamp, van der J.; Yassir, I.; Buurman, P.

    2009-01-01

    Soil carbon changes upon secondary succession in Imperata grasslands are important both for their effect on potential production and for possible implications of forest degradation and regeneration on global climate change. We studied the effect of forest regeneration after fire in Imperata

  5. Nitrogen loss from grassland on peat soils through nitrous oxide production.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Koops, J.G.; Beusichem, van M.L.; Oenema, O.

    1997-01-01

    Nitrous oxide (N2O) in soils is produced through nitrification and denitrification. The N2O produced is considered as a nitrogen (N) loss because it will most likely escape from the soil to the atmosphere as N2O or N2. Aim of the study was to quantify N2O production in grassland on peat soils in

  6. Land use change and ecosystem service provision in Pampas and Campos grasslands of southern South America

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Modernel Hristoff, Pablo; Rossing, W.A.H.; Corbeels, M.; Dogliotti, S.; Picasso, V.; Tittonell, P.

    2016-01-01

    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

  7. 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...

  8. Quantifying establishment limitations during the ecological restoration of species-rich Nardus grassland

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Daele, Van Frederik; Wasof, Safaa; Demey, Andreas; Schelfhout, Stephanie; Schrijver, De A.; Baeten, Lander; Ruijven, van Jasper; Mertens, Jan; Verheyen, Kris

    2017-01-01

    Aims: Successful establishment of species-rich Nardus grasslands on ex-agricultural land requires identification and removal of barriers to effective seed germination and seedling survival. Therefore, we investigate how germination and early development are affected by soil conditions from

  9. Assessment of grassland ecosystem conditions in the Southwestern United States. Vol. 1

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deborah M. Finch

    2004-01-01

    This report is volume 1 of a two-volume ecological assessment of grassland ecosystems in the Southwestern United States. Broadscale assessments are syntheses of current scientific knowledge, including a description of uncertainties and assumptions, to provide a characterization and comprehensive description of ecological, social, and economic components within an...

  10. Assessment of grassland ecosystem conditions in the Southwestern United States: Wildlife and fish. Vol. 2

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deborah M. Finch

    2005-01-01

    This report is volume 2 of a two-volume ecological assessment of grassland ecosystems in the Southwestern United States. Broad-scale assessments are syntheses of current scientific knowledge, including a description of uncertainties and assumptions, to provide a characterization and comprehensive description of ecological, social, and economic components within an...

  11. 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.

  12. Alternative use of grassland biomass for biorefinery in Ireland: a scoping study

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    O'Keeffe, S.

    2010-01-01

    The need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependency on fossil fuels has been one of the main driving forces to use renewable resources for energy and chemicals. The integrated use of grassland biomass for the production of chemicals and energy, also known as Green Biorefinery (GBR), has

  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. Impacts of wildfire severity on hydraulic conductivity in forest, woodland, and grassland soils (Chapter 7)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Daniel G. Neary

    2011-01-01

    Forest, woodland, and grassland watersheds throughout the world are major sources of high quality water for human use because of the nature of these soils to infiltrate, store, and transmit most precipitation instead of quickly routing it to surface runoff. This characteristic of these wildland soils is due to normally high infiltration rates, porosities, and hydraulic...

  15. 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.

  16. The Balkan wet grassland vegetation: a prerequisite to better understanding of European habitat diversity

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Hájek, Michal; Hájková, Petra; Sopotlieva, D.; Apostolova, I.; Velev, N.

    2008-01-01

    Roč. 195, č. 2 (2008), s. 197-213 ISSN 1385-0237 Grant - others:GA AV ČR(CZ) KJB6163302 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z60050516 Keywords : climate * vegetation * grasslands Subject RIV: EF - Botanics Impact factor: 1.730, year: 2008

  17. Draught requirement of trailing foot and shallow injection equipment for applying slurry to grassland

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Huijsmans, J.F.M.; Hendriks, J.L.G.; Vermeulen, G.D.

    1998-01-01

    Surface spreading of slurry leads to the inevitable emission of ammonia into the environment. Injection of slurry on grassland reduces these emissions. However, injection of slurry by deep working injector tines with goose foot chisels (wings) requires high draught forces. This type of injection has

  18. Estimates of grassland biomass and turnover time on the Tibetan Plateau

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xia, Jiangzhou; Ma, Minna; Liang, Tiangang; Wu, Chaoyang; Yang, Yuanhe; Zhang, Li; Zhang, Yangjian; Yuan, Wenping

    2018-01-01

    The grassland of the Tibetan Plateau forms a globally significant biome, which represents 6% of the world’s grasslands and 44% of China’s grasslands. However, large uncertainties remain concerning the vegetation carbon storage and turnover time in this biome. In this study, we quantified the pool size of both the aboveground and belowground biomass and turnover time of belowground biomass across the Tibetan Plateau by combining systematic measurements taken from a substantial number of surveys (i.e. 1689 sites for aboveground biomass, 174 sites for belowground biomass) with a machine learning technique (i.e. random forest, RF). Our study demonstrated that the RF model is effective tool for upscaling local biomass observations to the regional scale, and for producing continuous biomass estimates of the Tibetan Plateau. On average, the models estimated 46.57 Tg (1 Tg = 1012g) C of aboveground biomass and 363.71 Tg C of belowground biomass in the Tibetan grasslands covering an area of 1.32 × 106 km2. The turnover time of belowground biomass demonstrated large spatial heterogeneity, with a median turnover time of 4.25 years. Our results also demonstrated large differences in the biomass simulations among the major ecosystem models used for the Tibetan Plateau, largely because of inadequate model parameterization and validation. This study provides a spatially continuous measure of vegetation carbon storage and turnover time, and provides useful information for advancing ecosystem models and improving their performance.

  19. Study on Climate and Grassland Fire in HulunBuir, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Meifang Liu

    2017-03-01

    Full Text Available Grassland fire is one of the most important disturbance factors of the natural ecosystem. Climate factors influence the occurrence and development of grassland fire. An analysis of the climate conditions of fire occurrence can form the basis for a study of the temporal and spatial variability of grassland fire. The purpose of this paper is to study the effects of monthly time scale climate factors on the occurrence of grassland fire in HulunBuir, located in the northeast of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in China. Based on the logistic regression method, we used the moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS active fire data products named thermal anomalies/fire daily L3 Global 1km (MOD14A1 (Terra and MYD14A1 (Aqua and associated climate data for HulunBuir from 2000 to 2010, and established the model of grassland fire climate index. The results showed that monthly maximum temperature, monthly sunshine hours and monthly average wind speed were all positively correlated with the fire climate index; monthly precipitation, monthly average temperature, monthly average relative humidity, monthly minimum relative humidity and the number of days with monthly precipitation greater than or equal to 5 mm were all negatively correlated with the fire climate index. We used the active fire data from 2011 to 2014 to validate the fire climate index during this time period, and the validation result was good (Pearson’s correlation coefficient was 0.578, which showed that the fire climate index model was suitable for analyzing the occurrence of grassland fire in HulunBuir. Analyses were conducted on the temporal and spatial distribution of the fire climate index from January to December in the years 2011–2014; it could be seen that from March to May and from September to October, the fire climate index was higher, and that the fire climate index of the other months is relatively low. The zones with higher fire climate index are mainly

  20. 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

  1. Potential for carbon sequestration and mitigation of climate change by irrigation of grasslands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Olsson, Alexander; Campana, Pietro Elia; Lind, Mårten; Yan, Jinyue

    2014-01-01

    Highlights: • A generic method for climate change mitigation feasibility of PVWPS is developed. • Restoration of degraded lands in China has large climate change mitigation potential. • PV produces excess electricity included in the mitigation potential of the system. • The benefit is higher than if the PV were to produce electricity for the grid only. - Abstract: The climate change mitigation potential of irrigation powered by a photovoltaic water pumping system (PVWPS) to restore degraded grasslands has been investigated using the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2006 Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories for Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use. The purpose of this study is to develop a generic and simple method to estimate the climate change mitigation benefit of a PVWPS. The possibility to develop carbon credits for the carbon offset markets has also been studied comparing carbon sequestration in grasslands to other carbon sequestration projects. The soil carbon sequestration following irrigation of the grassland is calculated as an annual increase in the soil organic carbon pool. The PVWPS can also generate an excess of electricity when irrigation is not needed and the emissions reductions due to substitution of grid electricity give additional climate change mitigation potential. The results from this study show that the carbon sequestration and emissions reductions benefits per land area using a PVWPS for irrigating grasslands are comparable to other carbon sequestration options such as switching to no-till practice. Soil carbon in irrigated grasslands is increased with over 60% relative to severely degraded grasslands and if nitrogen fixing species are introduced the increase in soil organic carbon can be almost 80%. Renewable electricity generation by the PVWPS will further increase the mitigation benefit of the system with 70–90%. When applying the methodology developed in this paper to a case in Qinghai, China

  2. Temporal and spatial changes of land use and landscape in a coal mining area in Xilingol grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guan, Chunzhu; Zhang, Baolin; Li, Jiannan; Zhao, Junling

    2017-01-01

    Coal mining, particularly surface mining, inevitably disturbs land. According to Landsat images acquired over Xilingol grassland in 2005, 2009 and 2015, land uses were divided into seven classes, i. e., open stope, stripping area, waste-dump area, mine industrial area, farmland, urban area and the original landscape (grassland), using supervised classification and human-computer interactive interpretation. The overall classification accuracies were 97.72 %, 98.43 % and 96.73 %, respectively; the Kappa coefficients were 0.95, 0.97 and 0.95, respectively. Analysis on LUCC (Land Use and Cover Change) showed that surface coal mining disturbed grassland ecosystem: grassland decreased by 8661.15 hm2 in 2005-2015. The area and proportion of mining operation areas (open stope, stripping area, waste-dump area, mine industrial field) increased, but those of grassland decreased continuously. Transfer matrix of land use changes showed that waste-dump had the largest impacts in mining disturbance, and that effective reclamation of waste-dump areas would mitigate eco-environment destruction, as would be of great significance to protect fragile grassland eco-system. Six landscape index showed that landscape fragmentation increased, and the influences of human activity on landscape was mainly reflected in the expansion of mining area and urban area. Remote sensing monitoring of coal surface mining in grassland would accurately demonstrate the dynamics and trend of LUCC, providing scientific supports for ecological reconstruction in surface mining area.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. [Edge influence of soil moisture at farmland-grassland boundary in agriculture-pasturage ecotone of northern China].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Hong-lai; Zhang, Wei-hua; Wang, Kun; Zhao, Na

    2009-03-01

    In the agriculture-pasturage ecotone of Northern China, a typical zone with linear boundary of cropland and grassland was chosen to investigate its soil moisture regime, and the moving split-window technique was adopted to study the edge influence of soil moisture at the boundary. The results showed that the edge influence was 10 m, from 6 m within grassland and 4 m within cropland, and was categorized as the acute change type boundary. Accordingly, the farmland-grassland landscape boundary could be divided into three functional zones, i.e., grassland zone, farmland zone, and compositional ecotone zone. Soil moisture content varied abruptly in the ecotone zone, but presented linear distribution in both grassland zone and farmland zone. The average soil moisture content in grassland was about 1 g x g(-1) higher than that in farmland, which was mainly caused by the decreased capillary moisture capacity of farmland. Owing to the different vegetation cover, farmland and grassland had different transpiration and evaporation, which led to the diverse soil moisture regime, making soil water potential changed and water movement from one ecosystem to another possible.

  6. 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.

  7. Spatio-temporal patterns and climate variables controlling of biomass carbon stock of global grassland ecosystems from 1982 to 2006

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xia, Jiangzhou; Liu, Shuguang; Liang, Shunlin; Chen, Yang; Xu, Wenfang; Yuan, Wenping

    2014-01-01

    Grassland ecosystems play an important role in subsistence agriculture and the global carbon cycle. However, the global spatio-temporal patterns and environmental controls of grassland biomass are not well quantified and understood. The goal of this study was to estimate the spatial and temporal patterns of the global grassland biomass and analyze their driving forces using field measurements, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) time series from satellite data, climate reanalysis data, and a satellite-based statistical model. Results showed that the NDVI-based biomass carbon model developed from this study explained 60% of the variance across 38 sites globally. The global carbon stock in grassland aboveground live biomass was 1.05 Pg·C, averaged from 1982 to 2006, and increased at a rate of 2.43 Tg·C·y−1 during this period. Temporal change of the global biomass was significantly and positively correlated with temperature and precipitation. The distribution of biomass carbon density followed the precipitation gradient. The dynamics of regional grassland biomass showed various trends largely determined by regional climate variability, disturbances, and management practices (such as grazing for meat production). The methods and results from this study can be used to monitor the dynamics of grassland aboveground biomass and evaluate grassland susceptibility to climate variability and change, disturbances, and management.

  8. Temporal patterns of vegetation phenology and their responses to climate change in mid-latitude grasslands of the Northern Hemisphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ren, S.; Chen, X.; Qin, Q.; Zhang, Y.; Wu, Z.

    2017-12-01

    Grassland ecosystem is greatly sensitive to regional and global climate changes. In this study, the start (SOS) and end (EOS) date of growing season were extracted from NDVI data (1981 2014) across the mid-latitude (30°N 55°N) grasslands of Northern Hemisphere. We first validated their accuracy by ground observed phenological data and phenological metrics derived from gross primary production (GPP) data. And then, main climatic factors influencing the temporal patterns of SOS/EOS were explored by means of gridded meteorological data and partial correlation analysis. Based on the results of above statistical analysis, the similarities and differences of spring and autumn phenological responses to climate change among North American grasslands, Mid-West Asian grasslands, and Mongolian grasslands were analyzed. The main results and conclusions are as follows. First, a significant positive correlation was found between SOS/EOS and observed green-up/brown-off date (PSOS/EOS (PSOS/EOS can reflect temporal dynamics of terrestrial vegetation phenology. Second, SOS in Mid-West Asian grasslands showed a significant advancing trend (0.22 days/year, PSOS in North American grasslands and Mongolian grasslands was not significant. EOS in North American grasslands (0.31 dyas/year, PSOS/EOS inter-annual fluctuations and hydrothermal factors showed that a significant negative correlation was found between SOS and the pre-season temperature in 41.6% of pixels (PSOS and pre-season rainfall/snowfall in 14.6%/19.0% of pixels (PSOS and EOS are mainly affected by pre-season temperature and pre-season rainfall.

  9. Conserving Prairie Pothole Region wetlands and surrounding grasslands: evaluating effects on amphibians

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mushet, David M.; Neau, Jordan L.

    2014-01-01

    The maintenance of viable and genetically diverse populations of amphibians in the Prairie Pothole Region of the United States depends on upland as well as wetland over-wintering and landscape level habitat features.Prairie pothole wetlands provide important amphibian breeding habitat while grasslands surrounding these wetlands provide foraging habitat for adults, overwintering habitat for some species, and important connectivity among breeding wetlands.Grasslands surrounding wetlands were found to be especially important for wood frogs and northern leopard frogs, while croplands dominated habitat utilized by Great Plains toads and Woodhouse’s toads.Habitat suitability mapping highlighted (1) the influence of deep-water overwintering wetlands on suitable habitat for four of five anuran species encountered; (2) the lack of overlap between areas of core habitat for both the northern leopard frog and wood frog compared to the core habitat for both toad species; and (3) the importance of conservation programs in providing grassland components of northern leopard frog and wood frog habitat.Currently, there are approximately 7.2 million acres (2.9 million hectares, ha) of habitat in the PPR identified as suitable for amphibians. WRP and CRP wetland and grassland habitats accounted for approximately 1.9 million acres (0.75 million ha) or 26 percent of this total area.Continued loss of amphibian habitat resulting from an ongoing trend of returning PPR conservation lands to crop production, will likely have significant negative effects on the region’s ability to maintain amphibian biodiversity. Conversely, increases in conservation wetlands and surrounding grasslands on the PPR landscape have great potential to positively influence the region’s amphibian populations.

  10. Comparison of Modeling Grassland Degradation with and without Considering Localized Spatial Associations in Vegetation Changing Patterns

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yuwei Wang

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available Grassland ecosystems worldwide are confronted with degradation. It is of great importance to understand long-term trajectory patterns of grassland vegetation by advanced analytical models. This study proposes a new approach called a binary logistic regression model with neighborhood interactions, or BLR-NIs, which is based on binary logistic regression (BLR, but fully considers the spatio-temporally localized spatial associations or characterization of neighborhood interactions (NIs in the patterns of grassland vegetation. The BLR-NIs model was applied to a modeled vegetation degradation of grasslands in the Xilin river basin, Inner Mongolia, China. Residual trend analysis on the normalized difference vegetation index (RESTREND-NDVI, which excluded the climatic impact on vegetation dynamics, was adopted as a preprocessing step to derive three human-induced trajectory patterns (vegetation degradation, vegetation recovery, and no significant change in vegetation during two consecutive periods, T1 (2000–2008 and T2 (2007–2015. Human activities, including livestock grazing intensity and transportation accessibility measured by road network density, were included as explanatory variables for vegetation degradation, which was defined for locations if vegetation recovery or no significant change in vegetation in T1 and vegetation degradation in T2 were observed. Our work compared the results of BLR-NIs and the traditional BLR model that did not consider NIs. The study showed that: (1 both grazing intensity and road density had a positive correlation to vegetation degradation based on the traditional BLR model; (2 only road density was found to positively correlate to vegetation degradation by the BLR-NIs model; NIs appeared to be critical factors to predict vegetation degradation; and (3 including NIs in the BLR model improved the model performance substantially. The study provided evidence for the importance of including localized spatial

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. Spatial and temporal relationships between precipitation and ANPP of four types of grasslands in northern China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    GUO Ran; WANG Xiao-ke; OUYANG Zhi-yun; LI Ying-nian

    2006-01-01

    Precipitation is considered to be the primary resource limiting terrestrial biological activity in water-limited regions. Its overriding effect on the production of grassland is complex. In this paper, field data of 48 sites (including temperate meadow steppe,temperate steppe, temperate desert steppe and alpine meadow) were gathered from 31 published papers and monographs to analyze the relationship between above-ground net primary productivity (ANPP) and precipitation by the method of regression analysis. The results indicated that there was a great difference between spatial pattern and temporal pattern by which precipitation influenced grassland ANPP. Mean annual precipitation (MAP) was the main factor determining spatial distribution of grassland ANPP (r2 = 0.61,P < 0.01); while temporally, no significant relationship was found between the variance of AN PP and inter-annual precipitation for the four types of grassland. However, after dividing annual precipitation into monthly value and taking time lag effect into account, the study found significant relationships between ANPP and precipitation. For the temperate meadow steppe, the key variable determining inter-annual change of ANPP was last August-May precipitation (r2= 0.47, P = 0.01); for the temperate steppe, the key variable was July precipitation (r2= 0.36, P = 0.02); for the temperate desert steppe, the key variable was April-June precipitation (r2= 0.51, P <0.01); for the alpine meadow, the key variable was last September-May precipitation (r2 = 0.29, P < 0.05). In comparison with analogous research, the study demonstrated that the key factor determining inter-annual changes of grassland ANPP was the cumulative precipitation in certain periods of that year or the previous year.

  14. 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

  15. Evaluating Anthropogenic Risk of Grassland and Forest Habitat Degradation using Land-Cover Data

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kurt Riitters

    2009-09-01

    Full Text Available The effects of landscape context on habitat quality are receiving increased attention in conservation biology. The objective of this research is to demonstrate a landscape-level approach to mapping and evaluating the anthropogenic risks of grassland and forest habitat degradation by examining habitat context as defined by intensive anthropogenic land uses at multiple spatial scales. A landscape mosaic model classifies a given location according to the amounts of intensive agriculture and intensive development in its surrounding landscape, providing measures of anthropogenic risks attributable to habitat isolation and edge effects at that location. The model is implemented using a land-cover map (0.09 ha/pixel of the conterminous United States and six landscape sizes (4.4, 15.2, 65.6, 591, 5300, and 47800 ha to evaluate the spatial scales of anthropogenic risk. Statistics for grassland and forest habitat are extracted by geographic overlays of the maps of land-cover and landscape mosaics. Depending on landscape size, 81 to 94 percent of all grassland and forest habitat occurs in landscapes that are dominated by natural land-cover including habitat itself. Within those natural-dominated landscapes, 50 percent of grassland and 59 percent of forest is within 590 m of intensive agriculture and/or intensive developed land which is typically a minor component of total landscape area. The conclusion is that anthropogenic risk attributable to habitat patch isolation affects a small proportion of the total grassland or forest habitat area, while the majority of habitat area is exposed to edge effects.

  16. Grassland Growth in Response to Climate Variability in the Upper Indus Basin, Pakistan

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sawaid Abbas

    2015-08-01

    Full Text Available Grasslands in the upper Indus basin provide a resource base for nomadic livestock grazing which is one of the major traditional livelihood practices in the area. The study presents climate patterns, grassland phenology, productivity and spatio-temporal climate controls on grassland growth using satellite data over the upper Indus basin of the Himalayan region, Pakistan. Phenology and productivity metrics of the grasses were estimated using a combination of derivative and threshold methods applied on fitted seasonal vegetation indices data over the period of 2001–2011. Satellite based rainfall and land surface temperature data are considered as representative explanatory variables to climate variability. The results showed distinct phenology and productivity patterns across four bioclimatic regions: (i humid subtropical region (HSR—late start and early end of season with short length of season and low productivity (ii temperate region (TR—early start and late end of season with higher length of season and moderate productivity (iii sub alpine region (SAR—late start and late end of season with very high length of season and the most productive grasses, and (iv alpine region (AR—late start and early end of season with small length of season and least productive grasses. Grassland productivity is constrained by temperature in the alpine region and by rainfall in the humid sub-tropical region. Spring temperature, winter and summer rainfall has shown significant and varied impact on phenology across different altitudes. The productivity is being influenced by summer and annual rainfall in humid subtropical regions, spring temperature in alpine and sub-alpine regions and both temperature and rainfall are contributing in temperate regions. The results revealing a strong relationship between grassland dynamics and climate variability put forth strong signals for drawing more scientific management of rangelands in the area.

  17. 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

  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. Effect of Continuous Agriculture of Grassland Soils of the Argentine Rolling Pampa on Soil Organic Carbon and Nitrogen

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luis A. Milesi Delaye

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Long-term soil organic carbon (SOC and soil organic nitrogen (SON following cultivation of grassland soils (100/120-year tillage (T + 20/30-year no tillage (NT of the Rolling Pampa were studied calibrating the simple AMG model coupled with the natural 13C abundance measurements issued from long-term experiments and validating it on a data set obtained by a farmer survey and by long-term NT experiments. The multisite survey and NT trials permitted coverage of the history of the 140 years with agriculture. The decrease in SOC and SON storage that occurred during the first twenty years by a loss through biological activity was 27% for SOC and 32% for SON. The calibrated model described the SOC storage evolution very well and permitted an accurate simultaneous estimation of their three parameters. The validated model simulated well SOC and SON evolution. Overall, the results analyzed separately for the T and NT period indicated that the active pool has a rapid turnover (MRT ~9 and 13 years, resp. which represents 50% of SOC in the native prairie soil and 20% of SOC at equilibrium after NT period. NT implementation on soils with the highest soil organic matter reserves will continue to decrease (17% for three decades later under current annual addition.

  20. 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.