WorldWideScience

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 (R

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. Dynamics of ammonia exchange with cut grassland: strategy and implementation of the GRAMINAE Integrated Experiment

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. A. Sutton

    2008-08-01

    Full Text Available A major international experiment on ammonia (NH3 biosphere-atmosphere exchange was conducted over intensively managed grassland at Braunschweig, Germany. The experimental strategy was developed to allow an integrated analysis of different features of NH3 exchange including: a quantification of nearby emissions and advection effects, b estimation of net NH3 fluxes with the canopy by a range of micrometeorological measurements, c analysis of the sources and sinks of NH3 within the plant canopy, including soils and bioassay measurements, d comparison of the effects of grassland management options on NH3 fluxes and e assessment of the interactions of NH3 fluxes with aerosol exchange processes. Additional technical objectives included the inter-comparison of different estimates of sensible and latent heat fluxes, as well as continuous-gradient and Relaxed Eddy Accumulation (REA systems for NH3 fluxes.

    The prior analysis established the spatial and temporal design of the experiment, allowing significant synergy between these objectives. The measurements were made at 7 measurement locations, thereby quantifying horizontal and vertical profiles, and covered three phases: a tall grass canopy prior to cutting (7 days, b short grass after cutting (7 days and c re-growing sward following fertilization with ammonium nitrate (10 days. The sequential management treatments allowed comparison of sources-sinks, advection and aerosol interactions under a wide range of NH3 fluxes.

    This paper describes the experimental strategy and reports the grassland management history, soils, environmental conditions and air chemistry during the experiment, finally summarizing how the results are coordinated in the accompanying series of papers.

  5. Dynamics of ammonia exchange with cut grassland: strategy and implementation of the GRAMINAE Integrated Experiment

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. A. Sutton

    2009-03-01

    Full Text Available A major international experiment on ammonia (NH3 biosphere-atmosphere exchange was conducted over intensively managed grassland at Braunschweig, Germany. The experimental strategy was developed to allow an integrated analysis of different features of NH3 exchange including: a quantification of nearby emissions and advection effects, b estimation of net NH3 fluxes with the canopy by a range of micrometeorological measurements, c analysis of the sources and sinks of NH3 within the plant canopy, including soils and bioassay measurements, d comparison of the effects of grassland management options on NH3 fluxes and e assessment of the interactions of NH3 fluxes with aerosol exchange processes. Additional technical objectives included the inter-comparison of different estimates of sensible and latent heat fluxes, as well as continuous-gradient and Relaxed Eddy Accumulation (REA systems for NH3 fluxes.

    The prior analysis established the spatial and temporal design of the experiment, allowing significant synergy between these objectives. The measurements were made at 7 measurement locations, thereby quantifying horizontal and vertical profiles, and covered three phases: a tall grass canopy prior to cutting (7 days, b short grass after cutting (7 days and c re-growing sward following fertilization with ammonium nitrate (10 days. The sequential management treatments allowed comparison of sources-sinks, advection and aerosol interactions under a wide range of NH3 fluxes.

    This paper describes the experimental strategy and reports the grassland management history, soils, environmental conditions and air chemistry during the experiment, finally summarizing how the results are coordinated in the accompanying series of papers.

  6. The Importance of Being First: Exploring Priority and Diversity Effects in a Grassland Field Experiment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weidlich, Emanuela W A; von Gillhaussen, Philipp; Delory, Benjamin M; Blossfeld, Stephan; Poorter, Hendrik; Temperton, Vicky M

    2016-01-01

    Diversity of species and order of arrival can have strong effects on ecosystem functioning and community composition, but these two have rarely been explicitly combined in experimental setups. We measured the effects of both species diversity and order of arrival on ecosystem function and community composition in a grassland field experiment, thus combining biodiversity and assembly approaches. We studied the effect of order of arrival of three plant functional groups (PFGs: grasses, legumes, and non-leguminous forbs) and of sowing low and high diversity seed mixtures (9 or 21 species) on species composition and aboveground biomass. The experiment was set up in two different soil types. Differences in PFG order of arrival affected the biomass, the number of species and community composition. As expected, we found higher aboveground biomass when sowing legumes before the other PFGs, but this effect was not continuous over time. We did not find a positive effect of sown diversity on aboveground biomass (even if it influenced species richness as expected). No interaction were found between the two studied factors. We found that sowing legumes first may be a good method for increasing productivity whilst maintaining diversity of central European grasslands, although the potential for long-lasting effects needs further study. In addition, the mechanisms behind the non-continuous priority effects we found need to be further researched, taking weather and plant-soil feedbacks into account.

  7. The Importance of Being First: Exploring Priority and Diversity Effects in a Grassland Field Experiment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weidlich, Emanuela W. A.; von Gillhaussen, Philipp; Delory, Benjamin M.; Blossfeld, Stephan; Poorter, Hendrik; Temperton, Vicky M.

    2017-01-01

    Diversity of species and order of arrival can have strong effects on ecosystem functioning and community composition, but these two have rarely been explicitly combined in experimental setups. We measured the effects of both species diversity and order of arrival on ecosystem function and community composition in a grassland field experiment, thus combining biodiversity and assembly approaches. We studied the effect of order of arrival of three plant functional groups (PFGs: grasses, legumes, and non-leguminous forbs) and of sowing low and high diversity seed mixtures (9 or 21 species) on species composition and aboveground biomass. The experiment was set up in two different soil types. Differences in PFG order of arrival affected the biomass, the number of species and community composition. As expected, we found higher aboveground biomass when sowing legumes before the other PFGs, but this effect was not continuous over time. We did not find a positive effect of sown diversity on aboveground biomass (even if it influenced species richness as expected). No interaction were found between the two studied factors. We found that sowing legumes first may be a good method for increasing productivity whilst maintaining diversity of central European grasslands, although the potential for long-lasting effects needs further study. In addition, the mechanisms behind the non-continuous priority effects we found need to be further researched, taking weather and plant-soil feedbacks into account. PMID:28119707

  8. 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

  9. Testing the link between functional diversity and ecosystem functioning in a Minnesota grassland experiment.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christopher M Clark

    Full Text Available The functional diversity of a community can influence ecosystem functioning and reflects assembly processes. The large number of disparate metrics used to quantify functional diversity reflects the range of attributes underlying this concept, generally summarized as functional richness, functional evenness, and functional divergence. However, in practice, we know very little about which attributes drive which ecosystem functions, due to a lack of field-based tests. Here we test the association between eight leading functional diversity metrics (Rao's Q, FD, FDis, FEve, FDiv, convex hull volume, and species and functional group richness that emphasize different attributes of functional diversity, plus 11 extensions of these existing metrics that incorporate heterogeneous species abundances and trait variation. We assess the relationships among these metrics and compare their performances for predicting three key ecosystem functions (above- and belowground biomass and light capture within a long-term grassland biodiversity experiment. Many metrics were highly correlated, although unique information was captured in FEve, FDiv, and dendrogram-based measures (FD that were adjusted by abundance. FD adjusted by abundance outperformed all other metrics in predicting both above- and belowground biomass, although several others also performed well (e.g. Rao's Q, FDis, FDiv. More generally, trait-based richness metrics and hybrid metrics incorporating multiple diversity attributes outperformed evenness metrics and single-attribute metrics, results that were not changed when combinations of metrics were explored. For light capture, species richness alone was the best predictor, suggesting that traits for canopy architecture would be necessary to improve predictions. Our study provides a comprehensive test linking different attributes of functional diversity with ecosystem function for a grassland system.

  10. Testing the link between functional diversity and ecosystem functioning in a Minnesota grassland experiment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, Christopher M; Flynn, Dan F B; Butterfield, Bradley J; Reich, Peter B

    2012-01-01

    The functional diversity of a community can influence ecosystem functioning and reflects assembly processes. The large number of disparate metrics used to quantify functional diversity reflects the range of attributes underlying this concept, generally summarized as functional richness, functional evenness, and functional divergence. However, in practice, we know very little about which attributes drive which ecosystem functions, due to a lack of field-based tests. Here we test the association between eight leading functional diversity metrics (Rao's Q, FD, FDis, FEve, FDiv, convex hull volume, and species and functional group richness) that emphasize different attributes of functional diversity, plus 11 extensions of these existing metrics that incorporate heterogeneous species abundances and trait variation. We assess the relationships among these metrics and compare their performances for predicting three key ecosystem functions (above- and belowground biomass and light capture) within a long-term grassland biodiversity experiment. Many metrics were highly correlated, although unique information was captured in FEve, FDiv, and dendrogram-based measures (FD) that were adjusted by abundance. FD adjusted by abundance outperformed all other metrics in predicting both above- and belowground biomass, although several others also performed well (e.g. Rao's Q, FDis, FDiv). More generally, trait-based richness metrics and hybrid metrics incorporating multiple diversity attributes outperformed evenness metrics and single-attribute metrics, results that were not changed when combinations of metrics were explored. For light capture, species richness alone was the best predictor, suggesting that traits for canopy architecture would be necessary to improve predictions. Our study provides a comprehensive test linking different attributes of functional diversity with ecosystem function for a grassland system.

  11. 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.

  12. BUGS in the analysis of biodiversity experiments: species richness and composition are of similar importance for grassland productivity.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andy Hector

    Full Text Available The idea that species diversity can influence ecosystem functioning has been controversial and its importance relative to compositional effects hotly debated. Unfortunately, assessing the relative importance of different explanatory variables in complex linear models is not simple. In this paper we assess the relative importance of species richness and species composition in a multilevel model analysis of net aboveground biomass production in grassland biodiversity experiments by estimating variance components for all explanatory variables. We compare the variance components using a recently introduced graphical Bayesian ANOVA. We show that while the use of test statistics and the R² gives contradictory assessments, the variance components analysis reveals that species richness and composition are of roughly similar importance for primary productivity in grassland biodiversity experiments.

  13. Soil N transformations and its controlling factors in temperate grasslands in China: A study from 15N tracing experiment to literature synthesis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Jing; Wang, Liang; Feng, Xiaojuan; Hu, Huifeng; Cai, Zucong; Müller, Christoph; Zhang, Jinbo

    2016-12-01

    Temperate grasslands in arid and semiarid regions cover about 40% of the total land area in China. So far, only a few studies have studied the N transformations in these important ecosystems. In the present study, soil gross N transformation rates in Inner Mongolia temperate grasslands in China were determined using a 15N tracing experiment and combined with a literature synthesis to identify the soil N transformation characteristics and their controlling factors in a global perspective. Our results showed that the rates of gross N mineralization and immobilization NH4+ were significantly lower, while autotrophic nitrification rates were significantly higher in Chinese temperate grassland soils compared to other regions in the world. In particular, the primary mineral N consumption processes, i.e., immobilization of NO3- and NH4+, and dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium, were on average much lower in temperate grassland soils in China, compared to other temperate grassland regions. The reduced heterotrophic activity and microbial growth associated with lower soil organic carbon and arid climate (e.g., mean annual precipitation) were identified as the main factors regulating soil N cycling in the studied regions in China. To restrict NO3- accumulation and associated high risks of N losses in these arid and semiarid ecosystems in China, it is important to develop the regimes of soil organic C and water management that promote the retention of N in these grassland ecosystems.

  14. Rutog Grasslands

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    YANEFNG

    2005-01-01

    The Rutog Grasslands lie at the foot of Milha in between the Lhasa and Gongbo areas,and are relatively close to Lhasa. To appreciate the scenery there, we left the Lhasa River Valley, and struck out upstream along the Mezhumi River to the Wose River that cuts through the Rutog Grasslands.

  15. Validation of SSiB Model over Grassland with CHeRES Field Experiment Data in 2001

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    孙岚; 薛永康

    2004-01-01

    The Simplified Simple Biosphere model (SSiB) is validated in off-line simulations against field measurements in the summer of 2001 from the China Heavy Rainfall Experiment and Study (CHeRES) over a grassland site located in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. When initialized and driven by the observed atmospheric forcing, the model reproduced the observed surface heat fluxes and surface skin temperature realistically. The model was also able to well simulate the variation of soil water content. The sensitivity experiments found that the leaf reflectance was the most significant parameter in improving the estimation of surface albedo during both wet and dry periods. This study suggests that the model is capable of simulating the physical processes and of assessing the impact of biophysical parameters that relate to land-atmosphere interactions over the eastern Asian monsoon regions, which is crucial for mesoscale atmospheric models.

  16. Climatic controls on leaf litter decomposition across European forests and grasslands revealed by reciprocal litter transplantation experiments

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Portillo-Estrada, Miguel; Pihlatie, Mari; Korhonen, Janne F. J.

    2016-01-01

    Carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycling under future climate change is associated with large uncertainties in litter decomposition and the turnover of soil C and N. In addition, future conditions (especially altered precipitation regimes and warming) are expected to result in changes in vegetation...... composition, and accordingly in litter species and chemical composition, but it is unclear how such changes could potentially alter litter decomposition. Litter transplantation experiments were carried out across six European sites (four forests and two grasslands) spanning a large geographical and climatic...... gradient (5.6-11.4 degrees C in annual temperature 511-878mm in precipitation) to gain insight into the climatic controls on litter decomposition as well as the effect of litter origin and species.The decomposition k rates were overall higher in warmer and wetter sites than in colder and drier sites...

  17. Interpretation of results from on-farm experiments: manure-nitrogen recovery on grassland as affected by manure quality and application technique. 2. A sociological analysis

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ploeg, van der J.D.; Groot, J.C.J.; Verhoeven, F.P.M.; Lantinga, E.A.

    2007-01-01

    This article discusses the outcomes of a re-analysis of a grassland experiment, by locating it within the wider institutional context composed of well-established routines used in agronomic research and the dominant epistemological tradition of agricultural sciences. It is argued that both, research

  18. Interpretation of results from on-farm experiments: manure-nitrogen recovery on grassland as affected by manure quality and application technique. 1. An agronomic analysis

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Groot, J.C.J.; Ploeg, van der J.D.; Verhoeven, F.P.M.; Lantinga, E.A.

    2007-01-01

    In a 5-year field experiment, a comparison was made between the manure application practices of two adjacent dairy farms in the north of the Netherlands. Grassland management systems at Drogeham and Harkema contrasted in manure application technique (surface application versus shallow injection,

  19. Seasonal Variation in the NDVI–Species Richness Relationship in a Prairie Grassland Experiment (Cedar Creek

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ran Wang

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available Species richness generally promotes ecosystem productivity, although the shape of the relationship varies and remains the subject of debate. One reason for this uncertainty lies in the multitude of methodological approaches to sampling biodiversity and productivity, some of which can be subjective. Remote sensing offers new, objective ways of assessing productivity and biodiversity. In this study, we tested the species richness–productivity relationship using a common remote sensing index, the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI, as a measure of productivity in experimental prairie grassland plots (Cedar Creek. Our study spanned a growing season (May to October, 2014 to evaluate dynamic changes in the NDVI–species richness relationship through time and in relation to environmental variables and phenology. We show that NDVI, which is strongly associated with vegetation percent cover and biomass, is related to biodiversity for this prairie site, but it is also strongly influenced by other factors, including canopy growth stage, short-term water stress and shifting flowering patterns. Remarkably, the NDVI-biodiversity correlation peaked at mid-season, a period of warm, dry conditions and anthesis, when NDVI reached a local minimum. These findings confirm a positive, but dynamic, productivity–diversity relationship and highlight the benefit of optical remote sensing as an objective and non-invasive tool for assessing diversity–productivity relationships.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sutton, M. A.; Nemitz, E.; Milford, C.; Campbell, C.; Erisman, J. W.; Hensen, A.; Cellier, P.; David, M.; Loubet, B.; Personne, E.; Schjoerring, J. K.; Mattsson, M.; Dorsey, J. R.; Gallagher, M. W.; Horvath, L.; Weidinger, T.; Meszaros, R.; Dämmgen, U.; Neftel, A.; Herrmann, B.; Lehman, B. E.; Flechard, C.; Burkhardt, J.

    2009-12-01

    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 300 000, respectively. Cuvette and within-canopy analyses confirmed the role of leaf litter NH3 emission, which, prior to cutting, was mostly recaptured within the canopy. Measured ammonia fluxes were compared with three models: an ecosystem model

  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

    2009-01-01

    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 compared with before the cut (−60 to 40 ng m−2 s.

    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 sources of NH3 emission appeared to be leaf litter and the soil surface, with Γ up to 3 million and 300 000

  2. Biological and climatic controls on leaf litter decomposition across European forests and grasslands revealed by reciprocal litter transplantation experiments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Portillo-Estrada, M.; Pihlatie, M.; Korhonen, J. F. J.; Levula, J.; Frumau, A. K. F.; Ibrom, A.; Lembrechts, J. J.; Morillas, L.; Horváth, L.; Jones, S. K.; Niinemets, Ü.

    2015-11-01

    Projection of carbon and nitrogen cycles to future climates is associated with large uncertainties, in particular due to uncertainties how changes in climate alter soil turnover, including litter decomposition. In addition, future conditions are expected to result in changes in vegetation composition, and accordingly in litter type and quality, but it is unclear how such changes could potentially alter litter decomposition. Litter transplantation experiments were carried out across 6 European sites (4 forest and 2 grasslands) spanning a large geographical and climatic gradient (5.6-11.4 °C in annual temperature 511-878 mm in precipitation) to gain insight into biological (litter origin and type, soil type) and climatic controls on litter decomposition. The decomposition k rates were overall higher in warmer and wetter sites than in colder and drier sites, and positively correlated to the litter total specific leaf area. Also, litter N content increased as less litter mass remained and decay went further. Surprisingly, this study demonstrates that climatic controls on litter decomposition are quantitatively more important than species, litter origin and soil type. Cumulative climatic variables, precipitation and air temperature (ignoring days with air temperatures below 0 °C), were appropriate to predict the litter remaining mass during decomposition (Mr). And Mr and cumulative air temperature were found to be the best predictors for litter carbon and nitrogen remaining during decomposition. We concluded with an equation for predicting the decomposition k rate by using mean annual air temperature and litter total specific leaf area.

  3. Climatic controls on leaf litter decomposition across European forests and grasslands revealed by reciprocal litter transplantation experiments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Portillo-Estrada, Miguel; Pihlatie, Mari; Korhonen, Janne F. J.; Levula, Janne; Frumau, Arnoud K. F.; Ibrom, Andreas; Lembrechts, Jonas J.; Morillas, Lourdes; Horváth, László; Jones, Stephanie K.; Niinemets, Ülo

    2016-03-01

    Carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycling under future climate change is associated with large uncertainties in litter decomposition and the turnover of soil C and N. In addition, future conditions (especially altered precipitation regimes and warming) are expected to result in changes in vegetation composition, and accordingly in litter species and chemical composition, but it is unclear how such changes could potentially alter litter decomposition. Litter transplantation experiments were carried out across six European sites (four forests and two grasslands) spanning a large geographical and climatic gradient (5.6-11.4 °C in annual temperature 511-878 mm in precipitation) to gain insight into the climatic controls on litter decomposition as well as the effect of litter origin and species. The decomposition k rates were overall higher in warmer and wetter sites than in colder and drier sites, and positively correlated with the litter total specific leaf area. Also, litter N content increased as less litter mass remained and decay went further. Surprisingly, this study demonstrates that climatic controls on litter decomposition are quantitatively more important than species or site of origin. Cumulative climatic variables, precipitation, soil water content and air temperature (ignoring days with air temperatures below zero degrees Celsius), were appropriate to predict the litter remaining mass during decomposition (Mr). Mr and cumulative air temperature were found to be the best predictors for litter carbon and nitrogen remaining during the decomposition. Using mean annual air temperature, precipitation, soil water content and litter total specific leaf area as parameters we were able to predict the annual decomposition rate (k) accurately.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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...

  7. Energy balance comparison of the Hartheim forest and an adjacent grassland site during the HartX experiment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wicke, W.; Bernhofer, Ch.

    1996-03-01

    Energy balance components over a grassland surface were compared to those obtained above an adjacent, uniform Scots pine plantation during a five-day period of fine, sunny, spring weather. Soils were judged to contain ample water. Shortwave and total radiation flux densities were measured at both sites with pyranometers and total pyrradiometers. Soil heat flux densities were measured with heat flux plates at both sites, and additional storage changes were estimated for air and canopy at the forest site. The forest gained more shortwave energy than the grassland during daytime because of its lower albedo, but it lost more longwave radiation at night. The turbulent fluxes of sensible and latent energy were evaluated with the Bowen ratio energy balance (BREB) method at both sites. Temperature and humidity gradients were measured with fixed psychrometers at the grassland site, and with interchanging psychrometers at the forest site. Mean daily evapotranspiration (ET) averaged 2.26 mm over the five days for the Scots pine, or only 57 percent of the 3.94 mm measured at the grassland site. The mean Bowen ratios were 2.6 and 0.8, respectively. An error analysis was carried out for the BREB estimates of latent heat flux at the two sites. For a given error in latent heat flux and at a specified Bowen ratio the demands on accuracy of dry- and wet-bulb temperature gradients above the rough forest canopy was found to be 10 times higher than above the smoother grassland. If additionally the observed differences in transpiration rates between the two sites were taken into account, the precision for temperature gradient measurements above the slowly transpiring forest becomes fortyfold greater than required above the rapidly transpiring grass. At present, BREB precision requirements for gradients above rougher, drier canopies appear achievable only through use of specialized instrumentation, such as measurement systems that incorporate interchangeable psychrometers into their

  8. Do grasslands act as a perpetual sink for carbon?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Pete

    2014-09-01

    It is increasingly commonly suggested that grasslands are a perpetual sink for carbon, and that just maintaining grasslands will yield a net carbon sink. I examine the evidence for this from repeated soil surveys, long term grassland experiments and simple mass balance calculations. I conclude that it is untenable that grasslands act as a perpetual carbon sink, and the most likely explanation for observed grassland carbon sinks over short periods is legacy effects of land use and land management prior to the beginning of flux measurement periods. Simply having grassland does not result is a carbon sink, but judicious management or previously poorly managed grasslands can increase the sink capacity. Given that grasslands are a large store of carbon, and that it is easier and faster for soils to lose carbon that it is for them to gain carbon, it is an important management target to maintain these stocks.

  9. Response of aboveground biomass and diversity to nitrogen addition – a five-year experiment in semi-arid grassland of Inner Mongolia, China

    Science.gov (United States)

    He, Kejian; Qi, Yu; Huang, Yongmei; Chen, Huiying; Sheng, Zhilu; Xu, Xia; Duan, Lei

    2016-08-01

    Understanding the response of the plant community to increasing nitrogen (N) deposition is helpful for improving pasture management in semi-arid areas. We implemented a 5-year N addition experiment in a Stipa krylovii steppe of Inner Mongolia, northern China. The aboveground biomass (AGB) and species richness were measured annually. Along with the N addition levels, the species richness declined significantly, and the species composition changed noticeably. However, the total AGB did not exhibit a noticeable increase. We found that compensatory effects of the AGB occurred not only between the grasses and the forbs but also among Gramineae species. The plant responses to N addition, from the community to species level, lessened in dry years compared to wet or normal years. The N addition intensified the reduction of community productivity in dry years. Our study indicated that the compensatory effects of the AGB among the species sustained the stability of grassland productivity. However, biodiversity loss resulting from increasing N deposition might lead the semi-arid grassland ecosystem to be unsustainable, especially in dry years.

  10. Abiotic processes are insufficient for fertile island development: A 10-year artificial shrub experiment in a desert grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Junran; Gilhooly, William P.; Okin, Gregory S.; Blackwell, John

    2017-03-01

    The relative importance of biotic and abiotic processes in the development of "fertile islands" in dryland systems has rarely been investigated. Here we approached this question by using artificial shrubs, which exclude plant litter production and soil nutrient uptake, but retain the functions of trapping windblown material, funneling of stemflow, and differential rain splash. We conducted a vegetation manipulation study more than a decade ago in the desert grassland of southern New Mexico and subsequently revisited the site in 2012 and 2015. The results show that no notable soil mounds were observed under the artificial shrubs; however, soil texture under the artificial shrubs has gradually changed to resemble the patterns of soil particle-size distribution under natural shrubs. Our results highlight that with the exclusion of direct biotic additions, soils captured by shrub canopies are not necessarily fertile and thus do not themselves contribute to the development of fertile islands.

  11. 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.

  12. Experimental fire increases soil carbon dioxide efflux in a grassland long-term multifactor global change experiment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Strong, Aaron L; Johnson, Tera P; Chiariello, Nona R; Field, Christopher B

    2016-11-09

    Numerous studies have demonstrated that soil respiration rates increase under experimental warming, although the long-term, multiyear dynamics of this feedback are not well constrained. Less is known about the effects of single, punctuated events in combination with other longer-duration anthropogenic influences on the dynamics of soil carbon (C) loss. In 2012 and 2013, we assessed the effects of decadal-scale anthropogenic global change - warming, increased nitrogen (N) deposition, elevated carbon dioxide (CO2 ), and increased precipitation - on soil respiration rates in an annual-dominated Mediterranean grassland. We also investigated how controlled fire and an artificial wet-up event, in combination with exposure to the longer-duration anthropogenic global change factors, influenced the dynamics of C cycling in this system. Decade-duration surface soil warming (1-2 °C) had no effect on soil respiration rates, while +N addition and elevated CO2 concentrations increased growing-season soil CO2 efflux rates by increasing annual aboveground net primary production (NPP) and belowground fine root production, respectively. Low-intensity experimental fire significantly elevated soil CO2 efflux rates in the next growing season. Based on mixed-effects modeling and structural equation modeling, low-intensity fire increased growing-season soil respiration rates through a combination of three mechanisms: large increases in soil temperature (3-5 °C), significant increases in fine root production, and elevated aboveground NPP. Our study shows that in ecosystems where soil respiration has acclimated to moderate warming, further increases in soil temperature can stimulate greater soil CO2 efflux. We also demonstrate that punctuated short-duration events such as fire can influence soil C dynamics with implications for both the parameterization of earth system models (ESMs) and the implementation of climate change mitigation policies that involve land-sector C accounting.

  13. An interdisciplinary tillage erosion experiment: establishing a new field in grassland with reconstructed ard plough of the Bronze Age - Iron Age

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pavelka, Jan; Smetanová, Anna; Rejman, Jerzy; Kováčik, Peter

    2017-04-01

    Despite recognising the role of tillage erosion in landforms evolution, little research has documented its effects in prehistoric times. Herein, an interdisciplinary archaeological-geomorphological experiment with reconstructed tillage tools and management was conducted in order to measure tillage erosion when a new field in grasslands was established in the Bronze Age-Iron Age. Three wooden ards were reconstructed based on archaeological findings. They were tested in a cross-tillage experiment, consisting of a tillage pass perpendicular to the primary slope (6.5-9.7%), and a second tillage pass parallel to the primary slope of a convex-convex ridge with mowed grass (0.2 m high, vegetation cover >90%). The standard sole ard proved to be the most effective, with a mean tillage depth of 0.12 m, a mean tillage speed of 3.8 km h-1, and a mean distance between furrows of 0.20-0.25 m. Only 13% of the 264 tracers placed on 6 transects were displaced, and the mean tracers displacement parallel to the primary slope was 0.04 ± 0.17 m. Contour tillage perpendicular to primary slope created V or U shaped furrows with a mean depth of 0.1-0.12 m, a mean width of 0.05-0.1 m, and incision under the main root zone. Only soil in direct contact with the ard was displaced, with a mean translocation distance of 0.06 ± 0.2 m parallel and 0.06 ± 0.3 m perpendicular to the primary slope. During tillage parallel to slope, soil clods of 0.20 x 0.25 x 0.10 m were created and slightly disturbed or turned over one another. The tracers moved within the furrows and with the soil clods. Loose soil, resembling a seedbed, was not covered by soil clods. Mean displacement during the second pass was 0.03 ± 0.19 m parallel and 0.00 ± 0.15 m perpendicular to primary slope. The displacement from cross-tillage with a wooden ard in permanent grasslands was lower than many previously measured values of traditional animal-powered metal ploughs in permanent fields. No relationship between mean soil

  14. Spatio-temporal variation in contrasting effects of resident vegetation on establishment, growth and reproduction of dry grassland plants: implications for seed addition experiments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knappová, Jana; Knapp, Michal; Münzbergová, Zuzana

    2013-01-01

    Successful establishment of plants is limited by both biotic and abiotic conditions and their interactions. Seedling establishment is also used as a direct measure of habitat suitability, but transient changes in vegetation might provide windows of opportunity allowing plant species to colonize sites which otherwise appear unsuitable. We aimed to study spatio-temporal variability in the effects of resident vegetation on establishment, growth and reproduction of dry grassland species in abandoned arable fields representing potentially suitable habitats. Seeds were sown in disturbed (bare of vegetation and roots) and undisturbed plots in three fields abandoned in the last 20 years. To assess the effects of temporal variation on plant establishment, we initiated our experiments in two years (2007 and 2008). Seventeen out of the 35 sown species flowered within two years after sowing, while three species completely failed to become established. The vegetation in the undisturbed plots facilitated seedling establishment only in the year with low spring precipitation, and the effect did not hold for all species. In contrast, growth and flowering rate were consistently much greater in the disturbed plots, but the effect size differed between the fields and years of sowing. We show that colonization is more successful when site opening by disturbance coincide with other suitable conditions such as weather or soil characteristics. Seasonal variability involved in our study emphasizes the necessity of temporal replication of sowing experiments. Studies assessing habitat suitability by seed sowing should either involve both vegetation removal treatments and untreated plots or follow the gradient of vegetation cover. We strongly recommend following the numbers of established individuals, their sizes and reproductive success when assessing habitat suitability by seed sowing since one can gain completely different results in different phases of plant life cycle.

  15. Fire Threatens the Grasslands

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    1995-01-01

    FIRE is herdsmen’s woe. It is said by elderly people that fire almost destroyed the entire grasslands long ago. Few domestic animals survived and with great difficulty the people rebuilt and replanted what they could for many generations. Because of their efforts the grasslands survived. I have never experienced that kind of tragedy, but I could sense the fear in people’s voices when they talked of it. It is actually an unwritten law on the grasslands that whenever a fire occurs, no matter how far away or how dangerous it is, you must go out and fight it.

  16. Farm-gate budget of energy crops: an experiment to assess changes in GHGs balance due to a land use change from grassland to short rotation coppice of poplar

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sabbatini, S.; Arriga, N.; Baiocco, A.; Boschi, A.; Castaldi, S.; Consalvo, C.; Gioli, B.; Matteucci, G.; Tomassucci, M.; Zaldei, A.; Papale, D.

    2012-04-01

    Over the last decades the rising in the prices of oil pushed many farmers all over the Europe to exploit part of their fields to produce biomass for energy. Government funding promoted this trend in order to contrast global warming and Green-House Gases (GHG) emissions. Nevertheless energy crops entail, in addition to a land use change, a sum of treatments that leads again to emissions of GHG. In the context of the GHG-Europe FP7 project we set-up an experiment to study a case of land use change from grassland to Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) of poplar clones in central Italy. Through the Eddy Covariance (EC) technique, we measure carbon and energy fluxes over two different poplar SRC with different ages, and over a reference site (grassland) representing the original land use. Furthermore, we measured additional fluxes such as soil respiration, CH4 and N2O fluxes using chambers. To compute the Farm-Gate Budget (FGB) of both the grassland and the poplar plantations, we collect also additional data that contribute to GHG budget such as management (tillage, fertilizations, irrigations, harvesting) and disturbances. In this poster we present the experiment set-up and the first results resulting from the measurements.

  17. Grassland Management Plan [Draft

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — This grassland management plan is for Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Utah. It includes a summary of the refuge, special considerations for endangered species,...

  18. Native grasslands fertilize themselves

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — News article about Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge and how the native soils and plants function to stimulate the system, creating a more productive grassland.

  19. Fungal and bacterial growth responses to N fertilization and pH in the 150-year 'Park Grass' UK grassland experiment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rousk, Johannes; Brookes, Philip C; Bååth, Erland

    2011-04-01

    The effects of nitrogen (N) fertilization (0-150 kg N ha⁻¹ year⁻¹ since 1865) and pH (3.3-7.4) on fungal and bacterial growth, biomass and phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) composition were investigated in grassland soils from the 'Park Grass Experiment', Rothamsted Research, UK. Bacterial growth decreased and fungal growth increased with lower pH, resulting in a 50-fold increase in the relative importance of fungi between pH 7.4 and 3.3. The PLFA-based fungal:bacterial biomass ratio was unchanged between pH 4.5 and 7.4, and decreased only below pH 4.5. Respiration and substrate-induced respiration biomass both decreased three- to fourfold with lower pH, but biomass concentrations estimated using PLFAs were unaffected by pH. N fertilization did not affect bacterial growth and marginally affected fungal growth while PLFA biomass marker concentrations were all reduced by higher N additions. Respiration decreased with higher N application, suggesting a reduced quality of the soil organic carbon. The PLFA composition was strongly affected by both pH and N. A comparison with a pH gradient in arable soil allowed us to generalize the pH effect between systems. There are 30-50-fold increases in the relative importance of fungi between high (7.4-8.3) and low (3.3-4.5) pH with concomitant reductions of respiration by 30-70%.

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

    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. M

  1. Interannual variation in root production in grasslands affected by artificially modified amount of rainfall.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fiala, Karel; Tůma, Ivan; Holub, Petr

    2012-01-01

    The effect of different amounts of rainfall on the below-ground plant biomass was studied in three grassland ecosystems. Responses of the lowland (dry Festuca grassland), highland (wet Cirsium grassland), and mountain (Nardus grassland) grasslands were studied during five years (2006-2010). A field experiment based on rainout shelters and gravity irrigation simulated three climate scenarios: rainfall reduced by 50% (dry), rainfall increased by 50% (wet), and the natural rainfall of the current growing season (ambient). The interannual variation in root increment and total below-ground biomass reflected the experimentally manipulated amount of precipitation and also the amount of current rainfall of individual years. The effect of year on these below-ground parameters was found significant in all studied grasslands. In comparison with dry Festuca grassland, better adapted to drought, submontane wet Cirsium grassland was more sensitive to the different water inputs forming rather lower amount of below-ground plant matter at reduced precipitation.

  2. Interannual Variation in Root Production in Grasslands Affected by Artificially Modified Amount of Rainfall

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Karel Fiala

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available The effect of different amounts of rainfall on the below-ground plant biomass was studied in three grassland ecosystems. Responses of the lowland (dry Festuca grassland, highland (wet Cirsium grassland, and mountain (Nardus grassland grasslands were studied during five years (2006–2010. A field experiment based on rainout shelters and gravity irrigation simulated three climate scenarios: rainfall reduced by 50% (dry, rainfall increased by 50% (wet, and the natural rainfall of the current growing season (ambient. The interannual variation in root increment and total below-ground biomass reflected the experimentally manipulated amount of precipitation and also the amount of current rainfall of individual years. The effect of year on these below-ground parameters was found significant in all studied grasslands. In comparison with dry Festuca grassland, better adapted to drought, submontane wet Cirsium grassland was more sensitive to the different water inputs forming rather lower amount of below-ground plant matter at reduced precipitation.

  3. Study on Soil and Water Conservation Benefit Models of Grassland Ecosystem-A Case Study on Jianou Mountain Grassland Ecosystem

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ZHU Lian-qi; WANG Yu-biao; ZHAO Qing-liang

    2001-01-01

    This paper studies the mechanism of grassland ecosystem's soil and water conservation function on the basis of two years experiment and inspection in Jianou mountain grassland ecosystem experiment station, Fujian province. After analysis on the data of soil erosion and runoff coefficient, relations between eroded soil. runoff and slope gradient, we establish soil and water conservation benefit models. According to the models, experiment and inspection results, some proposals have been made to decrease the area of soil erosion in Fujian mountainous areas, e. g. , optimizing land use structure in mountainous areas, taking suitable measures for local condition, closing hills for grassland development, accelerating restoration and raising quality of mountain grassland ecosystem, strengthening scientific and technological input, breeding the grass species that are suitable to local physical geographic condition.

  4. Grasslands Inspire Entrepreneur

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    1997-01-01

    THIRTY years ago, then 16-year-old Mu Cunyu left her family in Beijing to settle down on the grasslands ill Dongwuzhumuqin Banner of Xilingele League in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. No one anticipated what the future would bring for this 1.55-meter tall girl. Thirty years later, she proved herself an outstanding entrepreneur managing more than 10 companies with total assets of 1 billion

  5. Carbon storage of Mediterranean grasslands

    OpenAIRE

    Corona, Piermaria; Badalamenti, Emilio; Pasta, Salvatore; La Mantia, Tommaso

    2016-01-01

    Secondary grasslands are one of the most common vegetation types worldwide. In Europe, and in the Mediterranean basin, human activities have transformed many woodlands into secondary grasslands. Despite their recognized role in the global carbon cycle, very few data are available for estimating the biomass of Mediterranean grasslands. We developed linear regression models in order to predict the biomass of two native Mediterranean grasses (Ampelodesmos mauritanicus and Hyparrhenia hirta) and ...

  6. Prevention of natural grassland invasion by Eragrostis plana Nees using ecological management practices

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Telmo Focht

    2012-08-01

    Full Text Available The objective of this research was to evaluate the effects of different types of disturbance on the ability of the natural grassland to avoid the invasion of Eragrostis plana Nees (South African lovegrass. The experiment was carried out in Dom Pedrito, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, in an area free of South African lovegrass, from Feb. 2004 to Apr. 2007. The treatments were: 1 grassland management regimes: exclusion; low grazing intensity (rotational grazing, ±10 cm; and high grazing intensity (continuous grazing, ±5 cm; 2 initial levels of soil disturbance: high grassland, ±10 cm; low grassland, ±5 cm height; and low grassland with scarified soil; 3 fertilization regimes: without fertilization; phosphorus; and nitrogen. The experimental design was a split-split-plot type in complete blocks, with three replicates. Three winter cultivated species - Trefoil repens L., Lotus corniculatus L., Lolium multiflorum Lam. and South African lovegrass -were sown in 54 split-splitplots (split-plots: low grassland, and low grassland with scarified soil. The other 27 split-split-plots (split-plots: high grassland were sown only with South African lovegrass. The grassland height, plant number of South African lovegrass, grassland dry mass and photosynthetic active radiation intercepted (FARint at the soil level were recorded. The fertilization regimes did not influence the South African lovegrass plant number. The initial levels of soil disturbance and grassland management regimes influenced the invasion of South African lovegrass. The invasion was favored by the lower grassland height and lower forage mass, higher intensity of the soil disturbance, and higher FARint due to the continuous grazing. On the contrary, higher grassland height, higher forage mass, lower soil disturbance and lower FARint, associated with rotational grazing or exclusion, showed higher potential to control the invasion of South African lovegrass in the natural grassland.

  7. Grassland responses to precipitation extremes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grassland ecosystems are naturally subjected to periods of prolonged drought and sequences of wet years. Climate change is expected to enhance the magnitude and frequency of extreme events at the intraannual and multiyear scales. Are grassland responses to extreme precipitation simply a response to ...

  8. [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.

  9. Importance and Functions of Grasslands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lucien CARLIER

    2009-06-01

    Full Text Available Grasslands, mixture of grass, clover and other leguminous species, dicotyledonous, herbs and shrubs, 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 and they have aesthetic role and recreational function as far as they provide public access that other agricultural uses do not allow. 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 an adding value by exploiting positive health characteristics in animal products from grassland and through the delivery of environmental benefits. 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. In this article the focus is limited to the grass and clover components of the grasslands.

  10. Birds of Southwestern grasslands: Status, conservation, and management

    Science.gov (United States)

    Michele Merola-Zwartjes

    2005-01-01

    In the Southwestern United States, the grassland avifauna is collectively composed of a mixture of species found primarily in desert grasslands, shortgrass steppe, wet meadows, and alpine tundra (as used here, desert grasslands incorporate both arid grasslands and desert shrub grasslands). Of these habitats, desert grasslands and shortgrass steppe are the most...

  11. Climatic change controls productivity variation in global grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gao, Qingzhu; Zhu, Wenquan; Schwartz, Mark W; Ganjurjav, Hasbagan; Wan, Yunfan; Qin, Xiaobo; Ma, Xin; Williamson, Matthew A; Li, Yue

    2016-05-31

    Detection and identification of the impacts of climate change on ecosystems have been core issues in climate change research in recent years. In this study, we compared average annual values of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) with theoretical net primary productivity (NPP) values based on temperature and precipitation to determine the effect of historic climate change on global grassland productivity from 1982 to 2011. Comparison of trends in actual productivity (NDVI) with climate-induced potential productivity showed that the trends in average productivity in nearly 40% of global grassland areas have been significantly affected by climate change. The contribution of climate change to variability in grassland productivity was 15.2-71.2% during 1982-2011. Climate change contributed significantly to long-term trends in grassland productivity mainly in North America, central Eurasia, central Africa, and Oceania; these regions will be more sensitive to future climate change impacts. The impacts of climate change on variability in grassland productivity were greater in the Western Hemisphere than the Eastern Hemisphere. Confirmation of the observed trends requires long-term controlled experiments and multi-model ensembles to reduce uncertainties and explain mechanisms.

  12. Grassland Management Plan : Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — The Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge Grassland Management Plan provides guidelines for grassland habitat preservation and management. The goals of this plan aim...

  13. Prescribed fire as an alternative measure in European grassland conservation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Valkó, Orsolya; Deák, Balázs; Török, Péter; Tóthmérész, Béla

    2015-04-01

    There are contrasting opinions on the perspectives of prescribed burning management in European grasslands. One hand, prescribed burning can be effectively used with relatively low implementation costs for the management of open landscapes, the reduction of accumulated litter or for decreasing the chance of wildfires. On the other hand burning can also have serious detrimental impacts on grassland ecosystems by promoting the dominance of some problem species (e.g. some competitors or invasive species) and by threatening endangered plant and animal species, especially invertebrates, thus, inappropriate burning can result in a loss of biodiversity in the long run. Our goal was to review the publications on the application of prescribed burning in European grasslands considering general (e.g. timing, frequency and duration) and specific (e.g. types of grasslands, effects on endangered species) circumstances. Even prescribed burning forms an integral part of the North-American grassland management practice, it is rarely applied in Europe, despite the fact that uncontrolled burning occurs frequently in some regions. According to the North-American experiences prescribed burning can be a viable solution for biodiversity conservation and can be a feasible solution for several nature conservation problems. We reviewed prescribed burning studies from Europe and North-America to identify findings which might be adapted to the European grassland conservation strategy. We found that not only the application of fire management is scarce in Europe but there is also a lack of published studies on this topic. European studies - contrary to the North-American practice - usually used yearly dormant-season burning, and concluded that this burning type solely is not feasible to preserve and maintain species-rich grasslands. In North-American grasslands, application of burning has a stronger historical, practical and scientific background; it is fine-tuned in terms of timing, frequency

  14. Avian assemblages on altered grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knopf, Fritz L.

    1994-01-01

    Grasslands comprise 17% of the North American landscape but provide primary habitat for only 5% of native bird species. On the Great Plains, grasslands include an eastern component of tall grasses and a western component of short grasses, both of which have been regionally altered by removing native grazers, plowing sod, draining wetlands, and encouraging woody vegetation. As a group, populations of endemic bird species of the grasslands have declined more than others (including neotropical migrants) in the last quarter century. Individually, populations of the Upland Sandpiper and McCown’s Longspur have increased; the wetlands-associated Marbled Godwit and Wilson’s Phalarope appear stable; breeding ranges are shifting for the Ferruginous Hawk, Mississippi Kite, Short-eared Owl, Upland Sandpiper, Horned Lark, Vesper, Savannah, and Henslow’s sparrows, and Western Meadowlark; breeding habitats are disappearing locally for Franklin’s Gull, Dickcissel, Henslow’s and Grasshopper sparrows. Lark Bunting, and Eastern Meadowlark; and populations are declining throughout the breeding ranges for Mountain Plover, and Cassin’s and Clay-colored sparrows. Declines of these latter three species, and also the Franklin’s Gull, presumably are due to ecological phenomena on their respective wintering areas. Unlike forest species that winter in the neotropics, most birds that breed in the North American grasslands also winter on the continent and problems driving declines in grassland species are associated almost entirely with North American processes. Contemporary programs and initiatives hold promise for the conservation of breeding habitats for these birds. Ecological ignorance of wintering habits and habitats clouds the future of the endemic birds of grasslands, especially those currently experiencing widespread declines across breeding locales.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rowan D. Buhrmann

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available Background: Tropical and subtropical Africa is predicted to experience a rise in temperature. The effects of rising temperatures on temperate grasslands have been studied using open-top chambers (OTCs but reports for tropical/subtropical grasslands are scarce. This study used OTCs to investigate the effects of elevated temperatures on a threatened subtropical grassland type, namely KwaZulu-Natal Sandstone Sourveld (KZNSS.Objectives: To assess the effects of OTCs on selected abiotic parameters and plant productivity within KZNSS.Methods: Five OTC and control plots were randomly distributed at the same altitude within a patch of KZNSS. Air and soil temperature, relative humidity (RH, soil moisture content and light intensity were monitored in all plots in spring, summer, autumn and winter. Biomass production and plant density were measured in each season, for each life form (graminoid, forb and shrub, separately and combined.Results: The OTCs resulted in a rise in average, maximum and minimum day and night, air and soil temperatures. This increase, the degree of which differed across seasons, was accompanied by a decline in RH and soil moisture content. Elevated temperatures led to a significant increase in combined, graminoid and shrub above-ground productivity (AGP and a decrease in forb density, but in certain seasons only. Below-ground biomass production was unaffected by elevated temperatures.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.

  16. 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.

  17. Effects of Plant Diversity, Functional Group Composition, and Fertilization on Soil Microbial Properties in Experimental Grassland: e0125678

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Tanja Strecker; Romain L Barnard; Pascal A Niklaus; Michael Scherer-Lorenzen; Alexandra Weigelt; Stefan Scheu; Nico Eisenhauer

    2015-01-01

    ... in a long-term biodiversity experiment in semi-natural grassland (Jena Experiment). Plant species richness enhanced microbial basal respiration and microbial biomass, but did not significantly affect microbial specific respiration...

  18. The Influence of Land Use on the Grassland Fire Occurrence in the Northeastern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yiping Li

    2017-02-01

    Full Text Available Grassland, as one of the most important ecosystems on Earth, experiences fires that affect the local ecology, economy and society. Notably, grassland fires occur frequently each year in northeastern China. Fire occurrence is a complex problem with multiple causes, such as natural factors, human activities and land use. This paper investigates the disruptive effects of grassland fire in the northeastern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China. In this study, we relied on thermal anomaly detection from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS sensor to identify fire occurrences, and land use data were acquired by Landsat Thematic Mapper/Enhanced Thematic Mapper (TM/ETM. We discussed the relationship between land use and the spatial distribution of grassland fires. The results showed that the impact of land use on grassland fires was significant. Spatially, approximately 80% of grassland fires were clustered within 10 km of cultivated land, and grassland fires generally occurred in areas of intense human activity. The correlation between the spatial distribution of grassland fires and the land use degree in 2000, 2005 and 2010 was high, with R2 values of 0.686, 0.716, 0.633, respectively (p < 0.01. These results highlight the importance of the relationship between land use and grassland fire occurrence in the northeastern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. This study provides significance for local fire management and prevention.

  19. Distance to semi-natural grassland influences seed production of insect-pollinated herbs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jakobsson, Anna; Ågren, Jon

    2014-05-01

    Marginal grassland fragments, such as road verges and field margins, may act as important supplemental habitats for grassland plants in the modern agricultural landscape. However, abundance of pollinators in such fragments has been found to decline with distance to larger natural and semi-natural habitats, and this could have corresponding effects on plant pollination. In this study, we performed a field experiment on road verges with three insect-pollinated grassland herbs to examine the relationship between distance to semi-natural grassland and plant reproductive success in two landscapes with contrasting farming intensities. In Lychnis viscaria and Lotus corniculatus, seed production tended to decrease with increasing distance to semi-natural grassland, but only in the landscape with high farming intensity. Seed production in Armeria maritima spp. maritima decreased with distance in both landscapes. Although many studies have investigated effects of natural habitat on crop pollination, little is known about the impact on pollination in native plants. The results from this study indicate that management of semi-natural grasslands improves not only biodiversity within the actual grassland but also pollination of native plants in the surrounding agricultural landscape.

  20. Bryophyte colonisation and persistense in experimental grassland dominated by vascular plants

    OpenAIRE

    Aude, Erik; Ejrnæs, Rasmus

    2003-01-01

    A three-year multi-factorial microcosms experiment simulating dry grassland was used to test five hypotheses concerning establishment and persistence of bryophytes in grassland vegetation. The experimental treatments included fertilisation, defoliation and species composition of vascular vegetation. ANOVA-modelling showed a significant response of bryophyte species richness to fertilisation (negative) and defoliation (positive). Species composition of vascular vegetation had no effect on bryo...

  1. Surging wildfire activity in a grassland biome

    Science.gov (United States)

    Donovan, Victoria M.; Wonkka, Carissa L.; Twidwell, Dirac

    2017-06-01

    Rapid changes in wildfire patterns are documented globally, increasing pressure to identify regions that may experience increases in wildfire in future decades. Temperate grassland and savanna biomes were some of the most frequently burned regions on Earth; however, large wildfires have been largely absent from the Great Plains of North America over the last century. In this paper, we conduct an in-depth analysis of changes in large wildfire (>400 ha) regime characteristics over a 30 year period across the Great Plains. For the entire biome, (i) the average number of large wildfires increased from 33.4 ± 5.6 per year from 1985 to 1994 to 116.8 ± 28.8 wildfires per year from 2005 to 2014, (ii) total area burned by large wildfires increased 400%, (iii) over half the ecoregions had greater than a 70% probability of a large wildfire occurring in the last decade, and (iv) seasonality of large wildfires remained relatively similar.

  2. Spatial distribution of grassland productivity and land use in Europe

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Smit, H.J.; Metzger, M.J.; Ewert, F.

    2008-01-01

    Grasslands are an important land use in Europe with essential functions for feed and ecosystem service supply. Impact assessment modelling of European agriculture and the environment needs to consider grasslands and requires spatially explicit information on grassland distribution and productivity,

  3. Spatial distribution of grassland productivity and land use in Europe

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Smit, H.J.; Metzger, M.J.; Ewert, F.

    2008-01-01

    Grasslands are an important land use in Europe with essential functions for feed and ecosystem service supply. Impact assessment modelling of European agriculture and the environment needs to consider grasslands and requires spatially explicit information on grassland distribution and productivity,

  4. Efficiency of different methods for seeding grasslands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vesna Očić

    2009-12-01

    Full Text Available In Croatia, the economic effects of different grassland sowing methods are still insufficiently explored. In order to detect the difference between grassland sowing methods a three-year field trialswere performed to determine the production and economic value of grasslands sown by: direct seeding into corn stubble field with row distance of 18 cm (DSK18 or ii 9 cm (DSK9, iii conventional seeding (KS, iv sod-seeding in existing grassland (RPTDS and v natural grassland as control (KPT. In the whole research period the highest average green mass productivity was achieved by conventional seeding (38.84 t/ha, while the lowest green mass yield had natural grassland and sod-seeded natural grassland (10.92 and 11.63 t/ha of green mass. Observed per unit of area, difference in production values ranged from 3276 kn, which was achieved with natural grass to 17.478 kn/ha, which was achieved by conventional seeding. Looking at the production efficiency, direct seeding into corn stubble field with row distance of 9 cm (3.17 has the largest coefficient, while natural grassland is on the economy border with coefficient 1.00. Relations between invested and obtained, which was measured with value of Gross Margin, is in range from 6 kn/ha (natural grassland to 11.420 kn/ha, which was achieved by conventional seeding. Looking at the production of hay, conventional seeding with 7.11 t/ha of hay had the maximum productivity, while the natural grassland and sod-seeded natural grassland had the lowest production (2.87 and 2.86 t/ha.

  5. Interactive effects of grazing, drought, and fire on grassland plant communities in North America and South Africa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koerner, Sally E; Collins, Scott L

    2014-01-01

    Grazing, fire, and climate shape mesic grassland communities. With global change altering all three factors, understanding how grasslands respond to changes in these combined drivers may aid in projecting future changes in grassland ecosystems. We manipulated rainfall and simulated grazing (clipping) in two long-term fire experiments in mesic grasslands in North America (NA) and South Africa (SA). Despite their common drivers, grasslands in NA and SA differ in evolutionary history. Therefore, we expected community structure and production in NA and SA to respond differently to fire, grazing, and drought. Specifically, we hypothesized that NA plant community composition and production would be more responsive than the SA plant communities to changes in the drivers and their interactions, and that despite this expected stability of SA grasslands, drought would be the dominant factor controlling production, but grazing would play the primary role in determining community composition at both sites. Contrary to our hypothesis, NA and SA grasslands generally responded similarly to grazing, drought, and fire. Grazing increased diversity, decreased grass cover and production, and decreased belowground biomass at both sites. Drought alone minimally impacted plant community structure, and we saw similar treatment interactions at the two sites. Drought was not the primary driver of grassland productivity, but instead drought effects were similar to or less than grazing and fire. Even though these grasslands differed in evolutionary history, they responded similarly to our fire, grazing, and climate manipulations. Overall, we found community and ecosystem convergence in NA and SA grasslands. Grazing and fire are as important as climate in controlling mesic grassland ecosystems on both continents.

  6. BVOC fluxes above mountain grassland

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    I. Bamberger

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available Grasslands comprise natural tropical savannah over managed temperate fields to tundra and cover one quarter of the Earth's land surface. Plant growth, maintenance and decay result in volatile organic compound (VOCs emissions to the atmosphere. Furthermore, biogenic VOCs (BVOCs are emitted as a consequence of various environmental stresses including cutting and drying during harvesting. Fluxes of BVOCs were measured with a proton-transfer-reaction-mass-spectrometer (PTR-MS over temperate mountain grassland in Stubai Valley (Tyrol, Austria over one growing season (2008. VOC fluxes were calculated from the disjunct PTR-MS data using the virtual disjunct eddy covariance method and the gap filling method. Methanol fluxes obtained with the two independent flux calculation methods were highly correlated (y = 0.95×−0.12, R2 = 0.92. Methanol showed strong daytime emissions throughout the growing season – with maximal values of 9.7 nmol m−2 s−1, methanol fluxes from the growing grassland were considerably higher at the beginning of the growing season in June compared to those measured during October (2.5 nmol m−2 s−1. Methanol was the only component that exhibited consistent fluxes during the entire growing periods of the grass. The cutting and drying of the grass increased the emissions of methanol to up to 78.4 nmol m−2 s−1. In addition, emissions of acetaldehyde (up to 11.0 nmol m−2 s−1, and hexenal (leaf aldehyde, up to 8.6 nmol m−2 s−1 were detected during/after harvesting.

  7. 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...

  8. Grasslands Management Plan : Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — The goal of this Grassland Management Plan for Tamarac NWR is to provide a variety of quality grasslands, by the year 1999 totaling 2,500 acres and eventually 5,000...

  9. Desert grassland and shrubland ecosystems [chapter 5

    Science.gov (United States)

    Samuel R. Loftin; Richard Agllilar; Alice L. Chung-MacCoubrey; Wayne A. Robbie

    1995-01-01

    The productivity, stability, and health of the Middle Rio Grande Basin, arid and semiarid grassland and shrub land ecosystems depend upon complex interactions. These relationships occur between factors such as climate, domestic livestock, and wildlife use, and human activities such as urban development, agriculture, and recreation. These grassland/ shrub land...

  10. Experience with fermentation of grass and grass silage from extensively used grassland. Feasibility study on monofermentation of grass silage from contaminated sites - biomass from grasslands of the Elbe dyke foreland; Betriebserfahrungen mit der Vergaerung von Gras und Grassilagen von extensiv genutztem Gruenland. Machbarkeitsuntersuchung zur Monovergaerung von Grassilagen schadstoffkontaminierter Standorte am Beispiel der eingesetzten Biomasse von Gruenlandflaechen aus dem Deichvorland der Elbe

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Heuer, Hans-Juergen [Landwirtschaftskammer Niedersachsen, Bezirksstelle Uelzen (Germany)

    2011-07-01

    This feasibility study was concluded in 2011; monofermentation of grass silage from contaminated sites of the Elbe dyke foreland was investigated. It was found that a biogas operated in monofermentation of grass silage from extensively used grasslands is technically and economically feasible in batch operation. It was also shown that the fermentation residue can be used as agricultural fertilizer, provided that it is first turned in a compost turning unit and then worked into the soil. In view of the high pollutant concentration of the soils in the Elbe dyke foreland, the results of the project give the agricultural businesses in the Elbe valley grasslands an alternative use of the land. [German] Die Machbarkeitsuntersuchung zur Monovergaerung von Grassilagen schadstoffkontaminierter Standorte am Beispiel der eingesetzten Biomasse von Gruenlandflaechen aus dem Deichvorland der Elbe wurde Anfang Mai 2011 abgeschlossen. Im Ergebnis wurde herausgearbeitet, dass sich eine Biogaslage im Monovergaerungsverfahren mit ausschliesslich nur Grassilagen von extensiv gefuehrten Gruenlandflaechen technisch und wirtschaftlich in einer Batch-Anlage betreiben laesst. Auch wurde der Nachweis gefuehrt, dass die Biomasse aus dem Deichvorland der Elbe als Gaerrest auf das Gruenland im Deichvorland unter Beruecksichtigung von naturschutzfachlichen Vorgaben und nach den Vorgaben der guten fachlichen Praxis beim Duengen zurueckgefuehrt werden kann. Vor einer Aufbringung auf dem Gruenland sollte der feste Gaerrest jedoch mit einem Kompost-Umsetzer aufbereitet werden. Nach dem Ausstreuen auf dem Gruenland ist der Gaerrest mit einer Wiesenschleppe einzureiben. Vor dem Hintergrund der hohen Schadstoffbelastung der Boeden im Deichvorland der Elbe, tragen die im Projekt erarbeiteten Ergebnisse dazu bei, den landwirtschaftlichen Betriebsleitern in der Elbtalaue eine alternative Nutzung zur bisherigen Lebensmittelproduktion unterbreiten zu koennen.

  11. 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.

  12. Effects of plant species richness on 13C assimilate partitioning in artificial grasslands of different established ages

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, Longhua; Yao, Buqing; Wang, Wenying; Wang, Fangping; Zhou, Huakun; Shi, Jianjun; Zhao, Xinquan

    2017-01-01

    Artificial grasslands play a role in carbon storage on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. The artificial grasslands exhibit decreased proportions of graminate and increased species richness with age. However, the effect of the graminate proportions and species richness on ecosystem C stocks in artificial grasslands have not been elucidated. We conducted an in situ13C pulse-labeling experiment in August 2012 using artificial grasslands that had been established for two years (2Y), five years (5Y), and twelve years (12Y). Each region was plowed fallow from severely degraded alpine meadow in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. The 12Y grassland had moderate proportions of graminate and the highest species richness. This region showed more recovered 13C in soil and a longer mean residence time, which suggests species richness controls the ecosystem C stock. The loss rate of leaf-assimilated C of the graminate-dominant plant species Elymus nutans in artificial grasslands of different ages was lowest in the 12Y grassland, which also had the highest species richness. Thus the lower loss rate of leaf-assimilated C can be partially responsible for the larger ecosystem carbon stocks in the 12Y grassland. This finding is a novel mechanism for the effects of species richness on the increase in ecosystem functioning.

  13. The Influence of Land Use on the Grassland Fire Occurrence in the Northeastern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Yiping; Zhao, Jianjun; Guo, Xiaoyi; Zhang, Zhengxiang; Tan, Gang; Yang, Jihong

    2017-01-01

    Grassland, as one of the most important ecosystems on Earth, experiences fires that affect the local ecology, economy and society. Notably, grassland fires occur frequently each year in northeastern China. Fire occurrence is a complex problem with multiple causes, such as natural factors, human activities and land use. This paper investigates the disruptive effects of grassland fire in the northeastern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China. In this study, we relied on thermal anomaly detection from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor to identify fire occurrences, and land use data were acquired by Landsat Thematic Mapper/Enhanced Thematic Mapper (TM/ETM). We discussed the relationship between land use and the spatial distribution of grassland fires. The results showed that the impact of land use on grassland fires was significant. Spatially, approximately 80% of grassland fires were clustered within 10 km of cultivated land, and grassland fires generally occurred in areas of intense human activity. The correlation between the spatial distribution of grassland fires and the land use degree in 2000, 2005 and 2010 was high, with R2 values of 0.686, 0.716, 0.633, respectively (p fire occurrence in the northeastern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. This study provides significance for local fire management and prevention. PMID:28241476

  14. Forage herbs improve mineral composition of grassland herbage

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pirhofer-Walzl, Karin; Søegaard, Karen; Jensen, Henning Høgh

    2011-01-01

    Provision of an adequate mineral supply in the diets of ruminants fed mainly on grassland herbage can present a challenge if mineral concentrations are suboptimal for animal nutrition. Forage herbs may be included in grassland seed mixtures to improve herbage mineral content, although...... there is limited information about mineral concentrations in forage herbs. To determine whether herbs have greater macro- and micromineral concentrations than forage legumes and grasses, we conducted a 2-year experiment on a loamy-sand site in Denmark sown with a multi-species mixture comprised of three functional......, legumes and herbs. In general, herbs had greater concentrations of the macrominerals P, Mg, K and S and the microminerals Zn and B than grasses and legumes. Slurry application indirectly decreased Ca, S, Cu and B concentrations of total herbage because of an increase in the proportion of mineral...

  15. 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.

  16. Carbon storage of Mediterranean grasslands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Corona, Piermaria

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available Secondary grasslands are one of the most common vegetation types worldwide. In Europe, and in the Mediterranean basin, human activities have transformed many woodlands into secondary grasslands. Despite their recognized role in the global carbon cycle, very few data are available for estimating the biomass of Mediterranean grasslands. We developed linear regression models in order to predict the biomass of two native Mediterranean grasses (Ampelodesmos mauritanicus and Hyparrhenia hirta and an invasive alien grass (Pennisetum setaceum. Ampelodesmos mauritanicus is very common throughout the Mediterranean basin, mostly on north-facing slopes, H. hirta characterizes thermo-xeric grasslands, while P. setaceum is an alien species that is rapidly spreading along coastal areas. The measured morphometric attributes of individual plants as potential predictors were considered. The validation results corroborate the ability of the established models to predict above ground and total biomass of A. mauritanicus and P. setaceum. We also evaluated the total biomass per hectare for each species. The highest biomass per hectare was found for A. mauritanicus, whereas biomass was higher for H. hirta than for P. setaceum. The replacement of H. hirta by P. setaceum may reduce the total carbon storage in the ecosystem; however, P. setaceum allocates more resources to the roots, thus increasing the more stable and durable pool of carbon in grasslands.Los pastizales secundarios son uno de los tipos de vegetación más comunes en todo el mundo. En Europa y en la cuenca mediterránea, las actividades humanas han transformado muchos bosques en pastizales secundarios. A pesar de su reconocido papel en el ciclo global del carbono, hay muy pocos datos disponibles para la estimación de la biomasa de los pastizales mediterráneos. Hemos desarrollado modelos de regresión lineal con el fin de predecir la biomasa de dos gramíneas nativas del Mediterráneo (Ampelodesmos

  17. Grassland Degradation, Construction and the Economic-technological Strategies of Sustainable Development of Grassland-agriculture

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    WANG Hua; YU Hua-ying; OKAMOTO Chinobu; WANG Yu-sheng

    2004-01-01

    Natural grassland in the West of Northeastern China is located in 40° 0′ - 43° 5′ N latitude and 117° 0′ -127° 5′ Elongitude. It lies in the Lisp River Valley, the Songhua River Valley and Nen River Valley. About 130 years ago, this region had rich natural grassland resources, was numerically 26.67 millions in hectare of grasslands.Since the last stage of Qing Dynasty, the grassland has been destroyed seriously in 3 times. Up to now, this region only preserved about 2 millions in hectare of the grasslands. In addition, 3.33 millions in hectare of the grasslands have changed from primary grassland to desertification, salinizatio-nalkalinization and degeneration grasslands in the form of patches of bare soil (their simple form of a name is "3 kinds of degeneration grasslands"). This paper indicaed that in any period both grasslands destruction and its restoration were relevant to economic changes and economic systems,particularly to market economy in that time. The following agricultural economic-technological strategies have been production bases of concentrated feed crops and coarse herbage crops.

  18. Grasshopper (Orthoptera: Acrididae) biodiversity and grassland ecosystems

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ZHONG-WEI GUO; HONG-CHANG LI; YA-LING GAN

    2006-01-01

    Interesting results may arise by combining studies on the structure and function of ecosystems with that of biodiversity for certain species. Grasshopper biodiversity is the result of the evolution of grassland ecosystems; however, it also impacts on the structure and the function of those ecosystems. We consider there to be a close relationship between the health of grassland ecosystems and grasshopper biodiversity. The main problems involved in this relationship are likely to include: (i) grasshopper biodiversity and its spatial pattern; (ii) the effect of grasshopper biodiversity on the ecological processes of grassland ecosystems; (iii) the biodiversity threshold of grasshopper population explosions;(iv) the relationship between grasshopper biodiversity and the natural and human factors that affect grassland ecosystems; and (v) grasshopper biodiversity and the health of grassland ecosystems. The solutions to these problems may provide sound bases for controlling disasters caused by grasshoppers and managing grassland ecosystems in the west of China. In this paper, we introduced two concepts for grasshopper biodiversity, that is, "spatial pattern" and "biodiversity threshold". It is helpful to understand the action of the spatial pattern of grasshopper biodiversity on the ecological processes of grassland ecosystems and the effect of this spatial pattern on the health of those ecosystems, owing to the fact that, in the west of China, grasslands are vast and grasshoppers are widely distributed. Moreover, we inferred that the change in the level of component richness at each type of grasshopper biodiversity can make an impact on grassland ecosystems, and therefore, there is likely to be a threshold to grasshopper biodiversity for the stability and the sustainability of those ecosystems.

  19. 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.

  20. 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 (Prabbit 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 (Prabbit 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 experiments 1, 2 and 3, respectively. The highest growth rate was obtained on the sainfoin grassland despite lower concentrate supplementation. Thus, it seems possible to reduce complete feed supplementation without reducing animal performance. This possibility requires improving

  1. The rise of C4 grassland ecosystems, a climate puzzle

    Science.gov (United States)

    Henderson, A.; Fox, D.; Freeman, K. H.

    2011-12-01

    The expansion of grasslands was one of the most profound ecological changes in the Cenozoic. Understanding the history of forest to grassland transitions, and the development of C4 grasslands in particular, is critical for understanding the relationship between land surface climate feedbacks, seasonality, and temperature. Modern distributions and ecological experiments demonstrate a strong correlation between C4 biogeography and high growing season temperatures and precipitation, as well as low pCO2 concentrations. The rise of C4 grasses in North America, as documented by carbonate nodule and mammal teeth δ13C values, began during a warm period with relatively stable pCO2 in the late Miocene. Surprisingly, C4 grasses continued to expand and then rose to dominance in the Great Plains as climates progressively cooled, moisture availability increased, and ice sheets formed further north on the continent. To understand this seemingly paradoxical scenario, we need constraints on the rate and character of increasing abundances of C4 vegetation. To this end, we use molecular and isotopic tools from terrestrial plant leaf wax n-alkanes extracted from carbonate nodules in the Meade Basin, Kansas and sites in Texas for the past 12 Ma. These records offer site-specific reconstructions tied directly to vegetation source. We compare our results to published continental-scale reconstructions of n-alkanes from the Mississippi River drainage basin and to climate records. From the distribution of C27 to C33 n-alkane abundances and patterns in δ13C values, we infer that C4 grasses coexisted with patches of C3 vegetation, including both grasses and trees. C4 grasses increasingly dominated the landscape, reaching modern abundances as ice sheets were reaching their southern limit in North America. Our results confirm that C4 grasslands emerged under cool and wet conditions, something we would not predict based on modern analogues, raising questions about our understanding of the

  2. Modest enhancements to conventional grassland diversity improve the provision of pollination services.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Orford, Katherine A; Murray, Phil J; Vaughan, Ian P; Memmott, Jane

    2016-06-01

    Grassland for livestock production is a major form of land use throughout Europe and its intensive management threatens biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in agricultural landscapes. Modest increases to conventional grassland biodiversity could have considerable positive impacts on the provision of ecosystem services, such as pollination, to surrounding habitats.Using a field-scale experiment in which grassland seed mixes and sward management were manipulated, complemented by surveys on working farms and phytometer experiments, the impact of conventional grassland diversity and management on the functional diversity and ecosystem service provision of pollinator communities were investigated.Increasing plant richness, by the addition of both legumes and forbs, was associated with significant enhancements in the functional diversity of grassland pollinator communities. This was associated with increased temporal stability of flower-visitor interactions at the community level. Visitation networks revealed pasture species Taraxacum sp. (Wigg.) (dandelion) and Cirsium arvense (Scop.) (creeping thistle) to have the highest pollinator visitation frequency and richness. Cichorium intybus (L.) (chichory) was highlighted as an important species having both high pollinator visitation and desirable agronomic properties.Increased sward richness was associated with an increase in the pollination of two phytometer species; Fragaria × ananassa (strawberry) and Silene dioica (red campion), but not Vicia faba (broad bean). Enhanced functional diversity, richness and abundance of the pollinator communities associated with more diverse neighbouring pastures were found to be potential mechanisms for improved pollination. Synthesis and applications. A modest increase in conventional grassland plant diversity with legumes and forbs, achievable with the expertise and resources available to most grassland farmers, could enhance pollinator functional diversity, richness and abundance

  3. Grassland Management Plan : Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — Grasslands represent a significant habitat type an Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge. The rich diversity of plant and animal communities native to the area can and...

  4. 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...

  5. US Forest Service National Grassland Units

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Forest Service, Department of Agriculture — A map service on the www depicting National Grassland units designated by the Secretary of Agriculture and permanently held by the Department of Agriculture under...

  6. Land Protection Plan: Dakota Grassland Conservation Area

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — This Land Protection Plan for Dakota Grassland Conservation Area provides a description of the project, a description of the area and its resources, threats to the...

  7. The greenhouse gas balance of European grasslands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    P. Ciais

    2010-08-01

    Full Text Available The long-term carbon balance (NBP of grasslands is estimated by combining scarce multi-year eddy-covariance observations at ecosystem observation sites where information on carbon inputs and harvesting removals is available. Following accounting for carbon leached to rivers, we estimated grasslands to be net carbon sinks of 74±10 g C m−2 yr−1. Uncertainties arise from the small number of sites and the short measurement period. Only 11 sites, out of a total of 20 grassland sites in Europe where eddy covariance systems are installed, were set-up for estimating NBP. These 11 selected sites are representative of intensive management practice and we lack information on disturbance history, such as plowing. This suggests that the grassland NBP estimate is likely biased towards overestimating the sink, compared to the European average. Direct measurements of Net Primary Productivity (NPP are not possible in grasslands given permanent biomass removal by grazing and mowing, uncertainties in rhizodeposition and production of volatile organic carbon compounds lost to the atmosphere. Therefore, the grassland process-based ecosystem model PASIM was used to estimate the spatial-temporal distribution of NPP, providing a European average value of 750±150 g C across extensively grazed, intensively grazed pastures, and forage production systems. In Europe the NPP of grasslands seems higher than that of croplands and forests. The carbon sequestration efficiency of grasslands, defined as the ratio of NBP to NPP, amounts to 0.09±0.10. Therefore, per unit of carbon input, grasslands sequester 3–4 times more carbon in the soil than forests do, making them a good candidate for managing onsite carbon sinks. When using the 100 yr greenhouse warming potential for CH4 and N2O, their emissions due to management of grasslands together offset roughly 70–80% of the carbon sink. Uncertainties on the European grassland

  8. Soil disturbance as a grassland restoration measure

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2015-01-01

    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...... target. Species richness and functional diversity both increased in response to soil disturbance, and rotavation, but not ploughing, had a persistent positive effect on the occurrence of specialist species of calcareous sandy grassland. However, no type of soil disturbance caused the plant species...

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. Carbon fluxes from an urban tropical grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ng, B J L; Hutyra, L R; Nguyen, H; Cobb, A R; Kai, F M; Harvey, C; Gandois, L

    2015-08-01

    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 CO2 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 CO2 concentrations. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. Changes in Temperature Sensitivity and Activation Energy of Soil Organic Matter Decomposition in Different Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Jie; He, Nianpeng; Wei, Xuehong; Gao, Yang; Zuo, Yao

    2015-01-01

    Qinghai-Tibet Plateau grasslands are unique geographical regions and store substantial soil organic matter (SOM) in the soil surface, which make them very sensitive to global climate change. Here, we focused on three main grassland types (alpine meadow, steppe, and desert) and conducted a soil incubation experiment at five different temperatures (5, 10, 15, 20, and 25°C) to investigate SOM decomposition rates (R), temperature sensitivity (Q10), and activation energy (Ea). The results showed that grassland type and incubation temperature had significant impact on R (P alpinesteppe > alpine desert. The Q10 values differed significantly among different grasslands, and the overall trends were as follows: alpine meadow (1.56 ± 0.09) < alpine steppe (1.88 ± 0.23) < alpine desert (2.39 ± 0.32). Moreover, the Ea values differed significantly across different grassland types (P < 0.001) and increased with increasing incubation time. The exponential negative correlations between Ea and R at 20°C across all grassland types (all Ps < 0.001) indicated that the substrate-quality temperature hypothesis is applicable to the alpine grasslands. Our findings provide new insights for understanding the responses of SOM decomposition and storage to warming scenarios in this Plateau.

  13. Effects of extreme drought on grasslands Evaluation of the buffering effect of plant diversity using an experimental approach

    OpenAIRE

    2014-01-01

    The frequency and magnitude of extreme drought events are expected to increase with climate change. Consequently, it is important to assess the ability of temperate grassland to resist and recover from more frequent and intense drought stress. To study this topic, we established a mesocosm experiment in autumn 2012: large pots (100 L) containing combinations of grassland species (1, 2 or 5 species) were placed on weighing scales to continuously measure the actual evapotranspiratio...

  14. [Perspectives in researches on grassland ecology for the early 21st century in China].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liang, Cunzhu; Zhu, Tingcheng; Wang, Deli; Lü, Xinlong

    2002-06-01

    Grassland degeneration is a prominent problem in China. More in-depth studies should be carried out on the key problem--grassland degeneration for Chinese grassland ecologists in the early 21st century. Some hot research fields were restoration ecology, interface ecology, grazing ecology, health diagnoses and evaluation for grasslands. Among them, restoration ecology was the foundation for restoring degenerative grasslands; interface ecology involved with the point of contact for analyzing degenerative grasslands; grazing ecology was the effective way to control degenerative grasslands; diagnoses of grassland health benefited accurately appraising degenerative levels of grasslands; and evaluation for grassland was also considered as an estimation on services and benefits of grassland ecosystems.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Madagascar's grasses and grasslands: anthropogenic or natural?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vorontsova, Maria S; Besnard, Guillaume; Forest, Félix; Malakasi, Panagiota; Moat, Justin; Clayton, W Derek; Ficinski, Paweł; Savva, George M; Nanjarisoa, Olinirina P; Razanatsoa, Jacqueline; Randriatsara, Fetra O; Kimeu, John M; Luke, W R Quentin; Kayombo, Canisius; Linder, H Peter

    2016-01-27

    Grasses, by their high productivity even under very low pCO2, their ability to survive repeated burning and to tolerate long dry seasons, have transformed the terrestrial biomes in the Neogene and Quaternary. The expansion of grasslands at the cost of biodiverse forest biomes in Madagascar is often postulated as a consequence of the Holocene settlement of the island by humans. However, we show that the Malagasy grass flora has many indications of being ancient with a long local evolutionary history, much predating the Holocene arrival of humans. First, the level of endemism in the Madagascar grass flora is well above the global average for large islands. Second, a survey of many of the more diverse areas indicates that there is a very high spatial and ecological turnover in the grass flora, indicating a high degree of niche specialization. We also find some evidence that there are both recently disturbed and natural stable grasslands: phylogenetic community assembly indicates that recently severely disturbed grasslands are phylogenetically clustered, whereas more undisturbed grasslands tend to be phylogenetically more evenly distributed. From this evidence, it is likely that grass communities existed in Madagascar long before human arrival and so were determined by climate, natural grazing and other natural factors. Humans introduced zebu cattle farming and increased fire frequency, and may have triggered an expansion of the grasslands. Grasses probably played the same role in the modification of the Malagasy environments as elsewhere in the tropics.

  19. [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.

  20. Grassland Management Plan Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — The Northern Tallgrass Prairie is an endangered ecosystem, and in turn, grassland dependent birds and some forbs are in serious peril. The Grassland Management Plan...

  1. Grassland Management Plan : Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — This Grassland Management Plan for Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge provides an overview of the Refuge, a list of special considerations affecting grassland...

  2. Grassland Management Plan: Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — The plan outlines grassland habitat management objectives for Union Slough National Wildilfe Refuge. The Grassland Management Plan objectives include; preserve...

  3. Management of grasslands 1996 : Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge [Draft

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — This document is a summary of grassland management for Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Utah, which has recently began acquiring new grassland habitat that will...

  4. 2009 Field Season : Annual Grassland Vegetation Monitoring : Summary

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — An annual grassland monitoring plan was initiated on the grassland units at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge during the 2009 field season. The annual monitoring plan...

  5. Biodiversity loss in grasslands : consequences for ecosystem functioning and interactions with above- and belowground organisms

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ruijven, van J.

    2005-01-01

    Considering the current rate of extinctions, it is crucial to understand the consequences of these losses of biodiversity for the functioning of ecosystems. Grasslands proved a very suitable ecosystem for biodiversity-ecosystem functioning research.In earlier experiments, nitrogen-

  6. 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 e

  7. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blank, Peter J; Sample, David W; Williams, Carol L; Turner, Monica G

    2014-01-01

    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.

  9. Ungulate vs. landscape control of soil C and N processes in grasslands of Yellowstone National Park

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Frank, D.A. [Syracuse Univ., NY (United States). Biological Research Labs.; Groffman, P.M. [Inst. of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook, NY (United States)

    1998-10-01

    Within large grassland ecosystems, climatic and topographic gradients are considered the primary controls of soil processes. Ungulates also can influence soil dynamics; however the relative contribution of large herbivores to controlling grassland soil processes remains largely unknown. In this study, the authors compared the effects of native migratory ungulates and variable site (landscape) conditions, caused by combined climatic and topographic variability, on grassland of the northern winter range of Yellowstone National Park by determining soil C and N dynamics inside and outside 33--37 yr exclosures at seven diverse sites. Sites included hilltop, slope, and slope bottom positions across a climatic gradient and represented among the driest and wettest grasslands on the northern winter range. The authors performed two experiments: (1) a 12-mo in situ net N mineralization study and (2) a long-term (62-wk) laboratory incubation to measure potential N mineralization and microbial respiration. Results from the in situ experiment indicated that average net N mineralization among grazed plots was double that of fenced, ungrazed plots (1.9 g N{center_dot}m{sup {minus}2}{center_dot}yr{sup {minus}1}). Mean grazer enhancement of net N mineralization across sites (1.9 g N{center_dot}m{sup {minus}2}{center_dot}yr{sup {minus}1}), approached the maximum difference in net N mineralization among fenced plots (2.2 g N{center_dot}m{sup {minus}2}{center_dot}yr{sup {minus}1}), i.e., the greatest landscape effect observed. Furthermore, ungulates substantially increased between-site variation in mineralization; grazed grassland, 1 SD = 2.2 g N{center_dot}m{sup {minus}2}{center_dot}yr{sup {minus}1}, fenced grassland, 1 SD = 0.85 g N{center_dot}m{sup {minus}2}{center_dot}yr{sup {minus}1}.

  10. Grassland birds: An overview of threats and recommended management strategies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vickery, P.D.; Herkert, J.R.; Knopf, F.L.; Ruth, J.; Keller, C.E.; Bonney, Rick; Pashley, David N.; Cooper, Robert; Niles, Larry

    2000-01-01

    Grassland ecosystems are dependent on periodic disturbance for habitat maintenance. Historically, grazing by native herbivores and prairie fires were the agents principally responsible for maintaining grassland areas. However, elimination of native herbivores, wide-spread fire suppression, and conversion for agriculture have greatly altered grasslands in the United States and Canada. Because of these landscape changes, many grassland birds are increasingly dependent on land managers for habitat creation, maintenance, and health. Grazing, prescribed burning, and mowing/haying are the most frequently used, and versatile, grassland management techniques. Grassland birds prefer a wide range of grass heights and densities, with some species preferring short sparse vegetation, and others preferring taller, more dense vegetation. Due to differences in species habitat preferences and regional differences in soils and floristics, the responses of individual grassland species to specific grassland management practices can be variable and often are regionally dependent. As a result, management of grassland areas is best directed toward the creation of a mosaic of grassland habitat types. This habitat mosaic is probably best maintained through some type of rotational management system in which sections of large grassland areas receive management on a regular schedule. Such a rotational system would provide a variety of habitat types in every year, would ensure the availability of suitable habitat for birds at either end of the grassland management spectrum, and also would provide habitat for birds whose preferences lie between these extremes.

  11. Research Advance on Carbon Storage of Artificial Grassland in China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Fuping; TIAN; Yongjie; SHI; Yu; HU; Zixuan; CHEN; Yuan; LU; Xiaofu; ZHANG; Runlin; LI

    2013-01-01

    As an essential part of the grassland ecological system,study on the carbon storage has great significances to the carbon reduction in grassland ecological system.The carbon storage in biomass,carbon storage in soil and soil respiration are summarized in this paper to provide scientific reference for the evaluation of carbon storage in artificial grassland.

  12. Negative global phosphorus budgets challenge sustainable intensification of grasslands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Sattari, S.Z.; Bouwman, A.F.; Martinez Rodríguez, R.; Beusen, A.H.W.; Ittersum, Van M.K.

    2016-01-01

    Grasslands provide grass and fodder to sustain the growing need for ruminant meat and milk. Soil nutrients in grasslands are removed through withdrawal in these livestock products and through animal manure that originates from grasslands and is spread in croplands. This leads to loss of soil fert

  13. 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...

  14. Grassland bats and land management in the Southwest

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alice L. Chung-MacCoubrey

    1996-01-01

    Of the bat research that has been conducted in the Southwestern states, few studies have addressed species inhabiting grasslands and the potential effects of management activities on these populations. Up to 17 bat species may be found regularly or occasionally in Southwestern grasslands or short-grass prairie. Main habitat requirements of grassland-dwelling bats are...

  15. 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

  16. Energetic Potential of Romania’s Grasslands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Neculai Dragomir

    2012-05-01

    Full Text Available Permanent grasslands represent, all over the world, an asset that contributes to maintaining ecological balance in all other natural ecosystem, a never-ending reservoir of vegetal biomass that supplies most of the necessary food for animals and that can also be an important source of “green energy”. In Romania, only 56% of the grassland area (i.e. 2,200,000 ha would be enough to cover the necessary fibrous fodder for the cattle, while the rest of 44% (i.e. 1,700,000 ha could be used to produce energy.

  17. 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.

  18. 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...... target. Species richness and functional diversity both increased in response to soil disturbance, and rotavation, but not ploughing, had a persistent positive effect on the occurrence of specialist species of calcareous sandy grassland. However, no type of soil disturbance caused the plant species...

  19. Grassland biodiversity bounces back from long-term nitrogen addition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Storkey, J; Macdonald, A J; Poulton, P R; Scott, T; Köhler, I H; Schnyder, H; Goulding, K W T; Crawley, M J

    2015-12-17

    The negative effect of increasing atmospheric nitrogen (N) pollution on grassland biodiversity is now incontrovertible. However, the recent introduction of cleaner technologies in the UK has led to reductions in the emissions of nitrogen oxides, with concomitant decreases in N deposition. The degree to which grassland biodiversity can be expected to 'bounce back' in response to these improvements in air quality is uncertain, with a suggestion that long-term chronic N addition may lead to an alternative low biodiversity state. Here we present evidence from the 160-year-old Park Grass Experiment at Rothamsted Research, UK, that shows a positive response of biodiversity to reducing N addition from either atmospheric pollution or fertilizers. The proportion of legumes, species richness and diversity increased across the experiment between 1991 and 2012 as both wet and dry N deposition declined. Plots that stopped receiving inorganic N fertilizer in 1989 recovered much of the diversity that had been lost, especially if limed. There was no evidence that chronic N addition has resulted in an alternative low biodiversity state on the Park Grass plots, except where there has been extreme acidification, although it is likely that the recovery of plant communities has been facilitated by the twice-yearly mowing and removal of biomass. This may also explain why a comparable response of plant communities to reduced N inputs has yet to be observed in the wider landscape.

  20. Conspecific attraction in a grassland bird, the Baird's Sparrow

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ahlering, M.A.; Johnson, D.H.; Faaborg, J.

    2006-01-01

    Territorial songbirds generally use song to defend territories and attract mates, but conspecific song may also serve as a cue to attract other male songbirds to a breeding site. Although known to occur in some colonial and forest-associated species, only recently have investigators examined conspecific attraction in grassland species. We used a playback experiment to examine the possible role of conspecific attraction for males searching for potentially suitable breeding habitat in a grassland specialist, the Baird's Sparrow (Ammodramus bairdii). Experimental playback plots and control plots with similar landscape and vegetation characteristics were established at two sites in North Dakota. Baird's Sparrows colonized three of six experimental plots and none of six control plots. Males on experimental plots established territories adjacent to the playback stations and were sometimes observed counter-singing with the playback of conspecific songs. Vegetation characteristics were similar on all study plots, and did not explain differences in bird density on our treatment plots. Although we found that playback of conspecific songs attracted male Baird's Sparrows to previously unoccupied, potentially suitable habitat, further experiments are needed to examine the importance of conspecific attraction relative to other cues that birds may use, such as vegetation features. The conservation and management implications of conspecific attraction are not completely understood, but the presence of conspecifics should be considered as a potential cue in habitat selection by all species of birds. ?? 2006 The Author(s).

  1. Vegetation Responses to A Long-term Grazing Intensity Experiment in Alpine Shrub Grassland on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau%青藏高原高寒灌丛植被对长期放牧强度试验的响应特征

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    周华坤; 赵新全; 汪诗平; 赵亮; 徐世晓

    2008-01-01

    在青藏高原中国科学院海北高寒草甸生态系统定位研究站对金露梅高寒灌丛草场植被开展了长期不同放牧强度试验,分别在短期(4年)、中期(11年)和长期(18年)放牧阶段研究不同放牧干扰强度对草地植物物种多样性、群落结构、地上生物量和草场质量的影响.研究表明,在不同放牧阶段,随着放牧强度增加植物群落的高度和盖度都降低.在中期放牧干扰阶段,物种多样性数和均匀度指数随着放牧强度增加呈现典型的单峰曲线模式;在长期放牧干扰阶段,随着放牧强度增加,占优势地位的灌木和禾草被典型杂类草替代,其中的重度放牧干扰简化了高寒灌丛植被群落结构,减少了地上现存生物量,特别是可食优良牧草生物量.植被对放牧的响应除了与放牧强度和放牧时间阶段密切相关外,还与该地区水热条件的变化有一定的相关性.针对长期放牧干扰的反应特性可将金露梅灌丛草场中植物划分为增加型、敏感型、忍耐型和无反应型4种类型.除了丰富度指数、多样性指数和均匀度指数外,其它一些特征参数并不支持著名的中度干扰假说.本研究发现,长期重度放牧促进了青藏高原高寒草地退化,适度放牧有利于高寒灌丛草场的生物多样性保护和牧草利用;"取半留半"的放牧原则在青藏高原草场放牧管理实践中值得推荐,它将有利于防止草场退化,提高牧草利用率和维持较高的生物多样性.%The grassland of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is one of the world's most remarkable grazing lands. Livestock grazing appears to exert significant effects on the vegetation and ecosystem processes on the plat-eau,although the effects of livestock grazing on grasslands are in need of further study. In this study,a long-term grazing experiment with different stocking rates in alpine Potentilla fruticosa shrubland was carried out at Haibei Alpine Meadow Ecosystem

  2. Earthworm communities in grasslands and horticultural soils

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Didden, W.A.M.

    2001-01-01

    In a survey of 42 farm sites, comprising grassland and two types of horticultural farms (growing vegetables or flower bulbs), earthworm communities were sampled by hand-sorting and a number of soil physico-chemical characteristics recorded. For heavy metals the availability in the soil solution was

  3. Evolution of Grasses and Grassland Ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Strömberg, Caroline A. E.

    2011-05-01

    The evolution and subsequent ecological expansion of grasses (Poaceae) since the Late Cretaceous have resulted in the establishment of one of Earth's dominant biomes, the temperate and tropical grasslands, at the expense of forests. In the past decades, several new approaches have been applied to the fossil record of grasses to elucidate the patterns and processes of this ecosystem transformation. The data indicate that the development of grassland ecosystems on most continents was a multistage process involving the Paleogene appearance of (C3 and C4) open-habitat grasses, the mid-late Cenozoic spread of C3 grass-dominated habitats, and, finally, the Late Neogene expansion of C4 grasses at tropical-subtropical latitudes. The evolution of herbivores adapted to grasslands did not necessarily coincide with the spread of open-habitat grasses. In addition, the timing of these evolutionary and ecological events varied between regions. Consequently, region-by-region investigations using both direct (plant fossils) and indirect (e.g., stable carbon isotopes, faunas) evidence are required for a full understanding of the tempo and mode of grass and grassland evolution.

  4. 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 yields. The

  5. 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

  6. [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.

  7. Contrasting microbial biogeographical patterns between anthropogenic subalpine grasslands and natural alpine grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Geremia, Roberto A; Pușcaș, Mihai; Zinger, Lucie; Bonneville, Jean-Marc; Choler, Philippe

    2016-02-01

    The effect of plant species composition on soil microbial communities was studied at the multiregional level. We compared the soil microbial communities of alpine natural grasslands dominated by Carex curvula and anthropogenic subalpine pastures dominated by Nardus stricta. We conducted paired sampling across the Carpathians and the Alps and used Illumina sequencing to reveal the molecular diversity of soil microbes. We found that bacterial and fungal communities exhibited contrasting regional distributions and that the distribution in each grassland is well discriminated. Beta diversity of microbial communities was much higher in C. curvula grasslands due to a marked regional effect. The composition of grassland-type core microbiomes suggest that C. curvula, and N. stricta to a lesser extent, tend to select a cohort of microbes related to antibiosis/exclusion, pathogenesis and endophytism. We discuss these findings in light of the postglacial history of the studied grasslands, the habitat connectivity and the disturbance regimes. Human-induced disturbance in the subalpine belt of European mountains has led to homogeneous soil microbial communities at large biogeographical scales. Our results confirm the overarching role of the dominant grassland plant species in the distribution of microbial communities and highlight the relevance of biogeographical history.

  8. Carbon sink activity of managed grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klumpp, Katja; Chabbi, Abad; Gastal, Francois; Senapati, Nimai; Charrier, Xavier; Darsonville, Olivier; Creme, Alexandra

    2017-04-01

    In agriculture, a large proportion of GHG emission saving potential may be achieved by means of soil C sequestration. Recent demonstrations of carbon sink activities however, often questioned the existence of C storing grasslands, as uncertainty surrounding estimates are often larger than the sink itself. Besides climate, key components of the carbon sink activity in grasslands are type and intensity of management practices. Here, we analysed long term data on C flux and soil organic carbon stocks for two long term (>13yrs) national observation sites in France (SOERE-ACBB). These sites comprise a number of grassland fields and managements options (i.e. permanent, sowing, grazing, mowing, and fertilization) offering an opportunity to study carbon offsets (i.e. compensation of CH4 and N2O emissions), climatic-management interactions and trade-offs concerning ecosystem services (e.g. production). Furthermore, for some grassland fields, the carbon sink activity was compared using two methods; repeated soil inventory and estimation of the ecosystem C budget by continuous measurement of CO2 exchange (i.e. eddy covariance) in combination with quantification of other C imports and exports, necessary to estimate net C storage. In general grasslands, were a potential sink of C (i.e. net ecosystem exchange, NEE), where grazed sites had lower NEE compared the cut site. However, when it comes to net C storage (NCS), mowing reduced markedly potential sink leading to very low NCS compared to grazed sites. Including non-CO2 fluxes (CH4 and N2O emission) in the budget, revealed that GHG emissions were offset by C sink activity.

  9. Mineral Fertilization with UAN on Natural Grassland Festuca rubra L. with Agrostis capillaries L.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ioan Rotar

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available An important part of efficient livestock production is ensuring the sufficient grass for hay and pasture. However, low soil nutrient levels often limit forage production. With good fertilizer management and soil fertility, the productivity of many hay and pasture fields can be greatly improved. Through good fertilizer management, the productivity of many hay and pasture fields can be significantly improved by Ross H. McKenzie (2005. The aim of this paper was the effect of fertilization with liquid fertilizer (UAN the harvest of dry and floristic composition changing on natural grassland. The experiment whose results we present was placed in 2014 in the place in Baisoara Mountain village, Cluj County. Experience has been placed on the Festuca rubra and Agrostis capillaries - of grassland type. The natural grassland of Festuca rubra with Agrostis capillaries responded very well to mineral fertilizers with liquid fertilizer UAN. The floristic composition of natural grassland fertilized with liquid fertilizers based on nitrogen, it can be seen an increase the Gramineae families and an evidence downward trend from Fabaceae families.

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Borer, Elizabeth T. [Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University of Minnesota; et al, et al

    2014-01-01

    Human alterations to nutrient cycles1,2 and herbivore communities3–7 are affecting global biodiversity dramatically2. 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 systems8,9. 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.

  11. Nitrate leaching from cut grassland as affected by the substitution of slurry with nitrogen mineral fertilizer on two soil types

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schröder, J.J.; Assinck, F.B.T.; Uenk, D.; Velthof, G.L.

    2010-01-01

    A field experiment was conducted to find out whether there is any difference in risk of N leaching to groundwater when cattle slurry and/or mineral fertilizer-N was applied to cut grassland. The experiment was carried out over two consecutive years on two sites (one with a relatively wet sandy soil

  12. Grassland/atmosphere response to changing climate: Coupling regional and local scales. Final report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    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{sub 3} temperate grasslands wig respond more strongly to elevated CO{sub 2} than temperate C{sub 4} grasslands in the short-term while a large positive N-PP response was predicted for a C{sub 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{sub 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{sub 2} GCM Simulations revealed relatively small differences.

  13. Effects of grazing and climate change on species diversity in sandy grassland, Inner Mongolia, China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Toshiya; Okuro

    2009-01-01

    To understand the effects of animal grazing activities and climate change on sandy grassland vegetation in northern China, a field grazing and protected enclosure experiment was conducted from 1992 through 2006 in Horqin Sand Land, Inner Mongolia. The results showed that (1) the grazing was primary responsible for changes of the vegetation richness and diversity in the grazing grassland and that changing climate was the main reason for changes in the species richness and diversity in the grassland protected from grazing; (2) light and moderate grazing can promote restoration of the richness and the diversity in the degraded grassland, and heavy grazing could result in a decrease of the richness and diversity; (3) heavy grazing can result in significant decrease of the perennial diversity, and moderate and light grazing promotes increase of the perennial diversity; the grazing, whether heavy or moderate and light grazing, was beneficial to increase of the annual diversity; (4) heavy grazing was not beneficial to diversity of Graminean and Chenopodiaceae, and moderate and light grazing was favorable the diversity of Compositae and Chenopodiaceae; (5) the warm-humid climate was favorable to increase of the richness and the diversity, and the warm-drought climate could result in decease of the richness and the diversity; (6) increased precipitation was favorable to perennial diversity and the diversity of Graminean, Leguminosae, and Compositae, and decreased precipitation had few effects on the annual diversity and Chenopodiaceae diversity.

  14. 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.

  15. Persistence of biological nitrogen fixation in high latitude grass-clover grasslands under different management practices

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tzanakakis, Vasileios; Sturite, Ievina; Dörsch, Peter

    2016-04-01

    Biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) can substantially contribute to N supply in permanent grasslands, improving N yield and forage quality, while reducing inorganic N inputs. Among the factors critical to the performance of BNF in grass-legume mixtures are selected grass and legume species, proportion of legumes, the soil-climatic conditions, in particular winter conditions, and management practices (e.g. fertilization and compaction). In high latitude grasslands, low temperatures can reduce the performance of BNF by hampering the legumés growth and by suppressing N2 fixation. Estimation of BNF in field experiments is not straightforward. Different methods have been developed providing different results. In the present study, we evaluated the performance of BNF, in a newly established field experiment in North Norway over four years. The grassland consisted of white clover (Trifolium repens L.) and red clover (Trifolium pretense L.) sawn in three proportions (0, 15 and 30% in total) together with timothy (Pheum pretense L.) and meadow fescue (Festuca pratensis L.). Three levels of compaction were applied each year (no tractor, light tractor, heavy tractor) together with two different N rates (110 kg N/ha as cattle slurry or 170 kg N/ha as cattle slurry and inorganic N fertilizer). We applied two different methods, the 15N natural abundance and the difference method, to estimate BNF in the first harvest of each year. Overall, the difference method overestimated BNF relative to the 15N natural abundance method. BNF in the first harvest was compared to winter survival of red and white clover plants, which decreased with increasing age of the grassland. However, winter conditions did not seem to affect the grassland's ability to fix N in spring. The fraction of N derived from the atmosphere (NdfA) in white and red clover was close to 100% in each spring, indicating no suppression of BNF. BNF increased the total N yield of the grasslands by up to 75%, mainly due to high

  16. Structure and Processes in Temperate Grassland Vegetation

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ejrnæs, R.

    these lies the question of the origin of species. [This English text (Warming 1909) is a word for word translation of the original Danish text] The present thesis is the outcome of a three year PhD-study intended to cast light on the occurrence, nature and management of seminatural grasslands on well......-drained soils in Denmark. Rules-of-thumb are merely very simple models, and this study may thus be seen as an attempt to validate, correct or even invent new simple models of relevance for Danish grassland vegetation - and, to give these models an appropriate biological interpretation. The thesis could not have...... Moora. Not least, I acknowledge the coherent and inspiring studies and writing of scientists, that masters the admirable project of creating and pursuing original ideas incorporating research results from within many scientific disciplines. They make it worth carrying on doing research, and for this, I...

  17. Structure and Processes in Temperate Grassland Vegetation

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ejrnæs, R.

    In Denmark, the grass greens in late March. Perhaps that is the reason why early spring is so well suited to classify grasslands according to conservation value by their colour. When there is no interference by summer drought and autumn litter, a marked difference can be observed between the unif...... would like to honour John Philip Grime, Stephen Jay Gould, R.H. Whittaker and Eugen Warming....

  18. Grassland Degradation and Its Control in Region Around Qinghai Lake

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    JIANGJIANJUN; GongAIQI; 等

    1999-01-01

    A quite severe degradation was found in all seven types of grasslands in the study area involiving 12 counties of the northwestern Qinghai Province.The slightly,modeately and severely degraded grasslands occupied 49.7%,32.0%and 18.3% of the area respectively.The major factors resulting in the degradation were overgrazing,the damages from mice and grasshopper and blown sands,and improper use of grasslands,The measures to deal with these probles should be:1) to make livestock development in accordance with grassland carrying capacity for animals;2) to build more artificial grasslands with a stable and higher grass yield;3) to put more widely the rotation grazing system into practice;4) to clear up the poisonous grass species,and 5)to adopt more effective measures to deal with the damages to grasslands by mice and grasshoppers.

  19. PHYTOSOCIOLOGICAL DATABASE OF SLOVAK GRASSLAND VEGETATION

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. JANISOVA

    2007-04-01

    Full Text Available In Slovakia, the Central Phytosociological Database has been built since 1996 and it is located in the Institute of Botany, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava. Since 2005, we focused on the collection of phytosociological relevés from semi-natural grassland communities belonging to phytosociological classes Molinio-Arrhenatheretea, Festuco-Brometea and Nardetea strictae. All accessible published relevés were compiled and stored in the Turboveg program. Since 1990 an extensive field survey was caried out with the aim to record the actual stage of semi-natural grasslands in Slovakia after the period of profound land-use changes (collectivisation, abandonment, succession. As a result of this survey, 4988 of recent unpublished relevés were stored in our database. Alltogether, the database of grassland vegetation contains 11 121 relevés, collected by 143 authors between 1924 and 2006. These relevés include 387 765 vascular plants individual records nad 6 439 records of bryophyte and lichen species. The basic statistical information on this database is presented in the paper and the quality of the data is discussed. The possible application of such phytosociological dataset is outlined.

  20. PHYTOSOCIOLOGICAL DATABASE OF SLOVAK GRASSLAND VEGETATION

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    I SKODOVA

    2007-01-01

    Full Text Available In Slovakia, the Central Phytosociological Database has been built since 1996 and it is located in the Institute of Botany, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava. Since 2005, we focused on the collection of phytosociological relevés from semi-natural grassland communities belonging to phytosociological classes Molinio-Arrhenatheretea, Festuco-Brometea and Nardetea strictae. All accessible published relevés were compiled and stored in the Turboveg program. Since 1990 an extensive field survey was caried out with the aim to record the actual stage of semi-natural grasslands in Slovakia after the period of profound land-use changes (collectivisation, abandonment, succession. As a result of this survey, 4988 of recent unpublished relevés were stored in our database. Alltogether, the database of grassland vegetation contains 11 121 relevés, collected by 143 authors between 1924 and 2006. These relevés include 387 765 vascular plants individual records nad 6 439 records of bryophyte and lichen species. The basic statistical information on this database is presented in the paper and the quality of the data is discussed. The possible application of such phytosociological dataset is outlined.

  1. Deposition fluxes of terpenes over grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bamberger, I.; HöRtnagl, L.; Ruuskanen, T. M.; Schnitzhofer, R.; Müller, M.; Graus, M.; Karl, T.; Wohlfahrt, G.; Hansel, A.

    2011-07-01

    Eddy covariance flux measurements were carried out for two subsequent vegetation periods above a temperate mountain grassland in an alpine valley using a proton-transfer-reaction-mass spectrometer (PTR-MS) and a PTR time-of-flight-mass spectrometer (PTR-TOF). In 2008 and during the first half of the vegetation period 2009 the volume mixing ratios (VMRs) for the sum of monoterpenes (MTs) were typically well below 1 ppbv and neither MT emission nor deposition was observed. After a hailstorm in July 2009 an order of magnitude higher amount of terpenes was transported to the site from nearby coniferous forests causing elevated VMRs. As a consequence, deposition fluxes of terpenes to the grassland, which continued over a time period of several weeks without significant reemission, were observed. For days without precipitation the deposition occurred at velocities close to the aerodynamic limit. In addition to monoterpene uptake, deposition fluxes of the sum of sesquiterpenes (SQTs) and the sum of oxygenated terpenes (OTs) were detected. Considering an entire growing season for the grassland (i.e., 1 April to 1 November 2009), the cumulative carbon deposition of monoterpenes reached 276 mg C m-2. This is comparable to the net carbon emission of methanol (329 mg C m-2), which is the dominant nonmethane volatile organic compound (VOC) emitted from this site, during the same time period. It is suggested that deposition of monoterpenes to terrestrial ecosystems could play a more significant role in the reactive carbon budget than previously assumed.

  2. Acidification of sandy grasslands - consequences for plant diversity

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2009-01-01

    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...... in south-eastern Sweden covered by xeric sand calcareous grasslands (EU habitat directive 6120). Methods: Soil and vegetation were investigated in most of the xeric sand calcareous grasslands in the Scania region (136 sample plots distributed over four or five major areas and about 25 different sites...

  3. Effects of leafy spurge infestation on grassland birds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scheiman, D.M.; Bollinger, E.K.; Johnson, D.H.

    2003-01-01

    Grassland bird populations are declining. Invasive plant species may be contributing to these declines by altering habitat quality. However, the effects of invasive plants on grassland birds are largely unknown. Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula) is an exotic, invasive weed in the northern Great Plains. We examined the effects of leafy spurge infestation on densities of breeding birds, nest-site selection, and nest success in grasslands on the Sheyenne National Grassland (SNG), North Dakota, USA, 1999-2000. We categorized spurge-infested grasslands into 3 groups (low, medium, high), based on the area covered by spurge patches. We surveyed 75 100-m-radius circular points (25 in each group), and searched for nests in 6 16-ha plots (2 in each group). Grasshopper sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) and savannah sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) densities were lower on high-spurge points than on low- and medium-spurge points. Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) and western meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) densities were not significantly different among spurge cover groups. Spurge cover did not appear to be an important factor in nest-site selection. However, western meadowlark nest success was positively associated with spurge cover. Vegetation structure is an important indicator of habitat quality and resource availability for grassland birds. Changes in vegetation structure caused by introduced plant species, such as spurge, can alter resource availability and hence affect bird community composition. Managers of spurge-infested grasslands should continue current spurge control measures to help prevent further declines in grassland habitat quality and grassland bird populations.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Biogenic VOCs emission inventory development of temperate grassland vegetation in Xilin River Basin,Inner Mongolia,China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    HE Nian-peng; HAN Xing-guo; SUN Wei; Pan Qing-min

    2004-01-01

    Given the key role of biogenic volatile organic compounds(VOCs) to tropospheric chemistry and regional air quality, it is important to generate accurate VOCs emission inventories. However, only a less fraction of plant species, in temperate grassland of Inner Mongolia, has been characterized by quantitative measurements. A taxonomic methodology, which assigns VOCs measurements to unmeasured species, is an applicable and inexpensive alternation for extensive VOCs emission survey, although data are needed for additional plant families and genera to further validate the taxonomic approach in grassland vegetation. In this experiment, VOCs emission rates of 178 plant species were measured with a portable photoionization detector(PID). The results showed the most of genera and some families have consistent feature of their VOCs emission, especially for isoprene, and provide the basic premise of taxonomic methodology to develop VOCs emission inventories for temperate grassland. Then, the taxonomic methodology was introduced into assigning emission rate to other 96 species, which no measured emission rates available here. A systematical emission inventory of temperate grassland vegetation in Inner Mongolia was provided and further evidence that taxonomy relationship can serve as a useful guide for generalizing the emissions behavior of many, but not all, plant families and genera to grassland vegetation.

  7. Grassland Degradation Alters Soil Carbon Turnover through Depth

    Science.gov (United States)

    Creamer, C.; Prober, S. M.; Chappell, A.; Farrell, M.; Baldock, J.

    2015-12-01

    Ecosystem degradation is widespread and changes in aboveground plant communities alter belowground soil processes. In Australia, grassy eucalyptus woodlands dominated by kangaroo grasses (Themeda trianda) were widely cleared during European settlement for agriculture, with only fragments remaining of this now threatened ecosystem. As remnant grassland fragments are used for livestock grazing, Themeda transitions through states of degradation, starting with red grasses (Bothriochloa spp) and then proceeding to less productive, increasingly degraded states dominated by either annual exotic weeds or native wallaby grasses (Rytidosperma spp) and spear grasses (Austrastipa spp). The aim of our experiment was to determine how soil organic matter dynamics (including erosion, root biomass, C storage and turnover) have been altered by the transition from deeply-rooted Themeda grass systems to more shallowly-rooted annual exotic weeds and wallaby/spear grass states. We sampled soils in five depth-based increments (0-5, 5-15, 15-30, 30-60, 60-100 cm) across this ecosystem transition at five sites across New South Wales, Australia. Caseium-137 analysis indicated erosion rates were similar among all ecosystems and were consistent with levels for grasslands in the region. Compared to the remnant Themeda grass systems, the degraded states had lower root biomass, lower carbon stocks and C:N ratios in the coarse fraction (> 50 μm), lower fungal : bacterial ratios, higher available phosphate, higher alkyl : O-alkyl C ratios, and faster mineralization of synthetic root-exudate carbon. All these metrics indicate the surprising finding of more microbially processed OM and faster turnover of newly added C in the degraded sites. Compared to one another, the two degraded sites differed in both C and N turnover, with the exotic weeds having higher dissolved organic N, inorganic N, and coarse fraction N, higher fine fraction C stocks, and greater microbial biomass. These differences likely

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

    OpenAIRE

    2012-01-01

    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

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

    OpenAIRE

    2012-01-01

    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 <...

  10. 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

  11. Leaf dry matter content predicts herbivore productivity, but its functional diversity is positively related to resilience in grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pakeman, Robin J

    2014-01-01

    This paper addresses whether the ecosystem service of animal production from grasslands depends upon plant functional identity, plant functional diversity or if the resilience of production is a function of this diversity. Using the results of nine grazing experiments the paper shows that productivity is highly dependent on one leaf trait, leaf dry matter content, as well as rainfall. Animal (secondary) productivity is not dependent on plant functional diversity, but the variability in productivity of grasslands is related to the functional diversity of leaf dry matter content. This and a range of independent studies have shown that functional diversity is reduced at high levels of grassland productivity, so it appears that there is a trade-off between productivity and the resilience of productivity in the face of environmental variation.

  12. Leaf dry matter content predicts herbivore productivity, but its functional diversity is positively related to resilience in grasslands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robin J Pakeman

    Full Text Available This paper addresses whether the ecosystem service of animal production from grasslands depends upon plant functional identity, plant functional diversity or if the resilience of production is a function of this diversity. Using the results of nine grazing experiments the paper shows that productivity is highly dependent on one leaf trait, leaf dry matter content, as well as rainfall. Animal (secondary productivity is not dependent on plant functional diversity, but the variability in productivity of grasslands is related to the functional diversity of leaf dry matter content. This and a range of independent studies have shown that functional diversity is reduced at high levels of grassland productivity, so it appears that there is a trade-off between productivity and the resilience of productivity in the face of environmental variation.

  13. Long-Term Dynamics of Standing Crop and Species Composition after the Cessation of Fertilizer Application to Mown Grassland

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Olff, H.; Bakker, J.P.

    1991-01-01

    (1) Current agricultural overproduction in Western Europe has led to an increase in the area of unfertilized grassland. This paper reports an experiment where fertilizer application was stopped to try to restore former species-rich vegetation. (2) Standing crop and species composition of three diffe

  14. Long term BVOC fluxes above mountain grassland

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    I. Bamberger

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Grasslands comprise natural tropical savannah over managed temperate fields to tundra and cover over a quarter of the Earth's land surface. Plant growth, maintenance and decay result in volatile organic compound (VOCs emissions to the atmosphere. Furthermore, biogenic VOCs (BVOCs are emitted due to various environmental stresses including cutting and drying during harvesting. Fluxes of BVOCs were measured with a proton-transfer-reaction – mass-spectrometer (PTR-MS over temperate mountain grassland in Stubai Valley (Tyrol, Austria over one growing season (2008. VOC fluxes were calculated from the disjunct PTR-MS data using the virtual disjunct eddy covariance method and the gap filling method. The two independent methods obtained methanol fluxes following a regression line of y=0.94x−0.06 (correlation factor: R2=0.94. Methanol showed strong daytime emissions throughout the growing season. With maximal values of 9.7 nmol m−2 s−1 the methanol fluxes from growing grassland were considerably higher at the beginning of the growing season in June compared to those measured during October (2.5 nmol m−2 s−1. During the growth only methanol emissions were observed. The cutting and drying of the grass increased the emissions of methanol, up to 30 nmol m−2 s−2. In addition, emissions of acetaldehyde, up to 10 nmol m−2 s−1, and hexenal (leaf aldehyde were detected during harvesting.

  15. Difficulties of biomass estimation over natural grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kertész, Péter; Gecse, Bernadett; Pintér, Krisztina; Fóti, Szilvia; Nagy, Zoltán

    2017-04-01

    Estimation of biomass amount in grasslands using remote sensing is a challenge due to the high diversity and different phenologies of the constituting plant species. The aim of this study was to estimate the biomass amount (dry weight per area) during the vegetation period of a diverse semi-natural grassland with remote sensing. A multispectral camera (Tetracam Mini-MCA 6) was used with 3 cm ground resolution. The pre-processing method includes noise reduction, the correction for the vignetting effect and the calculation of the reflectance using an Incident Light Sensor (ILS). Calibration was made with ASD spectrophotometer as reference. To estimate biomass Partial Least Squares Regression (PLSR) statistical method was used with 5 bands and NDVI as input variables. Above ground biomass was cut in 15 quadrats (50×50 cm) as reference. The best prediction was attained in spring (r2=0.94, RMSE: 26.37 g m-2). The average biomass amount was 167 g m-2. The variability of the biomass is mainly determined by the relief, which causes the high and low biomass patches to be stable. The reliability of biomass estimation was negatively affected by the appearance of flowers and by the senescent plant parts during the summer. To determine the effects of flower's presence on the biomass estimation, 20 dominant species with visually dominant flowers in the area were selected and cover of flowers (%) were estimated in permanent plots during measurement campaigns. If the cover of flowers was low (0,9), while at higher cover of flowers (>30%), the estimation failed (r2 <0,2). This effect restricts the usage of the remote sensing method to the spring - early summer period in diverse grasslands.

  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...

  17. Andean grasslands are as productive as tropical cloud forests

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Oliveras Menor, I.; Girardin, C.; Doughty, C.E.; Cahuana, N.; Arenas, C.E.; Oliver, V.; Huaraca Huasco, W.; Malhi, Y.

    2014-01-01

    We aim to assess net primary productivity (NPP) and carbon cycling in Andean tropical alpine grasslands (puna) and compare it with NPP of tropical montane cloud forests. We ask the following questions: (1) how do NPP and soil respiration of grasslands vary over the seasonal cycle? (2) how do burning

  18. Additional carbon sequestration benefits of grassland diversity restoration

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    De Deyn, G.B.; Shiel, R.S.; Ostle, N.J.; McNamara, N.P.; Oakley, S.; Young, I.; Freeman, C.; Fenner, N.; Quirk, H.; Bardgett, R.D.

    2011-01-01

    1. In Europe, grassland agriculture is one of the dominant land uses. A major aim of European agri-environment policy is the management of grassland for botanical diversity conservation and restoration, together with the delivery of ecosystem services including soil carbon (C) sequestration. 2. To

  19. Additional carbon sequestration benefits of grassland diversity restoration

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Deyn, de G.B.; Shiel, R.S.; Ostle, N.J.; McNamara, N.P.; Oakley, S.; Young, I.; Freeman, C.; Fenner, N.; Quirk, H.; Bardgett, R.D.

    2011-01-01

    1. In Europe, grassland agriculture is one of the dominant land uses. A major aim of European agri-environment policy is the management of grassland for botanical diversity conservation and restoration, together with the delivery of ecosystem services including soil carbon (C) sequestration. 2. To

  20. Fungal/bacterial ratios in grassland with contrasting nitrogen management

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Vries, de F.T.; Hoffland, E.; Eekeren, van N.J.M.; Brussaard, L.; Bloem, J.

    2006-01-01

    It is frequently hypothesised that high soil fungal/bacterial ratios are indicative for more sustainable agricultural systems. Increased F / B ratios have been reported in extensively managed grasslands. To determine the shifts in fungal/bacterial biomass ratio as influenced by grassland management

  1. Considering Forest and Grassland Carbon in Land Management

    Science.gov (United States)

    M. Janowiak; W.J. Connelly;   K. Dante-Wood; G.M. Domke; C. Giardina; Z. Kayler; K. Marcinkowski; T. Ontl;   C. Rodriguez-Franco; C. Swanston; C.W. Woodall; M. Buford

    2017-01-01

    Forest and grassland ecosystems in the United States play a critical role in the global carbon cycle, and land management activities influence their ability to absorb and sequester carbon. These ecosystems provide a critical regulating function, offsetting about 12 to 19 percent of the Nation’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. Forests and grasslands are managed for...

  2. Temperate grasslands as a dust source: Knowledge, uncertainties, and challenges

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shinoda, M.; Gillies, J. A.; Mikami, M.; Shao, Y.

    2011-12-01

    Temperate grasslands are sensitive to climate change and are significant, or potentially significant, dust sources. Temperate grassland aeolian processes are unique in that the vegetation growth-decay cycle and weathering process due to extreme temperature changes profoundly affect the occurrence and intensity of wind erosion and dust emission. Human activities, such as animal husbandry or cultivation, also may result in land degradation and enhanced wind erosion. So far, little systematic research on temperate grassland wind erosion has been done, but this issue deserves particular attention. In this review paper, we summarize the understanding of temperate grassland wind-erosion processes and identify the uncertainties and research needs. The needs include (1) a deeper understanding of the aerodynamic and physical controls of grassland vegetation on wind erosion and dust emission processes, (2) scaling known relationships upwards to model the regional scale, (3) quantifying critical parameters affecting dust emissions (i.e., surface and aerodynamic roughness) via remote-sensing techniques, and (4) integrated wind-erosion modeling that incorporates grassland aeolian database and vegetation modeling of both seasonal growth and decay plus the impacts of grazing and cultivation. We also outline the research being carried out by Japanese scientists in collaboration with colleagues at Mongolian, American, and German research institutes in developing a temperate grassland wind-erosion modeling system, which can be used as a pre-warning system of severe dust storms and as a tool for strategic management of temperate grasslands.

  3. Wooded grasslands as part of the European agricultural heritage

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Centeri, C.; Renes, J.; Roth, M.; Kruse, A.; Eiter, S.; Kapfer, J.; Santoro, A.; Agnoletti, M.; Emanueli, , F.; Sigura, M.; Dobrovodska, M.; Štefunková, D.; Kučera, Zdeněk; Saláta, D.; Varga, Anna; Villacreces, S.; Dreer, J.; Slámová, M.

    2016-01-01

    Wooded grasslands have always played an important role in rural life with changing issues: They are of high importance for questions of biodiversity, soil, and water resources and in preserving agricultural heritage, but their maintenance is labor intensive. Abandoned wooded grasslands undergo succe

  4. Response of predominant soil bacteria to grassland succession

    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 particul

  5. Dairy cow performance on silage from semi-natural grassland

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bruinenberg, M.H.; Geerts, R.H.E.M.; Struik, P.C.; Valk, H.

    2006-01-01

    The effects of including forage from semi-natural grassland in the diet of dairy cows were studied in a feeding trial with cows in mid-lactation. Diets were compared in which part of the silage from intensively managed grassland was replaced with 0% (100IM), 20% (20SPP), 40% (40SPP) or 60% (60SPP)

  6. Soil moisture and fungi affect seed survival in California grassland annual plants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Erin A Mordecai

    Full Text Available Survival of seeds in the seed bank is important for the population dynamics of many plant species, yet the environmental factors that control seed survival at a landscape level remain poorly understood. These factors may include soil moisture, vegetation cover, soil type, and soil pathogens. Because many soil fungi respond to moisture and host species, fungi may mediate environmental drivers of seed survival. Here, I measure patterns of seed survival in California annual grassland plants across 15 species in three experiments. First, I surveyed seed survival for eight species at 18 grasslands and coastal sage scrub sites ranging across coastal and inland Santa Barbara County, California. Species differed in seed survival, and soil moisture and geographic location had the strongest influence on survival. Grasslands had higher survival than coastal sage scrub sites for some species. Second, I used a fungicide addition and exotic grass thatch removal experiment in the field to tease apart the relative impact of fungi, thatch, and their interaction in an invaded grassland. Seed survival was lower in the winter (wet season than in the summer (dry season, but fungicide improved winter survival. Seed survival varied between species but did not depend on thatch. Third, I manipulated water and fungicide in the laboratory to directly examine the relationship between water, fungi, and survival. Seed survival declined from dry to single watered to continuously watered treatments. Fungicide slightly improved seed survival when seeds were watered once but not continually. Together, these experiments demonstrate an important role of soil moisture, potentially mediated by fungal pathogens, in driving seed survival.

  7. Soil moisture and fungi affect seed survival in California grassland annual plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mordecai, Erin A

    2012-01-01

    Survival of seeds in the seed bank is important for the population dynamics of many plant species, yet the environmental factors that control seed survival at a landscape level remain poorly understood. These factors may include soil moisture, vegetation cover, soil type, and soil pathogens. Because many soil fungi respond to moisture and host species, fungi may mediate environmental drivers of seed survival. Here, I measure patterns of seed survival in California annual grassland plants across 15 species in three experiments. First, I surveyed seed survival for eight species at 18 grasslands and coastal sage scrub sites ranging across coastal and inland Santa Barbara County, California. Species differed in seed survival, and soil moisture and geographic location had the strongest influence on survival. Grasslands had higher survival than coastal sage scrub sites for some species. Second, I used a fungicide addition and exotic grass thatch removal experiment in the field to tease apart the relative impact of fungi, thatch, and their interaction in an invaded grassland. Seed survival was lower in the winter (wet season) than in the summer (dry season), but fungicide improved winter survival. Seed survival varied between species but did not depend on thatch. Third, I manipulated water and fungicide in the laboratory to directly examine the relationship between water, fungi, and survival. Seed survival declined from dry to single watered to continuously watered treatments. Fungicide slightly improved seed survival when seeds were watered once but not continually. Together, these experiments demonstrate an important role of soil moisture, potentially mediated by fungal pathogens, in driving seed survival.

  8. Plant diversity and functional groups affect Si and Ca pools in aboveground biomass of grassland systems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schaller, Jörg; Roscher, Christiane; Hillebrand, Helmut; Weigelt, Alexandra; Oelmann, Yvonne; Wilcke, Wolfgang; Ebeling, Anne; Weisser, Wolfgang W

    2016-09-01

    Plant diversity is an important driver of nitrogen and phosphorus stocks in aboveground plant biomass of grassland ecosystems, but plant diversity effects on other elements also important for plant growth are less understood. We tested whether plant species richness, functional group richness or the presence/absence of particular plant functional groups influences the Si and Ca concentrations (mmol g(-1)) and stocks (mmol m(-2)) in aboveground plant biomass in a large grassland biodiversity experiment (Jena Experiment). In the experiment including 60 temperate grassland species, plant diversity was manipulated as sown species richness (1, 2, 4, 8, 16) and richness and identity of plant functional groups (1-4; grasses, small herbs, tall herbs, legumes). We found positive species richness effects on Si as well as Ca stocks that were attributable to increased biomass production. The presence of particular functional groups was the most important factor explaining variation in aboveground Si and Ca stocks (mmol m(-2)). Grass presence increased the Si stocks by 140 % and legume presence increased the Ca stock by 230 %. Both the presence of specific plant functional groups and species diversity altered Si and Ca stocks, whereas Si and Ca concentration were affected mostly by the presence of specific plant functional groups. However, we found a negative effect of species diversity on Si and Ca accumulation, by calculating the deviation between mixtures and mixture biomass proportions, but in monoculture concentrations. These changes may in turn affect ecosystem processes such as plant litter decomposition and nutrient cycling in grasslands.

  9. Nematode Faunal Response to Grassland Degradation in Horqin Sandy Land

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2007-01-01

    The responses of soil nematode communities to grassland degradation were studied under undegraded grassland (UG),degraded grassland (DG), and improved grassland (IG), in Horqin Sandy Land, Inner Mongolia, Northeast China. Soil samples were collected at depths of 0-10, 10-20, and 20-30 cm. Total organic carbon (TOC) and total nitrogen (TN)exhibited positive effects on the total number of nematodes and trophic groups. Significant treatment effects were found in the total number of nematodes, plant parasites, and omnivores-predators. Measures taken in the improved grassland could improve the number of omnivore-predators, especially in the deeper soil layers. Nematode richness was lower in the DG treatment than in the IG and UG treatments. The food web structure index (SI) was significantly higher in the UG and IG treatments than in the DG treatment. A higher SI suggested a food web with more trophic linkages and relatively healthy ecosystems.

  10. Effects of liming on soil properties and plant performance of temperate mountainous grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mijangos, Iker; Albizu, Isabel; Epelde, Lur; Amezaga, Ibone; Mendarte, Sorkunde; Garbisu, Carlos

    2010-10-01

    The application of lime or liming materials to acid-soil grasslands might help mitigate soil acidity, a major constraint to forage productivity in many temperate mountainous grasslands. Nowadays, in these mountainous grasslands, it is essential to promote agricultural practices to increase forage yield and nutritive value while preserving biodiversity and agroecosystem functioning. Two different field experiments were conducted in the Gorbeia Natural Park, northern Spain: (i) one in a calcareous mountainous grassland (Arraba) and (ii) the other in a siliceous mountainous grassland (Kurtzegan) to study the effects of a single application of two liming products, i.e. 2429 kg lime (164.3% CaCO(3)) ha(-1) and 4734 kg calcareous sand (84.3% CaCO(3)) ha(-1), applied one month before the beginning of the sheep grazing season (May-October), on soil chemical (pH, organic C, total N, C/N ratio, %Al saturation, Olsen P, exchangeable K(+) and Ca(2+)) and biological parameters (dehydrogenase, beta-glucosidase, urease, acid phosphatase and arylsulphatase activity) as well as on botanical diversity (graminoids, forbs, shrubs) and forage yield and nutritive value (crude protein, modified acid detergent fibre, digestibility). Untreated control plots were also included in the experiment. Soil sampling was carried out at the end of the sheep grazing season (6 months after liming treatment), while botanical composition was determined one year after treatments application. Although no increase in soil pH was observed in Arraba, liming significantly increased dehydrogenase activity (an indicator of soil microbial activity) by 30.4 and 86.7% at Arraba and Kurtzegan site, respectively. Liming treatments significantly improved forage yield and nutritive value in Arraba but not in Kurtzegan. Furthermore, no differences in soil biological quality, evaluated using the "treated-soil quality index" as proposed in this work, were observed between treated and untreated soils, and between the two

  11. Effects of Holocene vegetation change on soils across the forest-grassland transition, northern Minnesota, and implications for erosion processes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mason, Joseph; Kasmerchak, Chase; Keita, Hawa; Liang, Mengyu; Gruley, Kristine

    2016-04-01

    Boundaries between forest and grassland in the midlatitudes and their shifts in response to Holocene climatic change, provide opportunities to detect effects of life on landscapes. In northern Minnesota, USA, paleoecological research has documented that grassland and/or savanna expanded eastward in the dry early to middle Holocene. In the late Holocene, forest cover expanded westward at the expense of savanna and grassland. We studied soils at 20 sites spanning the forest-grassland transition. A dramatic change in soil morphology coincides approximately, though not exactly, with that transition as recorded in 1870s-1880s land surveys, suggesting that soils change rapidly in response to forest expansion (we are attempting to constrain the timescale of response through radiocarbon dating of deep soil organic matter in which stable C isotopes record past presence of grassland). The key changes from grassland to forest are loss of organic matter below a thin surface A horizon and greatly enhanced mobility and downward translocation of clay - particularly smectite - in forest soils. This results in upper soil horizons that have relatively low smectite content and low microaggregate stability (as detected through laser diffraction analysis of aggregate disintegration in laboratory experiments), especially below the thin A horizon. The best explanation for this change appears to involve differences in how OM is added to and accumulated in the soil under forest and grassland; soil acidity and base saturation change more gradually eastward along a gradient more likely to reflect climate than vegetation. Evidence of bioturbation (especially gopher burrowing) is much more common at former grassland sites. In addition to mixing OM downward in the soil, burrowing moves detrital carbonates upward, probably enhancing OM accumulation and aggregate stability. Research on geomorphic response to Holocene climatic change in the Midwestern US has often emphasized higher potential

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Plant diversity effects on root decomposition in grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Hongmei; Mommer, Liesje; van Ruijven, Jasper; de Kroon, Hans; Gessler, Arthur; Scherer-Lorenzen, Michael; Wirth, Christian; Weigelt, Alexandra

    2016-04-01

    Loss of plant diversity impairs ecosystem functioning. Compared to other well-studied processes, we know little about whether and how plant diversity affects root decomposition, which is limiting our knowledge on biodiversity-carbon cycling relationships in the soil. Plant diversity potentially affects root decomposition via two non-exclusive mechanisms: by providing roots of different substrate quality and/or by altering the soil decomposition environment. To disentangle these two mechanisms, three decomposition experiments using a litter-bag approach were conducted on experimental grassland plots differing in plant species richness, functional group richness and functional group composition (e.g. presence/absence of grasses, legumes, small herbs and tall herbs, the Jena Experiment). We studied: 1) root substrate quality effects by decomposing roots collected from the different experimental plant communities in one common plot; 2) soil decomposition environment effects by decomposing standard roots in all experimental plots; and 3) the overall plant diversity effects by decomposing community roots in their 'home' plots. Litter bags were installed in April 2014 and retrieved after 1, 2 and 4 months to determine the mass loss. We found that mass loss decreased with increasing plant species richness, but not with functional group richness in the three experiments. However, functional group presence significantly affected mass loss with primarily negative effects of the presence of grasses and positive effects of the presence of legumes and small herbs. Our results thus provide clear evidence that species richness has a strong negative effect on root decomposition via effects on both root substrate quality and soil decomposition environment. This negative plant diversity-root decomposition relationship may partly account for the positive effect of plant diversity on soil C stocks by reducing C loss in addition to increasing primary root productivity. However, to fully

  15. 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.

  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......% of the herb mixture and 50% of a white clover (Trifolium repens L.) - perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) mixture, and (3) 5% of the herb mixture and 95% of the white clover-ryegrass mixture. Management factors were number of cuts per year and fertilizer application. Aboveground biomass increased...... considerably with increasing content of herbs and with fertilizer application in plots with a 4-cut strategy. With a 6-cut strategy without fertilizer, herbs had no effect on the aboveground biomass. In the herb mixture, biomass of small roots was lower than in mixtures with white clover and ryegrass...

  17. Methanol exchange between grassland and the atmosphere

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Brunner

    2007-01-01

    Full Text Available Concentrations and fluxes of methanol were measured above two differently managed grassland fields (intensive and extensive in central Switzerland during summer 2004. The measurements were performed with a proton-transfer-reaction mass-spectrometer and fluxes were determined by the eddy covariance method. The observed methanol emission showed a distinct diurnal cycle and was strongly correlated with global radiation and water vapour flux. Mean and maximum daily emissions were found to depend on grassland species composition and, for the intensive field, also on the growing state. The extensive field with a more complex species composition had higher emissions than the graminoid-dominated intensive field, both on an area and on a biomass basis. A simple parameterisation depending on the water vapour flux and the leaf area index allowed a satisfying simulation of the temporal variation of methanol emissions over the growing phase. Accumulated carbon losses due to methanol emissions accounted for 0.024 and 0.048% of net primary productivity for the intensive and extensive field, respectively. The integral methanol emissions over the growing periods were more than one order of magnitude higher than the emissions related to cut and drying events.

  18. Soil phosphorus constrains biodiversity across European grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ceulemans, Tobias; Stevens, Carly J; Duchateau, Luc; Jacquemyn, Hans; Gowing, David J G; Merckx, Roel; Wallace, Hilary; van Rooijen, Nils; Goethem, Thomas; Bobbink, Roland; Dorland, Edu; Gaudnik, Cassandre; Alard, Didier; Corcket, Emmanuel; Muller, Serge; Dise, Nancy B; Dupré, Cecilia; Diekmann, Martin; Honnay, Olivier

    2014-12-01

    Nutrient pollution presents a serious threat to biodiversity conservation. In terrestrial ecosystems, the deleterious effects of nitrogen pollution are increasingly understood and several mitigating environmental policies have been developed. Compared to nitrogen, the effects of increased phosphorus have received far less attention, although some studies have indicated that phosphorus pollution may be detrimental for biodiversity as well. On the basis of a dataset covering 501 grassland plots throughout Europe, we demonstrate that, independent of the level of atmospheric nitrogen deposition and soil acidity, plant species richness was consistently negatively related to soil phosphorus. We also identified thresholds in soil phosphorus above which biodiversity appears to remain at a constant low level. Our results indicate that nutrient management policies biased toward reducing nitrogen pollution will fail to preserve biodiversity. As soil phosphorus is known to be extremely persistent and we found no evidence for a critical threshold below which no environmental harm is expected, we suggest that agro-environmental schemes should include grasslands that are permanently free from phosphorus fertilization.

  19. Plant response traits mediate the effects of subalpine grasslands on soil moisture.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gross, N; Robson, T M; Lavorel, S; Albert, C; Le Bagousse-Pinguet, Y; Guillemin, R

    2008-01-01

    * In subalpine grasslands, changes in abiotic conditions with decreased management intensity alter the functional composition of plant communities, leading to modifications of ecosystem properties. Here, it is hypothesized that the nature of plant feedbacks on soil moisture is determined by the values of key traits at the community level. * As community functional parameters of grasslands change along a gradient of land uses, those traits that respond most to differences in abiotic conditions produced by land use changes were identified. A vegetation removal experiment was then conducted to determine how each plant community affected soil moisture. * Soil moisture was negatively correlated with community root length and positively correlated with canopy height, whereas average leaf area was associated with productivity. These traits were successfully used to predict the effects on soil moisture of each plant community in the removal experiment. This result was validated using data from an additional set of fields. * These findings demonstrate that the modification of soil moisture following land use change in subalpine grasslands can be mediated through those plant functional traits that respond to water availability.

  20. Response of a keystone rodent to landscape-scale restoration of desert grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Over the last century, many grasslands in the Chihuahuan Desert have converted to shrublands dominated by creosotebush (Larrea tridentata). The loss and spatial isolation of perennial grasslands has led to declines of grassland-dependent wildlife species. Grassland restoration efforts have been domi...

  1. Responses of soil microbial communities to experimental warming in alpine grasslands on the qinghai-tibet plateau.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Bin; Chen, Shengyun; He, Xingyuan; Liu, Wenjie; Zhao, Qian; Zhao, Lin; Tian, Chunjie

    2014-01-01

    Global surface temperature is predicted to increase by at least 1.5°C by the end of this century. However, the response of soil microbial communities to global warming is still poorly understood, especially in high-elevation grasslands. We therefore conducted an experiment on three types of alpine grasslands on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau to study the effect of experimental warming on abundance and composition of soil microbial communities at 0-10 and 10-20 cm depths. Plots were passively warmed for 3 years using open-top chambers and compared to adjacent control plots at ambient temperature. Soil microbial communities were assessed using phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) analysis. We found that 3 years of experimental warming consistently and significantly increased microbial biomass at the 0-10 cm soil depth of alpine swamp meadow (ASM) and alpine steppe (AS) grasslands, and at both the 0-10 and 10-20 cm soil depths of alpine meadow (AM) grasslands, due primarily to the changes in soil temperature, moisture, and plant coverage. Soil microbial community composition was also significantly affected by warming at the 0-10 cm soil depth of ASM and AM and at the 10-20 cm soil depth of AM. Warming significantly decreased the ratio of fungi to bacteria and thus induced a community shift towards bacteria at the 0-10 cm soil depth of ASM and AM. While the ratio of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi to saprotrophic fungi (AMF/SF) was significantly decreased by warming at the 0-10 cm soil depth of ASM, it was increased at the 0-10 cm soil depth of AM. These results indicate that warming had a strong influence on soil microbial communities in the studied high-elevation grasslands and that the effect was dependent on grassland type.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Valentin H Klaus

    Full Text Available 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(15N and δ(13C isotopic composition of soil and hay samples of 21 organic and 34 conventional grasslands in two German regions. We also used Δδ(15N (δ(15N plant - δ(15N 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(13C in hay and δ(15N in both soil and hay between management types, but showed that δ(13C abundances were significantly lower in soil of organic compared to conventional grasslands. Δδ(15N values implied that management types did not substantially differ in nitrogen cycling. Only δ(13C 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

  3. 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

  4. Environmental Controls and Management Effects on Ecosystem Carbon Exchange in Two Grazed Temperate Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ni Choncubhair, O.; Humphreys, J.; Lanigan, G.

    2013-12-01

    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. Accumulation of carbon (C) in grassland systems predominantly takes place in below-ground repositories, enhanced by the presence of a stable soil environment with low carbon turnover rates, active rhizodeposition and high levels of residue and organic inputs. However, this C sequestration is strongly influenced by soil characteristics and climatic variables. Furthermore, in managed pasture systems, carbon exchange across the soil-atmosphere boundary is additionally affected by management activities, such as biomass removal, grazing events and the deposition or application of organic amendments. These biotic and abiotic factors contribute greatly towards the large uncertainty associated with the carbon balance of grassland ecosystems and demand further analysis. In the present study, the controls and drivers of carbon dynamics in two rotationally-grazed grasslands in Ireland were examined. The sites experience similar temperate climatic regimes but differ in soil texture classification and stocking rate. Eddy covariance measurements of net ecosystem exchange of carbon were complemented by regular assessment of standing biomass, leaf cover, harvest exports and organic amendment inputs. Our study showed that mild weather conditions and an extended growing season sustained net C accumulation at both sites for at least ten months of the year. Despite differing soil drainage characteristics, winter fluxes of net carbon exchange and its component fluxes, gross photosynthesis and ecosystem respiration, were highly comparable between the two sites. Management practices during the active growing season exerted a strong influence on both the direction and the rate of C exchange in the grassland systems, with a strong dependence, however, on the timing and

  5. GHGs balance in a land use change process from grassland to short rotation coppice of poplar

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sabbatini, Simone; Arriga, Nicola; Baiocco, Andrea; Boschi, Alessio; Castaldi, Simona; Consalvo, Claudia; Gioli, Beniamino; Matteucci, Giorgio; Tomassucci, Michele; Zaldei, Alessandro; Papale, Dario

    2013-04-01

    At present one of the fastest spreading renewable energy sources are bioenergy cultivations. Millions of hectares of traditional crops all over the Europe are expected to be converted in energy crops in the near future, in order to produce green energy and contrast global warming. Last year, in the context of the GHG-Europe FP7 project we set up an experiment to verify the effects on the green-house gases balance of a land use change from traditional agriculture to short rotation coppice of poplar clones in central Italy. CO2 fluxes measured during the last growing season through three Eddy Covariance masts - two on poplar plantations of different ages and one over a reference site (grassland) - have been analysed. We also monitored CO2, CH4 and N2O fluxes from soil measured using chambers in order to better understand the contribution of other GHGs. The two poplar plantations showed a similar uptake of Carbon, 368 g C m-2 year-1 and 358 g C m-2 year-1, while the grassland absorbed 220 g C m-2 year-1 during the same period. Soil respiration in average was higher for the youngest plantation of poplar and for the grassland, lower for the oldest one, where soil is undisturbed from more time. In all the sites we measured low emissions during the winter (between 80 and 150 mg CO2 m-2 h-1), progressively higher in the spring and early summer with growing temperatures (up to 650 mg CO2 m-2 h-1), quite low during the summer because of a strong drought, while the highest values were recorded in September (ca. 1100 mg CO2 m-2 h-1 in the grassland and youngest poplar) after important rain events. Fluxes of N2O and CH4 from soil are very low: little absorption of CH4 in the grassland (values between 0 and -18.75 μg m-2 h-1), with peak after fertilization; in the SRC little absorption or emission with no clear seasonal pattern. Insignificant fluxes of N2O in all crops (even in the grassland after fertilization). The carbon fluxes measured are strongly related to the particular

  6. Degradation increase responses of priming effects to temperature in Tibetan alpine grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sun, Yue; Li, Qianru; Schleuss, Per; Hua, Ouyang; Kuzyakov, Yakov

    2016-04-01

    Kobresia grassland in Tibet plateau, with a rich storage of soil organic carbon (SOC), is very important to both ecosystem function and the livelihoods of local pastoral communities. But its intensive degradation in recent decades has led to unclear consequences for SOC stocks and dynamics. Kobresia grassland acts as a critical "first response region" to climate change, where the SOC decomposition is highly sensitive to temperature, and can produce positive C climate feedback. Priming effects, induced by inputs of labile organic carbon (LOC), can also affect SOC dynamic. Therefore, knowledge about how the priming effects response to temperature, and how their interactions affect SOC decomposition are central to understanding the carbon cycle of Tibet plateau under global warming. To this ends, we conducted a laboratory incubation experiment with the non-degraded soil collected from intact Kobresia patches, and degraded soil collected from crust patches, labeled with 14C-glucose in high/low level and incubated under 0 °C, 10 °C and 20 °C for 80 days. Cumulated CO2 emission increased significantly with temperature. Degraded soil showed lower CO2 emission at 0 °C, but significant higher CO2 emission at higher temperature compared to that of non-degraded soil. Priming positively responded to increasing temperature, with 78.9% increment in degraded soil and 12.9% in non-degraded soil on average, and at 20 °C, it was significant higher in degraded soil than non-degraded soil. Low-level glucose input led to the positive priming effects, while high-level glucose induced the negative priming. Higher temperature led to higher microbial activity (i.e., qCO2) and enzyme activity (i.e., β-glucosidases, chitinase, cellobiohydrolase and Xylosidase). Vmax of enzyme was significantly higher in degraded soil than in non-degraded soil, exhibiting a positive linear regression with priming effects. In conclusion, increase in temperature improved priming effects via higher microbe

  7. 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

  8. Simulated heat waves affected alpine grassland only in combination with drought

    Science.gov (United States)

    De Boeck, Hans J.; Bassin, Seraina; Verlinden, Maya; Zeiter, Michaela; Hiltbrunner, Erika

    2016-04-01

    The Alpine region is warming fast, leading to an increase in the frequency and intensity of climate extremes. Currently, it is unclear whether alpine ecosystems are sensitive or resistant to such extremes. In an experiment carried out in the Swiss Alps, we subjected Swiss alpine grassland communities to heat waves with varying intensity (5-10 °C warming) by transplanting monoliths to four different elevations (2440-660 m a.s.l.) for 17 days. Half of the monoliths were regularly irrigated while the other half were deprived of irrigation to additionally induce a drought at each site. We found that heat waves had no significant short-term impacts on fluorescence (Fv/Fm, a stress indicator), senescence and aboveground productivity if irrigation was provided. However, when heat waves coincided with drought, plants showed clear signs of stress, resulting in vegetation browning and reduced phytomass production. This likely resulted from direct drought effects, but also, as measurements of stomatal conductance and canopy temperatures suggest, from increased high-temperature stress as water scarcity decreased heat mitigation through transpiration. The immediate responses to heat waves (with or without droughts) recorded in these alpine grasslands were similar to those observed in the more extensively studied grasslands from temperate climates. Climate extreme impacts may differ in the longer run, however, because the short growing season in alpine environments likely constrains recovery.

  9. Biomass production in experimental grasslands of different species richness during three years of climate warming

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    H. J. De Boeck

    2007-12-01

    Full Text Available 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. Increased resource partitioning, likely mostly through spatial complementarity, 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.

  10. Farmer decision making and its effect on subalpine grassland succession in the Giant Mts., Czech Republic

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michal Hejcman

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Nitrogen deposition is generally considered as a main reason for many recent plant expansions, but management changes are often not taken into account. Understanding the effects of agriculture management in the past can be decisive in the explanation of plant expansions at present. In order to understand the spread of Molinia caerulea and Calamagrostis villosa into Nardus stricta dominated subalpine grassland in the Giant Mts. (Krkonoše, Karkonosze, we undertook an experiment to explain farmer decision making and we discussed its effect on grassland succession. We measured mowing productivity, yields, biomass quality and nutrient removal in N. stricta, M. caerulea, and C. villosa dominated swards. With regard to defoliation management performed on the subalpine grasslands for at least 500 years and cancelled after the Second World War, we found the following results and conclusions. 1. Mowing productivity, yield and forage quality were lowest in the N. stricta sward, therefore farmers preferred to harvest C. villosa and M. caerulea stands if they had the possibility to select a sward for mowing. 2. Removal of all nutrients was the lowest in the N. stricta sward. With respect to these facts, the competitive advantage of N. stricta is obvious under long-term scything without fertilization. Consequently, the recent increase of defoliation sensitive species M. caerulea and C. villosa above the timber line must be evaluated with respect to both: termination of agricultural activities and recent nitrogen deposition.

  11. General stabilizing effects of plant diversity on grassland productivity through population asynchrony and overyielding.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hector, A; Hautier, Y; Saner, P; Wacker, L; Bagchi, R; Joshi, J; Scherer-Lorenzen, M; Spehn, E M; Bazeley-White, E; Weilenmann, M; Caldeira, M C; Dimitrakopoulos, P G; Finn, J A; Huss-Danell, K; Jumpponen, A; Mulder, C P H; Palmborg, C; Pereira, J S; Siamantziouras, A S D; Terry, A C; Troumbis, A Y; Schmid, B; Loreau, M

    2010-08-01

    Insurance effects of biodiversity can stabilize the functioning of multispecies ecosystems against environmental variability when differential species' responses lead to asynchronous population dynamics. When responses are not perfectly positively correlated, declines in some populations are compensated by increases in others, smoothing variability in ecosystem productivity. This variance reduction effect of biodiversity is analogous to the risk-spreading benefits of diverse investment portfolios in financial markets. We use data from the BIODEPTH network of grassland biodiversity experiments to perform a general test for stabilizing effects of plant diversity on the temporal variability of individual species, functional groups, and aggregate communities. We tested three potential mechanisms: reduction of temporal variability through population asynchrony; enhancement of long-term average performance through positive selection effects; and increases in the temporal mean due to overyielding. Our results support a stabilizing effect of diversity on the temporal variability of grassland aboveground annual net primary production through two mechanisms. Two-species communities with greater population asynchrony were more stable in their average production over time due to compensatory fluctuations. Overyielding also stabilized productivity by increasing levels of average biomass production relative to temporal variability. However, there was no evidence for a performance-enhancing effect on the temporal mean through positive selection effects. In combination with previous work, our results suggest that stabilizing effects of diversity on community productivity through population asynchrony and overyielding appear to be general in grassland ecosystems.

  12. Scale-dependent feedbacks between patch size and plant reproduction in desert grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Svejcar, Lauren N.; Bestelmeyer, Brandon T.; Duniway, Michael C.; James, Darren K.

    2015-01-01

    Theoretical models suggest that scale-dependent feedbacks between plant reproductive success and plant patch size govern transitions from highly to sparsely vegetated states in drylands, yet there is scant empirical evidence for these mechanisms. Scale-dependent feedback models suggest that an optimal patch size exists for growth and reproduction of plants and that a threshold patch organization exists below which positive feedbacks between vegetation and resources can break down, leading to critical transitions. We examined the relationship between patch size and plant reproduction using an experiment in a Chihuahuan Desert grassland. We tested the hypothesis that reproductive effort and success of a dominant grass (Bouteloua eriopoda) would vary predictably with patch size. We found that focal plants in medium-sized patches featured higher rates of grass reproductive success than when plants occupied either large patch interiors or small patches. These patterns support the existence of scale-dependent feedbacks in Chihuahuan Desert grasslands and indicate an optimal patch size for reproductive effort and success in B. eriopoda. We discuss the implications of these results for detecting ecological thresholds in desert grasslands.

  13. Impacts of grassland types and vegetation cover changes on surface air temperature in the regions of temperate grassland of China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shen, Xiangjin; Liu, Binhui; Li, Guangdi; Yu, Pujia; Zhou, Daowei

    2016-10-01

    The sensitivity of surface air temperature response to different grassland types and vegetation cover changes in the regions of temperate grassland of China was analyzed by observation minus reanalysis (OMR) method. The basis of the OMR approach is that reanalysis data are insensitive to local surface properties, so the temperature differences between surface observations and reanalysis can be attributed to land effects. Results showed that growing-season air temperature increased by 0.592 °C/decade in the regions of temperate grassland of China, with about 31 % of observed warming associated with the effects of grassland types and vegetation cover changes. For different grassland types, the growing-season OMR trend was the strongest for temperate desert steppe (0.259 °C/decade) and the weakest for temperate meadow (0.114 °C/decade). Our results suggest that the stronger intraseasonal changes of grassland vegetation are present, the more sensitive the OMR trend responds to the intraseasonal vegetation cover changes. In August and September, the OMR of temperate meadow showed a weak cooling trend. For temperate meadow, about 72.2 and 72.6 % of surface cooling were explained by both grassland type and increase of vegetation cover for August and September, respectively. For temperate steppe and temperate desert steppe, due to the limited soil moisture and little evaporative cooling feedback, the vegetation changes have no significant effect on the surface air temperature. These results indicate that the impact of grassland types and vegetation cover changes should be considered when projecting further climate change in the temperate grassland region of China.

  14. The Canopy Conductance of a Humid Grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lu, C. T.; Hsieh, C. I.

    2015-12-01

    Penman-Monteith equation is widely used for estimating latent heat flux. The key parameter for implementing this equation is the canopy conductance (gc). Recent research (Blaken and Black, 2004) showed that gc could be well parameterized by a linear function of An/ (D0* X0c), where An represents net assimilation, D0 is leaf level saturation deficit, and X0c is CO2 mole fraction. In this study, we tried to use the same idea for estimating gcfor a humid grassland. The study site was located in County Cork, southwest Ireland (51o59''N 8o46''W), and perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) was the dominant grass species in this area. An eddy covariance system was used to measure the latent heat flux above this humid grassland. The measured gc was calculated by rearranging Penman-Monteith equation combined with the measured latent heat flux. Our data showed that the gc decreased as the vapor pressure deficit and temperature increased. And it increased as the net radiation increased. Therefore, we found out that the best parameterization of gc was a linear function of the product of the vapor deficit, temperature, and net radiation. Also, we used the gc which was estimated by this linear function to predict the latent heat flux by Penman-Monteith equation and compared the predictions with those where the gc was chosen to be a fixed value. Our analysis showed that this simple linear function for gc can improve the latent heat flux predictions (R square increased from 0.48 to 0.66).

  15. Effects of drought on nitrogen turnover and abundances of ammonia-oxidizers in mountain grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fuchslueger, L.; Kastl, E.-M.; Bauer, F.; Kienzl, S.; Hasibeder, R.; Ladreiter-Knauss, T.; Schmitt, M.; Bahn, M.; Schloter, M.; Richter, A.; Szukics, U.

    2014-11-01

    Future climate scenarios suggest an increased frequency of summer drought periods in the European Alpine Region. Drought can affect soil nitrogen (N) cycling, by altering N transformation rates, as well as the abundances of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and archaea. However, the extent to which drought affects N cycling under in situ conditions is still controversial. The goal of this study was to analyse effects of drought on soil N turnover and ammonia-oxidizer abundances in soil without drought history. To this end we conducted rain-exclusion experiments at two differently managed mountain grassland sites, an annually mown and occasionally fertilized meadow and an abandoned grassland. Soils were sampled before, during and after drought and were analysed for potential gross rates of N mineralization, microbial uptake of inorganic N, nitrification, and the abundances of bacterial and archaeal ammonia-oxidizers based on gene copy numbers of the amoA gene (AOB and AOA, respectively). Drought induced different responses at the two studied sites. At the managed meadow drought increased NH4+ immobilization rates and NH4+ concentrations in the soil water solution, but led to a reduction of AOA abundance compared to controls. At the abandoned site gross nitrification and NO3- immobilization rates decreased during drought, while AOB and AOA abundances remained stable. Rewetting had only minor, short-term effects on the parameters that had been affected by drought. Seven weeks after the end of drought no differences to control plots could be detected. Thus, our findings demonstrated that in mountain grasslands drought had distinct transient effects on soil nitrogen cycling and ammonia-oxidizers, which could have been related to a niche differentiation of AOB and AOA with increasing NH4+ levels. However, the effect strength of drought was modulated by grassland management.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    H. J. Wang

    2012-01-01

    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 increased it 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.

  17. 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.

  18. A test of catastrophic transition mechanisms in the Chihuahuan Desert Grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Svejcar, L.; Bestelmeyer, B.; Duniway, M.

    2012-12-01

    Dryland ecosystems are known to undergo transitions from grassland or savanna states to shrub-dominated and/or eroded states with persistent loss of herbaceous vegetation. Theoretical models for predicting critical thresholds between states have been examined in drylands to search for early warning indicators, yet there is scant empirical evidence for the mechanisms. The models postulate that larger patches are favorable environments for plant growth in arid ecosystems due to short-range facilitation. The breakdown of large patches is thought to trigger catastrophic transitions. We tested assumptions underpinning these models using an experiment in black grama grassland (Bouteloua eriopoda Torr.) of the Chihuahuan Desert in which variable grazing intensities produced a wide range of patch sizes in plots with differing mesquite shrub (Prosopis glandulosa Torr.) densities. We tested the hypothesis that growth, reproductive capability, and reproductive success of black grama plants would be greater in larger plant patches than in smaller patches. From 2010-2012 we measured numbers of stolons, ramets, rooted ramets and young individual plants associated with focal black grama plants and fixed areas within each patch. We found that the largest patches did not always feature the highest rates of grass reproduction across years, suggesting that patch size does not consistently indicate the patch persistence mechanisms proposed in catastrophic transition models. Other factors, such as resource competition within patches, may play important roles in black grama grasslands. When assessing rangeland conditions in the Chihuahuan desert grasslands, theoretical models of critical thresholds and early warning indicators should be applied with caution.

  19. Seedling responses to water pulses in shrubs with contrasting histories of grassland encroachment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Woods, Steven R; Archer, Steven R; Schwinning, Susan

    2014-01-01

    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.

  20. 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.

  1. Crop and Grassland Management Plan : Mingo National Wildlife Refuge

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — The Mingo NWR Crop and Grassland Management Plan focuses on the production of supplemental grain and browse foods to maintain wildlife populations. In addition,...

  2. Grassland Management Plan Erie National Wildlife Refuge 1981

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — This management plan provides well defined guidelines to accomplish the following goals at Erie National Wildlife Refuge : 1) to manage existing grasslands, 2)...

  3. Grasslands Wildlife Management Area : Annual narrative report : Calendar year 1991

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — This annual narrative report for Grasslands WMA outlines Refuge accomplishments during the 1991 calendar year. The report begins with a summary of the year's...

  4. Soil Organic Carbon Responses to Forest Expansion on Mountain Grasslands

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Guidi, Claudia

    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...... involved into long-term stability are largely unknown. The aim of this PhD thesis was to explore changes in: (i) SOC stocks; (ii) physical SOC fractions; and (iii) labile soil carbon components following forest expansion on mountain grasslands. A land-use gradient located in the Southern Alps (Italy....... 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...

  5. Louisa District Mark Twain NWR : Grassland Management Plan

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — The Mark Twain National Wildlife Refuge- Louisa District Grassland Management Plan addresses management strategies to provide habitat and food for waterfowl and...

  6. Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge: Comprehensive Conservation Plan

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — This Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) was written to guide management on Shawangunk Grasslands NWR for the next 15 years. This plan outlines the Refuge vision...

  7. Project kicks off for the recovery of depleted frigid grasslands

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2007-01-01

    @@ A research project on the reclaiming technology for degenerated ecosystems on alpine & frigid grasslands was launched on 19 April at the CAS Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology (NIPB) in Lanzhou.

  8. Grassland Management Plan : Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — The grassland management objectives for Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge are: (1) to provide secure nesting cover for ground nesting waterfowl. The refuge...

  9. Grassland Management Plan Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge 1986

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — This management plan provides well defined guidelines to accomplish the following goals: (1) to continue to improve existing grasslands for nesting waterfowl,...

  10. Grassland Management Plan Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge 1989

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — This grassland management plan for Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge is presented as an interim document to provide refuge staff in 1989 with management guidelines...

  11. New taxa of Entoloma from grasslands in Drenthe, The Netherlands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Arnolds, E.J.M.; Noordeloos, M.E.

    1979-01-01

    Fourteen new species and three new variaties of Entoloma from grassland vegetations in the province of Drenthe, The Netherlands, are described: E. acidophilum, E. argenteostriatum, E. calthionis, E. chlorinosum, E. cryptocystidiatum, E. cuniculorum. E. defibulatum, E. farinogustus, E.

  12. Effects of Habitat Manipulation on Grassland Bird Populations

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — Because of continuing concern over the decline of grassland bird populations in the Northeast, and the fact that many management activities designed to increase...

  13. Grassland bird survey protocol : Kulm Wetland Management District

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — Initial Survey Instructions for the grassland bird survey at Kulm Wetland Management District. This survey occurs between May 15th and July 15th annually. All...

  14. Experimental study on soil respiration of temperate grassland in China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    WANG Gengchen; DU Rui; KONG Qinxin; L(U) Daren

    2004-01-01

    Experimental study on soil respiration of typical temperate grassland in Inner Mongolia was conducted in the period of 1998-2000. Closed chamber and GC/FID techniques were used for measurements of soil and plant respiration. Data analysis of three-year measurements show that temperate grassland soil respiration varied in the range of 390-866 gC/m2·a-1 and underwent evident seasonal and annual variations. On average, the soil respiration accounts for 70%-88% of the grassland total respiration. Results also show a stronger relation between the soil respiration and soil temperature in water abundant years. Increased rainfall in 1998 made soil respiration increased, while in the dry years, the relation between soil respiration and soil temperature weakened remarkably. Soit water content plays an important controlling role in soil respiration-temperature interrelation for semiarid grassland.

  15. 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...

  16. 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...... of aerenchymous plants should be considered before dismissing grasslands on peat as CH4 sources....

  17. 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....

  18. Grassland Evolution Under Soil Degradation: Numerical Simulation and Test

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    QI Xiang-Zhen; LIN Zhen-Shan

    2005-01-01

    Both theoretical and field observations were examined to study the close relationship between soil degeneration and the evolution of grassland vegetation. A general n-species model of equal competition under different degrees of soil degradation was applied to field data in order to probe the dynamic processes and mechanisms of vegetation evolution due to the effects of the soil's ecological deterioration on grassland vegetation. Comparisons were made between the theoretical results and the practical surveys with satisfactory results.

  19. Controls on microbial accessibility to soil organic carbon following woody plant encroachment into grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Creamer, Courtney; Boutton, Thomas; Olk, Dan; Filley, Timothy

    2010-05-01

    Woody plant encroachment (WPE) into savannas and grasslands is a global phenomenon that alters soil organic carbon (SOC) dynamics through changes in litter quality and quantity, soil structure, microbial ecology, and hydrology. To elucidate the controls on microbial accessibility to SOC, bulk soils from a chronosequence of progressive WPE into native grasslands at the Texas Agrilife La Copita Research Area were incubated for one year. The quantity and stable carbon isotope composition of respired CO2, and plant biopolymer chemistry in SOC were tracked. Respiration rates declined exponentially 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 SOC was mineralized to CO2 throughout the incubation. After day 84 a significantly (pproductivity. Despite documented SOC accrual following WPE at La Copita, we observed no evidence of enhanced SOC stabilization in these respiration experiments. In fact, a greater proportion of total SOC was lost from the soil of mature woody stands than from young stands, suggesting SOC accumulation observed with WPE may be due to greater input rates or microbial dynamics not captured in the laboratory incubation. Compound-specific analyses indicated there was a significant (pamino acids, and amino sugars during the incubation. Amino nitrogen tended to become more concentrated during the incubation, although the trend was not significant. Relatively few significant trends of these compounds in response to woody stand age were observed, indicating that these compounds were generally degraded to the same extent during the incubation. We hypothesize that biochemical recalcitrance is not an important mechanism for the stabilization of SOC at this site. By day 184 of the incubation, CO2 respired from older woody clusters (34-86 years) was significantly (p<0.05) less 13C-depleted with respect to bulk SOC than CO2 respired from younger woody clusters (14

  20. Spatiotemporal variability of increasing temperature impacts on grassland vegetation along an elevation transect in the Alps

    Science.gov (United States)

    Niedrist, Georg; Obojes, Nikolaus; Bertoldi, Giacomo; Della Chiesa, Stefano; Tasser, Erich; Tappeiner, Ulrike

    2013-04-01

    Different manipulative approaches have been developed to study and quantify impacts of temperature increase on grassland ecosystems. Many of them share the problem of unwanted effects on the surrounding microclimatic conditions. Transplantation of grassland mesocosms along elevation gradients can be a realistic alternative, although with some restrictions. Here we present 3 years of data from a double-transplant-experiment, were 70*70*20cm grassland turves were transplanted at two elevations from 2000m to 1500m a.s.l. and from 1500m to 1000m a.s.l. respectively, along an inner-alpine elevation gradient in the Vinschgau Valley (South Tyrol, I). All donor and receiving sites are comparable regarding land use (meadows), soil conditions or exposition and are located within a few km's distance ensuring comparable weather conditions apart from the intended air temperature (0.54°K/100m) and annual precipitation (20mm/100m) lapse rate. Phytodiversity and above ground net primary production (ANPP) of the transplanted mesocosms were assessed and compared with locally transplanted monoliths of the respective donor site. Furthermore, growth dynamics was continuously observed throughout the vegetation season with a non-destructive method based on measurement of light (photosynthetic active radiation) extinction within the canopy. After 3 years no significant changes in absolute species numbers has been detected at all, whereas slight variations have been observed regarding species composition. Those shifts could be differentiated both to transplantation artifacts and effects of the elevated temperature. Total aboveground phytomass, unsurprisingly, showed higher values on transplanted (lower) mesocosms, however: data from single cuts and growth rate analysis reveal differing effects between the two transplantation steps as well as over the course of the vegetation period. Transplanted plots from 2000m to 1500m showed continuously higher productivity from spring to autumn

  1. 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.

  2. Habitat and landscape effects on abundance of Missouri's grassland birds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jacobson, Robert B.; Thompson, Frank R.; Koford, Rolf R.; La Sorte, Frank A.; Woodward, Hope D.; Fitzgerald, Jane A.

    2012-01-01

    Of 6 million ha of prairie that once covered northern and western Missouri, radius). We found support for all 3 levels of model parameters, although there was less support for landscape than vegetation structure effects likely because we studied high-percentage-grassland landscapes (BCAs). Henslow's sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii) counts increased with greater percentage of grassland, vegetation height-density, litter depth, and shrub cover and lower edge density. Henslow's sparrow counts were greatest in hayed native prairie. Dickcissel (Spiza americana) counts increased with greater vegetation height-density and were greatest in planted CRP grasslands. Grasshopper sparrow (A. savannarum) counts increased with lower vegetation height, litter depth, and shrub cover. Based on distance modeling, breeding densities of Henslow's sparrow, dickcissel, and grasshopper sparrow in the 6 grassland types ranged 0.9–2.6, 1.4–3.2, and 0.1–1.5 birds/ha, respectively. We suggest different grassland types and structures (vegetation height, litter depth, shrub cover) are needed to support priority grassland-bird species in Missouri.

  3. Soil Organic Carbon Responses to Forest Expansion on Mountain Grasslands

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Guidi, Claudia

    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 ...... grasslands, which can be explained by lower accumulation of binding agents of microbial origin. This can have implications for the accumulation of atmospheric CO2 in soil and for the susceptibility of SOC to external disturbances such as management and environmental changes.......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...... involved into long-term stability are largely unknown. The aim of this PhD thesis was to explore changes in: (i) SOC stocks; (ii) physical SOC fractions; and (iii) labile soil carbon components following forest expansion on mountain grasslands. A land-use gradient located in the Southern Alps (Italy...

  4. Soil-occupancy effects of invasive and native grassland plant species on composition and diversity of mycorrhizal associations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jordan, Nicholas R.; Aldrich-Wolfe, Laura; Huerd, Sheri C.; Larson, Diane L.; Muehlbauer, Gary

    2012-01-01

    Diversified grasslands that contain native plant species can produce biofuels, support sustainable grazing systems, and produce other ecosystem services. However, ecosystem service production can be disrupted by invasion of exotic perennial plants, and these plants can have soil-microbial “legacies” that may interfere with establishment and maintenance of diversified grasslands even after effective management of the invasive species. The nature of such legacies is not well understood, but may involve suppression of mutualisms between native species and soil microbes. In this study, we tested the hypotheses that legacy effects of invasive species change colonization rates, diversity, and composition of arbuscular-mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) associated with seedlings of co-occurring invasive and native grassland species. In a glasshouse, experimental soils were conditioned by cultivating three invasive grassland perennials, three native grassland perennials, and a native perennial mixture. Each was grown separately through three cycles of growth, after which we used T-RFLP analysis to characterize AMF associations of seedlings of six native perennial and six invasive perennial species grown in these soils. Legacy effects of soil conditioning by invasive species did not affect AMF richness in seedling roots, but did affect AMF colonization rates and the taxonomic composition of mycorrhizal associations in seedling roots. Moreover, native species were more heavily colonized by AMF and roots of native species had greater AMF richness (number of AMF operational taxonomic units per seedling) than did invasive species. The invasive species used to condition soil in this experiment have been shown to have legacy effects on biomass of native seedlings, reducing their growth in this and a previous similar experiment. Therefore, our results suggest that successful plant invaders can have legacies that affect soil-microbial associations of native plants and that these effects

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. Changes in the structure and floristic composition of the limestone grasslands after cutting trees and shrubs and mowing

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wojciech Bąba

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available The calcareous grasslands belong to the species-rich plant communities in Poland. Most of them are of anthropogenic origin and they need specific management (i.e. periodical cutting suckers of trees and shrubs, grazing or mowing in order to protect their floristic diversity. Many of calcareous grasslands have been overgrown by shrubs as a result of cessation of traditional management. The aim of this study was to compare the structure and dynamics of xerothermic hazel shrub patches, which were undergoing secondary succession with patches where different management practices aiming at restoration of species-rich limestone grassland were applied. The managed plots had a significantly higher species richness than the control one. However, they strongly differed in their floristic composition from well-preserved limestone grasslands. There were also significant differences observed between both the managed plots. Too intensive management, particularly frequent mowing of herbs resulted in expansion of grass species such as Brachypodium pinnatum and Calamagrostis arundinacea and caused a sharp decline in species richness. The species composition and turnover rate strongly depended on succesional stage (soil layer thickness of plots at the start of the experiment. The deeper was the soil, the higher was the rate of species turnover and the smaller was the share of xerothermic and thermophilous species. The last mentioned group was dominated by species with a persistent seed bank in the soil, frequently colonizing anthropogenic habitats.

  8. 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 BACKGROUND: 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. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: 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. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: 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.

  9. Effects of cultivation on N20 emission and seasonal quantitative variations of related microbes in a temperate grassland soil

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2001-01-01

    Laboratory and in situ experiments were done to investigate the influences of cultivation on temperate semi-arid grassland (for 17years spring wheat planted once every two years without fertilization) on soil N2O emission and quantitative variations of related soil microbes.In the laboratory (25℃ and soil moisture 18% ), cultivation increased soil transformations of fertilizer nitrogen ( 100 μg N/g as NaNO3, urea,or as urea with dicyandiamide I μg N/g). The N2O emissions from the cultivated and uncultivated soils with or without nitrogen additions were relatively Iow, and mainly originated from the nitrification. The soil N2O emission due to cultivation decreased somewhat upon no fertilization or NaNO3 addition, but significantly upon urea addition. The role of dicyandiamide as nitrification inhibitor was only considerable in the cultivated soil, and had small influence on decreasing N2O emission in the two soils. The influence of cultivation on soil N2O emission was also reflected by the number variations of microbes related with soil nitrogen transformation in the two soils. Compared to the uncultivated grassland, in situ ammonifiem and denitrifiers in the cultivated grassland quantitatively averagely increased, and aerobic no-symbiotic azotobacters were quantitatively similar, leading to the continued decrease of organic matter content and the decrease of N2O emission from the cultivated grassland soil.

  10. Grassland breeding bird use of managed grasslands on National Wildlife Refuges in Region 5 of the Fish and Wildlife Service

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — The overall purpose of this project is to understand the likely capacity of Fish and Wildlife Service land managers to affect grassland bird populations in Region 5....

  11. Recommendations on the use of prescribed burning practices in grassland conservation - An evidence-based study from Hungary

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tóthmérész, Béla; Valkó, Orsolya; Török, Péter; Végvári, Zsolt; Deák, Balázs

    2015-04-01

    Fire as a natural disturbance has been present in most European grasslands. In parallel controlled use of burning was an important part of the traditional landscape management for millennia. It was used to reduce litter and suppress woody vegetation as well as to maintain open landscapes suitable for farming. Recently, human activities have a considerable impact on natural fire regimes through habitat fragmentation, cessation of traditional grassland management and climate change. Nowadays the majority of human-ignited fires are uncontrolled burnings and arson, which have serious negative impacts on human life, property and can be detrimental also from the nature conservation point of view. Despite fire was widely applied in the past and the considerable extension and frequency of current grassland fires, the impact of fire on the grassland biodiversity is still scarcely documented in Europe. The aim of our study was to gather practical knowledge and experiences from Hungary concerning the effects of fire on grasslands. To fulfil this aim we sent questionnaires to experts from Hungarian national park directorates to gather unpublished data and field observations concerning the effects of burning on grasslands. Based on the answers for the questionnaires fire regularly occur in almost every grassland types in Hungary. We found that effects of fire are habitat-specific. One hand uncontrolled burning and arson have serious detrimental impacts on many endangered species (ground-dwelling birds, such as Asio flammeus, Tringa totanus and Vanellus vanellus; or lizards, such as Ablepharus kitaibelii). On the other hand in several cases fire has a positive effect on the habitat structure and favours species of high nature conservation interest (plant species, such as Adonis volgensis, Chamaecytisus supinus and Pulsatilla grandis; butterflies, such as Euphydryas aurinia; bird species such as Circus aeruginosus and Larus cachinnans). Our results suggest that even uncontrolled

  12. Non-native plants and soil microbes: potential contributors to the consistent reduction in soil aggregate stability caused by the disturbance of North American grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Duchicela, Jessica; Vogelsang, Keith M; Schultz, Peggy A; Kaonongbua, Wittaya; Middleton, Elizabeth L; Bever, James D

    2012-10-01

    • Soil aggregate stability is an important ecosystem property that is altered by anthropogenic disturbance. Yet, the generalization of these alterations and the identification of the main contributors are limited by the absence of cross-site comparisons and the application of inconsistent methodologies across regions. • We assessed aggregate stability in paired remnant and post-disturbance grasslands across California, shortgrass and tallgrass prairies, and in manipulative experiments of plant composition and soil microbial inoculation. • Grasslands recovering from anthropogenic disturbance consistently had lower aggregate stability than remnants. Across all grasslands, non-native plant diversity was significantly associated with reduced soil aggregate stability. A negative effect of non-native plants on aggregate stability was also observed in a mesocosm experiment comparing native and non-native plants from California grasslands. Moreover, an inoculation study demonstrated that the degradation of the microbial community also contributes to the decline in soil aggregate stability in disturbed grasslands. • Anthropogenic disturbance consistently reduced water-stable aggregates. The stability of aggregates was reduced by non-native plants and the degradation of the native soil microbial community. This latter effect might contribute to the sustained decline in aggregate stability following anthropogenic disturbance. Further exploration is advocated to understand the generality of these potential mechanisms.

  13. 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.

  14. Application of relaxed eddy accumulation (REA on managed grassland

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. Riederer

    2014-05-01

    Full Text Available Relaxed eddy accumulation is applied for measuring fluxes of trace gases for which there is a lack of sensors fast enough in their resolution for eddy-covariance. On managed grasslands, the length of time between management events and the application of relaxed eddy accumulation has an essential influence on the determination of the proportionality factor b and thereby on the resulting flux. In this study this effect is discussed for the first time. Also, scalar similarity between proxy scalars and scalars of interest is affected until the ecosystem has completely recovered. Against this background, CO2 fluxes were continuously measured and 13CO2 isofluxes were determined with a high measurement precision on two representative days in summer 2010. This enabled the evaluation of the 13CO2 flux portion of the entire CO2 flux, in order to estimate potential influences on tracer experiments in ecosystem sciences and to compare a common method for the partitioning of the net ecosystem exchange into assimilation and respiration based on temperature and light response with an isotopic approach directly based on the isotope discrimination of the biosphere.

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

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    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.

  16. Response of grassland ecosystems to prolonged soil moisture deficit

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ross, Morgan A.; Ponce-Campos, Guillermo E.; Barnes, Mallory L.; Hottenstein, John D.; Moran, M. Susan

    2014-05-01

    Soil moisture is commonly used for predictions of plant response and productivity. Climate change is predicted to cause an increase in the frequency and duration of droughts over the next century, which will result in prolonged periods of below-normal soil moisture. This, in turn, is expected to impact regional plant production, erosion and air quality. In fact, the number of consecutive months of soil moisture content below the drought-period mean has recently been linked to regional tree and shrub mortality in the southwest United States. This study investigated the effects of extended periods of below average soil moisture on the response of grassland ANPP to precipitation. Grassland ecosystems were selected for this study because of their ecological sensitivity to precipitation patterns. It has been postulated that the quick ecological response of grasslands to droughts can provide insight to large scale functional responses of regions to predicted climate change. The study sites included 21 grassland biomes throughout arid-to-humid climates in the United States with continuous surface soil moisture records for 2-13 years during the drought period from 2000-2013. Annual net primary production (ANPP) was estimated from the 13-year record of NASA MODIS Enhanced Vegetation Index extracted for each site. Prolonged soil moisture deficit was defined as a period of at least 10 consecutive months during which soil moisture was below the drought-period mean. ANPP was monitored before, during and after prolonged soil moisture deficit to quantify shifts in the functional response of grasslands to precipitation, and in some cases, new species assemblages that included invasive species. Preliminary results indicated that when altered climatic conditions on grasslands led to an increase in the duration of soil water deficit, then the precipitation-to-ANPP relation became non-linear. Non-linearity was associated with extreme grassland dieback and changes in the historic

  17. Informing agricultural management - The challenge of modelling grassland phenology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Calanca, Pierluigi

    2017-04-01

    Grasslands represent roughly 70% of the agricultural land worldwide, are the backbone of animal husbandry and contribute substantially to agricultural income. At the farm scale a proper management of meadows and pastures is necessary to attain a balance between forage production and consumption. A good hold on grassland phenology is of paramount importance in this context, because forage quantity and quality critically depend on the developmental stage of the sward. Traditionally, empirical rules have been used to advise farmers in this respect. Yet the provision of supporting information for decision making would clearly benefit from dedicated tools that integrate reliable models of grassland phenology. As with annual crops, in process-based models grassland phenology is usually described as a linear function of so-called growing degree days, whereby data from field trials and monitoring networks are used to calibrate the relevant parameters. It is shown in this contribution that while the approach can provide reasonable estimates of key developmental stages in an average sense, it fails to account for the variability observed in managed grasslands across sites and years, in particular concerning the start of the growing season. The analysis rests on recent data from western Switzerland, which serve as a benchmark for simulations carried out with grassland models of increasing complexity. Reasons for an unsatisfactory model performance and possibilities to improve current models are discussed, including the necessity to better account for species composition, late season management decisions, as well as plant physiological processes taking place during the winter season. The need to compile existing, and collect new data doe managed grasslands is also stressed.

  18. Responses of plant diversity and primary productivity to nutrient addition in aStipa baicalensis grassland, China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    YU Li; SONG Xiao-long; ZHAO Jian-ning; WANG Hui; BAI Long; YANG Dian-lin

    2015-01-01

    Nutrient addition can affect the structure and diversity of grassland plant communities, thus alter the grassland productivity. Studies on grassland plant community composition, structure and diversity in response to nutrient addition have an import-ant theoretical and practical signiifcance for the scientiifc management of grassland, protection of plant diversity and the recovery of degraded grassland. A randomized block design experiment was conducted with six blocks of eight treatments each: control (no nutrient addition) and K, P, N, PK, NK, NP, and NPK addition. We evaluated plant composition, height, coverage, density, and aboveground biomass to estimate primary productivity and plant diversity. Results showed that al treatments increased primary productivity signiifcantly (P<0.05) with the exception of the K and the NPK treatments had the greatest effect, increasing aboveground biomass 2.46 times compared with the control (P<0.05). One-way ANOVA and factorial analysis were used for the species richness, Shannon-Wiener index, Pielou index and aboveground biomass, and the relationships between the diversity indices and aboveground biomass were determined through linear regression. We found that fertilization altered the community structure; N (but not P or K) addition increased the proportion of perennial rhizome grasses and signiifcantly reduced that of perennial forbs (P<0.05), thus it presented a trend of decrease in species richness, Shannon-Wiener and Pielou indexex, respectively. Only the main effects of N had signiifcant impacts on both the diversity indices and the aboveground biomass (P<0.05), and the interactions between N-P, N-K, P-K and N-P-K could be neglected. With fertilization, plant diversity (correlation coefifcient, –0.61), species richness (–0.49), and species even-ness (–0.51) were al negatively linearly correlated with primary productivity. The correlations were al signiifcant (P<0.01). Scientiifc nutrient management is an effective

  19. Carbon sink activity and GHG budget of managed European grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klumpp, Katja; Herfurth, Damien; Soussana, Jean-Francois; Fluxnet Grassland Pi's, European

    2013-04-01

    In agriculture, a large proportion (89%) of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission saving potential may be achieved by means of soil C sequestration. Recent demonstrations of carbon sink activities of European ecosystemes, however, often questioned the existence of C storing grasslands, as though a net sink of C was observed, uncertainty surrounding this estimate was larger than the sink itself (Janssens et al., 2003, Schulze et al., 2009. Then again, some of these estimates were based on a small number of measurements, and on models. Not surprising, there is still, a paucity of studies demonstrating the existence of grassland systems, where C sequestration would exceed (in CO2 equivalents) methane emissions from the enteric fermentation of ruminants and nitrous oxide emissions from managed soils. Grasslands are heavily relied upon for food and forage production. A key component of the carbon sink activity in grasslands is thus the impact of changes in management practices or effects of past and recent management, such as intensification as well as climate (and -variation). We analysed data (i.e. flux, ecological, management and soil organic carbon) from a network of European grassland flux observation sites (36). These sites covered different types and intensities of management, and offered the opportunity to understand grassland carbon cycling and trade-offs between C sinks and CH4 and N2O emissions. For some sites, the assessment of carbon sink activities were compared using two methods; repeated soil inventory and determination of the ecosystem C budget by continuous measurement of CO2 exchange in combination with quantification of other C imports and exports (net C storage, NCS). In general grassland, were a potential sink of C with 60±12 g C /m2.yr (median; min -456; max 645). Grazed sites had a higher NCS compared to cut sites (median 99 vs 67 g C /m2.yr), while permanent grassland sites tended to have a lower NCS compared to temporary sown grasslands (median 64 vs

  20. Simulation of Effects of Grassland Degradation on Regional Climate over Sanjiangyuan Region in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    LIAN Lishu; SHU Jiong

    2009-01-01

    Regional climate model (RegCM3) was applied to explore the possible effects of land use changes (e.g., grassland degradation in this study) on local and regional climate over the Sanjiangyuan region in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Two multiyear (1991-1999) numerical simulation experiments were conducted: one was a control experiment with current land use and the other was a desertification experiment with potential grassland degradation. Preliminary analysis indicated that RegCM3 is appropriate for simulating land-climate interactions, as the patterns of the simulated surface air temperature, the summer precipitation, and the geopotential height fields are consistent with the observed values. The desertification over the Sanjiangyuan region will cause different climate effects in different regions depending on the surrounding environment and climate characteristics. The area with obvious change in surface air temperature inducing by grassland degradation over the Sanjiangyuan region is located in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. A winter surface air temperature drop and the other seasons' surface air temperature increase will be observed over the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau based on two numerical simulation experiments. Surface air temperature changes in spring are the largest (0.46℃), and in winter are the smallest (smaller than 0.03℃), indicating an increasing mean annual surface air temperature over the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Surface air temperature changes will be smaller and more complex over the surrounding region, with minor winter changes for the regions just outside the plateau and notable summer changes over the north of the Yangtze River. The reinforced summer heat source in the plateau will lead to an intensification of heat low, causing the West Pacific subtropical high to retreat eastward. This will be followed by a decrease of precipitation in summer. The plateau's climate tends to become warm and dry due to the grassland degradation over the Sanjiangyuan

  1. Creation of micro-topographic features: a new tool for introducing specialist species of calcareous grassland to restored sites?

    OpenAIRE

    Wagner, Markus; Bullock, James M.; Hulmes, Lucy; Hulmes, Sarah; Peyton, Jodey; Amy, Sam R.; Savage, Joanna; Tallowin, Jerry B.; Heard, Matthew S.; Pywell, Richard F.

    2016-01-01

    Questions: What types of pre-sowing disturbance are most suitable to establish specialist forbs of calcareous grassland at previously agriculturally improved restored sites? What impact does management regime have on post-establishment abundance-dynamics? Location: Pegsdon Hills, Bedfordshire, UK. Methods: We set up a 4-yr experiment using a split-plot design to combine pre-sowing disturbance treatments at sub-plot level (undisturbed control, glyphosate spraying, harrowing, and creati...

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bannert, A.; Bogen, C.; Esperschütz, J.; Koubová, A.; Buegger, F.; Fischer, D.; Radl, V.; Fuß, R.; Chroňáková, A.; Elhottová, D.; Šimek, M.; Schloter, M.

    2012-10-01

    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.

  5. Plant winners and losers during grassland N-eutrophication differ in biomass allocation and mycorrhizas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Nancy Collins; Rowland, Diane L; Corkidi, Lea; Allen, Edith B

    2008-10-01

    Human activities release tremendous amounts of nitrogenous compounds into the atmosphere. Wet and dry deposition distributes this airborne nitrogen (N) on otherwise pristine ecosystems. This eutrophication process significantly alters the species composition of native grasslands; generally a few nitrophilic plant species become dominant while many other species disappear. The functional equilibrium model predicts that, compared to species that decline in response to N enrichment, nitrophilic grass species should respond to N enrichment with greater biomass allocation aboveground and reduced allocation to roots and mycorrhizas. The mycorrhizal feedback hypothesis states that the composition of mycorrhizal fungal communities may influence the composition of plant communities, and it predicts that N enrichment may generate reciprocal shifts in the species composition of mycorrhizal fungi and plants. We tested these hypotheses with experiments that compared biomass allocation and mycorrhizal function of four grass ecotypes (three species), two that gained and two that lost biomass and cover in response to long-term N enrichment experiments at Cedar Creek and Konza Long-Term Ecological Research grasslands. Local grass ecotypes were grown in soil from their respective sites and inoculated with whole-soil inoculum collected from either fertilized (FERT) or unfertilized (UNFERT) plots. Our results strongly support the functional equilibrium model. In both grassland systems the nitrophilic grass species grew taller, allocated more biomass to shoots than to roots, and formed fewer mycorrhizas compared to the grass species that it replaced. Our results did not fully support the hypothesis that N-induced changes in the mycorrhizal fungal community were drivers of the plant community shifts that accompany N eutrophication. The FERT and UNFERT soil inoculum influenced the growth of the grasses differently, but this varied with site and grass ecotype in both expected and

  6. Feedbacks between aeolian processes and ecosystem change in a degraded desert grassland in the southwestern US

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Junran

    2015-04-01

    The desert grassland in the southwestern US has undergone dramatic vegetation changes with many areas of grassland becoming shrublands in the last 150 years. A principle manifestation of such a land degradation is the wide distribution of fertile islands in once-homogenous landscapes, which changed soil resource redistributions through the movement of resources from plant interspaces to the area beneath plant canopies. A great deal of work has examined the role of water in nutrient reduction and enforcement of islands of fertility in the semiarid landscapes. However, little is known on the role of wind in the removal or redistribution of soil resources, and further the feedbacks between wind and ecosystem change in this area. In spring 2004, a vegetation removal experiment was established in the northern Chihuahuan Desert, southern New Mexico, where vegetation cover on the experimental plots were manually reduced to various levels to study the entire suite of aeolian processes, including erosion, transport, and deposition in creating and enforcing patchy distribution of vegetation. This experiment has been continually maintained for more than ten years, with the sampling and observation of vegetation cover, soil nutrients, sediment flux, topography, and plant physiology. The experimental results highlighted that the aeolian processes in the Chihuahuan Desert are able to change soil properties and community composition in as short as 3 three years. Further, the removal of grasses by 75% may trigger a very substantial increase of wind erosion and the removal of grass by 50% could cause significant amount of C and N loss due to wind erosion. Last but not least, the change of the spatial distribution of soil C and the micro-topography both point to the fact that aeolian processes contribute substantially to the dynamics of fertile islands in this desert grassland.

  7. Response of lizard community structure to desert grassland restoration mediated by a keystone rodent

    Science.gov (United States)

    Many grasslands in the Chihuahuan Desert have transformed to shrublands dominated by creosotebush (Larrea tridentata). Grassland restoration efforts have been directed at controlling creosotebush by applying herbicide over large spatial scales. However, we have a limited understanding of how landsca...

  8. Restoring Tropical Grassland Productivity with Facilitated Biofertilisation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, Wendy; Büdel, Burkhard

    2015-04-01

    Grazing is the major economic activity in northern Australia's subtropical grasslands, savannah and shrublands that cover >1.9 million km2 however; there has been significant decline in soil fertility that has led to the need to consider ways to improve management. Terrestrial cyanobacteria primarily inhabit complex soil microbial communities that drive physical and biological processes in the topsoil. These microbes facilitate resilience to drought and maintain soil function. They transform their environment through the secretion of mucilaginous organic compounds that improve aggregate stability, porosity, rainfall infiltration rates and water storage, reduce evaporation and soil erosion and, improve seedling emergence. In the northern Australian savannah cyanobacterial communities dominate soil surfaces of the perennial tussock grasslands. The core focus of this research has been to better understand the function of cyanobacteria within the climate-soil-plant ecosystem. The recent discovery that cyanobacteria are programmed to detect and respond only to wet season rains, and remain inactive and unproductive during the dry season even if it rains, has rewritten our understanding of soil nutrient cycles in the northern Australian savannah. In this project we have established: 1. For the wet season trials (Dec 2009-May 2010) the mean values of cyanobacterial crust (0-1 cm depth; n=100) plant-available N fluctuated, yet significantly increased incrementally from Dec to Feb (2.74 ± 0.37SE-5.62 ± 0.82 mg NH4+ kg-1 soil; p = 0.003) and peaked from Mar-May (9.59 ± 1.5SE-16.04 ± 3.2SE mg NH4+ kg-1 soil; p = 0.127) that represented the concluding stages of the wet season. 2. Cyanobacterial rates of N-fixation (determined by Acetylene Reduction assays, n=6 per month), increased significantly from the commencement to the height of the wet season (13.2 ± 2.9SE-30.2 ± 1.9SE kg N ha-1; p = 0.001) and decreased towards the end of the wet season (10.4 ± 1.8SE kg N ha-1; p

  9. 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

  10. Exotic flora of some grasslands of Nilgiris with their medicinal uses

    OpenAIRE

    S Paulsamy; Suresh, D.

    2007-01-01

    In addition to the dominance of indigenous plant species, the grasslands of Nilgiris harbour a considerable number of exotic plants with sizeable number of individuals. In the present study in four major grasslands of Nilgiris, out of 12 exotic species present, 10 are recognized as medicinally important. The family, Asteraceae contributed a higher number of 6 medicinal species to the grassland community. The density of exotics in the studied grasslands is varied between 4 and 66/ha. In order ...

  11. Nitrogen deposition threatens species richness of grasslands across Europe

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Stevens, C.J. [Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YQ (United Kingdom); Gowing, D.J.G. [Department of Life Sciences, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA (United Kingdom); Dupre, C.; Diekmann, M. [Institute of Ecology, FB 2, University of Bremen, Leobener Str., DE-28359 Bremen (Germany); Dorland, E. [Section of Landscape Ecology, Department of Geobiology, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80084, 3508 TB Utrecht (Netherlands); Gaudnik, C.; Alard, D.; Corcket, E. [University of Bordeaux 1. UMR INRA 1202 Biodiversity, Genes and Communities, Equipe Ecologie des Communautes, Batiment B8 - Avenue des Facultes, F-33405 Talence (France); Bleeker, A. [Department of Air Quality and Climate Change, Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands, P.O. Box 1, 1755 ZG Petten (Netherlands); Bobbink, R. [B-WARE Research Centre, Radboud University, P.O. Box 9010, 6525 ED Nijmegen (Netherlands); Fowler, D. [NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Bush Estate, Penicuik, Midlothian EH26 0QB (United Kingdom); Mountford, J.O. [NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, MacLean Building, Benson Lane, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, Oxfordshire OX10 8BB (United Kingdom); Vandvik, V. [Department of Biology, University of Bergen, Box 7800, N-5020 Bergen (Norway); Aarrestad, P.A. [Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, NO-7485 Trondheim (Norway); Muller, S. [Laboratoire des Interactions Ecotoxicologie, Biodiversite et Ecosystemes LIEBE, UMR CNRS 7146, U.F.R. Sci. F.A., Campus Bridoux, Universite Paul Verlaine, Avenue du General Delestraint, F-57070 Metz (France); Dise, N.B. [Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester M1 5GD (United Kingdom)

    2010-09-15

    Evidence from an international survey in the Atlantic biogeographic region of Europe indicates that chronic nitrogen deposition is reducing plant species richness in acid grasslands. Across the deposition gradient in this region (2-44 kg N ha{sup -1} yr{sup -1}) species richness showed a curvilinear response, with greatest reductions in species richness when deposition increased from low levels. This has important implications for conservation policies, suggesting that to protect the most sensitive grasslands resources should be focussed where deposition is currently low. Soil pH is also an important driver of species richness indicating that the acidifying effect of nitrogen deposition may be contributing to species richness reductions. The results of this survey suggest that the impacts of nitrogen deposition can be observed over a large geographical range. Atmospheric nitrogen deposition is reducing biodiversity in grasslands across Europe.

  12. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-11-01

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

  14. Productivity of North American grasslands is increased under future climate scenarios despite rising aridity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grassland productivity is regulated by both temperature and the amount and timing of precipitation. Future climate change is therefore expected to influence grassland phenology and growth, with consequences for ecosystems and economies. However, the potential response of grasslands to climate change...

  15. 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.

  16. Energy potential of biomass from conservation grasslands in Minnesota, USA.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jungers, Jacob M; Fargione, Joseph E; Sheaffer, Craig C; Wyse, Donald L; Lehman, Clarence

    2013-01-01

    Perennial biomass from grasslands managed for conservation of soil and biodiversity can be harvested for bioenergy. Until now, the quantity and quality of harvestable biomass from conservation grasslands in Minnesota, USA, was not known, and the factors that affect bioenergy potential from these systems have not been identified. We measured biomass yield, theoretical ethanol conversion efficiency, and plant tissue nitrogen (N) as metrics of bioenergy potential from mixed-species conservation grasslands harvested with commercial-scale equipment. With three years of data, we used mixed-effects models to determine factors that influence bioenergy potential. Sixty conservation grassland plots, each about 8 ha in size, were distributed among three locations in Minnesota. Harvest treatments were applied annually in autumn as a completely randomized block design. Biomass yield ranged from 0.5 to 5.7 Mg ha(-1). May precipitation increased biomass yield while precipitation in all other growing season months showed no affect. Averaged across all locations and years, theoretical ethanol conversion efficiency was 450 l Mg(-1) and the concentration of plant N was 7.1 g kg(-1), both similar to dedicated herbaceous bioenergy crops such as switchgrass. Biomass yield did not decline in the second or third year of harvest. Across years, biomass yields fluctuated 23% around the average. Surprisingly, forb cover was a better predictor of biomass yield than warm-season grass with a positive correlation with biomass yield in the south and a negative correlation at other locations. Variation in land ethanol yield was almost exclusively due to variation in biomass yield rather than biomass quality; therefore, efforts to increase biomass yield might be more economical than altering biomass composition when managing conservation grasslands for ethanol production. Our measurements of bioenergy potential, and the factors that control it, can serve as parameters for assessing the economic

  17. Energy potential of biomass from conservation grasslands in Minnesota, USA.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jacob M Jungers

    Full Text Available Perennial biomass from grasslands managed for conservation of soil and biodiversity can be harvested for bioenergy. Until now, the quantity and quality of harvestable biomass from conservation grasslands in Minnesota, USA, was not known, and the factors that affect bioenergy potential from these systems have not been identified. We measured biomass yield, theoretical ethanol conversion efficiency, and plant tissue nitrogen (N as metrics of bioenergy potential from mixed-species conservation grasslands harvested with commercial-scale equipment. With three years of data, we used mixed-effects models to determine factors that influence bioenergy potential. Sixty conservation grassland plots, each about 8 ha in size, were distributed among three locations in Minnesota. Harvest treatments were applied annually in autumn as a completely randomized block design. Biomass yield ranged from 0.5 to 5.7 Mg ha(-1. May precipitation increased biomass yield while precipitation in all other growing season months showed no affect. Averaged across all locations and years, theoretical ethanol conversion efficiency was 450 l Mg(-1 and the concentration of plant N was 7.1 g kg(-1, both similar to dedicated herbaceous bioenergy crops such as switchgrass. Biomass yield did not decline in the second or third year of harvest. Across years, biomass yields fluctuated 23% around the average. Surprisingly, forb cover was a better predictor of biomass yield than warm-season grass with a positive correlation with biomass yield in the south and a negative correlation at other locations. Variation in land ethanol yield was almost exclusively due to variation in biomass yield rather than biomass quality; therefore, efforts to increase biomass yield might be more economical than altering biomass composition when managing conservation grasslands for ethanol production. Our measurements of bioenergy potential, and the factors that control it, can serve as parameters for assessing

  18. 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

  19. Bifurcation analysis of a forest-grassland ecosystem

    Science.gov (United States)

    Russo, Lucia; Spiliotis, Konstantinos G.

    2016-06-01

    The nonlinear analysis of a forest-grassland ecosystem is performed as the main system parameters are changed. The model consists of a couple of nonlinear ordinary differential equations which include dynamically the human perceptions of forest/grassland value. The system displays multiple steady states corresponding to different forest densities as well as periodic regimes characterized by oscillations in time. We performed the bifurcation analysis of the system as the parameter relative to the human opinions influence is changed. We found that the main mechanisms which regulate the transitions occurring between different states or the appearance of new steady and dynamic regimes are transcritical, saddle/node and Hopf bifurcations.

  20. Impact of climate change on water balance, and nutrient leaching of (pre-) alpine grassland soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fu, Jin; Lu, Haiyan; Butterbach-bahl, Klaus; Kiese, Ralf

    2013-04-01

    On a global perspective terrestrial biosphere hosts significant pools of carbon and nitrogen. Due to cool and moist climatic conditions alpine grassland soils of moderate elevation (app. 1000m) in particular, are rich in soil organic carbon and associated nitrogen. In the framework of an in-situ climate change experiment we test the hypothesis that soil organic carbon and nitrogen are either volatilized (GHG emissions) or leached with seepage water due to increase in air temperature as induced by climate change. The infrastructure of the in-situ climate change experiment was funded by Helmholtz society and BMBF and allowed IMK-IFU to install a lysimeter network with undisturbed intact grassland soil cores (diameter approx. 1 m, depth 1.4 m, 2-3 t of soil) at three sites (Graswang 860m, Rottenbuch 750m, Fendt 600m) differing in altitude and climate. The lysimeter network consisting of a total of 36 lysimeters is operated since September 2011 and is run for climate change research with a long term perspective (>10years). Lysimeters were partly moved along the altitudinal gradient, with some soil cores still staying at sites as controls and some others translocated from higher elevation to sites at lower elevation with higher temperatures and slightly lower mean annual rainfall. The different components of the water balance i.e. precipitation, evapotranspiration and groundwater recharge of each lysimeter are measured by precision weighing of the lysimeters and a separate container for collection of seepage water at the lower boundary condition (1.4m). In addition, soil moisture (volumetric water content as well as water tension) and temperature are measured with sensors installed in 10, 30, 50, 140cm soil depth. Soil water in 10, 30, 50 and 140cm soil depth is drawn into glass bottles by under-pressurized suction cups. Water samples are collected regularly any 2 weeks and more often (e.g. 3 times a week) during fertilization events, and analyzed for nutrient

  1. Scale Issues in Ecohydrological Processes in Grassland-Shrubland Transitions, Jornada, NM

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wainwright, J.; Parsons, A. J.; Mueller, E. N.; Schlesinger, W. H.

    2003-12-01

    Rainfall-simulation experiments have proved invaluable in developing our understanding of ecohydrological processes relating to grassland-shrubland transitions in the American Southwest and elsewhere. Grassland communities are effective at buffering the runoff and erosional response, whereas shrublands accelerate runoff and erosion rates leading to local concentrations of resources. Further feedbacks occur in terms of nutrient redistribution both dissolved in overland flow and adsorbed onto transported sediment. Field experiments at the Jornada LTER site over the last ten years have evaluated these processes on undisturbed and grazed black grama grassland, and creosotebush and mesquite shrubland communities. More recently, investigations have been carried out to evaluate the behaviour of these systems at the landscape scale. Low-cost sampling designs have been used so that relatively large spatial samples can be collected. Currently, 96 of these samplers are in operation at Jornada, evaluating water, sediment and nutrient transfers in the interrill zone. A smaller number of samplers are used to characterize rill transfers of water and dissolved nutrients. The samplers are located along ecotones so that the spatial relationship of grassland-shrubland and shrubland-shrubland transitions can be evaluated. An interesting initial result of the use of these samplers is that they provide different relative patterns of fluxes from those that would be estimated using the plot-based studies. These results contribute to the growing body of evidence that the scaling properties of landscape-degradation processes in these environments are non-linear. Further instrumentation of watersheds is being carried out in order to evaluate these non-linearities at larger scales. At the same time, intensive spatial sampling of hydrological, sedimentary and nutrient characteristics of the surfaces of the different vegetation communities is being carried out. The rationale for this sampling

  2. Community assembly in experimental grasslands: suitable environment or timely arrival?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ejrnaes, Rasmus; Bruun, Hans Henrik; Graae, Bente J

    2006-05-01

    It is hard to defend the view that biotic communities represent a simple and predictable response to the abiotic environment. Biota and the abiotic environment interact, and the environment of an individual certainly includes its neighbors and visitors in the community. The complexity of community assembly calls forth a quest for general principles, yet current results and theories on assembly rules differ widely. Using a grassland microcosm as a model system, we manipulated fertility, disturbance by defoliation, soil/microclimate, and arrival order of species belonging to two groups differing in functional attributes. We analyzed the outcome of community assembly dynamics in terms of species richness, invasibility, and species composition. The analyses revealed strong environmental control over species richness and invasibility. Species composition was mainly determined by the arrival order of species, indicating that historical contingency may change the outcome of community assembly. The probability for multiple equilibria appeared to increase with productivity and environmental stability. The importance of arrival order offers an explanation of the difficulties in predicting local occurrences of species in the field. In our experiment, variation in fertility and disturbance was controlling colonization with predictable effects on emergent community properties such as species richness. The key mechanism is suggested to be asymmetric competition, and our results show that this mechanism is relatively insensitive to the species through which it works. While our analyses indicate a positive and significant correlation between richness and invasibility, the significance disappears after accounting for the effect of the environment. The importance of arrival order (historical contingency) and environmental control supports the assumption of the unified neutral theory that different species within a trophic level can be considered functionally equivalent when it comes

  3. Grassland productivity in response to nutrient additions and herbivory is scale-dependent

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Erica A.H. Smithwick

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available Vegetation response to nutrient addition can vary across space, yet studies that explicitly incorporate spatial pattern into experimental approaches are rare. To explore whether there are unique spatial scales (grains at which grass response to nutrients and herbivory is best expressed, we imposed a large (∼3.75 ha experiment in a South African coastal grassland ecosystem. In two of six 60 × 60 m grassland plots, we imposed a scaled sampling design in which fertilizer was added in replicated sub-plots (1 × 1 m, 2 × 2 m, and 4 × 4 m. The remaining plots either received no additions or were fertilized evenly across the entire area. Three of the six plots were fenced to exclude herbivory. We calculated empirical semivariograms for all plots one year following nutrient additions to determine whether the scale of grass response (biomass and nutrient concentrations corresponded to the scale of the sub-plot additions and compared these results to reference plots (unfertilized or unscaled and to plots with and without herbivory. We compared empirical semivariogram parameters to parameters from semivariograms derived from a set of simulated landscapes (neutral models. Empirical semivariograms showed spatial structure in plots that received multi-scaled nutrient additions, particularly at the 2 × 2 m grain. The level of biomass response was predicted by foliar P concentration and, to a lesser extent, N, with the treatment effect of herbivory having a minimal influence. Neutral models confirmed the length scale of the biomass response and indicated few differences due to herbivory. Overall, we conclude that interpretation of nutrient limitation in grasslands is dependent on the grain used to measure grass response and that herbivory had a secondary effect.

  4. Colchicum autumnale - Control strategies and their impact on vegetation composition of species-rich grasslands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Seither, Melanie

    2014-02-01

    Full Text Available The meadow saffron Colchicum autumnale occurs on agricultural land predominantly in extensively managed grassland, often underlying nature preservation regulations. Due to its high toxicity if fresh or conserved (hay and silage, there is a need of control measures to ensure the future management and sward utilization of sites with occurrence of C. autumnale. Until now it is unclear, to what extent common management recommendations affect the vegetation composition of species-rich grassland. In this study, the effect of different management measures (late hay cut with or without rolling, early hay cut, late mulching in May, early mulching in April, herbicide application with or without reseeding on the number of C. autumnale and the vegetation composition of a moderately species-rich Dauco-Arrhenatheretum elatioris (31 ± 4 species per m², mean ± standard deviation was examined since 2006. The number of C. autumnale was first significantly reduced three years after the start of the experiment in the early and late mulching treatments; in the next three experimental years treatment differences in C. autumnale reduction did not increase significantly. With respect to vegetation composition, herbicide application had the overriding effect, as it decreased the plant species number and proportions of forbs significantly. The late hay cut preserved the original plant diversity, no negative effect of rolling or the early hay cut was observed. Early mulching resulted in an increase in Dactylis glomerata and Trisetum flavescens and in the decrease of Crepis biennis, Vicia sepium, Tragopogon pratense and Trifolium pratense; it had no negative effect on the total proportion of high nature value (HNV species. Late mulching resulted in a significantly lower yield proportion of high nature value species in 2012 and less similar in vegetation composition compared to the late hay cut treatment than early mulching; therefore it seems not to be a suitable

  5. Plant functional group composition modifies the effects of precipitation change on grassland ecosystem function.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fry, Ellen L; Manning, Pete; Allen, David G P; Hurst, Alex; Everwand, Georg; Rimmler, Martin; Power, Sally A

    2013-01-01

    Temperate grassland ecosystems face a future of precipitation change, which can alter community composition and ecosystem functions through reduced soil moisture and waterlogging. There is evidence that functionally diverse plant communities contain a wider range of water use and resource capture strategies, resulting in greater resistance of ecosystem function to precipitation change. To investigate this interaction between composition and precipitation change we performed a field experiment for three years in successional grassland in southern England. This consisted of two treatments. The first, precipitation change, simulated end of century predictions, and consisted of a summer drought phase alongside winter rainfall addition. The second, functional group identity, divided the plant community into three groups based on their functional traits- broadly described as perennials, caespitose grasses and annuals- and removed these groups in a factorial design. Ecosystem functions related to C, N and water cycling were measured regularly. Effects of functional groupidentity were apparent, with the dominant trend being that process rates were higher under control conditions where a range of perennial species were present. E.g. litter decomposition rates were significantly higher in plots containing several perennial species, the group with the highest average leaf N content. Process rates were also very strongly affected by the precipitation change treatmentwhen perennial plant species were dominant, but not where the community contained a high abundance of annual species and caespitose grasses. This contrasting response could be attributable to differing rooting patterns (shallower structures under annual plants, and deeper roots under perennials) and faster nutrient uptake in annuals compared to perennials. Our results indicate that precipitation change will have a smaller effect on key process rates in grasslandscontaining a range of perennial and annual species

  6. Plant functional group composition modifies the effects of precipitation change on grassland ecosystem function.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ellen L Fry

    Full Text Available Temperate grassland ecosystems face a future of precipitation change, which can alter community composition and ecosystem functions through reduced soil moisture and waterlogging. There is evidence that functionally diverse plant communities contain a wider range of water use and resource capture strategies, resulting in greater resistance of ecosystem function to precipitation change. To investigate this interaction between composition and precipitation change we performed a field experiment for three years in successional grassland in southern England. This consisted of two treatments. The first, precipitation change, simulated end of century predictions, and consisted of a summer drought phase alongside winter rainfall addition. The second, functional group identity, divided the plant community into three groups based on their functional traits- broadly described as perennials, caespitose grasses and annuals- and removed these groups in a factorial design. Ecosystem functions related to C, N and water cycling were measured regularly. Effects of functional groupidentity were apparent, with the dominant trend being that process rates were higher under control conditions where a range of perennial species were present. E.g. litter decomposition rates were significantly higher in plots containing several perennial species, the group with the highest average leaf N content. Process rates were also very strongly affected by the precipitation change treatmentwhen perennial plant species were dominant, but not where the community contained a high abundance of annual species and caespitose grasses. This contrasting response could be attributable to differing rooting patterns (shallower structures under annual plants, and deeper roots under perennials and faster nutrient uptake in annuals compared to perennials. Our results indicate that precipitation change will have a smaller effect on key process rates in grasslandscontaining a range of perennial

  7. Biomass production in experimental grasslands of different species richness during three years of climate warming

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    H. J. De Boeck

    2008-04-01

    Full Text Available 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. Grassland productivity in response to nutrient additions and herbivory is scale-dependent

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baldwin, Douglas C.; Naithani, Kusum J.

    2016-01-01

    Vegetation response to nutrient addition can vary across space, yet studies that explicitly incorporate spatial pattern into experimental approaches are rare. To explore whether there are unique spatial scales (grains) at which grass response to nutrients and herbivory is best expressed, we imposed a large (∼3.75 ha) experiment in a South African coastal grassland ecosystem. In two of six 60 × 60 m grassland plots, we imposed a scaled sampling design in which fertilizer was added in replicated sub-plots (1 × 1 m, 2 × 2 m, and 4 × 4 m). The remaining plots either received no additions or were fertilized evenly across the entire area. Three of the six plots were fenced to exclude herbivory. We calculated empirical semivariograms for all plots one year following nutrient additions to determine whether the scale of grass response (biomass and nutrient concentrations) corresponded to the scale of the sub-plot additions and compared these results to reference plots (unfertilized or unscaled) and to plots with and without herbivory. We compared empirical semivariogram parameters to parameters from semivariograms derived from a set of simulated landscapes (neutral models). Empirical semivariograms showed spatial structure in plots that received multi-scaled nutrient additions, particularly at the 2 × 2 m grain. The level of biomass response was predicted by foliar P concentration and, to a lesser extent, N, with the treatment effect of herbivory having a minimal influence. Neutral models confirmed the length scale of the biomass response and indicated few differences due to herbivory. Overall, we conclude that interpretation of nutrient limitation in grasslands is dependent on the grain used to measure grass response and that herbivory had a secondary effect. PMID:27920956

  9. Effects of experimental rainfall manipulations on Chihuahuan Desert grassland and shrubland plant communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Báez, Selene; Collins, Scott L; Pockman, William T; Johnson, Jennifer E; Small, Eric E

    2013-08-01

    Aridland ecosystems are predicted to be responsive to both increases and decreases in precipitation. In addition, chronic droughts may contribute to encroachment of native C3 shrubs into C4-dominated grasslands. We conducted a long-term rainfall manipulation experiment in native grassland, shrubland and the grass-shrub ecotone in the northern Chihuahuan Desert, USA. We evaluated the effects of 5 years of experimental drought and 4 years of water addition on plant community structure and dynamics. We assessed the effects of altered rainfall regimes on the abundance of dominant species as well as on species richness and subdominant grasses, forbs and shrubs. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling and MANOVA were used to quantify changes in species composition in response to chronic addition or reduction of rainfall. We found that drought consistently and strongly decreased cover of Bouteloua eriopoda, the dominant C4 grass in this system, whereas water addition slightly increased cover, with little variation between years. In contrast, neither chronic drought nor increased rainfall had consistent effects on the cover of Larrea tridentata, the dominant C3 shrub. Species richness declined in shrub-dominated vegetation in response to drought whereas richness increased or was unaffected by water addition or drought in mixed- and grass-dominated vegetation. Cover of subdominant shrubs, grasses and forbs changed significantly over time, primarily in response to interannual rainfall variability more so than to our experimental rainfall treatments. Nevertheless, drought and water addition shifted the species composition of plant communities in all three vegetation types. Overall, we found that B. eriopoda responded strongly to drought and less so to irrigation, whereas L. tridentata showed limited response to either treatment. The strong decline in grass cover and the resistance of shrub cover to rainfall reduction suggest that chronic drought may be a key factor promoting shrub

  10. Tropical grasslands: A pivotal place for a more multi-functional agriculture.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boval, Maryline; Angeon, Valérie; Rudel, Tom

    2017-02-01

    Tropical grasslands represent a pivotal arena for the sustainable intensification of agriculture in the coming decades. The abundant ecosystem services provided by the grasslands, coupled with the aversion to further forest destruction, makes sustainable intensification of tropical grasslands a high policy priority. In this article, we provide an inventory of agricultural initiatives that would contribute to the sustainable intensification of the tropical grassland agro-ecosystem, and we recommend a shift in the scientific priorities of animal scientists that would contribute to realization of a more agro-ecological and multi-functional agriculture in the world's tropical grasslands.

  11. 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

  12. Diets of greater prairie chickens on the Sheyenne National Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mark A. Rumble; Jay A. Newell; John E. Toepfer

    1988-01-01

    Diets of greater prairie chickens on the Sheyenne National Grassland of North Dakota were examined. During the winter months agricultural crops (primarily corn) were the predominant food items. Green vegetation was consumed in greater quantities as spring progressed. Dandelion flowers and alfalfa/sweetclover were the major vegetative food items through the summer. Both...

  13. Ecological dynamic model of grassland and its practical verification

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ZENG; Xiaodong

    2005-01-01

    Based on the physico-biophysical considerations, mathematical analysis and some approximate formulations generally adopted in meteorology and ecology, an ecological dynamic model of grassland is developed. The model consists of three interactive variables, I.e. The biomass of living grass, the biomass of wilted grass, and the soil wetness. The major biophysical processes are represented in parameterization formulas, and the model parameters can be determined inversely by using the observational climatological and ecological data. Some major parameters are adjusted by this method to fit the data (although incomplete) in the Inner Mongolia grassland, and other secondary parameters are estimated through sensitivity studies. The model results are well agreed with reality, e.g., (I) the maintenance of grassland requires a minimum amount of annual precipitation (approximately 300 mm); (ii) there is a significant relationship between the annual precipitation and the biomass of living grass; and (iii) the overgrazing will eventually result in desertification. A specific emphasis is put on the shading effect of the wilted grass accumulated on the soil surface. It effectively reduces the soil surface temperature and the evaporation, hence benefits the maintenance of grassland and the reduction of water loss in the soil.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. Appreciation of the functions of grasslands by European stakeholders

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Pol - Van Dasselaar, Van Den A.; Golinski, P.; Hennessy, D.; Huyghe, C.; Parente, G.; Peyraud, J.L.

    2014-01-01

    The European project MultiSward aimed to increase the reliance of farmers on grasslands and on multi-species swards for competitive and sustainable ruminant production systems. Active participation of stakeholders was one of the key objectives of the project. The aim of the current study was to get

  17. Regional dynamics of grassland change in the western Great Plains

    Science.gov (United States)

    Drummond, M.A.

    2007-01-01

    This paper examines the contemporary land-cover changes in two western Great Plains ecoregions between 1973 and 2000. Agriculture and other land uses can have a substantial effect on grassland cover that varies regionally depending on the primary driving forces of change. In order to better understand change, the rates, types, and causes of land conversion were examined for 1973, 1980, 1986, 1992, and 2000 using Landsat satellite data and a statistical sampling strategy. The overall estimated rate of land-cover change between 1973 and 2000 was 7.4% in the Northwestern Great Plains and 11.5% in the Western High Plains. Trends in both ecoregions have similarities, although the dynamics of change differ temporally depending on driving forces. Between 1973 and 1986, grassland cover declined when economic opportunity drove an expansion of agriculture. Between 1986 and 2000, grassland expanded as public policy and a combination of socioeconomic factors drove a conversion from agriculture to grassland. ?? 2007 Copyright by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

  18. Relative Greenness Index for assessing curing of grassland fuel

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Newnham, G.J.; Verbesselt, J.; Grant, I.F.; Anderson, S.A.J.

    2011-01-01

    Knowledge of the proportion of live and dead herbaceous fuel in grasslands is important in determining fire danger. This paper examines the Relative Greenness approach for quantifying these live and dead proportions. Relative Greenness places the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) in the

  19. 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...

  20. 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

  1. Bird Use of Grassland Habitat Patches at a Military Airfield

    Science.gov (United States)

    In light of reported declines in grassland bird populations in North America, information about their use of airfield habitats can help inform management decisions in the context of conflicting objectives of minimizing wildlife-aircraft collisions and helping to conserve grasslan...

  2. Feedbacks between woody plant encroachment and microclimate in desert grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    D'Odorico, P.; He, Y.; De Wekker, S.; Fuentes, J. D.; Collins, S. L.; Pockman, W.

    2011-12-01

    The encroachment of woody plants into grasslands is a global phenomenon that results from a variety of drivers related to land use and global environmental change. In the southwestern U.S., shrub encroachment can be associated with land degradation, soil erosion, and the formation of coppice dunes. In this region, the relatively abrupt character of grassland-to-shrubland transitions - both in time and in space - suggests that arid and semiarid rangelands may exhibit two alternative stable states characterized by either grass or shrub dominance. In these bistable landscapes, even small changes in environmental drivers may cause abrupt state transitions from grassland to shrubland, sustained by positive feedbacks with environmental drivers. We show that positive feedbacks between land cover change and microclimate may contribute to shrub encroachment in the southwestern US. Thus, we investigate changes in surface air temperature and energy balance resulting from grass-to-shrub transitions in the northern Chiuhuahuan desert. We find that the encroachment of native shrubs into desert grasslands modifies the surface energy balance with the overall net effect of increasing nighttime air temperatures, thereby favoring the establishment and growth of freeze-sensitive Larrea plants.

  3. Bird Use of Grassland Habitat Patches at a Military Airfield

    Science.gov (United States)

    In light of reported declines in grassland bird populations in North America, information about their use of airfield habitats can help inform management decisions in the context of conflicting objectives of minimizing wildlife-aircraft collisions and helping to conserve grasslan...

  4. Fine-scale species associations in alvar limestone grasslands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Diekmann, M; Dupre, C; van der Maarel, E

    2004-01-01

    To examine the importance of positive or negative interactions of plant species on a micro-scale, species associations were studied in 38 1 m(2) - plots in alvar limestone grasslands on Oland, Sweden. Each plot was assumed to be homogeneous as to its environmental conditions and spatial distribution

  5. Predicting parameters of degradation succession processes of Tibetan Kobresia grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lin, L.; Li, Y. K.; Xu, X. L.; Zhang, F. W.; Du, Y. G.; Liu, S. L.; Guo, X. W.; Cao, G. M.

    2015-11-01

    In the past two decades, increasing human activity (i.e., overgrazing) in the Tibetan Plateau has strongly influenced plant succession processes, resulting in the degradation of alpine grasslands. Therefore, it is necessary to diagnose the degree of degradation to enable implementation of appropriate management for sustainable exploitation and protection of alpine grasslands. Here, we investigated environmental factors and plant functional group (PFG) quantity factors during the alpine grassland succession processes. Principal component analysis (PCA) was used to identify the parameters indicative of degradation. We divided the entire degradation process into six stages. PFG types shifted from rhizome bunchgrasses to rhizome plexus and dense-plexus grasses during the degradation process. Leguminosae and Gramineae plants were replaced by sedges during the advanced stages of degradation. The PFGs were classified into two reaction groups: the grazing-sensitive group, containing Kobresia humilis Mey, and Gramineae and Leguminosae plants, and the grazing-insensitive group, containing Kobresia pygmaea Clarke. The first group was correlated with live root biomass in the surface soil (0-10 cm), whereas the second group was strongly correlated with mattic epipedon thickness and K. pygmaea characteristics. The degree of degradation of alpine meadows may be delineated by development of mattic epipedon and PFG composition. Thus, meadows could be easily graded and their use adjusted based on our scaling system, which would help prevent irreversible degradation of important grasslands. Because relatively few environmental factors are investigated, this approach can save time and labor to formulate a conservation management plan for degraded alpine meadows.

  6. 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.

  7. Rapid transfer of photosynthetic carbon through the plant-soil system in differently managed grasslands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    G. B. De Deyn

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available Plant-soil interactions are central to short-term carbon (C cycling through the rapid transfer of recently assimilated C from plant roots to soil biota. In grassland ecosystems, changes in C cycling are likely to be influenced by land use and management that changes vegetation and the associated soil microbial communities. Here we tested whether changes in grassland vegetation composition resulting from management for plant diversity influences short-term rates of C assimilation, retention and transfer from plants to soil microbes. To do this, we used an in situ 13C-CO2 pulse-labeling approach to measure differential C uptake among different plant species and the transfer of the plant-derived 13C to key groups of soil microbiota across selected treatments of a long-term plant diversity grassland restoration experiment. Results showed that plant taxa differed markedly in the rate of 13C assimilation and retention: uptake was greatest and retention lowest in Ranunculus repens, and assimilation was least and retained longest in mosses. Incorporation of recent plant-derived 13C was maximal in all microbial phosopholipid fatty acid (PLFA markers at 24 h after labeling. The greatest incorporation of 13C was in the PLFA 16:1ω5, a marker for arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF, while after one week most 13C was retained in the PLFA 18:2ω6,9 which is indicative of assimilation of plant-derived 13C by saprophytic fungi. Our results of 13C assimilation, transfer and retention within plant species and soil microbes were consistent across management treatments. Overall, our findings suggest that changes in vegetation and soil microbial composition resulting from differences in long-term grassland management will affect short-term cycling of photosynthetic C, but that restoration management does not alter the short-term C uptake and transfer within plant

  8. Legacy effects of grassland management on soil carbon to depth.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ward, Susan E; Smart, Simon M; Quirk, Helen; Tallowin, Jerry R B; Mortimer, Simon R; Shiel, Robert S; Wilby, Andrew; Bardgett, Richard D

    2016-08-01

    The importance of managing land to optimize carbon sequestration for climate change mitigation is widely recognized, with grasslands being identified as having the potential to sequester additional carbon. However, most soil carbon inventories only consider surface soils, and most large-scale surveys group ecosystems into broad habitats without considering management intensity. Consequently, little is known about the quantity of deep soil carbon and its sensitivity to management. From a nationwide survey of grassland soils to 1 m depth, we show that carbon in grassland soils is vulnerable to management and that these management effects can be detected to considerable depth down the soil profile, albeit at decreasing significance with depth. Carbon concentrations in soil decreased as management intensity increased, but greatest soil carbon stocks (accounting for bulk density differences), were at intermediate levels of management. Our study also highlights the considerable amounts of carbon in subsurface soil below 30 cm, which is missed by standard carbon inventories. We estimate grassland soil carbon in Great Britain to be 2097 Tg C to a depth of 1 m, with ~60% of this carbon being below 30 cm. Total stocks of soil carbon (t ha(-1) ) to 1 m depth were 10.7% greater at intermediate relative to intensive management, which equates to 10.1 t ha(-1) in surface soils (0-30 cm), and 13.7 t ha(-1) in soils from 30 to 100 cm depth. Our findings highlight the existence of substantial carbon stocks at depth in grassland soils that are sensitive to management. This is of high relevance globally, given the extent of land cover and large stocks of carbon held in temperate managed grasslands. Our findings have implications for the future management of grasslands for carbon storage and climate mitigation, and for global carbon models which do not currently account for changes in soil carbon to depth with management.

  9. Phosphorus and Nitrogen Co-Limit Global Grassland Productivity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fay, P. A.; Prober, S. M.; Harpole, W. S.; Knops, J. M. H.; Bakker, J. D.; Borer, E. T.; MacDougall, A. S.; Seabloom, E. W.; Wragg, P. D.; Lind, E. M.

    2014-12-01

    Terrestrial ecosystem primary productivity has been considered to be primarily nitrogen (N) - limited, but may be co-limited by phosphorus (P), and possibly by potassium and micronutrients (K+m). The frequency, magnitude, and global extent of single or multiple nutrient limitations are poorly understood in natural systems, but can influence how anthropogenic nutrient enrichment affects ecosystem productivity and provisioning of ecosystem goods and services. We examined the occurrence and magnitude of nutrient limitation of aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) by N, P, and K+m at 42 grassland sites on five continents in the Nutrient Network (https://www.nutnet.umn.edu). N, P, and K+m were factorially applied annually in a randomized block design at all sites. ANPP was measured annually for 3 to 5 years by clipping and weighing standing aboveground biomass. We found clear evidence for nutrient limitation of ANPP in these grasslands. Across all sites and years, the combined addition of N and P increased ANPP by 39% over controls, more than occurred if either was added alone (N: 18%; P: 9%), suggesting co-limitation of ANPP by both nutrients. Co-limitation by other nutrient combinations was not detected. At individual sites, ANPP limitation was most often alleviated by adding N and P together, but K+m addition alleviated ANPP limitation at three sites. Also, site-level limitation of ANPP by any one nutrient was positively correlated (R2 0.07 to 0.21) with limitation by other single or multiple nutrients, suggesting generalized multiple nutrient limitation. We found no differences in nutrient limitation of ANPP among continents or management practices, between native and previously cultivated grasslands, or with site soil properties or climate. These novel patterns of nutrient limitation of ANPP in grasslands around the global contradict the long-held idea that N is the primary nutrient limiting productivity in these ecosystems. Grasslands are globally important

  10. Variability of annual CO2 exchange from Dutch Grasslands

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    A. Schrier-Uijl

    2007-05-01

    Full Text Available 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, using the eddy-covariance (EC technique, but in different years. The photosynthesis-light response analysis technique is used along with the respiration-temperature response technique to partition NEE among Gross Primary Production (GPP and Ecosystem Respiration (Re and to obtain the eco-physiological characteristics of the sites at the field scale. Annual sums of NEE, GPP and Re are then estimated using the fitted response curves with observed radiation and air temperature from a meteorological site in the centre of The Netherlands as drivers. These calculations are carried out for four years (2002–2005. The estimated annual Re for all individual sites is more or less constant per site and the average for all sites amounts to 1390±30 gC m−2 a−1. The narrow uncertainty band (±2% reflects the small differences in the mean annual air temperature. The mean annual GPP was estimated to be 1325 g C m−2 a−1, and displays a much higher standard deviation, of ±100 gC m−2 a−1 (8%, which reflects the relatively large variation in annual solar radiation. The mean annual NEE amounts to –65±85 gC m−2 a−1, which implies that on average the grasslands act as a source, with a relatively large standard deviation. From two sites, four-year records of CO2 flux were available and analyzed (2002–2005. Using the weather record of 2005 with optimizations from the other years, standard deviation of annual GPP was estimated to be 171–206 gC m−2 a−1 (8–14%, of annual Re 227–247 gC m−2 a−1 (14–16% and of annual NEE 176–276 gC m−2 a−1. The inter-site standard deviation was higher for GPP and Re, 534 gC m−2 a−1 (37.3% and 486 gC m

  11. Slug responses to grassland cutting and fertilizer application under plant functional group removal

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    Everwand, Georg; Scherber, Christoph; Tscharntke, Teja

    2013-04-01

    Current studies on trophic interactions in biodiversity experiments have largely relied on artificially sown gradients in plant diversity, but removal experiments with their more natural plant community composition are more realistic. Slugs are a major part of the invertebrate herbivore community, with some species being common pests in agriculture. We therefore investigated how strongly slugs are influenced by grassland management, plant biodiversity and composition. Here we analysed the effects of cutting frequency, fertilizer application and plant functional group composition on slug densities and their contribution to herbivory on Rumex acetosa in a removal experiment within a >100-year old grassland in Northern Germany. The experiment was laid out as a Latin rectangle with full factorial combinations of (i) plant functional group removal (3 levels) using herbicides, (ii) fertilizer application (2 levels) and (iii) cutting frequency (2 levels). The resulting 12 treatment combinations were replicated 6 times, resulting in 72 plots. We collected a total of 1020 individuals belonging to three species Arion distinctus (60.4% of individuals), Deroceras reticulatum (34.7%) and Arion lusitanicus (4.9%) using a cover board technique and additionally measured herbivore damage to R. acetosa. We found the highest slug abundance on plots with a low cutting frequency and high food resource availability (increased cover of forbs and taller vegetation). Fertilizer application had no significant effect on slug abundance, but caused higher herbivore damage to on R. acetosa, possibly as a result of increased tissue quality. The negative effect of higher cutting frequency on slug abundance was lowest in control plots with their naturally developed graminoid-forb communities (cutting reduced slug density by 6% in the control vs. 29% in herbicide plots). Our experiments therefore support the idea that more natural plant species compositions reduce the impact of disturbances (e

  12. Impacts of 120 years of fertilizer addition on a temperate grassland ecosystem

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kidd, Jonathan; Manning, Peter; Simkin, Janet; Peacock, Simon; Stockdale, Elizabeth

    2017-01-01

    The widespread application of fertilizers has greatly influenced many processes and properties of agroecosystems, and agricultural fertilization is expected to increase even further in the future. To date, most research on fertilizer impacts has used short-term studies, which may be unrepresentative of long-term responses, thus hindering our capacity to predict long-term impacts. Here, we examined the effects of long-term fertilizer addition on key ecosystem properties in a long-term grassland experiment (Palace Leas Hay Meadow) in which farmyard manure (FYM) and inorganic fertilizer treatments have been applied consistently for 120 years in order to characterize the experimental site more fully and compare ecosystem responses with those observed at other long-term and short-term experiments. FYM inputs increased soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks, hay yield, nutrient availability and acted as a buffer against soil acidification (>pH 5). In contrast, N-containing inorganic fertilizers strongly acidified the soil (legumes. Overall, our results were broadly consistent with those observed in other very long-term studies (the Park Grass and Steinach Grassland experiments) in that fertilization effects on plant and soil properties appeared to be driven by differences in both nutrient input and changes to soil pH. We also established that the direction of long-term fertilization effects tended to be comparable with short-term experiments, but that their magnitude differed considerably, particularly where ammonium sulphate-induced acidification had occurred. We therefore conclude that short-term studies are unlikely to possess the required timeframe to accurately predict long-term responses, thus necessitating the use of long-term study sites. Such experiments should be strategically established in regions where future fertilizer use is expected to increase rapidly. PMID:28350853

  13. The ecological consequences of biochar application to grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jeffery, S.; Memelink, I.; Voorde, T. V.; Mommer, L.; Bezemer, M.; Groenigen, J. W. V.

    2014-12-01

    Biochar application to soil is widely proposed as a means of sequestering carbon (C) in soils to aid climate change mitigation while concurrently improving crop yields. Other benefits include issues such as waste disposal. While there are numerous studies investigating the effects of biochar application to agricultural systems, the impact of application to grasslands is still an understudied area. We studied the impact of biochar application on aboveground (plant) and belowground community composition and effects on the functional repertoire of soil microbial communities under a semi-natural grassland in the Netherlands. We investigated the impacts and the underlying mechanisms behind observed effects. We found that biochar application to soil caused a transient competitive effect, enhancing legumes biomass when compared to grasses and forbs. Biological nitrogen fixation was shown to increase following biochar application, with potassium (K) introduced with the biochar the most likely reason. Furthermore, we found lasting effects on the functional repertoire of the soil microbial communities after three seasons. Different responses to C substrate additions of field soil under laboratory conditions indicated lasting effects on C utilisation of soil microbial communities following biochar application. Stable isotope techniques showed pyrolysis to increase the predicted C residence time in soil from ~30 years to >520 years as well as reducing N availability by ~70% compared to the unpyrolysed feedstock. Combined, these results suggest biochar production and application can be used to control the nutrient status of grasslands while concurrently storing C for extended periods. These results have implications for grassland management, including grazed pastures which may benefit from increased BNF. Further they demonstrate the potential of grasslands for climate change mitigation through increased C storage following biochar application.

  14. Unexpected Drought Legacy Effects in Six North American Grasslands

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    Griffin-Nolan, R. J.; Collins, S. L.; Knapp, A.; Luo, Y.; Pockman, W.; Smith, M. D.

    2016-12-01

    Global climate models predict increases in the frequency and severity of drought in grasslands worldwide, yet grassland sensitivity to drought can vary widely at a regional scale. Legacy effects of drought (drought-induced alterations in ecosystems that affect function post-drought) have been widely reported from desert to forest ecosystems. Drought legacies are usually negative and reduce ecosystem function, particularly after extended drought. Ecosystems with low resistance to drought (high sensitivity) might be expected to exhibit the largest legacy effects the next year, but the relationship between ecosystem sensitivity to drought and subsequent legacy effects is unknown. We quantified legacy effects of a severe drought in 2012 on post-drought (2013) aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) in six central US grasslands. These ecosystems, spanning arid desert grasslands to mesic tallgrass prairie, varied by two-fold in their sensitivity to the natural drought in 2012. We predicted that (1) the magnitude of drought legacy effects measured in 2013 would be positively related to drought sensitivity in 2012, and (2) drought legacy effects would be negative (reducing 2013 ANPP relative to that expected given normal precipitation amounts). The magnitude of legacy effects measured in 2013 was strongly related (r2 = 0.96) to 2012 drought sensitivity across these six grasslands. However, contrary to expectations, positive legacy effects (greater than expected ANPP) were measured in most sites. Thus, while drought sensitivity may a useful predictor of the magnitude of legacy effects, short term (1-year) severe droughts may cause legacy effects that differ substantially from those observed after multi-year droughts.

  15. 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 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 discussed herein provide important insights into the dynamics of SOM accrual with WPE as well as respiration dynamics during laboratory incubations.

  16. Does drought modify the decomposability of grassland species ? An incubation study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gouskov, B.; Heim, A.; Abiven, S.

    2009-04-01

    Climate projections in Europe predict an increase in length and frequency of droughts within the next decades. This might be particularly an issue in sensitive ecosystems that are considered as carbon sink, like for example alpine grasslands. A variation in moisture content directly affects both litter decomposition and biomass production. Additionally, drought may alsopotentially affect the biochemical quality of plant litter reaching the soil. Under water limiting conditions, significant modifications of plant tissues composition have been observed (for example an increase of the cutin content), which could modify decomposition dynamics of the litter layer. In this study, we followed the decomposition of three grassland species (Poa pratensis L., Lolium multiflorum et Trifolium repens L.) that grew i/ under real climate and ii/ during an artificial drought. These plants were sampled on an experimental site (Chamau, Switzerland) during a three-year drought simulation experiment. The biochemical characteristics of the different plants were estimated by C, N content, water-soluble C, Diffuse Reflectance Infrared Fourier Transform Spectroscopy and lignin CuO oxidation. We followed the microbial community structure before and after the decomposition study using a Biolog system. The decomposition of the organic matter was followed under controlled conditions (23°C, water level regularly adjusted). The decomposition dynamics were measured by CO2 trapping in NaOH. First results show that Trifolium litter that grew under drought decomposes more slowly than one that grew under regular conditions. No significant difference was found for the other species.

  17. Using Shrub Clearing, Draining, and Herbivory to Control Bramble Invasion in Mediterranean Dry Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Masson, Solène; Mesléard, François; Dutoit, Thierry

    2015-10-01

    For centuries, the dry grassland of the plain of La Crau (south-eastern France) has been subjected to numerous disturbances resulting in the destruction and the fragmentation of this emblematic rangeland ecosystem of the Mediterranean. Today, this ecosystem is facing a new threat from a proliferating native species, the bramble ( Rubus ulmifolius Schott), which preferentially colonizes areas that were formerly cultivated and/or exposed to water infiltration. To identify a strategy for effective control of this colonization, in situ experiments testing disturbance regimes (shrub clearing and/or mixed grazing by sheep and goats) combined with the control of access to water resources (with or without drainage trenches) were undertaken between 2010 and 2013. Only clearing and grazing combined over 3 years led to significant changes in vegetation height and bramble cover as well as modifications in the floristic composition, diversity, similarity, and richness of the plant community. Neither a clearing operation carried out in 2010 alone, nor grazing alone, reduced bramble cover, and neither treatment increased the species richness of the plant community. Similarly, digging drainage trenches had no significant impact either on the plant community or on bramble cover. Our study suggests that only annual mechanical clearing coupled with sheep and goats grazing can significantly reduce bramble cover. This combined restoration treatment needs to be applied for at least 3 consecutive years to induce significant changes and enable this ecosystem to return to the dry grassland succession.

  18. Impact of lime, nitrogen and plant species on bacterial community structure in grassland microcosms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kennedy, Nabla; Brodie, Eoin; Connolly, John; Clipson, Nicholas

    2004-10-01

    A microcosm-based approach was used to study impacts of plant and chemical factors on the bacterial community structure of an upland acidic grassland soil. Seven perennial plant species typical of both natural, unimproved (Nardus stricta, Agrostis capillaris, Festuca ovina and F. rubra) and fertilized, improved (Holcus lanatus, Lolium perenne and Trifolium repens) grasslands were either left unamended or treated with lime, nitrogen, or lime plus nitrogen in a 75-day glasshouse experiment. Lime and nitrogen amendment were shown to have a greater effect on microbial activity, biomass and bacterial ribotype number than plant species. Liming increased soil pH, microbial activity and biomass, while decreasing ribotype number. Nitrogen addition decreased soil pH, microbial activity and ribotype number. Addition of lime plus nitrogen had intermediate effects, which appeared to be driven more by lime than nitrogen. Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (TRFLP) analysis revealed that lime and nitrogen addition altered soil bacterial community structure, while plant species had little effect. These results were further confirmed by multivariate redundancy analysis, and suggest that soil lime and nitrogen status are more important controllers of bacterial community structure than plant rhizosphere effects.

  19. Warming reduces carbon losses from grassland exposed to elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elise Pendall

    Full Text Available The flux of carbon dioxide (CO2 between terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere may ameliorate or exacerbate climate change, depending on the relative responses of ecosystem photosynthesis and respiration to warming temperatures, rising atmospheric CO2, and altered precipitation. The combined effect of these global change factors is especially uncertain because of their potential for interactions and indirectly mediated conditions such as soil moisture. Here, we present observations of CO2 fluxes from a multi-factor experiment in semi-arid grassland that suggests a potentially strong climate - carbon cycle feedback under combined elevated [CO2] and warming. Elevated [CO2] alone, and in combination with warming, enhanced ecosystem respiration to a greater extent than photosynthesis, resulting in net C loss over four years. The effect of warming was to reduce respiration especially during years of below-average precipitation, by partially offsetting the effect of elevated [CO2] on soil moisture and C cycling. Carbon losses were explained partly by stimulated decomposition of soil organic matter with elevated [CO2]. The climate - carbon cycle feedback observed in this semiarid grassland was mediated by soil water content, which was reduced by warming and increased by elevated [CO2]. Ecosystem models should incorporate direct and indirect effects of climate change on soil water content in order to accurately predict terrestrial feedbacks and long-term storage of C in soil.

  20. Does photosynthesis affect grassland soil-respired CO2 and its carbon isotope composition on a diurnal timescale?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bahn, Michael; Schmitt, Michael; Siegwolf, Rolf; Richter, Andreas; Brüggemann, Nicolas

    2009-01-01

    Soil respiration is the largest flux of carbon (C) from terrestrial ecosystems to the atmosphere. Here, we tested the hypothesis that photosynthesis affects the diurnal pattern of grassland soil-respired CO(2) and its C isotope composition (delta(13)C(SR)). A combined shading and pulse-labelling experiment was carried out in a mountain grassland. delta(13)C(SR) was monitored at a high time resolution with a tunable diode laser absorption spectrometer. In unlabelled plots a diurnal pattern of delta(13)C(SR) was observed, which was not explained by soil temperature, moisture or flux rates and contained a component that was also independent of assimilate supply. In labelled plots delta(13)C(SR) reflected a rapid transfer and respiratory use of freshly plant-assimilated C and a diurnal shift in the predominant respiratory C source from recent (i.e. at least 1 d old) to fresh (i.e. photoassimilates produced on the same day). We conclude that in grasslands the plant-derived substrates used for soil respiratory processes vary during the day, and that photosynthesis provides an important and immediate C source. These findings indicate a tight coupling in the plant-soil system and the importance of plant metabolism for soil CO(2) fluxes.

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

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    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.

  2. Temporal variability and persistence of soil CO2 efflux spatial patterns at a mowed and a grazed grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fóti, Szilvia; Balogh, János; Papp, Marianna; Koncz, Péter; Nagy, Zoltán

    2017-04-01

    Spatial patterns of ecosystem processes constitute significant uncertainty sources in greenhouse gas flux estimations partly because of the temporal dynamics of the patterns. The aim of this study was to describe the temporal variability of grassland CO2 flux spatial patterns under varying environmental conditions and to assess the effects of the grassland management (grazing and mowing) in pattern modifications. For this reason, we conducted spatial measurements on soil respiration (Rs), soil water content (SWC) and soil temperature (Ts) 9 times during a four-year study in the vegetation periods at grazed and mowed grasslands. Altitude (ALT) of the measuring positions were used as background factor, while SWC and Ts were considered as abiotic co-variables in the spatial analysis. The sampling scheme was based on 80×60 m grids of 10 m resolution with a total of 78 sampling points in both study plots. Data analysis was based on variography and kriging. Altitude showed autocorrelation lengths of 40-50 m in both plots and was an important factor in determining the spatial patterns of the co-variables. Soil water content changed in general inversely, while Ts changed jointly with ALT. Autocorrelation lengths of the Rs patterns were similarly about 30 m on average in both plots. Grazing potentially created increased heterogeneity and regulation of the patterns, while mowing appeared to have had a homogenizing effect resulting in a lesser degree of pattern regulation. We found that SWC and Rs patterns were temporally variable especially in the first two years of the experiment, while these patterns were more persistent (mostly significant correlation at p<0.05 between location ranks) in the second two years, following a wet year. Increased persistence after a wet year indicated not only the homogenizing effect of adequate water supply conditions but also the recovery potential of the grassland after droughts.

  3. 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.

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

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    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.

  5. Effects of experimentally-enhanced precipitation and nitrogen on resistance, recovery and resilience of a semi-arid grassland after drought.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, Zhuwen; Ren, Haiyan; Cai, Jiangping; Wang, Ruzhen; Li, Mai-He; Wan, Shiqiang; Han, Xingguo; Lewis, Bernard J; Jiang, Yong

    2014-12-01

    Resistance, recovery and resilience are three important properties of ecological stability, but they have rarely been studied in semi-arid grasslands under global change. We analyzed data from a field experiment conducted in a native grassland in northern China to explore the effects of experimentally enhanced precipitation and N deposition on both absolute and relative measures of community resistance, recovery and resilience--calculated in terms of community cover--after a natural drought. For both absolute and relative measures, communities with precipitation enhancement showed higher resistance and lower recovery, but no change in resilience compared to communities with ambient precipitation in the semi-arid grassland. The manipulated increase in N deposition had little effect on these community stability metrics except for decreased community resistance. The response patterns of these stability metrics to alterations in precipitation and N are generally consistent at community, functional group and species levels. Contrary to our expectations, structural equation modeling revealed that water-driven community resistance and recovery result mainly from changes in community species asynchrony rather than species diversity in the semi-arid grassland. These findings suggest that changes in precipitation regimes may have significant impacts on the response of water-limited ecosystems to drought stress under global change scenarios.

  6. Molt and aging criteria for four North American grassland passerines

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pyle, Peter; Jones, Stephanie L.; Ruth, Janet M.

    2008-01-01

    Prairie and grassland habitats in central and western North America have declined substantially since settlement by Europeans (Knopf 1994) and many of the birds and other organisms that inhabit North American grasslands have experienced steep declines (Peterjohn and Sauer 1999; Johnson and Igl 1997; Sauer, Hines, and Fallon 2007). The species addressed here, Sprague’s Pipit (Anthus spragueii), Grasshopper (Ammodramus savannarum) and Baird’s (A. bairdii) sparrows, and Chestnut-collared Longspurs (Calcarius ornatus), are grassland birds that are of special conservation concern throughout their ranges due to declining populations and the loss of the specific grassland habitats required on both their breeding and wintering ranges (Knopf 1994, Davis and Sealy 1998, Davis 2003, Davis 2004, Jones and Dieni 2007). Population-trend data on grassland birds, while clearly showing declines, provides no information on the causes of population declines. Without demographic information (i.e., productivity and survivorship), there are no means to determine when in their life cycle the problems that are creating these declines are occurring, or to determine to what extent population trends are driven by factors that affect birth rates, death rates, or both (DeSante 1995). For migratory birds, population declines may be driven by factors on breeding grounds, during migration, and/or on wintering grounds. Lack of data on productivity and survivorship thus impedes the formulation of effective management and conservation strategies to reverse population declines (DeSante 1992). Furthermore, if deficiencies in survivorship are revealed, management strategies may need to address habitats on both breeding and non-breeding grounds, as well as along migratory pathways. One technique that helps inform management strategies is the biochemical analysis of isotopes and genetic markers, from the sampling of individual feathers from live birds (Smith et al. 2003, Pérez and Hobson 2006

  7. Grazing Resource Management and Grassland Degradation in Northern China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    LI Ying; HAO Ruimin

    2011-01-01

    1 Introduction Grassland degradation in China's northem steppe has been a major and increasingly serious problem affecting the productivity and sustainability of pastoral systems.The economic and property rights reforms in the early 1980s dramatically modified grazing management and resource institutions in the area.Livestock were privatized,but most of the pastures were jointly used by all herding households or small groups within villages.When a seemingly accelerating deterioration of grassland condition was observed through the 1980s and 1990s,numerous research and government reports suggested that the reform had created the classic problem of resource degradation from privately owned animals grazing on common land (Hardin 1968).At the same time,pastures allocated to and actually controlled by individual households also were subject to overexploitation caused by perceived institutional uncertainties (Longworth and Williamson 1993).

  8. Nitrogen deposition threatens species richness of grasslands across Europe.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stevens, Carly J; Duprè, Cecilia; Dorland, Edu; Gaudnik, Cassandre; Gowing, David J G; Bleeker, Albert; Diekmann, Martin; Alard, Didier; Bobbink, Roland; Fowler, David; Corcket, Emmanuel; Mountford, J Owen; Vandvik, Vigdis; Aarrestad, Per Arild; Muller, Serge; Dise, Nancy B

    2010-09-01

    Evidence from an international survey in the Atlantic biogeographic region of Europe indicates that chronic nitrogen deposition is reducing plant species richness in acid grasslands. Across the deposition gradient in this region (2-44 kg N ha(-1) yr(-1)) species richness showed a curvilinear response, with greatest reductions in species richness when deposition increased from low levels. This has important implications for conservation policies, suggesting that to protect the most sensitive grasslands resources should be focussed where deposition is currently low. Soil pH is also an important driver of species richness indicating that the acidifying effect of nitrogen deposition may be contributing to species richness reductions. The results of this survey suggest that the impacts of nitrogen deposition can be observed over a large geographical range.

  9. Carbon dynamics in an Imperata grassland in Northeast India

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    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. Management options to limit nitrate leaching from grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cuttle, S. P.; Scholefield, D.

    1995-12-01

    Nitrate leaching can be reduced by the adoption of less intensive grassland systems which, though requiring a greater land area to achieve the same agricultural output, result in less nitrate leaching per unit of production than do intensively managed grasslands. The economic penalties associated with reductions in output can be partly offset by greater reliance on symbiotic nitrogen fixation and the use of clover-based swards in place of synthetic N fertilisers. Alternatively, specific measures can be adopted to improve the efficiency of nitrogen use in intensively managed systems in order to maintain high outputs but with reduced losses. Controls should take account of other forms of loss and flows of nitrogen between grassland and other components of the whole-farm system and, in most instances, should result in an overall reduction in nitrogen inputs. Removing stock from the fields earlier in the grazing season will reduce the accumulation of high concentrations of potentially leachable nitrate in the soil of grazed pastures but will increase the quantity of manure produced by housed animals and the need to recycle this effectively. Supplementing grass diets with low-nitrogen forages such as maize silage will reduce the quantity of nitrogen excreted by livestock but may increase the potential for nitrate leaching elsewhere on the farm if changes to cropping patterns involve more frequent cultivation of grassland. Improved utilisation by the sward of nitrogen in animal excreta and manures and released by mineralisation of soil organic matter will permit equivalent reductions to be made in fertiliser inputs, provided that adequate information is available about the supply of nitrogen from these non-fertiliser sources.

  11. 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

  12. Effect of Nitrogen Fertilizer on Photosynthetic Rate of Leymus chinensis in Grassland of Different Degrading Degrees

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Mingming WANG; Yajing BAO; Zhenghai LI; Shaohuan YANG; Jingping JIAO; Yanyu GUO

    2012-01-01

    [Objective] This study aimed to investigate the effect of nitrogen fertilizer on photosynthetic rate of Leymus chinensis in the grasslands of different degrading degrees. [Method] With the L. chinensis in Inner Mongolia Baiyinxile Ranch as the research object, different rations of nitrogen fertilizer were applied to the grassland (0, 30, 50, 80 g/m^2). The effect of different gradients of nitrogen fertilizer on photo- synthetic rate of Leymus chinensis, and the effect on grasslands of different degrading degrees were analyzed. [Result] The photosynthetic rate of L. chinensis in- creased with the increase of nitrogen gradients; in the grassland communities with different degrading degrees, the responses of the photosynthetic rate of L. chinensis to nitrogen fertilizer were different, and the response in the grassland with severe degradation was the best. [Conclusion] Nitrogen fertilizer played an important role in enhancing the restoration degree of grassland.

  13. Dairy farming on permanent grassland: can it keep up?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kellermann, M; Salhofer, K

    2014-10-01

    Based on an extensive data set for southern Germany, we compared the productive performance of dairy farms that operate solely on permanent grassland and dairy farms using fodder crops from arable land. We allowed for heterogeneous production technologies and identified more intensive and extensive production systems for both types of farms, whereby we based our notion of intensive versus extensive dairy production on differences in stocking density and milk yield per cow and year. To be able to compare the productivity levels and productivity developments of the various groups of farms, we developed a group- and chain-linked multilateral productivity index. We also analyzed how technical change, technical efficiency change, and a scale change effect contribute to productivity growth between the years 2000 and 2008. Our results revealed that permanent grassland farms can generally keep up with fodder-crop farms, even in an intensive production setting. However, extensively operating farms, especially those on permanent grassland, significantly lag behind in productivity and productivity change and run the risk of losing ground.

  14. Factors Controlling Sediment Denitrification Rates in Grassland and Forest Streams

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Haryun Kim

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available Sediment denitrification is an important nitrate (NO3- removal process from agricultural streams. The direct and indirect factors that control denitrification rates in tributary sediments can vary depending on the types of agricultural activities and vegetation. Our research investigated (1 tributary sediment denitrification rates in a grassland stream affected by pasture ecosystems and a forest stream affected by N fertilization; and (2 the environmental factors that determine denitrification rates in tributary sediments. The denitrification enzyme activity (DEA in grassland stream sediments is positively correlated with precipitation likely due to the increased nutrient exchange rates between stream water and sediments, and was higher than in forest stream sediments, leading to a decrease in NO3- concentration ([NO3-] in stream sediments. The DEA in riparian sediments was regulated by carbon concentrations and did not contribute to NO3- removal from the riparian sediment in grassland and forest streams. Thus, environmental factors affected by different types of agricultural activities and vegetation might regulate denitrification rates and [NO3-] in agricultural stream ecosystems.

  15. A Global Grassland Drought Index (GDI Product: Algorithm and Validation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Binbin He

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available Existing drought indices have been widely used to monitor meteorological drought and agricultural drought; however, few of them are focus on drought monitoring for grassland regions. This study presented a new drought index, the Grassland Drought Index (GDI, for monitoring drought conditions in global grassland regions. These regions are vital for the environment and human society but susceptible to drought. The GDI was constructed based on three measures of water content: precipitation, soil moisture (SM, and canopy water content (CWC. The precipitation information was extracted from the available precipitation datasets, and SM was estimated by downscaling exiting soil moisture data to a 1 km resolution, and CWC was retrieved based on the PROSAIL (PROSPECT + SAIL model. Each variable was scaled from 0 to 1 for each pixel based on absolute minimum and maximum values over time, and these scaled variables were combined with the selected weights to construct the GDI. According to validation at the regional scale, the GDI was correlated with the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI to some extent, and captured most of the drought area identified by the United States Drought Monitor (USDM maps. In addition, the global GDI product at a 1 km spatial resolution substantially agreed with the global Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI product throughout the period 2005–2010, and it provided detailed and accurate information about the location and the duration of drought based on the evaluation using the known drought events.

  16. Isoprene and monoterpene emissions from an Inner Mongolia grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bai, Jianhui; Baker, Bradly; Liang, Baosheng; Greenberg, James; Guenther, Alex

    Terpenoid emissions were measured at a grassland site in Inner Mongolia, China during four campaigns over a 2-year period. Emissions were strongly correlated with light and temperature and the variations could be simulated using a canopy emission model. Substantial seasonal and interannual variations in isoprene emissions were also observed. Area averaged isoprene emissions normalized to standard above-canopy temperature and light conditions (30 °C and 1500 μmol m -2 s -1) ranged from about 50 to 500 μg m -2 h -1. These rates are more than an order of magnitude higher than those previously reported for temperate grasslands but are lower than emission rates observed from ground cover vegetation at higher latitudes. Isoprene emissions from this Inner Mongolia grassland may be dominated by emissions from sedges, e.g. Carex appendiculata. Total monoterpene emissions normalized to a standard temperature of 30 °C were only about 3 μg m -2 h -1 and consisted primarily of carene and limonene with smaller contributions of α-pinene and β-pinene. A model sensitivity study showed that grass and other herbaceous ground cover can contribute >10% of the total isoprene emission from certain regions, such as Inner Mongolia, but are<4% on a global annual scale.

  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. Preferential uptake of soil nitrogen forms by grassland plant species.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weigelt, Alexandra; Bol, Roland; Bardgett, Richard D

    2005-02-01

    In this study, we assessed whether a range of temperate grassland species showed preferential uptake for different chemical forms of N, including inorganic N and a range of amino acids that commonly occur in temperate grassland soil. Preferential uptake of dual-labelled (13C and 15N) glycine, serine, arginine and phenylalanine, as compared to inorganic N, was tested using plants growing in pots with natural field soil. We selected five grass species representing a gradient from fertilised, productive pastures to extensive, low productivity pastures (Lolium perenne, Holcus lanatus, Anthoxanthum odoratum, Deschampsia flexuosa, and Nardus stricta). Our data show that all grass species were able to take up directly a diversity of soil amino acids of varying complexity. Moreover, we present evidence of marked inter-species differences in preferential use of chemical forms of N of varying complexity. L. perenne was relatively more effective at using inorganic N and glycine compared to the most complex amino acid phenylalanine, whereas N. stricta showed a significant preference for serine over inorganic N. Total plant N acquisition, measured as root and shoot concentration of labelled compounds, also revealed pronounced inter-species differences which were related to plant growth rate: plants with higher biomass production were found to take up more inorganic N. Our findings indicate that species-specific differences in direct uptake of different N forms combined with total N acquisition could explain changes in competitive dominance of grass species in grasslands of differing fertility.

  19. 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.

  20. The impact of grassland conversion on CO2 emission and CH4 uptake

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Erda, L.Y.L. [Agrometeorology Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing (China)

    2000-07-01

    With the increase of population and the demand for food and fiber, some natural grassland was reclaimed to farmland in China. CO2 emission and CH4 uptake fluxes were measured during the growing season of natural grass, Erect milkvtch grassland, maize and potato during 1997-1998. The results indicate that the conversion of native grassland to agricultural uses has increased the CO2 emission from soils and decreased CH4 uptake from the atmosphere. 14 refs.

  1. Relevant Analysis of Grassland Temperature and Ground Net Radiation in Guilin

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2011-01-01

    [Objective] The aim was to study the relevance of grassland temperature and ground net radiation in Guilin.[Method] By dint of ground observation data and net radiation of national benchmark climate station in Guilin from 2007 to 2009,the changes of grassland temperature and ground net radiation were expounded and their relations were pointed out.[Result] The annual changes trends of grassland temperature and ground net radiation in Guilin were basically the same.Monthly average maximum value all appeared i...

  2. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT OF THE GRASSLAND AGROECOSYSTEM IN THE CONTEXT OF BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION AND IMPROVEMENT OF PERMANENT GRASSLAND

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pompilica IAGARU

    2015-04-01

    Full Text Available The agricultural enterprise, seen from a sustainable development perspective, operates within an ecosystem, and aims to achieve a harmonious interpenetration and integration with it. The way in which this interpenetration and integration is realized depends on the level achieved by its performances, which requires the adoption of policies and strategies and the economic organization of biotechnical processes. The paper emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to issues like management and sustainable development of the grassland agro ecosystem and shows that promoting ecological techniques in the grassland agro ecosystem can ensure its versatility. All these supported by obtaining appropriate pastoral values, namely biodiversity conservation and improvement of meadows, and knowing that Romania has a variety of floral structures with high biodiversity indices.

  3. Effect of Long-Term Fertilisation and Amendment on Sub-Alpine Grasslands in the Bucegi Mountains

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    sebastian Constantinescu

    2013-05-01

    Full Text Available Research carried out at the Mountain Grassland Research Basis of Blana (Bucegi Mountains aimed at improving the grassland of Nardus stricta locate 1,800 m above sea level. Research started in the year 2000 with the establishment of a trial made up of five variants: T – natural grassland (control; A – natural grassland fertilised with NPK; B – natural grassland fertilised with NPK + animal folding; C – natural grassland, amended + fertilised with NPK + animal folding. The paper presents the effect of long-term treatments (applied every single year starting with the year 1995 on dry matter production and on the floristic composition in the year 2011.

  4. Impact of inter-annual climatic variability on ecosystem carbon exchange in two grazed temperate grasslands with contrasting drainage regimes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Choncubhair, Órlaith Ní; Humphreys, James; Lanigan, Gary

    2014-05-01

    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. Accumulation of carbon (C) in grassland systems predominantly takes place in below-ground repositories, enhanced by the presence of a stable soil environment with low carbon turnover rates, active rhizodeposition and high levels of residue and organic inputs. Predicted future warming is expected to increase productivity in temperate zones, thereby enhancing rates of terrestrial carbon sequestration. However, the susceptibility of many ecosystems, including grasslands, to extreme climatic events and inter-annual variability has been demonstrated previously. Temperature anomalies as well as modifications in the temporal pattern and quantity of precipitation alter the balance between carbon uptake and release processes and a mechanistic understanding of ecosystem response to such changes is still lacking. In the present study, the impact of extreme inter-annual variability in summer rainfall and temperature on carbon dynamics in two rotationally-grazed grasslands in Ireland was examined. The sites experience similar temperate climatic regimes but differ in soil drainage characteristics. Eddy covariance measurements of net ecosystem exchange of carbon were complemented by regular assessment of standing biomass, leaf cover, harvest exports and organic amendment inputs. The summers of 2012 and 2013 showed contrasting climatic conditions, with summer precipitation 93% higher and 25% lower respectively than long-term means. In addition, soil temperatures were 7% lower and 11% higher than expected. Cool, wet conditions in 2012 facilitated net carbon uptake for more than ten months of the year at the poorly-drained site, however the ecosystem switched to a net source of carbon in 2013 during months with significantly reduced rainfall. In contrast, net C

  5. Is grazing exclusion effective in restoring vegetation in degraded alpine grasslands in Tibet, China?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yan, Yan; Lu, Xuyang

    2015-01-01

    Overgrazing is considered one of the key disturbance factors that results in alpine grassland degradation in Tibet. Grazing exclusion by fencing has been widely used as an approach to restore degraded grasslands in Tibet since 2004. Is the grazing exclusion management strategy effective for the vegetation restoration of degraded alpine grasslands? Three alpine grassland types were selected in Tibet to investigate the effect of grazing exclusion on plant community structure and biomass. Our results showed that species biodiversity indicators, including the Pielou evenness index, the Shannon-Wiener diversity index, and the Simpson dominance index, did not significantly change under grazing exclusion conditions. In contrast, the total vegetation cover, the mean vegetation height of the community, and the aboveground biomass were significantly higher in the grazing exclusion grasslands than in the free grazed grasslands. These results indicated that grazing exclusion is an effective measure for maintaining community stability and improving aboveground vegetation growth in alpine grasslands. However, the statistical analysis showed that the growing season precipitation (GSP) plays a more important role than grazing exclusion in which influence on vegetation in alpine grasslands. In addition, because the results of the present study come from short term (6-8 years) grazing exclusion, it is still uncertain whether these improvements will be continuable if grazing exclusion is continuously implemented. Therefore, the assessments of the ecological effects of the grazing exclusion management strategy on degraded alpine grasslands in Tibet still need long term continued research.

  6. Is grazing exclusion effective in restoring vegetation in degraded alpine grasslands in Tibet, China?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yan Yan

    2015-06-01

    Full Text Available Overgrazing is considered one of the key disturbance factors that results in alpine grassland degradation in Tibet. Grazing exclusion by fencing has been widely used as an approach to restore degraded grasslands in Tibet since 2004. Is the grazing exclusion management strategy effective for the vegetation restoration of degraded alpine grasslands? Three alpine grassland types were selected in Tibet to investigate the effect of grazing exclusion on plant community structure and biomass. Our results showed that species biodiversity indicators, including the Pielou evenness index, the Shannon–Wiener diversity index, and the Simpson dominance index, did not significantly change under grazing exclusion conditions. In contrast, the total vegetation cover, the mean vegetation height of the community, and the aboveground biomass were significantly higher in the grazing exclusion grasslands than in the free grazed grasslands. These results indicated that grazing exclusion is an effective measure for maintaining community stability and improving aboveground vegetation growth in alpine grasslands. However, the statistical analysis showed that the growing season precipitation (GSP plays a more important role than grazing exclusion in which influence on vegetation in alpine grasslands. In addition, because the results of the present study come from short term (6–8 years grazing exclusion, it is still uncertain whether these improvements will be continuable if grazing exclusion is continuously implemented. Therefore, the assessments of the ecological effects of the grazing exclusion management strategy on degraded alpine grasslands in Tibet still need long term continued research.

  7. Vegetation and Soil Characteristics of Different Desertification Grasslands in Northwest Sichuan

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Wan; Ting; Tu; Weiguo; Xi; Huan; Li; Yudong; Tang; Xuefang; Yang; Yichuan

    2014-01-01

    [Objective]The paper was to study vegetation and soil characteristics of different desertification grasslands in northwest Sichuan. [Method]By taking different desertification grasslands as the research object,the characteristic factors of vegetation community,biomass,soil moisture content,volume weight and porosity were analyzed through scientific investigation,sampling and formula calculation to reveal the changes in vegetation and soil characteristics of different desertification grasslands in Northwest Sichuan. [Result]Community succession presented the pattern of " hygrophyte-mesophyte-xerophyte" with the aggravation of grassland desertification. The height and coverage of community decreased,species richness was declined by 88%,and composition of dominant species also changed greatly. The diversity index of light-desertification grassland was the highest among tested grasslands. Total biomass was decreased by 90. 4%,and the underground biomass decreased far more than aboveground biomass. In desertification progress,both soil moisture content and water holding capacity decreased,while volume weight showed upward trend and porosity showed downward trend; soil characteristics had large variation in early stage of desertification,so restoration treatment of desertification grassland should be carried out in the early stage of desertification. [Conclusion]The study provided a theoretical basis for researches on causes and management programs of desertification grassland,having an important meaning for ecological restoration of regional grassland and maintenance of ecological security.

  8. Shifts in composition of avian communities related to temperate-grassland afforestation in southeastern South America

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rafael A. Dias

    2013-03-01

    Full Text Available Afforestation of temperate grasslands with fast-growing trees for industrial pulpwood production is spreading in South America. Despite high afforestation rates resulting from governmental policies that stimulate pulpwood production in grasslands of southern Brazil and Uruguay, the impact of this activity on biodiversity remains to be properly assessed. We used an Impact-Reference study design to evaluate how grassland afforestation affects the composition of grassland bird assemblages. We sampled eucalyptus plantations and neighboring natural grasslands in southern Brazil from 2006-2009, and relied on nested sampling and analysis to separate the effects of afforestation from the natural variability of grasslands. We recorded a significant difference in composition between assemblages from grasslands and tree plantations. Species adapted to open, treeless areas tended to be negatively affected in relation to edge or forest birds in eucalyptus plantations. Afforestation is systematically replacing the bird assemblage of hilltop grasslands by a collection of common edge and forest species that occur in nearby riverine and hillside forests. Although most grassland birds negatively affected by tree plantations are common and widespread, observed and predicted afforestation rates in southeastern South America may result in regional population reductions in the near future.

  9. Relationships between tree-ring width index and NDVI of grassland in Delingha

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    HE Jicheng; SHAO Xuemei

    2006-01-01

    Using five well-replicated Qilian juniper (Sabina przewalskii Kom.) tree-ring width index series, monthly normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) of grassland, and climatic data from 1982 to 2001, the relationships between tree-ring width index, NDVI of grassland, and climatic data were analyzed firstly. Then, the relationship between tree-ring width index and NDVI of grassland was explored. The results showed that: (1) Temperature and precipitation in June influenced tree-ring width index and NDVI of grassland deeply in Delingha. (2) There were significant relationships between five tree-ring width index series (DLH1-DLH5) and monthly NDVI of grassland from June to September, with the most significant relationship being between tree-ring width index series and NDVI of grassland in August. (3) The PC1 (the first principal component derived from DLH1-DLH5 series) exhibited good agreement with monthly NDVI of grassland in the grass growth season (from June to September) and the averaged NDVI in the growth season, which was attributed to their common responses to water-supply limit in Delingha. This study may allow an increase in studying the past dynamics of grassland in Delingha in that the variation of grassland NDVI during the last millennium has been reconstructed from PC1.

  10. 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

  11. Exchange of carbonyl sulfide (COS), a potential tracer of gross primary productivity, between grassland ecosystem components and the atmosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whelan, M.; Rhew, R. C.

    2013-12-01

    Recently, measurements of carbonyl sulfide (COS) exchange have been used as an independent constraint for estimates of gross primary productivity over terrestrial ecosystems and continents. CO2 is both taken up and released by plants, whereas COS is usually only consumed and at a predictable ratio to CO2. Most of the underlying theoretical assumptions of this method have been verified, however the problem of parsing leaf exchange from other terrestrial sources and sinks of COS is still under investigation. In ecosystems that experience distinct periods of growing and senescence, it is possible to assess COS fluxes in situ when no green plants are present and compare to measurements during the growing season. Taking advantage of this seasonal pattern, we have investigated COS exchange from March 2012 to March 2013 in a Mediterranean grassland outside of Santa Cruz, CA, U.S.A (37.0°N, 122°W). Through lab-based incubation experiments, we found that net COS uptake of grassland soil can be reduced by increased soil moisture. We evaluated this claim in the field with monthly field deployments of static flux chambers over the in-tact soil and plant system. In the dry summer, artificial rain amendments caused COS net uptake to decrease, sometimes leading to overall net production to the atmosphere, in agreement with lab experiments. During the wet growing season, water additions caused over 2x increase in COS uptake from the atmosphere. Contrary to what has been previously claimed, soil exchange of COS is not negligible in grassland ecosystems.

  12. Impacts of cattle grazing on spatio-temporal variability of soil moisture and above-ground live plant biomass in mixed grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Virk, Ravinder

    Areas with relatively high spatial heterogeneity generally have more biodiversity than spatially homogeneous areas due to increased potential habitat. Management practices such as controlled grazing also affect the biodiversity in grasslands, but the nature of this impact is not well understood. Therefore this thesis studies the impacts of variation in grazing on soil moisture and biomass heterogeneity. These are not only important in terms of management of protected grasslands, but also for designing an effective grazing system from a livestock management point of view. This research is a part of the cattle grazing experiment underway in Grasslands National Park (GNP) of Canada since 2006, as part of the adaptive management process for restoring ecological integrity of the northern mixed-grass prairie region. An experimental approach using field measurements and remote sensing (Landsat) was combined with modelling (CENTURY) to examine and predict the impacts of grazing intensity on the spatial heterogeneity and patterns of above-ground live plant biomass (ALB) in experimental pastures in a mixed grassland ecosystem. The field-based research quantified the temporal patterns and spatial variability in both soil moisture (SM) and ALB, and the influence of local intra-seasonal weather variability and slope location on the spatio-temporal variability of SM and ALB at field plot scales. Significant impacts of intra-seasonal weather variability, slope position and grazing pressure on SM and ALB across a range of scales (plot and local (within pasture)) were found. Grazing intensity significantly affected the ALB even after controlling for the effect of slope position. Satellite-based analysis extended the scale of interest to full pastures and the surrounding region to assess the effects of grazing intensity on the spatio-temporal pattern of ALB in mixed grasslands. Overall, low to moderate grazing intensity showed increase in ALB heterogeneity whereas no change in ALB

  13. Leguminous species sequester more carbon than gramineous species in cultivated grasslands of a semi-arid area

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Yu; Tian, Fuping; Jia, Pengyan; Zhang, Jingge; Hou, Fujiang; Wu, Gaolin

    2017-01-01

    The establishment of grasslands on abandoned cropland has been proposed as an effective method to mitigate climate change. In this study, five cultivated grasslands (three leguminous species and two gramineous species), one abandoned cropland, and one natural grassland were studied to examine how soil organic carbon (SOC) sequestration rate and sequestration efficiency change in a semi-arid area in China. Our results showed that leguminous grasslands had greater total biomass (above- and belowground biomass), SOC storage, SOC sequestration rate, and efficiency than gramineous grasslands, abandoned cropland, and natural grassland during the experimental period. The largest soil carbon (C) accumulation in leguminous grassland was mainly attributed to the capacity to incorporate C and the higher biomass production. Leguminous grasslands accumulated more SOC than gramineous grasslands by 0.64 Mg C ha-1 yr-1. The average SOC sequestration efficiency in leguminous grassland (1.00) was about 2 times greater than gramineous grassland (0.34). The results indicate that cultivated leguminous grassland sequestered more SOC with higher SOC sequestration efficiency than cultivated gramineous grassland in arid and semi-arid areas. Our results provide a reference for ecological management in arid and semi-arid areas.

  14. Seed banks in desert grasslands and implications for management with an application to education and outreach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ortiz-Barney, Elena

    Large areas of desert grasslands in the southwestern United States have been converted to shrublands through mismanagement. Land managers are interested in the potential for restoring these areas to grasslands. One possible source of new individuals of desirable grasses is the soil seed bank. This study was designed to investigate the quantity and spatial distribution of seeds in the soil seed bank and to estimate the possible effects of fire on the seed bank. To investigate the seed bank, soil samples were collected from sites with different vegetative cover representing a range of grassland conditions. At each site samples were collected from 3 microsites (under grasses, under shrubs, and interspaces) and separated into 3 depths (litter, 0--2 cm and 2--5 cm). Samples were grown in a growth chamber and plants were identified after emergence and flowering. To investigate the effects of prescribed burns on the seed bank, soil and surface temperatures during burns were measured at each microsite. Also, the heat tolerance of seeds of 8 species of perennial grasses was assessed by quantifying germination rates across a temperature gradient. Eleven species of perennial grasses germinated from soil and litter samples. Only 5 were abundant: the exotics Eragrostis curvula and E. Lehmanniana, and the natives E. intermedia, Lycurus setosus and Sporobolus cryptandrus. Most seed, as well as highest species richness, occurred in the litter layer and under shrubs. Temperatures during prescribed burns were highest in these same microsites, reaching averages between 100° and 250° Celsius (C). None of the species tolerated temperatures above 100°C. The implication of these results is that most grass seed reserves are stored in microsites that are likely to experience temperatures above their heat tolerance. Land managers should take this into account as a possible risk associated with using prescribed burns as part of their restoration efforts. As an application of this work to

  15. Dinitrogen emissions as an overlooked key component of the N balance of montane grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zistl-Schlingmann, Marcus; Feng, Jinchao; Kiese, Ralf; Stephan, Ruth; Dannenmann, Michael

    2017-04-01

    Numerous studies have been conducted on the emission dynamics and annual budget of the atmospheric pollutants and primary or secondary greenhouse gases NOx, NH3 and N2O, i.e. gaseous N losses which can play an important role in the N budget of ecosystems. Due to still existing methodical problems in their quantification, considerably less is known on soil dinitrogen (N2) emissions, an inert gas with no hazardous effects on the environment. Understanding of soil N2 emissions however may be important to better understand and manage the N balance of ecosystems and also to mitigate the emissions of the precursor and potent greenhouse gas N2O. Here we quantified soil N2 emissions from montane grasslands used for dairy farming as affected by climate change simulation (reduced annual precipitation, increased temperature). For this purpose, plant-soil-mesocosms were brought from field sites of different elevation to the laboratory for direct simultaneous quantification of soil N2 and N2O emissions by use of the Helium soil core method. Immediately after the measurements, the plant-soil mesocosms were reburied at the sites. Using this approach we found that under current climate conditions, soil N2 emissions exceeded soil N2O emissions by several orders of magnitude and increased from 25 kg N ha-1 year-1 (present climate) to 50 kg N ha-1 year-1 (climate change treatment). Because this approach based on monthly sampling cannot accurately consider N gas emission peaks after manure fertilization, measurements were supplemented by a laboratory incubation approach. In this experiment, the response of all N gas emissions (NH3, NO, N2O, N2) to manure fertilization (50 kg N ha-1) was monitored with subdaily temporal resolution until emissions had diminished. Total N gas losses amounted to roughly half of the supplied N by manure application. Surprisingly, we found that N2 but not NH3 dominated fertilizer-derived gaseous N losses, accounting for 78 to 85 % of total gaseous N losses

  16. Sustainable use of alpine and pre-alpine grassland soils in a changing climate (SUSALPS)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zistl-Schlingmann, Marcus; Beck, Robert; Brandhuber, Robert; Butterbach-Bahl, Klaus; Garcia Franco, Noelia; von Gillhaußen, Phillip; Jentsch, Anke; Kiese, Ralf; Krämer, Alexander; Kögel-Knabner, Ingrid; Köllner, Thomas; Poppenborg, Patrick; Schloter, Michael; Schulz, Stefanie; Wiesmeier, Martin; Wolf, Benjamin; Dannenmann, Michael

    2016-04-01

    The development of ecologically as well as economically sustainable management options for the carbon- and nitrogen rich alpine and pre-alpine grassland soils in a changing climate poses a grand scientific and socio- economical challenge. The transdisciplinary SUSALPS project starting in 2016 aims to essentially improve the knowledge on the functionality of alpine and pre-alpine grassland soils using both natural-scientific/ technical and socio economical approaches. The project is building on existing infrastructure of German grassland-ecosystem-research like the pre-alpine TERENO (Terrestrial ecosystem observation network observatory) observatory sites, the EVENT and SIGNAL sites as well as long term LfL (Bayerische Landesanstalt für Landwirtschaft) sites, plus a new additional high elevation (1400m a.s.l) site in the Bavarian Alps. The site setup along the elevational gradient on the edge of the Alps (1400 m to 300 m) is used for space-for-time climate change experiments which are combined with extensive and intensive management treatments. A key focus of SUSALPS will be the characterization of combined climate change/management effects on carbon and nitrogen biogeochemistry. Hence, we will evaluate the influence of different management options and current and future climate changes on the soil microbiome and associated biogeochemical processes in the plant-soil-system, on nitrogen use efficiency, on biosphere-atmosphere exchange of greenhouse gases as well as on leaching of environmentally relevant compounds. For this purpose, we simulate the predicted climate change in the region by translocation of large lysimeters (1m2, 1.4m depth; TERENO lysimeters, translocated in 2011) for measurements of biosphere-atmosphere hydrosphere exchange of environmentally relevant C and N compounds as well as by newly transferred smaller plant-soil-mesocosms used for destructive biogeochemical process studies. By closely linking this experimental work with biogeochemical and

  17. 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

  18. Grazing-induced effects on soil properties modify plant competitive interactions in semi-natural mountain grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Medina-Roldán, Eduardo; Paz-Ferreiro, Jorge; Bardgett, Richard D

    2012-09-01

    Plant-soil feedbacks are widely recognized as playing a significant role in structuring plant communities through their effects on plant-plant interactions. However, the question of whether plant-soil feedbacks can be indirectly driven by other ecological agents, such as large herbivores, which are known to strongly modify plant community structure and soil properties, remains poorly explored. We tested in a glasshouse experiment how changes in soil properties resulting from long-term sheep grazing affect competitive interactions (intra- and inter-specific) of two graminoid species: Nardus stricta, which is typically abundant under high sheep grazing pressure in British mountain grasslands; and Eriophorum vaginatum, whose abundance is typically diminished under grazing. Both species were grown in monocultures and mixtures at different densities in soils taken from adjacent grazed and ungrazed mountain grassland in the Yorkshire Dales, northern England. Nardus stricta performed better (shoot and root biomass) when grown in grazing-conditioned soil, independent of whether or not it grew under inter-specific competition. Eriophorum vaginatum also grew better when planted in soil from the grazed site, but this occurred only when it did not experience inter-specific competition with N. stricta. This indicates that plant-soil feedback for E. vaginatum is dependent on the presence of an inter-specific competitor. A yield density model showed that indirect effects of grazing increased the intensity of intra-specific competition in both species in comparison with ungrazed-conditioned soil. However, indirect effects of grazing on the intensity of inter-specific competition were species-specific favouring N. stricta. We explain these asymmetric grazing-induced effects on competition on the basis of traits of the superior competitor and grazing effects on soil nutrients. Finally, we discuss the relevance of our findings for plant community dynamics in grazed, semi

  19. Simulating spatiotemporal dynamics of sichuan grassland net primary productivity using the CASA model and in situ observations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tang, Chuanjiang; Fu, Xinyu; Jiang, Dong; Fu, Jingying; Zhang, Xinyue; Zhou, Su

    2014-01-01

    Net primary productivity (NPP) is an important indicator for grassland resource management and sustainable development. In this paper, the NPP of Sichuan grasslands was estimated by the Carnegie-Ames-Stanford Approach (CASA) model. The results were validated with in situ data. The overall precision reached 70%; alpine meadow had the highest precision at greater than 75%, among the three types of grasslands validated. The spatial and temporal variations of Sichuan grasslands were analyzed. The absorbed photosynthetic active radiation (APAR), light use efficiency (ε), and NPP of Sichuan grasslands peaked in August, which was a vigorous growth period during 2011. High values of APAR existed in the southwest regions in altitudes from 2000 m to 4000 m. Light use efficiency (ε) varied in the different types of grasslands. The Sichuan grassland NPP was mainly distributed in the region of 3000-5000 m altitude. The NPP of alpine meadow accounted for 50% of the total NPP of Sichuan grasslands.

  20. Anthropogenic dust emissions due to livestock trampling in a Mongolian temperate grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Munkhtsetseg, Erdenebayar; Shinoda, Masato; Ishizuka, Masahide; Mikami, Masao; Kimura, Reiji; Nikolich, George

    2017-09-01

    Mongolian grasslands are a natural dust source region and they contribute to anthropogenic dust due to the long tradition of raising livestock there. Past decades of abrupt changes in a nomadic society necessitate a study on the effects of livestock trampling on dust emissions, so that research studies may help maintain a sustainable ecosystem and well-conditioned atmospheric environment. In this study, we conducted a mini wind tunnel experiment (using a PI-SWERL® device) to measure dust emissions fluxes from trampling (at three disturbance levels of livestock density, N) and zero trampling (natural as the background level) at test areas in a Mongolian temperate grassland. Moreover, we scaled anthropogenic dust emissions to natural dust emissions as a relative consequence of livestock trampling. We found a substantial increase in dust emissions due to livestock trampling. This effect of trampling on dust emissions was persistent throughout all wind friction velocities, u* (varying from 0.44 to 0.82 m s-1). Significantly higher dust loading occurs after a certain disturbance level has been reached by the livestock trampling. Our results suggest that both friction velocity (u*) and disturbance level of livestock density (N) have an enormous combinational effect on dust emissions from the trampling test surface. This means that the effect of livestock trampling on dust emissions can be seen or revealed when wind is strong. Our results also emphasize that better management for livestock allocation coupled with strategies to prevent anthropogenic dust loads are needed. However, there are many uncertainties and assumptions to be improved on in this study.

  1. Effects of climate warming and species richness on photochemistry of grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gielen, Birgit; Naudts, Kim; D'Haese, David; Lemmens, Catherine M H M; De Boeck, Hans J; Biebaut, Eddy; Serneels, Roger; Valcke, Roland; Nijs, Ivan; Ceulemans, Reinhart

    2007-10-01

    In view of the projected climatic changes and the global decrease in plant species diversity, it is critical to understand the effects of elevated air temperature (T(air)) and species richness (S) on physiological processes in plant communities. Therefore, an experiment of artificially assembled grassland ecosystems, with different S (one, three or nine species), growing in sunlit climate-controlled chambers at ambient T(air) and ambient T(air) + 3 degrees C was established. We investigated whether grassland species would be more affected by midday high-temperature stress during summer in a warmer climate scenario. The effect of elevated T(air) was expected to differ with S. This was tested in the second and third experimental years by means of chlorophyll a fluorescence. Because acclimation to elevated T(air) would affect the plant's stress response, the hypothesis of photosynthetic acclimation to elevated T(air) was tested in the third year by gas exchange measurements in the monocultures. Plants in the elevated T(air) chambers suffered more from midday stress on warm summer days than those in ambient chambers. In absence of severe drought, the quantum yield of PSII was not affected by elevated T(air). Our results further indicate that species had not photosynthetically acclimated to a temperature increase of 3 degrees C after 3 years exposure to a warmer climate. Although effects of S and T(air) x S interactions were mostly not significant in our study, we expect that combined effects of T(air) and S would be important in conditions of severe drought events.

  2. Subalpine grassland carbon balance during 7 years of increased atmospheric N deposition

    Science.gov (United States)

    Volk, Matthias; Enderle, Jan; Bassin, Seraina

    2016-07-01

    Air pollution agents interact when affecting biological sinks for atmospheric CO2, e.g., the soil organic carbon (SOC) content of grassland ecosystems. Factors favoring plant productivity, like atmospheric N deposition, are usually considered to favor SOC storage. In a 7-year experiment in subalpine grassland under N- and O3-deposition treatment, we examined C fluxes and pools. Total N deposition was 4, 9, 14, 29 and 54 kg N ha-1 yr-1 (N4, N9, etc.); annual mean phytotoxic O3 dose was 49, 65 and 89 mmol m-2 projected leaf area. We hypothesized that between years SOC of this mature ecosystem would not change in control treatments and that effects of air pollutants are similar for plant yield, net ecosystem productivity (NEP) and SOC content, leading to SOC content increasing with N deposition. Cumulative plant yield showed a significant N and N × N effect (+38 % in N54) but no O3 effect. In the control treatment SOC increased significantly by 9 % in 7 years. Cumulative NEP did show a strong, hump-shaped response pattern to N deposition with a +62 % increase in N14 and only +39 % increase in N54 (N effect statistically not significant, N × N interaction not testable). SOC had a similar but not significant response to N, with highest C gains at intermediate N deposition rates, suggesting a unimodal response with a marginal (P = 0.09) N × N interaction. We assume the strong, pollutant-independent soil C sink developed as a consequence of the management change from grazing to cutting. The non-parallel response of SOC and NEP compared to plant yield under N deposition is likely the result of increased respiratory SOC losses, following mitigated microbial N-limitation or priming effects, and a shift in plant C allocation leading to smaller C input from roots.

  3. Aridity modulates N availability in arid and semiarid Mediterranean grasslands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Manuel Delgado-Baquerizo

    Full Text Available While much is known about the factors that control each component of the terrestrial nitrogen (N cycle, it is less clear how these factors affect total N availability, the sum of organic and inorganic forms potentially available to microorganisms and plants. This is particularly true for N-poor ecosystems such as drylands, which are highly sensitive to climate change and desertification processes that can lead to the loss of soil nutrients such as N. We evaluated how different climatic, abiotic, plant and nutrient related factors correlate with N availability in semiarid Stipa tenacissima grasslands along a broad aridity gradient from Spain to Tunisia. Aridity had the strongest relationship with N availability, suggesting the importance of abiotic controls on the N cycle in drylands. Aridity appeared to modulate the effects of pH, plant cover and organic C (OC on N availability. Our results suggest that N transformation rates, which are largely driven by variations in soil moisture, are not the direct drivers of N availability in the studied grasslands. Rather, the strong relationship between aridity and N availability could be driven by indirect effects that operate over long time scales (decades to millennia, including both biotic (e.g. plant cover and abiotic (e.g. soil OC and pH. If these factors are in fact more important than short-term effects of precipitation on N transformation rates, then we might expect to observe a lagged decrease in N availability in response to increasing aridity. Nevertheless, our results suggest that the increase in aridity predicted with ongoing climate change will reduce N availability in the Mediterranean basin, impacting plant nutrient uptake and net primary production in semiarid grasslands throughout this region.

  4. GHG Fluxes in semi-natural grasslands in the Pyrenees

    Science.gov (United States)

    Debouk, Haifa; Altimir, Nuria; Ribas, Angela; Ibañez, Mercedes; Sebastià, Teresa

    2015-04-01

    Mountain areas are identified by the IPCC report (2013) as particularly sensitive to climate change. The need to understand mountain grasslands is crucial since these ecosystems can act as both sinks and sources of CO2. Investigating CH4 and N2O fluxes is important because they can offset potential CO2 sequestration. While most studies have been focusing on CO2, the knowledge on the temporal and spatial variability of CH4 and N2O, particularly in semi-natural mountain grasslands, is scarce. This study describes the magnitude and range of variability of the fluxes of CO2, N2O, and CH4 from four semi-natural pastures in the Pyrenees across an altitudinal gradient (1026 to 2436 m a.s.l.) during the growth period in 2012 and 2013. We measured GHG fluxes of the grassland during both light and dark conditions in the study sites using a photoacoustic field gas-monitor (INNOVA 1412, LumaSense Technologies). After completing the GHG measurements, we collected vegetation samples for the estimation of above-ground and below-ground biomass and separated them into functional groups and species. We present here the analysis of the relationship between GHG fluxes and above-ground biomass including the contribution of the relative abundance of plant functional types. Our preliminary results showed a clear seasonal pattern of GHG fluxes. We observed a negative impact of the summer period on the GHG fluxes, which was mostly pronounced in the CO2. We will further elaborate in-depth the effect of the temporal and spatial variability on the fluxes of CO2, N2O and CH4. Also, we will present the relationship between the GHG fluxes and the contribution of the vegetation in terms of the relative abundance of different plant functional types.

  5. 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

  6. Turbulence characteristics in grassland canopies and implications for tracer transport

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E. Nemitz

    2009-01-01

    Full Text Available In-canopy turbulence is a required input to study pollutant cycling and chemistry within plant canopies and to link concentrations and sources. Despite the importance of grasslands worldwide, most previous work has focused on forests and crops. Here, turbulence parameters in a mature agricultural grassland canopy were measured with a combination of a small ultrasonic anemometer, hotwire anemometry and a radon (Rn tracer technique, as part of a measurement to study ammonia (NH3 exchange with grassland. The measurements are used to derive vertical profiles of basic turbulent parameters, for quadrant-hole analysis of the two-parametric frequency distributions of u'−w' and to derive in-canopy eddy diffusivities as input for models of in-canopy tracer transport. The results are in line with previous measurements on taller canopies, but shows increased decoupling between in-canopy flow and above-canopy turbulence. The comparison of sonic anemometry and Rn measurements implies that Lagrangian time-scales must decrease sharply at the ground, with important implications for estimating the magnitude of ground-level and soil emissions from concentration measurements. Atmospheric stability above and within the canopy has little influence on the standard deviation of vertical wind component inside the canopy. Use of the turbulence parameters in an analytical Lagrangian framework, which is here validated for heat transfer, suggests that measured in-canopy profiles of NH3 are consistent with a ground-level source, presumably from senescent plant parts, which is recaptured by the overlying canopy.

  7. Turbulence characteristics in grassland canopies and implications for tracer transport

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E. Nemitz

    2009-08-01

    Full Text Available In-canopy turbulence is a required input to study pollutant cycling and chemistry within plant canopies and to link concentrations and sources. Despite the importance of grasslands worldwide, most previous work has focused on forests and crops. Here, turbulence parameters in a mature agricultural grassland canopy were measured with a combination of a small ultrasonic anemometer, hotwire anemometry and a radon (Rn tracer technique, as part of a measurement to study ammonia (NH3 exchange with grassland. The measurements are used to derive vertical profiles of basic turbulent parameters, for quadrant-hole analysis of the two-parametric frequency distributions of u'−w' and to derive in-canopy eddy diffusivities as input for models of in-canopy tracer transport. The results are in line with previous measurements on taller canopies, but shows increased decoupling between in-canopy flow and above-canopy turbulence. The comparison of sonic anemometry and Rn measurements implies that Lagrangian time-scales must decrease sharply at the ground, with important implications for estimating the magnitude of ground-level and soil emissions from concentration measurements. Atmospheric stability above and within the canopy has little influence on the standard deviation of vertical wind component inside the canopy. Use of the turbulence parameters in an analytical Lagrangian framework, which is here validated for heat transfer, suggests that measured in-canopy profiles of NH3 are consistent with a ground-level source, presumably from senescent plant parts, which is recaptured by the overlying canopy.

  8. 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

    2016-12-01

    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

  9. Intensified agricultural use of grasslands reduces growth and survival of precocial shorebird chicks

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kentie, Rosemarie; Hooijmeijer, Jos C.E.W.; Trimbos, Krijn B.; Groen, Niko M.; Piersma, Theunis

    2013-01-01

    Intensification of agricultural use of grassland habitats has been linked to the declines of many farmland bird species, several of whom have been in decline for multiple decades despite agri-environmental schemes. In the Netherlands, where most grasslands have been transformed into well-drained mon

  10. Intensified agricultural use of grasslands reduces growth and survivalof precocial shorebird chicks

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kentie, R.; Hooijmeijer, J.C.E.W.; Trimbos, K.B.; Groen, N.M.; Piersma, T.

    2013-01-01

    Intensification of agricultural use of grassland habitats has been linked to the declines of many farmland bird species, several of whom have been in decline for multiple decades despite agri-environmental schemes. In the Netherlands, where most grasslands have been transformed into well-drained mon

  11. 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...

  12. Impact of different-sized herbivores on recruitment opportunities for subordinate herbs in grasslands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bakker, Elisabeth S.; Olff, Han

    2003-01-01

    Potential effects of herbivores on plant species diversity depend on herbivore size, species and density. In this study we examine the effect of different-sized herbivores (cattle and rabbits) on recruitment of subordinate herbs in grasslands. We show that in a grazed floodplain, grassland plant spe

  13. Impact of different-sized herbivores on recruitment opportunities for subordinate herbs in grasslands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bakker, Elisabeth S.; Olff, Han

    2003-01-01

    Potential effects of herbivores on plant species diversity depend on herbivore size, species and density. In this study we examine the effect of different-sized herbivores (cattle and rabbits) on recruitment of subordinate herbs in grasslands. We show that in a grazed floodplain, grassland plant spe

  14. Impact of different-sized herbivores on recruiment opportunities for subordinate herbs in grasslands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bakker, E.S.; Olff, H.

    2003-01-01

    Potential effects of herbivores on plant species diversity depend on herbivore size, species and density. In this study we examine the effect of different-sized herbivores (cattle and rabbits) on recruitment of subordinate herbs in grasslands. We show that in a grazed floodplain, grassland plant spe

  15. 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

  16. 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 an

  17. Estimating plant traits of grasslands from UAV-acquired hyperspectral images

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Capolupo, Alessandra; Kooistra, Lammert; Berendonk, Clara; Boccia, Lorenzo; Suomalainen, Juha

    2015-01-01

    Grassland ecosystems cover around 40% of the entire Earth's surface. Therefore, it is necessary to guarantee good grassland management at field scale in order to improve its conservation and to achieve optimal growth. This study identified the most appropriate statistical strategy, between

  18. Cattle methane emission and pasture carbon dioxide balance of a grazed grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGinn, S M; Beauchemin, K A; Coates, T; McGeough, E J

    2014-05-01

    Grasslands constitute a major land use globally and are a potential sink of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO). They are also an important habitat for wildlife and a source of feed that supports ruminant livestock production. However, the presence of ruminants grazing these grasslands is also a source of methane (CH) that contributes to buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Our study measured enteric CH from 40 confined heifers in 1-ha paddocks using a dispersion model and CO exchange from an adjacent grassland site using a micrometeorological technique. The study was conducted at a mixed prairie grassland located in southern Alberta, Canada. The mean (standard error) CH emission was 189 (± 6) g animal d over four campaigns (over a 3-yr period). The daily averaged CO exchange from the grassland peaked at +2.2 g m h (sink) in early July and declined to negative values (source) in mid-August. Annually, the grazed grassland was either a net sink for carbon (C) at +40 kg C ha or a small source at -7 kg C ha depending on a cattle stocking density of 0.1 or 0.2 animals ha, respectively. However, in basing the exchange on CO equivalence (CO), both stocking densities resulted in the grazed grassland being a source of greenhouse gas of -9 or -338 kg CO ha y. This study illustrates the need to consider the cattle CH emissions and the stocking density when evaluating the environmental sustainability of grazed grasslands.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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...

  2. 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...

  3. Higher-order interaction between molluscs and sheep affecting seedling numbers in grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clear Hill, B. H.; Silvertown, J.

    Vertebrate and invertebrate herbivores are both important in mesotrophic grasslands and these two different classes of herbivore potentially interact in their effect upon plant populations. We used two field experiments to test for higher order interactions (HOIs) among sheep, slugs and seedlings, using the mechanistic definition that an HOI occurs when the presence of one species modifies the interaction between two others. In each experiment slug addition and slug-removal treatments were nested inside treatments that altered sheep grazing intensity and timing, and the emergence, of seedlings from experimentally sown seeds was monitored. In Experiment 1, seedling numbers of Cerastium fontanum were increased by intense summer grazing by sheep in both slug-addition and slugremoval treatment, but winter grazing by sheep only increased seedling emergence if slugs were removed. In Experiment 2, winter grazing by sheep significantly reduced total seedling emergence of four species sown ( Lotus corniculatus, Plantago lanceolata, Leucanthemum vulgare, Achillea millefolium), but the effect was only seen where slugs were removed. Though the experimental system is a relatively simple one with only four components (sheep, slugs, seedlings and the matrix vegetation), higher order interactions, a combination of direct and indirect effects and possible switching behaviour by slugs are all suggested by our results.

  4. Carbon balance of a grazed grassland in Belgium

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jérôme, E.; Beckers, Y.; Bodson, B.; Moureaux, C.; Aubinet, M.

    2012-04-01

    This work seeks to analyze the C balance of a Belgian grassland grazed by the "Blanc Bleu Belge" breed of cattle. The site is located at Dorinne in the Belgian Condroz (50° 18' 44" N; 4° 58' 07" E; 248 m asl.). It is permanent grassland of ca. 4.2 ha with a moderate slope of 1 to 2 %. Homogeneity and topography criteria are met to ensure high quality turbulent flux measurements. The experimental field was equipped with an eddy covariance system. Flux correction, quality control and data gap filling were performed following standardised procedures. This device was completed by a micrometeorological station that measured temperature and humidity respectively in the air and within the soil, radiation, atmospheric pressure and precipitations. Carbon exported through mowing (CNBP,export), imported through compost application (CNBP,import) or through complementary feeds for cattle (CNBP,complement) was also measured. In addition, the vegetation development was followed in order to estimate herbage production and dry matter intake by grazing animals. Carbon lost through CH4 emissions (CNBP,CH4) was finally estimated, allowing the establishment of a full C budget. After one year of measurements (May 2010 - May 2011), the grassland was a net CO2 source (Net Ecosystem Exchange (NEE) = 172 ± 94 g C m-2 year-1). Net Biome Productivity (NBP) was calculated from NEE by taking into account imports and export of organic C and losses of carbon as CH4. Contribution of CNBP,CH4to NBP was small as it was 12 ± 1 g C m-2 year-1. The balance between CNBP,import and CNBP,export created not such a large departure of NBP from NEE, which is not the case of CNBP,complement. The NBP was finally estimated at 102 ± 95 g C m-2 year-1. At this stage, it is premature to conclude about the sink or source behaviour of the plot because the NBP value is very close to its uncertainty. Moreover, this result was obtained under particular climate conditions, characterised by drought during summer 2010

  5. Nest success of grassland sparrows on reclaimed surface mines

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stauffer, G.E.; Diefenbach, D.R.; Marshall, M.R.; Brauning, D.W.

    2011-01-01

    Grasslands resulting from surface mine reclamation support grassland songbird populations in several midwestern and eastern states in the United States, especially where reclaimed mines are large (>1,000ha). However, most reclaimed surface mines in Pennsylvania are small (success is unknown. We evaluated nest success of grasshopper (Ammodramus savannarum), Henslow's (A. henslowii), and Savannah sparrows (Passerculus sandwichensis) on 4 reclaimed surface mines (50-180ha) in western Pennsylvania, USA from 2006 to 2007. Overall nest success based on mean covariate values was 0.435 (95% CI = 0.376-0.504) for grasshopper sparrows, 0.396 (95% CI = 0.295-0.533) for Henslow's sparrows, and 0.158 (95% CI = 0.063-0.392) for Savannah sparrows. These estimates of nest success are comparable to those on larger reclaimed mines and other habitats. Grasshopper and Henslow's sparrow nests that were well concealed were less likely to fail than highly visible nests (??visible = -0.028, CI = -0.051 to -0.005 for grasshopper sparrows; ??visible = -0.063, CI = -0.112 to -0.014 for Henslow's sparrows), and nests in areas with surrounding deep litter were more likely to fail than nests in areas with shallow litter (??litterD = -0.145, CI = -0.335 to 0.045 for grasshopper sparrows; ??litterD = -0.676, CI = -1.187 to -0.116 for Henslow's sparrows). Savannah sparrow nests in areas with high visual obstruction by vegetation were less likely to fail than nests in areas with sparse and short vegetation (??VisOb = 0.048, CI = 0.006-0.091). Daily probability of survival for grasshopper sparrow nests was greatest early and late in the breeding season, and Savannah sparrow nest survival followed a decreasing linear trend. Nest survival of Henslow's sparrows was greater on warm days (??temp = 0.197, CI = 0.014-0.379), whereas for Savannah sparrows nest survival decreased on warm days and on days with rain, but for Savannah sparrows confidence intervals of weather effects included zero (??temp = -0

  6. 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

  7. Effects of Climate Change and Various Grassland Management Practices on Grasshopper (Orthoptera Assemblages

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zoltán Kenyeres

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available Influence of different grassland management practices on Orthoptera assemblages inhabiting humid grassland areas was studied since 2003 to 2011. The examined sites were within the protected area of Balaton Uplands National Park. The physiognomy and climatic conditions of the studied habitats were similar but their land use types were significantly different. After the preliminary analyses of Nonmetric multidimensional scaling, neighbour joining clustering, and Spearman rank correlation, we examined the possible effects of such independent variables as land use (nonmanagement, mowing, grazing, microclimate (humidity and temperature, regional macroclimate (annual and monthly mean temperatures and rainfall, using General Linear Mixed Models, and canonical correlation analysis. Our results showed that the effect of grassland management practices on the organization of Orthoptera assemblages was at least as important as that of macro- and microclimate. Furthermore, grassland management could intensify the influence of several local and regional parameters. These results can help finding the most suitable type of grassland management to conserve the grasshopper assemblages.

  8. Exotic flora of some grasslands of Nilgiris with their medicinal uses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paulsamy, S; Suresh, D

    2007-07-01

    In addition to the dominance of indigenous plant species, the grasslands of Nilgiris harbour a considerable number of exotic plants with sizeable number of individuals. In the present study in four major grasslands of Nilgiris, out of 12 exotic species present, 10 are recognized as medicinally important. The family, Asteraceae contributed a higher number of 6 medicinal species to the grassland community. The density of exotics in the studied grasslands is varied between 4 and 66/ha. In order to conserve the native species, the frequent harvesting of useful parts of exotics is suggested. In addition cultivation of these exotics in the degraded grasslands and other suitable habitats in Nilgiris may also reduce the pressure upon the native species and at the same time it will also meet the demand.

  9. 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 during 2003

  10. Damage and Control of Poisonous Weeds in Western Grassland of China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ZHAO Bao-yu; SHI Zhi-cheng; LIU Zhong-yan; LU Hao; WANG Zhan-xin; SUN Li-sha; WAN Xue-pan; GUO Xi; ZHAO Yan-tao; WANG Jian-jun

    2010-01-01

    Western grassland is the main source of living and means of production of western inhabitants. For many years,desertification and poisonous-weeds growth in grassland were resulted from over-grazing, over-reclaiming, over-spading and population growth. Western natural ecological environment is destroyed severly. Meanwhile, it has restricted the sustainable development of animal husbandry. The fast spreading poisonous-weeds, which caused grassland ecology unbalance, is one of the considerable bioecology problems and an important index of grassland degeneration. Based on analysis and induction of previous data, this article introduced the situation of poisonous-weeds disaster of western grassland in recent decades, category and distribution of poisonous-weeds, integrated control and reasonable utilization.

  11. Establishment gaps as an innovative tool to restore landscape-scale grassland biodiversity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tóthmérész, Béla; Deák, Balázs; Török, Péter; Tischew, Sabine; Kirmer, Anita; Kelemen, András; Miglécz, Tamás; Tóth, Katalin; Radócz, Szilvia; Sonkoly, Judit; Valkó, Orsolya

    2017-04-01

    The large-scale abandonment of croplands resulted in landscape-scale changes in biodiversity, ecosystem services and agricultural production in Central Europe. Grasslands are vital landscape elements, and sustaining their biodiversity is crucial for biodiversity conservation. Thus, grassland restoration on former croplands offers a vital opportunity to restore grassland biodiversity. We studied vegetation changes in former croplands sown by grass seed mixtures in Hungary. We evaluated the usefulness of sowing grass seed mixtures, a frequently used restoration technique. We also developed a novel method (so-called establishment gaps) to increase the diversity of species-poor sown grasslands. We compiled a multi-species seed mixture containing 35 species. We established altogether 32 establishment gaps (size: 1×1-m, 2×2-m and 4×4-m) in 8-year-old restored grasslands. We evaluated the success and cost-effectiveness of spontaneous grassland recovery and active grassland restoration by seed sowing. We focused on the restoration of ecosystem services, like weed control, biomass production, and recovery of biodiversity. Using establishment gaps we could successfully introduce target species to the species-poor recovered grasslands. All sown species established in the establishment gaps and many of them maintained or even increased their first-year cover to the second year. Larger establishment gaps were characterised by higher cover of sown species and more homogeneous species composition compared to the smaller ones. Thus, we recommend using large establishment gaps in restoration practice. Our findings suggest that grassland restoration on croplands offer a viable solution for restoring biodiversity and ecosystem services. We found that both spontaneous grassland recovery and seed sowing can be cost-effective methods, and can be successful even during a relatively short period of a nature conservation project.

  12. Biomass carbon stocks and their changes in northern China’s grasslands during 1982-2006

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Anwar; MOHAMMAT

    2010-01-01

    Grassland covers approximately one-third of the area of China and plays an important role in the global terrestrial carbon(C) cycle.However,little is known about biomass C stocks and dynamics in these grasslands.During 2001-2005,we conducted five consecutive field sampling campaigns to investigate above-and below-ground biomass for northern China’s grasslands.Using measurements obtained from 341 sampling sites,together with a NDVI(normalized difference vegetation index) time series dataset over 1982-2006,we examined changes in biomass C stock during the past 25 years.Our results showed that biomass C stock in northern China’s grasslands was estimated at 557.5 Tg C(1 Tg=1012 g),with a mean density of 39.5 g C m-2 for above-ground biomass and 244.6 g C m-2 for below-ground biomass.An increasing rate of 0.2 Tg C yr-1 has been observed over the past 25 years,but grassland biomass has not experienced a significant change since the late 1980s.Seasonal rainfall(January-July) was the dominant factor driving temporal dynamics in biomass C stock;however,the responses of grassland biomass to climate variables differed among various grassland types.Biomass in arid grasslands(i.e.,desert steppe and typical steppe) was significantly associated with precipitation,while biomass in humid grasslands(i.e.,alpine meadow) was positively correlated with mean January-July temperatures.These results suggest that different grassland ecosystems in China may show diverse responses to future climate changes.

  13. Ecosystem carbon stocks and their changes in China’s grasslands

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Anwar; MOHAMMAT

    2010-01-01

    The knowledge of carbon(C) stock and its dynamics is crucial for understanding the role of grassland ecosystems in China’s terrestrial C cycle.To date,a comprehensive assessment on C balance in China’s grasslands is still lacking.By reviewing published literature,this study aims to evaluate ecosystem C stocks(both vegetation biomass and soil organic C) and their changes in China’s grasslands.Our results are summarized as follows:(1) biomass C density(C stock per area) of China’s grasslands differed greatly among previous studies,ranging from 215.8 to 348.1 g C m-2 with an average of 300.2 g C m-2.Likewise,soil C density also varied greatly between 8.5 and 15.1 kg C m-2.In total,ecosystem C stock in China’s grasslands was estimated at 29.1 Pg C.(2) Both the magnitude and direction of ecosystem C changes in China’s grasslands differed greatly among previous studies.According to recent reports,neither biomass nor soil C stock in China’s grasslands showed a significant change during the past 20 years,indicating that grassland ecosystems are C neutral.(3) Spatial patterns and temporal dynamics of grassland biomass were closely correlated with precipitation,while changes in soil C stocks exhibited close associations with soil moisture and soil texture.Human activities,such as livestock grazing and fencing could also affect ecosystem C dynamics in China’s grasslands.

  14. Monitoring an ecosystem at risk: what is the degree of grassland fragmentation in the Canadian Prairies?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roch, Laura; Jaeger, Jochen A G

    2014-04-01

    Increasing fragmentation of grassland habitats by human activities is a major threat to biodiversity and landscape quality. Monitoring their degree of fragmentation has been identified as an urgent need. This study quantifies for the first time the current degree of grassland fragmentation in the Canadian Prairies using four fragmentation geometries (FGs) of increasing specificity (i.e. more restrictive grassland classification) and five types of reporting units (7 ecoregions, 50 census divisions, 1,166 municipalities, 17 sub-basins, and 108 watersheds). We evaluated the suitability of 11 datasets based on 8 suitability criteria and applied the effective mesh size (m(eff)) method to quantify fragmentation. We recommend the combination of the Crop Inventory Mapping of the Prairies and the CanVec datasets as the most suitable for monitoring grassland fragmentation. The grassland area remaining amounts to 87,570.45 km(2) in FG4 (strict grassland definition) and 183,242.042 km(2) in FG1 (broad grassland definition), out of 461,503.97 km(2) (entire Prairie Ecozone area). The very low values of m(eff) of 14.23 km(2) in FG4 and 25.44 km(2) in FG1 indicate an extremely high level of grassland fragmentation. The m(eff) method is supported in this study as highly suitable and recommended for long-term monitoring of grasslands in the Canadian Prairies; it can help set measurable targets and/or limits for regions to guide management efforts and as a tool for performance review of protection efforts, for increasing awareness, and for guiding efforts to minimize grassland fragmentation. This approach can also be applied in other parts of the world and to other ecosystems.

  15. Stability of grassland soil C and N pools despite 25 years of an extreme climatic and disturbance regime

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilcox, Kevin R.; Blair, John M.; Knapp, Alan K.

    2016-07-01

    Global changes are altering many important drivers of ecosystem functioning, with precipitation amount and disturbance frequency being especially important. Carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) pools are key contemporary attributes of ecosystems that can also influence future C uptake via plant growth. Thus, understanding the impacts of altered precipitation amounts (through controls of primary production inputs) and disturbance regimes (through losses of C and N in biomass) is important to project how ecosystem services will respond to future global changes. A major difficulty inherent within this task is that drivers of ecosystem function and processes often interact, resulting in novel ecosystem responses. To examine how changes in precipitation affect grassland ecosystem responses under a frequent disturbance regime (annual fire), we assessed the biogeochemical and ecological consequences of more than two decades of irrigation in an annually burned mesic grassland in the central United States. In this experiment, precipitation amount was increased by 31% relative to ambient and 1 in 3 years were statistically extreme relative to the long-term historical record. Despite evidence that irrigation decreased root:shoot ratios and increased rates of N cycling—each expected to reduce soil C and N with annual burning—we detected no changes in these biogeochemical pools. This surprising biogeochemical resistance highlights the need to explore additional mechanisms within long-term experiments concerning the consequences of global change impacts on ecosystems.

  16. The response of white clover (Trifolium repens L. to N fertilizing and stocking density in semi-natural grassland

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Krešimir Bošnjak

    2009-09-01

    Full Text Available Reduction of stocking rates and fertilizer inputs are recommended for maintaining or enhancing biodiversity of semi-natural habitats. White clover population could be affected by changes in grasslandproduction intensity. The aim of the present study was to investigate the white clover response on N application and stocking density. Three-year experiment was carried out on semi-natural grassland that was rotationally grazed with sheep. Three levels of N fertilizer were applied: 35, 100 and 150 kg N ha-1 (N35, N100 and N150, respectively and two levels of stocking density were managed: 68 and 119 animal units ha-1 (ZP68 and ZP119, respectively to investigate their effect on white clover dry matter (DM yield, white clover content, frequency and regenerative ability. White clover DM yield and its content in the sward was not affected by the stocking density. The white clover content decreased during the experiment. The effect of N application on regenerative ability parameters was not constant and depends on the part of the vegetation season. These results indicate that the white clover is an unstable floristic component in the type of grassland investigated under applied management practice. However, reduction in N inputs is necessary to improve performance and the regenerative ability of the white clover.

  17. Warming rather than increased precipitation increases soil recalcitrant organic carbon in a semiarid grassland after 6 years of treatments.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xiaoqi Zhou

    Full Text Available Improved understanding of changes in soil recalcitrant organic carbon (C in response to global warming is critical for predicting changes in soil organic C (SOC storage. Here, we took advantage of a long-term field experiment with increased temperature and precipitation to investigate the effects of warming, increased precipitation and their interactions on SOC fraction in a semiarid Inner Mongolian grassland of northern China since April 2005. We quantified labile SOC, recalcitrant SOC and stable SOC at 0-10 and 10-20 cm depths. Results showed that neither warming nor increased precipitation affected total SOC and stable SOC at either depth. Increased precipitation significantly increased labile SOC at the 0-10 cm depth. Warming decreased labile SOC (P = 0.038 and marginally but significantly increased recalcitrant SOC at the 10-20 cm depth (P = 0.082. In addition, there were significant interactive effects of warming and increased precipitation on labile SOC and recalcitrant SOC at the 0-10 cm depth (both P<0.05, indicating that that results from single factor experiments should be treated with caution because of multi-factor interactions. Given that the absolute increase of SOC in the recalcitrant SOC pool was much greater than the decrease in labile SOC, and that the mean residence time of recalcitrant SOC is much greater, our results suggest that soil C storage at 10-20 cm depth may increase with increasing temperature in this semiarid grassland.

  18. 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.

  19. The conversion of grassland to acacia forest as an effective option for net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Godoi, Stefânia Guedes; Neufeld, Ângela Denise Hubert; Ibarr, Mariana Alves; Ferreto, Décio Oscar Cardoso; Bayer, Cimélio; Lorentz, Leandro Homrich; Vieira, Frederico Costa Beber

    2016-03-15

    This study aimed to evaluate the effect of forestation with leguminous Acacia mearnsii De Wild in native grasslands on the soil greenhouse (GHG) fluxes and their main driving factors. The experiment was conducted in the Brazilian Pampa over the period of one year in a six-year-old Acacia plantation, evaluating four treatments: Acacia (AM), Acacia with litter periodically removed (A-l), Acacia after harvest (AH) and native grassland (NG) (reference treatment). Air samples were obtained by the static chamber method, and gas concentrations were evaluated by gas chromatography. Soil and climate factors were monitored. The accumulated fluxes of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) were statistically similar between the soils in the AM and NG treatments, which tended to oxidize CH4 (-1445 and -1752 g C-CH4 ha(-1) yr(-1), respectively) and had low emission of N2O (242 and 316 g N-N2O ha(-1) yr(-1)), most likely influenced by the low water-filled pore space and the low content of mineral N in the soil. However, the soil in the AH treatment presented higher emissions of both gases, totaling 1889 g C-CH4 ha(-1) yr(-1) and 1250 g N-N2O ha(-1) yr(-1). Afforestation neither significantly affected the total organic C stocks nor their lability, keeping the C management index for the forested area similar to that in the NG treatment. The conversion from grassland to Acacia forest represents an effective option for mitigating the net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, which is basically determined by C accumulation in biomass and wood products.

  20. Not all droughts are created equal: the impacts of interannual drought pattern and magnitude on grassland carbon cycling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoover, David L; Rogers, Brendan M

    2016-05-01

    Climate extremes, such as drought, may have immediate and potentially prolonged effects on carbon cycling. Grasslands store approximately one-third of all terrestrial carbon and may become carbon sources during droughts. However, the magnitude and duration of drought-induced disruptions to the carbon cycle, as well as the mechanisms responsible, remain poorly understood. Over the next century, global climate models predict an increase in two types of drought: chronic but subtle 'press-droughts', and shorter term but extreme 'pulse-droughts'. Much of our current understanding of the ecological impacts of drought comes from experimental rainfall manipulations. These studies have been highly valuable, but are often short term and rarely quantify carbon feedbacks. To address this knowledge gap, we used the Community Land Model 4.0 to examine the individual and interactive effects of pulse- and press-droughts on carbon cycling in a mesic grassland of the US Great Plains. A series of modeling experiments were imposed by varying drought magnitude (precipitation amount) and interannual pattern (press- vs. pulse-droughts) to examine the effects on carbon storage and cycling at annual to century timescales. We present three main findings. First, a single-year pulse-drought had immediate and prolonged effects on carbon storage due to differential sensitivities of ecosystem respiration and gross primary production. Second, short-term pulse-droughts caused greater carbon loss than chronic press-droughts when total precipitation reductions over a 20-year period were equivalent. Third, combining pulse- and press-droughts had intermediate effects on carbon loss compared to the independent drought types, except at high drought levels. Overall, these results suggest that interannual drought pattern may be as important for carbon dynamics as drought magnitude and that extreme droughts may have long-lasting carbon feedbacks in grassland ecosystems.

  1. Not all droughts are created equal: The impacts of interannual drought pattern and magnitude on grassland carbon cycling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoover, David L; Rogers, Brendan M.

    2016-01-01

    Climate extremes, such as drought, may have immediate and potentially prolonged effects on carbon cycling. Grasslands store approximately one-third of all terrestrial carbon and may become carbon sources during droughts. However, the magnitude and duration of drought-induced disruptions to the carbon cycle, as well as the mechanisms responsible, remain poorly understood. Over the next century, global climate models predict an increase in two types of drought: chronic but subtle ‘press-droughts’, and shorter term but extreme ‘pulse-droughts’. Much of our current understanding of the ecological impacts of drought comes from experimental rainfall manipulations. These studies have been highly valuable, but are often short term and rarely quantify carbon feedbacks. To address this knowledge gap, we used the Community Land Model 4.0 to examine the individual and interactive effects of pulse- and press-droughts on carbon cycling in a mesic grassland of the US Great Plains. A series of modeling experiments were imposed by varying drought magnitude (precipitation amount) and interannual pattern (press- vs. pulse-droughts) to examine the effects on carbon storage and cycling at annual to century timescales. We present three main findings. First, a single-year pulse-drought had immediate and prolonged effects on carbon storage due to differential sensitivities of ecosystem respiration and gross primary production. Second, short-term pulse-droughts caused greater carbon loss than chronic press-droughts when total precipitation reductions over a 20-year period were equivalent. Third, combining pulse- and press-droughts had intermediate effects on carbon loss compared to the independent drought types, except at high drought levels. Overall, these results suggest that interannual drought pattern may be as important for carbon dynamics as drought magnitude and that extreme droughts may have long-lasting carbon feedbacks in grassland ecosystems.

  2. 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, fractions (LF1, 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 OC, not only in the active and intermediate SOM pools, but also in the passive

  3. Taraxacum species as environmental indicators for grassland management.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oosterveld, P

    1983-09-01

    A classification of the microspecies of the genus Taraxacum was made in a range from low to highly dynamic habitats based on qualitative inventories of grasslands under different management conditions. After several years of constant management, a characteristic species composition occurs. Under mowing (hayfield) conditions, dandelions disappear over a period of about twenty years in a sequence where the low-dynamic species T. adamii and T. nordstedtii are the last to vanish. Different microspecies in the section Vulgaria in one field can show small differences in response to environmental conditions, even where no other directly visible indication exists. New appearance of highly dynamic species can indicate disturbance of some kind or other within a relatively short period.The classification adopted seems to be correlated with the phosphate content of the soil. Differences in two easily perceptible morphological characteristics, namely position of the outer bracts and colour of the leaf-stem, fit into the established sequence. Small changes in these characteristics indicate conditions in the field that are improving or worsening from a nature-conservation point of view. A system is introduced in which merely these two morphological characters, without further taxonomical knowledge, can be used for an evaluation of grasslands and the impact of management practice.

  4. High Stocking Density Controls Phillyrea Angustifolia in Mediterranean Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mesléard, François; Yavercovski, Nicole; Lefebvre, Gaétan; Willm, Loic; Bonis, Anne

    2017-03-01

    Extensive grazing applied in the form of low instantaneous pressure over a long period is a widespread management practice in protected areas. However this kind of stocking method does not always achieve the expected results, in particular because it fails to limit colonization by woody plants.This is the case in the relict xero-halophytic grasslands of the northern Mediterranean coastal region, subjected to widespread colonization by the shrub Phillyrea angustifolia despite the presence of extensive grazing. In this study, we investigated, for an equal annual stocking rate, the respective impact of high stocking density applied over a short period (mob grazing) and low stocking density applied over a long period on both P. angustifolia and herbaceous cover, using an in situ experimental design run for 7 years. Only mob grazing was effective both in controlling the establishment and increasing the mortality of P. angustifolia individuals. We did not find any difference after the 7 years of experimentation between the two stocking methods with regard to the herbaceous community parameters tested: species richness, diversity, evenness, contribution of annual characteristic species. By contrast, the exclusion of domestic grazing led to a strong reduction of these values.The use of mob grazing may be well suited for meeting conservation goals such as maintaining open habitats in these grasslands.

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

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    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.

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2004-09-01

    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 of 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.

  7. Relating Sentinel-1 Interferometric Coherence to Mowing Events on Grasslands

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    Tanel Tamm

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available In this study, the interferometric coherence calculated from 12-day Sentinel-1 image pairs was analysed in relation to mowing events on agricultural grasslands. Results showed that after a mowing event, median VH (vertical transmit, horizontal receive and VV (vertical transmit, vertical receive polarisation coherence values were statistically significantly higher than those from before the event. The shorter the time interval after the mowing event and the first interferometric acquisition, the higher the coherence. The coherence tended to stay higher, even 24 to 36 days after a mowing event. Precipitation caused the coherence to decrease, impeding the detection of a mowing event. Given the three analysed acquisition geometries, it was concluded that afternoon acquisitions and steeper incidence angles were more useful in the context of this study. In the case of morning acquisitions, dew might have caused a decrease of coherence for mowed and unmowed grasslands. Additionally, an increase of coherence after a mowing event was not evident during the rapid growth phase, due to the 12-day separation between the interferometric acquisitions. In future studies, six-day pairs utilising Sentinel-1A and 1B acquisitions should be considered.

  8. Soil aeration status in a lowland wet grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barber, K. R.; Leeds-Harrison, P. B.; Lawson, C. S.; Gowing, D. J. G.

    2004-02-01

    The maintenance or development of plant community diversity in species-rich wet grasslands has been a focus of water management considerations in the UK for the past 20 years. Much attention has been given to the control of water levels in the ditch systems within these wet grassland systems. In this paper we report measurements of aeration status and water-table fluctuation made on a peat soil site at Tadham Moor in Somerset, UK, where water management has focused on the maintenance of wet conditions that often result in flooding in winter and wet soil conditions in the spring and summer. Measurement and modelling of the water-table fluctuation indicates the possibility of variability in the aeration of the root environment and anoxic conditions for much of the winter period and for part of the spring and summer. We have used water content and redox potential measurements to characterize the aeration status of the peat soil. We find that air-filled porosity is related to water-table depth in these situations. Redox potentials in the spring were generally found to be low, implying a reducing condition for nitrate and iron. A significant relationship (p < 0.01) between redox potential and water-table depth exists for data measured at 0.1 m depth, but no relationship could be found for data from 0.4 m depth.

  9. Nonlinear, interacting responses to climate limit grassland production under global change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhu, Kai; Chiariello, Nona R; Tobeck, Todd; Fukami, Tadashi; Field, Christopher B

    2016-09-20

    Global changes in climate, atmospheric composition, and pollutants are altering ecosystems and the goods and services they provide. Among approaches for predicting ecosystem responses, long-term observations and manipulative experiments can be powerful approaches for resolving single-factor and interactive effects of global changes on key metrics such as net primary production (NPP). Here we combine both approaches, developing multidimensional response surfaces for NPP based on the longest-running, best-replicated, most-multifactor global-change experiment at the ecosystem scale-a 17-y study of California grassland exposed to full-factorial warming, added precipitation, elevated CO2, and nitrogen deposition. Single-factor and interactive effects were not time-dependent, enabling us to analyze each year as a separate realization of the experiment and extract NPP as a continuous function of global-change factors. We found a ridge-shaped response surface in which NPP is humped (unimodal) in response to temperature and precipitation when CO2 and nitrogen are ambient, with peak NPP rising under elevated CO2 or nitrogen but also shifting to lower temperatures. Our results suggest that future climate change will push this ecosystem away from conditions that maximize NPP, but with large year-to-year variability.

  10. Nonlinear, interacting responses to climate limit grassland production under global change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhu, Kai; Chiariello, Nona R.; Tobeck, Todd; Fukami, Tadashi; Field, Christopher B.

    2016-01-01

    Global changes in climate, atmospheric composition, and pollutants are altering ecosystems and the goods and services they provide. Among approaches for predicting ecosystem responses, long-term observations and manipulative experiments can be powerful approaches for resolving single-factor and interactive effects of global changes on key metrics such as net primary production (NPP). Here we combine both approaches, developing multidimensional response surfaces for NPP based on the longest-running, best-replicated, most-multifactor global-change experiment at the ecosystem scale—a 17-y study of California grassland exposed to full-factorial warming, added precipitation, elevated CO2, and nitrogen deposition. Single-factor and interactive effects were not time-dependent, enabling us to analyze each year as a separate realization of the experiment and extract NPP as a continuous function of global-change factors. We found a ridge-shaped response surface in which NPP is humped (unimodal) in response to temperature and precipitation when CO2 and nitrogen are ambient, with peak NPP rising under elevated CO2 or nitrogen but also shifting to lower temperatures. Our results suggest that future climate change will push this ecosystem away from conditions that maximize NPP, but with large year-to-year variability. PMID:27601643

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

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    Xiuzhi Ma

    Full Text Available 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

  12. 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, < 20 μm). Methods to further characterize SOM (NMR, 13C and 15N stable isotopes

  13. Species diversity of remnant calcareous grasslands in south eastern Germany depends on litter cover and landscape structure

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huber, Stephanie; Huber, Birgit; Stahl, Silvia; Schmid, Christoph; Reisch, Christoph

    2017-08-01

    Species diversity depends on, often interfering, multiple ecological drivers. Comprehensive approaches are hence needed to understand the mechanisms determining species diversity. In this study, we analysed the impact of vegetation structure, soil properties and fragmentation on the plant species diversity of remnant calcareous grasslands, therefore, in a comparative approach. We determined plant species diversity of 18 calcareous grasslands in south eastern Germany including all species and grassland specialists separately. Furthermore, we analysed the spatial structure of the grasslands as a result of fragmentation during the last 150 years (habitat area, distance to the nearest calcareous grassland and connectivity in 1830 and 2013). We also collected data concerning the vegetation structure (height of the vegetation, cover of bare soil, grass and litter) and the soil properties (content of phosphorous and potassium, ratio of carbon and nitrogen) of the grassland patches. Data were analysed using Bayesian multiple regressions. We observed a habitat loss of nearly 80% and increasing isolation between grasslands since 1830. In the Bayesian multiple regressions the species diversity of the studied grasslands depended negatively on cover of litter and to a lower degree on the distance to the nearest calcareous grassland in 2013, whereas soil properties had no significant impact. Our study supports the observation that vegetation structure, which strongly depends on land use, is often more important for the species richness of calcareous grasslands than fragmentation or soil properties. Even small and isolated grasslands may, therefore, contribute significantly to the conservation of species diversity, when they are still grazed.

  14. Responses of desert, semi-arid grassland and scrub-oak ecosystems to elevated CO2

    Science.gov (United States)

    Luus, Kristina; Walker, Anthony; de Kauwe, Martin; Hungate, Bruce; Megonigal, J. Patrick; Lu, Meng; Fenstermaker, Lynn; Nowak, Robert; Morgan, Jack; Medlyn, Belinda; Norby, Richard; Zaehle, Sönke

    2014-05-01

    We compared observations from free air CO2 enrichment (FACE) experiments at dry (desert, semi-arid grassland and scrub-oak) sites, to predictions from a suite of ecosystem models with differing complexity, ranging from a parsimonious forest growth model (GDAY) to a comprehensive land surface model (OCN). Dry ecosystems have often been predicted to increase in net primary productivity (NPP) and net C uptake over time in response to elevated CO2 (eCO2) because of increased N fixation, and alleviation of drought-stress due to reduced stomatal conductance. However, experiments at the Nevada Desert FACE (NDFF), the semi-arid prairie grassland FACE (PHACE), and the scrub-oak Kennedy Space Center open-top chamber experiment (KSCO), have revealed that dry ecosystems display a more complex biogeochemical response to eCO2. Insights into the processes determining the responses of dry ecosystems to eCO2 were gained by evaluating model estimates against site data, and by dissecting model responses to eCO2. Site level findings at PHACE indicated that eCO2 enabled more rapid C turnover, resulting in a net ecosystem C loss. Conversely, at PHACE, models such as OCN simulated a decrease in N leaching and an increase in NPP because of eCO2, leading to increased C storage. Leaf cover and NPP at KSCO initially increased with eCO2 before declining due to reduced N fixation and increased N leaching. At NDFF, eCO2 only increased plant growth during one abnormally wet year; in subsequent years, soil crust cyanobacteria decreased in abundance, and gains in biomass were not sustained. In OCN simulations at NDFF, eCO2 increased water-use efficiency and NPP in years with average to above-average precipitation. Through examination of the reasons for discrepancies between observed and modeled ecosystem responses to eCO2, processes determining the biogeochemical responses of dry ecosystems to eCO2 were elucidated.

  15. Temporal variability of nitrous oxide fluxes from a fertilized grassland in Belgium: preliminary results from dynamic closed chambers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beekkerk van Ruth, Joran; Moureaux, Christine; Degré, Aurore; Jérome, Elisabeth; Beckers, Yves; Bodson, Bernard; Aubinet, Marc

    2013-04-01

    This work presents preliminary results of nitrous oxide (N2O) fluxes measured by dynamic closed chambers from a fertilized grassland grazed by the Belgian Blue breed of cattle. It is part of a project funded by the public service of Wallonia (SPW-DGARNE), whose objectives are to make a carbon/CO2 balance of the grassland (Jérôme et al., 2013) and to quantify CH4 (Dumortier et al., 2013) and N2O fluxes. The site is located in Dorinne (Dorinne Terrestrial Observatory), Belgium (50° 18' 44" N; 4° 58' 07" E; 248 m al.). It is a permanent grassland of ca. 4.2 ha with a moderate slope of 1 to 2 %. Mineral fertilisation took place in March and May 2012. Two cylindrical chambers of 19,2 cm diameter and 11,5 cm height were placed inside a protected area around a micrometeorological station. An infrared gas analyser (Thermofischer 46i) was used in order to measure the N2O concentrations inside of the chambers, closed by automatically controlled lids and ventilated by a constant air flow of 1liter/min. These devices were completed by adjacent soil humidity and temperature sensors. The first measurement campaign took place during June and July 2012. The chambers were installed in the field and N2O fluxes were followed without manipulation. N2O fluxes were characterised by a background emission (between 2 and 10 ngN.m2s-1) on which intense but time limited peaks (between 50 and 300 ngN.m2s-1) superimposed. Peaks were found to be mainly linked to fertilisation and driven by precipitation. Background fluxes were found to correlate positively with soil temperature. Secondly, a manipulation experiment took place in November 2012: two different fertilizer treatments were applied to the chambers. Doses of respectively 100 and 200 kg N/ha of ammonium nitrate were sprayed in the chambers (equivalent to a 8 mm precipitation). N2O fluxes peaked shortly after fertiliser application (respectively 300 and 550 ngN.m2s-1), as well as after a posterior rain event (respectively 800 and 1500

  16. Research on desertification of grassland in prairie coalmine based on remote sensing data. Case study of Huolinhe coalmine

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hu, Z.; Yang, L.; Wang, G. [China University of Mining and Technology, Beijing (China)

    2005-01-01

    The desertification of grassland from 1987 to 2003 in Huolinhe coalmine is studied. Factors inducing desertification of grassland in opencast coalmine are discussed. The information of grassland desertificaiton is extracted by linear spectral mixture model while the direct destruction information inducing grassland desertificaiton is extracted by decision-making tree and back propagation neural network. The result shows that with the increase of coal output, the area of destruction and desertification of grassland keep enlarging year by year. The expanding of grassland desertification during the construction period of coal-mine is more rapid than that during the production period. There is a positive correlation between the area of direct destruction and the area of desertification. So the area of direct destruction can be used as an important assessment and predication indicator for grassland desertification around coalmines. 11 refs., 4 figs., 1 tab.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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. Estimating Plant Traits of Grasslands from UAV-Acquired Hyperspectral Images: A Comparison of Statistical Approaches

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alessandra Capolupo

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Grassland ecosystems cover around 40% of the entire Earth’s surface. Therefore, it is necessary to guarantee good grassland management at field scale in order to improve its conservation and to achieve optimal growth. This study identified the most appropriate statistical strategy, between partial least squares regression (PLSR and narrow vegetation indices, for estimating the structural and biochemical grassland traits from UAV-acquired hyperspectral images. Moreover, the influence of fertilizers on plant traits for grasslands was analyzed. Hyperspectral data were collected from an experimental field at the farm Haus Riswick, near Kleve in Germany, for two different flight campaigns in May and October. The collected image blocks were geometrically and radiometrically corrected for surface reflectance. Spectral signatures extracted for the plots were adopted to derive grassland traits by computing PLSR and the following narrow vegetation indices: the MERIS Terrestrial Chlorophyll Index (MTCI, the ratio of the Modified Chlorophyll Absorption in Reflectance and Optimized Soil-Adjusted Vegetation Index (MCARI/OSAVI modified by Wu, the Red-edge Chlorophyll Index (CIred-edge, and the Normalized Difference Red Edge (NDRE. PLSR showed promising results for estimating grassland structural traits and gave less satisfying outcomes for the selected chemical traits (crude ash, crude fiber, crude protein, Na, K, metabolic energy. Established relations are not influenced by the type and the amount of fertilization, while they are affected by the grassland health status. PLSR is found to be the best strategy, among the approaches analyzed in this paper, for exploring structural and biochemical features of grasslands. Using UAV-based hyperspectral sensing allows for the highly detailed assessment of grassland experimental plots.

  3. Designing a Regional Nitrogen Cycle Module of Grassland for the IAP-N Model

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    YUE Jin; HAN Shenghui; ZHENG Xunhua

    2012-01-01

    Assessment of the nitrogen (N) balance and its long-term trend is necessary for management practices because of the negative environmental effects caused by an imbalance of reactive N in grassland ecosystems.In this study,we designed a module for the IAP-N (Improving Anthropogenic Practices of managing reactive Nitrogen) model to enable it to assess the N budget of regional grasslands.The module was developed to quantify the individual components of the N inputs and outputs for grassland ecosystems using livestock and human populations,grassland area,and fossil-energy consumption data as the model inputs.In this paper,the estimation approaches for individual components of N budget,data acquisition,and parameter selection are described in detail.The model was applied to assess the N budget of Inner Mongolia in 2006 at the county scale.The simulation results show that the most important pathway of N outputs from the grassland was livestock intake.The N output from livestock intake was especially large in the middle of Inner Mongolia.Biological fixation,atmospheric deposition,and livestock excreta deposition were comparably important for the N inputs into the grassland.The N budget for Inner Mongolia grassland in 2006 was -1.7× 108±0.6× 108 kg.The case study for Inner Mongolia shows that the new grassland module for the IAP-N model can capture the characteristics of the N budget in a semiarid grassland.

  4. Reconstructing grassland fire history using sedimentary charcoal: Considering count, size and shape.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leys, Berangere A; Commerford, Julie L; McLauchlan, Kendra K

    2017-01-01

    Fire is a key Earth system process, with 80% of annual fire activity taking place in grassland areas. However, past fire regimes in grassland systems have been difficult to quantify due to challenges in interpreting the charcoal signal in depositional environments. To improve reconstructions of grassland fire regimes, it is essential to assess two key traits: (1) charcoal count, and (2) charcoal shape. In this study, we quantified the number of charcoal pieces in 51 sediment samples of ponds in the Great Plains and tested its relevance as a proxy for the fire regime by examining 13 potential factors influencing charcoal count, including various fire regime components (e.g. the fire frequency, the area burned, and the fire season), vegetation cover and pollen assemblages, and climate variables. We also quantified the width to length (W:L) ratio of charcoal particles, to assess its utility as a proxy of fuel types in grassland environments by direct comparison with vegetation cover and pollen assemblages. Our first conclusion is that charcoal particles produced by grassland fires are smaller than those produced by forest fires. Thus, a mesh size of 120μm as used in forested environments is too large for grassland ecosystems. We recommend counting all charcoal particles over 60μm in grasslands and mixed grass-forest environments to increase the number of samples with useful data. Second, a W:L ratio of 0.5 or smaller appears to be an indicator for fuel types, when vegetation surrounding the site is before composed of at least 40% grassland vegetation. Third, the area burned within 1060m of the depositional environments explained both the count and the area of charcoal particles. Therefore, changes in charcoal count or charcoal area through time indicate a change in area burned. The fire regimes of grassland systems, including both human and climatic influences on fire behavior, can be characterized by long-term charcoal records.

  5. Design and Implementation of an Information System for Grassland Soil Management

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    WEI Zhi-yuan; QI Zhi-ping

    2010-01-01

    With grassland as the object of study,we briefly described the significance,main functions,characteristics and the implementation methods of spatial database and attribute database for grassland soil management information system and analyzed the systematical functional modules.Based on this we hold that establishment of this system can not only provide reference information for the decision-making government departments involving in the pasture industrialization system management but also provide guidance for grassland operators to intentionally choose variety and to scientifically fertilize.

  6. 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...

  7. Examination of gastrointestinal helminth in livestock grazing in grassland of Bangladesh

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mondal, M. Motahar-Hussain; Islam, M-Khyrul; Hur, Jin; Lee, John-Hwa

    2000-01-01

    To determine association of grassland with parasitic diseases of livestock in Bangladesh, the 'Tracer' animals (two cow calves and two goats) were released for a month in a grassland used for communal grazing of livestock near school premise in Kanthal, Trishal, Mymensingh, Bangladesh. After slaughtering of the tracer animals, their gastrointestinal tract examination revealed six species of nematode and one cestode. The nematode species were Haemonchus contortus, Trichostrongylus axei, Mecistocirrus digitatus, Oesophagostomum spp., Trichuris spp. and Bunostomum sp. The cestode was one of the genus Moniezia. With this preliminary study, grasslands are thought to be one of the main sources of gastrointestinal parasitic diseases of livestock in Bangladesh. PMID:11002657

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Bannert

    2012-04-01

    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-labeled 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 found in Gram-negative microorganisms and anaerobes. The fact that these lipids are also typical for type I methanotrophs, known as aerobic methane oxidizers, might indicate a link between aerobic and anaerobic methane oxidation.

  9. 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.

  10. Soil Microbial Community Responses to Long-Term Global Change Factors in a California Grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Qin, K.; Peay, K.

    2015-12-01

    Soil fungal and bacterial communities act as mediators of terrestrial carbon and nutrient cycling, and interact with the aboveground plant community as both pathogens and mutualists. However, these soil microbial communities are sensitive to changes in their environment. A better understanding of the response of soil microbial communities to global change may help to predict future soil microbial diversity, and assist in creating more comprehensive models of terrestrial carbon and nutrient cycles. This study examines the effects of four global change factors (increased temperature, increased variability in precipitation, nitrogen deposition, and CO2 enrichment) on soil microbial communities at the Jasper Ridge Global Change Experiment (JRGCE), a full-factorial global change manipulative experiment on three hectares of California grassland. While similar studies have examined the effects of global change on soil microbial communities, few have manipulated more factors or been longer in duration than the JRGCE, which began field treatments in 1998. We find that nitrogen deposition, CO2 enrichment, and increased variability in precipitation significantly affect the structure of both fungal and bacterial communities, and explain more of the variation in the community structures than do local soil chemistry or aboveground plant community. Fungal richness is correlated positively with soil nitrogen content and negatively with soil water content. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), which associate closely with herbaceous plants' roots and assist in nutrient uptake, decrease in both richness and relative abundance in elevated CO2 treatments.

  11. Biomass responses to elevated CO2, soil heterogeneity and diversity: an experimental assessment with grassland assemblages.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maestre, Fernando T; Reynolds, James F

    2007-03-01

    While it is well-established that the spatial distribution of soil nutrients (soil heterogeneity) influences the competitive ability and survival of individual plants, as well as the productivity of plant communities, there is a paucity of data on how soil heterogeneity and global change drivers interact to affect plant performance and ecosystem functioning. To evaluate the effects of elevated CO(2), soil heterogeneity and diversity (species richness and composition) on productivity, patterns of biomass allocation and root foraging precision, we conducted an experiment with grassland assemblages formed by monocultures, two- and three-species mixtures of Lolium perenne, Plantago lanceolata and Holcus lanatus. The experiment lasted for 90 days, and was conducted on microcosms built out of PVC pipe (length 38 cm, internal diameter 10 cm). When nutrients were heterogeneously supplied (in discrete patches), assemblages exhibited precise root foraging patterns, and had higher total, above- and belowground biomass. Greater aboveground biomass was observed under elevated CO(2). Species composition affected the below:aboveground biomass ratio and interacted with nutrient heterogeneity to determine belowground and total biomass. Species richness had no significant effects, and did not interact with either CO(2) or nutrient heterogeneity. Under elevated CO(2) conditions, the two- and three-species mixtures showed a clear trend towards underyielding. Our results show that differences among composition levels were dependent on soil heterogeneity, highlighting its potential role in modulating diversity-productivity relationships.

  12. Long-term Soil C and N Dynamics in Response to Enhanced Wind Erosion in Semiarid Grassland, Using CENTURY Model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, J.; Okin, G. S.; Alavrez, L.; Epstein, H.

    2007-12-01

    Recent studies show that enhanced wind erosion changes soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycling in desert grasslands of southern New Mexico. However, long-term effects at the scale of decades to centuries are less known, especially under the conditions of drought, directional changes in climate, and land use pressures. Additionally, previous studies have focused on the isolated response of soil C and N, with little understanding of their interactions and differential response of other sub-pools. Using CENTURY, a process-based biogeochemical model, we evaluate the potential impacts of enhanced wind erosion on the long-term dynamics of C and N in the Jornada Experimental Range, southern New Mexico. We find that enhanced wind erosion does have a significant effect on long-term dynamics of C and N that are similar to the short-term dynamics observed in a field experiment at Jornada. The relationships between pools of C and N, levels of wind erosion and vegetation cover reduction as well as the mechanisms by which wind erosion changes C and N cycling in desert grasslands are discussed.

  13. Biomass-dependent susceptibility to drought in experimental grassland communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Yongfan; Yu, Shixiao; Wang, Jiang

    2007-05-01

    Earlier studies indicated that plant diversity influences community resistance in biomass when ecosystems are exposed to perturbations. This relationship remains controversial, however. Here we constructed grassland communities to test the relationships between species diversity and productivity under control and experimental drought conditions. Species richness was not correlated with biomass either under constant conditions or under drought conditions. However, communities with lower biomass production were more resistant to drought stress than those that were more productive. Our results also showed that ecosystem resistance to drought is a decreasing but nonlinear function of biomass. In contrast, species diversity had little and an equivocal effect on ecosystem resistance. From the results reported here, and the results of several previous studies, we suggest that high biomass systems exhibited a greater biomass reduction in response to drought than low biomass systems did, regardless of the relationship between plant diversity and community biomass production.

  14. Grassland birds orient nests relative to nearby vegetation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoekman, S.T.; Ball, I.J.; Fondell, T.E.

    2002-01-01

    We studied orientation of nest sites relative to nearby vegetation for dabbling ducks (Cinnamon Teal, Anas cyanoptera; Blue-winged Teal, A. discors; Gadwall, A. strepera; Mallard, A. platyrhynchos; and Northern Shoveler, A. clypeata) and Short-eared Owls (Asio flammeus) in ungrazed grassland habitat during 1995-1997 in westcentral Montana. We estimated an index of vegetation height and density in intercardinal directions (NE, SE, SW, NW) immediately around nests. All species oriented nests with the least vegetation to the southeast and the most vegetation to either the southwest or northwest. Furthermore, maximum vegetation around nests shifted from the southwest to the northwest with increasing nest initiation date, apparently as a response of individuals tracking seasonal change in the afternoon solar path. Thus, nests were relatively exposed to solar insolation during cool morning hours but were shaded from intense insolation in the afternoon throughout the breeding season. We suggest that nest microhabitat was selected in part to moderate the thermal environment.

  15. Leaf area controls on energy partitioning of a mountain grassland

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Hammerle

    2007-10-01

    Full Text Available Using a six year data set of eddy covariance flux measurements of sensible and latent heat, soil heat flux, net radiation, above-ground phytomass and meteorological driving forces energy partitioning was investigated at a temperate mountain grassland managed as a hay meadow in the Stubai Valley (Austria. The main findings of the study were: i Energy partitioning was dominated by latent heat, followed by sensible heat and the soil heat flux; ii When compared to standard environmental forcings, the amount of green plant matter, which due to three cuts varied considerably during the vegetation period, explained similar, and partially larger, fractions of the variability in energy partitioning; ii There were little, if any, indications of water stress effects on energy partitioning, despite reductions in soil water availability in combination with high evaporative demand, e.g. during the summer drought of 2003.

  16. Effects of management practices on grassland birds: Sedge Wren

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dechant, Jill A.; Sondreal, Marriah L.; Johnson, Douglas H.; Igl, Lawrence D.; Goldade, Christopher M.; Parkin, Barry D.; 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

  17. Effects of management practices on grassland birds: Upland Sandpiper

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dechant, Jill A.; Dinkins, Meghan F.; Johnson, Douglas H.; Igl, Lawrence D.; Goldade, Christopher M.; Parkin, Barry D.; Euliss, Betty R.

    1999-01-01

    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

  18. Effects of management practices on grassland birds: Lark Sparrow

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1999-01-01

    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

  19. Effects of management practices on grassland birds: Horned Lark

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dinkins, Meghan F.; Zimmerman, Amy L.; Dechant, Jill A.; Parkin, Barry D.; Johnson, Douglas H.; Igl, Lawrence D.; Goldade, Christopher M.; Euliss, Betty R.

    2000-01-01

    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

  20. Effects of management practices on grassland birds: Willet

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1999-01-01

    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

  1. Effects of management practices on grassland birds: Field Sparrow

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1999-01-01

    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

  2. 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

  3. Effects of management practices on grassland birds: Baird's 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. Effects of management practices on grassland birds: Vesper Sparrow

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dechant, Jill A.; Dinkins, Meghan F.; Johnson, Douglas H.; Igl, Lawrence D.; Goldade, Christopher M.; Euliss, Betty R.

    2000-01-01

    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

  5. Communities of endophytic sebacinales associated with roots of herbaceous plants in agricultural and grassland ecosystems are dominated by Serendipita herbamans sp. nov.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kai Riess

    Full Text Available Endophytic fungi are known to be commonly associated with herbaceous plants, however, there are few studies focusing on their occurrence and distribution in plant roots from ecosystems with different land uses. To explore the phylogenetic diversity and community structure of Sebacinales endophytes from agricultural and grassland habitats under different land uses, we analysed the roots of herbaceous plants using strain isolation, polymerase chain reaction (PCR, transmission electron microscopy (TEM and co-cultivation experiments. A new sebacinoid strain named Serendipita herbamans belonging to Sebacinales group B was isolated from the roots of Bistorta vivipara, which is characterized by colourless monilioid cells (chlamydospores that become yellow with age. This species was very common and widely distributed in association with a broad spectrum of herbaceous plant families in diverse habitats, independent of land use type. Ultrastructurally, the presence of S. herbamans was detected in the cortical cells of Plantago media, Potentilla anserina and Triticum aestivum. In addition, 13 few frequent molecular operational taxonomic units (MOTUs or species were found across agricultural and grassland habitats, which did not exhibit a distinctive phylogenetic structure. Laboratory-based assays indicate that S. herbamans has the ability to colonize fine roots and stimulate plant growth. Although endophytic Sebacinales are widely distributed across agricultural and grassland habitats, TEM and nested PCR analyses reinforce the observation that these microorganisms are present in low quantity in plant roots, with no evidence of host specificity.

  6. Interactive effects of elevated CO2 and warming on soil respiration in a mountain grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reinthaler, David; Gstir, Claudia; Herndl, Markus; Pötsch, Erich; Bahn, Michael

    2017-04-01

    Soil respiration is the largest source of CO2 emitted from terrestrial ecosystems to the atmosphere. In grasslands, which cover over 30% of the global land area and around 70% of the world's agricultural acreage, the contribution of soil respiration to total ecosystem respiration is particularly high. The ClimGrass experiment aims to understand individual and combined effects of multi-level changes in temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentrations and of extreme drought on the biogeochemical cycles of a managed C3 grassland typical for European mountain regions. The ClimGrass experiment, based at AREC Raumberg Gumpenstein in Central Austria, comprises a total of 54 plots subjected to different combinations of experimental warming (ambient, +1.5°C, +3°C) and elevated CO2 (ambient, +150°C, +300 ppm), as well as extreme drought and heatwave. Here, we present first results concerning the interactive effects of warming and elevated CO2 on soil respiration. For this study we combined measurements of an automated system (LiCor 8100) with manual measurements of soil respiration (PP-Systems EGM4), in plots exposed to ambient and elevated CO2, both under ambient temperature conditions and +3°C warming. Our results from the first year of treatment indicate a significant increase of soil CO2 efflux caused by warming and a decrease under elevated CO2, with a strong interactive effect leading to a dampened warming effect under elevated CO2. Interestingly, elevated CO2 had stronger indirect than direct effects on soil respiration, mediated by altered soil moisture under elevated CO2. In the second and third year, however, all treatments increased soil CO2 efflux, with higher flux rates under elevated CO2 than under warming. Overall, elevated CO2 and warming had additive effects on soil moisture, but non-additive effects on soil respiration. Analyses of isotopic signatures of soil respired CO2, of the contribution of the heterotrophic component to total soil respiration and of

  7. Relative effects of precipitation variability and warming on grassland ecosystem function

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    P. A. Fay

    2011-07-01

    Full Text Available Precipitation and temperature drive many aspects of terrestrial ecosystem function. Climate change scenarios predict increasing precipitation variability and temperature, and long term experiments are required to evaluate the ecosystem consequences of interannual climate variation, increased growing season (intra-annual rainfall variability, and warming. We present results from an experiment applying increased growing season rainfall variability and year round warming in native perennial grassland. During ten years of study, total growing season rainfall varied 2-fold, and we found ~50–200 % interannual variability in plant growth and aboveground net primary productivity, leaf carbon assimilation (ACO2, and soil CO2 efflux (JCO2 despite only ∼40 % variation in mean volumetric soil water content (0–15 cm, Θ15. Interannual variation in soil moisture was thus amplified in most measures of ecosystem response. Differences between years in Θ15 explained the greatest portion (14–52 % of the variation in these processes. Experimentally increased intra-annual rainfall variability doubled the amplitude of intra-annual soil moisture variation and reduced Θ15 by 15 %, causing most ecosystem processes to decrease 8–40 % in some or all years with increased rainfall variability compared to ambient rainfall timing, suggesting reduced ecosystem rainfall use efficiency. Warming treatments increased 5 cm soil temperature, particularly during spring, fall, and winter. Warming advanced canopy green up in spring, increased winter JCO2, and reduced summer JCO2 and forb ANPP, suggesting that the effects of warming differed in cooler versus warmer parts of the year. We conclude that (1 major ecosystem processes in this grassland may be substantially altered by predicted changes in interannual climate variability, intra

  8. Vegetation and Variable Snow Cover: Spatial Patterns of Shrubland, and Grassland Snow

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liston, G. E.; Hiemstra, C. A.; Strack, J. E.

    2003-12-01

    Regions that experience long winters with snowfall and high winds frequently exhibit heterogeneous snow distribution patterns that arise from interactions among snow, wind, topography, and vegetation. Variable snow cover and resultant heterogeneities in albedo and growing season length can affect local weather patterns and energy budgets, and produce spatially co-variable ecosystem properties. While snow influences local atmospheric processes and ecosystems, an important and underappreciated feedback exists between vegetation and snow cover. Plant size, canopy density, and rigidity determine how much snow accumulates on the lee side of individual plants (e.g., shrubland vs. grassland). In addition, the canopy can also influence how much energy reaches the snowpack, thereby hindering or accelerating snowmelt. An overhanging canopy reduces incoming solar radiation while providing a source of turbulent sensible and longwave radiative energy. Historically, most snow vegetation interaction studies have been limited to areas that experience an abundance of snow (e.g., mountainous areas) where trees have a large influence on seasonal snow-cover. In contrast, snow cover patterns associated with shrublands and grasslands have received little attention, despite covering vast expanses (53%) of the seasonally snow-covered globe. In this study, snow depths were measured every two weeks from December through March in a small, 0.25 km2 study area located in North Park, Colorado. The study area possesses little topographic relief and consists of shrub patches, dominated by greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus) and sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), embedded in a matrix of graminoids (sedges, rushes, and grasses). Snow cover patterns and spatial statistics were dramatically different in graminoid-dominated cover compared with shrub cover. The graminoid snow cover was thinner, less variable, and more ephemeral than the shrub snow pack. Snow was readily eroded by wind from graminoid

  9. 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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cristina Sanhueza

    2012-12-01

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

  11. Relationship between Soil Properties and Plant Diversity in Semiarid Grassland

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Melda Dölarslan

    2017-07-01

    Full Text Available In ecological studies, soil-plant interaction is an important environmental factor. Soil chemical and physical properties affect plant richness and diversity. This study was carried out to investigate the relationship between soil physical and chemical properties, and plant diversity indexes (Shannon-Weiner and Simpson in semiarid grassland. Plant diversity indexes and soil properties were determined using 34 quadrats (5x5m on different parent materials (chrome, marble, serpentine, red chalk and red chalk mostra in semiarid grasslands in the Central Anatolia Region in Turkey. Plant samples were collected and recorded periodically from April to September (the vegetation period in 2014 for each quadrat. In order to determine the plant richness and diversity indexes, 3 sub-quadrats (1x1m were randomly added into each of 34 (5x5 m quadrats. To evaluate the relationship between plant diversity indexes and soil properties, composite soil samples were collected from the four corners, and the center of each quadrat 0-30 cm in depth, and which was mixing of those subsamples. Soil sand-silt-clay contents, soil reaction (pH, bulk density (BD, electrical conductivity (EC, CaCO3 and soil organic matter (SOM contents were measured. Relationship between plant diversity indexes measured in different months during vegetation period and soil properties of different parent material was statistically analysed using correlation analysis in SPSS 20.0. Modest correlation coefficient was found between the Simpson diversity index and SOM content, sand-silt-clay content, pH and EC for different months in vegetation period.

  12. Spatial patterns of wetting characteristics in grassland sandy soil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Orfánus Tomáš

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available In grasslands where organic and inorganic resources are alternating at scales of individual plants, the transient character is given to certain wetting properties of soil, which then become highly variable both in space and in time. The objective of presented study was to study wetting pattern within two soil horizons at 5-cm and 10-cm depths respectively and to examine how the wetting patterns relate to hydraulic conductivity determined by Minidisc infiltrometer at suction −2 cm, K(−2 cm. This characteristics is implicitly independent on antecedent soil water content (SWC since it relates to steady infiltration phase but can be influenced by present soil water repellency (SWR. Field measurements were performed on July 27–28, 2010 on the grassland experimental site located near the village Sekule in Southwest Slovakia. The water drop penetration time (WDPT, SWC and tension Minidisc infiltration measurements were carried out on the 0.64 m2 plot in a regular 8 × 8 grid. The results showed that SWR and SWC influence each other and cause correlation between spatial patterns of studied soil wetting characteristics and between characteristics measured at the two soil depths. Further, it was found out, that calculation of K(−2 cm according to Zhang may cause apparent correlation of K(−2 cm with antecedent SWC, which is the artificial effect of sorptivity parameter in the equation on steady stage of infiltration process. This pseudocorrelation has disappeared after adopting of Minasny and McBratney (2000 approaches by calculation of K(−2 cm.

  13. Are old Mediterranean grasslands resilient to human disturbances?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coiffait-Gombault, Clémentine; Buisson, Elise; Dutoit, Thierry

    2012-08-01

    Many dry herbaceous ecosystems suffer damage and are characterized by low resilience after disturbance. Among these forms of disturbance, soil excavation due to the construction of underground pipelines affects vegetation at plant community and landscape scales. Synchronic studies are the best approach for more rapid study of plant succession on ecosystems with low resilience. In order to better understand plant succession in a Mediterranean dry grassland, we compared the effect of a recent disturbance caused by the digging of a pipeline in 2006 with that of a pipeline created in 1972 in the same area. Surveys of floristic composition and richness were carried out along both pipelines in order to understand the succession after this single disturbance, one that does not drastically change soil chemical properties unlike former agricultural practices. Nevertheless, this type of disturbance still changes the floristic composition in the long term (>30 years). The first stage begins just after disturbance with the occurrence of many weed species. Another level between the first and the mature stage was characterized in our study, 30 years after the disturbance, by an assemblage of annual and perennial species but still lacking species typical of the reference steppe. The reference steppe is described as the mature level of the succession with an assemblage of typical grasses, forbs and a few small chamaephytes and, in particular, by the presence of Brachypodium retusum. This community corresponds to a very old Mediterranean grassland that has evolved under the Mediterranean climate and traditional sheep grazing management systems since the Neolithic Age. This study confirms the low resilience of this steppe community and shows the importance of pursuing research on this steppe and in particular on the biotic and abiotic processes involved in community assembly.

  14. Inter-specific competition, but not different soil microbial communities, affects N chemical forms uptake by competing graminoids of upland grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Medina-Roldán, Eduardo; Bardgett, Richard D

    2012-01-01

    Evidence that plants differ in their ability to take up both organic (ON) and inorganic (IN) forms of nitrogen (N) has increased ecologists' interest on resource-based plant competition. However, whether plant uptake of IN and ON responds to differences in soil microbial community composition and/or functioning has not yet been explored, despite soil microbes playing a key role in N cycling. Here, we report results from a competition experiment testing the hypothesis that soil microbial communities differing in metabolic activity as a result of long-term differences to grazing exposure could modify N uptake of Eriophorum vaginatum L. and Nardus stricta L. These graminoids co-occur on nutrient-poor, mountain grasslands where E. vaginatum decreases and N. stricta increases in response to long-term grazing. We inoculated sterilised soil with soil microbial communities from continuously grazed and ungrazed grasslands and planted soils with both E. vaginatum and N. stricta, and then tracked uptake of isotopically labelled NH(4) (+) (IN) and glycine (ON) into plant tissues. The metabolically different microbial communities had no effect on N uptake by either of the graminoids, which might suggest functional equivalence of soil microbes in their impacts on plant N uptake. Consistent with its dominance in soils with greater concentrations of ON relative to IN in the soluble N pool, Eriophorum vaginatum took up more glycine than N. stricta. Nardus stricta reduced the glycine proportion taken up by E. vaginatum, thus increasing niche overlap in N usage between these species. Local abundances of these species in mountain grasslands are principally controlled by grazing and soil moisture, although our results suggest that changes in the relative availability of ON to IN can also play a role. Our results also suggest that coexistence of these species in mountain grasslands is likely based on non-equilibrium mechanisms such as disturbance and/or soil heterogeneity.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ceulemans, Tobias; Hulsmans, Eva; Berwaers, Sigi; Van Acker, Kasper; Honnay, Olivier

    2017-01-01

    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. PMID:28333985

  17. 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 A.; Koch, Katie; Lonsdorf, Eric; Grant, Evan; Ahlering, Marissa; Barnhill, Laurel; Dailey, Thomas; Lor, Socheata; Mueller, Connie; Pavlacky, David C.; Rideout, Catherine; Sample, David

    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. PMID:26569108

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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 A; Koch, Katie; Lonsdorf, Eric; Grant, Evan; Ahlering, Marissa; Barnhill, Laurel; Dailey, Thomas; Lor, Socheata; Mueller, Connie; Pavlacky, David C; Rideout, Catherine; Sample, David

    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.

  1. 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

  2. Grassland Expansion and Establishment Plan for Seatuck National Wildlife Refuge 2004

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — This detailed plan provides methods and a time frame for creating 40-60 acres of warm-season grassland at Seatuck National Wildlife Refuge using seed sources, both...

  3. Grassland Management Plan : Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — This Grassland Management Plan for Upper Mississippi River NWFR provides a description of the Refuge, the purpose for establishing the Refuge, the Refuge’s mission...

  4. Notes on Monitoring Grassland Birds at Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge 2011

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — This is a memo from a birding expert from the University of Vermont with suggestions on how to conduct surveys on grassland birds at Missisquoi National Wildlife...

  5. Effects of Grassland Bird Management on Nongame Bird Community Structure and Productivity

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — The report includes data on bird/habitat relations, breeding biology, and effects of succession and current management practices on grassland bird communities in the...

  6. Selenium in a Wyoming grassland community receiving wastewater from an in situ uranium mine

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — Water, soil, vegetation, grasshoppers (Family Acrididae), bird eggs and bird livers collected at a 23.5 hectare (5 8 acres) grassland irrigated with wastewater from...

  7. Grassland Conservation Opportunity Areas - Liberal Model (ECO_RES.COA_GRASS33)

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — This layer designates areas with potential for grassland conservation. These are areas of natural or semi-natural grass land cover patches that are at least 75...

  8. Influence of Distance to Habitat Edge on Depredation Rates of Simulated Grassland Bird Nests

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — This report outlines the results of artificial nest studies that were conducted in 2004 and 2005 in two grassland management units at Iroquois National Wildlife...

  9. Sandy grassland blowouts in Hulunbuir,northeast China:geomorphology,distribution,and causes

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ZHANG Altan MunkhDalai; FENG Zongwei; WANG Xiaoke; SUN Hongwei; ZHAO Jiaming; U Hurlee

    2007-01-01

    A sandy grassland blowout consists of an aeolian depression formed in top soil and the underlying sand deposit underlie,and the adjoining redeposit of sand derived from the depression. Research based on field survey and topographic mapping combined with aerophotograph interpretation reveals that: (1) All the three sand land tracts in Hulunbuir Grasslands are composed of blowout depressions and adjoining dunes, with interlaying remnants of sandy grasslands as background; (2) blowout depressions and their adjoining dunes can be classified according to their morphometric characteristics, development stages, and initiating factors; (3) blowouts develop mostly in the upper parts of sidelong aweather and sunward slopes inclining southwestward when west wind prevails; (4) initiation of blowouts is closely related with the coupling of extreme droughts and wide spread intense human disturbance to the fragile topsoil layer. The investigations indicate that key factors to prevent desertification are to protect grassland vegetation and topsoil.

  10. Environmental Assessment of Alternatives for Management of Grasslands on the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge Complex

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — This environmental assessment is prepared to evaluate alternatives for managing grasslands to provide high quality habitat for wintering waterfowl, other migratory...

  11. Section 7 Biological Evaluation for Sandplain Gerardia for Prescribed Burn at Sayville Grasslands

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — Sandplain gerardia is an endangered annual plant found on loamy soils of coastal grasslands and serpentine barrens in the northeast. Since the mid-1980's, the...

  12. The effects of prairie management techniques, burning and mowing, on Iowa grassland breeding bird communities

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — This report investigates the effects of burning and mowing on the grassland breeding bird community of Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge in central Iowa. Two...

  13. Grasslands contaminant study selenium in algae and wintering and resident waterfowl and waterbirds : preliminary summary

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — A preliminary summary of a study of contaminants in waterbirds and in the western grasslands of Merced County. The purpose of this study was two-fold: 1) to...

  14. Factors influencing the use of winter-burnt grassland by foraging ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    calvus, and the abundance of invertebrates in winter-burnt grassland were ... relative abundance of living and dead arthropods in relation to the time elapsed after ... tion, silviculture and non-agricultural fonns of land-use (Manry. 1982).

  15. 77 FR 42695 - Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland; Boulder and Gilpin County...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-07-20

    ... From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland; Boulder and Gilpin County, CO; Eldora Mountain Resort Ski Area Projects; Correction AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA....

  16. 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.

  17. Proposed North Dakota Wildlife Management Area: Grassland Easement Program Environmental Assessment

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — The focus for this project will primarily be on high quality grasslands not only for waterfowl, but also for the myriad of other bird species, plants, and mammals...

  18. Small mammal diversity and abundances in three central Iowa grassland habitat types

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — Small mammals were studied in three central Iowa grassland habitat types to test the hypothesis that species diversity and abundances are lower in relatively pure...

  19. Grassland Conservation Opportunity Areas - Conservative Model (ECO_RES.COA_GRASS66)

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — This layer designates areas with potential for grassland conservation. These are areas of natural or semi-natural grass land cover patches that are at least 395...

  20. Conceptual ecological model for management of breeding grassland birds in the Mid-Atlantic Region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peterjohn, Bruce G.

    2006-01-01

    The status of grassland birds has become an increasingly important conservation issue. These species exhibit the most consistent population declines of any group of North American birds during the past 40 years. Anecdotal evidence suggests these declines have been occurring for nearly a century (Peterjohn and Sauer 1999). While the widespread conversion of grasslands into other habitats contributed to these declining populations, other factors such as habitat fragmentation and mowing regimes are also implicated (Vickery et al. 1999a). This plight of grassland birds has heightened awareness of the need for concerted conservation actions to reverse these seriously declining population trends. The National Park Service (NPS) is positioned to potentially contribute to grassland bird conservation in the Mid-Atlantic Region. The NPS maintains a number of historic sites and former battlefields that are managed for their cultural significance but also support wildlife populations. Many of these “cultural parks” maintain open landscapes to recreate land use patterns that existed at the times of the historical events. These open landscapes are primarily managed grasslands which could be maintained to benefit grassland birds. In 2005, the NPS initiated a project exploring the potential of “cultural parks” to support significant breeding grassland bird communities. This project involved parks within three NPS Inventory and Monitoring Program (I&M) networks, Mid-Atlantic, National Capital, and Eastern Rivers and Mountains. Five parks were selected for the initial focus of this study, all of which maintain open landscapes for interpretation of historic events. Most parks were selected because they represent the most extensive grassland habitats within their networks, with the rationale that if these parks cannot support significant breeding grassland bird communities, then parks with smaller acreages cannot support these communities either. The five parks included in

  1. On sustaining the ecology and livestock industry of the Bayanbuluk Grasslands

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Adrian; R; WILLIAMS

    2010-01-01

    A short visit to the Bayanbuluk Grassland in the Tianshan Mountains, Xinjiang, PRC, revealed a number of environmental and livestock production problems, including grassland degradation, loss of grassland biodiversity, soil erosion and flash flooding downstream, decreased pasture productivity, and poor livestock nutrition (especially in winter) leading to stock losses and flocks and herds of low productivity. This paper describes those problems and then suggests some solutions. Short duration, high intensity grazing could be one of the solutions to both improving grassland condition and improving livestock nutrition. Local production of fodder crops for feeding in winter and spring deserves testing, using adapted strains of Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) and trialling fodder root crop production. It is important to realise that the land management objectives of scientists, administrators, herders and farmers may be similar, and that there are opportunities for land improvement through working together.

  2. Grasslands Wildlife Management Area proposed expansion: Environmental Assessment, Land Protection Plan, and Conceptual Management Plan

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — This document discusses the proposed expansion of the Service's easement program for protection of the wildlife habitat of Merced County's Grasslands Ecological...

  3. Landowners' perceptions of risk in grassland management: woody plant encroachment and prescribed fire

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ryan N. Harr

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available Ecologists recognize that fire and herbivory are essential to maintaining habitat quality in grassland ecosystems. Prescribed fire and grazing are typically used on public reserves to increase biodiversity, improve grassland productivity, and control encroachment of woody plants. However, these tools, particularly prescribed fire, have not been widely adopted by private landowners. Fire suppression and prescribed fire are strategies that present competing risks to owners who make management decisions. We explore landowner perceptions of risk associated with (1 eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana encroachment, and (2 the use of prescribed fire to control woody species in the Grand River Grasslands of Iowa and Missouri, USA. We found that although mapping data of eastern redcedar in this region showed substantial encroachment over the past three decades, concept mapping of landowner beliefs and in-person interviews of local community leaders revealed that perceived risks associated with prescribed fire often outweighed those associated with loss of forage and grassland habitats.

  4. Ants and Subterranean Sternorrhyncha in a Native Grassland in East-Central Alberta, Canada

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    J.S. Newton; J. Glasier; H.E.L. Maw; H.C. Proctor; R.G. Foottit

    2011-01-01

    .... Knowledge of host plants for these sternorrhynchans is equally rare. We carried out a plant-based survey of ants and belowground aphids and mealybugs in a native fescue grassland in east-central Alberta, Canada...

  5. Grassland bird surveys in support of the Michigan Breeding Bird Atlas II: Final report

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — Grassland birds, as a group, have suffered the most severe population declines of any other North American birds (Herkert 1995, Herkert et al. 1996). Compared to...

  6. Management Options for Grassland areas at the Seatuck National Wildlife Refuge 1990

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — There has been a major loss of grassland areas on Long Island over the past century. The Seatuck National Wildlife Refuge can make a significant contribution to the...

  7. 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

  8. Responses of microbial respiration in grazed and ungrazed grasslands to glucose addition

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, Xingliang; Liu, Qianyuan; Pang, Rui

    2017-04-01

    Grazing can change species composition, alter soil properties, and thus modify microbial activities, affecting biogeochemical processes in grasslands. However, it remains unclear how microbial respiration in grazed and ungrazed grasslands responds to glucose addition. Here we hypothesize that microbial respiration in grazed grasslands will respond more strongly to glucose addition than in ungrazed grasslands because moderate grazing can enhance microbial activity. To examine the hypothesis above, we collected the upper 10 cm soil from grazed and ungrazed grasslands at five sites of China. Three sites (Hulunbuir 1, Hulunbuir 2 and Xielingele) were located in Inner Mongolia and two in the Tibet Plateau) Soils were incubated with low glucose input (50% MBC), high glucose input (150% MBC), and water for 60 days in 21oC. CO2 released from soil was trapped with 1 M NaOH. The results showed that the effect of grazing on microbial respiration has two distinct patterns, depending on soil types and addition amount. After glucose addition, cumulative CO2 efflux from grazed soils was significantly higher than from ungrazed soils in two temperate grasslands (Hulunbuir 1 and Xielingele). This may be ascribed to that moderate grazing promoted microbial activity. On the contrary, microbial respirations from grazed soils were lower than ungrazed soils in two alpine meadows of Haibei and Dangxiong and in Hulunbuir 2. This effect of grazing was not obvious in Hulunbeier 2 soils at low carbon addition level. Grazing may decrease soil organic carbon, nitrogen availability and thus microbial activity in alpine grasslands. These findings indicate that soil microorganisms could have different adaptation mechanisms to grazing in temperate and alpine grasslands.

  9. Intensified agricultural use of grasslands reduces growth and survivalof precocial shorebird chicks

    OpenAIRE

    Kentie, R.; Hooijmeijer, J.C.E.W.; Trimbos, K.B.; Groen, N.M.; Piersma, T

    2013-01-01

    Intensification of agricultural use of grassland habitats has been linked to the declines of many farmland bird species, several of whom have been in decline for multiple decades despite agri-environmental schemes. In the Netherlands, where most grasslands have been transformed into well-drained monocultures managed for maximal dairy production, schemes that aim to protect nests from agricultural activities are the most popular. The cause of the failure of these schemes, however, seems poor r...

  10. Enhancing floral diversity to increase the robustness of grassland beetle assemblages to environmental change

    OpenAIRE

    Woodcock, B. A.; Bullock, J.M.; Nowakowski, M.(Dept. de Fisica, Universidad de los Andes, Cra. 1E No. 18A-10, Santafe de Bogota, Colombia); Orr, R; Tallowin, J. R. B.; Pywell, R.F.

    2012-01-01

    Intensive grassland management has produced floristically species poor swards supporting a limited invertebrate fauna. Low cost seed mixtures can be used to increase floristic diversity and so diversify the food resource of phytophagous invertebrate. We quantify trophic links between plants and phytophagous beetles in grasslands established using three seed mixtures. Using food webs, we model secondary extinctions from the beetle communities caused by the loss of host-plants. Plant species we...

  11. More stable productivity of semi natural grasslands than sown pastures in a seasonally dry climate.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sonia Ospina

    Full Text Available In the Neotropics the predominant pathway to intensify productivity is generally thought to be to convert grasslands to sown pastures, mostly in monoculture. This article examines how above-ground net primary productivity (ANPP in semi-natural grasslands and sown pastures in Central America respond to rainfall by: (i assessing the relationships between ANPP and accumulated rainfall and indices of rainfall distribution, (ii evaluating the variability of ANPP between and within seasons, and (iii estimating the temporal stability of ANPP. We conducted sequential biomass harvests during 12 periods of 22 days and related those to rainfall. There were significant relationships between ANPP and cumulative rainfall in 22-day periods for both vegetation types and a model including a linear and quadratic term explained 74% of the variation in the data. There was also a significant correlation between ANPP and the number of rainfall events for both vegetation types. Sown pastures had higher ANPP increments per unit rainfall and higher ANPP at the peak of the rainy season than semi-natural grasslands. In contrast, semi-natural grasslands showed higher ANPP early in the dry season. The temporal stability of ANPP was higher in semi-natural grasslands than in the sown pastures in the dry season and over a whole annual cycle. Our results reveal that, contrary to conventional thinking amongst pasture scientists, there appears to be no increase in ANPP arising from replacing semi-natural grasslands with sown pastures under prevailing pasture management practices in seasonally dry climates, while the temporal distribution of ANPP is more even in semi-natural grasslands. Neither sown pastures nor semi-natural grasslands are productive towards the end of the dry season, indicating the potential importance of the widespread practice of retaining tree cover in pastures.

  12. More stable productivity of semi natural grasslands than sown pastures in a seasonally dry climate.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ospina, Sonia; Rusch, Graciela M; Pezo, Danilo; Casanoves, Fernando; Sinclair, Fergus L

    2012-01-01

    In the Neotropics the predominant pathway to intensify productivity is generally thought to be to convert grasslands to sown pastures, mostly in monoculture. This article examines how above-ground net primary productivity (ANPP) in semi-natural grasslands and sown pastures in Central America respond to rainfall by: (i) assessing the relationships between ANPP and accumulated rainfall and indices of rainfall distribution, (ii) evaluating the variability of ANPP between and within seasons, and (iii) estimating the temporal stability of ANPP. We conducted sequential biomass harvests during 12 periods of 22 days and related those to rainfall. There were significant relationships between ANPP and cumulative rainfall in 22-day periods for both vegetation types and a model including a linear and quadratic term explained 74% of the variation in the data. There was also a significant correlation between ANPP and the number of rainfall events for both vegetation types. Sown pastures had higher ANPP increments per unit rainfall and higher ANPP at the peak of the rainy season than semi-natural grasslands. In contrast, semi-natural grasslands showed higher ANPP early in the dry season. The temporal stability of ANPP was higher in semi-natural grasslands than in the sown pastures in the dry season and over a whole annual cycle. Our results reveal that, contrary to conventional thinking amongst pasture scientists, there appears to be no increase in ANPP arising from replacing semi-natural grasslands with sown pastures under prevailing pasture management practices in seasonally dry climates, while the temporal distribution of ANPP is more even in semi-natural grasslands. Neither sown pastures nor semi-natural grasslands are productive towards the end of the dry season, indicating the potential importance of the widespread practice of retaining tree cover in pastures.

  13. A comparison of grassland vegetation from three agri-environment conservation measures

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ó hUallacháin D.

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available Semi-natural grassland habitats have declined significantly throughout Europe. To halt the decline, grassland conservation measures have been included in most European agri-environment schemes. This is the first study to compare the botanical composition of grassland habitats managed under the Irish Agri-Environment Options Scheme (AEOS. Sixty fields on drystock pastoral farms in receipt of agri-environment payments for grassland conservation were surveyed, with 20 fields being enrolled in each of the following AEOS options: Traditional Hay Meadow (THM, Species-Rich Grassland (SRG and Natura 2000 species-rich grassland (Natura. The vegetation quality of sites enrolled in the Natura measure was higher than the quality of those enrolled in the THM and SRG measures. Natura sites had the greatest species richness, with a mean >40 species per site, which included approximately 17 species indicative of high botanical quality. Traditional Hay Meadows sites had the lowest species richness (mean: 29 species per site and were dominated by species associated with improved grassland. Some THM sites had good levels of botanical richness and were similar in composition to Natura sites, with some Natura sites having lower vegetation quality, more similar to that of THM sites. Species-Rich Grassland had botanical richness that was intermediate between THM and Natura sites. A thorough assessment of the effectiveness of these measures was confounded by a lack of quantitative objectives for the target community composition to be attained. We discuss limitations and potential opportunities regarding the design, targeting, implementation and cost-effectiveness of these agri-environment measures.

  14. Rapid decline of a grassland system and its ecological and conservation implications.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gerardo Ceballos

    Full Text Available One of the most important conservation issues in ecology is the imperiled state of grassland ecosystems worldwide due to land conversion, desertification, and the loss of native populations and species. The Janos region of northwestern Mexico maintains one of the largest remaining black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus colony complexes in North America and supports a high diversity of threatened and endangered species. Yet, cattle grazing, agriculture, and drought have greatly impacted the region. We evaluated the impact of human activities on the Janos grasslands, comparing changes in the vertebrate community over the last two decades. Our results reveal profound, rapid changes in the Janos grassland community, demonstrating large declines in vertebrate abundance across all taxonomic groups. We also found that the 55,000 ha prairie dog colony complex has declined by 73% since 1988. The prairie dog complex has become increasingly fragmented, and their densities have shown a precipitous decline over the years, from an average density of 25 per ha in 1988 to 2 per ha in 2004. We demonstrated that prairie dogs strongly suppressed woody plant encroachment as well as created open grassland habitat by clearing woody vegetation, and found rapid invasion of shrubland once the prairie dogs disappeared from the grasslands. Comparison of grasslands and shrublands showed markedly different species compositions, with species richness being greatest when both habitats were considered together. Our data demonstrate the rapid decline of a grassland ecosystem, and documents the dramatic loss in biodiversity over a very short time period concomitant with anthropogenic grassland degradation and the decline of a keystone species.

  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...... with age but indifference in CO2 emissions across the age and management in temporary grasslands, thus, indicates potential for long-term sequestration of soil C....

  16. Key challenges and priorities for modelling European grasslands under climate change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kipling, Richard P; Virkajärvi, Perttu; Breitsameter, Laura; Curnel, Yannick; De Swaef, Tom; Gustavsson, Anne-Maj; Hennart, Sylvain; Höglind, Mats; Järvenranta, Kirsi; Minet, Julien; Nendel, Claas; Persson, Tomas; Picon-Cochard, Catherine; Rolinski, Susanne; Sandars, Daniel L; Scollan, Nigel D; Sebek, Leon; Seddaiu, Giovanna; Topp, Cairistiona F E; Twardy, Stanislaw; Van Middelkoop, Jantine; Wu, Lianhai; Bellocchi, Gianni

    2016-10-01

    Grassland-based ruminant production systems are integral to sustainable food production in Europe, converting plant materials indigestible to humans into nutritious food, while providing a range of environmental and cultural benefits. Climate change poses significant challenges for such systems, their productivity and the wider benefits they supply. In this context, grassland models have an important role in predicting and understanding the impacts of climate change on grassland systems, and assessing the efficacy of potential adaptation and mitigation strategies. In order to identify the key challenges for European grassland modelling under climate change, modellers and researchers from across Europe were consulted via workshop and questionnaire. Participants identified fifteen challenges and considered the current state of modelling and priorities for future research in relation to each. A review of literature was undertaken to corroborate and enrich the information provided during the horizon scanning activities. Challenges were in four categories relating to: 1) the direct and indirect effects of climate change on the sward 2) climate change effects on grassland systems outputs 3) mediation of climate change impacts by site, system and management and 4) cross-cutting methodological issues. While research priorities differed between challenges, an underlying theme was the need for accessible, shared inventories of models, approaches and data, as a resource for stakeholders and to stimulate new research. Developing grassland models to effectively support efforts to tackle climate change impacts, while increasing productivity and enhancing ecosystem services, will require engagement with stakeholders and policy-makers, as well as modellers and experimental researchers across many disciplines. The challenges and priorities identified are intended to be a resource 1) for grassland modellers and experimental researchers, to stimulate the development of new research

  17. Grassland bird responses to land management in the largest remaining tallgrass prairie.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rahmig, Corina J; Jensen, William E; With, Kimberly A

    2009-04-01

    Extensive habitat loss and changing agricultural practices have caused widespread declines in grassland birds throughout North America. The Flint Hills of Kansas and Oklahoma--the largest remaining tallgrass prairie--is important for grassland bird conservation despite supporting a major cattle industry. In 2004 and 2005, we assessed the community, population, and demographic responses of grassland birds to the predominant management practices (grazing, burning, and haying) of the region, including grasslands restored under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). We targeted 3 species at the core of this avian community: the Dickcissel (Spiza americana), Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum), and Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna). Bird diversity was higher in native prairie hayfields and grazed pastures than CRP fields, which were dominated by Dickcissels. Although Dickcissel density was highest in CRP, their nest success was highest and nest parasitism by Brown-headed Cowbirds (Moluthrus ater) lowest in unburned hayfields (in 2004). Conversely, Grasshopper Sparrow density was highest in grazed pastures, but their nest success was lowest in these pastures and highest in burned hayfields, where cowbird parasitism was also lowest (in 2004). Management did not influence density and nest survival of Eastern Meadowlarks, which were uniformly low across the region. Nest success was extremely low (5-12%) for all 3 species in 2005, perhaps because of a record spring drought. Although the CRP has benefited grassland birds in agricultural landscapes, these areas may have lower habitat value in the context of native prairie. Hayfields may provide beneficial habitat for some grassland birds in the Flint Hills because they are mowed later in the breeding season than elsewhere in the Midwest. Widespread grazing and annual burning have homogenized habitat-and thus grassland-bird responses-across the Flint Hills. Diversification of management practices could increase

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Roesch, Christine; Skarka, J.; Stelzer, V. [Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS), Research Centre Karlsruhe, P.O. Box 3640, 76021 Karlsruhe (Germany); Raab, K. [Ministry of Economic Affairs Baden-Wuerttemberg, Stuttgart (Germany)

    2009-04-15

    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. (author)

  19. Functional response of U.S. grasslands to the early 21st-century drought.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moran, M Susan; Ponce-Campos, Guillermo E; Huete, Alfredo; McClaran, Mitchel P; Zhang, Yongguang; Hamerlynck, Erik P; Augustine, David J; Gunter, Stacey A; Kitchen, Stanley G; Peters, Debra P C; Starks, Patrick J; Hernandez, Mariano

    2014-08-01

    Grasslands across the United States play a key role in regional livelihood and national food security. Yet, it is still unclear how this important resource will respond to the prolonged warm droughts and more intense rainfall events predicted with climate change. The early 21st-century drought in the southwestern United States resulted in hydroclimatic conditions that are similar to those expected with future climate change. We investigated the impact of the early 21st-century drought on aboveground net primary production (ANPP) of six desert and plains grasslands dominated by C4 (warm season) grasses in terms of significant deviations between observed and expected ANPP. In desert grasslands, drought-induced grass mortality led to shifts in the functional response to annual total precipitation (P(T)), and in some cases, new species assemblages occurred that included invasive species. In contrast, the ANPP in plains grasslands exhibited a strong linear function of the current-year P(T) and the previous-year ANPP, despite prolonged warm drought. We used these results to disentangle the impacts of interannual total precipitation, intra-annual precipitation patterns, and grassland abundance on ANPP, and thus generalize the functional response of C4 grasslands to predicted climate change. This will allow managers to plan for predictable shifts in resources associated with climate change related to fire risk, loss of forage, and ecosystem services.

  20. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leisher, Craig; Brouwer, Roy; Boucher, Timothy M; Vogelij, Rogier; Bainbridge, W R; Sanjayan, M

    2011-01-01

    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.

  2. Grassland bird response to harvesting switchgrass as a biomass energy crop

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roth, A.M.; Sample, D.W.; Ribic, C.A.; Paine, L.; Undersander, D.J.; Bartelt, G.A.

    2005-01-01

    The combustion of perennial grass biomass to generate electricity may be a promising renewable energy option. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) grown as a biofuel has the potential to provide a cash crop for farmers and quality nesting cover for grassland birds. In southwestern Wisconsin (near lat. 42??52???, long. 90??08???), we investigated the impact of an August harvest of switchgrass for bioenergy on community composition and abundance of Wisconsin grassland bird species of management concern. Harvesting the switchgrass in August resulted in changes in vegetation structure and bird species composition the following nesting season. In harvested transects, residual vegetation was shorter and the litter layer was reduced in the year following harvest. Grassland bird species that preferred vegetation of short to moderate height and low to moderate density were found in harvested areas. Unharvested areas provided tall, dense vegetation structure that was especially attractive to tall-grass bird species, such as sedge wren (Cistothorus platensis) and Henslow's sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii). When considering wildlife habitat value in harvest management of switchgrass for biofuel, leaving some fields unharvested each year would be a good compromise, providing some habitat for a larger number of grassland bird species of management concern than if all fields were harvested annually. In areas where most idle grassland habitat present on the landscape is tallgrass, harvest of switchgrass for biofuel has the potential to increase the local diversity of grassland birds.

  3. Holocene grassland vegetation, climate and human impact in central eastern Inner Mongolia

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    HUANG; Fei; Kealhofer; Lisa; XIONG; Shangfa; HUANG; Fengb

    2005-01-01

    Phytolith and pollen preserved in the Taipusi Banner paleosol profile, central eastern Inner Mongolia, provide evidence of Holocene grassland vegetation, climate and human impact. The combined phytolith and pollen records reveal a major change in vegetation composition about 5000 a BP. Before 5000 a BP, the vegetation was dominated by Aneurolepidium chinese-Stipa grandis grassland of C4 grasses. After 5000 a BP, C4 grasses rapidly retreated,indicating a shift to colder and more arid conditions. The gradual invasion of Stipa krylovii, Agropyron desertorum, Ephedra, Chenopodiaceae and Caragana reveal the onset of grassland degeneration. Between 10000 and 8720 a BP, the Aneurolepidium chinese-Stipa grandis grassland included a