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Sample records for semi-natural grassland communities

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2000-01-01

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

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

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    Damian Chmura

    2013-06-01

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

  4. Local-scale spatial structure and community composition of orchid mycorrhizal fungi in semi-natural grasslands

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Oja, J.; Vahtra, J.; Bahram, M.; Kohout, Petr; Kull, T.; Rannap, R.; Köljalg, U.; Tedersoo, L.

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 27, č. 4 (2017), s. 355-367 ISSN 0940-6360 Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : mycorrhiza * orchids * fungal community composition * calcareous grassland * spatial distribution * grazing intensity Subject RIV: EF - Botanics OBOR OECD: Ecology Impact factor: 3.047, year: 2016

  5. Multi-level natural resources governance based on local community: A case study on semi-natural grassland in Tarōji, Nara, Japan

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    Daisaku Shimada

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available Japan is facing a bio-diversity crisis as a result of rapid industrialisation. The Japanese Ministry of the Environment formulated a National Biodiversity Strategy based on the Convention on Biological Diversity signed at the Earth Summit in 1992. After an amendment in 2002, the National Biodiversity Strategy addressed three crises in biodiversity: over-exploitation and development that destroys habitats, underutilisation (the satoyama problem and artificially introduced factors (chemicals, alien species and so on. This paper focuses on the second problem. Secondary natural environments called satoyama have been created and maintained over the centuries by human activity. Because natural environments in Japan have been affected by human-induced disturbances for 35,000 years, many species have evolved in response to these disturbances. If the human activities cease, many of the species that have evolved to survive in managed environments become threatened. Many satoyama have been managed as commonage or common lands, called iriai in Japan. One natural resource system created by commoners is semi-natural grassland, and economic modernisation has led to abandonment of traditional management practices on these grasslands – one of the more evident changes in Japanese iriai practices. Before industrialisation, semi-natural grasslands were managed as a source of green manure, as a harvest for roofing materials (thatch and as pasture for animals. After industrialisation, however, introduction of chemical fertilizers, changes in building practices and importation of animal feeds rapidly decreased the use value of these grasslands for local residents. On the other hand, their value as public goods – as historical, cultural landscapes and places of biodiversity – which concern a much broader population than the local community – became relatively more important. The resulting problem is how to manage this resource with its new value for new

  6. Decrease in Danish semi-natural grassland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Svenningsen, Stig Roar; Levin, Gregor; Jepsen, Martin Rudbeck

    2015-01-01

    During the past century, the western hemisphere has seen a general trend of agricultural expansion on the behalf of semi-natural habitat types, such as heathlands and meadows. This has been documented in numerous studies of land use change. This trend is reflected in today?s European rural...

  7. Voluntary intake and in vivo digestibility of forages from semi-natural grasslands in dairy cows

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bruinenberg, M.H.; Valk, H.; Struik, P.C.

    2003-01-01

    To study in vivo digestibility of forages from semi-natural grasslands two experiments were carried out. In the first experiment lactating dairy cows were offered three different silage-based diets. Silage originated from intensively managed grassland (IM), extensively managed species-poor grassland

  8. 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.

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

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    S. Wehn

    2018-04-01

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

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

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    Lucy E. Ridding

    2015-07-01

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

  11. Stomatal conductance of semi-natural Mediterranean grasslands: Implications for the development of ozone critical levels

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Alonso, R.; Bermejo, V.; Sanz, J.; Valls, B.; Elvira, S.; Gimeno, B.S.

    2007-01-01

    Intra-genus and intra-specific variation and the influence of nitrogen enrichment on net assimilation and stomatal conductance of some annual Trifolium species of Mediterranean dehesa grasslands were assessed under experimental conditions. Also gas exchange rates were compared between some Leguminosae and Poaceae species growing in the field in a dehesa ecosystem in central Spain. The results showed that the previously reported different O 3 sensitivity of some Trifolium species growing in pots does not seem to be related to different maximum g s values. In addition, no clear differences on gas exchange rates could be attributed to Leguminosae and Poaceae families growing in the field, with intra-genus variation being more important than differences found between families. Further studies are needed to increase the database for developing a flux-based approach for setting O 3 critical levels for semi-natural Mediterranean species. - The stomatal conductance model incorporated within the EMEP DO 3 SE deposition module needs to be re-parameterised for Mediterranean semi-natural vegetation

  12. Biological transport of radiocaesium in a semi-natural grassland ecosystem: Pt.1

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rudge, S.A.; Johnson, M.S.; Leah, R.T.

    1993-01-01

    An unused area of the British Nuclear Fuels plc low level disposal site at Drigg in Cumbria, together with a control site in Cheshire, have been used to investigate the behaviour of 137 Cs in semi-natural grasslands over the period 1985-1988. Both sites showed significant inputs of 137 Cs and 134 Cs from the Chernobyl incident in 1986, estimated at up to 7330 Bq/m 2 at Drigg and less than 230 Bq/m 2 in Cheshire. Surface soil horizons showed the highest levels of 137 Cs and 134 Cs. During the study period, the dominant contribution to radiocaesium in soil and vegetation was from Chernobyl. Significant inter-specific variation in caesium concentrations of grasses was observed with an exponential decrease from June 1986 through to the summer of 1987, followed by secondary peak in autumn 1987. Samples collected in the spring of 1988 showed 137 Cs concentrations approaching pre-Chernobyl levels. Marked inter-specific and temporal differences in concentrations of radio-caesium were recorded for invertebrate populations. Radioactivity levels in herbivorous invertebrates were approximately proportional to levels in their diets with concentration decreasing form the 1986 summer peak recorded after the input of Chernobyl radioactivity to the low levels observed during the summer of 1987. Herbivorous and predatory invertebrates showed similar concentrations of 137 Cs but both groups were lower in radiocaesium than detritivorous species. (Author)

  13. CLASSIFICATION OF SEMI-NATURAL GRASSLANDS IN NORTH-EASTERN BULGARIA

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    IVA APOSTOLOVA

    2006-01-01

    Full Text Available This study presents the syntaxonomic diversity of the semi-natural grasslands in NorthEastern Bulgaria following the principles of the Ziirich-Montpellier School. A total number of 172 releves, collected during 2002-2004, is used. TWINSPAN clustering is applied for determination vegetation types. The diagnostic species groups for the associations and subassociations are created by Cocktail method using the phi-coefficient with values above 0.3 within the JUICE software. As a result class Fesluco-Brometea is established with the alliances Festucion valesiacae, Pimpinello-Thymion and Chrysopogoni-Danthonion. The originally described Botriochloetum ischaemi Pop 1977 association is considered as typical on the subassociation level and a part of our releves are referred to it. Following the nomenclature rules we determined the subassotiation typicum. One new subassociation named Thymefosum pannonici of more xerophytic character, as compared to typical one, and well represented by differential species is established. The geographical distribution of Agropyro-Thymetum zygoidi and Agrostideto-Chrysopogonetum grylli associations is extended to the territory of Bulgaria. Class Molinio-Arrhenalherefea is represented by Cynosurion alliance and Festuco-Agrostidetum association is established by its probably most eastern area of distribution.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-07-15

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

  15. Is multifunctionality the future of mountain pastoralism? Lessons from the management of semi-natural grasslands in the Pyrenees

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    López-i-Gelats, F.; Rivera-Ferre, M.G.; Madruga-Andreu, C.; Bartolomé-Filella, J.

    2015-07-01

    Land abandonment is pervasive in mountainous Europe. In the present situation of price-cost squeeze on pastoral households and general shift in the role of farming, the development of farming abandonment risk regions is generally associated with adoption of new multifunctional rural development strategies, such as farm tourism, which in the end entail less time being devoted to farming practices. We explored the effects of such developmental scheme on the preservation of semi-natural grasslands, in particular, and on the sustainability of mountain pastoralism, in general. While the effects on the preservation of semi-natural grasslands of full abandonment have been extensively explored, this is not the case of partial abandonment. Results showed that the adoption of simplified and low-cost management regimes, associated with partial abandonment and the increased adoption of part-time farming, immerses semi-natural grasslands in processes of secondary succession that undermine both their conservation and pastoral functions. This points the need for caution when endorsing multifunctional developmental schemes in farming abandonment risk regions, particularly when those imply less labor being devoted to pastoral practices. In conclusion, we stress that in farming abandonment risk regions it is possible to guarantee both viable pastoralism and diversified rural economy. However, it is necessary to implement developmental strategies that are centered on stimulating synergies between pastoralism and other economic activities, rather than promoting activities that depend on additional farmers’ polyvalence. (Author)

  16. Is multifunctionality the future of mountain pastoralism? Lessons from the management of semi-natural grasslands in the Pyrenees

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    López-i-Gelats, F.; Rivera-Ferre, M.G.; Madruga-Andreu, C.; Bartolomé-Filella, J.

    2015-01-01

    Land abandonment is pervasive in mountainous Europe. In the present situation of price-cost squeeze on pastoral households and general shift in the role of farming, the development of farming abandonment risk regions is generally associated with adoption of new multifunctional rural development strategies, such as farm tourism, which in the end entail less time being devoted to farming practices. We explored the effects of such developmental scheme on the preservation of semi-natural grasslands, in particular, and on the sustainability of mountain pastoralism, in general. While the effects on the preservation of semi-natural grasslands of full abandonment have been extensively explored, this is not the case of partial abandonment. Results showed that the adoption of simplified and low-cost management regimes, associated with partial abandonment and the increased adoption of part-time farming, immerses semi-natural grasslands in processes of secondary succession that undermine both their conservation and pastoral functions. This points the need for caution when endorsing multifunctional developmental schemes in farming abandonment risk regions, particularly when those imply less labor being devoted to pastoral practices. In conclusion, we stress that in farming abandonment risk regions it is possible to guarantee both viable pastoralism and diversified rural economy. However, it is necessary to implement developmental strategies that are centered on stimulating synergies between pastoralism and other economic activities, rather than promoting activities that depend on additional farmers’ polyvalence. (Author)

  17. Is multifunctionality the future of mountain pastoralism? Lessons from the management of semi-natural grasslands in the Pyrenees

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Feliu López-i-Gelats

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Land abandonment is pervasive in mountainous Europe. In the present situation of price-cost squeeze on pastoral households and general shift in the role of farming, the development of farming abandonment risk regions is generally associated with adoption of new multifunctional rural development strategies, such as farm tourism, which in the end entail less time being devoted to farming practices. We explored the effects of such developmental scheme on the preservation of semi-natural grasslands, in particular, and on the sustainability of mountain pastoralism, in general. While the effects on the preservation of semi-natural grasslands of full abandonment have been extensively explored, this is not the case of partial abandonment. Results showed that the adoption of simplified and low-cost management regimes, associated with partial abandonment and the increased adoption of part-time farming, immerses semi-natural grasslands in processes of secondary succession that undermine both their conservation and pastoral functions. This points the need for caution when endorsing multifunctional developmental schemes in farming abandonment risk regions, particularly when those imply less labor being devoted to pastoral practices. In conclusion, we stress that in farming abandonment risk regions it is possible to guarantee both viable pastoralism and diversified rural economy. However, it is necessary to implement developmental strategies that are centered on stimulating synergies between pastoralism and other economic activities, rather than promoting activities that depend on additional farmers’ polyvalence.

  18. Elevated atmospheric CO2 in a semi-natural grassland: Root dynamics, decomposition and soil C balances

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sindhoej, Erik

    2001-01-01

    This thesis focuses on how elevated atmospheric CO 2 affects a semi-natural grassland, with emphasis on root growth, decomposition and the subsequent long-term effects on soil C balances. Parts of a semi-natural grassland in Central Sweden were enclosed in open-top chambers and exposed to ambient and elevated levels of CO 2 (+350 μmol mol -1 ) from 1995 to 2000, while chamberless rings were used for controls. Root dynamics were observed with minirhizotrons while root biomass and production were studied with soil cores and ingrowth cores. Roots collected from ingrowth cores were incubated under controlled conditions for 160 days to measure root decomposition rates. Treatment-induced differences in microclimate, C input and root decomposability were entered into the ICBM soil C balance model for 30-year projections of soil C balances for the three treatments. Elevated CO 2 chambers had higher biomass production both above and below ground compared to ambient, however the root response increased over the years while the shoot response decreased. Plants grown under elevated CO 2 had greater water-use efficiency compared to ambient, which was shown in higher soil moisture and greater biomass production during slightly dry years. Elevated CO 2 chambers showed higher root appearance rates in spring and higher disappearance rates during autumn and winter. Roots from plants grown under elevated CO 2 decomposed more rapidly. The decreased input and the drier conditions in the ambient chambers were projected to lead to a 1.7% decrease in soil C over 30 years. Under elevated CO 2 , however, the increased input compensated for the higher root decomposability and moister soil conditions and lead only to a projected 1.3% decrease in soil C. This work shows that six years of elevated CO 2 exposure had extensive effects on this semi-natural grassland. The CO 2 response of the grassland was dependent on weather conditions and production increased most when under slight water stress

  19. Leaching of biomass from semi-natural grasslands – Effects on chemical composition and ash high-temperature behaviour

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tonn, Bettina; Thumm, Ulrich; Lewandowski, Iris; Claupein, Wilhelm

    2012-01-01

    Combustion of biodiversity-rich semi-natural grassland biomass no longer needed for forage allows nature conservation to be combined with bioenergy production. Natural leaching by rainfall during the period between biomass harvest and collection can reduce the content of elements detrimental for the combustion of grassland biomass. This study assesses the influence of biomass characteristics on leaching efficiency and the potential effects of leaching on ash melting behaviour and elemental release. Grassland biomass harvested from five sites at two harvest dates was leached at two intensities. Low-temperature ash was heated to 700, 800, 900 and 1000 °C respectively and classified into four ash fusion classes. Ash mass loss was determined as a measure of high-temperature elemental release. Weather data were used to calculate the frequency of weather conditions favourable to on-field leaching. K and Cl were leached most strongly and were reduced by 30 and 45% respectively by a leaching treatment corresponding to 30–40 mm of rain. The effects of site and harvest date on leaching efficiency were significant but small. Ash melting behaviour and elemental release between 700 and 900 °C were favourably influenced by leaching. The K/(Ca + Mg) and Si/ash ratios were related to increased ash melting. In this respect, semi-natural grassland biomass differs from other, less Ca-rich, herbaceous biofuels. Even if suitable weather conditions are not occurring frequently at the study sites, on-field leaching can offer an additional low-cost, on-farm strategy option for farmers and nature conservation agencies to improve biomass quality of nature conservation grasslands for combustion. -- Graphical abstract: Highlights: ► Combustion of biomass from biodiversity-rich nature conservation grassland. ► Leaching by rain during the field period reduces K and Cl concentrations. ► Increasing K/(Ca + Mg) and decreasing (K + Ca + Mg)/ash ratios increase ash melting. ► Leaching

  20. Carbon storage potential in size–density fractions from semi-natural grassland ecosystems with different productivities over varying soil depths

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Breulmann, Marc; Boettger, Tatjana; Buscot, François; Gruendling, Ralf; Schulz, Elke

    2016-01-01

    Researchers have increasingly recognised a profound need for more information on SOC stocks in the soil and the factors governing their stability and dynamics. Many questions still remain unanswered about the interplay between changes in plant communities and the extent to which changes in aboveground productivity affect the carbon dynamics in soils through changes in its quantity and quality. Therefore, the main aim of this research was to examine the SOC accumulation potential of semi-natural grasslands of different productivities and determine the distribution of SOM fractions over varying soil depth intervals (0–10, 10–20, 20–30 30–50 50–80 and 80 + cm). SOM fractionation was considered as a relative measure of stability to separate SOM associated with clay minerals from SOM of specific light densities less than 2 g cm"−"3 (size-density fractionation). Two clay-associated fractions (CF1, < 1 μm; and CF2, 1–2 μm) and two light fractions (LF1, < 1.8 g cm"−"3; and LF2, 1.8–2.0 g cm"−"3) were separated. The stability of these fractions was characterised by their carbon hot water extractability (C_H_W_E) and stable carbon isotope composition. In the semi-natural grasslands studied, most OC was stored in the top 30 cm, where turnover is rapid. Effects of low productivity grasslands became only significantly apparent when fractional OC contributions of total SOM was considered (CF1 and LF1). In deeper soil depths OC was largely attributed to the CF1 fraction of low productivity grasslands. We suggest that the majority of OM in deeper soil depth intervals is microbially-derived, as evidenced by decreasing C/N ratios and decreasing δ"1"3C values. The hot water extraction and natural δ"1"3C abundance, employed here allowed the characterisation of SOM stabilisation properties, however how climatic changes affect the fate of OM within different soil depth intervals is still unknown. - Highlights: • OC stocks over varying soil depths in extensively

  1. Carbon storage potential in size–density fractions from semi-natural grassland ecosystems with different productivities over varying soil depths

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Breulmann, Marc [Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Department of Soil Ecology, Theodor-Lieser-Str. 4, 06120 Halle (Germany); Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Environmental and Biotechnology Centre (UBZ), Permoserstraße 15, 04318 Leipzig (Germany); Boettger, Tatjana [Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Department of Isotope Hydrology, Theodor-Lieser-Str. 4, D-06120 Halle (Germany); Buscot, François [Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Department of Soil Ecology, Theodor-Lieser-Str. 4, 06120 Halle (Germany); German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Deutscher Platz 5e, 04103 Leipzig (Germany); Gruendling, Ralf [Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Department, Department of Soil Physics, Theodor-Lieser-Str. 4, D-06120 Halle (Germany); Schulz, Elke [Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Department of Soil Ecology, Theodor-Lieser-Str. 4, 06120 Halle (Germany)

    2016-03-01

    Researchers have increasingly recognised a profound need for more information on SOC stocks in the soil and the factors governing their stability and dynamics. Many questions still remain unanswered about the interplay between changes in plant communities and the extent to which changes in aboveground productivity affect the carbon dynamics in soils through changes in its quantity and quality. Therefore, the main aim of this research was to examine the SOC accumulation potential of semi-natural grasslands of different productivities and determine the distribution of SOM fractions over varying soil depth intervals (0–10, 10–20, 20–30 30–50 50–80 and 80 + cm). SOM fractionation was considered as a relative measure of stability to separate SOM associated with clay minerals from SOM of specific light densities less than 2 g cm{sup −3} (size-density fractionation). Two clay-associated fractions (CF1, < 1 μm; and CF2, 1–2 μm) and two light fractions (LF1, < 1.8 g cm{sup −3}; and LF2, 1.8–2.0 g cm{sup −3}) were separated. The stability of these fractions was characterised by their carbon hot water extractability (C{sub HWE}) and stable carbon isotope composition. In the semi-natural grasslands studied, most OC was stored in the top 30 cm, where turnover is rapid. Effects of low productivity grasslands became only significantly apparent when fractional OC contributions of total SOM was considered (CF1 and LF1). In deeper soil depths OC was largely attributed to the CF1 fraction of low productivity grasslands. We suggest that the majority of OM in deeper soil depth intervals is microbially-derived, as evidenced by decreasing C/N ratios and decreasing δ{sup 13}C values. The hot water extraction and natural δ{sup 13}C abundance, employed here allowed the characterisation of SOM stabilisation properties, however how climatic changes affect the fate of OM within different soil depth intervals is still unknown. - Highlights: • OC stocks over varying

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2005-03-01

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

  3. Milk fatty acid composition and associated rumen lipolysis and fatty acid hydrogenation when feeding forages from intensively managed or semi-natural grasslands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Lourenco, M.; Vlaeminck, B.; Bruinenberg, M.H.; Demeyer, D.; Fievez, V.

    2005-01-01

    In order to evaluate the effect of replacing intensive forage by semi-natural grassland products on rumen lipid metabolism and milk fatty acid composition, four lactating and rumen canulated Holstein cows were used in a 4×4 Latin square design. Four different diets were fed: diet 100 IM - 100%

  4. Floristic composition of a Swedish semi-natural grassland during six years of elevated atmospheric CO2

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Marissink, Mark; Hansson, Margareta

    2002-01-01

    A semi-natural grassland in Sweden was exposed to an elevated CO 2 concentration during a six-year open-top chamber experiment. Vegetation composition was assessed twice a year using the point-intercept method. The field had been grazed previously, but when the experiment started this was replaced with a cutting regime with one cut (down to ground level) each year in early August. From the third to the sixth year of the study the harvested material was divided into legumes, non-leguminous forbs and grasses, dried and weighed. Elevated CO 2 had an effect on species composition (as analysed by Principal Component Analysis) that increased over time. It also tended to increase diversity (Shannon index) in summer, but reduce it in spring. However, the effects of the weather and/or time on species composition and diversity were much more prominent than CO 2 effects. Since the weather was largely directional over time (from dry to wet), with the exception of the fifth year, it was difficult to distinguish between weather effects and changes caused by a changed management regime. In all treatments, grasses increased over time in both mass and point-intercept measurements, whereas non-leguminous forbs decreased in mass, but not in point-intercept measurements. Legumes increased in the point-intercept measurements, but not in biomass, at elevated CO 2 , but not in the other treatments. Overall, we found that elevated CO 2 affected species composition; however, it was only one of many factors and a rather weak one

  5. Floristic composition of a Swedish semi-natural grassland during six years of elevated atmospheric CO{sub 2}

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Marissink, Mark; Hansson, Margareta [Swedish Univ. of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala (Sweden). Dept. of Ecology and Crop Production Science

    2002-10-01

    A semi-natural grassland in Sweden was exposed to an elevated CO{sub 2} concentration during a six-year open-top chamber experiment. Vegetation composition was assessed twice a year using the point-intercept method. The field had been grazed previously, but when the experiment started this was replaced with a cutting regime with one cut (down to ground level) each year in early August. From the third to the sixth year of the study the harvested material was divided into legumes, non-leguminous forbs and grasses, dried and weighed. Elevated CO{sub 2} had an effect on species composition (as analysed by Principal Component Analysis) that increased over time. It also tended to increase diversity (Shannon index) in summer, but reduce it in spring. However, the effects of the weather and/or time on species composition and diversity were much more prominent than CO{sub 2} effects. Since the weather was largely directional over time (from dry to wet), with the exception of the fifth year, it was difficult to distinguish between weather effects and changes caused by a changed management regime. In all treatments, grasses increased over time in both mass and point-intercept measurements, whereas non-leguminous forbs decreased in mass, but not in point-intercept measurements. Legumes increased in the point-intercept measurements, but not in biomass, at elevated CO{sub 2}, but not in the other treatments. Overall, we found that elevated CO{sub 2} affected species composition; however, it was only one of many factors and a rather weak one.

  6. Land-use changes, farm management and the decline of butterflies associated with semi-natural grasslands in southern Sweden

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sven G. Nilsson

    2013-11-01

    Full Text Available Currently, we are experiencing biodiversity loss on different spatial scales. One of the best studied taxonomic groups in decline is the butterflies. Here, we review evidence for such declines using five systematic studies from southern Sweden that compare old butterfly surveys with the current situation. Additionally, we provide data on butterfly and burnet moth extinctions in the region’s counties. In some local areas, half of the butterfly fauna has been lost during the last 60-100 years. In terms of extinctions, counties have lost 2-10 butterfly and burnet moth species. Land use has changed markedly with key butterfly habitats such as hay meadows disappearing at alarming rates. Grazed, mixed open woodlands have been transformed into dense coniferous forests and clear-cuts and domestic grazers have been relocated from woodlands to arable fields and semi-natural grasslands. Ley has increased rapidly and is used for bale silage repeatedly during the season. Overall, the changed and intensified land use has markedly reduced the availability of nectar resources in the landscape. Species that decline in Sweden are strongly decreasing or already extinct in other parts of Europe. Many typical grassland species that were numerous in former times have declined severely; among those Hesperia comma, Lycaena virgaureae, Lycaena hippothoe, Argynnis adippe, and Polyommatus semiargus. Also, species associated with open woodlands and wetlands such as, Colias palaeno, Boloria euphrosyne and the glade-inhabiting Leptidea sinapis have all decreased markedly. Current management practise and EU Common Agricultural Policy rules favour intensive grazing on the remaining semi-natural grasslands, with strong negative effects on butterfly diversity. Abandoned grasslands are very common in less productive areas of southern Sweden and these habitats may soon become forests. There is an urgent need for immediate action to preserve unfertilized, mown and lightly grazed

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  9. Estimation of nitrogen balance between the atmosphere and Lake Balaton and a semi natural grassland in Hungary

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kugler, Sz.; Horvath, L.; Machon, A.

    2008-01-01

    The paper summarises the results to determine the fluxes of different N-compounds within the atmosphere and an aquatic and a terrestrial ecosystems, in Hungary. In the exchange processes of N-compounds between atmosphere and various ecosystems the deposition dominates. The net deposition fluxes are -730, -1 270 and -1530 mg N m -2 yr -1 for water, grassland, and forest ecosystems, respectively. For water, the main source of nitrogen compounds is the wet deposition. Ammonia gas is close to the equilibrium between the water and the air. For grassland the dry flux of nitric acid and ammonia is also an important term beside the wet deposition. Dry deposition to terrestrial ecosystems is roughly two times higher than wet deposition. A total of 8-10% of the nitrates and NH x deposited to terrestrial ecosystems are re-emitted into the air in the form of nitrous oxide (N 2 O) greenhouse gas. - The paper summarises the results of works to determine the N-flux between atmosphere and terrestrial/aquatic ecosystems in Hungary

  10. Identifying ozone-sensitive communities of (semi-)natural vegetation suitable for mapping exceedance of critical levels

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Mills, G.; Hayes, F.; Jones, M.L.M.; Cinderby, S.

    2007-01-01

    Using published data on the responses of individual species to ozone, 54 EUNIS (European Nature Information System) level 4 communities with six or more ozone-sensitive species (%OS) and c. 20% or more species tested for ozone sensitivity, were identified as potentially ozone-sensitive. The largest number of these communities (23) was associated with Grasslands, with Heathland, scrub and tundra, and Mires, bogs and fens having the next highest representation at 11 and 8 level 4 communities each respectively. Within the grasslands classification, E4 (Alpine and sub-alpine grasslands), E5 (Woodland fringes and clearings) and E1 (Dry grasslands) were the most sensitive with 68.1, 51.6 and 48.6%OS respectively. It is feasible to map the land-cover for these and other communities at level 2, but it may not be currently possible to map the land-cover for all communities identified to be ozone-sensitive at levels 3 and 4. - Grassland communities such as alpine and sub-alpine grasslands have the highest potential sensitivity ozone, based on the responses of their component species

  11. Energetic conversion of European semi-natural grassland silages through the integrated generation of solid fuel and biogas from biomass: energy yields and the fate of organic compounds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hensgen, Frank; Bühle, Lutz; Donnison, Iain; Heinsoo, Katrin; Wachendorf, Michael

    2014-02-01

    Twelve European habitat types were investigated to determine the influence of the IFBB technique (integrated generation of biogas and solid fuel from biomass) on the fate of organic compounds and energy yields of semi-natural grassland biomass. Concentration of organic compounds in silage and IFBB press cake (PC), mass flows within that system and methane yields of IFBB press fluids (PF) were determined. The gross energy yield of the IFBB technique was calculated in comparison to hay combustion (HC) and whole crop digestion (WCD). The IFBB treatment increased fibre and organic matter (OM) concentrations and lowered non-fibre carbohydrates and crude protein concentrations. The PF was highly digestible irrespective of habitat types, showing mean methane yields between 312.1 and 405.0 LN CH4 kg(-1) VS. Gross energy yields for the IFBB system (9.75-30.19MWh ha(-1)) were in the range of HC, outperformed WCD and were influenced by the habitat type. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. Functional responses of plant communities to management, landscape and historical factors in semi-natural grasslands

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Vandewalle, M.; Pursche, O.; de Bello, Francesco; Reitalu, T.; Prentice, H. C.; Lavorel, S.; Johansson, L. J.; Sykes, M. T.

    2014-01-01

    Roč. 25, č. 3 (2014), s. 750-759 ISSN 1100-9233 Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : biodiversity loss * grazing management * landscape history Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour Impact factor: 3.709, year: 2014

  13. The influence of low intensities of light pollution on bat communities in a semi-natural context.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aurelie Lacoeuilhe

    Full Text Available Anthropogenic light pollution is an increasingly significant issue worldwide. Over the past century, the use of artificial lighting has increased in association with human activity. Artificial lights are suspected to have substantial effects on the ecology of many species, e.g., by producing discontinuities in the territories of nocturnal animals. We analyzed the potential influence of the intensity and type of artificial light on bat activity in a semi-natural landscape in France. We used a species approach, followed by a trait-based approach, to light sensitivity. We also investigated whether the effect of light could be related to foraging traits. We performed acoustic surveys at sites located along a gradient of light intensities to assess the activity of 15 species of bats. We identified 2 functional response groups of species: one group that was light-tolerant and one group that was light-intolerant. Among the species in the latter group that appear to be disadvantaged by lighting conditions, many are rare and threatened in Europe, whereas the species from the former group are better able to thrive in disturbed habitats such as lighted areas and may actually benefit from artificial lighting. Finally, several methods of controlling light pollution are suggested for the conservation of bat communities. Recommendations for light management and the creation of dim-light corridors are proposed; these strategies may play an important role in protecting against the impact of light pollution on nocturnal animals.

  14. The influence of low intensities of light pollution on bat communities in a semi-natural context.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lacoeuilhe, Aurelie; Machon, Nathalie; Julien, Jean-François; Le Bocq, Agathe; Kerbiriou, Christian

    2014-01-01

    Anthropogenic light pollution is an increasingly significant issue worldwide. Over the past century, the use of artificial lighting has increased in association with human activity. Artificial lights are suspected to have substantial effects on the ecology of many species, e.g., by producing discontinuities in the territories of nocturnal animals. We analyzed the potential influence of the intensity and type of artificial light on bat activity in a semi-natural landscape in France. We used a species approach, followed by a trait-based approach, to light sensitivity. We also investigated whether the effect of light could be related to foraging traits. We performed acoustic surveys at sites located along a gradient of light intensities to assess the activity of 15 species of bats. We identified 2 functional response groups of species: one group that was light-tolerant and one group that was light-intolerant. Among the species in the latter group that appear to be disadvantaged by lighting conditions, many are rare and threatened in Europe, whereas the species from the former group are better able to thrive in disturbed habitats such as lighted areas and may actually benefit from artificial lighting. Finally, several methods of controlling light pollution are suggested for the conservation of bat communities. Recommendations for light management and the creation of dim-light corridors are proposed; these strategies may play an important role in protecting against the impact of light pollution on nocturnal animals.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tobias Ceulemans

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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2005-03-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2005-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Peter J Blank

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

  20. Grassland communities of urban open spaces in Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mamokete N.V. Dingaan

    2013-02-01

    Full Text Available Natural vegetation in urban environments is greatly impacted by human activities and it is in constant threat of degradation and destruction as a result of urbanisation. This vegetation, although fragmented, serves an important ecological function and needs to be properly managed and conserved. Studies on urban vegetation are lacking in South Africa, with only a handful having been carried out since the end of the last century. This study was initiated to identify, classify and describe the grassland communities of the urban open spaces in Bloemfontein. Relevés were compiled in 61 sample plots, where species present and habitat information were recorded. Care was taken to restrict sample plots to vegetation in pristine condition, wherever possible, and severely degraded stands were avoided. A two-way indicator species analysis (TWINSPAN classification, refined by Braun-Blanquet procedures, revealed two distinct major communities, seven communities and four sub-communities. Both detrended and canonical correspondence analyses indicated the vegetation units to be associated with soil texture and pH, although biotic factors such as overgrazing, burning and mowing also influence the composition of the vegetation. The proper management and conservation of urban open spaces requires in-depth knowledge of the spatial distribution, floristic, structural and functional compositions within the major vegetation types in this environment. The present study further contributed towards formulating ways for the proper management, utilisation and functioning of the open spaces within the Bloemfontein area.Conservation implications: The Grassland Biome of South Africa is poorly conserved, mainly because of its status as an agricultural hub of the country. The preservation of natural and semi-natural forms of urban vegetation is important because such vegetation, although often disturbed and degraded, could form dispersal corridors between peri-urban and rural

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  2. Hemiptera community and species responses to grassland sward islets

    OpenAIRE

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-12-08

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-10-01

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fengge Zhang

    2018-04-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

  8. Precipitation alters interactions in a grassland ecological community.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-03-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-11-01

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Craig Leisher

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

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

  14. The effect of grassland management on enchytraeids (Oligochaeta) communities

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Maraldo, Kristine; Schmelz, Rüdiger; Christensen, Bent Tolstrup

    2012-01-01

    Enchytraeids (small white earthworms between 3 to 35 mm) are important regulators of nitrogen turnover in grasslands, as their activities accelerate the decomposition and nutrient recycling processes. In this study, the effect of management on species composition, abundance and biomass of the enc...... biomass and density of the grazed plots are due to compaction by grazing animals....

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David Paul Belesky

    2016-06-01

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  17. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E. KOVACS-LANG

    2011-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ishak Yassir

    2016-06-01

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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2011-10-15

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hubert Zarnovican

    2017-06-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-12-01

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

  5. Drought consistently alters the composition of soil fungal and bacterial communities in grasslands from two continents.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ochoa-Hueso, Raúl; Collins, Scott L; Delgado-Baquerizo, Manuel; Hamonts, Kelly; Pockman, William T; Sinsabaugh, Robert L; Smith, Melinda D; Knapp, Alan K; Power, Sally A

    2018-03-05

    The effects of short-term drought on soil microbial communities remain largely unexplored, particularly at large scales and under field conditions. We used seven experimental sites from two continents (North America and Australia) to evaluate the impacts of imposed extreme drought on the abundance, community composition, richness, and function of soil bacterial and fungal communities. The sites encompassed different grassland ecosystems spanning a wide range of climatic and soil properties. Drought significantly altered the community composition of soil bacteria and, to a lesser extent, fungi in grasslands from two continents. The magnitude of the fungal community change was directly proportional to the precipitation gradient. This greater fungal sensitivity to drought at more mesic sites contrasts with the generally observed pattern of greater drought sensitivity of plant communities in more arid grasslands, suggesting that plant and microbial communities may respond differently along precipitation gradients. Actinobateria, and Chloroflexi, bacterial phyla typically dominant in dry environments, increased their relative abundance in response to drought, whereas Glomeromycetes, a fungal class regarded as widely symbiotic, decreased in relative abundance. The response of Chlamydiae and Tenericutes, two phyla of mostly pathogenic species, decreased and increased along the precipitation gradient, respectively. Soil enzyme activity consistently increased under drought, a response that was attributed to drought-induced changes in microbial community structure rather than to changes in abundance and diversity. Our results provide evidence that drought has a widespread effect on the assembly of microbial communities, one of the major drivers of soil function in terrestrial ecosystems. Such responses may have important implications for the provision of key ecosystem services, including nutrient cycling, and may result in the weakening of plant-microbial interactions and a

  6. The radioecological significance of semi-natural ecosystems

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Howard, B.J.; Howard, D.C.

    1997-01-01

    The transfer of radiocaesium to many food products either produced in or harvested from semi-natural ecosystems is high compared with intensive agricultural areas. Radiocaesium contamination levels in semi-natural foods are highly variable and difficult to predict. Spatial analysis may help to explain some of the variability and give improved estimates of the total output of radiocaesium in food products produced or harvested from semi-natural ecosystems. Consumption of foodstuffs from semi-natural ecosystems can contribute significantly to radiocaesium ingestion by humans. The long effective half-lives that occur for some semi-natural products lead to an increase with time in their importance compared with agricultural products. In determining the importance of semi-natural food products, the diet needs to be considered for both the average population and for special groups who utilize these environments to a greater extent than normal. Effective countermeasures have been developed to reduce radiocaesium levels in some semi-natural products. (author)

  7. Complementing endozoochorous seed dispersal patterns by donkeys and goats in a semi-natural island ecosystem.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Treitler, Julia Tabea; Drissen, Tim; Stadtmann, Robin; Zerbe, Stefan; Mantilla-Contreras, Jasmin

    2017-12-19

    Endozoochory is, in grazing systems, a substantial vector for seed dispersal. It can play an important role in vegetation dynamics, especially in colonization processes through seed input on the vegetation and on the soil seed bank. We investigated the endozoochorous seed input of donkeys and goats on a semi-natural island ecosystem in the Mediterranean. Through germination experiments, we assessed the viable seed content of the dung of these grazing animals to estimate their suitability and efficiency for seed dispersal of the vegetation types of the island. We show different dispersal patterns of donkeys and goats. Goats disperse a high number of diaspores from shrubs while donkeys disperse more diaspores of grasses. In addition, goats disperse plants of greater growth height and donkeys plants of shorter height. These dispersal patterns are in accordance with the vegetation types of which donkeys and goats disperse indicator species. Both, donkeys and goats, feed on and disperse species of the vegetation types, open grassland and temporarily wet grassland. In addition, goats feed on and disperse diagnostic species of the semi-open maquis and preforest formations. Overall, our results show that donkeys and goats are complementing each other in their endozoochorous seed dispersal potential. This emphasizes the importance of both grazing animals for the vegetation dynamics of the semi-natural island ecosystem. Therefore, the adaption of the goat management to a traditional land management based on directed transhumance might maintain and enrich vegetation types.

  8. Does species diversity limit productivity in natural grassland communities?

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Grace, James B.; Anderson, T. Michael; Smith, Melinda D.; Seabloom, Eric; Andelman, Sandy J.; Meche, Gayna; Weiher, Evan; Allain, Larry K.; Jutila, Heli; Sankaran, Mahesh; Knops, Johannes; Ritchie, Mark; Willig, Michael R.

    Theoretical analyses and experimental studies of synthesized assemblages indicate that under particular circumstances species diversity can enhance community productivity through niche complementarity. It remains unclear whether this process has important effects in mature natural ecosystems where

  9. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marcelo Fett Pinto

    2013-03-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lu, Ping; Guo, Jixun; Zhu, Li

    2002-06-01

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

  12. DRY CALCAREOUS GRASSLAND COMMUNITIES (FILIPENDULA VULGARIS-HELICTOTRICHON PRATENSE IN WESTERN AND CENTRAL LATVIA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. RUSINA

    2003-06-01

    Full Text Available The dry calcareous grassland vegetation of Westem and Central Latvia is described based on 93 rclevés, Ali relevés could be assigned to one community type Filipendula vulgaris-Helictotrichon pratense named according to dominant species. Four variants were distinguished: typicum, Viscaria vulgaris, Astragalus danicus and Carex flacca. Ellenberg indìcator values were calculated to study the ecology of communities. Floristic differences among variants are associated mainly with soil reaction (Ellenberg indicator values for soil pH range from 6.0 to 7.6, but conditions of moisture and fertility are similar among the variants. The calcareous grassland vegetation in Latvia represents transition vegetation between the c1asses Molinio-Arrhenatheretea and Festuco-Brometea. However, ecologically and floristically, these communities are closer to the class Festuco-Brometea and could be assigned to the order Brometalia. For designation to alliance and associations, more data is required. The results are compared with similar communities in other European countries.

  13. Modelling stomatal ozone flux and deposition to grassland communities across Europe

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ashmore, M.R.; Bueker, P.; Emberson, L.D.; Terry, A.C.; Toet, S.

    2007-01-01

    Regional scale modelling of both ozone deposition and the risk of ozone impacts is poorly developed for grassland communities. This paper presents new predictions of stomatal ozone flux to grasslands at five different locations in Europe, using a mechanistic model of canopy development for productive grasslands to generate time series of leaf area index and soil water potential as inputs to the stomatal component of the DO 3 SE ozone deposition model. The parameterisation of both models was based on Lolium perenne, a dominant species of productive pasture in Europe. The modelled seasonal time course of stomatal ozone flux to both the whole canopy and to upper leaves showed large differences between climatic zones, which depended on the timing of the start of the growing season, the effect of soil water potential, and the frequency of hay cuts. Values of modelled accumulated flux indices and the AOT40 index showed a five-fold difference between locations, but the locations with the highest flux differed depending on the index used; the period contributing to the accumulation of AOT40 did not always coincide with the modelled period of active ozone canopy uptake. Use of a fixed seasonal profile of leaf area index in the flux model produced very different estimates of annual accumulated total canopy and leaf ozone flux when compared with the flux model linked to a simulation of canopy growth. Regional scale model estimates of both the risks of ozone impacts and of total ozone deposition will be inaccurate unless the effects of climate and management in modifying grass canopy growth are incorporated. - Modelled stomatal flux of ozone to productive grasslands in Europe shows different spatial and temporal variation to AOT40, and is modified by management and soil water status

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-08-01

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

  15. Factors that influence the beta-diversity of spider communities in northwestern Argentinean Grasslands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sandra M. Rodriguez-Artigas

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available Beta-diversity, defined as spatial replacement in species composition, is crucial to the understanding of how local communities assemble. These changes can be driven by environmental or geographic factors (such as geographic distance, or a combination of the two. Spiders have been shown to be good indicators of environmental quality. Accordingly, spiders are used in this work as model taxa to establish whether there is a decrease in community similarity that corresponds to geographic distance in the grasslands of the Campos & Malezales ecoregion (Corrientes. Furthermore, the influence of climactic factors and local vegetation heterogeneity (environmental factors on assemblage composition was evaluated. Finally, this study evaluated whether the differential dispersal capacity of spider families is a factor that influences their community structure at a regional scale. Spiders were collected with a G-Vac from vegetation in six grassland sites in the Campos & Malezales ecoregion that were separated by a minimum of 13 km. With this data, the impact of alpha-diversity and different environmental variables on the beta-diversity of spider communities was analysed. Likewise, the importance of species replacement and nesting on beta-diversity and their contribution to the regional diversity of spider families with different dispersion capacities was evaluated. The regional and site-specific inventories obtained were complete. The similarity between spider communities declined as the geographic distance between sites increased. Environmental variables also influenced community composition; stochastic events and abiotic forces were the principal intervening factors in assembly structure. The differential dispersal capacity of spider groups also influenced community structure at a regional scale. The regional beta-diversity, as well as species replacement, was greater in high and intermediate vagility spiders; while nesting was greater in spiders with low

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jana Knappová

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-10-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Renhui Miao

    2016-06-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ed-Haun Chang

    2017-10-01

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

  20. Grassland to woodland transitions: Dynamic response of microbial community structure and carbon use patterns

    Science.gov (United States)

    Creamer, Courtney A.; Filley, Timothy R.; Boutton, Thomas W.; Rowe, Helen I.

    2016-06-01

    Woodland encroachment into grasslands is a globally pervasive phenomenon attributed to land use change, fire suppression, and climate change. This vegetation shift impacts ecosystem services such as ground water allocation, carbon (C) and nutrient status of soils, aboveground and belowground biodiversity, and soil structure. We hypothesized that woodland encroachment would alter microbial community structure and function and would be related to patterns in soil C accumulation. To address this hypothesis, we measured the composition and δ13C values of soil microbial phospholipids (PLFAs) along successional chronosequences from C4-dominated grasslands to C3-dominated woodlands (small discrete clusters and larger groves) spanning up to 134 years. Woodland development increased microbial biomass, soil C and nitrogen (N) concentrations, and altered microbial community composition. The relative abundance of gram-negative bacteria (cy19:0) increased linearly with stand age, consistent with decreases in soil pH and/or greater rhizosphere development and corresponding increases in C inputs. δ13C values of all PLFAs decreased with time following woody encroachment, indicating assimilation of woodland C sources. Among the microbial groups, fungi and actinobacteria in woodland soils selectively assimilated grassland C to a greater extent than its contribution to bulk soil. Between the two woodland types, microbes in the groves incorporated relatively more of the relict C4-C than those in the clusters, potentially due to differences in below ground plant C allocation and organo-mineral association. Changes in plant productivity and C accessibility (rather than C chemistry) dictated microbial C utilization in this system in response to shrub encroachment.

  1. The use of Polarimetric EMISAR for the Mapping and Characterization of the Semi-Natural Environment

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sørensen, Stefán Meulengracht

    Methods for segmentation and restoration of SAR data using Markov Random Fields (MRF) have been studied extensively by many researchers over the last two decades. What is of special interest is not only methods for segmentation and classification of SAR data for land cover labeling applications......-natural environments under study are very small, it is crucial for this investigation that the restoration methods are capable of restoring fine structures as well as preserving homogeneous areas. The restorations are carried out in a signal adaptive mode using MRF in a Bayesian framework. Different a priori models...... on statistics derived from the ratio images is presented together with comparative analyses of restorations using ICM and SA. The relation between the restored polarimetric SAR data and in situ data collected at two semi-natural wetland and grassland areas is investigated using multivariate techniques...

  2. Assessing the Impact of Spectral Resolution on Classification of Lowland Native Grassland Communities Based on Field Spectroscopy in Tasmania, Australia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bethany Melville

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available This paper presents a case study for the analysis of endangered lowland native grassland communities in the Tasmanian Midlands region using field spectroscopy and spectral convolution techniques. The aim of the study was to determine whether there was significant improvement in classification accuracy for lowland native grasslands and other vegetation communities based on hyperspectral resolution datasets over multispectral equivalents. A spectral dataset was collected using an ASD Handheld-2 spectroradiometer at Tunbridge Township Lagoon. The study then employed a k-fold cross-validation approach for repeated classification of a full hyperspectral dataset, a reduced hyperspectral dataset, and two convoluted multispectral datasets. Classification was performed on each of the four datasets a total of 30 times, based on two different class configurations. The classes analysed were Themeda triandra grassland, Danthonia/Poa grassland, Wilsonia rotundifolia/Selliera radicans, saltpan, and a simplified C3 vegetation class. The results of the classifications were then tested for statistically significant differences using ANOVA and Tukey’s post-hoc comparisons. The results of the study indicated that hyperspectral resolution provides small but statistically significant increases in classification accuracy for Themeda and Danthonia grasslands. For other classes, differences in classification accuracy for all datasets were not statistically significant. The results obtained here indicate that there is some potential for enhanced detection of major lowland native grassland community types using hyperspectral resolution datasets, and that future analysis should prioritise good performance in these classes over others. This study presents a method for identification of optimal spectral resolution across multiple datasets, and constitutes an important case study for lowland native grassland mapping in Tasmania.

  3. Community structure of grassland ground-dwelling arthropods along increasing soil salinities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pan, Chengchen; Feng, Qi; Liu, Jiliang; Li, Yulin; Li, Yuqiang; Yu, Xiaoya

    2018-03-01

    Ground-dwelling arthropod communities are influenced by numerous biotic and abiotic factors. Little is known, however, about the relative importance of vegetation structure and abiotic environmental factors on the patterns of ground-dwelling arthropod community across a wide range of soil salinities. Here, a field survey was conducted to assess the driving forces controlling ground-dwelling arthropod community in the salinized grasslands in the Hexi Corridor, Gansu Province, China. The data were analyzed by variance partitioning with canonical correspondence analysis (CCA). We found that vegetation structure and edaphic factors were at least of similar importance to the pattern of the whole ground-dwelling arthropod community. However, when all collected ground-dwelling arthropods were categorized into three trophic guilds (predators, herbivores, and decomposers), as these groups use different food sources, their populations were controlled by different driving forces. Predators and decomposers were mainly determined by biotic factors such as vegetation cover and aboveground plant biomass and herbivores by plant density and vegetation cover. Abiotic factors were also major determinants for the variation occurring in these guilds, with predators strongly affected by soil electrical conductivity (EC) and the content of fine particles (silt + clay, CS), herbivores by soil N:P, EC, and CS, and decomposers by soil EC and organic matter content (SOM). Since plant cover, density, and aboveground biomass can indicate resource availability, which are mainly constrained by soil N:P, EC, CS, and SOM, we consider that the ground-dwelling arthropod community in the salinized grasslands was mainly influenced by resource availability.

  4. Thermoregulation under semi-natural conditions in speckled ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    We recorded body temperature (Tb) in speckled mousebirds (Colius striatus) under semi-natural conditions in outdoor aviaries, and examined interactions between behavioural and metabolic thermoregulation by experimentally manipulating food availability and communal roosting behaviour. When food was available ad ...

  5. Horse Welfare and Natural Values on Semi-Natural and Extensive Pastures in Finland: Synergies and Trade-Offs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Markku Saastamoinen

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available In several regions in Europe, the horse is becoming a common grazer on semi-natural and cultivated grasslands, though the pasturing benefits for animals and biodiversity alike are not universally appreciated. The composition of ground vegetation on pastures determines the value of both the forage for grazing animals as well as the biodiversity values for species associated with the pastoral ecosystems. We studied three pastures, each representing one of the management types in southern Finland (latitudes 60–61: semi-natural, permanent and cultivated grassland. All have been grazed exclusively by horses for several decades. We aimed to evaluate feeding values and horses’ welfare, on the one hand, and impacts of horses on biodiversity in boreal conditions, on the other. Though there were differences among the pastures, the nutritional value of the vegetation in all three pastures met the energy and protein needs of most horse categories through the whole grazing season. Some mineral concentrations were low compared to the requirements, and supplementation of Cu, Zn and Na is needed to balance the mineral intake. Only minor injuries or health problems were observed. All metrics of biological values, as well as number of species eaten by horses, were particularly high in a semi-natural pasture compared to other pasture types. The highest ratio of species cover preferred by horses to the total cover was found in the permanent pasture, while at the regularly re-seeded pasture, there was a particularly high cover of species, indicating low biodiversity values on grassland. There was, therefore, a trade-off between the quantity of forage and biological values in pastures, but not in quality. The results provide clear indication both for the suitability of the studied pasture types to horses and for grazing of horses for biodiversity management. In each pasture type, specific management is needed to simultaneously achieve objectives of adequate

  6. Cellulolytic potential under environmental changes in microbial communities from grassland litter

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Renaud eBerlemont

    2014-11-01

    Full Text Available In many ecosystems, global changes are likely to profoundly affect microorganisms. In Southern California, changes in precipitation and nitrogen deposition may influence the composition and functional potential of microbial communities and their resulting ability to degrade plant material. To test whether environmental changes impact the distribution of functional groups involved in leaf litter degradation, we determined how the genomic diversity of microbial communities in a semi-arid grassland ecosystem changed under reduced precipitation or increased N deposition. We monitored communities seasonally over a period of two years to place environmental change responses into the context of natural variation. Fungal and bacterial communities displayed strong seasonal patterns, Fungi being mostly detected during the dry season whereas Bacteria were common during wet periods. Most putative cellulose degraders were associated with 33 bacterial genera and constituted ~18.2% of the microbial community. Precipitation reduction reduced bacterial abundance and cellulolytic potential whereas nitrogen addition did not affect the cellulolytic potential of the microbial community. Finally, we detected a strong correlation between the frequencies of genera putative cellulose degraders and cellulase genes. Thus, microbial taxonomic composition was predictive of cellulolytic potential. This work provides a framework for how environmental changes affect microorganisms responsible for plant litter deconstruction.

  7. Soil Bacterial and Fungal Community Structure Across a Range of Unimproved and Semi-Improved Upland Grasslands

    OpenAIRE

    Kennedy, Nabla; Edwards, Suzanne; Clipson, Nicholas

    2005-01-01

    Changes in soil microbial community structure due to improvement are often attributed to concurrent shifts in floristic community composition. The bacterial and fungal communities of unimproved and semi-improved (as determined by floristic classification) grassland soils were studied at five upland sites on similar geological substrata using both broad-scale (microbial activity and fungal biomass) and molecular [terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (TRFLP)...

  8. 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...

  9. Local Environmental Factors Drive Divergent Grassland Soil Bacterial Communities in the Western Swiss Alps.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-11-01

    Mountain ecosystems are characterized by a diverse range of climatic and topographic conditions over short distances and are known to shelter a high biodiversity. Despite important progress, still little is known on bacterial diversity in mountain areas. Here, we investigated soil bacterial biogeography at more than 100 sampling sites randomly stratified across a 700-km 2 area with 2,200-m elevation gradient in the western Swiss Alps. Bacterial grassland communities were highly diverse, with 12,741 total operational taxonomic units (OTUs) across 100 sites and an average of 2,918 OTUs per site. Bacterial community structure was correlated with local climatic, topographic, and soil physicochemical parameters with high statistical significance. We found pH (correlated with % CaO and % mineral carbon), hydrogen index (correlated with bulk gravimetric water content), and annual average number of frost days during the growing season to be among the groups of the most important environmental drivers of bacterial community structure. In contrast, bacterial community structure was only weakly stratified as a function of elevation. Contrasting patterns were discovered for individual bacterial taxa. Acidobacteria responded both positively and negatively to pH extremes. Various families within the Bacteroidetes responded to available phosphorus levels. Different verrucomicrobial groups responded to electrical conductivity, total organic carbon, water content, and mineral carbon contents. Alpine grassland bacterial communities are thus highly diverse, which is likely due to the large variety of different environmental conditions. These results shed new light on the biodiversity of mountain ecosystems, which were already identified as potentially fragile to anthropogenic influences and climate change. This article addresses the question of how microbial communities in alpine regions are dependent on local climatic and soil physicochemical variables. We benefit from a unique 700

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nico Eisenhauer

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

  11. Conversion of sagebrush shrublands to exotic annual grasslands negatively impacts small mammal communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ostoja, S.M.; Schupp, E.W.

    2009-01-01

    Aim The exotic annual cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) is fast replacing sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) communities throughout the Great Basin Desert and nearby regions in the Western United States, impacting native plant communities and altering fire regimes, which contributes to the long-term persistence of this weedy species. The effect of this conversion on native faunal communities remains largely unexamined. We assess the impact of conversion from native perennial to exotic annual plant communities on desert rodent communities. Location Wyoming big sagebrush shrublands and nearby sites previously converted to cheatgrass-dominated annual grasslands in the Great Basin Desert, Utah, USA. Methods At two sites in Tooele County, Utah, USA, we investigated with Sherman live trapping whether intact sagebrush vegetation and nearby converted Bromus tectorum-dominated vegetation differed in rodent abundance, diversity and community composition. Results Rodent abundance and species richness were considerably greater in sagebrush plots than in cheatgrass-dominated plots. Nine species were captured in sagebrush plots; five of these were also trapped in cheatgrass plots, all at lower abundances than in the sagebrush. In contrast, cheatgrass-dominated plots had no species that were not found in sagebrush. In addition, the site that had been converted to cheatgrass longer had lower abundances of rodents than the site more recently converted to cheatgrass-dominated plots. Despite large differences in abundances and species richness, Simpson's D diversity and Shannon-Wiener diversity and Brillouin evenness indices did not differ between sagebrush and cheatgrass-dominated plots. Main conclusions This survey of rodent communities in native sagebrush and in converted cheatgrass-dominated vegetation suggests that the abundances and community composition of rodents may be shifting, potentially at the larger spatial scale of the entire Great Basin, where cheatgrass continues to invade

  12. 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

  13. Prescribed-fire effects on an aquatic community of a southwest montane grassland system

    Science.gov (United States)

    Caldwell, Colleen A.; Jacobi, Gerald Z.; Anderson, Michael C.; Parmenter, Robert R.; McGann, Jeanine; Gould, William R.; DuBey, Robert; Jacobi, M. Donna

    2013-01-01

    The use of prescription fire has long been recognized as a reliable management tool to suppress vegetative succession processes and to reduce fuel loading to prevent catastrophic wildfires, but very little attention has been paid to the effects on aquatic systems. A late-fall prescribed burn was implemented to characterize effects on an aquatic community within a montane grassland system in north-central New Mexico. The fire treatment was consistent with protocols of a managed burn except that the fire was allowed to burn through the riparian area to the treatment stream to replicate natural fire behavior. In addition to summer and fall preburn assessment of the treatment and reference stream, we characterized immediate postfire effects (within a week for macroinvertebrates and within 6 months for fish) and seasonal effects over a 2-year period. Responses within the treatment stream were compared with an unburned reference stream adjacent to the prescription burn. During the burn, the diel range in air temperature increased by 5°C while diel range in water temperature did not change. Carbon–nitrogen ratios did not differ between treatment and reference streams, indicating the contribution of ash from the surrounding grassland was negligible. Although total taxa and species richness of aquatic macroinvertebrates were not altered, qualitative indices revealed departure from preburn condition due to loss of sensitive taxa (mayflies [order Ephemeroptera] and stoneflies [order Plecoptera]) and an increase in tolerant taxa (midges [order Chironomidae]) following the burn. Within 1 year of the burn, these attributes returned to preburn conditions. The density and recruitment of adult Brown Trout Salmo trutta did not differ between pre- and postburn collections, nor did fish condition differ. Fire is rarely truly replicated within a given study. Although our study represents one replication, the results will inform managers about the importance in timing (seasonality

  14. Responses of a grassland arthropod community to chronic beta and gamma radiation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Styron, C.E.; Dodson, G.J.; Beauchamp, J.J.; Miller, F.L. Jr.

    1976-01-01

    A long-term project was initiated in 1968 at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to assess effects of mixed beta and gamma radiation from simulated fallout on a grassland ecosystem. Beta and gamma radiation dose rates in microhabitats of the experimentally contaminated enclosure were measured with LiF thermoluminescent microdosimeters. Extensive statistical analyses of data on numbers of individuals collected for each of 76 arthropod and 2 molluscan taxa have identified no lasting significant changes in similarity or species diversity of experimental versus control communities as the result of the long-term irradiation at low dose rates. Natural fluctuations in community dynamics obscured any possible radiation effects. Thus, the apparent threshold for mixed beta and gamma radiation inducing changes in community structure must be above the exposure rate range of 2.3 to 13 rad/day delivered during the 5 yr of observation. Establishing such a threshold is of importance in assessing the impact of communities subjected to chronic, low level environmental exposure to ionizing radiation

  15. Interspecific neighbor interactions promote the positive diversity-productivity relationship in experimental grassland communities.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yuhua Zhang

    Full Text Available Because the frequency of heterospecific interactions inevitably increases with species richness in a community, biodiversity effects must be expressed by such interactions. However, little is understood how heterospecific interactions affect ecosystem productivity because rarely are biodiversity ecosystem functioning experiments spatially explicitly manipulated. To test the effect of heterospecific interactions on productivity, direct evidence of heterospecific neighborhood interaction is needed. In this study we conducted experiments with a detailed spatial design to investigate whether and how heterospecific neighborhood interactions promote primary productivity in a grassland community. The results showed that increasing the heterospecific: conspecific contact ratio significantly increased productivity. We found there was a significant difference in the variation in plant height between monoculture and mixture communities, suggesting that height-asymmetric competition for light plays a central role in promoting productivity. Heterospecific interactions make tall plants grow taller and short plants become smaller in mixtures compared to monocultures, thereby increasing the efficiency of light interception and utilization. Overyielding in the mixture communities arises from the fact that the loss in the growth of short plants is compensated by the increased growth of tall plants. The positive correlation between species richness and primary production was strengthened by increasing the frequency of heterospecific interactions. We conclude that species richness significantly promotes primary ecosystem production through heterospecific neighborhood interactions.

  16. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-03-01

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

  18. Allelopathic dominance ofMiscanthus transmorrisonensis in an alpine grassland community in Taiwan.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chou, C H; Lee, Y F

    1991-11-01

    A study site located at 2600 m elevation in Tartarchia Anpu, Nantou county, Taiwan, exhibits a unique grassland community composed of two principal species,Miscanthus transmorrisonensis andYushinia niitakayamensis, and 35 other species. The relative frequencies of the two species are 12% and 11%, while their relative coverages are 25% and 19.5%, respectively. The values for the remaining 35 species are lower than4% each, while species diversity of the community is -3.04839, indicating great diversity. To elucidate the mechanism of dominance ofM. transmorrisonensis, allelopathic evaluation of the plant was conducted. Aqueous extracts of M.Transmorrisonensis plant parts with two ecotypes were bioassayed. The extracts showed significant phytotoxic effects on seed germination and radicle growth of four tested plants: rye grass, lettuce, and two varieties of Chinese cabbage. In addition, rhizosphere soils underMiscanthus also exhibited significant phytotoxicity, indicating that allelopathic interaction was involved. Some responsible phytotoxic phenolics, namely, p-coumaric, ferulic, vanillic, protocatechuic, o-hydroxyphenylacetic, andm-hydroxyphenylacetic acids, and 4-hydroxycoumarin and phloridzin were identified. Allelopathy thus can play an important role in regulating plant diversity in the field.

  19. Soil ecology and ecosystem services of dairy and semi-natural grasslands on peat

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Deru, Joachim G.C.; Bloem, Jaap; Goede, de Ron; Keidel, Harm; Kloen, Henk; Rutgers, Michiel; Akker, van den Jan; Brussaard, Lijbert; Eekeren, van Nick

    2018-01-01

    Peat wetlands are of major importance for ecosystem services such as carbon storage, water regulation and maintenance of biodiversity. However, peat drainage for farming leads to CO2 emission, soil subsidence and biodiversity losses. In the peat areas in the Netherlands, solutions are sought in

  20. Exposures from consumption of agricultural and semi-natural products

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Strand, P.; Skuterud, L.; Balonov, M.; Travnikova, I.; Hove, K.; Howard, B.; Prister, B.S.; Ratnikov, A.

    1996-01-01

    The importance of food from different production systems to the internal dose from radiocesium, was investigated in selected study sites in Ukraine and Russia. Food products from semi-natural ecosystems are major contributors to the individual internal dose to rural population in areas affected by the Chernobyl accident. At the selected study sites it is estimated in 1995 that foods from private farms and forests contribute on average 35% to 60%, to the individual internal dose, variation relating to soil types and implemented countermeasures. The importance of food products from private farms and particularly forest products increases with time since Cs concentration in some of the natural food products have longer ecological half life than food products from agricultural systems. A significant relationship was observed between consumption of mushrooms and whole body content of radiocesium in rural people. The contribution to the collective dose of food products produced in the semi-natural ecosystems is less than the contribution to the individual internal dose for the local rural population

  1. Different Land Use Intensities in Grassland Ecosystems Drive Ecology of Microbial Communities Involved in Nitrogen Turnover in Soil

    OpenAIRE

    Meyer, Annabel; Focks, Andreas; Radl, Viviane; Keil, Daniel; Welzl, Gerhard; Sch?ning, Ingo; Boch, Steffen; Marhan, Sven; Kandeler, Ellen; Schloter, Michael

    2013-01-01

    Understanding factors driving the ecology of N cycling microbial communities is of central importance for sustainable land use. In this study we report changes of abundance of denitrifiers, nitrifiers and nitrogen-fixing microorganisms (based on qPCR data for selected functional genes) in response to different land use intensity levels and the consequences for potential turnover rates. We investigated selected grassland sites being comparable with respect to soil type and climatic conditions,...

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2001-01-01

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

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

    OpenAIRE

    Freitas, L; Sazima, M

    2006-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-10-01

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

  5. The effects of forest-savanna-grassland gradients on bird communities of Chiquitano Dry Forests domain, in western Brazil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Godoi, Mauricio N; Souza, Edivaldo O DE

    2016-01-01

    Different vegetation types are distributed in mountains according to altitude, topography and soil. The composition and structure of bird communities in these areas can change in relation to the vegetation gradient, with particular communities occupying each habitat type. In this study we present the changes in composition, species richness and bird abundance over the gradient of forests, savannas and altitudinal grasslands of Maciço do Urucum, a mountainous region located in the Chiquitano Dry Forests domain in western Brazil. We recorded 165 bird species through qualitative and quantitative methods. Forested savannas, riparian forests and submontane forests presented the highest richness and abundance of birds, while arboreal savannas and altitudinal grasslands had intermediate and low values, respectively. The bird composition was similar between riparian and submontane forests, while other vegetation types present more dissimilar bird communities. Our results show differences in composition, richness and bird abundance among the vegetation types present at Maciço do Urucum, and highlight an important function of vegetation gradients for the conservation of bird communities in mountains. Additionally, this is the first study of the bird communities in the Brazilian Chiquitano Dry Forests, an important domain in the west of Brazil which has been poorly studied.

  6. Antibiotics and Manure Effects on Microbial Communities Responsible for Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Semedo, M.; Song, B.; Sparrer, T.; Crozier, C.; Tobias, C. R.; Phillips, R. L.

    2015-12-01

    Agroecosystems are major contributors of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. Denitrification and nitrification are the primary pathways of N2O emission in soils. However, there is uncertainty regarding the organisms responsible for N2O production. Bacteria were previously considered the only microbial N2O source, however, current studies indicate that fungi also produce N2O by denitrification. Denitrifying bacteria can be a source or sink of N2O depending on the presence and expression of nitrous oxide reductase genes (nosZ), encoding for the enzyme converting N2O to N2. Fungal denitrification may produce only N2O as an end product due to missing the nosZ gene. Animal manures applied to agricultural fields can transfer antibiotics to soils as a result of antibiotic use in the livestock industry. These antibiotics target mostly bacteria and may promote fungal growth. The growth inhibition of denitrifying bacteria may favor fungal denitrifiers potentially enhancing N2O emissions. Our objective is to examine the effects of antibiotic exposure and manure fertilization on the microbial communities responsible for N2 and N2O production in grasslands. Soil slurry incubations were conducted with tetracycline at different concentrations. A mesocosm experiment was also performed with soil cores exposed to tetracycline and cow manure. Production of N2O and N2 was measured using gas chromatography with electron capture detector (GC-ECD) and isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS), respectively. Antibiotic inhibition of soil N2 production was found to be dose dependent, reaching up to 80% inhibition with 1g Kg-1 of tetracycline treatment, while N2O production was enhanced up to 8 times. These results suggest higher fungal denitrification with a concomitant decrease in bacterial denitrification after antibiotic exposure. We also found higher N2O fluxes in the soil mesocosms treated with manure plus tetracycline. Quantitative PCR (qPCR) will be conducted to examine the changes in

  7. Effects of Bromus tectorum invasion on microbial carbon and nitrogen cycling in two adjacent undisturbed arid grassland communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schaeffer, Sean M.; Ziegler, Susan E.; Belnap, Jayne; Evans, R.D.

    2012-01-01

    Soil nitrogen (N) is an important component in maintaining ecosystem stability, and the introduction of non-native plants can alter N cycling by changing litter quality and quantity, nutrient uptake patterns, and soil food webs. Our goal was to determine the effects of Bromus tectorum (C3) invasion on soil microbial N cycling in adjacent non-invaded and invaded C3 and C4 native arid grasslands. We monitored resin-extractable N, plant and soil δ13C and δ15N, gross rates of inorganic N mineralization and consumption, and the quantity and isotopic composition of microbial phospholipid biomarkers. In invaded C3 communities, labile soil organic N and gross and net rates of soil N transformations increased, indicating an increase in overall microbial N cycling. In invaded C4 communities labile soil N stayed constant, but gross N flux rates increased. The δ13C of phospholipid biomarkers in invaded C4 communities showed that some portion of the soil bacterial population preferentially decomposed invader C3-derived litter over that from the native C4 species. Invasion in C4 grasslands also significantly decreased the proportion of fungal to bacterial phospholipid biomarkers. Different processes are occurring in response to B. tectorum invasion in each of these two native grasslands that: 1) alter the size of soil N pools, and/or 2) the activity of the microbial community. Both processes provide mechanisms for altering long-term N dynamics in these ecosystems and highlight how multiple mechanisms can lead to similar effects on ecosystem function, which may be important for the construction of future biogeochemical process models.

  8. Different land use intensities in grassland ecosystems drive ecology of microbial communities involved in nitrogen turnover in soil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meyer, Annabel; Focks, Andreas; Radl, Viviane; Keil, Daniel; Welzl, Gerhard; Schöning, Ingo; Boch, Steffen; Marhan, Sven; Kandeler, Ellen; Schloter, Michael

    2013-01-01

    Understanding factors driving the ecology of N cycling microbial communities is of central importance for sustainable land use. In this study we report changes of abundance of denitrifiers, nitrifiers and nitrogen-fixing microorganisms (based on qPCR data for selected functional genes) in response to different land use intensity levels and the consequences for potential turnover rates. We investigated selected grassland sites being comparable with respect to soil type and climatic conditions, which have been continuously treated for many years as intensely used meadows (IM), intensely used mown pastures (IP) and extensively used pastures (EP), respectively. The obtained data were linked to above ground biodiversity pattern as well as water extractable fractions of nitrogen and carbon in soil. Shifts in land use intensity changed plant community composition from systems dominated by s-strategists in extensive managed grasslands to c-strategist dominated communities in intensive managed grasslands. Along the different types of land use intensity, the availability of inorganic nitrogen regulated the abundance of bacterial and archaeal ammonia oxidizers. In contrast, the amount of dissolved organic nitrogen determined the abundance of denitrifiers (nirS and nirK). The high abundance of nifH carrying bacteria at intensive managed sites gave evidence that the amounts of substrates as energy source outcompete the high availability of inorganic nitrogen in these sites. Overall, we revealed that abundance and function of microorganisms involved in key processes of inorganic N cycling (nitrification, denitrification and N fixation) might be independently regulated by different abiotic and biotic factors in response to land use intensity.

  9. Different land use intensities in grassland ecosystems drive ecology of microbial communities involved in nitrogen turnover in soil.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Annabel Meyer

    Full Text Available Understanding factors driving the ecology of N cycling microbial communities is of central importance for sustainable land use. In this study we report changes of abundance of denitrifiers, nitrifiers and nitrogen-fixing microorganisms (based on qPCR data for selected functional genes in response to different land use intensity levels and the consequences for potential turnover rates. We investigated selected grassland sites being comparable with respect to soil type and climatic conditions, which have been continuously treated for many years as intensely used meadows (IM, intensely used mown pastures (IP and extensively used pastures (EP, respectively. The obtained data were linked to above ground biodiversity pattern as well as water extractable fractions of nitrogen and carbon in soil. Shifts in land use intensity changed plant community composition from systems dominated by s-strategists in extensive managed grasslands to c-strategist dominated communities in intensive managed grasslands. Along the different types of land use intensity, the availability of inorganic nitrogen regulated the abundance of bacterial and archaeal ammonia oxidizers. In contrast, the amount of dissolved organic nitrogen determined the abundance of denitrifiers (nirS and nirK. The high abundance of nifH carrying bacteria at intensive managed sites gave evidence that the amounts of substrates as energy source outcompete the high availability of inorganic nitrogen in these sites. Overall, we revealed that abundance and function of microorganisms involved in key processes of inorganic N cycling (nitrification, denitrification and N fixation might be independently regulated by different abiotic and biotic factors in response to land use intensity.

  10. Different Land Use Intensities in Grassland Ecosystems Drive Ecology of Microbial Communities Involved in Nitrogen Turnover in Soil

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meyer, Annabel; Focks, Andreas; Radl, Viviane; Keil, Daniel; Welzl, Gerhard; Schöning, Ingo; Boch, Steffen; Marhan, Sven; Kandeler, Ellen; Schloter, Michael

    2013-01-01

    Understanding factors driving the ecology of N cycling microbial communities is of central importance for sustainable land use. In this study we report changes of abundance of denitrifiers, nitrifiers and nitrogen-fixing microorganisms (based on qPCR data for selected functional genes) in response to different land use intensity levels and the consequences for potential turnover rates. We investigated selected grassland sites being comparable with respect to soil type and climatic conditions, which have been continuously treated for many years as intensely used meadows (IM), intensely used mown pastures (IP) and extensively used pastures (EP), respectively. The obtained data were linked to above ground biodiversity pattern as well as water extractable fractions of nitrogen and carbon in soil. Shifts in land use intensity changed plant community composition from systems dominated by s-strategists in extensive managed grasslands to c-strategist dominated communities in intensive managed grasslands. Along the different types of land use intensity, the availability of inorganic nitrogen regulated the abundance of bacterial and archaeal ammonia oxidizers. In contrast, the amount of dissolved organic nitrogen determined the abundance of denitrifiers (nirS and nirK). The high abundance of nifH carrying bacteria at intensive managed sites gave evidence that the amounts of substrates as energy source outcompete the high availability of inorganic nitrogen in these sites. Overall, we revealed that abundance and function of microorganisms involved in key processes of inorganic N cycling (nitrification, denitrification and N fixation) might be independently regulated by different abiotic and biotic factors in response to land use intensity. PMID:24039974

  11. The California Valley grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1990-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chelsea J Carey

    2015-05-01

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

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

    OpenAIRE

    Menke, Sean B

    2003-01-01

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

  14. Diversity and distribution of autotrophic microbial community along environmental gradients in grassland soils on the Tibetan Plateau.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guo, Guangxia; Kong, Weidong; Liu, Jinbo; Zhao, Jingxue; Du, Haodong; Zhang, Xianzhou; Xia, Pinhua

    2015-10-01

    Soil microbial autotrophs play a significant role in CO2 fixation in terrestrial ecosystem, particularly in vegetation-constrained ecosystems with environmental stresses, such as the Tibetan Plateau characterized by low temperature and high UV. However, soil microbial autotrophic communities and their driving factors remain less appreciated. We investigated the structure and shift of microbial autotrophic communities and their driving factors along an elevation gradient (4400-5100 m above sea level) in alpine grassland soils on the Tibetan Plateau. The autotrophic microbial communities were characterized by quantitative PCR, terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP), and cloning/sequencing of cbbL genes, encoding the large subunit for the CO2 fixation protein ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RubisCO). High cbbL gene abundance and high RubisCO enzyme activity were observed and both significantly increased with increasing elevations. Path analysis identified that soil RubisCO enzyme causally originated from microbial autotrophs, and its activity was indirectly driven by soil water content, temperature, and NH4 (+) content. Soil autotrophic microbial community structure dramatically shifted along the elevation and was jointly driven by soil temperature, water content, nutrients, and plant types. The autotrophic microbial communities were dominated by bacterial autotrophs, which were affiliated with Rhizobiales, Burkholderiales, and Actinomycetales. These autotrophs have been well documented to degrade organic matters; thus, metabolic versatility could be a key strategy for microbial autotrophs to survive in the harsh environments. Our results demonstrated high abundance of microbial autotrophs and high CO2 fixation potential in alpine grassland soils and provided a novel model to identify dominant drivers of soil microbial communities and their ecological functions.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-02-01

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

  16. Structure, function and management of semi-natural habitats for conservation biological control: a review of European studies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holland, John M; Bianchi, Felix Jja; Entling, Martin H; Moonen, Anna-Camilla; Smith, Barbara M; Jeanneret, Philippe

    2016-09-01

    Different semi-natural habitats occur on farmland, and it is the vegetation's traits and structure that subsequently determine their ability to support natural enemies and their associated contribution to conservation biocontrol. New habitats can be created and existing ones improved with agri-environment scheme funding in all EU member states. Understanding the contribution of each habitat type can aid the development of conservation control strategies. Here we review the extent to which the predominant habitat types in Europe support natural enemies, whether this results in enhanced natural enemy densities in the adjacent crop and whether this leads to reduced pest densities. Considerable variation exists in the available information for the different habitat types and trophic levels. Natural enemies within each habitat were the most studied, with less information on whether they were enhanced in adjacent fields, while their impact on pests was rarely investigated. Most information was available for woody and herbaceous linear habitats, yet not for woodland which can be the most common semi-natural habitat in many regions. While the management and design of habitats offer potential to stimulate conservation biocontrol, we also identified knowledge gaps. A better understanding of the relationship between resource availability and arthropod communities across habitat types, the spatiotemporal distribution of resources in the landscape and interactions with other factors that play a role in pest regulation could contribute to an informed management of semi-natural habitats for biocontrol. © 2016 Society of Chemical Industry. © 2016 Society of Chemical Industry.

  17. Grassland Sustainability

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deborah U. Potter; Paulette L. Ford

    2004-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Freeman, Carl D.; Emlen, John M.

    1995-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-07-15

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

  20. 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

  1. Critical loads of nitrogen deposition and critical levels of atmospheric ammonia for semi-natural Mediterranean evergreen woodlands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    P. Pinho

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available Nitrogen (N has emerged in recent years as a key factor associated with global changes, with impacts on biodiversity, ecosystems functioning and human health. In order to ameliorate the effects of excessive N, safety thresholds such as critical loads (deposition fluxes and levels (concentrations can be established. Few studies have assessed these thresholds for semi-natural Mediterranean ecosystems. Our objective was therefore to determine the critical loads of N deposition and long-term critical levels of atmospheric ammonia for semi-natural Mediterranean evergreen woodlands. We have considered changes in epiphytic lichen communities, one of the most sensitive comunity indicators of excessive N in the atmosphere. Based on a classification of lichen species according to their tolerance to N we grouped species into response functional groups, which we used as a tool to determine the critical loads and levels. This was done for a Mediterranean climate in evergreen cork-oak woodlands, based on the relation between lichen functional diversity and modelled N deposition for critical loads and measured annual atmospheric ammonia concentrations for critical levels, evaluated downwind from a reduced N source (a cattle barn. Modelling the highly significant relationship between lichen functional groups and annual atmospheric ammonia concentration showed the critical level to be below 1.9 μg m−3, in agreement with recent studies for other ecosystems. Modelling the highly significant relationship between lichen functional groups and N deposition showed that the critical load was lower than 26 kg (N ha−1 yr−1, which is within the upper range established for other semi-natural ecosystems. Taking into account the high sensitivity of lichen communities to excessive N, these values should aid development of policies to protect Mediterranean woodlands from the initial effects of excessive N.

  2. Rapid response of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities to short-term fertilization in an alpine grassland on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xingjia Xiang

    2016-07-01

    Full Text Available Background: The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP is home to the vast grassland in China. The QTP grassland ecosystem has been seriously degraded by human land use practices and climate change. Fertilization is used in this region to increase vegetation yields for grazers. The impact of long-term fertilization on plant and microbial communities has been studied extensively. However, the influence of short-term fertilization on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF communities in the QTP is largely unknown, despite their important functional role in grassland ecosystems. Methods: We investigated AMF community responses to three years of N and/or P addition at an experimental field site on the QTP, using the Illumina MiSeq platform (PE 300. Results: Fertilization resulted in a dramatic shift in AMF community composition and NP addition significantly increased AMF species richness and phylogenetic diversity. Aboveground biomass, available phosphorus, and NO3− were significantly correlated with changes in AMF community structure. Changes in these factors were driven by fertilization treatments. Thus, fertilization had a large impact on AMF communities, mediated by changes in aboveground productivity and soil chemistry. Discussion: Prior work has shown how plants often lower their reliance on AMF symbioses following fertilization, leading to decrease AMF abundance and diversity. However, our study reports a rise in AMF diversity with fertilization treatment. Because AMF can provide stress tolerance to their hosts, we suggest that extreme weather on the QTP may help drive a positive relationship between fertilizer amendment and AMF diversity.

  3. Object-based random forest classification of Landsat ETM+ and WorldView-2 satellite imagery for mapping lowland native grassland communities in Tasmania, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Melville, Bethany; Lucieer, Arko; Aryal, Jagannath

    2018-04-01

    This paper presents a random forest classification approach for identifying and mapping three types of lowland native grassland communities found in the Tasmanian Midlands region. Due to the high conservation priority assigned to these communities, there has been an increasing need to identify appropriate datasets that can be used to derive accurate and frequently updateable maps of community extent. Therefore, this paper proposes a method employing repeat classification and statistical significance testing as a means of identifying the most appropriate dataset for mapping these communities. Two datasets were acquired and analysed; a Landsat ETM+ scene, and a WorldView-2 scene, both from 2010. Training and validation data were randomly subset using a k-fold (k = 50) approach from a pre-existing field dataset. Poa labillardierei, Themeda triandra and lowland native grassland complex communities were identified in addition to dry woodland and agriculture. For each subset of randomly allocated points, a random forest model was trained based on each dataset, and then used to classify the corresponding imagery. Validation was performed using the reciprocal points from the independent subset that had not been used to train the model. Final training and classification accuracies were reported as per class means for each satellite dataset. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was undertaken to determine whether classification accuracy differed between the two datasets, as well as between classifications. Results showed mean class accuracies between 54% and 87%. Class accuracy only differed significantly between datasets for the dry woodland and Themeda grassland classes, with the WorldView-2 dataset showing higher mean classification accuracies. The results of this study indicate that remote sensing is a viable method for the identification of lowland native grassland communities in the Tasmanian Midlands, and that repeat classification and statistical significant testing can be

  4. Meta-analysis of the relative sensitivity of semi-natural vegetation species to ozone

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hayes, F.; Jones, M.L.M.; Mills, G.; Ashmore, M.

    2007-01-01

    This study identified 83 species from existing publications suitable for inclusion in a database of sensitivity of species to ozone (OZOVEG database). An index, the relative sensitivity to ozone, was calculated for each species based on changes in biomass in order to test for species traits associated with ozone sensitivity. Meta-analysis of the ozone sensitivity data showed a wide inter-specific range in response to ozone. Some relationships in comparison to plant physiological and ecological characteristics were identified. Plants of the therophyte lifeform were particularly sensitive to ozone. Species with higher mature leaf N concentration were more sensitive to ozone than those with lower leaf N concentration. Some relationships between relative sensitivity to ozone and Ellenberg habitat requirements were also identified. In contrast, no relationships between relative sensitivity to ozone and mature leaf P concentration, Grime's CSR strategy, leaf longevity, flowering season, stomatal density and maximum altitude were found. The relative sensitivity of species and relationships with plant characteristics identified in this study could be used to predict sensitivity to ozone of untested species and communities. - Meta-analysis of the relative sensitivity of semi-natural vegetation species to ozone showed some relationships with physiological and ecological characteristics

  5. Ozone pollution affects flower numbers and timing in a simulated BAP priority calcareous grassland community

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hayes, Felicity; Williamson, Jennifer; Mills, Gina

    2012-01-01

    Mesocosms representing the BAP Priority habitat ‘Calcareous Grassland’ were exposed to eight ozone profiles for twelve-weeks in two consecutive years. Half of the mesocosms received a reduced watering regime during the exposure periods. Numbers and timing of flowering in the second exposure period were related to ozone concentration and phytotoxic ozone dose (accumulated stomatal flux). For Lotus corniculatus, ozone accelerated the timing of the maximum number of flowers. An increase in mean ozone concentration from 30 ppb to 70 ppb corresponded with an advance in the timing of maximum flowering by six days. A significant reduction in flower numbers with increasing ozone was found for Campanula rotundifolia and Scabiosa columbaria and the relationship with ozone was stronger for those that were well-watered than for those with reduced watering. These changes in flowering timing and numbers could have large ecological impacts, affecting plant pollination and the food supply of nectar feeding insects. - Highlights: ► An increase in ozone accelerated timing of maximum flowering in Lotus corniculatus. ► Ozone reduced flower numbers in Campanula rotundifolia and Scabiosa columbaria. ► Reduced water availability did not protect most species from the effects of ozone. - Increased tropospheric ozone affected timing of flowering and maximum flower numbers in calcareous grassland mesocosms.

  6. Increased precipitation accelerates soil organic matter turnover associated with microbial community composition in topsoil of alpine grassland on the eastern Tibetan Plateau.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Han, Conghai; Wang, Zongli; Si, Guicai; Lei, Tianzhu; Yuan, Yanli; Zhang, Gengxin

    2017-10-01

    Large quantities of carbon are stored in alpine grassland of the Tibetan Plateau, which is extremely sensitive to climate change. However, it remains unclear whether soil organic matter (SOM) in different layers responds to climate change analogously, and whether microbial communities play vital roles in SOM turnover of topsoil. In this study we measured and collected SOM turnover by the 14 C method in alpine grassland to test climatic effects on SOM turnover in soil profiles. Edaphic properties and microbial communities in the northwestern Qinghai Lake were investigated to explore microbial influence on SOM turnover. SOM turnover in surface soil (0-10 cm) was more sensitive to precipitation than that in subsurface layers (10-40 cm). Precipitation also imposed stronger effects on the composition of microbial communities in the surface layer than that in deeper soil. At the 5-10 cm depth, the SOM turnover rate was positively associated with the bacteria/fungi biomass ratio and the relative abundance of Acidobacteria, both of which are related to precipitation. Partial correlation analysis suggested that increased precipitation could accelerate the SOM turnover rate in topsoil by structuring soil microbial communities. Conversely, carbon stored in deep soil would be barely affected by climate change. Our results provide valuable insights into the dynamics and storage of SOM in alpine grasslands under future climate scenarios.

  7. Diversity effects on root length production and loss in an experimental grassland community

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mommer, L.; Padilla, F.M.; Ruijven, van J.; Caluwe, de H.; Smit-Tiekstra, A.E.; Berendse, F.; Kroon, de H.

    2015-01-01

    Advances in root ecology have revealed that root standing biomass is higher in species-rich plant communities than in species-poor communities. Currently, we do not know whether this below-ground diversity effect is the result of enhanced root production or reduced root mortality or both, which is

  8. 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.

  9. Effects of below-ground insects, mycorrhizal fungi and soil fertility on the establishment of Vicia in grassland communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ganade, G; Brown, V K

    1997-02-01

     The effects of, and interactions between, insect root feeders, vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and soil fertility on the establishment, growth and reproduction of Vicia sativa and V. hirsuta (Fabaceae) were investigated in an early-successional grassland community. Seeds of both species were sown into plots where soil insecticide (Dursban 5G), soil fungicide (Rovral) and soil fertiliser (NPK) were applied in a factorial randomised block design. Fertiliser addition reduced growth, longevity and reproduction of both Vicia species, due to the commonly recorded increase in the competitive advantage of the non-nitrogen-fixing species when nitrogen is added to the plant community. However, in plots where fertiliser was not applied, a reduction in root feeders and mycorrhizal infection led to an increase in seedling establishment and fruit production of V. sativa, and to an increase in flower production for both Vicia species. The interaction between all three soil treatments explained much of the variation in growth and longevity of V. sativa. Plants grew larger and survived longer in plots where natural levels of mycorrhizal infection and root feeders were low compared with plots where all the treatments were applied. This suggests that, although soil nutrient availability was a strong determinant of the performance of these two leguminous species, at natural levels of soil fertility biotic factors acting in the soil, such as mycorrhizal fungi and soil-dwelling insects, were important in shaping the competitive interactions between the two Vicia species and the plant community. Our results indicate that non-additive interactions between ecological factors in the soil environment may strongly affect plant performance.

  10. Effects of slurry application methods on soil faunal communities in permanent grassland

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Vliet, van P.C.J.; Goede, de R.G.M.

    2006-01-01

    We studied the effects of two slurry manure application methods, broadcasting manure slurry (MB) and manure slit injection (SMI), on soil faunal communities 1 week and 4 or 5 weeks after application in the spring of 2002 and the summer of 2003. No effect on total numbers of Enchytraeidae and

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2010-01-01

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

  12. Long-term effects of fertilisation regime on earthworm abundance in a semi-natural grassland area

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Timmerman, A.; Bos, D.; Ouwehand, J.; Goede, de R.G.M.

    2006-01-01

    Environmental protection organisations involved in farmland-bird conservation promote the use of organic fertilisers, especially farmyard manure, to enhance the availability of earthworms, which are an important prey for farmland-birds. We studied changes in earthworm numbers in a field experiment

  13. Management of semi-natural grasslands benefiting both planbt and insect diversity: The importance of heterogeneity and tradition

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Bonari, G.; Fajmon, K.; Malenovský, I.; Zelený, D.; Holuša, J.; Jongepierová, I.; Kočárek, P.; Konvička, Ondřej; Uřičář, J.; Chytrý, M.

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 246, AUG 01 (2017), s. 243-252 ISSN 0167-8809 Institutional support: RVO:60077344 Keywords : Carabidae * conservation management * Lepidoptera Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour OBOR OECD: Ecology Impact factor: 4.099, year: 2016 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167880917302530

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dad, J. M.

    2016-01-01

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

  15. Structure, function and management of semi-natural habitats for conservation biological control

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Holland, John M.; Bianchi, Felix J.J.A.; Entling, Martin H.; Moonen, Anna Camilla; Smith, Barbara M.; Jeanneret, Philippe

    2016-01-01

    Different semi-natural habitats occur on farmland, and it is the vegetation's traits and structure that subsequently determine their ability to support natural enemies and their associated contribution to conservation biocontrol. New habitats can be created and existing ones improved with

  16. Off-road sampling reveals a different grassland bird community than roadside sampling: implications for survey design and estimates to guide conservation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Troy I. Wellicome

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available Grassland bird species continue to decline steeply across North America. Road-based surveys such as the North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS are often used to estimate trends and population sizes and to build species distribution models for grassland birds, although roadside survey counts may introduce bias in estimates because of differences in habitats along roadsides and in off-road surveys. We tested for differences in land cover composition and in the avian community on 21 roadside-based survey routes and in an equal number of adjacent off-road walking routes in the grasslands of southern Alberta, Canada. Off-road routes (n = 225 point counts had more native grassland and short shrubs and less fallow land and road area than the roadside routes (n = 225 point counts. Consequently, 17 of the 39 bird species differed between the two route types in frequency of occurrence and relative abundance, measured using an indicator species analysis. Six species, including five obligate grassland species, were more prevalent at off-road sites; they included four species listed under the Canadian federal Species At Risk Act or listed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada: Sprague's Pipit (Anthus spragueii, Baird's Sparrow (Ammodramus bairdii, the Chestnut-collared Longspur (Calcarius ornatus, and McCown's Longspur (Rhynchophanes mccownii. The six species were as much as four times more abundant on off-road sites. Species more prevalent along roadside routes included common species and those typical of farmland and other human-modified habitats, e.g., the European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris, the Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia, and the House Sparrow (Passer domesticus. Differences in avian community composition between roadside and off-road surveys suggest that the use of BBS data when generating population estimates or distribution models may overestimate certain common species and underestimate others of conservation

  17. Estimating species richness and status of solitary bees and bumblebees in agricultural semi-natural habitats

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Calabuig, Isabel

    2000-01-01

    Estimation of Western Europe number of bee species varies between 2000 and 4500 (Williams 1995) but there are substantial indications of a decline in bee species in Europe and other regions. In Denmark, wild bee species richness, distribution, and abundance have not been studied in detail for about...... 75 years, and nothing is known about which species are potentially vulnerable or endangered. A rough estimate of solitary bees and bumblebees includes approximately 238 species (26 genera) and 29 species respectively. In a pan-trap survey of six kilometres of semi-natural habitats in a Danish...... agricultural landscape, 72 solitary bee species and 19 species of bumblebees were recorded, several of which are considered vulnerable or endangered in neighbouring countries. Nesting conditions for rare cavity-nesting species and the possible role of the semi-natural habitats as corridors for species...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  19. The food chain transfer of radionuclides through semi-natural habitats

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Copplestone, David.

    1996-07-01

    The behaviour of 134 Cs, 137 Cs, 238 Pu, 239+240 Pu and 241 Am in food chains in three semi-natural ecosystems: a coniferous woodland, a salt marsh and a sand dune have been investigated. These sites, within the environs of the Sellafield nuclear complex in Cumbria, are subject to both anthropogenic and historic inputs of radioactivity. Inputs to these ecosystems have been assessed, as well as activity in soils, vegetation, litter, invertebrates and small mammals. (author)

  20. Shifts in the phylogenetic structure and functional capacity of soil microbial communities follow alteration of native tussock grassland ecosystems

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wakelin, Steven A.; Barratt, Barbara I.P.; Gerard, Emily; Gregg, Adrienne L.; Brodie, Eoin L.; Andersen, Gary L.; DeSantis, Todd Z.; Zhou, Jizhong; He, Zhili; Kowalchuk, George A.; O'Callaghan, Maureen

    Globally, tussock-based grasslands are being modified to increase productive capacity. The impacts of cultivation and over-sowing with exotic grass and legumes on soil microbiology were assessed at four sites in New Zealand which differed in soil type, climate and vegetation. Primary alteration of

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

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Knappová, Jana; Pánková, Hana; Münzbergová, Zuzana

    2016-01-01

    Roč. 11, č. 7 (2016), s. 1-24 E-ISSN 1932-6203 R&D Projects: GA ČR(CZ) GA15-11635S Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : AMF * dry grassland commnunity * soil abiotic conditions Subject RIV: EF - Botanics Impact factor: 2.806, year: 2016

  2. Radiocesium in semi-natural ecosystems in Soer-Varanger, North-Norway

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Eikelmann, I.M.; Floe, L.; Larsen, E.

    1995-01-01

    The content of radionuclides in the semi-natural ecosystem in Soer-Varanger are mainly fallout from nuclear weapon tests in the fifties and sixties at Novija Zemlja. Favourable natural conditions have encouraged use of semi-natural ecosystems for household, and reindeer herding is still economical important in the area. Samples of reindeer meat, lichen, mushrooms and moose were taken from the area of current interest. The mean radiocesium concentration in reindeer meat was 325 Bq/kg. There is seasonal variations in radiocesium concentration in reindeer, with up to five times higher values in winter than summer. The high intake of lichen in winter is obviously the reason for this increase. Lichens have a high ability to absorb radionuclides directly from precipitation. Radiocesium concentration in lichen samples varied between 210 Bq/kg and 570 Bq/kg. It is concluded that radiocesium from bomb fallout is still existing in some foodstuff produced in semi-natural ecosystem i Soer-Varanger. Lichen-reindeer-man is the important foodchain for the radioactivity. 6 refs., 4 figs

  3. Short-term responses and resistance of soil microbial community structure to elevated CO2 and N addition in grassland mesocosms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simonin, Marie; Nunan, Naoise; Bloor, Juliette M G; Pouteau, Valérie; Niboyet, Audrey

    2017-05-01

    Nitrogen (N) addition is known to affect soil microbial communities, but the interactive effects of N addition with other drivers of global change remain unclear. The impacts of multiple global changes on the structure of microbial communities may be mediated by specific microbial groups with different life-history strategies. Here, we investigated the combined effects of elevated CO2 and N addition on soil microbial communities using PLFA profiling in a short-term grassland mesocosm experiment. We also examined the linkages between the relative abundance of r- and K-strategist microorganisms and resistance of the microbial community structure to experimental treatments. N addition had a significant effect on microbial community structure, likely driven by concurrent increases in plant biomass and in soil labile C and N. In contrast, microbial community structure did not change under elevated CO2 or show significant CO2 × N interactions. Resistance of soil microbial community structure decreased with increasing fungal/bacterial ratio, but showed a positive relationship with the Gram-positive/Gram-negative bacterial ratio. Our findings suggest that the Gram-positive/Gram-negative bacteria ratio may be a useful indicator of microbial community resistance and that K-strategist abundance may play a role in the short-term stability of microbial communities under global change. © FEMS 2017. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yating He

    2017-01-01

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

  6. Time-lagged response of carabid species richness and composition to past management practices and landscape context of semi-natural field margins.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alignier, Audrey; Aviron, Stéphanie

    2017-12-15

    Field margins are key features for the maintenance of biodiversity and associated ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes. Little is known about the effects of management practices of old semi-natural field margins, and their historical dimension regarding past management practices and landscape context is rarely considered. In this paper, the relative influence of recent and past management practices and landscape context (during the last five years) were assessed on the local biodiversity (species richness and composition) of carabid assemblages of field margins in agricultural landscapes of northwestern France. The results showed that recent patterns of carabid species richness and composition were best explained by management practices and landscape context measured four or five years ago. It suggests the existence of a time lag in the response of carabid assemblages to past environmental conditions of field margins. The relative contribution of past management practices and past landscape context varied depending on the spatial scale at which landscape context was taken into account. Carabid species richness was higher in grazed or sprayed field margins probably due to increased heterogeneity in habitat conditions. Field margins surrounded by grasslands and crops harbored species associated with open habitats whilst forest species dominated field margins surrounded by woodland. Landscape effect was higher at fine spatial scale, within 50 m around field margins. The present study highlights the importance of considering time-lagged responses of biodiversity when managing environment. It also suggests that old semi-natural field margins should not be considered as undisturbed habitats but more as management units being part of farming activities in agricultural landscapes, as for arable fields. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  7. 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...

  8. Archaeal dominated ammonia-oxidizing communities in Icelandic grassland soils are moderately affected by long-term N fertilization and geothermal heating

    Science.gov (United States)

    Daebeler, Anne; Abell, Guy C. J.; Bodelier, Paul L. E.; Bodrossy, Levente; Frampton, Dion M. F.; Hefting, Mariet M.; Laanbroek, Hendrikus J.

    2012-01-01

    The contribution of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and archaea (AOB and AOA, respectively) to the net oxidation of ammonia varies greatly between terrestrial environments. To better understand, predict and possibly manage terrestrial nitrogen turnover, we need to develop a conceptual understanding of ammonia oxidation as a function of environmental conditions including the ecophysiology of associated organisms. We examined the discrete and combined effects of mineral nitrogen deposition and geothermal heating on ammonia-oxidizing communities by sampling soils from a long-term fertilization site along a temperature gradient in Icelandic grasslands. Microarray, clone library and quantitative PCR analyses of the ammonia monooxygenase subunit A (amoA) gene accompanied by physico-chemical measurements of the soil properties were conducted. In contrast to most other terrestrial environments, the ammonia-oxidizing communities consisted almost exclusively of archaea. Their bacterial counterparts proved to be undetectable by quantitative polymerase chain reaction suggesting AOB are only of minor relevance for ammonia oxidation in these soils. Our results show that fertilization and local, geothermal warming affected detectable ammonia-oxidizing communities, but not soil chemistry: only a subset of the detected AOA phylotypes was present in higher temperature soils and AOA abundance was increased in the fertilized soils, while soil physio-chemical properties remained unchanged. Differences in distribution and structure of AOA communities were best explained by soil pH and clay content irrespective of temperature or fertilizer treatment in these grassland soils, suggesting that these factors have a greater potential for ecological niche-differentiation of AOA in soil than temperature and N fertilization. PMID:23060870

  9. Archaeal dominated ammonia-oxidizing communities in Icelandic grassland soils are moderately affected by long-term N fertilization and geothermal heating

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anne eDaebeler

    2012-10-01

    Full Text Available The contribution of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and archaea (AOB and AOA, respectively to the net oxidation of ammonia varies greatly between terrestrial environments. To better understand, predict and possibly manage terrestrial nitrogen turnover, we need to develop a conceptual understanding of ammonia oxidation as a function of environmental conditions including the ecophysiology of the associated organisms. We examined the discrete and combined effects of mineral nitrogen deposition and geothermal heating on ammonia-oxidizing communities by sampling soils from a long-term fertilisation site along a temperature gradient in Icelandic grasslands. Microarray, clone library and quantitative PCR analyses of the ammonia monooxygenase subunit A (amoA gene accompanied by physico-chemical measurements of the soil properties were conducted. In contrast to most other terrestrial environments, the ammonia-oxidizing communities consisted almost exclusively of archaea. Their bacterial counterparts proved to be undetectable by quantitative PCR suggesting AOB are only of minor relevance for ammonia oxidation in these soils. Our results show that fertilization and local, geothermal warming affected detectable ammonia-oxidizing communities, but not soil chemistry: only a subset of the detected AOA phylotypes was present in higher temperature soils and AOA abundance was increased in the fertilized soils, while the measured soil physico-chemical properties remained unchanged. Differences in distribution and structure of AOA communities were best explained by soil pH and clay content irrespective of temperature or fertilizer treatment in these grassland soils, suggesting that these factors have a greater potential for ecological niche-differentiation of AOA in soil than temperature and N fertilization.

  10. Archaeal dominated ammonia-oxidizing communities in Icelandic grassland soils are moderately affected by long-term N fertilization and geothermal heating.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Daebeler, Anne; Abell, Guy C J; Bodelier, Paul L E; Bodrossy, Levente; Frampton, Dion M F; Hefting, Mariet M; Laanbroek, Hendrikus J

    2012-01-01

    The contribution of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and archaea (AOB and AOA, respectively) to the net oxidation of ammonia varies greatly between terrestrial environments. To better understand, predict and possibly manage terrestrial nitrogen turnover, we need to develop a conceptual understanding of ammonia oxidation as a function of environmental conditions including the ecophysiology of associated organisms. We examined the discrete and combined effects of mineral nitrogen deposition and geothermal heating on ammonia-oxidizing communities by sampling soils from a long-term fertilization site along a temperature gradient in Icelandic grasslands. Microarray, clone library and quantitative PCR analyses of the ammonia monooxygenase subunit A (amoA) gene accompanied by physico-chemical measurements of the soil properties were conducted. In contrast to most other terrestrial environments, the ammonia-oxidizing communities consisted almost exclusively of archaea. Their bacterial counterparts proved to be undetectable by quantitative polymerase chain reaction suggesting AOB are only of minor relevance for ammonia oxidation in these soils. Our results show that fertilization and local, geothermal warming affected detectable ammonia-oxidizing communities, but not soil chemistry: only a subset of the detected AOA phylotypes was present in higher temperature soils and AOA abundance was increased in the fertilized soils, while soil physio-chemical properties remained unchanged. Differences in distribution and structure of AOA communities were best explained by soil pH and clay content irrespective of temperature or fertilizer treatment in these grassland soils, suggesting that these factors have a greater potential for ecological niche-differentiation of AOA in soil than temperature and N fertilization.

  11. Transfer of radionuclides by terrestrial food products from semi-natural ecosystems to humans

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Howard, B.J.

    1996-01-01

    The potential radiological significance of radionuclide transfer to humans via foodstuffs derived from semi-natural ecosystems has become apparent since the Chernobyl accident. Foodchain models developed before this time usually did not take such transfers into account. The processes leading to contamination of food in these environments are complex and current understanding of the transfer mechanisms is incomplete. For these reasons the approach adopted in Chapter 3 is to represent, by means of aggregated parameters, the empirical relationships between ground deposits and concentration in the food product. 107 refs, 2 figs, 9 tabs

  12. Trait-specific responses of wild bee communities to landscape composition, configuration and local factors.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sebastian Hopfenmüller

    Full Text Available Land-use intensification and loss of semi-natural habitats have induced a severe decline of bee diversity in agricultural landscapes. Semi-natural habitats like calcareous grasslands are among the most important bee habitats in central Europe, but they are threatened by decreasing habitat area and quality, and by homogenization of the surrounding landscape affecting both landscape composition and configuration. In this study we tested the importance of habitat area, quality and connectivity as well as landscape composition and configuration on wild bees in calcareous grasslands. We made detailed trait-specific analyses as bees with different traits might differ in their response to the tested factors. Species richness and abundance of wild bees were surveyed on 23 calcareous grassland patches in Southern Germany with independent gradients in local and landscape factors. Total wild bee richness was positively affected by complex landscape configuration, large habitat area and high habitat quality (i.e. steep slopes. Cuckoo bee richness was positively affected by complex landscape configuration and large habitat area whereas habitat specialists were only affected by the local factors habitat area and habitat quality. Small social generalists were positively influenced by habitat area whereas large social generalists (bumblebees were positively affected by landscape composition (high percentage of semi-natural habitats. Our results emphasize a strong dependence of habitat specialists on local habitat characteristics, whereas cuckoo bees and bumblebees are more likely affected by the surrounding landscape. We conclude that a combination of large high-quality patches and heterogeneous landscapes maintains high bee species richness and communities with diverse trait composition. Such diverse communities might stabilize pollination services provided to crops and wild plants on local and landscape scales.

  13. Trait-specific responses of wild bee communities to landscape composition, configuration and local factors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hopfenmüller, Sebastian; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Holzschuh, Andrea

    2014-01-01

    Land-use intensification and loss of semi-natural habitats have induced a severe decline of bee diversity in agricultural landscapes. Semi-natural habitats like calcareous grasslands are among the most important bee habitats in central Europe, but they are threatened by decreasing habitat area and quality, and by homogenization of the surrounding landscape affecting both landscape composition and configuration. In this study we tested the importance of habitat area, quality and connectivity as well as landscape composition and configuration on wild bees in calcareous grasslands. We made detailed trait-specific analyses as bees with different traits might differ in their response to the tested factors. Species richness and abundance of wild bees were surveyed on 23 calcareous grassland patches in Southern Germany with independent gradients in local and landscape factors. Total wild bee richness was positively affected by complex landscape configuration, large habitat area and high habitat quality (i.e. steep slopes). Cuckoo bee richness was positively affected by complex landscape configuration and large habitat area whereas habitat specialists were only affected by the local factors habitat area and habitat quality. Small social generalists were positively influenced by habitat area whereas large social generalists (bumblebees) were positively affected by landscape composition (high percentage of semi-natural habitats). Our results emphasize a strong dependence of habitat specialists on local habitat characteristics, whereas cuckoo bees and bumblebees are more likely affected by the surrounding landscape. We conclude that a combination of large high-quality patches and heterogeneous landscapes maintains high bee species richness and communities with diverse trait composition. Such diverse communities might stabilize pollination services provided to crops and wild plants on local and landscape scales.

  14. Does the stress tolerance of mixed grassland communities change in a future climate? A test with heavy metal stress (zinc pollution)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Van den Berge, Joke; Naudts, Kim; Janssens, Ivan A.; Ceulemans, Reinhart; Nijs, Ivan

    2011-01-01

    Will species that are sensitive/tolerant to Zn pollution still have the same sensitivity/tolerance in a future climate? To answer this question we analysed the response of constructed grassland communities to five levels of zinc (Zn) supply, ranging from 0 to 354 mg Zn kg -1 dry soil, under a current climate and a future climate (elevated CO 2 and warming). Zn concentrations increased in roots and shoots with Zn addition but this increase did not differ between climates. Light-saturated net CO 2 assimilation rate (A sat ) of the species, on the other hand, responded differently to Zn addition depending on climate. Still, current and future climate communities have comparable biomass responses to Zn, i.e., no change in root biomass and a 13% decrease of above-ground biomass. Provided that the different response of A sat in a future climate will not compromise productivity and survival on the long term, sensitivity is not altered by climate change. - Highlights: → We exposed constructed grassland communities to Zn addition in a current and a future climate. → Zn uptake did not differ between the climates. → Although A sat was more responsive to Zn in future climate, climate did not alter biomass responses. → If this response remains on the long term, climate change will not alter sensitivity. - This study is the first to examine plant responses to a heavy metal (Zn) in a changing climate, and shows that the tolerance of plants to Zn stress will not be altered in a future climate.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  16. Grassland biodiversity can pay.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-04-10

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

  17. Site properties for Crimean juniper (Juniperus excelsa) in semi-natural forests of south western Anatolia, Turkey.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ozkan, Kürsad; Gulsoy, Serkan; Aerts, Raf; Muys, Bart

    2010-01-01

    We explored the semi-natural forests in south western Anatolia along a gradient between Mediterranean and continental climates to determine the site requirements of Juniperus excelsa in Turkey. We hypothesized that environmental variables and indicator species can be used to predict differences in occurrence and cover of J. excelsa and can therefore support decision making in reforestation management planning. Plant species composition and environmental variables were assessed in 153 plots. Association between J. excelsa and other plant species and environmental variables were analyzed using Fisher exact probability tests and stepwise discriminant analysis. High altitude (> 1000 m) as a proxy for an Oromediterranean climate, and high surface stoniness as a proxy for low competition by other tree species, are positive site properties for J. excelsa. The tree species avoids Eumediterranean and Supramediterranean plant communities. Twelve plant species, including the herbs Dianthus zonatus, Ajuga chamaepitys and Paronchia carica and the shrub Cotoneaster nummularia may be used as site indicators for J. excelsa restoration. Platanus orientalis, with similar site requirements but at present negatively associated to J. excelsa due to competitive effects, may be considered an additional indicator if stand conversion (harvesting and replacing P. orientalis) is part of the management plan.

  18. Changes in the microbial community structure of bacteria, archaea and fungi in response to elevated CO(2) and warming in an Australian native grassland soil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hayden, Helen L; Mele, Pauline M; Bougoure, Damian S; Allan, Claire Y; Norng, Sorn; Piceno, Yvette M; Brodie, Eoin L; Desantis, Todd Z; Andersen, Gary L; Williams, Amity L; Hovenden, Mark J

    2012-12-01

    The microbial community structure of bacteria, archaea and fungi is described in an Australian native grassland soil after more than 5 years exposure to different atmospheric CO2 concentrations ([CO2]) (ambient, +550 ppm) and temperatures (ambient, + 2°C) under different plant functional types (C3 and C4 grasses) and at two soil depths (0-5 cm and 5-10 cm). Archaeal community diversity was influenced by elevated [CO2], while under warming archaeal 16S rRNA gene copy numbers increased for C4 plant Themeda triandra and decreased for the C3 plant community (P fungi in soil responded differently to elevated [CO2], warming and their interaction. Taxa identified as significantly climate-responsive could show differing trends in the direction of response ('+' or '-') under elevated CO2 or warming, which could then not be used to predict their interactive effects supporting the need to investigate interactive effects for climate change. The approach of focusing on specific taxonomic groups provides greater potential for understanding complex microbial community changes in ecosystems under climate change. © 2012 Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-04-10

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

  20. Soil disturbance as a grassland restoration measure

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  1. Extreme temperatures increase the deleterious consequences of inbreeding under laboratory and semi-natural conditions

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kristensen, Torsten Nygård; Barker, J. Stuart F.; Pedersen, Kamilla Sofie

    2008-01-01

    when compared with non-inbred lines of Drosophila melanogaster under different temperature conditions. Egg-to-adult viability, developmental time and sex ratio of emerging adults are studied under low, intermediate and high temperatures under laboratory as well as semi-natural conditions. The results...... show inbreeding depression for egg-to-adult viability. The level of inbreeding depression is highly dependent on test temperature and is observed only at low and high temperatures. Inbreeding did not affect the developmental time or the sex ratio of emerging adults. However, temperature affected...... the sex ratio with more females relative to males emerging at low temperatures, suggesting that selection against males in pre-adult life stages is stronger at low temperatures. The coefficient of variation (CV) of egg-to-adult viability within and among lines is higher for inbred flies and generally...

  2. Does the stress tolerance of mixed grassland communities change in a future climate? A test with heavy metal stress (zinc pollution).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Van den Berge, Joke; Naudts, Kim; Janssens, Ivan A; Ceulemans, Reinhart; Nijs, Ivan

    2011-12-01

    Will species that are sensitive/tolerant to Zn pollution still have the same sensitivity/tolerance in a future climate? To answer this question we analysed the response of constructed grassland communities to five levels of zinc (Zn) supply, ranging from 0 to 354 mg Zn kg(-1) dry soil, under a current climate and a future climate (elevated CO2 and warming). Zn concentrations increased in roots and shoots with Zn addition but this increase did not differ between climates. Light-saturated net CO2 assimilation rate (A(sat)) of the species, on the other hand, responded differently to Zn addition depending on climate. Still, current and future climate communities have comparable biomass responses to Zn, i.e., no change in root biomass and a 13% decrease of above-ground biomass. Provided that the different response of A(sat) in a future climate will not compromise productivity and survival on the long term, sensitivity is not altered by climate change. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stavros D Veresoglou

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Michael R. White

    2000-01-01

    Important components of Southwest forest ecosystem are subalpine and montane grassland communities, Grassland communities provide habitat diversity for wildlife, forage for domestic livestock and wildlife, and contribute to the visual quality of an area. The objectives of this research were to determine if: 1) vegetation attributes and soil-surface cover variables of...

  5. Pollinator diversity (Hymenoptera and Diptera in semi-natural habitats in Serbia during summer

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mudri-Stojnić Sonja

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available The aim of this study was to assess species diversity and population abundance of the two main orders of pollinating insects, Hymenoptera and Diptera. The survey was conducted in 16 grassland fragments within agro-ecosystems in Vojvodina, as well as in surrounding fields with mass-flowering crops. Pollinators were identified and the Shannon-Wiener Diversity Index was used to measure their diversity. Five families, 7 subfamilies, 26 genera and 63 species of insects were recorded. All four big pollinator groups investigated were recorded; hoverflies were the most abundant with 32% of the total number of individuals, followed by wild bees - 29%, honeybees - 23% and bumblebees with 16%.

  6. A new scheme for biomonitoring heavy metal concentrations in semi-natural wetlands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Batzias, A F; Siontorou, C G

    2008-10-30

    This work introduces a semi-natural wetland biomonitoring framework for heavy metal concentrations based on a robust dynamic integration between biological assemblages and relevant biosensors. The cooperative/synergistic scheme developed minimizes uncertainty and monitoring costs and increases reliability of pollution control and abatement. Attention is given to establishing a fully functioning and reliable network approach for monitoring inflows and achieving dose-response relations and calibration of biomonitoring species. The biomonitoring network initially consists of both, biosensors and species, as a validation phase in each wetland of the surveillance area; once the species monitoring efficiency is verified by the biosensors, the biosensor network moves to the next wetland and so on, following a circular pattern until all area wetlands have a fully functional natural monitoring scheme. By means of species recalibration with periodic revisiting of the biosensors, the scheme progressively reaches a quasi steady-state (including seasonality), thus ensuring reliability and robustness. This framework, currently pilot-tested in Voiotia, Greece, for assessing chromium levels, has been built to cover short-, medium- and long-term monitoring requirements. The results gathered so far, support the employment of the proposed scheme in heavy metal monitoring, and, further, arise the need for volunteer involvement to achieve long-term viability.

  7. Learning outdoors: male lizards show flexible spatial learning under semi-natural conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Noble, Daniel W. A.; Carazo, Pau; Whiting, Martin J.

    2012-01-01

    Spatial cognition is predicted to be a fundamental component of fitness in many lizard species, and yet some studies suggest that it is relatively slow and inflexible. However, such claims are based on work conducted using experimental designs or in artificial contexts that may underestimate their cognitive abilities. We used a biologically realistic experimental procedure (using simulated predatory attacks) to study spatial learning and its flexibility in the lizard Eulamprus quoyii in semi-natural outdoor enclosures under similar conditions to those experienced by lizards in the wild. To evaluate the flexibility of spatial learning, we conducted a reversal spatial-learning task in which positive and negative reinforcements of learnt spatial stimuli were switched. Nineteen (32%) male lizards learnt both tasks within 10 days (spatial task mean: 8.16 ± 0.69 (s.e.) and reversal spatial task mean: 10.74 ± 0.98 (s.e.) trials). We demonstrate that E. quoyii are capable of flexible spatial learning and suggest that future studies focus on a range of lizard species which differ in phylogeny and/or ecology, using biologically relevant cognitive tasks, in an effort to bridge the cognitive divide between ecto- and endotherms. PMID:23075525

  8. Thermal conditions in selected urban and semi-natural habitats, important for the forensic entomology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Michalski, Marek; Nadolski, Jerzy

    2018-06-01

    A long-term study on thermal conditions in selected urban and semi-natural habitats, where human corpses are likely to be found, was conducted in the city of Lodz (Central Poland). Thermal data were collected during two years at nine sites and compared with corresponding data from the nearest permanent meteorological station at Lodz Airport (ICAO code: EPLL). The conditions closest to those at the meteorological station prevailed in the deciduous forest, coefficient of determination R 2 for those sets of data was above 0.96. The open field was characterized by high daily amplitudes, especially during spring, while the site in the allotment gardens was characterized by relatively high winter temperatures. The conditions prevailing in all closed space sites were very diverse and only slightly similar to the external ones. The most distinct site was an unheated basement in a tenement house, where temperature was almost always above 0°C and daily amplitudes were negligible. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  9. Testing Transgenic Aspen Plants with bar Gene for Herbicide Resistance under Semi-natural Conditions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lebedev, V G; Faskhiev, V N; Kovalenko, N P; Shestibratov, K A; Miroshnikov, A I

    2016-01-01

    Obtaining herbicide resistant plants is an important task in the genetic engineering of forest trees. Transgenic European aspen plants (Populus tremula L.) expressing the bar gene for phosphinothricin resistance have been produced using Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation. Successful genetic transformation was confirmed by PCR analysis for thirteen lines derived from two elite genotypes. In 2014-2015, six lines were evaluated for resistance to herbicide treatment under semi-natural conditions. All selected transgenic lines were resistant to the herbicide Basta at doses equivalent to 10 l/ha (twofold normal field dosage) whereas the control plants died at 2.5 l/ha. Foliar NH4-N concentrations in transgenic plants did not change after treatment. Extremely low temperatures in the third ten-day period of October 2014 revealed differences in freeze tolerance between the lines obtained from Pt of f2 aspen genotypes. Stable expression of the bar gene after overwintering outdoors was confirmed by RT-PCR. On the basis of the tests, four transgenic aspen lines were selected. The bar gene could be used for retransformation of transgenic forest trees expressing valuable traits, such as increased productivity.

  10. Community level offset of rain use- and transpiration efficiency for a heavily grazed ecosystem in inner Mongolia grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gao, Ying Z; Giese, Marcus; Gao, Qiang; Brueck, Holger; Sheng, Lian X; Yang, Hai J

    2013-01-01

    Water use efficiency (WUE) is a key indicator to assess ecosystem adaptation to water stress. Rain use efficiency (RUE) is usually used as a proxy for WUE due to lack of transpiration data. Furthermore, RUE based on aboveground primary productivity (RUEANPP) is used to evaluate whole plant water use because root production data is often missing as well. However, it is controversial as to whether RUE is a reliable parameter to elucidate transpiration efficiency (TE), and whether RUEANPP is a suitable proxy for RUE of the whole plant basis. The experiment was conducted at three differently managed sites in the Inner Mongolia steppe: a site fenced since 1979 (UG79), a winter grazing site (WG) and a heavily grazed site (HG). Site HG had consistent lowest RUEANPP and RUE based on total net primary productivity (RUENPP). RUEANPP is a relatively good proxy at sites UG79 and WG, but less reliable for site HG. Similarly, RUEANPP is good predictor of transpiration efficiency based on aboveground net primary productivity (TEANPP) at sites UG79 and WG but not for site HG. However, if total net primary productivity is considered, RUENPP is good predictor of transpiration efficiency based on total net primary productivity (TENPP) for all sites. Although our measurements indicate decreased plant transpiration and consequentially decreasing RUE under heavy grazing, productivity was relatively compensated for with a higher TE. This offset between RUE and TE was even enhanced under water limited conditions and more evident when belowground net primary productivity (BNNP) was included. These findings suggest that BNPP should be considered when studies fucus on WUE of more intensively used grasslands. The consideration of the whole plant perspective and "real" WUE would partially revise our picture of system performance and therefore might affect the discussion on the C-sequestration and resilience potential of ecosystems.

  11. Species groups occupying different trophic levels respond differently to the invasion of semi-natural vegetation by Solidago canadensis

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Groot, de M.; Kleijn, D.; Jogan, N.

    2007-01-01

    We studied the impact of the invasive plant species Solidago canadensis on the species richness of vascular plants and the abundance, species richness and diversity of butterflies, hoverflies and carabid beetles in herbaceous semi-natural habitats near Ljubljana, Slovenia. The species groups were

  12. Opposing resonses to ecological gradients structure amphibian and reptile communities across a temperate grassland-savanna-forest landscape

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grundel, Ralph; Beamer, David; Glowacki, Gary A.; Frohnapple, Krystal; Pavlovic, Noel B.

    2014-01-01

    Temperate savannas are threatened across the globe. If we prioritize savanna restoration, we should ask how savanna animal communities differ from communities in related open habitats and forests. We documented distribution of amphibian and reptile species across an open-savanna–forest gradient in the Midwest U.S. to determine how fire history and habitat structure affected herpetofaunal community composition. The transition from open habitats to forests was a transition from higher reptile abundance to higher amphibian abundance and the intermediate savanna landscape supported the most species overall. These differences warn against assuming that amphibian and reptile communities will have similar ecological responses to habitat structure. Richness and abundance also often responded in opposite directions to some habitat characteristics, such as cover of bare ground or litter. Herpetofaunal community species composition changed along a fire gradient from infrequent and recent fires to frequent but less recent fires. Nearby (200-m) wetland cover was relatively unimportant in predicting overall herpetofaunal community composition while fire history and fire-related canopy and ground cover were more important predictors of composition, diversity, and abundance. Increased developed cover was negatively related to richness and abundance. This indicates the importance of fire history and fire related landscape characteristics, and the negative effects of development, in shaping the upland herpetofaunal community along the native grassland–forest continuum.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rudge, S.A.

    1989-12-01

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

  14. Contrasting response of coexisting plant’s water-use patterns to experimental precipitation manipulation in an alpine grassland community of Qinghai Lake watershed, China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Xiao-Yan; He, Bin; Liu, Jinzhao; Jiang, Zhiyun; Zhang, Cicheng

    2018-01-01

    Understanding species-specific changes in water-use patterns under recent climate scenarios is necessary to predict accurately the responses of seasonally dry ecosystems to future climate. In this study, we conducted a precipitation manipulation experiment to investigate the changes in water-use patterns of two coexisting species (Achnatherum splendens and Allium tanguticum) to alterations in soil water content (SWC) resulting from increased and decreased rainfall treatments. The results showed that the leaf water potential (Ψ) of A. splendens and A. tanguticum responded to changes in shallow and middle SWC at both the control and treatment plots. However, A. splendens proportionally extracted water from the shallow soil layer (0–10cm) when it was available but shifted to absorbing deep soil water (30–60 cm) during drought. By contrast, the A. tanguticum did not differ significantly in uptake depth between treatment and control plots but entirely depended on water from shallow soil layers. The flexible water-use patterns of A.splendens may be a key factor facilitating its dominance and it better acclimates the recent climate change in the alpine grassland community around Qinghai Lake. PMID:29677195

  15. Instream cover and shade mediate avian predation on trout in semi-natural streams

    Science.gov (United States)

    Penaluna, Brooke E.; Dunham, Jason B.; Noakes, David L. G.

    2015-01-01

    Piscivory by birds can be significant, particularly on fish in small streams and during seasonal low flow when available cover from predators can be limited. Yet, how varying amounts of cover may change the extent of predation mortality from avian predators on fish is not clear. We evaluated size-selective survival of coastal cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii clarkii) in replicated semi-natural stream sections. These sections provided high (0.01 m2 of cover per m2 of stream) or low (0.002 m2 of cover per m2 of stream) levels of instream cover available to trout and were closed to emigration. Each fish was individually tagged, allowing us to track retention of individuals during the course of the 36-day experiment, which we attributed to survival from predators, because fish had no other way to leave the streams. Although other avian predators may have been active in our system and not detected, the only predator observed was the belted kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon, which is known to prey heavily on fish. In both treatments, trout >20.4 cm were not preyed upon indicating an increased ability to prey upon on smaller individuals. Increased availability of cover improved survival of trout by 12% in high relative to low cover stream sections. Trout also survived better in stream sections with greater shade, a factor we could not control in our system. Collectively, these findings indicate that instream cover and shade from avian predators can play an important role in driving survival of fish in small streams or during periods of low flow.

  16. SOWING GRASSLANDS – EFFICIENT SOLUTION FOR ZOOTEHNICAL PRODUCTION

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    VALENTINA OFELIA ROBESCU

    2008-05-01

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

  17. Responses of the functional structure of soil microbial community to livestock grazing in the Tibetan alpine grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Yunfeng; Wu, Linwei; Lin, Qiaoyan; Yuan, Mengting; Xu, Depeng; Yu, Hao; Hu, Yigang; Duan, Jichuang; Li, Xiangzhen; He, Zhili; Xue, Kai; van Nostrand, Joy; Wang, Shiping; Zhou, Jizhong

    2013-02-01

    Microbes play key roles in various biogeochemical processes, including carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycling. However, changes of microbial community at the functional gene level by livestock grazing, which is a global land-use activity, remain unclear. Here we use a functional gene array, GeoChip 4.0, to examine the effects of free livestock grazing on the microbial community at an experimental site of Tibet, a region known to be very sensitive to anthropogenic perturbation and global warming. Our results showed that grazing changed microbial community functional structure, in addition to aboveground vegetation and soil geochemical properties. Further statistical tests showed that microbial community functional structures were closely correlated with environmental variables, and variations in microbial community functional structures were mainly controlled by aboveground vegetation, soil C/N ratio, and NH4 (+) -N. In-depth examination of N cycling genes showed that abundances of N mineralization and nitrification genes were increased at grazed sites, but denitrification and N-reduction genes were decreased, suggesting that functional potentials of relevant bioprocesses were changed. Meanwhile, abundances of genes involved in methane cycling, C fixation, and degradation were decreased, which might be caused by vegetation removal and hence decrease in litter accumulation at grazed sites. In contrast, abundances of virulence, stress, and antibiotics resistance genes were increased because of the presence of livestock. In conclusion, these results indicated that soil microbial community functional structure was very sensitive to the impact of livestock grazing and revealed microbial functional potentials in regulating soil N and C cycling, supporting the necessity to include microbial components in evaluating the consequence of land-use and/or climate changes. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  18. Preliminary results of studies on the distribution of invasive alien vascular plant species occurring in semi-natural and natural habitats in NW Poland

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Popiela Agnieszka

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available In Western Pomerania, as in other areas of Europe, alien species play an increasingly important role. In particular, invasive plants tend to spread rapidly and in large numbers which may reduce diversity of native species, leading to the phenomenon of “trivialisation of flora”, and transform ecosystems. The list of invasive species (32 taxa includes alien species occurring throughout Western Pomerania, and penetrating natural or semi-natural habitats. The second group consists of potentially invasive species (23 taxa, i.e. those distributed across the area under study and tending to increase the number of their localities in semi-natural and natural habitats, taxa invasive only locally, as well as species with missing data, which does not currently allow including them into the first group. Invasive weeds, as well as some epecophytes and archaeophytes occurring only on anthropogenic sites and tending to spread, were not taken into account. Among hemiagriophytes, the most common and troublesome ones are: Conyza canadensis, Erigeron annuus, Lolium multiflorum, Lupinus polyphyllus, Solidago canadensis, S. gigantea. Among holoagriophytes, i.e. the taxa which received the highest naturalisation status, very expansive species, successful in land colonisation, like Acer negundo, Bidens frondosa, B. connata, Clematis vitalba, Elodea canadensis, Epilobium ciliatum, Heracleum sosnowskyi, Impatiens glandulifera, I. parviflora, Padus serotina, Quercus rubra and Robinia pseudoacacia, should be given particular attention. Among the invasive and potentially invasive species, most taxa penetrate plant communities of the Artemisietea and Molinio-Arrhenatheretea class, followed by Querco-Fagetea, Vaccinio-Piceetea, Stellarietea mediae, Salicetea purpurae and Koelerio-Corynophoretea. The number of invasive species is twice as high when compared to the situation of these species in Poland; on the contrary, the number of species inhabiting anthropogenic, semi-natural

  19. Niche partitioning in arbuscular mycorrhizal communities in temperate grasslands: a lesson from adjacent serpentine and nonserpentine habitats

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Kohout, Petr; Doubková, Pavla; Bahram, M.; Suda, Jan; Tedersoo, L.; Voříšková, Jana; Sudová, Radka

    2015-01-01

    Roč. 24, č. 8 (2015), s. 1831-1843 ISSN 0962-1083 Institutional support: RVO:67985939 ; RVO:61388971 Keywords : arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi * community ecology * NDA barcoding Subject RIV: EF - Botanics; EE - Microbiology, Virology (MBU-M) Impact factor: 5.947, year: 2015

  20. Darwin's naturalization hypothesis up-close: Intermountain grassland invaders differ morphologically and phenologically from native community dominants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dean E. Pearson; Yvette K. Ortega; Samantha J. Sears

    2012-01-01

    Darwin's naturalization hypothesis predicts that successful invaders will tend to differ taxonomically from native species in recipient communities because less related species exhibit lower niche overlap and experience reduced biotic resistance. This hypothesis has garnered substantial support at coarse scales. However, at finer scales, the influence of traits...

  1. Mutual replacement of species in space in a grassland community: is there an evidence for functional complementarity of replacement groups?

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Herben, Tomáš; Březina, Stanislav; Hadincová, Věroslava; Krahulec, František; Skálová, Hana

    2013-01-01

    Roč. 122, č. 1 (2013), s. 111-121 ISSN 0030-1299 R&D Projects: GA ČR GA206/09/1471 Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : community dynamics * biomass * removal experiments Subject RIV: EF - Botanics Impact factor: 3.559, year: 2013

  2. Spatial Pattern and Scale Influence Invader Demographic Response to Simulated Precipitation Change in an Annual Grassland Community.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Meghan J Skaer Thomason

    Full Text Available It is important to predict which invasive species will benefit from future changes in climate, and thereby identify those invaders that need particular attention and prioritization of management efforts. Because establishment, persistence, and spread determine invasion success, this prediction requires detailed demographic information. Explicit study of the impact of pattern on demographic response is particularly important for species that are naturally patchy, such as the invasive grass, Aegilops triuncialis. In the northern California Coast Range, where climate change may increase or decrease mean annual rainfall, we conducted a field experiment to understand the interaction of climate change and local-scale patterning on the demography of A. triuncialis. We manipulated precipitation (reduced, ambient, or augmented, seed density, and seeding pattern. Demographic and environmental data were collected for three years following initial seeding. Pattern and scale figure prominently in the demographic response of A. triuncialis to precipitation manipulation. Pattern interacts with precipitation and seeding density in its influence on per-plant seed output. Although per-plot seed production was highest when seeds were not aggregated, per-plant seed output was higher in aggregated patches. Results suggest aggregation of invasive A. triuncialis reduces the detrimental impact of interspecific competition in its invaded community, and that interspecific competition per se has a stronger impact than intraspecific competition.

  3. Intensive agriculture to semi-natural grassland: evaluating changes in ecosystem service provision to help determine costs and benefits of agri-environment schemes

    OpenAIRE

    Horrocks, Claire Alice

    2013-01-01

    Intensive agriculture has led to an increase in production; however this has often coincided with a decline in the provision of other Ecosystem Services (ES). ES affected include those regulated by soil chemical, physical and biological properties such as biodiversity provision and the regulation of nutrient cycling, water quality and rates of greenhouse gas emissions. A growing awareness of the value of nonproduction ES to human health and wellbeing has encouraged the funding ...

  4. Distinguishing Intensity Levels of Grassland Fertilization Using Vegetation Indices

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jens L. Hollberg

    2017-01-01

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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2008-09-15

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

  6. Assessing social vulnerability to climate change in human communities near public forests and grasslands: a framework for resource managers and planners

    Science.gov (United States)

    A. Paige Fischer; Travis Paveglio; Matthew Carroll; Daniel Murphy; Hannah Brenkert-Smith

    2013-01-01

    Public land management agencies have incorporated the concept of vulnerability into protocols for assessing and planning for climate change impacts on public forests and grasslands. However, resource managers and planners have little guidance for how to address the social aspects of vulnerability in these assessments and plans. Failure to assess social vulnerability to...

  7. Short-term trends in vegetation cover of Danish semi-natural ecosystems

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Timmermann, Allan; Damgaard, Christian; Strandberg, Morten Tune

    The landscapes in which many plant communities persist today are increasingly modified by anthropogenic activities, especially in Denmark, where most communities are influenced by for example atmospheric deposition of Nitrogen, changes in soil moisture levels (e.g. ground water-table changes caused...... species with similar traits to respond similarly to systematic shifts in habitat conditions and disturbance. Consequently, contrasting traits of winner and loser species could be a powerful tool in identifying mechanisms that might be driving community changes. In this study, we use a large dataset....... Notably, do winner and loser species display distinct sets of traits of the ones related to: exotic species invasion, eutrophication by nitrogen deposition, management changes (decreasing grazing and associated encroachment by woody plants), soil moisture changes (due to excessive water extraction...

  8. EnviroAtlas - Biological nitrogen fixation in natural/semi-natural ecosystems by 12-digit HUC for the Conterminous United States, 2006

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — This EnviroAtlas dataset contains data on the mean biological nitrogen fixation in natural/semi-natural ecosystems per 12-digit Hydrologic Unit (HUC) in 2006....

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Thomas O. Crist

    2014-07-01

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

  10. Soil, biomass, and management of semi-natural vegetation. II. Factors controlling species diversity

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schaffers, A.P.

    2002-01-01

    Using a wide range of conditions and plant community types, species diversity was investigated in relation to edaphic and non-edaphic site conditions, management, and biomass characteristics. Both standing biomass and aboveground production were investigated, and their effects compared. Three

  11. Diversity of dead wood inhabiting fungal and bryophytes in semi-natural beech forests in Europe

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ódor, P.; Heilmann-Clausen, J.; Christensen, M.; Aude, E.; Dort, van K.W.; Piltaver, A.; Siller, I.; Veerkamp, M.T.; Walleyn, R.; Standovár, T.; Hees, van A.F.M.; Kosec, J.; Matocec, N.; Kraigher, H.; Grebenc, T.

    2006-01-01

    Saproxylic organisms are among the most threatened species in Europe and constitute a major conservation problem because they depend on the most important forestry product - dead wood. Diversity of fungal and bryophyte communities occurring on dead beech trees was analyzed in five European countries

  12. Role of Antidesma ghaesembilla Gaertn in Enriching the Depauperate Bird Community in “Cogon” Imperata cylindrica (L. Raeuschel Dominated Grassland in Swidden Vegetation Matrix

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alejandro A. Bernardo Jr.

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available The study was conducted to understand the role of Antidesma ghaesembilla Gaertn in enhancing the avifaunal diversity in Imperata cylindrica (L. Raeuschel dominated grassland patches and to realize the influence of adjacent vegetations on the assemblage of birds that feed on the fruit of this tree. An avifaunal survey was conducted on “Cogon” dominated grassland patches adjacent to selected vegetations such as primary forest, secondary forest and upland agricultural area. A total of 250 birds belonging to 19 species representing ten families were found feeding on the fruits of Antidesma ghaesembilla. The site adjacent to secondary forest has the highest species richness, abundance and diversity index values. This accentuates the combined influence of the open and forest dwelling bird species thriving in the secondary forest. The sites adjacent to the primary forest and to the agricultural area have the same species richness but differ in species composition as reflected by the low similarity index. More forest dwelling bird species were recorded near the forest while more open dwelling bird species were recorded near the agricultural area. This highlights the spillover effect of the adjacent vegetations on the feeding bird assemblage. The presence of several endemic and conservation priority bird species that feed on the fruits of Antidesma ghaesembilla unfolds its important role in avifaunal conservation. Finally, the wide collection of fruit eating bird species attracted to it emphasized its importance in improving the overall avifaunal diversity in Imperata cylindrica dominated grassland patches within the swidden vegetation matrix.

  13. Effects of Climate and Ecosystem Disturbances on Biogeochemical Cycling in a Semi-Natural Terrestrial Ecosystem

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Beier, Claus; Schmidt, Inger Kappel; Kristensen, Hanne Lakkenborg

    2004-01-01

    The effects of increased temperature and potential ecosystem disturbances on biogeochemical cycling were investigated by manipulation of temperature in a mixed Calluna/grass heathland in Denmark. A reflective curtain covered the vegetation during the night to reduce the heat loss of IR radiation from the ecosystem to the atmosphere. This 'night time warming' was done for 3 years and warmed the air and soil by 1.1 deg. C. Warming was combined with ecosystem disturbances, including infestation by Calluna heather beetles (Lochmaea suturalis Thompson) causing complete defoliation of Calluna leaves during the summer 2000, and subsequent harvesting of all aboveground biomass during the autumn. Small increases in mineralisation rates were induced by warming and resulted in increased leaching of nitrogen from the organic soil layer. The increased nitrogen leaching from the organic soil layer was re-immobilised in the mineral soil layer as warming stimulated plant growth and thereby increased nitrogen immobilisation. Contradictory to the generally moderate effects of warming, the heather beetle infestation had very strong effects on mineralisation rates and the plant community. The grasses completely out-competed the Calluna plants which had not re-established two years after the infestation, probably due to combined effects of increased nutrient availability and the defoliation of Calluna. On the short term, ecosystem disturbances may have very strong effects on internal ecosystem processes and plant community structure compared to the more long-term effects of climate change

  14. Bird communities of contrasting semi-natural habitats of Lac bay, Bonaire, during the fall migration season, 2011

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Debrot, A.O.; Bemmelen, van R.S.A.; Ligon, J.

    2013-01-01

    The mangrove and seagrass lagoon of Lac Bay on Bonaire covers an area of roughly 700 ha. It is home to endangered green sea turtles, Chelonia mydas, and the Caribbean queen conch, Strombus gigas, and is a roosting and breeding area for several birds. Based on its nature values this 7 km2 bay has

  15. How does litter quality and site heterogeneity interact on decomposer food webs of a semi-natural forest?

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Strandmark, Lisa Bjørnlund; Christensen, Søren

    2005-01-01

    The relative importance of litter quality and site heterogeneity on population dynamics of decomposer food webs was investigated in a semi-natural mixed deciduous forest in Denmark. Litterbags containing beech or ash leaves were placed in four plots. Plots were located within gaps and under closed...... at the end of the study period. At the first sampling, where bacterial activity prevailed, the relative abundance of the two dominant bacterial-feeders, Rhabditidae (fast growing) and Plectus spp. (slower growing), depended more on site than litter type. At the second sampling where fungal activity became...... in the decomposer food web, site effects were also detected and nematode functional groups responded more to site than to litter quality early on in the decomposition process....

  16. Settling distances of benthic invertebrates in a sediment mobilization simulation in semi-natural flumes

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maria Cristina Bruno

    2015-10-01

    Full Text Available Drift time and distance depend on the ability of the drifting invertebrates to alter their body posture or by swimming, and these behaviors may change according to the local hydraulic environment, resulting in different distances travelled before exiting the drift. Such drift and settlement mediated invertebrate movement determine dispersal processes and ultimately generates distribution patterns within streams. We conducted an experiment in an open-air, artificial flume system directly fed by an Alpine stream, where we disturbed the sediment in the flumes, inducing catastrophic drift in the benthic community, and then assessed the settlement distances of benthic invertebrates. For each flume, we collected drift samples by disturbing the substrate at 1.5 m intervals, at increasing distance from the downstream end, for a total of 7 disturbances and a maximum settling distance of 10 m in each flume, with five replicates (i.e., five flumes for each disturbance. The disturbances induced a massive catastrophic drift in Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera, always higher than the behaviorally-occurring basedrift. The Settling Index calculated over the total drift collected at each distance increased with increasing distance, and after 10 m, 90% of the drifting animals had settled. Evenness and taxa richness progressively decrease with increasing settling distance. All drifting taxa were represented mainly by young instars. We used the drift collected at 1 m from the disturbance to standardize the remaining samples, based on the assumption that 1 m is not a distance long enough to allow animals to settle at that water velocity. We calculated the percentage of possible drifters which settled by computing a Settling Index for each taxon. The drifting taxa listed by decreasing Settling Index scores were Epeorus sp., Rhithrogena semicolorata, Isoperla spp., Sericostoma spp., Ecdyonurus spp., Nemoura spp., Leuctra spp., Baetis spp., Hydropsyche spp

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, K. A.

    2003-04-01

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

  18. Object-Based Classification of Grasslands from High Resolution Satellite Image Time Series Using Gaussian Mean Map Kernels

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mailys Lopes

    2017-07-01

    Full Text Available This paper deals with the classification of grasslands using high resolution satellite image time series. Grasslands considered in this work are semi-natural elements in fragmented landscapes, i.e., they are heterogeneous and small elements. The first contribution of this study is to account for grassland heterogeneity while working at the object level by modeling its pixels distributions by a Gaussian distribution. To measure the similarity between two grasslands, a new kernel is proposed as a second contribution: the α -Gaussian mean kernel. It allows one to weight the influence of the covariance matrix when comparing two Gaussian distributions. This kernel is introduced in support vector machines for the supervised classification of grasslands from southwest France. A dense intra-annual multispectral time series of the Formosat-2 satellite is used for the classification of grasslands’ management practices, while an inter-annual NDVI time series of Formosat-2 is used for old and young grasslands’ discrimination. Results are compared to other existing pixel- and object-based approaches in terms of classification accuracy and processing time. The proposed method is shown to be a good compromise between processing speed and classification accuracy. It can adapt to the classification constraints, and it encompasses several similarity measures known in the literature. It is appropriate for the classification of small and heterogeneous objects such as grasslands.

  19. Altered reward processing in pathological computer gamers--ERP-results from a semi-natural gaming-design.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Duven, Eva C P; Müller, Kai W; Beutel, Manfred E; Wölfling, Klaus

    2015-01-01

    Internet Gaming Disorder has been added as a research diagnosis in section III for the DSM-V. Previous findings from neuroscientific research indicate an enhanced motivational attention toward cues related to computer games, similar to findings in substance-related addictions. On the other hand in clinical observational studies tolerance effects are reported by patients with Internet Gaming disorder. In the present study we investigated whether an enhanced motivational attention or tolerance effects are present in patients with Internet Gaming Disorder. A clinical sample from the Outpatient Clinic for Behavioral Addictions in Mainz, Germany was recruited, fulfilling the diagnostic criteria for Internet Gaming Disorder. In a semi-natural EEG design participants played a computer game during the recording of event-related potentials to assess reward processing. The results indicated an attenuated P300 for patients with Internet Gaming Disorder in response to rewards in comparison to healthy controls, while the latency of N100 was prolonged and the amplitude of N100 was increased. Our findings support the hypothesis that tolerance effects are present in patients with Internet Gaming Disorder, when actively playing computer games. In addition, the initial orienting toward the gaming reward is suggested to consume more capacity for patients with Internet Gaming Disorder, which has been similarly reported by other studies with other methodological background in disorders of substance-related addictions.

  20. Effects of hatchery rearing on Florida largemouth bass Micropterus floridanus resource allocation and performance under semi-natural conditions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garlock, T M; Monk, C T; Lorenzen, K; Matthews, M D; St Mary, C M

    2014-12-01

    This study examined the growth, activity, metabolism and post-release survival of three groups of Florida largemouth bass Micropterus floridanus: wild-caught fish, hatchery fish reared according to standard practice (hatchery standard) and hatchery fish reared under reduced and unpredictable food provisioning (hatchery manipulated). Hatchery-standard fish differed from wild-caught fish in all measured variables, including survival in semi-natural ponds. Hatchery-standard and hatchery-manipulated fish showed higher activity levels, faster growth and lower standard metabolic rates than wild-caught fish in the hatchery. Fish reared under the manipulated feeding regime showed increased metabolic rates and increased post-release growth, similar to wild-caught fish. Their activity levels and post-release survival, however, remained similar to those of hatchery-standard fish. Activity was negatively correlated with post-release survival and failure of the feed manipulation to reduce activity may have contributed to its failure to improve post-release survival. Activity and post-release survival may be influenced by characteristics of the rearing environment other than the feeding regime, such as stock density or water flow rates. © 2014 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles.

  1. Reproductive fitness and dietary choice behavior of the genetic model organism Caenorhabditis elegans under semi-natural conditions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Freyth, Katharina; Janowitz, Tim; Nunes, Frank; Voss, Melanie; Heinick, Alexander; Bertaux, Joanne; Scheu, Stefan; Paul, Rüdiger J

    2010-10-01

    Laboratory breeding conditions of the model organism C. elegans do not correspond with the conditions in its natural soil habitat. To assess the consequences of the differences in environmental conditions, the effects of air composition, medium and bacterial food on reproductive fitness and/or dietary-choice behavior of C. elegans were investigated. The reproductive fitness of C. elegans was maximal under oxygen deficiency and not influenced by a high fractional share of carbon dioxide. In media approximating natural soil structure, reproductive fitness was much lower than in standard laboratory media. In seminatural media, the reproductive fitness of C. elegans was low with the standard laboratory food bacterium E. coli (γ-Proteobacteria), but significantly higher with C. arvensicola (Bacteroidetes) and B. tropica (β-Proteobacteria) as food. Dietary-choice experiments in semi-natural media revealed a low preference of C. elegans for E. coli but significantly higher preferences for C. arvensicola and B. tropica (among other bacteria). Dietary-choice experiments under quasi-natural conditions, which were feasible by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) of bacteria, showed a high preference of C. elegans for Cytophaga-Flexibacter-Bacteroides, Firmicutes, and β-Proteobacteria, but a low preference for γ-Proteobacteria. The results show that data on C. elegans under standard laboratory conditions have to be carefully interpreted with respect to their biological significance.

  2. Predators and predation rates of skylark Alauda arvensis and woodlark Lullula arborea nests in a semi-natural area in the Netherlands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Praus, Libor; Hegemann, Arne; Tieleman, B. Irene; Weidinger, Karel

    2014-01-01

    Predation is a major cause of breeding failure in bird species with open nests. Although many studies have investigated nest predation rates, direct identification of nest predators is sporadic, especially in (semi-)natural habitats. We quantified nest success and identified nest predators in a

  3. Long-term dynamics of radionuclides in semi-natural environments. Derivation of parameters and modelling. Final Report 1996-1999

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Belli, M. [Agenzia Nazionale per la Protezione dell' Ambiente, Rome (Italy). Dipt. Stato Ambiente, Controlli e Sistemi Informativi, Unita' Interdipartimentale di Metrologia Ambientale

    2000-07-01

    During the Chernobyl accident large areas of semi-natural ecosystems were affected by radionuclide deposition. Meadows and forests are typical semi-natural ecosystems. Meadows are used extensively in many countries as pastures for cattle, sheep and goats, while forests are important to man since they provide wood, paper, wild berries, mushrooms, game and recreational areas. Post-Chernobyl investigations have shown that dose to man from semi-natural ecosystems is relatively greater than from agricultural systems and that this dose risk persists for the long-term. Predictive models are essential to take long-term decisions on the management of contaminated environment and to identify key processes controlling the dynamics of radionuclides inside the ecosystems. During the period following the atmospheric fallout due to the nuclear weapons testing, few models for some specific semi-natural environments were developed. The applicability of these models to a wide range of semi-natural ecosystem is questionable, because in these complex systems it is more difficult to identify general key processes and to apply to other sites models developed for one site. Studies carried out since the Chernobyl accident have increased the understanding of radionuclide behaviour in semi-natural ecosystems, especially for boreal forests and middle European meadow systems which have been extensively investigated. Data sets have been obtained which describe the distribution and the cycling of radionuclides (especially {sup 137}Cs and {sup 90}Sr) within these systems. However, predictive modelling has largely been restricted to aggregated transfer factors which provide good contamination estimates, but only for the sites from which data have been obtained directly. There was a need to develop models that can be applied to a broad variety of ecosystems. They are needed for dose estimation, countermeasure implementation and environmental management. They should give reliable estimates of the

  4. Long-term dynamics of radionuclides in semi-natural environments. Derivation of parameters and modelling. Final Report 1996-1999

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Belli, M.

    2000-04-01

    During the Chernobyl accident large areas of semi-natural ecosystems were affected by radionuclide deposition. Meadows and forests are typical semi-natural ecosystems. Meadows are used extensively in many countries as pastures for cattle, sheep and goats, while forests are important to man since they provide wood, paper, wild berries, mushrooms, game and recreational areas. Post-Chernobyl investigations have shown that dose to man from semi-natural ecosystems is relatively greater than from agricultural systems and that this dose risk persists for the long-term. Predictive models are essential to take long-term decisions on the management of contaminated environment and to identify key processes controlling the dynamics of radionuclides inside the ecosystems. During the period following the atmospheric fallout due to the nuclear weapons testing, few models for some specific semi-natural environments were developed. The applicability of these models to a wide range of semi-natural ecosystem is questionable, because in these complex systems it is more difficult to identify general key processes and to apply to other sites models developed for one site. Studies carried out since the Chernobyl accident have increased the understanding of radionuclide behaviour in semi-natural ecosystems, especially for boreal forests and middle European meadow systems which have been extensively investigated. Data sets have been obtained which describe the distribution and the cycling of radionuclides (especially 137 Cs and 90 Sr) within these systems. However, predictive modelling has largely been restricted to aggregated transfer factors which provide good contamination estimates, but only for the sites from which data have been obtained directly. There was a need to develop models that can be applied to a broad variety of ecosystems. They are needed for dose estimation, countermeasure implementation and environmental management. They should give reliable estimates of the behaviour

  5. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zbigniew Dzwonko

    2011-12-01

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

  7. Trends in caesium activity concentrations in milk from agricultural and semi-natural environments after nuclear fallout

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Mueck, K.

    1995-12-01

    The radiocaesium contamination of milk and milk products is directly related to that in grass or hay and therefore the time trend to the effective half-life in these fodders. In the early phase the half-life in grass predominantly depends on effects such as dilution due to plant growth, translocation and weathering effects. The average effective half-life during this period (growing season) lies between 5 and 18 days. In upland pastures values of up to 25 days are observed. Studies performed on a great number of sites in particular countries after the Chernobyl accident showed half-lives for 137 Cs in grass from 7.9±1.5 d to 10.5±1.4 d for the period of May to July. An equivalent biological half-life for 131 I was observed. Only one measurement of half-lives in winter was performed up to now indicating a substantially longer value (50 d). No reliable data on effective half-lives at other periods of the year (late summer, fall) are available and would require further research. The long-term decline is determined by soil properties. Soils with low fixation capacity and low pH show higher aggregated transfer factors into milk than others. In certain semi-natural alpine pastures these factors remain high for years which cannot be explained by extreme soil properties only. Other reasons such as water logging, little dilution due to low plant growth, cycling of radionuclides within living and dead plant biomass and runoff effects have to be considered as main causes. A classification system for the long-term trend in Cs-availability to milk is proposed, but further research on the differences and possible measures with respect to seasonal variations and climatic conditions is required. (author)

  8. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  10. Using the North American Breeding Bird Survey to assess broad-scale response of the continent's most imperiled avian community, grassland birds, to weather variability

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gorzo, Jessica; Pidgeon, Anna M.; Thogmartin, Wayne E.; Allstadt, Andrew J.; Radeloff, Volker C.; Heglund, Patricia J.; Vavrus, Stephen J.

    2016-01-01

    Avian populations can respond dramatically to extreme weather such as droughts and heat waves, yet patterns of response to weather at broad scales remain largely unknown. Our goal was to evaluate annual variation in abundance of 14 grassland bird species breeding in the northern mixed-grass prairie in relation to annual variation in precipitation and temperature. We modeled avian abundance during the breeding season using North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data for the U.S. Badlands and Prairies Bird Conservation Region (BCR 17) from 1980 to 2012. We used hierarchical Bayesian methods to fit models and estimate the candidate weather parameters standardized precipitation index (SPI) and standardized temperature index (STI) for the same year and the previous year. Upland Sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda) responded positively to within-year STI (β = 0.101), and Baird's Sparrow (Ammodramus bairdii) responded negatively to within-year STI (β = −0.161) and positively to within-year SPI (β = 0.195). The parameter estimates were superficially similar (STI β = −0.075, SPI β = 0.11) for Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum), but the best-selected model included an interaction between SPI and STI. The best model for both Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) and Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus) included the additive effects of within-year SPI (β = −0.032 and β = −0.054, respectively) and the previous-year's SPI (β = −0.057 and −0.02, respectively), although for Vesper Sparrow the lag effect was insignificant. With projected warmer, drier weather during summer in the Badlands and Prairies BCR, Baird's and Grasshopper sparrows may be especially threatened by future climate change.

  11. Environmental quality of a semi-natural area of the Po Valley (northern Italy): aspects of soil and vegetation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Manfredi, Paolo; Giupponi, Luca; Cassinari, Chiara; Trevisan, Marco

    2014-05-01

    This work, originating in the preliminary analyses of a Life project and co-financed by the European Union ("Environmental recovery of degraded soils and desertified by a new treatment technology for land reconstruction", Life 10 ENV IT 400 "New Life"; http://www.lifeplusecosistemi.eu), aims to evaluate the environmental quality of a semi-natural area of the Po Valley (northern Italy) by analysing the characteristics of soil and vegetation. The area of study is located in the municipal territory of Piacenza (Emilia-Romagna, Italy) along the eastern shores of the river Trebbia and is made up of the closed landfill of Solid Urban Waste of Borgotrebbia (active from 1972 to 1985) and of the neighbouring areas (in North-South order: riverside area, northern borders of the landfill, landfill disposal, southern borders and cultivated corn fields). For each area pedological and vegetational analyses were carried out and in particular, as regards the soil, various chemical-physical analyses were done among which: pH, organic carbon, total nitrogen, salinity, exchangeable bases and granulometry. The ground vegetation data were collected using phytosociological relevés according to the method of the Zurich-Montpellier Sigmatist School, (Braun-Blanquet, 1964). For the analysis of the environmental quality of each area, the floristic-vegetation indexes system was applied as proposed by Taffetani & Rismondo (2009) (updated by Rismondo et al., 2011) conveniently created for analysing the ecological functionality of the agro-ecosystems. The results obtained by such applications drew attention to a dynamic vegetation mass in the landfill which, despite a value of the floristic biodiversity index (IFB) comparable to that of the borders, shows a much lower value of the maturity index (IM). This is due to the elevated percentage of annual species (index of the therophytic component = 52.78%) belonging to the phytosociological class Stellarietea mediae Tüxen, Lohmeyer & Preising ex

  12. Community-Weighted Mean Plant Traits Predict Small Scale Distribution of Insect Root Herbivore Abundance.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ilja Sonnemann

    Full Text Available Small scale distribution of insect root herbivores may promote plant species diversity by creating patches of different herbivore pressure. However, determinants of small scale distribution of insect root herbivores, and impact of land use intensity on their small scale distribution are largely unknown. We sampled insect root herbivores and measured vegetation parameters and soil water content along transects in grasslands of different management intensity in three regions in Germany. We calculated community-weighted mean plant traits to test whether the functional plant community composition determines the small scale distribution of insect root herbivores. To analyze spatial patterns in plant species and trait composition and insect root herbivore abundance we computed Mantel correlograms. Insect root herbivores mainly comprised click beetle (Coleoptera, Elateridae larvae (43% in the investigated grasslands. Total insect root herbivore numbers were positively related to community-weighted mean traits indicating high plant growth rates and biomass (specific leaf area, reproductive- and vegetative plant height, and negatively related to plant traits indicating poor tissue quality (leaf C/N ratio. Generalist Elaterid larvae, when analyzed independently, were also positively related to high plant growth rates and furthermore to root dry mass, but were not related to tissue quality. Insect root herbivore numbers were not related to plant cover, plant species richness and soil water content. Plant species composition and to a lesser extent plant trait composition displayed spatial autocorrelation, which was not influenced by land use intensity. Insect root herbivore abundance was not spatially autocorrelated. We conclude that in semi-natural grasslands with a high share of generalist insect root herbivores, insect root herbivores affiliate with large, fast growing plants, presumably because of availability of high quantities of food. Affiliation of

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kevin S Ellison

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

  15. The most species-rich plant communities in the Czech Republic and Slovakia (with new world records)

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Chytrý, M.; Dražil, T.; Hájek, M.; Kalníková, V.; Preislerová, Z.; Šibík, J.; Ujházy, K.; Axmanová, I.; Bernátová, D.; Blanár, D.; Dančák, M.; Dřevojan, P.; Fajmon, K.; Galvánek, D.; Hájková, Petra; Herben, Tomáš; Hrivnák, R.; Janeček, Štěpán; Janišová, M.; Jiráská, Š.; Kliment, J.; Kochjarová, J.; Lepš, J.; Lejskovjanská, A.; Merunková, K.; Mládek, J.; Slezák, M.; Šeffer, J.; Šefferová, V.; Škodová, I.; Uhlířová, J.; Ujházyová, M.; Vymazalová, M.

    2015-01-01

    Roč. 87, č. 3 (2015), s. 217-278 ISSN 0032-7786 R&D Projects: GA ČR GB14-36079G Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : alpha diversity * semi-natural grasslands * vegetation database Subject RIV: EF - Botanics Impact factor: 2.711, year: 2015

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pitkänen, T. P.; Käyhkö, N.

    2017-08-01

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

  17. Effect of burn area on invertebrate recolonization in grasslands in ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Our study examined the short-term response of grassland invertebrate communities to fire in the South African Drakensberg, in relation to distance from the edge of a burn. We aimed to establish which species survive fire and the dynamics of the post-fire recolonization process, and thereby contribute to establishing the ...

  18. Effects of the endemic earthworm .i.Allolobophora hrabei./i. (Černosvitov, 1935) on soil microbial communities of steppe grasslands

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Jirout, Jiří; Pižl, Václav

    2014-01-01

    Roč. 76, September (2014), s. 249-256 ISSN 0038-0717 R&D Projects: GA ČR GAP504/12/0536 Institutional support: RVO:60077344 Keywords : bacteria * archaea * fungi * community composition * DGGE * earthworm Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour Impact factor: 3.932, year: 2014

  19. Seasonal Variation in Soil Microbial Biomass, Bacterial Community Composition and Extracellular Enzyme Activity in Relation to Soil Respiration in a Northern Great Plains Grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilton, E.; Flanagan, L. B.

    2014-12-01

    Soil respiration rate is affected by seasonal changes in temperature and moisture, but is this a direct effect on soil metabolism or an indirect effect caused by changes in microbial biomass, bacterial community composition and substrate availability? In order to address this question, we compared continuous measurements of soil and plant CO2 exchange made with an automatic chamber system to analyses conducted on replicate soil samples collected on four dates during June-August. Microbial biomass was estimated from substrate-induced respiration rate, bacterial community composition was determined by 16S rRNA amplicon pyrosequencing, and β-1,4-N-acetylglucosaminidase (NAGase) and phenol oxidase enzyme activities were assayed fluorometrically or by absorbance measurements, respectively. Soil microbial biomass declined from June to August in strong correlation with a progressive decline in soil moisture during this time period. Soil bacterial species richness and alpha diversity showed no significant seasonal change. However, bacterial community composition showed a progressive shift over time as measured by Bray-Curtis dissimilarity. In particular, the change in community composition was associated with increasing relative abundance in the alpha and delta classes, and declining abundance of the beta and gamma classes of the Proteobacteria phylum during June-August. NAGase showed a progressive seasonal decline in potential activity that was correlated with microbial biomass and seasonal changes in soil moisture. In contrast, phenol oxidase showed highest potential activity in mid-July near the time of peak soil respiration and ecosystem photosynthesis, which may represent a time of high input of carbon exudates into the soil from plant roots. This input of exudates may stimulate the activity of phenol oxidase, a lignolytic enzyme involved in the breakdown of soil organic matter. These analyses indicated that seasonal change in soil respiration is a complex

  20. Targeted grazing for the restoration of sub-alpine shrub-encroached grasslands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Massimiliano Probo

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available The decline of agro-pastoral activities has led to a widespread tree and shrub-encroachment of former semi-natural meso-eutrophic grasslands in many European mountain regions. Temporary night camp areas (TNCA and mineral mix supplements for targeted cattle were arranged over shrub-encroached areas to restore grassland vegetation within the Val Troncea Natural Park (Italy. From 2011 to 2015, their effects on vegetation structure and pastoral value of forage were assessed along permanent transects. Four years after treatments, both practices were effective in reducing the shrub cover and increasing the cover and average height of the herbaceous layer, but changes were more remarkable within TNCA. Moreover, the arrangement of TNCA decreased the cover of nanophanerophytes and increased the cover of graminoids and high quality species, as well as the overall forage pastoral value. In conclusion, TNCA were the most effective pastoral practice to contrast shrub-encroachment and increase herbage mass and forage quality of sub-alpine grasslands.

  1. Classification of Grassland Successional Stages Using Airborne Hyperspectral Imagery

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Thomas Möckel

    2014-08-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Barbara Maria Smith

    2017-11-01

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

  3. PRODUCTION AND ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF MOUNTAIN GRASSLANDS IN LOW-INPUT FARMING SYSTEM

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ivan Holubek

    2013-09-01

    Full Text Available Ecological management of semi natural grassland was evaluated in three year long vegetative cycle in locality Chvojnica Strazovska vrchovina. Experimental treatments were studied in variant 1 unfertilized, variant 2 30 kg*ha 1 of P and 60 kg*ha 1 of K, treatment 3 PK + 90kg*ha 1 of N. Vegetation in all treatments of fertilization was cut three times in haymaking time of ripening. The aim of research was to find changes in phytocenology, production, nutrition and economy under different treatments of fertilization, cutting and experimental years. In the structure of semi natural grass vegetation, grasses dominated in the first cuttings, clovers dominated in the second cuttings and other meadow herbs dominated in the third cuttings. Application of fertilizers increases production of dry mass. Non fertilized grass vegetation produced 3.43 5.16 t*ha 1 of dry mass, vegetation with added PK fertilizers 4.71 5.91 t*ha 1 of dry mass and vegetation 7.12 7.97 t*ha of dry mass. Costs per 1 ha and 1 ton of hay and sales per 1 ha increased in the following sequence: var. 1 ? var. 2 ? var. 3. As for the profit, the most effective variants were variant 1 (256.79 EUR per ha and variant 3 (227.34 EUR per ha. The least effective variant was the variant fertilized by PK (180.62 EUR per ha.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dauber, Jens; Bengtsson, Jan; Lenoir, Lisette

    2006-08-01

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

  5. Fitossociologia do estrato herbáceo-subarbustivo em campo limpo úmido no Brasil Central Phytosociology of the herb-subshrub layer of a moist grassland community in Central Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cássia Beatriz Rodrigues Munhoz

    2008-12-01

    Full Text Available O campo limpo úmido é uma das fisionomias de Cerrado onde o lençol freático é superficial durante o ano todo. Em geral ocorrem bordeando as matas de galeria, sendo um local de ligação entre estas e as fitofisionomias bem drenadas de Cerrado. O objetivo deste estudo foi analisar a estrutura fitossociológica do estrato herbáceo-subarbustivo de uma comunidade de campo limpo úmido na Fazenda Água Limpa, Brasília, e avaliar possíveis alterações na composição e cobertura de espécies, em diferentes ocasiões no período de 13 meses, após incêndio. Uma área de 400×400 m foi subdividida em quatro porções de 200×200 m onde foram sorteadas as linhas de amostragem. No levantamento fitossociológico, adotou-se o método de interseção na linha, onde cada linha foi dividida em seções de 1 m. Foram amostradas 84 espécies incluídas em 54 gêneros e 24 famílias. A similaridade de Sørensen entre as quatro transeções amostradas foi baixa, entre 0,26 e 0,55%. As linhas sobre solos com lençol freático superficial o ano todo apresentaram composição de espécies diferenciada das linhas sobre solos com flutuação sazonal do lençol freático. A similaridade entre os cinco períodos de inventário foi elevada, pois as espécies mais importantes mostraram pouca variação nas suas taxas de cobertura ao longo do ano.The moist grassland community vegetation of the Cerrado is one of the physiognomies where the water table is superficial throughout the year. It generally occurs bordering the gallery forests, located between these forests and the well-drained Cerrado physiognomies. The aim of this study was to investigate the phytosociological structure of the herb-subshrub layer in a moist grassland at Água Limpa farm, Brasília, DF, and assess possible changes in species composition and cover, at different times throughout a 13-month period, after a fire. An area of 400×400 m was subdivided into four sections of 200×200 m and the

  6. Terrestrial ecology. Comprehensive study of the grassland biome

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Anon.

    1976-01-01

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

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

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

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-01-01

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

  9. Appreciation of grassland functions by European stakeholders

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2015-01-01

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

  11. Monitoring in South African grasslands

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Mentis, MT

    1984-12-01

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

  12. Local changes in communities of wild bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea, Apiformes: 30 years later

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Banaszak Józef

    2014-12-01

    Full Text Available Changes in communities of wild bees (Apiformes were studied in relation to changes in vegetation in six permanent plots (natural forest habitats in the Wielkopolska National Park, and semi-natural habitats in the agricultural landscape near Turew at the end of four decades (starting from the late 1970s. In 2008-2010, as many as 100 species of Apiformes were recorded there, which is more than reported in earlier decades. The most stable bee communities were those in forest habitats (oak-hornbeam forest, oak forest. Substantial qualitative and quantitative changes in vegetation and bee communities were recorded only after the renaturalisation of a former xerothermic grassland, which had become overgrown with shrubs and trees as a result of plant succession. Human interference (e.g. the felling of some trees growing along a road, clearance of understorey shrubs, ploughing of roadside margins at selected refuge habitats in the agricultural landscape led to short-term fluctuations in bee abundance and diversity, but an increasing trend in abundance was noted.

  13. Species interactions reverse grassland responses to changing climate.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2007-02-02

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-03-01

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

  15. Root uptake of 137Cs by natural and semi-natural grasses as a function of texture and moisture of soils

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Grytsyuk, N.; Arapis, G.; Davydchuk, V.

    2006-01-01

    This work studies the dependence of 137 Cs root uptake on the structure of landscape, especially on texture and moisture of soils, under natural conditions, on abandoned radiopolluted lands in Northern Ukraine. Researches were carried out on a wide range of landscape conditions, at various levels of 137 Cs contamination (from 20 up to 5000 kBq m -2 ), with different types of soils (approx. 20 soil varieties), which differ in texture, granulometric composition, degrees of gleyization and water regime, and anthropogenic transformation. The results showed that transfer factor (TF) values of 137 Cs differ 50 times for the natural grassy coenoses and 8 times for the semi-natural ones. The lowest 137 Cs TF values were measured in the herbages of dry meadows at automorphous loamy soils, while the highest were observed in wetland meadows at organic soils. Finally, the correlation between 137 Cs TF values and granulometric composition of soil was determined for both automorphic and hydromorphic mineral soils

  16. Genetic diversity and structure of managed and semi-natural populations of cocoa (Theobroma cacao) in the Huallaga and Ucayali Valleys of Peru.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Dapeng; Arevalo-Gardini, Enrique; Mischke, Sue; Zúñiga-Cernades, Luis; Barreto-Chavez, Alejandro; Del Aguila, Jorge Adriazola

    2006-09-01

    Cocoa (Theobroma cacao) is indigenous to the Amazon region of South America, and it is well known that the Peruvian Amazon harbours a large number of diverse cocoa populations. A small fraction of the diversity has been collected and maintained as an ex-situ germplasm repository in Peru. However, incorrect labelling of accessions and lack of information on genetic diversity have hindered efficient conservation and use of this germplasm. This study targeted assessment of genetic diversity and population structure in a managed and a semi-natural population. Using a capillary electrophoresis genotyping system, 105 cocoa accessions collected from the Huallaga and Ucayali valleys of Peru were fingerprinted. Based on 15 loci SSR profiles, genetic identity was examined for each accession and duplicates identified, population structure assessed and genetic diversity analysed in these two populations. Ten synonymous mislabelled groups were identified among the 105 accessions. The germplasm group in the Huallaga valley was clearly separated from the group in Ucayali valley by the Bayesian assignment test. The Huallaga group has lower genetic diversity, both in terms of allelic richness and of gene diversity, than the Ucayali group. Analysis of molecular variance suggested genetic substructure in the Ucayali group. Significant spatial correlation between genetic distance and geographical distances was detected in the Ucayali group by Mantel tests. These results substantiate the hypothesis that the Peruvian Amazon hosts a high level of cocoa genetic diversity, and the diversity has a spatial structure. The introduction of exotic seed populations into the Peruvian Amazon is changing the cocoa germplasm spectrum in this region. The spatial structure of cocoa diversity recorded here highlights the need for additional collecting and conservation measures for natural and semi-natural cocoa populations.

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2007-04-15

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2007-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Ran; Ma, Jun

    2018-01-01

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

  20. The importance of ammonium mobility in nitrogen-impacted unfertilized grasslands: A critical reassessment

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Mian, Ishaq Ahmad; Riaz, Muhammad; Cresser, Malcolm S.

    2009-01-01

    The physico-chemical absorption characteristics of ammonium-N for 10 soils from 5 profiles in York, UK, show its high potential mobility in N deposition-impacted, unfertilized, permanent grassland soils. Substantial proportions of ammonium-N inputs were retained in the solution phase, indicating that ammonium translocation plays an important role in the N cycling in, and losses from, such soils. This conclusion was further supported by measuring the ammonium-N leaching from intact plant/soil microcosms. The ammonium-N absorption characteristics apparently varied with soil pH, depth and soil texture. It was concluded for the most acid soils especially that ammonium-N leached from litter horizons could be seriously limiting the capacity of underlying soils to retain ammonium. Contrary to common opinion, more attention therefore needs to be paid to ammonium leaching and its potential role in biogeochemical N cycling in semi-natural soil systems subject to atmospheric pollution. - Ammonium mobility is more important than previously thought in N-impacted, unfertilized grasslands

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, Qiang

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

  2. Ciclo Vital de Schistosoma mansoni através do Holochilus brasiliensis (Desmarest, 1818 em ambiente semi-natural (Trematoda, Shistosomatidae; Rodentia, Cricetidae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Omar dos Santos Carvalho

    1976-10-01

    Full Text Available Junto ao Lago da Pampulha, Belo Horizonte, MG, foram capturados (julho/72-novembro/73 28 exemplares de Holochilus brasiliensis, dos quais 11 (39,3% eliminavam nas fezes ovos viáveis de S. mansoni. Miracídios da cepa mencionada ("H" infectaram Biomphalaria glabrata e as cercárias obtidas também infectaram camundongos albinos, recuperando-se, ao final do experimento, 35,3% de vermes adultos. Por outro lado, cercárias de cepa humana ("LE" de S. mansoni infectaram sete exemplares de H. brasiliensis, nascidos em laboratório, recuperando-se no fim de 60 dias, 30,5% de vermes adultos. Estudos anatomapatológicos de H. brasiliensis demonstraram infecção generalizada, encontrando-se granuloma no esôfago, estômago, intestino (delgado e grosso, fígado, baço, pâncreas e linfonodos abdominais. Espessamentos fibrosos da íntima da veia porta, granulomas em espaços porta e fibrose incipiente dos espaços porta e interlobular foram lesões decorrentes da presença de ovos de S. mansoni encontrados no fígado. Em ambiente semi-natural, foi possível fechar o ciclo do S. mansoni sem direta participação humana, utilizando-se B. glabrata experimentalmente infectadas com trematódeos da cepa "LE", H. brasiliensis nascidos em laboratório e B. glabrata nascida no ambiente semi-natural estabelecido. Verificou-se que ambas as cepas ("H" e "LE" comportaram-se de maneira análoga, não sendo verificadas, também, diferenças morfológicas entre os ovos e vermes adultos de ambas. As observações, realizadas no campo e no laboratório demonstraram que o Holochilus brasiliensis é bom hospedeiro de Schistosoma mansoni. Assim, em determinadas áreas e sob certas condições ecológicas, o cricetídeo em questão poderá, efetivamente, integrar-se ao ciclo do trematódeo na natureza, independente ou paralelamente à presença do homem. Assinala-se, finalmente, que o presente trabalho relata o segundo fechamento do ciclo biológico de S. mansoni em condi

  3. 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.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  5. Sex-dependent effects of larval food stress on adult performance under semi-natural conditions: only a matter of size?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rosa, Elena; Saastamoinen, Marjo

    2017-07-01

    Organisms with complex life-cycles acquire essential nutrients as juveniles, and hence even a short-term food stress during development can impose serious fitness costs apparent in adults. We used the Glanville fritillary butterfly to investigate the effects of larval food stress on adult performance under semi-natural conditions in a population enclosure. We were specifically interested in whether the negative effects observed were due to body mass reduction only or whether additional effects unrelated to pupal mass were evident. The two sexes responded differently to the larval food stress. In females, larval food stress reduced pupal mass and reproductive performance. The reduced reproductive performance was partially mediated by pupal mass reduction. Food stressed females also had reduced within-patch mobility, and this effect was not dependent on pupal mass. Conversely, food stress had no effect on male pupal mass, suggesting a full compensation via prolonged development time. Nonetheless, food stressed males were less likely to sire any eggs, potentially due to changes in their territorial behavior, as indicated by food stress also increasing male within-patch mobility (i.e., patrolling behavior). When males did sire eggs, the offspring number and viability were unaffected by male food stress treatment. Viability was in general higher for offspring sired by lighter males. Our study highlights how compensatory mechanisms after larval food stress can act in a sex-specific manner and that the alteration in body mass is only partially responsible for the reduced adult performance observed.

  6. 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.

  7. Changes in productivity of grassland with ageing

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hoogerkamp, M.

    1984-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Martín Raúl Amodeo

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

  9. Effects of forest expansion on mountain grassland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Guidi, Claudia; Magid, Jakob; Rodeghiero, Mirco

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-31

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

  11. Microsatellite analysis of the parental contribution of Piaractus mesopotamicus to the production of offspring in the semi-natural system of reproduction

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jayme Aparecido Povh

    2010-04-01

    Full Text Available The objective of this study was to evaluate the genetic diversity and the parental contribution of Piaractus mesopotamicus in the production of offspring in the semi-natural system of reproduction. Twenty parental fishes (eleven males and nine females and the total of 100 larvae were evaluated by microsatellite marker. The parents and offspring had thirty-one alleles and heterozygosity of 0.550 and 0.563, respectively. The females were fertilised by two up to six males while the males fertilised three up to five females. The contribution of the females and males to the offspring were 66.6 and 58%, respectively. Such results indicated no loss in the genetic variability in the offspring, and the parents had multiple paternity and reasonable contribution to the offspring production.O objetivo deste trabalho foi avaliar a diversidade genética e a contribuição parental de Piaractus mesopotamicus na produção de descendência no sistema seminatural de reprodução. Vinte peixes parentais (onze machos e nove fêmeas e o total de 100 larvas foram avaliados por meio do marcador microssátelite. Os parentais e a progênie tiveram trinta e um alelos e heterozigosidade de 0,550 e 0,563, respectivamente. As fêmeas foram fertilizadas por dois até seis machos enquanto machos fertilizaram três até cinco fêmeas. A contribuição de fêmeas e machos para a descendência seja 66,6 e 58,0%, respectivamente. Tais resultados não indicam diminuição da variabilidade genética na progênie e os parentais apresentaram paternidade múltipla e razoável contribuição à produção de descendência.

  12. Abiotic drivers of Chihuahuan Desert plant communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laura Marie Ladwig

    2014-01-01

    Within grasslands, precipitation, fire, nitrogen (N) addition, and extreme temperatures influence community composition and ecosystem function. The differential influences of these abiotic factors on Chihuahuan Desert grassland communities was examined within the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, located in central New Mexico, U.S.A. Although fire is a natural...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. CUTINI

    2010-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    F. SPADA

    2010-04-01

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

  15. Variability of annual CO2 exchange from Dutch grasslands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2007-01-01

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

  16. Satellite-based assessment of grassland yields

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-04-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jonathan D. Coop; Thomas J. Givnish

    2008-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  20. Long-term grassland management effects on soil Phosphorus status on rewetted Histosols

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heller, Sebastian; Müller, Jürgen; Kayser, Manfred

    2017-04-01

    Since the Neolithic Period, the cultivation of wetlands has played a significant role for the settlement of Humans northwest Germany. A continuing drainage of the wetlands over the centuries and an intensified soil cultivation during the last decades has caused irreversible peat degradation and led to fundamental changes in the landscape. Nowadays, almost 70 % of the 4345 km2 peatland of Lower Saxony is altered by agriculture. For the revitalization of wetland ecosystems, permanent rewetting is an integral component to preserve the functions of organic soils and achieve resilient, speciesrich wetlands. However, permanent rewetting measures are not always feasible. In our study area at the Osterfeiner Moor, a fen located in the Dümmer lowlands near Osnabrück, intensive forage cropping areas were converted into extensive permanent grasslands accompanied by temporary rewetting during winter. This management practice combined with zero fertilization and a low mowing and grazing intensity aims at mitigating mineralisation of peat layers and creating a habitat for endangered meadow bird species. In this semi-natural ecosystem soil phosphorus (P) dynamics play a crucial role. However, longterm research results on P availability of degraded and rewetted fens are still lacking. Thus, we investigated the interaction of different grassland uses and P dynamics in the soil. We described P depletion of the topsoil over a time scale of 17 years after the implementation of restoration measures. Our study site comprises of 180 ha protected grassland divided into 52 management plots. According to the management system, we divided the plots into meadows, pastures and combinations of cutting and grazing. The soils in our study area can be characterised as drained organic soils, WRB: Rheic Sapric Histosols (Drainic), with drastic degradation properties through moorsh forming processes. Plant-available P (double lactate extraction method: PDL) was analysed from representative topsoil

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-03-01

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

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

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

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

    2017-01-01

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

  3. 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...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1996-01-01

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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    1995-11-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. Plutonium in a grassland ecosystem

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Little, C.A.

    1976-08-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. [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.

  14. Looking beyond rare species as umbrella species: Northern Bobwhites (Colinus virginianus) and conservation of grassland and shrubland birds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crosby, Andrew D.; Elmore, R.D.; Leslie,, David M.; Will, Rodney E.

    2015-01-01

    Changes in land use and land cover throughout the eastern half of North America have caused substantial declines in populations of birds that rely on grassland and shrubland vegetation types, including socially and economically important game birds such as the Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus; hereafter bobwhites). As much attention is focused on habitat management and restoration for bobwhites, they may act as an umbrella species for other bird species with similar habitat requirements. We quantified the relationship of bobwhites to the overall bird community and evaluated the potential for bobwhites to act as an umbrella species for grassland and shrubland birds. We monitored bobwhite presence and bird community composition within 31 sample units on selected private lands in the south-central United States from 2009 to 2011. Bobwhites were strongly associated with other grassland and shrubland birds and were a significant positive predictor for 9 species. Seven of these, including Bell's Vireo (Vireo bell), Dicksissel (Spiza americana), and Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum), are listed as species of conservation concern. Species richness and occupancy probability of grassland and shrubland birds were higher relative to the overall bird community in sample units occupied by bobwhites. Our results show that bobwhites can act as an umbrella species for grassland and shrubland birds, although the specific species in any given situation will depend on region and management objectives. These results suggest that efficiency in conservation funding can be increased by using public interest in popular game species to leverage resources to meet multiple conservation objectives.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  16. Plutonium in a grassland ecosystem

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Little, C.A.

    1976-01-01

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

  17. Distinguishing Intensity Levels of Grassland Fertilization Using Vegetation Indices

    OpenAIRE

    Jens L. Hollberg; Jürgen Schellberg

    2017-01-01

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

  18. 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

  19. Appreciation of the functions of grasslands by Irish stakeholders

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

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

  1. 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.

  2. Model calculation of radiocaesium transfer into food products in semi-natural forest ecosystems in the Czech Republic after a nuclear reactor accident and an estimate of the population dose burden

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Svadlenkova, M.; Konecny, J.; Smutny, V.

    1996-01-01

    Radioactivity of food products from semi-natural forest ecosystems can contribute appreciably to the radiological burden of the human population following a nuclear accident, as found after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. In the Czech Republic, radiocaesium radioactivity has been measured, such as soil, mushrooms, bilberries, deer and boar. In this work, the data are employed to predict how a model accident of the Temelin nuclear power plant in southern Bohemia (which is under construction) would affect selected forest ecosystems in its surroundings. The dose commitment to the critical population group is also estimated. (author)

  3. Radioecological sensitivity of permanent grasslands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Besson, Benoit

    2009-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rowan D. Buhrmann

    2016-12-01

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

  6. China's Grassland Contract Policy and its Impacts on Herder Ability to Benefit in Inner Mongolia: Tragic Feedbacks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wenjun Li

    2011-06-01

    Full Text Available Northern China's grasslands have been losing productivity since the 1980s, when a policy known as the "grassland contracting policy" allocated commonly used grazing lands to individual herder households. Examined here is the connection between implementation of the grassland contracting policy and the loss of grassland production using the analytic concepts of ability to benefit and community failure. A gacha (village of the Sunite Left Banner of the Xilingol League in Inner Mongolia is used as a case study to compare herder ability to benefit from rangeland resources during adverse climate events before and after policy implementation. Social-ecological resilience, access to social and ecological assets, and institutions supporting crisis relief have been affected. We find that the privatization of grassland use rights has weakened pastoralist ability to benefit from rangelands by weakening or dismantling what are identified as the rights-, structure-, and relations-based abilities that enabled pastoralists to cope with nonequilibrium conditions. This has led to a community failure that engenders feedbacks of increased impoverishment and environmental deterioration. The inflexible boundaries of quasi-private household property rights have caused the pastoral system to lose capacity to respond to drought and weather events through the flexibility of "otor" and other forms of herd movement, increasing vulnerability to environmental change.

  7. 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

  8. Purpose and Need for a Grassland Assessment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deborah M. Finch; Cathy W. Dahms

    2004-01-01

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

  9. [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.

  10. Optimal Conventional and Semi-Natural Treatments for the Upper Yakima Spring Chinook Salmon Supplementation Project, Treatment Definitions and Descriptions, and Biological Specifications for Facility Design, Final Report 1999

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hager, Robert C.; Costello, Ronald J.

    1999-01-01

    This report describes the Yakima Fisheries Project facilities (Cle Elum Hatchery and acclimation satellites) which provide the mechanism to conduct state-of-the-art research for addressing questions about spring chinook supplementation strategies. The definition, descriptions, and specifications for the Yakima spring chinook supplementation program permit evaluation of alternative fish culture techniques that should yield improved methods and procedures to produce wild-like fish with higher survival that can be used to rebuild depleted spring chinook stocks of the Columbia River Basin. The definition and description of three experimental treatments, Optimal Conventional (OCT), Semi-Natural (SNT), Limited Semi-Natural (LSNT), and the biological specifications for facilities have been completed for the upper Yakima spring chinook salmon stock of the Yakima Fisheries Project. The task was performed by the Biological Specifications Work Group (BSWG) represented by Yakama Indian Nation, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, National Marine Fisheries Service, and Bonneville Power Administration. The control and experimental variables of the experimental treatments (OCT, SNT, and LSNT) are described in sufficient detail to assure that the fish culture facilities will be designed and operated as a production scale laboratory to produce and test supplemented upper Yakima spring chinook salmon. Product specifications of the treatment groups are proposed to serve as the generic templates for developing greater specificity for measurements of product attributes. These product specifications will be used to monitor and evaluate treatment effects, with respect to the biological response variables (post release survival, long-term fitness, reproductive success and ecological interactions)

  11. Optimal Conventional and Semi-Natural Treatments for the Upper Yakima Spring Chinook Salmon Supplementation Project; Treatment Definitions and Descriptions and Biological Specifications for Facility Design, 1995-1999 Final Report.

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hager, Robert C. (Hatchery Operations Consulting); Costello, Ronald J. (Mobrand Biometrics, Inc., Vashon Island, WA)

    1999-10-01

    This report describes the Yakima Fisheries Project facilities (Cle Elum Hatchery and acclimation satellites) which provide the mechanism to conduct state-of-the-art research for addressing questions about spring chinook supplementation strategies. The definition, descriptions, and specifications for the Yakima spring chinook supplementation program permit evaluation of alternative fish culture techniques that should yield improved methods and procedures to produce wild-like fish with higher survival that can be used to rebuild depleted spring chinook stocks of the Columbia River Basin. The definition and description of three experimental treatments, Optimal Conventional (OCT), Semi-Natural (SNT), Limited Semi-Natural (LSNT), and the biological specifications for facilities have been completed for the upper Yakima spring chinook salmon stock of the Yakima Fisheries Project. The task was performed by the Biological Specifications Work Group (BSWG) represented by Yakama Indian Nation, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, National Marine Fisheries Service, and Bonneville Power Administration. The control and experimental variables of the experimental treatments (OCT, SNT, and LSNT) are described in sufficient detail to assure that the fish culture facilities will be designed and operated as a production scale laboratory to produce and test supplemented upper Yakima spring chinook salmon. Product specifications of the treatment groups are proposed to serve as the generic templates for developing greater specificity for measurements of product attributes. These product specifications will be used to monitor and evaluate treatment effects, with respect to the biological response variables (post release survival, long-term fitness, reproductive success and ecological interactions).

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-05-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  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

    1997-12-31

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fernando C. Scottá

    2015-07-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kaligarič Mitja

    2016-01-01

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

  17. 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.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1975-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-05-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-11-01

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

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2016-01-01

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

  2. Changes in nitrogen mineralization, tissue nutrient concentrations and biomass compartmentation after cessation of fertiliser application to mown grassland.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Olff, H.; Berendse, F.; Visser, de W.

    1994-01-01

    1 Nitrogen mineralization was studied in four grasslands (fields A-D), which had not been fertilized for 2, 6, 19 and 45 years, respectively, thereby forming a chrono-sequence. Fertilizer application was stopped in these fields in order to restore former species-rich communities characteristic of

  3. Convergent phylogenetic and functional responses to altered fire regimes in mesic savanna grasslands of North America and South Africa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Forrestel, Elisabeth J; Donoghue, Michael J; Smith, Melinda D

    2014-08-01

    The importance of fire in the creation and maintenance of mesic grassland communities is well recognized. Improved understanding of how grasses--the dominant clade in these important ecosystems--will respond to alterations in fire regimes is needed in the face of anthropogenically driven climate and land-use change. Here, we examined how grass communities shift in response to experimentally manipulated fire regimes at multiple levels of community diversity--taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional--in C4-dominanted mesic savanna grassland sites with similar structure and physiognomy, yet disparate biogeographic histories. We found that the grass communities were similar in their phylogenetic response and aspects of their functional response to high fire frequency. Both sites exhibited phylogenetic clustering of highly abundant species in annually burned plots, driven by species of the Andropogoneae, and a narrow range of functional strategies associated with rapid post-fire regeneration in a high-light, nitrogen-limited environment. By examining multiple facets of diversity in a comparative context, we identified convergent phylogenetic and functional responses to altered fire regimes in two mesic savanna grasslands. Our results highlight the importance of a common filtering process associated with fire that is consistent across grasslands of disparate biogeographic histories and taxonomic representation. © 2014 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2014 New Phytologist Trust.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2000-01-01

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2000-01-01

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

  6. Does introduction of clover in an agricultural grassland affect the food base and functional diversity of Collembola?

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Annibale, D' Alessandra; Sechi, Valentina; Larsen, Thomas; Christensen, Søren; Krogh, Paul Henning; Eriksen, Jørgen

    2017-01-01

    Introduction of legumes (i.e. white clover) in agricultural grasslands is a common practice to improve yields, but how this affects soil fauna populations, particularly mesofauna, is still poorly understood. We investigated taxonomical and functional differences of Collembola communities between

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dörte Bachmann

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

  8. Community

    Science.gov (United States)

    stability Science & Innovation Collaboration Careers Community Environment Science & Innovation Recruitment Events Community Commitment Giving Campaigns, Drives Economic Development Employee Funded neighbor pledge: contribute to quality of life in Northern New Mexico through economic development

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-04-01

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

  10. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Haifa Debouk

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  15. Energy analysis of various grassland utilisation systems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jozef Ržonca

    2005-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-11-01

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

  17. Genetic sorting of subordinate species in grassland modulated by intraspecific variation in dominant species.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Danny J Gustafson

    Full Text Available Genetic variation in a single species can have predictable and heritable effects on associated communities and ecosystem processes, however little is known about how genetic variation of a dominant species affects plant community assembly. We characterized the genetic structure of a dominant grass (Sorghastrum nutans and two subordinate species (Chamaecrista fasciculata, Silphium integrifolium, during the third growing season in grassland communities established with genetically distinct (cultivated varieties or local ecotypes seed sources of the dominant grasses. There were genetic differences between subordinate species growing in the cultivar versus local ecotype communities, indicating that intraspecific genetic variation in the dominant grasses affected the genetic composition of subordinate species during community assembly. A positive association between genetic diversity of S. nutans, C. fasciculata, and S. integrifolium and species diversity established the role of an intraspecific biotic filter during community assembly. Our results show that intraspecific variation in dominant species can significantly modulate the genetic composition of subordinate species.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-04-01

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

  19. Predicting the establishment success of introduced target species in grassland restoration by functional traits.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Engst, Karina; Baasch, Annett; Bruelheide, Helge

    2017-09-01

    Species-rich semi-natural grasslands are highly endangered habitats in Central Europe and numerous restoration efforts have been made to compensate for the losses in the last decades. However, some plant species could become more easily established than others. The establishment success of 37 species was analyzed over 6 years at two study sites of a restoration project in Germany where hay transfer and sowing of threshing material in combination with additional sowing were applied. The effects of the restoration method applied, time since the restoration took place, traits related to germination, dispersal, and reproduction, and combinations of these traits on the establishment were analyzed. While the specific restoration method of how seeds were transferred played a subordinate role, the establishment success depended in particular on traits such as flower season or the lifeform. Species flowering in autumn, such as Pastinaca sativa and Serratula tinctoria , became established better than species flowering in other seasons, probably because they could complete their life cycle, resulting in increasingly stronger seed pressure with time. Geophytes, like Allium angulosum and Galium boreale , became established very poorly, but showed an increase with study duration. For various traits, we found significant trait by method and trait by year interactions, indicating that different traits promoted establishment under different conditions. Using a multi-model approach, we tested whether traits acted in combination. For the first years and the last year, we found that models with three traits explained establishment success better than models with a single trait or two traits. While traits had only an additive effect on the establishment success in the first years, trait interactions became important thereafter. The most important trait was the season of flowering, which occurred in all best models from the third year onwards. Overall, our approach revealed the

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    1995-12-31

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-11-01

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

  2. Nesting ecology of grassland birds following a wildfire in the southern Great Plains

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roberts, Anthony J.; Boal, Clint W.; Whitlaw, Heather A.

    2017-01-01

    We studied the response of nesting grassland birds occupying short-grass and mixed-grass prairie sites 2 and 3 y following two, large-scale wildfires that burned ≥360,000 ha in the Texas Panhandle in March 2006. Nest success was greater on burned plots compared to unburned plots, though this varied by species and year. Woody vegetation cover was greater around nests on unburned plots compared to burned plots for Cassin's sparrow (Peucaea cassinii) and lark sparrow (Chondestes grammacus). Cassin's sparrows and lark sparrows nested in more-woody vegetation than did grasshopper sparrows (Ammodramus savannarum), and woody vegetation was reduced following the wildfires. The wildfires appear to have had few if any negative influences on the avian community 3 years postfire. This may be due to grassland breeding birds being adapted to landscapes in which, historically, periodic disturbance (e.g., wildfire, intensive grazing by bison [Bison bison]) resulted in vegetation heterogeneity.

  3. Community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grauer, Kit, Ed.

    1995-01-01

    Art in context of community is the theme of this newsletter. The theme is introduced in an editorial "Community-Enlarging the Definition" (Kit Grauer). Related articles include: (1) "The Children's Bridge is not Destroyed: Heart in the Middle of the World" (Emil Robert Tanay); (2) "Making Bridges: The Sock Doll…

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-04-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Boeck, H. J.; Lemmens, C. M. H. M.; Zavalloni, C.; Gielen, B.; Malchair, S.; Carnol, M.; Merckx, R.; van den Berge, J.; Ceulemans, R.; Nijs, I.

    2008-04-01

    Here we report on the single and combined impacts of climate warming and species richness on the biomass production in experimental grassland communities. Projections of a future warmer climate have stimulated studies on the response of terrestrial ecosystems to this global change. Experiments have likewise addressed the importance of species numbers for ecosystem functioning. There is, however, little knowledge on the interplay between warming and species richness. During three years, we grew experimental plant communities containing one, three or nine grassland species in 12 sunlit, climate-controlled chambers in Wilrijk, Belgium. Half of these chambers were exposed to ambient air temperatures (unheated), while the other half were warmed by 3°C (heated). Equal amounts of water were added to heated and unheated communities, so that warming would imply drier soils if evapotranspiration was higher. Biomass production was decreased due to warming, both aboveground (-29%) and belowground (-25%), as negative impacts of increased heat and drought stress in summer prevailed. Complementarity effects, likely mostly through both increased aboveground spatial complementarity and facilitative effects of legumes, led to higher shoot and root biomass in multi-species communities, regardless of the induced warming. Surprisingly, warming suppressed productivity the most in 9-species communities, which may be attributed to negative impacts of intense interspecific competition for resources under conditions of high abiotic stress. Our results suggest that warming and the associated soil drying could reduce primary production in many temperate grasslands, and that this will not necessarily be mitigated by efforts to maintain or increase species richness.

  6. Priming of soil carbon decomposition in two inner Mongolia grassland soils following sheep dung addition: A study using13C natural abundance approach

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ma, Xiuzhi; Ambus, Per; Wang, Shiping

    2013-01-01

    To investigate the effect of sheep dung on soil carbon (C) sequestration, a 152 days incubation experiment was conducted with soils from two different Inner Mongolian grasslands, i.e. a Leymus chinensis dominated grassland representing the climax community (2.1% organic matter content) and a heav......To investigate the effect of sheep dung on soil carbon (C) sequestration, a 152 days incubation experiment was conducted with soils from two different Inner Mongolian grasslands, i.e. a Leymus chinensis dominated grassland representing the climax community (2.1% organic matter content......) and a heavily degraded Artemisia frigida dominated community (1.3% organic matter content). Dung was collected from sheep either fed on L. chinensis (C3 plant with δ13C = -26.8‰; dung δ13C = -26.2‰) or Cleistogenes squarrosa (C4 plant with δ13C = -14.6‰; dung δ13C = -15.7‰). Fresh C3 and C4 sheep dung was mixed......-amended controls. In both grassland soils, ca. 60% of the evolved CO2 originated from the decomposing sheep dung and 40% from the native soil C. Priming effects of soil C decomposition were observed in both soils, i.e. 1.4 g and 1.6 g additional soil C kg-1 dry soil had been emitted as CO2 for the L. chinensis...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jussi Lampinen

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Lalor, S.T.J.

    2014-01-01

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

  9. Influence of density on the seasonal utilization of broad grassland ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    We monitored seasonal use of grassland types by white rhinos at two sites within the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park (HiP). Thirty-two rhinos were removed from one site to reduce rhino density. Seasonal use of grassland types was similar at both sites, but differed to what a previous study reported. This was likely due to higher food ...

  10. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tang, Shiming; Tian, Dashuan; Niu, Shuli

    2017-04-01

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

  12. Shifts in composition of avian communities related to temperate-grassland afforestation in southeastern South America Alterações na composição de comunidades de aves relacionadas ao florestamento de campos temperados no sudeste da América do Sul

    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.O florestamento de campos temperados com árvores de crescimento rápido para a produção industrial de celulose está aumentando na América do Sul. Apesar das elevadas taxas de florestamento resultantes de políticas governamentais que estimulam o plantio de árvores para celulose em campos do sul do Brasil e Uruguai, o impacto dessa atividade sobre a biodiversidade ainda carece de avaliação adequada. Utilizamos um delineamento experimental do tipo impacto-referência para avaliar como o florestamento dos campos afeta a composição da assembleia de aves campestres. Amostramos

  13. Deficit in community species richness as explained by area and isolation of sites

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bruun, Hans Henrik

    2000-01-01

    The potential community species richness was predicted for 85 patches of seminatural grassland in an agricultural landscape in Denmark. The basis of the prediction was a very large dataset on the vegetation, soil pH and topography in Danish grasslands and related communities. Species were inserte......, community richness deficit, varied considerably among patches. Community richness deficit exhibited a negative relationship with patch area, and for small patches a positive relationship with patch isolation....

  14. Spider fauna of semi-dry grasslands on a military training base in Northwest Germany (Münster

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Buchholz, Sascha

    2008-07-01

    Full Text Available The spider fauna of semi-dry grasslands on the military training area of Dorbaum near Münster (North Rhine-Westphalia was investigated. From 2002 to 2003 a total of 11,194 mature spiders from 141 species and 20 families was caught by pitfall trapping and hand sampling. Among them are 18 species listed in the Red Data Book of North Rhine-Westphalia, four species are rare or previously rarely recorded. Most of the spiders are habitat generalists that extend their occurrence into all types of habitats, while the number of species which are stenotopic to sand habitats is noticeably low (n = 13. The spider data were analysed with Principal Component Analysis (PCA. It is possible to distinguish spider communities of neighbouring forested habitats from species groups of open habitats, but there is no uniform spider community which is characteristic for semi-dry grassland.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-01-01

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

  16. The effects of warming and nitrogen addition on soil nitrogen cycling in a temperate grassland, northeastern China.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lin-Na Ma

    Full Text Available Both climate warming and atmospheric nitrogen (N deposition are predicted to affect soil N cycling in terrestrial biomes over the next century. However, the interactive effects of warming and N deposition on soil N mineralization in temperate grasslands are poorly understood.A field manipulation experiment was conducted to examine the effects of warming and N addition on soil N cycling in a temperate grassland of northeastern China from 2007 to 2009. Soil samples were incubated at a constant temperature and moisture, from samples collected in the field. The results showed that both warming and N addition significantly stimulated soil net N mineralization rate and net nitrification rate. Combined warming and N addition caused an interactive effect on N mineralization, which could be explained by the relative shift of soil microbial community structure because of fungal biomass increase and strong plant uptake of added N due to warming. Irrespective of strong intra- and inter-annual variations in soil N mineralization, the responses of N mineralization to warming and N addition did not change during the three growing seasons, suggesting independence of warming and N responses of N mineralization from precipitation variations in the temperate grassland.Interactions between climate warming and N deposition on soil N cycling were significant. These findings will improve our understanding on the response of soil N cycling to the simultaneous climate change drivers in temperate grassland ecosystem.

  17. Indirect Effects of Energy Development in Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Duquette, Cameron Albert

    Grassland landscapes in North America are undergoing rapid industrialization due to energy development facilitated by the growing popularity of fracking and horizontal drilling technology. Each year over 3 million hectares are lost from grassland and shrubland habitats to well infrastructure. Direct footprints from energy infrastructure cause impacts to vegetation cover, available cattle forage, carbon sequestration potential, and usable space for wildlife. However, legacy effects from well construction and noise pollution, light pollution, and altered viewsheds have the potential to impact areas beyond this direct footprint, causing additive and persistent changes to nearby grassland function. While these additional areas may be small on a well pad basis, they may have substantial cumulative impacts over time. To investigate these effects via a diversity of mechanisms, we studied the seasonal habitat selection of northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus, hereafter bobwhite) in an energy-producing landscape to evaluate space use patterns relative to energy infrastructure. Habitat selection was modeled in the breeding and nonbreeding season using resource Utilization functions (RUFs). We then investigated patterns of vegetation, arthropod, and soil characteristics surrounding well pads to assess small scale environmental gradients extending away from drilling pads via a combination of multivariate and univariate techniques (i.e., Nonmetric dimensional scaling and ANOVA). We found minimal avoidance of energy structures by quail, suggesting a tolerance of moderate development levels. All small-scale effects studied except for soil moisture were impacted at the pad itself (P < 0.01). Off-pad impacts to arthropod abundance and biomass were spatially limited to areas close to pads, while vegetation cover was typically lower than the surrounding habitat beyond 10 m of pads. Soil surface temperature was higher at distances close to well pads, and soil moisture was not

  18. The role of grasslands in food security and climate change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Mara, F P

    2012-11-01

    Grasslands are a major part of the global ecosystem, covering 37 % of the earth's terrestrial area. For a variety of reasons, mostly related to overgrazing and the resulting problems of soil erosion and weed encroachment, many of the world's natural grasslands are in poor condition and showing signs of degradation. This review examines their contribution to global food supply and to combating climate change. Grasslands make a significant contribution to food security through providing part of the feed requirements of ruminants used for meat and milk production. Globally, this is more important in food energy terms than pig meat and poultry meat. Grasslands are considered to have the potential to play a key role in greenhouse gas mitigation, particularly in terms of global carbon storage and further carbon sequestration. It is estimated that grazing land management and pasture improvement (e.g. through managing grazing intensity, improved productivity, etc) have a global technical mitigation potential of almost 1·5 Gt CO(2) equivalent in 2030, with additional mitigation possible from restoration of degraded lands. Milk and meat production from grassland systems in temperate regions has similar emissions of carbon dioxide per kilogram of product as mixed farming systems in temperate regions, and, if carbon sinks in grasslands are taken into account, grassland-based production systems can be as efficient as high-input systems from a greenhouse gas perspective. Grasslands are important for global food supply, contributing to ruminant milk and meat production. Extra food will need to come from the world's existing agricultural land base (including grasslands) as the total area of agricultural land has remained static since 1991. Ruminants are efficient converters of grass into humanly edible energy and protein and grassland-based food production can produce food with a comparable carbon footprint as mixed systems. Grasslands are a very important store of carbon, and

  19. Herbicide and fertilizers promote analogous phylogenetic responses but opposite functional responses in plant communities

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pellissier, Loïc; Wisz, Mary S.; Strandberg, Beate

    2014-01-01

    on long-term experiment we show that fertilizer and herbicides (glyphosate) have contrasting effects on functional structure, but can increase phylogenetic diversity in semi-natural plant communities. We found that an increase in nitrogen promoted an increase in the average specific leaf area and canopy...... height at the community level, but an increase in glyphosate promoted a decrease in those traits. Phylogenetic diversity of plant communities increased when herbicide and fertilizer were applied together, likely because functional traits facilitating plant success in those conditions were......Throughout the world, herbicides and fertilizers change species composition in agricultural communities, but how do the cumulative effects of these chemicals impact the functional and phylogenetic structure of non-targeted communities when they drift into adjacent semi-natural habitats? Based...

  20. Measurement of grassland evaporation using a surface-layer ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Measurement of grassland evaporation using a surface-layer scintillometer. ... Water SA. Journal Home · ABOUT THIS JOURNAL · Advanced Search ... of soil heat flux and net irradiance, evaporation rates were calculated as a residual of the ...

  1. Ecological mechanisms underlying arthropod species diversity in grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Joern, Anthony; Laws, Angela N

    2013-01-01

    Arthropods are an important component of grassland systems, contributing significantly to biodiversity and ecosystem structure and function. Climate, fire, and grazing by large herbivores are important drivers in grasslands worldwide. Arthropod responses to these drivers are highly variable and clear patterns are difficult to find, but responses are largely indirect with respect to changes in resources, species interactions, habitat structure, and habitat heterogeneity resulting from interactions among fire, grazing, and climate. Here, we review these ecological mechanisms influencing grassland arthropod diversity. We summarize hypotheses describing species diversity at local and regional scales and then discuss specific factors that may affect arthropod diversity in grassland systems. These factors include direct and indirect effects of grazing, fire, and climate, species interactions, above- and belowground interactions, and landscape-level effects.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Guidi, Claudia

    . Changes in labile soil C were assessed by carbohydrate and thermal analyses of soil samples and fractions. Forest expansion on mountain grasslands caused a decrease in SOC stocks within the mineral soil. The SOC accumulation within the organic layers following forest establishment could not fully...... and thermally labile to resistant components decreased from grassland to forest successional stages, and corresponded to decreased SOC protection within stable aggregates. This PhD thesis showed that mineral SOC stocks and physically protected SOC fractions decreased following forest expansion on mountain......Grassland abandonment followed by progressive forest expansion is the dominant land-use change in the European Alps. Contrasting trends in soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks have been reported for mountainous regions following forest expansion on grasslands. Moreover, its effects on SOC properties...

  3. Impact intensities of climatic changes on grassland ecosystems in ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    DR. NJ TONUKARI

    2012-03-22

    Mar 22, 2012 ... Construction of the impact intensity model of climatic changes on grassland ecosystem ... the temperature and rainfall (Sun and Mu, 2011). Thus, the study ... of the equation, the study transformed the measurement unit Mu of.

  4. Responses of nocturnal rodents to shrub encroachment in Banni grasslands, Gujarat, India

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jayadevan, A.

    2016-12-01

    Shrub encroachment is one of the greatest threats to grasslands globally. These woodlands can strongly influence the behaviour of small mammals adapted to more open habitats, which rely on high visibility for early detection of predators. In semi-arid grasslands, rodents are considered keystone species. Although shrub encroachment is known to negatively affect rodent assemblages, its impact on the foraging behaviour of rodents, which is known to vary in response to risky situations, is unknown. Understanding whether shrub encroachment alters such antipredator behaviour is important as antipredator behaviour can alter the distribution, abundance and ultimately, survival of prey species. In this study, I explored the effects of shrub encroachment on the foraging behaviour of nocturnal rodent communities in the Banni grasslands, India. I examined foraging behaviour, quantified using the giving-up density (GUD) framework and the number of rodent crossings around food patches, in two habitats that differed in the extent of shrub encroachment. Under the GUD framework, the amount of food left behind by a forager in a food patch reflects the costs of feeding at the patch. Higher GUDs imply higher foraging costs. I also investigated how removal of an invasive woody plant, Prosopis juliflora would affect foraging behaviour of nocturnal rodents. High shrub encroachment was associated with higher foraging costs (higher GUDs) and lower activity than the sparsely wooded habitat, likely due to low visibility in the densely wooded habitat. The dense habitat also supported a higher richness and relative abundance of generalist rodents than the sparse habitat, likely due to the increased heterogeneity of the habitat. The tree removal experiment revealed that rodents had lower GUDs (i.e., low foraging costs) after the event of tree cutting. This may be due to the reduction of cover in the habitat, leading to higher visibility and lower predation risk. My results suggest that shrub

  5. Biodiversity in temperate European grasslands: origin and conservation.

    OpenAIRE

    Pärtel, Meelis; Bruun, Hans Henrik; Sammul, Marek

    2005-01-01

    Northern Europe is in the forest zone, but wild megaherbivores have maintained grass-dominated vegetation here for the last 1.8 million years. Continuity of the grassland biome through glacialinterglacial cycles and connection to steppe vegetation has resulted in the evolution, immigration, and survival of a large number of grassland species. During the last millennia the effect of wild ungulates has been replaced by domestic grazers and hay making, and the persistence of grasslan...

  6. 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....

  7. PV water pumping systems for grassland and farmland conservation

    OpenAIRE

    Campana, Pietro Elia

    2013-01-01

    Grassland degradation is considered as one of the worst environmental and economic problems in China because of the negative impacts on water and food security. The application of the photovoltaic water pumping (PVWP) technology for irrigation is an innovative and sustainable solution to curb the progress of grassland desertification and to promote the conservation of farmland in remote areas. The combination of PVWP with water saving irrigation techniques and the sustainable management of th...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Venn Stephen

    2018-06-01

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

  9. 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.

  10. Changes in root-associated microbial communities are determined by species-specific plant growth responses to stress and disturbance

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Bouasria, A.; Mustafa, T.; de Bello, Francesco; Zinger, L.; Lemperiere, G.; Geremia, R. A.; Choler, P.

    2012-01-01

    Roč. 52, Sep-Oct 2012 (2012), s. 59-66 ISSN 1164-5563 Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : ecosystem function * bacterial communities * grassland communities Subject RIV: EF - Botanics Impact factor: 1.838, year: 2012

  11. Habitat associations of migrating and overwintering grassland birds in Southern Texas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Igl, Lawrence D.; Ballard, Bart M.

    1999-01-01

    We report on the habitat associations of 21 species of grassland birds overwintering in or migrating through southern Texas, during 1991-1992 and 1992-1993. Ninety percent of our grassland bird observations were made during winter and spring, and only 10% occurred during fall. Grassland species made up a high proportion of the total bird densities in grassland and shrub-grassland habitats, but much lower proportions in the habitats with more woody vegetation. Fewer grassland species were observed in grassland and woodland than in brushland, parkland, and shrub-grassland habitats. Grassland birds generally were found in higher densities in habitats that had woody canopy coverage of < 30%; densities of grassland birds were highest in shrub-grassland habitat and lowest in woodland habitat. Species that are grassland specialists on their breeding grounds tended to be more habitat specific during the nonbreeding season compared to shrub-grassland specialists, which were more general in their nonbreeding-habitat usage. Nonetheless, our data demonstrate that grassland birds occur in a variety of habitats during the nonbreeding season and seem to occupy a broader range of habitats than previously described.

  12. Environmental filtering is the main assembly rule of ground beetles in the forest and its edge but not in the adjacent grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Magura, Tibor; Lövei, Gábor L

    2017-07-04

    In a fragmented landscape, transitional zones between neighboring habitats are common, and our understanding of community organizational forces across such habitats is important. Edge studies are numerous, but the majority of them utilize information on species richness and abundance. Abundance and taxonomic diversity, however, provide little information on the functioning and phylogeny of the co-existing species. Combining the evaluation of their functional and phylogenetic relationships, we aimed to assess whether ground beetle assemblages are deterministically or stochastically structured along grassland-forest gradients. Our results showed different community assembly rules on opposite sides of the forest edge. In the grassland, co-occurring species were functionally and phylogenetically not different from the random null model, indicating a random assembly process. Contrary to this, at the forest edge and the interior, co-occurring species showed functional and phylogenetic clustering, thus environmental filtering was the likely process structuring carabid assemblages. Community assembly in the grassland was considerably affected by asymmetrical species flows (spillover) across the forest edge: more forest species penetrated into the grassland than open-habitat and generalist species entered into the forest. This asymmetrical species flow underlines the importance of the filter function of forest edges. As unfavorable, human-induced changes to the structure, composition and characteristics of forest edges may alter their filter function, edges have to be specifically considered during conservation management. © 2017 Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

  13. Does Evapotranspiration Increase When Forests are converted to Grasslands?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Varcoe, Robert; Sterling, Shannon

    2017-04-01

    The conversion of forests to grasslands (FGC) is a widespread land cover change (LCC) and is also among the most commonly studied changes with respect to its impact on ET; such research employs a variety of experimental approaches, including, paired catchment (PC), Budyko and land surface models (LSM), and measurement methods, including the catchment water balance (CWB), eddy covariance (EC) and remote sensing (RS). Until recently, there has been consensus in the scientific literature that rates of ET decrease when a forest is converted to grassland; however, this consensus has recently come into question. Williams (2012) applied the Budyko framework to a global network of eddy covariance measurements with the results that grasslands have a 9% greater evaporative index than forests. In addition, HadGEM2, a recent Hadley Centre LSM, produced increased ET in the northern Amazon Basin after simulating global scale tropical deforestation (Brovkin et al., 2015). Here we present an analysis of available estimates of how ET rates change with FGC to increase our understanding of the forest - grassland-ET paradigm. We used two datasets to investigate the impacts land cover change on ET. I compiled a dataset of change in ET with land cover change (ΔETLCC) using published experiments that compare forest and grassland ET under conditions controlled for meteorological and landscape influences. Using the ΔETLCC dataset, we show that, in all cases, forest ET is higher than grassland under controlled conditions. Results suggest that the eddy covariance method measures smaller changes in ET when forests are converted to grasslands, though more data are needed for this result to be statistically significant. Finally, GETA2.0, a new global dataset of annual ET, projects that forest ET is greater than grassland, except at high latitudes and areas where orography influences precipitation (P). The data included in this study represent the data available on forest and grassland ET

  14. The small-scale species mobility in calcareous grasslands - example from southern Poland

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wojciech Bąba

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available In this paper I use the different measures of species mobility to describe the fine small-scale dynamics of calcareous grassland built mainly by perennial species and developed in the highly heterogeneous habitat of calcareous rocks. The community showed the low dynamics on a plot-scale (100 m2 and a high one on the scale of 1 m2. However, the studied species differed greatly in calculated indices: turnover rate, (T; 6-64, residence time (RT; 0.5-21.8 y and carousel time (CT; 4-420 y as well as the observed tendency to persistence on the spots (PERSIST and their re-colonisation (AGAIN. This allowed to distinguish the three groups of species: (1 "core species" characterized by high frequency and low T and high CT and RT values, which determine the low dynamics of a community on the plot scale, (2 species with intermediate mobility rate and (3 the group with high mobility rate. The observed cumulative frequencies of all the studied species (CFobs were much lower than expected under the random re-assignation model (CFRR. Moreover, they were also lower than those predicted by random immigration model (CFRI. The results showed that the "complex carousel" model rather than "single carousel" one explained better the small-scale dynamics of calcareous grasslands.

  15. Functional group, biomass, and climate change effects on ecological drought in semiarid grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Scott D.; Schlaepfer, Daniel R.; Bradford, John B.; Lauenroth, William K.; Duniway, Michael C.; Hall, Sonia A.; Jamiyansharav, Khishigbayar; Jia, Gensuo; Lkhagva, Ariuntsetseg; Munson, Seth M.; Pyke, David A.; Tietjen, Britta

    2018-01-01

    Water relations in plant communities are influenced both by contrasting functional groups (grasses, shrubs) and by climate change via complex effects on interception, uptake and transpiration. We modelled the effects of functional group replacement and biomass increase, both of which can be outcomes of invasion and vegetation management, and climate change on ecological drought (soil water potential below which photosynthesis stops) in 340 semiarid grassland sites over 30‐year periods. Relative to control vegetation (climate and site‐determined mixes of functional groups), the frequency and duration of drought were increased by shrubs and decreased by annual grasses. The rankings of shrubs, control vegetation, and annual grasses in terms of drought effects were generally consistent in current and future climates, suggesting that current differences among functional groups on drought effects predict future differences. Climate change accompanied by experimentally‐increased biomass (i.e. the effects of invasions that increase community biomass, or management that increases productivity through fertilization or respite from grazing) increased drought frequency and duration, and advanced drought onset. Our results suggest that the replacement of perennial temperate semiarid grasslands by shrubs, or increased biomass, can increase ecological drought both in current and future climates.

  16. Grassland Fire and Cattle Grazing Regulate Reptile and Amphibian Assembly Among Patches

    Science.gov (United States)

    Larson, Danelle M.

    2014-12-01

    Fire and grazing are common management schemes of grasslands globally and are potential drivers of reptilian and amphibian (herpetofauna) metacommunity dynamics. Few studies have assessed the impacts of fire and cattle grazing on herpetofauna assemblages in grasslands. A patch-burn grazing study at Osage Prairie, MO, USA in 2011-2012 created landscape patches with treatments of grazing, fire, and such legacies. Response variables were measured before and after the application of treatments, and I used robust-design occupancy modeling to estimate patch occupancy and detection rate within patches, and recolonization and extinction (i.e., dispersal) across patches. I conducted redundancy analysis and a permuted multivariate analysis of variance to determine if patch type and the associated environmental factors explained herpetofauna assemblage. Estimates for reptiles indicate that occupancy was seasonally constant in Control patches ( ψ ~ 0.5), but declined to ψ ~ 0.15 in patches following the applications of fire and grazing. Local extinctions for reptiles were higher in patches with fire or light grazing ( ɛ ~ 0.7) compared to the controls. For the riparian herpetofaunal community, patch type and grass height were important predictors of abundance; further, the turtles, lizards, snakes, and adult amphibians used different patch types. The aquatic amphibian community was predicted by watershed and in-stream characteristics, irrespective of fire or grazing. The varying responses from taxonomic groups demonstrate habitat partitioning across multiple patch types undergoing fire, cattle grazing, and legacy effects. Prairies will need an array of patch types to accommodate multiple herpetofauna species.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-11-01

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

  18. Negative effects of pesticides on wild bee communities can be buffered by landscape context

    OpenAIRE

    Park, Mia G.; Blitzer, E. J.; Gibbs, Jason; Losey, John E.; Danforth, Bryan N.

    2015-01-01

    Wild bee communities provide underappreciated but critical agricultural pollination services. Given predicted global shortages in pollination services, managing agroecosystems to support thriving wild bee communities is, therefore, central to ensuring sustainable food production. Benefits of natural (including semi-natural) habitat for wild bee abundance and diversity on farms are well documented. By contrast, few studies have examined toxicity of pesticides on wild bees, let alone effects of...

  19. Application of Multi-Source Remote Sensing Image in Yunnan Province Grassland Resources Investigation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, J.; Wen, G.; Li, D.

    2018-04-01

    Trough mastering background information of Yunnan province grassland resources utilization and ecological conditions to improves grassland elaborating management capacity, it carried out grassland resource investigation work by Yunnan province agriculture department in 2017. The traditional grassland resource investigation method is ground based investigation, which is time-consuming and inefficient, especially not suitable for large scale and hard-to-reach areas. While remote sensing is low cost, wide range and efficient, which can reflect grassland resources present situation objectively. It has become indispensable grassland monitoring technology and data sources and it has got more and more recognition and application in grassland resources monitoring research. This paper researches application of multi-source remote sensing image in Yunnan province grassland resources investigation. First of all, it extracts grassland resources thematic information and conducts field investigation through BJ-2 high space resolution image segmentation. Secondly, it classifies grassland types and evaluates grassland degradation degree through high resolution characteristics of Landsat 8 image. Thirdly, it obtained grass yield model and quality classification through high resolution and wide scanning width characteristics of MODIS images and sample investigate data. Finally, it performs grassland field qualitative analysis through UAV remote sensing image. According to project area implementation, it proves that multi-source remote sensing data can be applied to the grassland resources investigation in Yunnan province and it is indispensable method.

  20. Comparative seed germination traits in alpine and subalpine grasslands: higher elevations are associated with warmer germination temperatures.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fernández-Pascual, E; Jiménez-Alfaro, B; Bueno, Á

    2017-01-01

    Seed germination traits in alpine grasslands are poorly understood, despite the sensitivity of these communities to climate change. We hypothesise that germination traits predict species occurrence along the alpine-subalpine elevation gradient. Phylogenetic comparative analyses were performed using fresh seeds of 22 species from alpine and subalpine grasslands (1600-2400 m) of the Cantabrian Mountains, Spain (43° N, 5° W). Laboratory experiments were conducted to characterise germinability, optimum germination temperature and effect of cold and warm stratification on dormancy breaking. Variability in these traits was reduced by phylogenetic principal component analysis (phyl.PCA). Phylogenetic generalised least squares regression (PGLS) was used to fit a model in which species average elevation was predicted from their position on the PCA axes. Most subalpine species germinated in snow-like conditions, whereas most alpine species needed accumulation of warm temperatures. Phylogenetic signal was low. PCA1 ordered species according to overall germinability, whilst PCA2 ordered them according to preference for warm or cold germination. PCA2 significantly predicted species occurrence in the alpine-subalpine gradient, as higher elevation species tended to have warmer germination preferences. Our results show that germination traits in high-mountain grasslands are closely linked to the alpine-subalpine gradient. Alpine species, especially those from stripped and wind-edge communities, prefer warmer germination niches, suggesting that summer emergence prevents frost damage during seedling establishment. In contrast, alpine snowfield and subalpine grassland plants have cold germination niches, indicating that winter emergence may occur under snow to avoid drought stress. © 2016 German Botanical Society and The Royal Botanical Society of the Netherlands.

  1. Effect of acute. gamma. irradiation on phytocenoses (of grasslands and planktonic)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hernandez-Bermejo, J E [Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (Spain). Departamento de Biologia y Fisiologia Vegetal de la Escuela T.S. de Ingenieros Agronomos

    1977-04-01

    The effects of acute ..gamma.. irradiation on two models of phytocenoses - natural polyphytic grasslands and freshwater phytoplankton communities developed in artificial cultures - have been studied. A retardation of the successional process and a simplification of community structure was observed. This included a reduction in biomass and degree of complexity. A selection favouring weeds and other species which are usually present in young successional stages was also apparent. To a large extent, the overall effects of ..gamma..-radiation depended upon the degree of ecological stability and maturity. Radiation-induced disturbances seemed to be buffered in advanced successional stages. The model of response to ..gamma..- radiation was similar to that produced by other factors of ecological exploitation or perturbation. Synecological parameters such as diversity, similarity and stability were also studied for acute phytocenoses. Low radiation levels produced some clear stimulation effects, the possible significance of which is discussed.

  2. Increased competition does not lead to increased phylogenetic overdispersion in a native grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bennett, Jonathan A; Lamb, Eric G; Hall, Jocelyn C; Cardinal-McTeague, Warren M; Cahill, James F

    2013-09-01

    That competition is stronger among closely related species and leads to phylogenetic overdispersion is a common assumption in community ecology. However, tests of this assumption are rare and field-based experiments lacking. We tested the relationship between competition, the degree of relatedness, and overdispersion among plants experimentally and using a field survey in a native grassland. Relatedness did not affect competition, nor was competition associated with phylogenetic overdispersion. Further, there was only weak evidence for increased overdispersion at spatial scales where plants are likely to compete. These results challenge traditional theory, but are consistent with recent theories regarding the mechanisms of plant competition and its potential effect on phylogenetic structure. We suggest that specific conditions related to the form of competition and trait conservatism must be met for competition to cause phylogenetic overdispersion. Consequently, overdispersion as a result of competition is likely to be rare in natural communities. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

  3. Incorporating grassland management in a global vegetation model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chang, Jinfeng; Viovy, Nicolas; Vuichard, Nicolas; Ciais, Philippe; Wang, Tao; Cozic, Anne; Lardy, Romain; Graux, Anne-Isabelle; Klumpp, Katja; Martin, Raphael; Soussana, Jean-François

    2013-04-01

    Grassland is a widespread vegetation type, covering nearly one-fifth of the world's land surface (24 million km2), and playing a significant role in the global carbon (C) cycle. Most of grasslands in Europe are cultivated to feed animals, either directly by grazing or indirectly by grass harvest (cutting). A better understanding of the C fluxes from grassland ecosystems in response to climate and management requires not only field experiments but also the aid of simulation models. ORCHIDEE process-based ecosystem model designed for large-scale applications treats grasslands as being unmanaged, where C / water fluxes are only subject to atmospheric CO2 and climate changes. Our study describes how management of grasslands is included in the ORCHIDEE, and how management affects modeled grassland-atmosphere CO2 fluxes. The new model, ORCHIDEE-GM (Grassland Management) is capable with a management module inspired from a grassland model (PaSim, version 5.0), of accounting for two grassland management practices (cutting and grazing). The evaluation of the results of ORCHIDEE-GM compared with those of ORCHIDEE at 11 European sites equipped with eddy covariance and biometric measurements, show that ORCHIDEE-GM can capture realistically the cut-induced seasonal variation in biometric variables (LAI: Leaf Area Index; AGB: Aboveground Biomass) and in CO2 fluxes (GPP: Gross Primary Productivity; TER: Total Ecosystem Respiration; and NEE: Net Ecosystem Exchange). But improvements at grazing sites are only marginal in ORCHIDEE-GM, which relates to the difficulty in accounting for continuous grazing disturbance and its induced complex animal-vegetation interactions. Both NEE and GPP on monthly to annual timescales can be better simulated in ORCHIDEE-GM than in ORCHIDEE without management. At some sites, the model-observation misfit in ORCHIDEE-GM is found to be more related to ill-constrained parameter values than to model structure. Additionally, ORCHIDEE-GM is able to simulate

  4. Grassland ecology and population growth: striking a balance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hou, D; Duan, C; Zhang, D

    2000-06-01

    Degradation of forest and grasslands in western China attributes to the soil erosion and desertification in the country. Researchers have established that the primary reason for the degradation of grasslands is overgrazing, which in turn is caused by a number of factors, including over-population and over-reliance on animal husbandry. In addition, the existing administrative system has also proved ineffective in ensuring sustainable development. On contrary, many local governments even encourage exploitative development of grassland; thus, localities opened up grassland for growing crops in an effort to increase income. According to estimates, degraded grassland accounts for more than one-third of utilizable acreage and another one-third suffers from a profusion of rats and pests. To redress the situation, central government should implement strategies in achieving sustainable development, such as providing banking and tax incentives for the development of the secondary and tertiary industries, and supporting education and training of youths from herding areas. Moreover, government should increase spending on infrastructural construction and ecological preservation. Finally, the family planning program needs to be enforced to control population growth and improve the quality of peoples¿ lives.

  5. Prescribed burning to affect a state transition in a shrub-encroached desert grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prescribed burning is a commonly advocated and historical practice for control of woody species encroachment into grasslands on all continents. However, desert grasslands of the southwestern United States often lack needed herbaceous fuel loads for effective prescriptions, dominant perennial gramin...

  6. Carbon fluxes from an urban tropical grassland

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2015-01-01

    Turfgrass covers a large fraction of the urbanized landscape, but the carbon exchange of urban lawns is poorly understood. We used eddy covariance and flux chambers in a grassland field manipulative experiment to quantify the carbon mass balance in a Singapore tropical turfgrass. We also assessed how management and variations in environmental factors influenced CO 2 respiration. Standing aboveground turfgrass biomass was 80 gC m −2 , with a mean ecosystem respiration of 7.9 ± 1.1 μmol m −2  s −1 . The contribution of autotrophic respiration was 49–76% of total ecosystem respiration. Both chamber and eddy covariance measurements suggest the system was in approximate carbon balance. While we did not observe a significant relationship between the respiration rates and soil temperature or moisture, daytime fluxes increased during the rainy interval, indicating strong overall moisture sensitivity. Turfgrass biomass is small, but given its abundance across the urban landscape, it significantly influences diurnal CO 2 concentrations. - Highlights: • We measured urban turfgrass CO 2 respiration rates and soil characteristics. • Mean observed ecosystem respiration was 7.9 ± 1.1 μmol m −2  s −1 . • Soil temperature and moisture were largely insignificant drivers of observed flux. - We found a Singapore urban turfgrass to be approximately carbon neutral, with a mean ecosystem respiration of 7.9 ± 1.1 μmol m −2  s −1

  7. 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.

  8. Effects of large herbivores on grassland arthropod diversity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Klink, R; van der Plas, F; van Noordwijk, C G E Toos; WallisDeVries, M F; Olff, H

    2015-05-01

    Both arthropods and large grazing herbivores are important components and drivers of biodiversity in grassland ecosystems, but a synthesis of how arthropod diversity is affected by large herbivores has been largely missing. To fill this gap, we conducted a literature search, which yielded 141 studies on this topic of which 24 simultaneously investigated plant and arthropod diversity. Using the data from these 24 studies, we compared the responses of plant and arthropod diversity to an increase in grazing intensity. This quantitative assessment showed no overall significant effect of increasing grazing intensity on plant diversity, while arthropod diversity was generally negatively affected. To understand these negative effects, we explored the mechanisms by which large herbivores affect arthropod communities: direct effects, changes in vegetation structure, changes in plant community composition, changes in soil conditions, and cascading effects within the arthropod interaction web. We identify three main factors determining the effects of large herbivores on arthropod diversity: (i) unintentional predation and increased disturbance, (ii) decreases in total resource abundance for arthropods (biomass) and (iii) changes in plant diversity, vegetation structure and abiotic conditions. In general, heterogeneity in vegetation structure and abiotic conditions increases at intermediate grazing intensity, but declines at both low and high grazing intensity. We conclude that large herbivores can only increase arthropod diversity if they cause an increase in (a)biotic heterogeneity, and then only if this increase is large enough to compensate for the loss of total resource abundance and the increased mortality rate. This is expected to occur only at low herbivore densities or with spatio-temporal variation in herbivore densities. As we demonstrate that arthropod diversity is often more negatively affected by grazing than plant diversity, we strongly recommend considering the

  9. Long-term modeling of the forest-grassland ecotone in the French Alps: implications for land management and conservation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carlson, Bradley Z; Renaud, Julien; Biron, Pierre Eymard; Choler, Philippe

    2014-07-01

    Understanding decadal-scale land-cover changes has the potential to inform current conservation policies. European mountain landscapes that include numerous protected areas provide a unique opportunity to weigh the long-term influences of land-use practices and climate on forest-grassland ecotone dynamics. Aerial photographs from four dates (1948, 1978, 1993, and 2009) were used to quantify the extent of forest and grassland cover at 5-m resolution across a 150-km2 area in a protected area of the southwestern French Alps. The study area included a grazed zone and a nongrazed zone that was abandoned during the 1970s. We estimated time series of a forestation index (FI) and analyzed the effects of elevation and grazing on FI using a hierarchical linear mixed effect model. Forest extent (composed primarily of mountain pine, Pinus uncinata) expanded from 50.6 km2 in 1948 to 85.5 km2 in 2009, i.e., a 23% increase in relative cover at the expense of grassland communities. Over the sixty-year period, the treeline rose by 118 m, from 1564 to 1682 m. Rapid forest expansion within the nongrazed zone followed the cessation of logging activities and was likely accelerated by climate warming during the 1980s. Within the grazed zone, the maintained presence of sheep did not fully counteract mountain pine expansion and led to highly contrasting rates of land-cover change based on the location of shepherds' cabins and water sources. Projections of FI for 2030 showed remnant patches of intensively used grasslands interspersed in a densely forested matrix. Our analysis of mountain land-cover dynamics provided strong evidence for forest encroachment into grassland habitat despite consistent grazing pressure. This pattern may be attributed to the disappearance of traditional land-use practices such as shrub burning and removal. Our findings prompt land managers to reconsider their initial conservation priority (i.e., the protection of a renowned mountain pine forest) and to implement

  10. 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.

  11. Tools for Management for Grassland Ecosystem Sustainability: Thinking "Outside the Box"

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gerald J. Gottfried

    2004-01-01

    Grassland ecosystem management is dynamic and has adapted to the development of new tools and ideas. Our ancestors were indirectly managing grasslands when they learned to move livestock to take advantage of better water and greener forage. One could argue that even their hunting of grassland wildlife, especially the use of fire to drive animals to waiting hunters, had...

  12. Resilience and stability of the grasslands of the Transkei | B | African ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    In spite of very high stocking rates the grasslands of Transkei still have in many areas a high cover and many climax species. The concepts of resilience and stability are used in an attempt to explain dynamics of the grasslands. Keywords: resiliences|stabilities|grasslands|Transkei|stocking rates|basal covers|grass ...

  13. Evapotranspiration and soil moisture dynamics in a temperate grassland ecosystem in Inner Mongolia China

    Science.gov (United States)

    L. Hao; Ge Sun; Yongqiang Liu; G. S. Zhou; J. H.   Wan;  L. B. Zhang; J. L. Niu; Y. H. Sang;  J. J He

    2015-01-01

    Precipitation, evapotranspiration (ET), and soil moisture are the key controls for the productivity and functioning of temperate grassland ecosystems in Inner Mongolia, northern China. Quantifying the soil moisture dynamics and water balances in the grasslands is essential to sustainable grassland management under global climate change. We...

  14. Forest and grassland carbon in North America: A short course for land managers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chris Swanston; Michael J. Furniss; Kristen Schmitt; Jeffrey Guntle; Maria Janowiak; Sarah Hines

    2012-01-01

    This multimedia short-course presents a range of information on the science, management and policy of forest and grassland carbon. Forests and grasslands worldwide play a critical role in storing carbon and sequestering greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. The U.S. Forest Service, which manages 193 million acres of forests and grasslands, emphasizes the need for...

  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 evidence of enhanced carbon stabilization in these respiration experiments. In fact, a greater proportion of total carbon was lost from the soil of mature woody stands than from young stands, suggesting carbon accumulation observed with WPE may be due to greater input rates or microbial dynamics not captured in the laboratory incubation. A cluster approximately 34 years in age represents a transition point in WPE where respiration dynamics become distinct between grassland and wooded elements. By day 84 of the incubation CO2 respired from all soils was depleted with respect to bulk SOM (1.5 to 5‰) and this pattern remained for the rest of the incubation. As the depletion of CO2 relative to bulk SOM was observed in grassland and cluster soils, we hypothesized the depleted signature resulted from the utilization of depleted biopolymers, specifically lignin, cutin and suberin, as hypothesized by others. Quantitative and isotopic comparisons of these monomers prior to and following the incubation will determine if selective compound utilization is a reason for this depletion. The results

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-03-01

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

  17. 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

  18. Soil biochemical properties of grassland ecosystems under anthropogenic emission of nitrogen compounds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kudrevatykh, Irina; Ivashchenko, Kristina; Ananyeva, Nadezhda

    2016-04-01

    Inflow of pollutants in terrestrial ecosystems nowadays increases dramatically, that might be led to disturbance of natural biogeochemical cycles and landscapes structure. Production of nitrogen fertilizers is one of the air pollution sources, namely by nitrogen compounds (NH4+, NO3-, NO2-). Air pollution by nitrogen compounds of terrestrial ecosystems might be affected on soil biochemical properties, which results increasing mineral nitrogen content in soil, changing soil P/N and Al/Ca ratios, and, finally, the deterioration of soil microbial community functioning. The research is focused on the assessment of anthropogenic emission of nitrogen compounds on soil properties of grassland ecosystems in European Russia. Soil samples (Voronic Chernozem Pachic, upper 10 cm mineral layer, totally 10) were taken from grassland ecosystem: near (5-10 m) nitrogen fertilizer factory (NFF), and far from it (20-30 km, served as a control) in Tula region. In soil samples the NH4+ and NO3- (Kudeyarov's photocolorimetric method), P, Ca, Al (X-ray fluorescence method) contents were measured. Soil microbial biomass carbon (Cmic) was analyzed by substrate-induced respiration method. Soil microbial respiration (MR) was assessed by CO2 rate production. Soil microbial metabolic quotient (qCO2) was calculated as MR/Cmic ratio. Near NFF the soil ammonium and nitrate nitrogen contents were a strongly varied, variation coefficient (CV) was 42 and 86This study was supported by Russian Foundation of Basic Research Grant No. 14-04-00098, 15-44-03220, 15-04-00915.

  19. Shifts of growing-season precipitation peaks decrease soil respiration in a semiarid grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ru, Jingyi; Zhou, Yaqiong; Hui, Dafeng; Zheng, Mengmei; Wan, Shiqiang

    2018-03-01

    Changing precipitation regimes could have profound influences on carbon (C) cycle in the biosphere. However, how soil C release from terrestrial ecosystems responds to changing seasonal distribution of precipitation remains unclear. A field experiment was conducted for 4 years (2013-2016) to examine the effects of altered precipitation distributions in the growing season on soil respiration in a temperate steppe in the Mongolian Plateau. Over the 4 years, both advanced and delayed precipitation peaks suppressed soil respiration, and the reductions mainly occurred in August. The decreased soil respiration could be primarily attributable to water stress and subsequently limited plant growth (community cover and belowground net primary productivity) and soil microbial activities in the middle growing season, suggesting that precipitation amount in the middle growing season is more important than that in the early, late, or whole growing seasons in regulating soil C release in grasslands. The observations of the additive effects of advanced and delayed precipitation peaks indicate semiarid grasslands will release less C through soil respiratory processes under the projected seasonal redistribution of precipitation in the future. Our findings highlight the potential role of intra-annual redistribution of precipitation in regulating ecosystem C cycling in arid and semiarid regions. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  20. Herbicide and fertilizers promote analogous phylogenetic responses but opposite functional responses in plant communities

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Pellissier, Loïc; Wisz, Mary S; Strandberg, Beate; Damgaard, Christian

    2014-01-01

    Throughout the world, herbicides and fertilizers change species composition in agricultural communities, but how do the cumulative effects of these chemicals impact the functional and phylogenetic structure of non-targeted communities when they drift into adjacent semi-natural habitats? Based on long-term experiment we show that fertilizer and herbicides (glyphosate) have contrasting effects on functional structure, but can increase phylogenetic diversity in semi-natural plant communities. We found that an increase in nitrogen promoted an increase in the average specific leaf area and canopy height at the community level, but an increase in glyphosate promoted a decrease in those traits. Phylogenetic diversity of plant communities increased when herbicide and fertilizer were applied together, likely because functional traits facilitating plant success in those conditions were not phylogenetically conserved. Species richness also decreased with increasing levels of nitrogen and glyphosate. Our results suggest that predicting the cumulative effects of agrochemicals is more complex than anticipated due to their distinct selection of traits that may or may not be conserved phylogenetically. Precautionary efforts to mitigate drift of agricultural chemicals into semi-natural habitats are warranted to prevent unforeseeable biodiversity shifts. (paper)

  1. Reduced germination success of temperate grassland seeds sown in dung: consequences for post-dispersal seed fate.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Milotić, T; Hoffmann, M

    2016-11-01

    Endozoochory is one of the main drivers shaping temperate grassland communities by maintaining plant populations of its constituents and enabling plants to colonize new habitats. Successful endozoochorous dispersal implies that seeds not only get consumed and survive the digestive tract but are also able to develop into viable seedlings in a dung environment. We experimentally assessed the germination probability and timing of 15 annual and perennial temperate European grassland species in cattle and horse dung and in different climatic conditions (greenhouse and outdoor conditions). Interspecific variation in germinability and germination timing are found, while life strategy had only an effect on germination timing. We found adverse effects of both cattle and horse dung on the germination characteristics of all tested grassland species, but the effects of cattle dung were more pronounced. In comparison with the control treatment, fewer seeds emerged in dung and more time was needed to germinate. Also, germination metrics clearly differed between the artificial greenhouse and outdoor conditions, with generally a lower germinability in outdoor conditions. According to our results, a large cost seems to be associated with endozoochorous dispersal in this stage of the life cycle, as seed dispersal effectiveness strongly depends on the quality of the deposition site with a lowered survival and germination probability when seeds are deposited in dung. © 2016 German Botanical Society and The Royal Botanical Society of the Netherlands.

  2. Diversity reduces invasibility in experimental plant communities: the role of plant species

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Van Ruijven, J.; De Deyn, G.B.; Berendse, F.

    2003-01-01

    Several studies have presented experimental evidence that diversity reduces invasibility in grassland communities. The interpretation of these results has been disputed recently and it was proposed that sampling effects were responsible for the observed decrease of invasibility with diversity. The

  3. Temperate grassland songbird species accumulate incrementally along a gradient of primary productivity.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    William L Harrower

    Full Text Available Global analyses of bird communities along elevation gradients suggest that bird diversity on arid mountains is primarily limited by water availability, not temperature or altitude. However, the mechanism by which water availability, and subsequently primary productivity, increases bird diversity is still unclear. Here we evaluate two possible mechanisms from species-energy theory. The more individuals hypothesis proposes that a higher availability of resources increases the total number of individuals that can be supported, and therefore the greater number of species that will be sampled. By contrast, the more specialization hypothesis proposes that increasing resource availability will permit specialists to exploit otherwise rare resources, thus increasing total diversity. We used 5 years of surveys of grassland songbird communities along an elevational gradient in British Columbia, Canada, to distinguish between these hypotheses. Vegetation changed markedly in composition along the gradient and contrary to the expectations of the more specialization hypothesis, bird community composition was remarkably constant. However, both total abundance and species richness of birds increased with increasing water availability to plants. When we used rarefaction to correct species richness for differences in total abundance, much of the increase in bird diversity was lost, consistent with the expectations of the more individuals hypothesis. Furthermore, high species richness was associated with reductions in territory size of common bird species, rather than the fine-scale spatial partitioning of the landscape. This suggests that bird diversity increases when greater resource availability allows higher densities rather than greater habitat specialization. These results help explain a pervasive global pattern in bird diversity on arid mountains, and suggest that in such landscapes conservation of grassland birds is strongly linked to climate and hydrology.

  4. Soil-vegetation relationships in hyperseasonal cerrado, seasonal cerrado, and wet grassland in Emas National Park (central Brazil)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amorim, Priscilla Kobayashi; Batalha, Marco Antônio

    2007-11-01

    In South America, the largest savanna region is the Brazilian cerrado, in which there are few areas that become waterlogged in the rainy season. However, we found a small cerrado area in which the soil is poorly drained and becomes waterlogged at the end of the rainy season, allowing the appearance of a hyperseasonal cerrado. We investigated the soil-vegetation relationships in three vegetation forms: hyperseasonal cerrado, seasonal cerrado, and wet grassland. We collected vegetation and soil samples in these three vegetation forms and submitted obtained data to a canonical correspondence analysis. Our results showed a distinction among hyperseasonal cerrado, seasonal cerrado and wet grassland, which presented different floristic compositions and species abundances. The edaphic variables best related to the hyperseasonal and seasonal cerrados were sand, base saturation, pH, and magnesium. The wet grassland was related to higher concentrations of clay, organic matter, aluminium saturation, aluminium, phosphorus, and potassium. Although it is not possible to infer causal relationships based on our results, we hypothesize that the duration of waterlogging in the hyperseasonal cerrado may not be long enough to alter most of its soil characteristics, such as organic matter, phosphorus, and potassium, but may be long enough to alter some, such as pH and base saturation, as the soils under both cerrados were more similar to one another than to the soil under the wet grassland. Since waterlogging may alter soil characteristics and since these characteristics were enough to explain the plant community variation, we may conclude that water excess—permanent or seasonal—is one of the main factors to distinguish the three vegetation forms, which presented different floristic compositions and species abundances.

  5. Elevated tropospheric CO2 and O3 concentrations impair organic pollutant removal from grassland soil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ai, Fuxun; Eisenhauer, Nico; Jousset, Alexandre; Butenschoen, Olaf; Ji, Rong; Guo, Hongyan

    2018-04-03

    The concentrations of tropospheric CO 2 and O 3 have been rising due to human activities. These rising concentrations may have strong impacts on soil functions as changes in plant physiology may lead to altered plant-soil interactions. Here, the effects of eCO 2 and eO 3 on the removal of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) pollutants in grassland soil were studied. Both elevated CO 2 and O 3 concentrations decreased PAH removal with lowest removal rates at elevated CO 2 and elevated O 3 concentrations. This effect was linked to a shift in soil microbial community structure by structural equation modeling. Elevated CO 2 and O 3 concentrations reduced the abundance of gram-positive bacteria, which were tightly linked to soil enzyme production and PAH degradation. Although plant diversity did not buffer CO 2 and O 3 effects, certain soil microbial communities and functions were affected by plant communities, indicating the potential for longer-term phytoremediation approaches. Results of this study show that elevated CO 2 and O 3 concentrations may compromise the ability of soils to degrade organic pollutants. On the other hand, the present study also indicates that the targeted assembly of plant communities may be a promising tool to shape soil microbial communities for the degradation of organic pollutants in a changing world.

  6. Landscape structure affects specialists but not generalists in naturally fragmented grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Jesse E.D.; Damschen, Ellen Ingman; Harrison, Susan P.; Grace, James B.

    2015-01-01

    Understanding how biotic communities respond to landscape spatial structure is critically important for conservation management as natural landscapes become increasingly fragmented. However, empirical studies of the effects of spatial structure on plant species richness have found inconsistent results, suggesting that more comprehensive approaches are needed. In this study, we asked how landscape structure affects total plant species richness and the richness of a guild of specialized plants in a multivariate context. We sampled herbaceous plant communities at 56 dolomite glades (insular, fire-adapted grasslands) across the Missouri Ozarks, and used structural equation modeling (SEM) to analyze the relative importance of landscape structure, soil resource availability, and fire history for plant communities. We found that landscape spatial structure-defined as the area-weighted proximity of glade habitat surrounding study sites (proximity index)-had a significant effect on total plant species richness, but only after we controlled for environmental covariates. Richness of specialist species, but not generalists, was positively related to landscape spatial structure. Our results highlight that local environmental filters must be considered to understand the influence of landscape structure on communities, and that unique species guilds may respond differently to landscape structure than the community as a whole. These findings suggest that both local environment and landscape context should be considered when developing management strategies for species of conservation concern in fragmented habitats.

  7. DYNAMICS OF CARBON SEQUESTRATION IN ABANDONED GRASSLANDS OF NORTHEASTERN MEXICO

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    José Israel Yerena Yamallel

    2014-04-01

    Full Text Available Livestock activities due to the improper handling of the load capacity, suffer from low productivity in their grasslands, which are abandoned giving rise to the appearance of species considered invasive and undesirable for producers, without knowing the qualities of these as mitigating of climate change. The objective of the present study was to estimate the carbon content in tamaulipan thornscrub and three abandoned grasslands with a time of abandonment of 10, 20 and 30 years. For the estimation of the carbon content was used a systematic sampling design, in each area were established four sampling sites of 1,600 m2. The primary scrub is the system that resulted in the largest value of carbon content of 14.25 Mg ha-1, followed by the grasslands of 30, 20 and 10 years with 8.03, 7.33 and 4.13 Mg ha-1 respectively. It was concluded that recovering the initial state of the primary scrub take many years, as can be seen in the grasslands system 30 years reaching only 56% of what it had in reserves of primary scrub.

  8. Quantitative ecological relationships in the alpine grassland of ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    A survey, based on 56 000 points at 102 sampling sites in the Tsehlanyane valley of the Oxbow (Madibamatso) Dam catchment in the alpine grassland of Lesotho, indicates that the area is generally in good condition. Physiographic and floristic criteria were measured and the association between pairs of criteria statistically ...

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

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

  10. Intensification of grassland and forage use: driving forces and constraints

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Oenema, O.; Klein, de C.; Alfaro, M.

    2014-01-01

    The increasing demand for safe and nutritional dairy and beef products in a globalising world, together with the needs to increase resource use efficiency and to protect biodiversity, provide strong incentives for intensification of grassland and forage use. This paper addresses the question: 'Does

  11. Achieving grassland production and quality that matches animal needs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Pol, van den A.; Busqué, Juan; Golinski, P.; Noorkõiv, Katrin; O'Donovan, Michael; Peratoner, Giovanni; Reheul, D.

    2016-01-01

    Permanent grasslands are exploited by grazing animals or as meadows depending on different
    constraints. Grazing is the most common use in large parts of Europe, especially in the northwest of
    Europe. However, certain areas are less suitable for grazing. In the Alps e.g. meadows are the

  12. Achieving grassland production and quality that matching animal needs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Pol, van den A.; Busqué, Juan; Golinski, P.; Noorkõiv, Katrin; O'Donovan, Michael; Peratoner, Giovanni; Reheul, D.

    2016-01-01

    Permanent grasslands are exploited by grazing animals or as meadows depending on different constraints. Grazing is the most common use in large parts of Europe, especially in the northwest of Europe. However, certain areas are less suitable for grazing. In the Alps e.g. meadows are the most relevant

  13. Avian diversity in the Naliya Grassland, Abdasa Taluka, Kachchh, India

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sandeep B Munjpara

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available Naliya Grassland is one of the significant grasslands of Gujarat. In this study the importance of the Naliya Grassland has been explored with special reference to avian diversity. Field work for the study was carried out throughout the year of 2007 on a monthly basis covering three distinct seasons to explore avian diversity. A total of 177 species belonging to 54 families were recorded wherein most species belonged to the family Accipitridae (20 species followed by Alaudidae (11 species. Of the total families, five were represented by more than seven species, 18 families by 3-7 species and 31 families by one or two species respectively. Among the species observed, 16 species ware globally threatened (three Critically Endangered, four Endangered and nine Near Threatened. Most of the species were chiefly terrestrial (68.2%, about 23.9% species were freshwater dependant and 7.9% utilized mixed habitats. Maximum species richness was recorded in the monsoons and minimum in summer. Constant turnover and fluctuation in species richness occurred because of seasonal immigration and emigration. Maximum emigration took place during February and March and maximum immigration occurred during June and July. Many water dependant birds attracted to the flooded grassland during the monsoons explained the high species richness during this season. In winter, the area was inhabited by resident species as well as many migratory species.

  14. 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.

  15. 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...

  16. Relationship between soil chemical factors and grassland diversity

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

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

  17. Transformation of a savanna grassland by drought and grazing | O ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The relative effects of drought and heavy grazing on the floristic composition, population size and and structure, and basal cover of an African savanna grassland were differentiated by comparing changes over eight years over eight years, which included a severe drought year, across a gradient of grazing history. Drought ...

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. Organic matter dynamics and N mineralization in grassland soils

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hassink, J.

    1995-01-01


    The aims of this study are i) to improve our understanding of the interactions between soil texturelsoil structure, soil organic matter, soil biota and mineralization in grassland soils, ii) to develop a procedure that yields soil organic matter fractions that can be determined directly

  2. Vegetation diversity of salt-rich grasslands in Southeast Europe

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Eliáš, P. Jr.; Sopotlieva, D.; Dítě, D.; Hájková, Petra; Apostolova, I.; Senko, D.; Melečková, Z.; Hájek, Michal

    2013-01-01

    Roč. 16, č. 3 (2013), s. 521-537 ISSN 1402-2001 R&D Projects: GA ČR GA206/09/0329 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z60050516 Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : salt marshes * vegetation survey * grasslands Subject RIV: EF - Botanics Impact factor: 2.416, year: 2013

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2016-10-01

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

  5. Data-model synthesis of grassland carbon metabolism. Quantifying direct, indirect & interactive effects of warming & elevated CO2

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Pendall, Elise [Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie, WY (United States); Ogle, Kiona [Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie, WY (United States); Parton, William [Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie, WY (United States)

    2016-02-29

    This research project improved understanding of how climate change (elevated atmospheric CO2, warming and altered precipitation) can affect grassland ecosystem productivity and nutrient availability. Our advanced experimental and modeling methods allowed us to test 21 specific hypotheses. We found that ecosystem changes over years of exposure to climate change can shift the plant communities and potentially make them more resilient to future climate changes. These changes in plant communities may be related to increased growth of belowground roots and enhanced nutrient uptake by some species. We also found that climate change can increase the spread of invasive and noxious weeds. These findings are important for land managers to make adaptive planning decisions for domestic livestock production in response to climate variability in semi-arid grasslands.

  6. Effect of sulfate fertilization on soil biota in grassland columns

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ikoyi, Israel; Donohue, John; Fowler, Andrew; Schmalenberger, Achim

    2017-04-01

    Sulfur (S) is an important macronutrient element in plant nutrition as a component of protein, enzymes, enzyme cofactors as well as being the major constituent of the amino acids cysteine and methionine. Organically bound S is the predominant form of S in the soil constituting up to 95% of S in agricultural soils. The most important form of S in terms of plant nutrition is inorganic sulfate which forms only about 5% of the total soil S content. Air pollution was the major source of S (as SO2) for plants, with up to 80% of the S obtained from this source. However, common effects of S limitation on crops such as chlorosis, yield reduction, and decrease in crop quality are becoming increasingly evident as atmospheric S supply has decreased in recent years. Recent research has shown that organically-bound S in soils is also plant-bioavailable, likely due to interconversion of organic S forms to inorganic sulfate by soil microbes. In this study, soil columns were setup in a greenhouse using moderate S (equivalent to Wisconsin S soil availability index of below 30) soils. The columns were planted with Lolium perenne and fertilized with 0 (control), 5 (low), 10 (medium) and 20 (high) kg/ha sulfate S alongside a full complement of other nutrients. Results after 14 weeks of management show a significant decrease (Pbacterial abundance of heterotrophs and aromatic sulfonate-utilizing bacteria upon S fertilization. In addition, soil from the top 20 cm of the column had significantly higher sulfatase activity compared to the bottom 20 cm. The medium and high S treatments had significantly higher grass dry matter yield compared to the control and low S treatments. All S treatments significantly shifted the bacterial community structure compared to the control. Overall, our preliminary results suggest that applying 5 kg/ ha S had similar effects on the soil biota as the control while the application of medium and high S had similar effects on most parameters. Moreover, this study

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kelly Anne Farrell

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

  9. Managed grassland alters soil N dynamics and N2O emissions in temperate steppe.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, Lijun; Xu, Xingliang; Tang, Xuejuan; Xin, Xiaoping; Ye, Liming; Yang, Guixia; Tang, Huajun; Lv, Shijie; Xu, Dawei; Zhang, Zhao

    2018-04-01

    Reclamation of degraded grasslands as managed grasslands has been increasingly accelerated in recent years in China. Land use change affects soil nitrogen (N) dynamics and nitrous oxide (N 2 O) emissions. However, it remains unclear how large-scale grassland reclamation will impact the grassland ecosystem as a whole. Here, we investigated the effects of the conversion from native to managed grasslands on soil N dynamics and N2O emissions by field experiments in Hulunber in northern China. Soil (0-10cm), nitrate (NO 3 - ), ammonium (NH 4 + ), and microbial N were measured in plots in a temperate steppe (Leymus chinensis grassland) and two managed grasslands (Medicago sativa and Bromus inermis grasslands) in 2011 and 2012. The results showed conversion of L. chinensis grassland to M. sativa or B. inermis grasslands decreased concentrations of NO 3 - -N, but did not change NH 4 + -N. Soil microbial N was slightly decreased by the conversion of L. chinensis grassland to M. sativa, but increased by the conversion to B. inermis. The conversion of L. chinensis grassland to M. sativa (i.e., a legume grass) increased N 2 O emissions by 26.2%, while the conversion to the B. inermis (i.e., a non-legume grass) reduced N 2 O emissions by 33.1%. The conversion from native to managed grasslands caused large created variations in soil NO 3 - -N and NH 4 + -N concentrations. Net N mineralization rates did not change significantly in growing season or vegetation type, but to net nitrification rate. These results provide evidence on how reclamation may impact the grassland ecosystem in terms of N dynamics and N 2 O emissions. Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  10. Effects of temperature and precipitation on grassland bird nesting success as mediated by patch size.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zuckerberg, Benjamin; Ribic, Christine A; McCauley, Lisa A

    2018-02-06

    Grassland birds are declining faster than any other bird guild across North America. Shrinking ranges and population declines are attributed to widespread habitat loss and increasingly fragmented landscapes of agriculture and other land uses that are misaligned with grassland bird conservation. Concurrent with habitat loss and degradation, temperate grasslands have been disproportionally affected by climate change relative to most other terrestrial biomes. Distributions of grassland birds often correlate with gradients in climate, but few researchers have explored the consequences of weather on the demography of grassland birds inhabiting a range of grassland fragments. To do so, we modeled the effects of temperature and precipitation on nesting success rates of 12 grassland bird species inhabiting a range of grassland patches across North America (21,000 nests from 81 individual studies). Higher amounts of precipitation in the preceding year were associated with higher nesting success, but wetter conditions during the active breeding season reduced nesting success. Extremely cold or hot conditions during the early breeding season were associated with lower rates of nesting success. The direct and indirect influence of temperature and precipitation on nesting success was moderated by grassland patch size. The positive effects of precipitation in the preceding year on nesting success were strongest in relatively small grassland patches and had little effect in large patches. Conversely, warm temperatures reduced nesting success in small grassland patches but increased nesting success in large patches. Mechanisms underlying these differences may be patch-size-induced variation in microclimates and predator activity. Although the exact cause is unclear, large grassland patches, the most common metric of grassland conservation, appears to moderate the effects of weather on grassland-bird demography and could be an effective component of climate-change adaptation.

  11. Protecting Mongolia's grassland steppes | IDRC - International ...

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

    2011-07-13

    Jul 13, 2011 ... ... the south of the country at an alarming rate, raising concerns for the national ... with state-controlled collective farms — and traditional community practices ... it best — and they have the most vested interest in making it last.

  12. Does the surrounding landscape heterogeneity affect the butterflies of insular grassland reserves? A contrast between composition and configuration

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Šlancarová, Jana; Beneš, Jiří; Kristýnek, M.; Kepka, P.; Konvička, Martin

    2014-01-01

    Roč. 18, č. 1 (2014), s. 1-12 ISSN 1366-638X R&D Projects: GA ČR GAP505/10/2167 Grant - others:GA JU(CZ) 114/2012/P; GA JU(CZ) 144/2010/P Institutional support: RVO:60077344 Keywords : butterfly communities * calcareous grasslands * GIS Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour Impact factor: 1.717, year: 2014 http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10841-013-9607-3#

  13. Linking Above- and Belowground Responses to 16 Years of Fertilization, Mowing, and Removal of the Dominant Species in a Temperate Grassland

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Kotas, Petr; Chroma, M.; Šantrůčková, H.; Lepš, Jan; Tříska, Jan; Kaštovská, E.

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 20, č. 2 (2017), s. 354-367 ISSN 1432-9840 R&D Projects: GA ČR GA13-17118S Institutional support: RVO:67179843 ; RVO:60077344 Keywords : dominant removal * fertilization * grassland * microbial community structure * mowing * pH * PLFA Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour; EG - Zoology (ENTU-I) OBOR OECD: Environmental sciences (social aspects to be 5.7); Entomology (ENTU-I) Impact factor: 4.198, year: 2016

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rodrigo B. Gonçalves

    2005-12-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. Effects of Recurring Droughts on Extracellular Enzyme Activity in Mountain Grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fuchslueger, L.; Bahn, M.; Kienzl, S.; Hofhansl, F.; Schnecker, J.; Richter, A.

    2015-12-01

    Water availability is a key factor for biogeochemical processes and determines microbial activity and functioning, and thereby organic matter decomposition in soils by affecting the osmotic potential, soil pore connectivity, substrate diffusion and nutrient availability. Low water availability during drought periods therefore directly affects microbial activity. Recurring drought periods likely induce shifts in microbial structure that might be reflected in altered responses of microbial turnover of organic matter by extracellular enzymes. To study this we measured a set of potential extracellular enzyme activity rates (cellobiohydrolase CBH; leucine-amino-peptidase LAP; phosphatase PHOS; phenoloxidase POX), in grassland soils that were exposed to extreme experimental droughts during the growing seasons of up to five subsequent years. During the first drought period after eight weeks of rain exclusion all measured potential enzyme activities were significantly decreased. In parallel, soil extractable organic carbon and nitrogen concentrations increased and microbial community structure, determined by phospholipid fatty acid analysis, changed. In soils that were exposed to two and three drought periods only PHOS decreased. After four years of drought again CBH, PHOS and POX decreased, while LAP was unaffected; after five years of drought PHOS and POX decreased and CBH and LAP remained stable. Thus, our results suggest that recurring extreme drought events can cause different responses of extracellular enzyme activities and that the responses change over time. We will discuss whether and to what degree these changes were related to shifts in microbial community composition. However, independent of whether a solitary or a recurrent drought was imposed, in cases when enzyme activity rates were altered during drought, they quickly recovered after rewetting. Overall, our data suggest that microbial functioning in mountain grassland is sensitive to drought, but highly

  17. Diversidad y distribución de acridios (Orthoptera: Acridoidea en pastizales del sur de la región pampeana, Argentina Diversity and distribution of grasshoppers (Orthoptera: Acridoidea in grasslands of the Southern Pampas region, Argentina

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yanina Mariottini

    2013-03-01

    Full Text Available Los acridios son componentes nativos de los pastizales, dichos sistemas han sido modificados debido a la intensificación de las actividades agrícola-ganaderas y por lo tanto se considera importante estudiar las comunidades de acridios asociadas. Se estudió la diversidad y distribución de acridios en el Sur de la región pampeana a través de muestreos realizados en las comunidades vegetales más representativas del partido de Laprida, provincia de Buenos Aires, durante cinco temporadas (2005-2010. Se recolectaron 22 especies. La subfamilia Melanoplinae fue la más diversa (ocho especies. La mayor cantidad de especies se observó en los pastizales nativos (18. La diversidad en los pastizales alterados (1.75±0.096 fue superior (pIn Argentina, the grasslands of Pampas region comprise approximately 15% of the country. As in other grasslands of the world, grasshoppers are among the most important native herbivores. Their economic importance has been recognized in Argentina since the mid to late nineteenth century, since outbreaks of different species have become recurrent phenomena. Therefore, the main objective of this work was to study their diversity and distribution in grasslands of the Southern Pampas region (Laprida county, Buenos Aires province, as one of the most affected areas. The study was conducted during five seasons (2005-10. Sampling sites were represented by the most common plant communities in this area, classified in four categories: native grasslands, disturbed grasslands, implanted pastures and halophilous grasslands. The samplings were conducted from mid-spring to early autumn, with five or six samples per season. We estimated the following population descriptors: species richness (S, eveness (E, dominance (J, and diversity index (H´. In order to evaluate the similitude of the grasshopper communities present in the different plant communities, we used qualitative and quantitative coefficients of similitude. A total of 22

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  19. Plant community variability on a small area in southeastern Montana

    Science.gov (United States)

    James G. MacCracken; Daniel W. Uresk; Richard M. Hansen

    1984-01-01

    Plant communities are inherently variable due to a number of environmental and biological forces. Canopy cover and aboveground biomass were determined for understory vegetation in plant communities of a prairie grassland-forest ecotone in southeastern Montana. Vegetation units were described using polar ordination and stepwise discriminant analysis. Nine of a total of...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-09-01

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

  1. Methodology for the elaboration of Natura 2000 sites designation acts in the Walloon Region (Belgium: calcareous grasslands in the Lesse-and-Lomme area

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mahy G.

    2005-01-01

    Full Text Available In the Walloon Region (Belgium, 239 sites have been selected to be included in the Natura 2000 network. The next step is to write designation acts in order to legally protect these 221,000 ha. In this pilot study, a designation act was elaborated for a Natura 2000 site of 2,569 ha and located in the Lesse-and-Lomme area within the Calestienne region. Although the site includes 40 ha of calcareous grasslands, characterised by an exceptional flora and fauna, this habitat is very threatened by abandonment and fragmentation.The methodology used to elaborate the designation act is presented with respect to calcareous grassland. Firstly, in spring and summer 2003, an accurate map of natural habitats was produced, with every single patch of calcareous grassland being mapped. Information was also collected in order to evaluate conservation status. Based on this information, conservation status was then assessed with respect to three different criteria: (1 integrity of the cortege species, (2 habitat structure and (3 degradations. Thirdly, the site was divided into objective zones according to the different habitats and species of Community interest found in the site. Hence, an objective zone was delineated for calcareous grasslands. This objective zone was then divided in several management units. Finally, at these different spatial levels (site, objective zone, management unit, management measures were suggested. As a result, in the draft designation act, the target is to maintain or restore 230 ha of calcareous grassland, instead of the existing 40 ha. This ambitious target requires large-scale restoration and an efficient grazing scheme. These will need important resources for their successful implementation

  2. Direct effects of cattle on grassland birds in Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-06-01

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

  3. Acidification of sandy grasslands - consequences for plant diversity

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

    OpenAIRE

    Le Stradic, Soizig

    2012-01-01

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

  5. Carbon dynamics in an Imperata grassland in Northeast India

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Amrabati Thokchom

    2016-01-01

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

  6. 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

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

    OpenAIRE

    Asian Development Bank (ADB)

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1999-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fort, Florian; Jouany, Claire; Cruz, Pablo

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zhen Wang

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-05-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-03-01

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

  16. Micronutrient metal speciation is controlled by competitive organic chelation in grassland soils

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Boiteau, Rene M.; Shaw, Jared B.; Pasa Tolic, Ljiljana; Koppenaal, David W.; Jansson, Janet K.

    2018-05-01

    Many elements are scarcely soluble in aqueous conditions found in high pH environments, such as calcareous grassland soils, unless complexed to strong binding organic ligands. To overcome this limitation, some plants and microbes produce chelators that solubilize micronutrient metals such as Fe, Ni, Cu, and Zn from mineral phases. These complexes are taken up by organisms via specific membrane receptors, thereby differentially impacting the bioavailability of these metals to the plant and microbial community. Although the importance of these chelation strategies for individual organisms has been well established, little is known about which pathways coexist within rhizosphere microbiomes or how they interact and compete for metal binding. Identifying these metallo-organic species within natural ecosystems has remained a formidable analytical challenge due to the vast diversity of compounds and poorly defined metabolic processes in complex soil matrix. Herein, we employed recently developed liquid chromatography (LC) mass spectrometry (MS) methods to characterize the speciation of water-soluble dissolved trace elements (Fe, Ni, Cu, and Zn) from Kansas Prairie soil. Both plant and fungal chelators were identified, revealing compound-specific patterns of chelation to biologically essential metals. Numerous metabolites typically implicated in plant iron acquisition and homeostasis, including mugineic acids, deoxymugineic acid, nicotianamine, and hydroxynicotianamine, dominated the speciation of divalent metals such as Ni, Cu, and Zn (2-57 pmol / g soil). In contrast, the fungal siderophore ferricrocine bound comparatively more trivalent Fe (9pmol / g soil). These results define biochemical pathways that underpin the regulation of metals in the grassland rhizosphere. They also raise new questions about the competition of these compounds for metal binding and their bioavailability to different members of the rhizosphere population. Even small structural differences

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Symstad, Amy J.; Jonas, Jayne L.

    2011-01-01

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

  18. Disentangling the Effects of Precipitation Amount and Frequency on the Performance of 14 Grassland Species

    Science.gov (United States)

    Didiano, Teresa J.; Johnson, Marc T. J.; Duval, Tim P.

    2016-01-01

    Climate change is causing shifts in the amount and frequency of precipitation in many regions, which is expected to have implications for plant performance. Most research has examined the impacts of the amount of precipitation on plants rather than the effects of both the amount and frequency of precipitation. To understand how climate-driven changes in precipitation can affect grassland plants, we asked: (i) How does the amount and frequency of precipitation affect plant performance? (ii) Do plant functional groups vary in their response to variable precipitation? To answer these questions we grew 14 monocot and eudicot grassland species and conducted a factorial manipulation of the amount (70 vs 90mm/month) and frequency (every 3, 15, or 30 days) of precipitation under rainout shelters. Our results show that both the amount and frequency of precipitation impact plant performance, with larger effects on eudicots than monocots. Above- and below-ground biomass were affected by the amount of precipitation and/or the interaction between the amount and frequency of precipitation. Above-ground biomass increased by 21–30% when the amount of precipitation was increased. When event frequency was decreased from 3 to 15 or 30 days, below-ground biomass generally decreased by 18–34% in the 70 mm treatment, but increased by 33–40% in the 90 mm treatment. Changes in stomatal conductance were largely driven by changes in event frequency. Our results show that it is important to consider changes in both the amount and frequency of precipitation when predicting how plant communities will respond to variable precipitation. PMID:27622497

  19. Micronutrient metal speciation is driven by competitive organic chelation in grassland soils.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boiteau, R.; Shaw, J. B.; Paša-Tolić, L.; Koppenaal, D.; Jansson, J.

    2017-12-01

    Many elements are scarcely soluble in aqueous conditions found in high pH environments, such as calcareous grassland soils, unless complexed to strong binding organic ligands. To overcome this limitation, some plants and microbes produce chelators that solubilize micronutrient metals such as Fe, Ni, Cu, and Zn from mineral phases. These complexes are taken up by organisms via specific membrane receptors, thereby differentially impacting the bioavailability of these metals to the plant and microbial community. Although the importance of these chelation strategies for individual organisms has been well established, little is known about which pathways coexist within rhizosphere microbiomes or how they interact and compete for metal binding. Identifying these metallo-organic species within natural ecosystems has remained a formidable analytical challenge due to the vast diversity of compounds and poorly defined metabolic processes in complex soil matrix. Herein, we employed recently developed liquid chromatography (LC) mass spectrometry (MS) methods to characterize the speciation of water-soluble dissolved trace elements (Fe, Ni, Cu, and Zn) from Kansas Prairie soil. Both plant and fungal chelators were identified, revealing compound-specific patterns of chelation to biologically essential metals. Numerous metabolites typically implicated in plant iron acquisition and homeostasis, including mugineic acids, deoxymugineic acid, nicotianamine, and hydroxynicotianamine, dominated the speciation of divalent metals such as Ni, Cu, and Zn (2-57 pmol / g soil). In contrast, the fungal siderophore ferricrocine bound comparatively more trivalent Fe (9pmol / g soil). These results define biochemical pathways that underpin the regulation of metals in the grassland rhizosphere. They also raise new questions about the competition of these compounds for metal binding and their bioavailability to different members of the rhizosphere population.

  20. [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.

  1. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-01-01

    To investigate the effect of sheep dung on soil carbon (C) sequestration, a 152 days incubation experiment was conducted with soils from two different Inner Mongolian grasslands, i.e. a Leymus chinensis dominated grassland representing the climax community (2.1% organic matter content) and a heavily degraded Artemisia frigida dominated community (1.3% organic matter content). Dung was collected from sheep either fed on L. chinensis (C3 plant with δ¹³C = -26.8‰; dung δ¹³C = -26.2‰) or Cleistogenes squarrosa (C₄ plant with δ¹³C = -14.6‰; dung δ¹³C = -15.7‰). Fresh C₃ and C₄ sheep dung was mixed with the two grassland soils and incubated under controlled conditions for analysis of ¹³C-CO₂ emissions. Soil samples were taken at days 17, 43, 86, 127 and 152 after sheep dung addition to detect the δ¹³C signal in soil and dung components. Analysis revealed that 16.9% and 16.6% of the sheep dung C had decomposed, of which 3.5% and 2.8% was sequestrated in the soils of L. chinensis and A. frigida grasslands, respectively, while the remaining decomposed sheep dung was emitted as CO₂. The cumulative amounts of C respired from dung treated soils during 152 days were 7-8 times higher than in the un-amended controls. In both grassland soils, ca. 60% of the evolved CO₂ originated from the decomposing sheep dung and 40% from the native soil C. Priming effects of soil C decomposition were observed in both soils, i.e. 1.4 g and 1.6 g additional soil C kg⁻¹ dry soil had been emitted as CO₂ for the L. chinensis and A. frigida soils, respectively. Hence, the net C losses from L. chinensis and A. frigida soils were 0.6 g and 0.9 g C kg⁻¹ soil, which was 2.6% and 7.0% of the total C in L. chinensis and A. frigida grasslands soils, respectively. Our results suggest that grazing of degraded Inner Mongolian pastures may cause a net soil C loss due to the positive priming effect, thereby accelerating soil deterioration.

  3. Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi May Mitigate the Influence of a Joint Rise of Temperature and Atmospheric CO2 on Soil Respiration in Grasslands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. Vicca

    2009-01-01

    Full Text Available We investigated the effects of mycorrhizal colonization and future climate on roots and soil respiration (Rsoil in model grassland ecosystems. We exposed artificial grassland communities on pasteurized soil (no living arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF present and on pasteurized soil subsequently inoculated with AMF to ambient conditions and to a combination of elevated CO2 and temperature (future climate scenario. After one growing season, the inoculated soil revealed a positive climate effect on AMF root colonization and this elicited a significant AMF x climate scenario interaction on root biomass. Whereas the future climate scenario tended to increase root biomass in the noninoculated soil, the inoculated soil revealed a 30% reduction of root biomass under warming at elevated CO2 (albeit not significant. This resulted in a diminished response of Rsoil to simulated climatic change, suggesting that AMF may contribute to an attenuated stimulation of Rsoil in a warmer, high CO2 world.

  4. Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi May Mitigate the Influence of a Joint Rise of Temperature and Atmospheric CO2 on Soil Respiration in Grasslands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Vicca, S.; Zavalloni, C.; Fu, Y.S.H.; Ceulemans, R.; Nijs, I.; Janssens, I.A.; Voets, L.; Boulois, H.D.D.; Declerck, S.

    2009-01-01

    We investigated the effects of mycorrhizal colonization and future climate on roots and soil respiration (R soil) in model grassland ecosystems. We exposed artificial grassland communities on pasteurized soil (no living arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) present) and on pasteurized soil subsequently inoculated with AMF to ambient conditions and to a combination of elevated CO 2 and temperature (future climate scenario). After one growing season, the inoculated soil revealed a positive climate effect on AMF root colonization and this elicited a significant AMF x climate scenario interaction on root biomass. Whereas the future climate scenario tended to increase root biomass in the non inoculated soil, the inoculated soil revealed a 30% reduction of root biomass under warming at elevated CO 2 (albeit not significant). This resulted in a diminished response of R soil to simulated climatic change, suggesting that AMF may contribute to an attenuated stimulation of R soil in a warmer, high CO 2 world.

  5. Leaf injury characteristics of grassland species exposed to ozone in relation to soil moisture condition and vapour pressure deficit

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bungener, P.; Balls, G.R.; Nussbaum, S.; Geissmann, M.; Grub, A.; Fuhrer, J.

    1999-01-01

    A range of plant species typical of semi-natural grasslands were tested for their sensitivity to short-term ozone injury under normal and reduced irrigation, and in relationship to air vapour pressure deficit. Potted specimens of 24 herbs, legumes and grasses were exposed during two seasons to four O 3 treatments in open-top chambers. The ozone treatments were: (a) charcoal-filtered air; (b) charcoal-filtered air plus ozone to match ambient levels; (c) charcoal-filtered air plus O 3 to ambient levels 1.5 and (d) charcoal-filtered air with ozone added to twice ambient levels during selected episodes of 7–13 d. During these ozone episodes, half of the plants in each ozone treatment received reduced irrigation (dry treatment) while the rest was kept under full irrigation (wet treatment). Type and date of first occurrence of leaf injury were noted during individual growth periods. Plants were harvested three times per year, and the percentage of injured leaves was recorded. Depending on species, injury symptoms were expressed as flecking (O 3 -specific injury), leaf yellowing or anthocyanin formation. Carum carvi and most species of the Fabaceae family (Onobrychis sativa, Trifolium repens, Trifolium pratense) were found to be most responsive to O 3 , injury occurring after only a few days of exposure in treatment (b). An episodic reduction in irrigation tended to reduce the expression of O 3 -specific symptoms, but only in species for which a reduction in soil moisture potential and an associated reduction in stomatal conductance during the dry episodes were observed. In other species, the protection from O 3 injury seemed to be of little importance. Using artificial neural networks the injury response of nine species was analysed in relation to Species, stomatal conductance, ozone as AOT40 (accumulated exposure above a threshold of 0.04 ppm for periods with global radiation ≥ 50 W m −2 (Fuhrer et al., 1997)), mean relative growth rate, air vapour pressure

  6. Assessing the effects of abiotic stress and livestock grazing disturbance on an alpine grassland with CSR model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Jun; Luo, Peng; Mou, Chengxiang; Yang, Hao; Mo, Li; Luo, Chuan; Kattge, Jens

    2016-04-01

    How the abiotic factors represented by cold environment and biotic factors represented by livestock grazing will affect the vegetation structure of alpine grassland is a core issue in understanding the cause of biodiversity change on Tibetan Plateau. Past studies on changes of floristic composition, growth forms did not adequately answer question. Given the fact that the response of plant to environment change depend on its life strategy, a synthetical method that based on plant life strategy may deepen our understanding of the mechanism. Using Grime's concept of CSR plant classification, we carried out a vegetation survey along a gradient (three levels) of graze intensity on the south-east of Tibet Plateau, in order to evaluate the role and mechanism of abiotic stress and grazing disturbance in driving plant diversity change, by analyzing the plant life strategy compositions in each of the community and by comparing the characteristic of the strategy compositions along the graze gradient. When the graze intensity was relative low, the dominant plant life strategy gathered in the stress tolerance corner, which conformed the theory of environmental filter, indicating that the ideal top plant community may be dominated by the species with stress tolerant strategy. We also found that the response of strategy dominance to graze intensity increase is positively correlated with the competitive capacity (R 2=0.671; Pstrategy (R 2=0.047; P=0.42). This reflected a general shift of plant strategy from stress tolerant to competitive (rather than ruderal as expected) and suggested that the mechanism of graze to affect plant community is different from that of other disturbance like fire, clipping, till, etc. The particular selective foraging and escaping from feces may provide more opportunities for competitive than ruderal strategy to dominant the community. This study demonstrated that CSR plant strategy be a useful tool to evaluate the effects of abiotic and biotic factors

  7. Spider Trait Assembly Patterns and Resilience under Fire-Induced Vegetation Change in South Brazilian Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Podgaiski, Luciana R.; Joner, Fernando; Lavorel, Sandra; Moretti, Marco; Ibanez, Sebastien; Mendonça, Milton de S.; Pillar, Valério D.

    2013-01-01

    Disturbances induce changes on habitat proprieties that may filter organism's functional traits thereby shaping the structure and interactions of many trophic levels. We tested if communities of predators with foraging traits dependent on habitat structure respond to environmental change through cascades affecting the functional traits of plants. We monitored the response of spider and plant communities to fire in South Brazilian Grasslands using pairs of burned and unburned plots. Spiders were determined to the family level and described in feeding behavioral and morphological traits measured on each individual. Life form and morphological traits were recorded for plant species. One month after fire the abundance of vegetation hunters and the mean size of the chelicera increased due to the presence of suitable feeding sites in the regrowing vegetation, but irregular web builders decreased due to the absence of microhabitats and dense foliage into which they build their webs. Six months after fire rosette-form plants with broader leaves increased, creating a favourable habitat for orb web builders which became more abundant, while graminoids and tall plants were reduced, resulting in a decrease of proper shelters and microclimate in soil surface to ground hunters which became less abundant. Hence, fire triggered changes in vegetation structure that lead both to trait-convergence and trait-divergence assembly patterns of spiders along gradients of plant biomass and functional diversity. Spider individuals occurring in more functionally diverse plant communities were more diverse in their traits probably because increased possibility of resource exploitation, following the habitat heterogeneity hypothesis. Finally, as an indication of resilience, after twelve months spider communities did not differ from those of unburned plots. Our findings show that functional traits provide a mechanistic understanding of the response of communities to environmental change

  8. Assessment of wild boar rooting on ecological and pastoral values of alpine pyrenean grasslands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bueno, C. G.

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available Wild boar rooting is nowadays one of the main disturbances in Pyrenean alpine grasslands. Its consequences for the ecosystem are not perfectly understood yet despite alpine grasslands in the Pyrenees have an important economic role and a priority conservation interest. The ecosystem services of this habitat lay mainly on pastoral and ecological values that wild boar rooting seems to affect. In this study, we measured those ecological and pastoral values at different scales to improve our understanding of the reach of these disturbances in this sensitive ecosystem. At landscape and community scales we compare disturbed and undisturbed areas in pastoral, ecological and community maps of the study area by means of a geographic information system. At a local scale we compare ecological and pastoral values of different plant groups (based on species abundance, within and outside wild boar rootings. A preference for areas of high pastoral and intermediate ecological values was found for wild boar rooting at the landscape level. However at the community level, disturbances notably reduced pastoral and ecological values in all communities. At the local level, the ecological value of bulbs and the pastoral value of annual dicots increased within disturbances, suggesting that disturbances may favour functional group diversity. In sum, wild boar rooting affects Pyrenean alpine grasslands moderately, with higher affection to pastoral than ecological values at all levels, what should be considered for the management and preservation of these habitats since these disturbances are likely to increase.

    Las hozaduras de jabalí son una de las mayores perturbaciones actuales de los pastos supraforestales pirenaicos. Sus consecuencias para el ecosistema no están todavía perfectamente descritas, a pesar de ser uno de los hábitats de mayor interés de conservación y que juegan un importante papel en las economías locales. Los bienes y servicios que provee

  9. Staged invasions across disparate grasslands: effects of seed provenance, consumers and disturbance on productivity and species richness.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maron, John L; Auge, Harald; Pearson, Dean E; Korell, Lotte; Hensen, Isabell; Suding, Katharine N; Stein, Claudia

    2014-04-01

    Exotic plant invasions are thought to alter productivity and species richness, yet these patterns are typically correlative. Few studies have experimentally invaded sites and asked how addition of novel species influences ecosystem function and community structure and examined the role of competitors and/or consumers in mediating these patterns. We invaded disturbed and undisturbed subplots in and out of rodent exclosures with seeds of native or exotic species in grasslands in Montana, California and Germany. Seed addition enhanced aboveground biomass and species richness compared with no-seeds-added controls, with exotics having disproportionate effects on productivity compared with natives. Disturbance enhanced the effects of seed addition on productivity and species richness, whereas rodents reduced productivity, but only in Germany and California. Our results demonstrate that experimental introduction of novel species can alter ecosystem function and community structure, but that local filters such as competition and herbivory influence the magnitude of these impacts. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

  10. Aboveground vertebrate and invertebrate herbivore impact on net N mineralization in subalpine grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Risch, Anita C; Schotz, Martin; Vandegehuchte, Martijn L; Van Der Putten, Wim H; Duyts, Henk; Raschein, Ursina; Gwiazdowicz, Dariusz J; Busse, Matt D; Page-dumroese, Deborah S; Zimmermann, Stephan

    2015-12-01

    Aboveground herbivores have strong effects on grassland nitrogen (N) cycling. They can accelerate or slow down soil net N mineralization depending on ecosystem productivity and grazing intensity. Yet, most studies only consider either ungulates or invertebrate herbivores, but not the combined effect of several functionally different vertebrate and invertebrate herbivore species or guilds. We assessed how a diverse herbivore community affects net N mineralization in subalpine grasslands. By using size-selective fences, we progressively excluded large, medium, and small mammals, as well as invertebrates from two vegetation types, and assessed how the exclosure types (ET) affected net N mineralization. The two vegetation types differed in long-term management (centuries), forage quality, and grazing history and intensity. To gain a more mechanistic understanding of how herbivores affect net N mineralization, we linked mineralization to soil abiotic (temperature; moisture; NO3-, NH4+, and total inorganic N concentrations/pools; C, N, P concentrations; pH; bulk density), soil biotic (microbial biomass; abundance of collembolans, mites, and nematodes) and plant (shoot and root biomass; consumption; plant C, N, and fiber content; plant N pool) properties. Net N mineralization differed between ET, but not between vegetation types. Thus, short-term changes in herbivore community composition and, therefore, in grazing intensity had a stronger effect on net N mineralization than long-term management and grazing history. We found highest N mineralization values when only invertebrates were present, suggesting that mammals had a negative effect on net N mineralization. Of the variables included in our analyses, only mite abundance and aboveground plant biomass explained variation in net N mineralization among ET. Abundances of both mites and leaf-sucking invertebrates were positively correlated with aboveground plant biomass, and biomass increased with progressive exclusion

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-04-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-03-01

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

  13. Multi-index time series monitoring of drought and fire effects on desert grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Villarreal, Miguel; Norman, Laura M.; Buckley, Steven; Wallace, Cynthia S.A.; Coe, Michelle A.

    2016-01-01

    The Western United States is expected to undergo both extended periods of drought and longer wildfire seasons under forecasted global climate change and it is important to understand how these disturbances will interact and affect recovery and composition of plant communities in the future. In this research paper we describe the temporal response of grassland communities to drought and fire in southern Arizona, where land managers are using repeated, prescribed fire as a habitat restoration tool. Using a 25-year atlas of fire locations, we paired sites with multiple fires to unburned control areas and compare satellite and field-based estimates of vegetation cover over time. Two hundred and fifty Landsat TM images, dating from 1985–2011, were used to derive estimates of Total Vegetation Fractional Cover (TVFC) of live and senescent grass using the Soil-Adjusted Total Vegetation Index (SATVI) and post-fire vegetation greenness using the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). We also implemented a Greenness to Cover Index that is the difference of time-standardized SATVI-TVFC and NDVI values at a given time and location to identify post-fire shifts in native, non-native, and annual plant cover. The results highlight anomalous greening and browning during drought periods related to amounts of annual and non-native plant cover present. Results suggest that aggressive application of prescribed fire may encourage spread of non-native perennial grasses and annual plants, particularly during droughts.

  14. Soil Aggregate Stability and Grassland Productivity Associations in a Northern Mixed-Grass Prairie.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kurt O Reinhart

    Full Text Available Soil aggregate stability data are often predicted to be positively associated with measures of plant productivity, rangeland health, and ecosystem functioning. Here we revisit the hypothesis that soil aggregate stability is positively associated with plant productivity. We measured local (plot-to-plot variation in grassland community composition, plant (aboveground biomass, root biomass, % water-stable soil aggregates, and topography. After accounting for spatial autocorrelation, we observed a negative association between % water-stable soil aggregates (0.25-1 and 1-2 mm size classes of macroaggregates and dominant graminoid biomass, and negative associations between the % water-stable aggregates and the root biomass of a dominant sedge (Carex filifolia. However, variation in total root biomass (0-10 or 0-30 cm depths was either negatively or not appreciably associated with soil aggregate stabilities. Overall, regression slope coefficients were consistently negative thereby indicating the general absence of a positive association between measures of plant productivity and soil aggregate stability for the study area. The predicted positive association between factors was likely confounded by variation in plant species composition. Specifically, sampling spanned a local gradient in plant community composition which was likely driven by niche partitioning along a subtle gradient in elevation. Our results suggest an apparent trade-off between some measures of plant biomass production and soil aggregate stability, both known to affect the land's capacity to resist erosion. These findings further highlight the uncertainty of plant biomass-soil stability associations.

  15. 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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    1995-01-01

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2018-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-04-01

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2008-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-12-19

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2007-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Keshab Shrestha

    2016-09-01

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

  5. Grassland simulation with the LPJmL model : version 3.4.018

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Boons-Prins, E.R.

    2010-01-01

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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    1995-11-01

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Fujita, Y.

    2010-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  9. 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...

  10. 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...

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2010-01-01

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

  14. Organic matter dynamics and N mineralization in grassland soils

    OpenAIRE

    Hassink, J.

    1995-01-01


    The aims of this study are i) to improve our understanding of the interactions between soil texturelsoil structure, soil organic matter, soil biota and mineralization in grassland soils, ii) to develop a procedure that yields soil organic matter fractions that can be determined directly and can be used in soil organic matter models, iii) to develop a model that predicts the long-term dynamics of soil organic matter, iv) to develop a simple model that can be used by farmers and advi...

  15. Importance of dispersal and thermal environment for mycorrhizal communities: lessons from Yellowstone National Park.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lekberg, Ylva; Meadow, James; Rohr, Jason R; Redecker, Dirk; Zabinski, Catherine A

    2011-06-01

    The relative importance of dispersal and niche restrictions remains a controversial topic in community ecology, especially for microorganisms that are often assumed to be ubiquitous. We investigated the impact of these factors for the community assembly of the root-symbiont arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) by sampling roots from geothermal and nonthermal grasslands in Yellowstone National Park (YNP), followed by sequencing and RFLP of AMF ribosomal DNA. With the exception of an apparent generalist RFLP type closely related to Glomus intraradices, a distance-based redundancy analysis indicated that the AMF community composition correlated with soil pH or pH-driven changes in soil chemistry. This was unexpected, given the large differences in soil temperature and plant community composition between the geothermal and nonthermal grasslands. RFLP types were found in either the acidic geothermal grasslands or in the neutral to alkaline grasslands, one of which was geothermal. The direct effect of the soil chemical environment on the distribution of two AMF morphospecies isolated from acidic geothermal grasslands was supported in a controlled greenhouse experiment. Paraglomus occultum and Scutellospora pellucida were more beneficial to plants and formed significantly more spores when grown in acidic than in alkaline soil. Distance among grasslands, used as an estimate of dispersal limitations, was not a significant predictor of AMF community similarity within YNP, and most fungal taxa may be part of a metacommunity. The isolation of several viable AMF taxa from bison feces indicates that wide-ranging bison could be a vector for at least some RFLP types among grasslands within YNP. In support of classical niche theory and the Baas-Becking hypothesis, our results suggest that AMF are not limited by dispersal at the scale of YNP, but that the soil environment appears to be the primary factor affecting community composition and distribution.

  16. 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

  17. 78 FR 65609 - Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland; Wyoming; Thunder Basin...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-11-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lu Wen

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patricia Manzano; Rurik List

    2006-01-01

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

  1. Evident elevation of atmospheric monoterpenes due to degradation-induced species changes in a semi-arid grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Hongjun; Wang, Xinming; Zhang, Yanli; Mu, Yujing; Han, Xingguo

    2016-01-15

    Biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) emitted from plants have substantial effects on atmospheric chemistry/physics and feedbacks on ecosystem function. The on-going climate change and anthropogenic disturbance have been confirmed to cause the evident degradation of grassland with shift of plant community, and hence BVOCs emissions were suspected to be altered due to the different BOVCs emission potentials of different species. In this study, we investigated BVOCs concentration above ground surface during growing season in a degraded semi-arid grassland (41°2' N-45°6' N, 113°5'-117°8') in Inner Mongolia. The observed monoterpenes' concentrations varied from 0.10 to 215.78 μg m(-3) (34.88 ± 9.73 μg m(-3) in average) across 41 sites. Compared to non-degraded grassland, concentrations of monoterpenes were about 180 times higher at the sites dominated by subshrub--Artemisia frigida, a preponderant species under drought stress and over-grazing. The biomass of A. frigida explained 51.39% of the variation of monoterpenes' concentrations. α-pinene, β-pinene and γ-terpinene dominated in the 10 determined monoterpenes, accounting for 37.72 ± 2.98%, 14.65 ± 2.55% and 10.50 ± 2.37% of the total monoterpenes concentration, respectively. Low isoprene concentrations (≤ 3.25 μg m(-3)) were found and sedge biomass contributed about 51.76% to their spatial variation. α-pinene and isoprene emissions at noon were as high as 515.53 ± 88.34 μg m(-2)h(-1) and 7606.19 ± 1073.94 μg m(-2) h(-1) in A. frigida- and sedge-dominated areas where their biomass were 236.90 g m(-2) and 72.37 g m(-2), respectively. Our results suggested that the expansion of A. frigida and sedge caused by over-grazing and climatic stresses may increase local ambient BVOCs concentration in grassland. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  2. Monitoring Effect of Fire on Ant Assemblages in Brazilian Rupestrian Grasslands: Contrasting Effects on Ground and Arboreal Fauna

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Diego Anjos

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available Fire is one of the most relevant ecological disturbances in nature. Little is known about the effects of fire on biodiversity in ecosystems like rupestrian grasslands, which share characteristics with savanna and forest biomes. Brazilian rupestrian grasslands are part of an endangered ecosystem that has been modified by anthropogenic fire events that have become more intense in recent decades. In this study, we evaluated the effects of fire on ground and arboreal ant assemblages through a two-year monitoring program (24 monthly samplings. We found that fire does not change cumulative species richness after 24 months, and that fire does not affect mean ant richness, abundance, and species composition in arboreal ants. On the other hand, fire increased mean ground ant species richness and abundance, and caused a significant change in species composition. Our results indicate a weak and beneficial effect of fire only for ground ant communities, which generally agrees with results from other studies in Brazilian savannas. Taken together, results from these studies may be useful for improvement of fire suppression policy in fire-prone habitats in Brazil.

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2017-01-01

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

  4. Winter ecology of a subalpine grassland: Effects of snow removal on soil respiration, microbial structure and function.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gavazov, Konstantin; Ingrisch, Johannes; Hasibeder, Roland; Mills, Robert T E; Buttler, Alexandre; Gleixner, Gerd; Pumpanen, Jukka; Bahn, Michael

    2017-07-15

    Seasonal snow cover provides essential insulation for mountain ecosystems, but expected changes in precipitation patterns and snow cover duration due to global warming can influence the activity of soil microbial communities. In turn, these changes have the potential to create new dynamics of soil organic matter cycling. To assess the effects of experimental snow removal and advanced spring conditions on soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) dynamics, and on the biomass and structure of soil microbial communities, we performed an in situ study in a subalpine grassland in the Austrian Alps, in conjunction with soil incubations under controlled conditions.