Pierik, M. and Ruijven Van, J. and Bezemer, T.M. and Geerts, R.H.E.M. and Berendse, F. (2011) Recovery of plant species richness during long-term fertilization of a species-rich grassland. Ecology, 92, 1393-1398. ISSN 0012-9658.
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Nutrient enrichment of habitats (eutrophication) is considered to be one of the main causes of plant diversity decline worldwide. Several experiments have shown a rapid loss of species in the first years after fertilization started. However, little is known about changes in species richness in the long term. Here, we use a 50-year-old field experiment with a range of fertilization treatments in grasslands that were mown twice each year in the center of The Netherlands. We show that species richness in all plots initially declined but started to recover after ;25 years of continued fertilization. This was also true for the heavily fertilized treatment (NPK). In NPK-fertilized plots, the decline was strongest and associated with a strong divergence of plant trait composition from the control, reflecting a shift to a plant community adapted to nutrient-rich conditions. During the subsequent period of increase in species richness, the trait composition remained stable. These results show that plant species richness can, at least partially, recover after an initial diversity decline caused by fertilization.
|Institutes:||Nederlands Instituut voor Ecologie (NIOO)|
|Deposited On:||08 Aug 2011 02:00|
|Last Modified:||24 Apr 2012 16:42|
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