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

Leimer, Sophia; Bischoff, Sebastian; Boch, Steffen; Busch, Verena; Escher, Peter; Fischer, Markus; Hänsel, Falk; Hölzel, Norbert; Kerber, Katja; Klaus, Valentin; Kleinebecker, Till; Michalzik, Beate; Nauss, Thomas; Schäfer, Deborah; Schöning, Ingo; Schwarz, Martin T.; Siemens, Jan; Thieme, Lisa; Wöllauer, Stephan and Wilcke, Wolfgang (2018). Does plant diversity affect the water balance of established grassland systems? Ecohydrology, 11(4), e1945. Wiley 10.1002/eco.1945

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Evidence from experimental grasslands indicated that plant biodiversity modifies the water cycle but it is unclear if this is also true for established land-use systems. Therefore, we investigated how evapotranspiration (ETa), downward flux (DF), and upward flux (UF) in soil are related with land use and plant diversity in agriculturally managed grassland. In three Central European regions (“Biodiversity Exploratories”), we studied 29 grassland plots (50m x 50m; 9-11 plots per region) covering the land-use classes pasture, mown pasture, and meadow in at least triplicate per region. From 2010 to 2015, we measured soil moisture, meteorological conditions, plant species richness, cover and number of species in the functional groups of grasses, herbs, and legumes, aboveground biomass and root biomass on each plot. Annual ETa, DF, and UF were calculated for two soil layers with a soil water balance model and statistically analyzed for land-use and biodiversity effects with analysis of variance. Water fluxes were not significantly affected by land-use class. UF did not vary between plots with different species richness and plant functional group composition. DF from topsoil increased with increasing number of grass species. ETa from topsoil decreased with increasing species richness and with the number of herb or legume species, while ETa from subsoil increased. Our results demonstrate that plant diversity influences the soil depth partitioning of water use, but the complex drivers of this relationship in agriculturally managed grassland still need to be disentangled.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Plant Ecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

Boch, Steffen; Fischer, Markus and Schäfer, Deborah

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

1936-0584

Publisher:

Wiley

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

01 May 2018 09:09

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 18:43

Publisher DOI:

10.1002/eco.1945

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Biodiversity Exploratories; biodiversity; land use; evapotranspiration; upward flux; downward flux; soil water flux

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.111824

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/111824

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