Impact of Land-Use Intensity and Productivity on Bryophyte Diversity in Agricultural Grasslands

Müller, Jörg; Klaus, Valentin H.; Kleinebecker, Till; Prati, Daniel; Hölzel, Norbert; Fischer, Markus (2012). Impact of Land-Use Intensity and Productivity on Bryophyte Diversity in Agricultural Grasslands. PLoS ONE, 7(12), e51520. Lawrence, Kans.: Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0051520

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While bryophytes greatly contribute to plant diversity of semi-natural grasslands, little is known about the relationships between land-use intensity, productivity, and bryophyte diversity in these habitats. We recorded vascular plant and bryophyte vegetation in 85 agricultural used grasslands in two regions in northern and central Germany and gathered information on land-use intensity. To assess grassland productivity, we harvested aboveground vascular plant biomass and analyzed nutrient concentrations of N, P, K, Ca and Mg. Further we calculated mean Ellenberg indicator values of vascular plant vegetation. We tested for effects of land-use intensity and productivity on total bryophyte species richness and on the species richness of acrocarpous (small & erect) and pleurocarpous (creeping, including liverworts) growth forms separately. Bryophyte species were found in almost all studied grasslands, but species richness differed considerably between study regions in northern Germany (2.8 species per 16 m2) and central Germany (6.4 species per 16 m2) due environmental differences as well as land-use history. Increased fertilizer application, coinciding with high mowing frequency, reduced bryophyte species richness significantly. Accordingly, productivity estimates such as plant biomass and nitrogen concentration were strongly negatively related to bryophyte species richness, although productivity decreased only pleurocarpous species. Ellenberg indicator values for nutrients proved to be useful indicators of species richness and productivity. In conclusion, bryophyte composition was strongly dependent on productivity, with smaller bryophytes that were likely negatively affected by greater competition for light. Intensive land-use, however, can also indirectly decrease bryophyte species richness by promoting grassland productivity. Thus, increasing productivity is likely to cause a loss of bryophyte species and a decrease in species diversity.

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:

Prati, Daniel and Fischer, Markus

ISSN:

1932-6203

Publisher:

Public Library of Science

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:41

Last Modified:

06 Dec 2014 21:50

Publisher DOI:

10.1371/journal.pone.0051520

Web of Science ID:

000313236200129

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.16962

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/16962 (FactScience: 224671)

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