Interacting effects of fertilization, mowing and grazing on plant species diversity of 1500 grasslands in Germany differ between regions

Socher, Stephanie A.; Prati, Daniel; Boch, Steffen; Müller, Jörg; Baumbach, Henryk; Gockel, Sonja; Hemp, Andreas; Schöning, Ingo; Wells, Konstans; Buscot, François; Kalko, Elisabeth K.V.; Linsenmair, Karl Eduard; Schulze, Ernst-Detlef; Weisser, Wolfgang W.; Fischer, Markus (2013). Interacting effects of fertilization, mowing and grazing on plant species diversity of 1500 grasslands in Germany differ between regions. Basic and applied ecology, 14(2), pp. 126-136. Amsterdam: Elsevier 10.1016/j.baae.2012.12.003

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The relationship of different types of grassland use with plant species richness and composition (functional groups of herbs, legumes, and grasses) has so far been studied at small regional scales or comprising only few components of land use. We comprehensively studied the relationship between abandonment, fertilization, mowing intensity, and grazing by different livestock types on plant diversity and composition of 1514 grassland sites in three regions in North-East, Central and South-West Germany. We further considered environmental site conditions including soil type and topographical situation. Fertilized grasslands showed clearly reduced plant species diversity (−15% plant species richness, −0.1 Shannon diversity on fertilized grasslands plots of 16 m2) and changed composition (−3% proportion of herb species), grazing had the second largest effects and mowing the smallest ones. Among the grazed sites, the ones grazed by sheep had higher than average species richness (+27%), and the cattle grazed ones lower (−42%). Further, these general results were strongly modulated by interactions between the different components of land use and by regional context: land-use effects differed largely in size and sometimes even in direction between regions. This highlights the importance of comparing different regions and to involve a large number of plots when studying relationships between land use and plant diversity. Overall, our results show that great caution is necessary when extrapolating results and management recommendations to other regions.

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:

Socher, Stephanie; Prati, Daniel; Boch, Steffen and Fischer, Markus

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

1439-1791

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

11 Feb 2014 16:12

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2015 12:09

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.baae.2012.12.003

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Biodiversity exploratories, Functional groups, Land use type, Livestock type, Shannon diversity

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.38664

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/38664

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