Experimental evidence for the immediate impact of fertilization and irrigation upon the plant and invertebrate communities of mountain grasslands

Hayoz-Andrey, Aline; Humbert, Jean-Yves; Pernollet, Claire; Arlettaz, Raphaël (2014). Experimental evidence for the immediate impact of fertilization and irrigation upon the plant and invertebrate communities of mountain grasslands. Ecology and evolution, 4(12), pp. 2610-2623. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 10.1002/ece3.1118

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The response of montane and subalpine hay meadow plant and arthropod communities to the application of liquid manure and aerial irrigation – two novel, rapidly spreading management practices – remains poorly understood, which hampers the formulation of best practice management recommendations for both hay production and biodiversity preservation. In these nutrient-poor mountain grasslands, a moderate management regime could enhance overall conditions for biodiversity. This study experimentally assessed, at the site scale, among low-input montane and subalpine meadows, the short-term effects (1 year) of a moderate intensification (slurry fertilization: 26.7–53.3 kg N·ha−1·year−1; irrigation with sprinklers: 20 mm·week−1; singly or combined together) on plant species richness, vegetation structure, hay production, and arthropod abundance and biomass in the inner European Alps (Valais, SW Switzerland). Results show that (1) montane and subalpine hay meadow ecological communities respond very rapidly to an intensification of management practices; (2) on a short-term basis, a moderate intensification of very low-input hay meadows has positive effects on plant species richness, vegetation structure, hay production, and arthropod abundance and biomass; (3) vegetation structure is likely to be the key factor limiting arthropod abundance and biomass. Our ongoing experiments will in the longer term identify which level of management intensity achieves an optimal balance between biodiversity and hay production.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Conservation Biology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)

UniBE Contributor:

Hayoz-Andrey, Aline; Humbert, Jean-Yves; Pernollet, Claire and Arlettaz, Raphaël

Subjects:

500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)

ISSN:

2045-7758

Publisher:

John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Language:

English

Submitter:

Olivier Roth

Date Deposited:

25 Mar 2015 13:49

Last Modified:

25 Mar 2015 13:49

Publisher DOI:

10.1002/ece3.1118

PubMed ID:

25360290

Web of Science ID:

000337738800022

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.65730

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/65730

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