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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Plant and Environment Interactions

Nitrogen and Phosphorus Budgets in Experimental Grasslands of Variable Diversity


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 36 No. 2, p. 396-407
    Received: June 2, 2006

    * Corresponding author(s): yvonne.oelmann@uni-mainz.de
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  1. Yvonne Oelmann *ab,
  2. Yvonne Kreutzigerc,
  3. Vicky M. Tempertond,
  4. Nina Buchmanne,
  5. Christiane Roscherf,
  6. Jens Schumacherf,
  7. Ernst-Detlef Schulzef,
  8. Wolfgang W. Weisserg and
  9. Wolfgang Wilckeb
  1. a Inst. of Ecology, Dep. of Soil Science, Berlin Univ. of Technology, Salzufer 11-12, D-10587 Berlin, Germany
    b Geographic Inst., Professorship of Soil Geography/Soil Science, Johannes Gutenberg Univ., Johann-Joachim-Becherweg 21, D-55128 Mainz, Germany
    c Inst. of Geography, Friedrich Schiller Univ., Löbdergraben 32, D-07743 Jena, Germany
    d Inst. of Chemistry and Dynamics of the Geosphere, ICGIII Phytosphere Inst., Jülich Research Centre, D-52425 Jülich, Germany
    e Inst. of Plant Sciences, ETH Zentrum LFW C56, Universitätsstrasse 2, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland
    f Max Planck Inst. for Biogeochemistry, P.O. Box 100164, D-07701 Jena, Germany
    g Inst. of Ecology, Friedrich Schiller Univ. of Jena, Dornburger Straße 159, D-07743 Jena, Germany


Previous research has shown that plant diversity influences N and P cycles. However, the effect of plant diversity on complete ecosystem N and P budgets has not yet been assessed. For 20 plots of artificially established grassland mixtures differing in plant diversity, we determined N and P inputs by bulk and dry deposition and N and P losses by mowing (and subsequent removal of the biomass) and leaching from April 2003 to March 2004. Total deposition of N and P was 2.3 ± 0.1 and 0.2 ± 0.01 g m−2 yr−1, respectively. Mowing was the main N and P loss. The net N and P budgets were negative (–6.3 ± 1.1 g N and –1.9 ± 0.2 g P m−2 yr−1). For N, this included a conservative estimate of atmospheric N2 fixation. Nitrogen losses as N2O were expected to be small at our study site (<0.05 g m−2 yr−1). Legumes increased the removal of N with the harvest and decreased leaching of NH4–N and dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) from the canopy. Reduced roughness of grass-containing mixtures decreased dry deposition of N and P. Total dissolved P and NO3–N leaching from the canopy increased in the presence of grasses attributable to the decreased N and P demand of grass-containing mixtures. Species richness did not have an effect on any of the studied fluxes. Our results demonstrate that the N and P fluxes in managed grassland are modified by the presence or absence of particular functional plant groups and are mainly driven by the management.

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