Increasing effects of chronic nutrient enrichment on plant diversity loss and ecosystem productivity over time

Seabloom, E.W. and Adler, P.B. and Alberti, J. and Biederman, L. and Buckley, Y.M. and Cadotte, M.W. and Collins, S.L. and Dee, L. and Fay, P.A. and Firn, J. and Hagenah, N. and Harpole, W.S. and Hautier, Y. and Hector, A. and Hobbie, S.E. and Isbell, F. and Knops, J.M.H. and Komatsu, K.J. and Laungani, R. and MacDougall, A. and McCulley, R.L. and Moore, J.L. and Morgan, J.W. and Ohlert, T. and Prober, S.M. and Risch, A.C. and Schuetz, M. and Stevens, C.J. and Borer, E.T. (2021) Increasing effects of chronic nutrient enrichment on plant diversity loss and ecosystem productivity over time. Ecology, 102 (2): e03218. ISSN 0012-9658

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Human activities are enriching many of Earth’s ecosystems with biologically limiting mineral nutrients such as nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). In grasslands, this enrichment generally reduces plant diversity and increases productivity. The widely demonstrated positive effect of diversity on productivity suggests a potential negative feedback, whereby nutrient-induced declines in diversity reduce the initial gains in productivity arising from nutrient enrichment. In addition, plant productivity and diversity can be inhibited by accumulations of dead biomass, which may be altered by nutrient enrichment. Over longer time frames, nutrient addition may increase soil fertility by increasing soil organic matter and nutrient pools. We examined the effects of 5–11 yr of nutrient addition at 47 grasslands in 12 countries. Nutrient enrichment increased aboveground live biomass and reduced plant diversity at nearly all sites, and these effects became stronger over time. We did not find evidence that nutrient-induced losses of diversity reduced the positive effects of nutrients on biomass; however, nutrient effects on live biomass increased more slowly at sites where litter was also increasing, regardless of plant diversity. This work suggests that short-term experiments may underestimate the long-term nutrient enrichment effects on global grassland ecosystems.

Item Type:
Journal Article
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Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? biodiversitycommunity ecologyecosystem ecology, grasslandsnutnetnutrient networkecology, evolution, behavior and systematics ??
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Deposited On:
10 Feb 2021 16:10
Last Modified:
05 Jan 2024 00:26