Nutrients and herbivores impact grassland stability across spatial scales through different pathways

Chen, Q.Q. and Wang, S. and MacDougall, Andrew S. and Borer, Elizabeth T. and Bakker, J.D. and Donohue, Ian and Knops, Johannes M. H. and Morgan, J.W. and Carroll, Oliver and Crawley, Michael J. and Bugalho, M.N. and Power, Sally A. and Eskelinen, A. and Virtanen, R and Risch, Anita C. and Schütz, Martin and Stevens, Carly and Caldeira, Maria and Bagchi, S. and Alberti, Juan and Hautier, Yann (2022) Nutrients and herbivores impact grassland stability across spatial scales through different pathways. Global Change Biology, 28 (8). pp. 2678-2688. ISSN 1354-1013

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Nutrients and herbivores are well-known drivers of grassland diversity and stability in local communities. However, whether they interact to impact the stability of aboveground biomass and whether these effects depend on spatial scales remain unknown. It is also unclear whether nutrients and herbivores impact stability via different facets of plant diversity including species richness, evenness, and changes in community composition through time and space. We used a replicated experiment adding nutrients and excluding herbivores for 5 years in 34 global grasslands to explore these questions. We found that both nutrient addition and herbivore exclusion alone reduced stability at the larger spatial scale (aggregated local communities; gamma stability), but through different pathways. Nutrient addition reduced gamma stability primarily by increasing changes in local community composition over time, which was mainly driven by species replacement. Herbivore exclusion reduced gamma stability primarily by decreasing asynchronous dynamics among local communities (spatial asynchrony). Their interaction weakly increased gamma stability by increasing spatial asynchrony. Our findings indicate that disentangling the processes operating at different spatial scales may improve conservation and management aiming at maintaining the ability of ecosystems to reliably provide functions and services for humanity.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Global Change Biology
Additional Information:
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Qingqing Chen, Shaopeng Wang, Eric W. Seabloom, Andrew S. MacDougall, Elizabeth T. Borer, Jonathan D. Bakker, Ian Donohue, Johannes M. H. Knops, John W. Morgan, Oliver Carroll, Mick Crawley, Miguel N. Bugalho, Sally A. Power, Anu Eskelinen, Risto Virtanen, Anita C. Risch, Martin Schütz, Carly Stevens, Maria C. Caldeira, Sumanta Bagchi,Juan Alberti, Yann Hautier (2022), Nutrients and herbivores impact grassland stability across spatial scales through different pathways. Global Change Biology. doi: 10.1111/gcb.16086 which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? biodiversity-stabilitycross-scaleeutrophicationgrazingnutrient network (nutnet)ecologyglobal and planetary changeenvironmental science(all)environmental chemistry ??
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Deposited On:
21 Jan 2022 16:35
Last Modified:
16 Dec 2023 01:36