Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 507135
Title Plant diversity and root traits benefit physical properties key to soil function in grasslands
Author(s) Gould, Iain J.; Quinton, John N.; Weigelt, Alexandra; Deyn, Gerlinde B. De; Bardgett, Richard D.; Seabloom, Eric
Source Ecology Letters 19 (2016)9. - ISSN 1461-023X - p. 1140 - 1149.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ele.12652
Department(s) Chair Soil Biology and Biological Soil Quality
PE&RC
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Keyword(s) Aggregate stability - biodiversity - grasslands - root traits - soil physics
Abstract

Plant diversity loss impairs ecosystem functioning, including important effects on soil. Most studies that have explored plant diversity effects belowground, however, have largely focused on biological processes. As such, our understanding of how plant diversity impacts the soil physical environment remains limited, despite the fundamental role soil physical structure plays in ensuring soil function and ecosystem service provision. Here, in both a glasshouse and a long-term field study, we show that high plant diversity in grassland systems increases soil aggregate stability, a vital structural property of soil, and that root traits play a major role in determining diversity effects. We also reveal that the presence of particular plant species within mixed communities affects an even wider range of soil physical processes, including hydrology and soil strength regimes. Our results indicate that alongside well-documented effects on ecosystem functioning, plant diversity and root traits also benefit essential soil physical properties.

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