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.

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Record number 395268
Title Changes in vegetation types and Ellenberg indicator values after 65 years of fertilizer application in the Rengen Grassland Experiment, Germany
Author(s) Chytry, M.; Hejcman, M.; Hennekens, S.M.; Schellberg, J.
Source Applied Vegetation Science 12 (2009)2. - ISSN 1402-2001 - p. 167 - 176.
Department(s) CE - Vegetation and Landscape Ecology
Wageningen Environmental Research
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2009
Keyword(s) species composition - field-measurements - hay meadows - classification - nitrogen - management - diversity - releves - availability - communities
Abstract Question: How does semi-natural grassland diversify after 65 years of differential application of Ca, N, P, and K fertilizers? Is fertilizer application adequately reflected by the Ellenberg indicator values (EIVs)? Location: Eifel Mountains, West Germany. Methods: The Rengen Grassland Experiment (RGE) was established in an oligotrophic grassland in 1941. Six fertilizer treatments (Ca, CaN, CaNP, CaNP- KCl, CaNP-K2SO4, and unfertilized control) were applied annually in five complete randomized blocks. Species composition of experimental plots was sampled in 2006 and compared with constancy tables representing grassland types in a phytosociological monograph of a wider area. Each plot was matched to the most similar community type using the Associa method. Mean EIVs were calculated for each treatment. Results: The control plots supported oligotrophic Nardus grassland of the Polygalo-Nardetum association (Violion caninae alliance). Vegetation in the Ca and CaN treatments mostly resembled montane meadow of Geranio-Trisetetum (Polygono-Trisetion). Transitional types between Poo-Trisetetum and Arrhenatheretum ( both from the Arrhenatherion alliance) developed in the CaNP treatment. In the CaNP- KCl and CaNP-K2SO4 treatments, vegetation corresponded to the mesotrophic Arrhenatheretum meadow. Major discontinuity in species composition was found between control, Ca, and CaN treatments, and all treatments with P application. EIVs for both nutrients and soil reaction were considerably higher in P treatments than in Ca and CaN treatments. Surprisingly, the control plots had the lowest EIVs for continentality and moisture, although these factors had not been manipulated in the experiment. Conclusions: Long-term fertilizer application can create different plant communities belonging to different phytosociological alliances and classes, even within a distance of a few meters. Due to their correlated nature, EIVs can erroneously indicate changes in factors that actually did not change, but co-varied with factors that did change. In P-limited ecosystems, EIVs for nutrients may indicate availability of P rather than N.
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