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Nitrogen and phosphorus co-limitation and grazing moderate nitrogen impacts on plant growth and nutrient cycling in sand dune grassland

Ford, Hilary; Roberts, Aled; Jones, Laurence. 2016 Nitrogen and phosphorus co-limitation and grazing moderate nitrogen impacts on plant growth and nutrient cycling in sand dune grassland. Science of the Total Environment, 542 (A). 203-209. 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.10.089

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Abstract/Summary

Atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition alters plant biodiversity and ecosystem function in grasslands worldwide. This study examines the impact of 6 years of nutrient addition and grazing management on a sand dune grassland. Results indicate that co-limitation of N and phosphorus (P) moderates the impact of realistic rates of N addition (7.5, 15 kg N ha−1 year−1). Combined NP addition (15 kg N + 10 kg P ha−1 year−1) was the only nutrient treatment to differ significantly from the control, with greater above-ground biomass (mainly moss), and enhanced N and P mineralisation rates. Grazing management altered plant functional group composition, reduced above-ground biomass and meso-faunal feeding rates, and decoupled N and P mineralisation. There were no synergistic effects of grazing and N treatment. Although NP co-limitation apparently prevents adverse impacts of N deposition above the critical load, excess N is likely to be stored in moss biomass and soil, with unknown future consequences.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.10.089
CEH Sections: Emmett
ISSN: 0048-9697
Additional Keywords: critical load, biodiversity, nitrogen deposition, bait lamina, mineralisation
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Biology and Microbiology
Date made live: 26 Nov 2015 14:23 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/512180

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