Impacts of nitrogen addition on plant biodiversity in mountain grasslands depend on dose, application duration and climate: a systematic review

Humbert, Jean-Yves, Dwyer, John M., Andrey, Aline and Arlettaz, Raphaël (2016) Impacts of nitrogen addition on plant biodiversity in mountain grasslands depend on dose, application duration and climate: a systematic review. Global Change Biology, 22 1: 110-120. doi:10.1111/gcb.12986


Author Humbert, Jean-Yves
Dwyer, John M.
Andrey, Aline
Arlettaz, Raphaël
Title Impacts of nitrogen addition on plant biodiversity in mountain grasslands depend on dose, application duration and climate: a systematic review
Journal name Global Change Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1365-2486
1354-1013
Publication date 2016-01-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1111/gcb.12986
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 22
Issue 1
Start page 110
End page 120
Total pages 11
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Although the influence of nitrogen (N) addition on grassland plant communities has been widely studied, it is still unclear whether observed patterns and underlying mechanisms are constant across biomes. In this systematic review, we use meta-analysis and metaregression to investigate the influence of N addition (here referring mostly to fertilization) upon the biodiversity of temperate mountain grasslands (including montane, subalpine and alpine zones). Forty-two studies met our criteria of inclusion, resulting in 134 measures of effect size. The main general responses of mountain grasslands to N addition were increases in phytomass and reductions in plant species richness, as observed in lowland grasslands. More specifically, the analysis reveals that negative effects on species richness were exacerbated by dose (ha−1 year−1) and duration of N application (years) in an additive manner. Thus, sustained application of low to moderate levels of N over time had effects similar to short-term application of high N doses. The climatic context also played an important role: the overall effects of N addition on plant species richness and diversity (Shannon index) were less pronounced in mountain grasslands experiencing cool rather than warm summers. Furthermore, the relative negative effect of N addition on species richness was more pronounced in managed communities and was strongly negatively related to N-induced increases in phytomass, that is the greater the phytomass response to N addition, the greater the decline in richness. Altogether, this review not only establishes that plant biodiversity of mountain grasslands is negatively affected by N addition, but also demonstrates that several local management and abiotic factors interact with N addition to drive plant community changes. This synthesis yields essential information for a more sustainable management of mountain grasslands, emphasizing the importance of preserving and restoring grasslands with both low agricultural N application and limited exposure to N atmospheric deposition.
Keyword Conservation
Cumulative effects
Fertilisation
Fertilization
Global change
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
 
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