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Acidification of sandy grasslands - consequences for plant diversity

Olsson, Pål Axel LU ; Mårtensson, Linda-Maria LU and Bruun, Hans Henrik LU (2009) In Applied Vegetation Science 12(3). p.350-361
Abstract
Questions: (1) Does soil acidification in calcareous sandy grasslands lead to loss of plant diversity? (2) What is the relationship between the soil content of lime and the plant availability of mineral nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in sandy grasslands? Location: Sandy glaciofluvial deposits in south-eastern Sweden covered by xeric sand calcareous grasslands (EU habitat directive 6120). Methods: Soil and vegetation were investigated in most of the xeric sand calcareous grasslands in the Scania region (136 sample plots distributed over four or five major areas and about 25 different sites). Environmental variables were recorded at each plot, and soil samples were analysed for exchangeable P and N. as well as limestone content and pH. Data... (More)
Questions: (1) Does soil acidification in calcareous sandy grasslands lead to loss of plant diversity? (2) What is the relationship between the soil content of lime and the plant availability of mineral nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in sandy grasslands? Location: Sandy glaciofluvial deposits in south-eastern Sweden covered by xeric sand calcareous grasslands (EU habitat directive 6120). Methods: Soil and vegetation were investigated in most of the xeric sand calcareous grasslands in the Scania region (136 sample plots distributed over four or five major areas and about 25 different sites). Environmental variables were recorded at each plot, and soil samples were analysed for exchangeable P and N. as well as limestone content and pH. Data were analysed with regression analysis and canonical correspondence analysis. Results: Plant species richness was highest on weakly acid to slightly alkaline soil; a number of nationally red-listed species showed a similar pattern. Plant species diversity and number of red-listed species increased with slope. Where the topsoil had been acidified, limestone was rarely present above a depth of 30 cm. The presence of limestone restricts the availability of soil P, placing a major constraint on primary productivity in sandy soils. Conclusions: Acidification of sandy grasslands leads to reduced abundance of desirable species, although the overall effect is rather weak between pH 5 and pH 9. Slopes are important for high diversity in sandy grasslands. Calcareous soils cannot be restored through shallow ploughing, but deep perturbation could increase the limestone content of the topsoil and Favour of target species. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Sandy grasslands, Sand steppe, diversity, Plant species, Nutrient availability, Acidification, Calcareous soil, Threatened plant species
in
Applied Vegetation Science
volume
12
issue
3
pages
350 - 361
publisher
Opulus Press
external identifiers
  • wos:000268571000009
  • scopus:70249091078
ISSN
1402-2001
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
b5ce8b06-bae4-4598-970b-699fb50bb0bf (old id 1460141)
date added to LUP
2009-08-17 16:11:03
date last changed
2017-11-19 03:27:14
@article{b5ce8b06-bae4-4598-970b-699fb50bb0bf,
  abstract     = {Questions: (1) Does soil acidification in calcareous sandy grasslands lead to loss of plant diversity? (2) What is the relationship between the soil content of lime and the plant availability of mineral nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in sandy grasslands? Location: Sandy glaciofluvial deposits in south-eastern Sweden covered by xeric sand calcareous grasslands (EU habitat directive 6120). Methods: Soil and vegetation were investigated in most of the xeric sand calcareous grasslands in the Scania region (136 sample plots distributed over four or five major areas and about 25 different sites). Environmental variables were recorded at each plot, and soil samples were analysed for exchangeable P and N. as well as limestone content and pH. Data were analysed with regression analysis and canonical correspondence analysis. Results: Plant species richness was highest on weakly acid to slightly alkaline soil; a number of nationally red-listed species showed a similar pattern. Plant species diversity and number of red-listed species increased with slope. Where the topsoil had been acidified, limestone was rarely present above a depth of 30 cm. The presence of limestone restricts the availability of soil P, placing a major constraint on primary productivity in sandy soils. Conclusions: Acidification of sandy grasslands leads to reduced abundance of desirable species, although the overall effect is rather weak between pH 5 and pH 9. Slopes are important for high diversity in sandy grasslands. Calcareous soils cannot be restored through shallow ploughing, but deep perturbation could increase the limestone content of the topsoil and Favour of target species.},
  author       = {Olsson, Pål Axel and Mårtensson, Linda-Maria and Bruun, Hans Henrik},
  issn         = {1402-2001},
  keyword      = {Sandy grasslands,Sand steppe,diversity,Plant species,Nutrient availability,Acidification,Calcareous soil,Threatened plant species},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {350--361},
  publisher    = {Opulus Press},
  series       = {Applied Vegetation Science},
  title        = {Acidification of sandy grasslands - consequences for plant diversity},
  volume       = {12},
  year         = {2009},
}