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Responses of old-field vegetation to spatially homogenous or heterogenous fertilisation: implications for resources utilization and restoration

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Języki publikacji
A vailability and heterogeneity of resources have a strong influence on community biomass and diversity, which provided a valuable opportunity to evaluate the responses of vegetation on fertilization, to test whether fertilisation can accelerate vegetation restoration in infertile lands. In loess hilly region of China, most newly abandoned infertile lands often undergo heavy soil erosion. It is urgent to promote the restoration of these types of lands. As availability and heterogeneity of soil nutrients have a strong influence on plant community, we conducted a fertilisation experiment with three-factor treatments, to test whether fertilisation can promote the biomass and species richness of an Artemisia scoparia-dominated old field community. The three factors were: spatial patterns (homogeneity and heterogeneity), levels (low, medium and high), and scales (three levels with small, intermediate, and large patches) of fertiliser application. Above- and below-ground biomass and species richness were recorded. The responses of the plant community to the three factors were evaluated and compared with those of the control (no fertilisation). The results show that: (1) The application of fertiliser in either homogeneous or heterogeneous pattern significantly increased the above-ground and below-ground biomass of the plant community as compared with the control. (2) In heterogeneous conditions, the above-ground biomass in nutrient-rich patches was significantly greater than the expected value of 50%. Under intermediate and large scales of the low level and all scales of the medium and high levels, the proportion of 0.15 cm below-ground biomass was also significantly greater than 50%. (3) Both homogeneous and heterogeneous fertilisation greatly increased community richness as compared to the control. Fertilisation, particularly heterogeneous fertilisation, can effectively increase community biomass and diversity. Under patchy habitat, it seems that the responses of vegetation to heterogeneous fertilisation are related to the patches scale and the contrast among patches, nutrient usage efficiency, edge effects on plant and soil, and plant competition are responsible for the responses. The results also suggest that heterogeneous fertilisation should be applied widely in infertile old fields to accelerate secondary succession.
Opis fizyczny
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