Linking floral biodiversity with nitrogen and carbon translocations in semi-natural grasslands in Lithuani

Saulius Marcinkonis 1 , 2 , Birutė Karpavičienė 3 ,  and Michael A. Fullen 4
  • 1 Vilniaus kolegija, Saltoniškių 58, LT-08105 Vilnius, Lithuania
  • 2 Voke branch of the Lithuanian Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry, Žalioji a. 2, Trakų Vokė, LT-02232 Vilnius, Lithuania
  • 3 Institute of Botany Nature Research Centre, Žaliųjų Ežerų g. 49, LT-08406 Vilnius, Lithuania
  • 4 Faculty of Science and Engineering, The University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton WV1 1LY, UK


The aim of the present study is to evaluate the long-term effects of long-term piggery effluent application on semi-natural grassland ecotop-phytotop changes (above- and below-ground phytomass production, and carbon and nitrogen allocation in grassland communities) in relation to changes (or variability) in topsoil properties. Analysis of phytomass distribution in piggery effluent irrigated grassland communities showed that dry biomass yield varied from 1.7−5.3 t ha-1. Variability in soil and plant cover created a unique and highly unpredictable site specific system, where long-term anthropogenic influences established successor communities with specific characteristics of above- and below-ground biomass distribution. These characteristics depend more on grassland communities than on soil chemical properties. Families of grasses (Poaceae) dominated the surveyed communities and accumulated most carbon and least nitrogen, while legumes accumulated most nitrogen and lignin and least carbon. Carbon concentrations in above-ground biomass had minor variations, while accumulation of nitrogen was strongly influenced by species diversity (r = 0.94, n = 10, p <0.001) and production of above-ground biomass

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Allan, E., Bosdorff, O., Dormann, C.F., Prati, D. et al. (2014). Interannual variation in land-use intensity enhances grassland multidiversity. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 111(1), 308−313. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1312213111.

  • Arponen, A., Heikkinen, R.K., Paloniemi, R., Poyry, J., Simila, J. & Kuussaari M. (2013). Improving conservation planning for semi-natural grasslands: Integrating connectivity into agri-environment schemes. Biol. Conserv., 160, 234−241. doi : 10.1016/j.biocon.2013.01.018.

  • Bloom, A.J., Chapin, F.S. & Mooney H.A. (1985). Resource limitation in plants - an economic analogy. Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst., 16, 363−392. DOI: 10.1146/

  • Bošnjak, K., Knežević, M., Leto, J., Vranić, M., Perčulija, G. & Kutnjak H. (2006). Productivity and sward composition of semi-natural pasture under different N fertilizing regimes. In J. Lloveras, A. Gonzales-Rodriguez, O. Vasquez-Yanez, J. Pineiro, O. Santamaria, L. Olea & M.J. Poblaciones (Eds.), Sustainable grassland productivity (pp. 83−85). Proceedings of the 21st general meeting of the European Grassland Federation. Badajoz: Artes Graficas Marcipa.

  • Bray, J.R. (1963). Root production and the estimation of net productivity. Can. J. Bot., 41, 65−72. DOI: 10.1139/ b63-007.

  • Bullock, J.M., Pywell, R.F, Burke, J.W. & Walker K.J. (2001). Restoration of biodiversity enhances agricultural production. Ecol. Lett., 4, 185−189. DOI: 10.1046/j.1461-0248.2001.00215.x.

  • Cardinale, B.J., Wright, J.P., Cadotte, M.W., Carroll, I.T., Hector, A., Srivastava, D.S., Loreau, M. & Weis J.J. (2007). Impacts of plant diversity on biomass production increase through time because of species complementarity. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA., 104, 18123−18128. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0709069104.

  • Česnulevičius, A., Ramonas, A. & Valiūnas J. (2003). The correlation between geological substratum and landscape components in geomorphological micro-regions of Lithuania. Litosfera, 7, 127−133.

  • Daugėlienė, N. & Butkutė R. (2007). The productivity of long-term grassland as influenced by the variation of botanical groups of herbs under the conditions of different soil pH and fertilization (in Lithuania). Zemdirbyste- Agriculture, 94, 84−95.

  • Dickson, T.L. & Gross K.L. (2013). Plant community responses to long-term fertilization: changes in functional group abundance drive changes in species richness. Oecologia, 173(4), 1513−1520. DOI: 10.1007/s00442-013-2722-8.

  • Eilts, J.A., Mittelbach, G.G., Reynolds, H.L. & Gross K.L. (2011). Resource heterogeneity, soil fertility, and species diversity: effects of clonal species on plant communities. Am. Nat., 177(5), 574−588. DOI: 10.1086/659633.

  • Elgersma, A., Schlepers, H. & Nassiri M. (2000). Interactions between perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) and white clover (Trifolium repens L.) under contrasting nitrogen availability: productivity, seasonal pattern of species composition, N2 fixation, N transfer and N recovery. Plant Soil, 221, 281−299. DOI: 10.1023/A:1004797106981.

  • Flombaum, P. & Sala O.E. (2008). Higher effect of plant species diversity on productivity in natural than artificial ecosystems. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 105, 6087−6090. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0704801105.

  • Gastal, F. & Lemaire G. (2002). N uptake and distribution in crops: an agronomical and ecophysiological perspective. J. Exp. Bot., 53(370), 789−799. DOI: 10.1093/jexbot/53.370.789.

  • Grasslands of Lithuania (2006). Final report on National Grassland Inventory 2002-2005. Lithuanian Fund for Nature and Royal Dutch Society for Nature Conservation.

  • Gustavsson, E. (2007). Grassland plant diversity in relation to historical and current land use. Doctoral thesis, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala.

  • Hovd, H. (2008). Extensively managed strips in intensively cultivated grasslands as possible contributors to increased plant species richness. Acta Agric. Scand. Sec. B, Soil Plant Sci., 58, 43−50. DOI: 10.1080/09064710601160276.

  • Janssens, F., Tallowin, J.R.B., Bakker, J.P., Bekker, R.M., Fillat, F. & Oomes M.J.M. (1998). Relationships between soil chemical factors and grassland diversity. Plant Soil, 202, 69−78. DOI: 10.1023/A:1004389614865.

  • Kadžiulienė, Ž. & Kadžiulis L. (2007). Nitrogen accumulation and efficiency in herbage depending on legume species in grassland sward. Biologija, 53(1), 54−59. DOI: 10.6001/biologija.v53i1.718.

  • Karpavičienė, B. & Marcinkonis S. (2009). Meadow floristic composition in a non-point pollution zone of a swinebreeding complex (in Lithuania). Zemdirbyste-Agriculture, 96, 165−175.

  • Klimas, E. & Baležentienė L. (2008). Fertilization impact on natural and sown grassland floristic improvement. Zemės Ukio Mokslai, 15, 41−45.

  • Liu, H.S., Li, F.M. & Xu H. (2004). Deficiency of water can enhance root respiration rate of drought-sensitive but not drought-tolerant spring wheat. Agric. Water Manag., 64, 41−48. doi : 10.1016/S0378-3774(03)00143-4.

  • Maire, V., Gross, N., Da Silveira Pontes, L., Picon-Cochard, C. & Soussana J. (2009). Trade-off between root nitrogen acquisition and shoot nitrogen utilization across 13 co-occurring pasture grass species. Funct. Ecol., 23, 668−679. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2009.01557.x.

  • Marcinkonis, S. (2007). Transition paths of former low productive agricultural land. Ekologija, 53(3), 30−33. DOI: 10.6001/ekologija.v53i3.1167.

  • McCrea, A.R., Trueman, I.C. & Fullen M.A. (2004). Factors relating to soil fertility and species diversity in both semi-natural and created meadows in the West Midlands of England. Eur. J. Soil Sci., 55, 335−348. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2389.2004.00606.x.

  • Mills, A., Moot, D.J. & Jamieson, P.D. (2009). Quantifying the effect of nitrogen on productivity of cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata L.) pastures. Eur. J. Agron., 30, 63−69. doi : 10.1016/j.eja.2008.07.008.

  • Öster, M. (2006). Biological diversity values in semi-natural grasslands: indicators, landscape context and restoration. Doctoral dissertation, Stockholm, Sweden.

  • Pace, P.F., Cralle, H.T., El-Halawany, S.H.M., Cothren, J.T. & Scott A. (1999). Drought-induced changes in shoot and root growth of young cotton plants. Journal of Cotton Science, 3, 183−187.

  • Pärtel, M., Bruun, H.H. & Sammul M. (2005). Biodiversity in temperate European grasslands: origin and conservation. In R. Lillak, R. Viiralt, A. Linke & V. Geherman (Eds.), Integrating efficient grassland farming and biodiversity (pp. 1−14). Proceedings of the 13th International Occasional Symposium of the European Grassland Fedaration Tartu.

  • Plantureux, S., Peeters, A. & McCracken D. (2005). Biodiversity in intensive grasslands: effects of management, improvement and challenges. Agronomy Research, 3, 153−164.

  • Redman, M. (2002). Agriculture and environment in Malta, Latvia and Lithuania. National Report. London: IEEP.

  • Sendžikaitė, J. & Pencekauskienė D. (2003). Structure and productivity of sown meadow communities on the Central Lithuanian Plain (on the model of Graisupis Experimental Field Station). Botanica Lithuanica. 9, 337-356.

  • Schlapfer, B. & Ryser P. (1996). Leaf and root turnover of three ecologically contrasting grass species in relation to their performance along a productivity gradient. Oikos, 75, 398−406. DOI: 10.2307/3545880.

  • Sulzer, W., Gspurning, J., Magnes, M., Pink R., Muick, M. & Sengl P. (2013). Biotope mapping of extensive/intensive grassland supported by remote sensing and mobile GIS in Eastern Styria (Austria). Ekológia (Bratislava) (Bratislava), 32(4), 335−344. DOI: 10.2478/eko-2013-0030.

  • Tilman, D., Reich, P.B., Knops, J., Wedin, D., Mielke, T. & Lehman C. (2001). Diversity and productivity in a longterm grassland experiment. Science, 294, 843−845. DOI: 10.1126/science.1060391.

  • Waide, R.B., Willig, M.R., Steiner, C.F., Mittelbach, G., Gough, L., Dodson, S.I., Juday, G.P. & Parmenter R. (1999). The relationship between productivity and species richness. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst., 30, 257-300. DOI: 10.1146/ annurev.ecolsys.30.1.257.

  • Wilson, C., Undi, M., Tenuta, M., Wittenberg, K.M., Flaten, D., Krause, D.O., Entz, M.H., Holley, R. & Ominski K.H. (2009). Pasture productivity, cattle productivity and metabolic status following fertilization of a grassland with liquid hog manure: A three-year study. Can. J. Anim. Sci.. 90(2), 233−243. DOI: 10.4141/CJAS09037.

  • Zableckienė, D. & Butkutė B. (2006). Yield and feeding value of grazing swards with different botanical composition (in Lithuania). Veterinarija ir Zootechnika, 36(58), 84−90


Journal + Issues