The Open UniversitySkip to content
 

Carbon addition alters early succession on ex-arable fields.

Eschen, René; Mortimer, Simon R.; Lawson, Clare S.; Edwards, Andrew R.; Brook, Alex J.; Igual-Arroyo, José M.; Hedlund, Katarina and Schaffner, Urs (2007). Carbon addition alters early succession on ex-arable fields. Journal of Applied Ecology, 44(1) pp. 95–104.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2664.2006.01240.x
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar

Abstract

1. Recent changes in European agricultural policy have led to measures to reverse the loss of species-rich grasslands through the creation of new areas on ex-arable land. Ex-arable soils are often characterized by high inorganic nitrogen (N) levels, which lead to the rapid establishment of annual and fast-growing perennial species during the initial phase of habitat creation. The addition of carbon (C) to the soil has been suggested as a countermeasure to reduce plant-available N and alter competitive interactions among plant species.

2. To test the effect of C addition on habitat creation on ex-arable land, an experiment was set up on two recently abandoned fields in Switzerland and on two 6-year-old restoration sites in the UK. Carbon was added as a mixture of either sugar and sawdust or wood chips and sawdust during a period of 2 years. The effects of C addition on soil parameters and vegetation composition were assessed during the period of C additions and 1 year thereafter.

3. Soil nitrate concentrations were reduced at all sites within weeks of the first C addition, and remained low until cessation of the C additions. The overall effect of C addition on vegetation was a reduction in above-ground biomass and cover. At the Swiss sites, the addition of sugar and sawdust led to a relative increase in legume and forb cover and to a decrease in grass cover. The soil N availability, composition of soil micro-organisms and vegetation characteristics continued to be affected after cessation of C additions.

4. Synthesis and applications. The results suggest that C addition in grassland restoration is a useful management method to reduce N availability on ex-arable land. Carbon addition alters the vegetation composition by creating gaps in the vegetation that facilitates the establishment of late-seral plant species, and is most effective when started immediately after the abandonment of arable fields and applied over several years.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2006 The Authors
ISSN: 1365-2664
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
‘TLinks’ (Trophic linkages between above- and below-ground organisms as a key to successful restoration of biodiversity on ex-arable land across Europe)EVK2-CT-2001-00123EU
Not Set01.0086Swiss Federal Office for Education and Science
Keywords: C addition; grassland restoration; habitat creation; microbial immobilization; N-enriched ex-arable soil
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Item ID: 41555
Depositing User: Clare Lawson
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2014 10:38
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 10:27
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/41555
Share this page:

Metrics

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU