Clipping defoliation eliminates the stimulating effects of nitrogen enrichment on the aboveground productivity of an alpine meadow

https://doi.org/10.17221/543/2019-PSECitation:Zong N., Shi P. (2020): Clipping defoliation eliminates the stimulating effects of nitrogen enrichment on the aboveground productivity of an alpine meadow. Plant Soil Environ., 66: 47-56.
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To investigate how clipping (CL) regulates the effects of nutrient addition, an experiment, including CL and nitrogen (N) addition, was conducted in an alpine meadow. Nitrogen treatment increased community coverage (48–113% higher than the control) and aboveground biomass (29–117% higher than the control), which was mainly attributed to grass growth. Both N and N + CL treatments showed a tendency to reducing species richness, while significant reduction only occurred in 2016 and 2017 in CL treatment. Clipping showed a tendency to decrease community cover (3–37% lower than the control) and aboveground biomass (2–34% lower than the control), while N + CL treatment had no effect, indicating that clipping can eliminate the simulated effects of N addition. Nitrogen addition significantly increased soil inorganic N (SIN, 528–1230% higher than the control), while SIN in N + CL was 25–48% lower than N treatment. The decrease in stimulated effects in N + CL was attributed to SIN decrease, which resulted from the aboveground biomass removal by clipping. Our results show that clipping can take away aboveground biomass and cause soil nutrients to decrease, which slows down the degraded grassland recovery. This suggests that grazing exclusion may eliminate the effect of nitrogen deposition on aboveground production in alpine grasslands.

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