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

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.

Bahn M., Knapp M., Garajova Z., Pfahringer N., Cernusca A. (2006): Root respiration in temperate mountain grasslands differing in land use. Global Change Biology, 12: 995–1006.
Bai Y.F., Wu J.G., Clark C.M., Naeem S., Pan Q.M., Huang J.H., Zhang L.X., Han X.G. (2010): Tradeoffs and thresholds in the effects of nitrogen addition on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: evidence from inner Mongolia Grasslands. Global Change Biology, 16: 358–372.
Bowman W.D., Theodose T.A., Schardt J.C., Conant R.T. (1993): Constraints of nutrient availability on primary production in two alpine tundra communities. Ecology, 74: 2085–2097.
Fay P.A., Prober S.M., Harpole W.S., Knops J.M.H., Bakker J.D., Borer E.T., Lind E.M., MacDougall A.S., Seabloom E.W., Wragg P.D., Adler P.B., Blumenthal D.M., Buckley Y., Chu C., Cleland E.E., Collins S.L., Davies K.F., Du G., Feng X., Firn J., Gruner D.S., Hagenah N., Hautier Y., Heckman R.W., Jin V.L., Kirkman K.P., Klein J., Ladwig L.M., Li Q., McCulley R.L., Melbourne B.A., Mitchell C.E., Moore J.L., Morgan J.W., Risch A.C., Schuetz M., Stevens C.J., Wedin D.A., Yang L.H. (2015): Grassland productivity limited by multiple nutrients. Nature Plants, 1: 15080.
Foster B.L., Gross K.L. (1998): Species richness in a successional grassland: effects of nitrogen enrichment and plant litter. Ecology, 79: 2593–2602.[2593:SRIASG]2.0.CO;2
Fu G., Shen Z.X., Zhang X.Z., Zhou Y.T., Zhang Y.J. (2012): Response of microbial biomass to grazing in an alpine meadow along an elevation gradient on the Tibetan Plateau. European Journal of Soil Biology, 52: 27–29.
Fu G., Sun W., Yu C.Q., Zhang X.Z., Shen Z.X., Li Y.L., Yang P.W., Zhou N. (2015): Clipping alters the response of biomass production to experimental warming: a case study in an alpine meadow on the Tibetan Plateau, China. Journal of Mountain Science, 12: 935–942.
Fu G., Shen Z.X. (2016): Response of alpine plants to nitrogen addition on the Tibetan Plateau: A meta-analysis. Journal of Plant Growth Regulation, 35: 974–979.
Fu G., Shen Z.X. (2017a): Response of alpine soils to nitrogen addition on the Tibetan Plateau: a meta-analysis. Applied Soil Ecology, 114: 99–104.
Fu G., Shen Z.X. (2017b): Clipping has stronger effects on plant production than does warming in three alpine meadow sites on the Northern Tibetan Plateau. Scientific Reports, 7.
Galloway J.N., Dentener F.J., Capone D.G., Boyer E.W., Howarth R.W., Seitzinger S.P., Asner G.P., Cleveland C.C., Green P.A., Holland E.A., Karl D.M., Michaels A.F., Porter J.H., Townsend A.R., Vöosmarty C.J. (2004): Nitrogen cycles: past, present, and future. Biogeochemistry, 70: 153–226.
Hautier Y., Niklaus P.A., Hector A. (2009): Competition for light causes plant biodiversity loss after eutrophication. Science, 324: 636–638.
Henry G.H.R., Freedman B., Svoboda J. (1986): Effects of fertilization on three tundra plant communities of a polar desert oasis. Canadian Journal of Botany, 64: 2502–2507.
Hernán G., Castejón I., Terrados J., Tomas F. (2019): Herbivory and resource availability shift plant defense and herbivore feeding choice in a seagrass system. Oecologia, 189: 719–732.
LeBauer D.S., Treseder K.K. (2008): Nitrogen limitation of net primary productivity in terrestrial ecosystems is globally distributed. Ecology, 89: 371–379.
Li L.J., Zeng D.H., Yu Z.Y., Ai G.Y., Yang D., Mao R. (2009): Effects of nitrogen addition on grassland species diversity and productivity in Keerqin Sandy Land. Chinese Journal of Applied Ecology, 20: 1838–1844. (In Chinese)
Liu J., Qiu L.P., Ao G.K., Zheng B.Y., Wei X.R., Zhang Y.J., Gao H.L., Cheng J.M. (2019): Effect of clipping on aboveground biomass and nutrients varies with slope position but not with slope aspect in a hilly semiarid restored grassland. Ecological Engineering, 134: 47–55.
Lu X.Y., Kelsey K.C., Yan Y., Sun J., Wang X.D., Cheng G.W., Neff J.C. (2017): Effects of grazing on ecosystem structure and function of alpine grasslands in Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau: a synthesis. Ecosphere, 8: e01656.
Onipchenko V.G., Makarov M.I., Akhmetzhanova A.A., Soudzilovskaia N.A., Aibazova F.U., Elkanova M.K., Stogova A.V., Cornelissen J.H.C. (2012): Alpine plant functional group responses to fertiliser addition depend on abiotic regime and community composition. Plant and Soil, 357: 103–115.
Ren Z.W., Li Q., Chu C.J., Zhao L.Q., Zhang J.Q., Ai D.C., Yang Y.B., Wang G. (2010): Effects of resource additions on species richness and ANPP in an alpine meadow community. Journal of Plant Ecology, 3: 25–31.
Schmitt A., Pausch J., Kuzyakov Y. (2013): C and N allocation in soil under ryegrass and alfalfa estimated by 13C and 15N labelling. Plant and Soil, 368: 581–590.
Siddappaji M.H., Scholes D.R., Bohn M., Paige K.N. (2013): Overcompensation in response to herbivory in Arabidopsis thaliana: the role of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and the oxidative pentose-phosphate pathway. Genetics, 195: 589–598.
Song M.H., Yu F.H., Ouyang H., Cao G.M., Xu X.L., Cornelissen J.H.C. (2012): Different inter-annual responses to availability and form of nitrogen explain species coexistence in an alpine meadow community after release from grazing. Global Change Biology, 18: 3100–3111.
Stevens M.H.H., Carson W.P. (1999): Plant density determines species richness along an experimental fertility gradient. Ecology, 80: 455–465.[0455:PDDSRA]2.0.CO;2
Suding K.N., Collins S.L., Gough L., Clark C., Cleland E.E., Gross K.L., Milchunas D.G., Pennings S. (2005): Functional- and abundance-based mechanisms explain diversity loss due to N fertilization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 102: 4387–4392.
Vitousek P.M., Aber J.D., Howarth R.W., Likens G.E., Matson P.A., Schindler D.W., Schlesinger W.H., Tilman D.G. (1997): Human alteration of the global nitrogen cycle: sources and consequences. Ecological Applications, 7: 737–750.[0737:HAOTGN]2.0.CO;2
Wang W.Y., Ma Y.G., Xu J., Wang H.C., Zhu J.F., Zhou H.K. (2012): The uptake diversity of soil nitrogen nutrients by main plant species in Kobresia humilis alpine meadow on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Science China Earth Sciences, 55: 1688–1695.
Wu M.Y., Niu S., Wan S.Q. (2010): Contrasting effects of clipping and nutrient addition on reproductive traits of Heteropappus altaicus at the individual and population levels. Ecological Research, 25: 867–874.
Zhang J., Li Q., Ren Z., Yang X., Wang G. (2010): Effects of nitrogen addition on species richness and relationship between species richness and aboveground productivity of alpine meadow of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, China. Chinese Journal of Plant Ecology, 34: 1125–1131.
Zong N., Shi P.L. (2019): Nitrogen addition stimulated compensatory growth responses to clipping defoliation in a Northern Tibetan alpine meadow. Grassland Science, 65: 60–68.
Zong N., Shi P., Song M., Zhang X., Jiang J., Chai X. (2016): Nitrogen critical loads for an alpine meadow ecosystem on the Tibetan Plateau. Environmental Management, 57: 531–542.
Zong N., Song M.H., Shi P.L., Jiang J., Zhang X., Shen Z. (2014): Timing patterns of nitrogen application alter plant production and CO2 efflux in an alpine meadow on the Tibetan Plateau, China. Pedobiologia, 57: 263–269.
download PDF

© 2020 Czech Academy of Agricultural Sciences