Detalle Publicación

Fertiliser application modulates the impact of interannual climate fluctuations and plant-to-plant interactions on the dynamics of annual species in a Mediterranean grassland

ISSN: 1755-0874
Volumen: 15
Número: 3 - 4
Páginas: 137 - 151
Fecha de publicación: 2022
Background Climate and land-use changes, which include the application of various types of organic and inorganic fertilisers, have been reducing the species diversity of Mediterranean grasslands and threatening its conservation. Annual plants are one of the most diverse functional groups of species in these grasslands, despite suffering competitive pressure from perennial herbaceous and woody species, and they are essential for ecosystem functioning and stability. Aims To quantify how fertilisation modulates the impact of plant-to-plant interactions and climate fluctuations on the dynamics of annuals in Mediterranean grasslands. We hypothesised that the application of sewage sludge would increase competition between functional groups, reducing the abundance of annuals in the long-term, but would buffer the negative impacts of drought on the year-to-year fluctuation of the diversity of annuals. Methods In a semi-natural species-rich Mediterranean grassland in northern Spain, we analysed the changes in the taxonomical and functional composition and diversity of annuals over 14 years in response to variations in the abundance of perennial herbaceous and woody species, climate fluctuations and fertilisation with sewage sludge. We quantified separately the patterns of year-to-year fluctuations and long-term trends. Results The frequency and diversity of annuals decreased with higher abundance of perennial herbaceous species, drought in June and cold winters. The addition of sewage