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Effects of nutrient addition on degraded alpine grasslands of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau: A meta-analysis

Abstract : Climate warming and human disturbance are supposed to have severely affected the alpine grasslands on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP), a region where the extremely harsh and fragile ecological environment has attracted great attention because of its sensitivity to global change. However, there is still no unified understanding of the degree and magnitude of grassland degradation and the effectiveness of nutrient addition in this vast landscape, since most previous studies have focused on short-term observations at a single site. Here, we conducted a meta-analysis of 145 published studies on degraded alpine grassland along with 90 published studies, which concerning nutrient addition (nitrogen [N], phosphorus [P], and combined N and P [NP]) to quantitatively assess the responses of plant and soil characteristics to land degradation and restoration. Our results revealed that the response ratio (RR) of above-ground biomass (AGB), below-ground biomass (BGB), soil organic carbon (SOC), and soil total N (TN) decreased significantly (−47.23 %, −43.45 %, −32.35 %, and −37.97 %, respectively) in degraded grassland compared with non-degraded grassland. The RR of AGB was correlated with mean annual precipitation (MAP), while the RR of BGB was correlated with the interaction of MAP and mean annual temperature (MAT). Severely degraded grassland required additional nutrients to aid recovery. NP addition to severely degraded sites increased plant AGB (+32.44 %), TN (+10.99 %), soil total P (+32.25 %), and soil moisture (+9.21 %), but significantly decreased species richness (−45.46 %), diversity (−30.40 % for Shannon−Wiener index) and soil pH (−3.91 %). N addition increased the RR of AGB and grass biomass significantly by 28.77 % and 36.49 %, but had no significant effect on sedge and forb biomass. MAP influenced the RR of AGB, TN, TP under NP addition, the RR of BGB and the AGB of different function groups were significantly affected by MAT. We evidenced that the QTP has endured severe vegetation and soil degradation, which cannot be completely mitigated by supplementary fertilisation. Fertilisation could yield positive effects on plant performance and soil quality, but negative effects on biodiversity. Climate warming and associated precipitation change may regulate the effects of fertiliser on plant biomass and soil nutrients.
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https://hal.umontpellier.fr/hal-02873434
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Soumis le : jeudi 18 juin 2020 - 11:53:00
Dernière modification le : vendredi 11 septembre 2020 - 15:26:02

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Dangjun Wang, Huakun Zhou, Buqing Yao, Wenying Wang, Shikui Dong, et al.. Effects of nutrient addition on degraded alpine grasslands of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau: A meta-analysis. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, Elsevier Masson, 2020, 301, pp.106970. ⟨10.1016/j.agee.2020.106970⟩. ⟨hal-02873434⟩

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