Additional carbon sequestration benefits of grassland diversity restoration

Gerlinde B. De Deyn, Robert S. Shiel, Nick J. Ostle, Niall P. McNamara, Simon Oakley, Iain M. Young, Christopher Freeman, Nathalie Fenner, Helen Quirk, Richard D. Bardgett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Summary 1. In Europe, grassland agriculture is one of the dominant land uses. A major aim of European agri-environment policy is the management of grassland for botanical diversity conservation and restoration, together with the delivery of ecosystem services including soil carbon (C) sequestration. 2. To test whether management for biodiversity restoration has additional benefits for soil C sequestration, we investigated C and nitrogen (N) accumulation rates in soil and C and N pools in vegetation in a long-term field experiment (16 years) in which fertilizer application and plant seeding were manipulated. In addition, the abundance of the legume Trifolium pratense was manipulated for the last 2 years. To unravel the mechanisms underlying changes in soil C and N pools, we also tested for effects of diversity restoration management on soil structure, ecosystem respiration and soil enzyme activities. 3. We show that the long-term biodiversity restoration practices increased soil C and N storage especially when these treatments were combined with the recent promotion of the legume Trifolium pratense, sequestering 317 g C and 35 g N m−2 year−1 in the most successful management treatment. These high rates of C and N accumulation were associated with reduced ecosystem respiration, increased soil organic matter content and improved soil structure. Cessation of fertilizer use, however, reduced the amount of C and N contained in vegetation. 4. Synthesis and applications. Our findings show that long-term diversity restoration practices can yield significant benefits for soil C storage when they are combined with increased abundance of a single, sub-ordinate legume species. Moreover, we show that these management practices deliver additional ecosystem benefits such as N storage in soil and improved soil structure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)600-608
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Ecology
Volume48
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2011

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soil
soil structure
grassland
ecosystem
respiration
biodiversity
vegetation
fertilizer application
seeding
soil carbon
accumulation rate
ecosystem service
carbon sequestration
enzyme activity
soil organic matter
management practice
fertilizer
agriculture
land use
nitrogen

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De Deyn, G. B., Shiel, R. S., Ostle, N. J., McNamara, N. P., Oakley, S., Young, I. M., ... Bardgett, R. D. (2011). Additional carbon sequestration benefits of grassland diversity restoration. Journal of Applied Ecology, 48, 600-608. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2010.01925.x

De Deyn, Gerlinde B.; Shiel, Robert S.; Ostle, Nick J.; McNamara, Niall P.; Oakley, Simon; Young, Iain M.; Freeman, Christopher; Fenner, Nathalie; Quirk, Helen; Bardgett, Richard D. / Additional carbon sequestration benefits of grassland diversity restoration.

In: Journal of Applied Ecology, Vol. 48, 06.2011, p. 600-608.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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De Deyn, GB, Shiel, RS, Ostle, NJ, McNamara, NP, Oakley, S, Young, IM, Freeman, C, Fenner, N, Quirk, H & Bardgett, RD 2011, 'Additional carbon sequestration benefits of grassland diversity restoration' Journal of Applied Ecology, vol 48, pp. 600-608. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2010.01925.x

Additional carbon sequestration benefits of grassland diversity restoration. / De Deyn, Gerlinde B.; Shiel, Robert S.; Ostle, Nick J.; McNamara, Niall P.; Oakley, Simon; Young, Iain M.; Freeman, Christopher; Fenner, Nathalie; Quirk, Helen; Bardgett, Richard D.

In: Journal of Applied Ecology, Vol. 48, 06.2011, p. 600-608.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - De Deyn,Gerlinde B.

AU - Shiel,Robert S.

AU - Ostle,Nick J.

AU - McNamara,Niall P.

AU - Oakley,Simon

AU - Young,Iain M.

AU - Freeman,Christopher

AU - Fenner,Nathalie

AU - Quirk,Helen

AU - Bardgett,Richard D.

PY - 2011/6

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N2 - Summary 1. In Europe, grassland agriculture is one of the dominant land uses. A major aim of European agri-environment policy is the management of grassland for botanical diversity conservation and restoration, together with the delivery of ecosystem services including soil carbon (C) sequestration. 2. To test whether management for biodiversity restoration has additional benefits for soil C sequestration, we investigated C and nitrogen (N) accumulation rates in soil and C and N pools in vegetation in a long-term field experiment (16 years) in which fertilizer application and plant seeding were manipulated. In addition, the abundance of the legume Trifolium pratense was manipulated for the last 2 years. To unravel the mechanisms underlying changes in soil C and N pools, we also tested for effects of diversity restoration management on soil structure, ecosystem respiration and soil enzyme activities. 3. We show that the long-term biodiversity restoration practices increased soil C and N storage especially when these treatments were combined with the recent promotion of the legume Trifolium pratense, sequestering 317 g C and 35 g N m−2 year−1 in the most successful management treatment. These high rates of C and N accumulation were associated with reduced ecosystem respiration, increased soil organic matter content and improved soil structure. Cessation of fertilizer use, however, reduced the amount of C and N contained in vegetation. 4. Synthesis and applications. Our findings show that long-term diversity restoration practices can yield significant benefits for soil C storage when they are combined with increased abundance of a single, sub-ordinate legume species. Moreover, we show that these management practices deliver additional ecosystem benefits such as N storage in soil and improved soil structure.

AB - Summary 1. In Europe, grassland agriculture is one of the dominant land uses. A major aim of European agri-environment policy is the management of grassland for botanical diversity conservation and restoration, together with the delivery of ecosystem services including soil carbon (C) sequestration. 2. To test whether management for biodiversity restoration has additional benefits for soil C sequestration, we investigated C and nitrogen (N) accumulation rates in soil and C and N pools in vegetation in a long-term field experiment (16 years) in which fertilizer application and plant seeding were manipulated. In addition, the abundance of the legume Trifolium pratense was manipulated for the last 2 years. To unravel the mechanisms underlying changes in soil C and N pools, we also tested for effects of diversity restoration management on soil structure, ecosystem respiration and soil enzyme activities. 3. We show that the long-term biodiversity restoration practices increased soil C and N storage especially when these treatments were combined with the recent promotion of the legume Trifolium pratense, sequestering 317 g C and 35 g N m−2 year−1 in the most successful management treatment. These high rates of C and N accumulation were associated with reduced ecosystem respiration, increased soil organic matter content and improved soil structure. Cessation of fertilizer use, however, reduced the amount of C and N contained in vegetation. 4. Synthesis and applications. Our findings show that long-term diversity restoration practices can yield significant benefits for soil C storage when they are combined with increased abundance of a single, sub-ordinate legume species. Moreover, we show that these management practices deliver additional ecosystem benefits such as N storage in soil and improved soil structure.

U2 - 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2010.01925.x

DO - 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2010.01925.x

M3 - Article

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SP - 600

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JO - Journal of Applied Ecology

T2 - Journal of Applied Ecology

JF - Journal of Applied Ecology

SN - 0021-8901

ER -

De Deyn GB, Shiel RS, Ostle NJ, McNamara NP, Oakley S, Young IM et al. Additional carbon sequestration benefits of grassland diversity restoration. Journal of Applied Ecology. 2011 Jun;48:600-608. Available from, DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2010.01925.x