Document Detail

Low biodiversity state persists two decades after cessation of nutrient enrichment.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23301631     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Although nutrient enrichment frequently decreases biodiversity, it remains unclear whether such biodiversity losses are readily reversible, or are critical transitions between alternative low- and high-diversity stable states that could be difficult to reverse. Our 30-year grassland experiment shows that plant diversity decreased well below control levels after 10 years of chronic high rates (95-270 kg N ha(-1)  year(-1) ) of nitrogen addition, and did not recover to control levels 20 years after nitrogen addition ceased. Furthermore, we found a hysteretic response of plant diversity to increases and subsequent decreases in soil nitrate concentrations. Our results suggest that chronic nutrient enrichment created an alternative low-diversity state that persisted despite decreases in soil nitrate after cessation of nitrogen addition, and despite supply of propagules from nearby high-diversity plots. Thus, the regime shifts between alternative stable states that have been reported for some nutrient-enriched aquatic ecosystems may also occur in grasslands.
Forest Isbell; David Tilman; Stephen Polasky; Seth Binder; Peter Hawthorne
Publication Detail:
Type:  LETTER     Date:  2013-1-10
Journal Detail:
Title:  Ecology letters     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1461-0248     ISO Abbreviation:  Ecol. Lett.     Publication Date:  2013 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2013-1-10     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101121949     Medline TA:  Ecol Lett     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
© 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.
Department of Ecology, Evolution & Behavior, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Saint Paul, Minnesota, 55108, USA.
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