What are the potential economic, social and environmental impacts of land use changes? How does land use change affect agriculture and rural communities?
Klaus Find articles by Valentin H. The authors have declared that no competing interests exist. Conceived and designed the experiments: Received Apr 19; Accepted Nov 1. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Associated Data Table S1: Abbreviations and full names of bryophyte species in NMDS ordination.
We recorded vascular plant and bryophyte vegetation in 85 agricultural used grasslands in two regions in northern and central Germany and gathered information on land-use intensity.
To assess grassland productivity, we harvested aboveground vascular plant biomass and analyzed nutrient concentrations of N, P, K, Ca and Mg. Further we calculated mean Ellenberg indicator values of vascular plant vegetation. Bryophyte species were found in almost all studied grasslands, but species richness differed considerably between study regions in northern Germany 2.
Increased fertilizer application, coinciding with high mowing frequency, reduced bryophyte species richness significantly. Accordingly, productivity estimates such as plant biomass and nitrogen concentration were strongly negatively related to bryophyte species richness, although productivity decreased only pleurocarpous species.
Ellenberg indicator values for nutrients proved to be useful indicators of species richness and productivity. In conclusion, bryophyte composition was strongly dependent on productivity, with smaller bryophytes that were likely negatively affected by greater competition for light.
Intensive land-use, however, can also indirectly decrease bryophyte species richness by promoting grassland productivity. Thus, increasing productivity is likely to cause a loss of bryophyte species and a decrease in species diversity.
Introduction Conservation of biodiversity is one of major ecological challenges nowadays . In Central Europe, semi-natural grasslands are hotspots of biodiversity for both plants and animals  — .
However, these ecosystems severely declined in quantity and quality due to land-use change and intensification over the last few decades . In semi-natural grassland ecosystems, investigations on relationships between land use and plant species diversity have only seldom considered bryophyte diversity .
Little is known about cryptogams such as bryophytes, although they are typical elements of grassland communities and conduce to fundamental ecosystem functions and processes such as carbon fixation  —  and the regulation of soil humidity and water retention capacity .
In addition, bryophytes can significantly promote or hamper germination and seedling establishment of vascular plants  — .
Furthermore, many bryophyte species are sensitive to environmental changes such as enrichment of nutrients, pollutants, or changes in humidity, and can thus serve as suitable ecological indicators for specific environmental conditions  — . Similarly to vascular plants, bryophyte species can be affected by land use, either directly by mechanical impacts such as grazing and mowing, by toxic impacts of high nitrogen applications  or indirectly through increased productivity leading to asymmetric light competition with tall-growing plant species .
However, despite their relevance only few ecological studies in grasslands included bryophytes. These investigations were usually restricted to specific habitats such as fens  — mountain grasslands  — and dry calcareous grasslands  —  or relied on artificial field experiments .
Bryophyte vegetation of rather common ecosystems like permanent agricultural grasslands was rarely studied or exhibited a very restricted species spectrum . We investigated the diversity of bryophytes in 85 agricultural grasslands in two different regions in Germany.
On these grasslands we assessed relationships between bryophytes, land-use intensity, and grassland productivity. We included aboveground vascular plant biomass, nutrient concentrations therein and mean Ellenberg indicator values for vascular plants to assess environmental and productivity-related impacts on bryophyte diversity .
We further distinguished between acrocarpous erect and usually small, with sporophytes on the top of the branches and pleurocarpous species creeping, with sporophytes on lateral branches growth forms to test whether they respond differently to land use and productivity as they represent different ecological gilds.
Pleurocarpous species occupy usually larger patches and are more persistent than acrocarpous species. Many acrocarpous species are fast colonizing or ruderal bryophytes and can rapidly increase after on soil disturbances.
Specifically, we addressed the following questions: And third, as the most important question we ask: All grasslands are of seminatural origin and regularly used as meadows, pastures or mown pastures. Most common grass species were Poa pratensis, Dactylis glomerata and Bromus hordeaceus.
Among the herbs Taraxacum officinale, Cerastium holosteoides and Trifolium repens belong to the most frequent species. Plots were selected in a randomly stratified manner from a larger pool of study plots per region to represent a wide gradient of land use typical for central European agricultural grasslands.
Information on land use was inferred from standardized interviews with farmers containing detailed information on management practices of the last three years — Bryophyte species richness was further separated into acrocarpous and pleurocarpous species including liverworts according to Hill et al.
From mid-May to mid-June, vascular plants were recorded at the same plots. As estimation variable for productivity, aboveground biomass of vascular plants was harvested after recording on each plot simultaneously by cutting the vegetation 2 cm above ground on 1 m2 as mixed samples of four randomly placed quadrates of 0.Abstract: Soil health, along with water supply, is the most valuable resource for humans, as human life depends on the soil’s generosity.
Soil degradation, therefore, poses a threat to food security, as it reduces yield, forces farmers to use more inputs, and may eventually lead to soil abandonment. Further we calculated mean Ellenberg indicator values of vascular plant vegetation. We tested for effects of land-use intensity and productivity on total bryophyte species richness and on the species richness of acrocarpous (small & erect) and pleurocarpous (creeping, including liverworts) growth forms separately.
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acre. One U.S. acre is equal to hectares. For U.S. audiences, Footprint results are often presented in global acres (ga), rather than global hectares (gha). Research Experience for Undergraduates July Montclair State University Effects of Land Use on the Diversity, Productivity, and Presence of Invasive.