Details zur Publikation

Kategorie Textpublikation
Referenztyp Zeitschriften
DOI 10.1038/s41586-022-05383-9
Lizenz creative commons licence
Titel (primär) Light competition drives herbivore and nutrient effects on plant diversity
Autor Eskelinen, A.; Harpole, W.S. ORCID logo ; Jessen, M.-T. ORCID logo ; Virtanen, R.; Hautier, Y.
Quelle Nature
Erscheinungsjahr 2022
Department iDiv; PHYDIV
Band/Volume 611
Heft 7935
Seite von 301
Seite bis 305
Sprache englisch
Topic T5 Future Landscapes
Abstract Enrichment of nutrients and loss of herbivores are assumed to cause a loss of plant diversity in grassland ecosystems because they increase plant cover, which leads to a decrease of light in the understory1,2,3. Empirical tests of the role of competition for light in natural systems are based on indirect evidence, and have been a topic of debate for the last 40 years. Here we show that experimentally restoring light to understory plants in a natural grassland mitigates the loss of plant diversity that is caused by either nutrient enrichment or the absence of mammalian herbivores. The initial effect of light addition on restoring diversity under fertilization was transitory and outweighed by the greater effect of herbivory on light levels, indicating that herbivory is a major factor that controls diversity, partly through light. Our results provide direct experimental evidence, in a natural system, that competition for light is a key mechanism that contributes to the loss of biodiversity after cessation of mammalian herbivory. Our findings also show that the effects of herbivores can outpace the effects of fertilization on competition for light. Management practices that target maintaining grazing by native or domestic herbivores could therefore have applications in protecting biodiversity in grassland ecosystems, because they alleviate competition for light in the understory.
dauerhafte UFZ-Verlinkung
Eskelinen, A., Harpole, W.S., Jessen, M.-T., Virtanen, R., Hautier, Y. (2022):
Light competition drives herbivore and nutrient effects on plant diversity
Nature 611 (7935), 301 - 305 10.1038/s41586-022-05383-9