Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1016/j.gecco.2021.e01960
Licence creative commons licence
Title (Primary) Abiotic factors are more important than land management and biotic interactions in shaping vascular plant and soil fungal communities
Author Slabbert, E.L.; Knight, T.M.; Wubet, T. ORCID logo ; Kautzner, A.; Baessler, C.; Auge, H. ORCID logo ; Roscher, C.; Schweiger, O.
Source Titel Global Ecology and Conservation
Year 2022
Department BZF; iDiv; PHYDIV
Volume 33
Page From e01960
Language englisch
Topic T5 Future Landscapes
Data and Software links
Keywords Community assembly processes; Above- and belowground biodiversity; Grassland management; Land use intensity; Environmental context; Hierarchical joint species distribution modelling; Species co-occurrence patterns
Abstract Human-induced disturbances to ecosystems cause a direct loss of biodiversity, and also alter the inherent processes that shape ecosystems even after the main disturbance has ceased. Therefore, is it important to understand the ongoing consequences of past and present land use practices on both above- and belowground components of agroecosystems. Our study takes a detailed investigation of what shapes communities in semi-natural grasslands under long-term management as either pastures or meadows. We investigated the relative importance of land use (land management (LM) and land use intensity (LUI)) and abiotic conditions (soil, topographic, climatic) across five grassland sites in central Germany in explaining species occurrence patterns of vascular plants and soil fungi. Analyses included a hierarchical joint-species distribution modeling approach to uncover the role of possible drivers shaping the local communities.
Our results show that abiotic factors are of particularly high importance compared to LM and LUI for both vascular plant and soil fungal communities. In general, the relative importance of explanatory variables was similar across both taxon groups, however, for plant communities, local climate conditions were more important, while for fungal communities the soil variables (e.g., soil acidity and fertility including soil carbon and potassium concentrations) played a more prominent role. Species-specific responses to the respective variables showed some similarity across the taxon groups, however less so than expected given the long legacy of past LM. Here we found that approximately 50% of the plant and fungi species had clear LM preferences and responses to LUI. More plant species were positively related to pasture than meadow management, while the opposite was found for fungal species. Our findings advance the understanding of how abiotic conditions and human land use impact local species communities in managed semi-natural grasslands, aiding further research and policy development for conserving multitrophic diversity within these biodiversity rich habitats. Our results highlight the importance of controlling for soil and climate in studying the impact of land use, and of considering the environmental context at both small and larger spatial grains when making land management and biodiversity conservation decisions. In so doing, the complexity of ecological processes within managed systems are accounted for and prioritized, promoting both conservation and ecological functioning of the agroecosystem.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Slabbert, E.L., Knight, T.M., Wubet, T., Kautzner, A., Baessler, C., Auge, H., Roscher, C., Schweiger, O. (2022):
Abiotic factors are more important than land management and biotic interactions in shaping vascular plant and soil fungal communities
Glob. Ecol. Conserv. 33 , e01960 10.1016/j.gecco.2021.e01960