Plant and Soil

, Volume 344, Issue 1, pp 177–186

Resource availability, species composition and sown density effects on productivity of experimental plant communities

Regular Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11104-011-0738-6

Cite this article as:
Li, A., Niu, K. & Du, G. Plant Soil (2011) 344: 177. doi:10.1007/s11104-011-0738-6


Productivity of artificial grassland communities was investigated in a 6-year field experiment on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. In the experiment, assemblages varying in seven species compositions and four density gradients were grown in fertilized and non-fertilized subplots. We measured biomass of sown species as an indicator of community productivity. In general, 6-years of experiments indicated that: (i) species composition had a significant influence on community productivity. During the initial phase of the experiment, sown density significantly affected community productivity, but the effects disappear with the increase of grown years. This productivity increased with biodiversity increase and fertilization, while the biodiversity effects disappeared when the influence of composition was removed. (ii) The increase of community productivity with biodiversity was resulted from joint effects of selection and complementarity. (iii) With an increase of growth time, the selection effects become weaker while complementarities become enhanced. Influence of density on both effects was significantly different in early stages, but ultimately this all became insignificant. Fertilization dramatically increased the complementarity effects in all experiment processes, but had different influences on selection effects during different experimental period.


Complementarity effectSelection effectBiodiversityFertilizationTibetan plateau

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MoE Key Laboratory of Arid and Grassland Ecology and School of Life SciencesLanzhou UniversityLanzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry and Environment ScienceLanzhou City UniversityLanzhouChina
  3. 3.Department of BiologyNanjing UniversityNanjingChina