Raised nutrient levels change heathland into grassland
- Cite this article as:
- Heil, G.W. & Diemont, W.H. Vegetatio (1983) 53: 113. doi:10.1007/BF00043031
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In 1969 N and P fertilizer experiments were carried out on the Westerheide (The Netherlands) to investigate the growth of Calluna vulgaris. In 1981 the floristic composition of the experimental plots was analyzed. Repeated nitrogen treatment of 28 kg · ha-1 · yr-1 resulted in dramatic replacement of Calluna vulgaris by Festuca ovina as a dominant. Phosphorus treatments did not result in such a change. The amounts of nitrogen applied in this experiment are similar to those that will be available during the first years following the dying off of Calluna vulgaris as result of a heather beetle infestation. It is hypothesized that a heather beetle infestation alone may result in a similar replacement of Calluna vulgaris by grass species.