Nutrient deficiency in dune slack pioneer vegetation: a review
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A review of results of fertilization experiments in wet dune slacks is presented. In most cases the above-ground biomass appeared to be limited by nitrogen availability. Primary phosphorus limitation was assessed only once in a dune slack where sod cutting had been applied very recently. In most other case studies phosphorus limits biomass production after nitrogen deficiency was lifted. Potassium availability is of minor importance for biomass production in this type of ecosystem. Singular nitrogen additions led to increased dominance ofCarex andJuncus species as well as perennial grasses, such asAgrostis stolonifera andCalamagrostis epigejos. A combined addition of nitrogen and phosphorus led to total dominance of grasses, while the characteristic basiphilous pioneer species (including mosses) decreased or even disappeared. Certain mechanisms are considered which may maintain nutrient availability in slacks with basiphilous pioneer vegetation at a low level, despite of the accumulation of nutrients in the developing organic soil layer. Some implications for management and further research are discussed.