, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 906–914 | Cite as

Effect of Manipulated Rainfall on Root Production and Plant Belowground Dry Mass of Different Grassland Ecosystems

  • Karel Fiala
  • Ivan Tůma
  • Petr Holub


A field experiment was established to quantify the effects of different amounts of rainfall on root growth and dry mass of belowground plant parts in three types of grassland ecosystems. Mountain (Nardus grassland), highland (wet Cirsium grassland), and lowland grassland (dry Festuca grassland) ecosystems were studied in 2006 and 2007. Roofs constructed above the canopy of grass stands and gravity irrigation systems simulated three climate scenarios: (1) rainfall reduced by 50%, (2) rainfall enhanced by 50%, and (3) the full natural rainfall of the current growing season. Experimentally reduced amounts of precipitation significantly affected both yearly root increments and total root dry mass in the highland grassland. Dry conditions in 2007 resulted in considerable reduction of total belowground dry mass in highland and mountain grasslands. Although not all differences in root biomass of studied grasslands were statistically significantly, some also showed a decrease in root increment and in the amount of belowground dry mass in dry conditions.


Beskydy Mts. drought rainfall simulation roots belowground dry mass root increments 



This research was supported by Grant Agency of the Czech Republic (Project No. 526/06/0556), and by projects No. AVOZ 60050516 and AVOZ 60870520. We are indebted to Prof. J.M. Bernard for his review of the text.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Vegetation Ecology, Institute of BotanyAcademy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicBrnoThe Czech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Agrochemistry, Soil Science, Microbiology and Plant Nutrition, Faculty of AgronomyMendel University of Agriculture and ForestryBrnoThe Czech Republic
  3. 3.Laboratory of Plants Ecological Physiology, Institute of Systems Biology and EcologyAcademy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicBrnoThe Czech Republic

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