Advertisement

Ecosystems

, Volume 12, Issue 7, pp 1130–1144 | Cite as

Removing Phosphorus from Ecosystems Through Nitrogen Fertilization and Cutting with Removal of Biomass

  • Michael P. Perring
  • Grant Edwards
  • Claire de Mazancourt
Article

Abstract

High amounts of phosphorus (P) are in soil of former farmland due to previous fertilizer additions. Draining these residues would provide conditions for grassland plant species diversity restoration amongst other ecosystem benefits. Nitrogen (N) fertilization followed by cutting with subsequent removal of biomass has been suggested as a P residue removal method. We present a general model of N and P ecosystem cycling with nutrients coupled in plant biomass. We incorporate major P pools and biological and physico-chemical fluxes around the system together with transfers into and out of the system given several decades of management. We investigate conditions where N addition and cutting accelerate fertilizer P draining. Cutting does not generally accelerate soil P depletion under short-term management because the benefits of biomass removal through decreased P mineralization occur on too long a timescale compared to cutting’s impact on the ability of plants to deplete nutrients. Short-term N fertilization lowers soil fertilizer P residues, provided plant growth remains N limited. In such situations, N fertilization without biomass removal increases soil organic P. Some scenarios show significant reductions in available P following N addition, but many situations record only marginal decreases in problematic soil P pools compared to the unfertilized state. We provide explicit conditions open to experimental testing. Cutting might have minimal adverse impacts, but will take time to be successful. N fertilization either alone or in combination with cutting is more likely to bring about desired reductions in P availability thus allowing grassland restoration, but might have undesired ecosystem consequences.

Key words

biodiversity ecosystem modelling grassland restoration nutrient stoichiometry cycling feedbacks mineralization input–output budget 

Notes

Acknowledgements

MPP was funded by a BBSRC (UK) grant awarded to CdeM and GE, and by an NSERC (Canada) Discovery Grant to CdeM. Our thanks are due to Richard Bardgett, Klaus Butterbach-Bahl, Paul Leadley, Alan Townsend and four anonymous reviewers for comments on earlier versions of this manuscript.

Supplementary material

10021_2009_9279_MOESM1_ESM.docx (175 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 175 kb)

References

  1. Baisden TW, Amundson R. 2003. An analytical approach to ecosystem biogeochemistry modeling. Ecol Appl 13(3):649–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barrow NJ. 1980. Evaluation and utilization of residual phosphorus in soils. In: Khasanweh FE, Sample EC, Kamprath EJ, Eds. The role of phosphorus in agriculture. Madison, WI: American Society of Agronomy Inc., Crop Science Society of America Inc., Soil Science Society of America Inc. pp 333–59.Google Scholar
  3. Bennett EM, Reed-Anderson T et al. 1999. A phosphorus budget for the Lake Mendota watershed. Ecosystems 2:69–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bobbink R. 1991. Effects of nutrient enrichment in Dutch chalk grassland. J Appl Ecol 28(1):28–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boring LR, Swank WT et al. 1988. Source, fates, and impacts of nitrogen inputs to terrestrial ecosystems: review and synthesis. Biogeochemistry 6:119–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Carpenter SR. 2005. Eutrophication of aquatic ecosystems: bistability and soil phosphorus. PNAS 102(29):10002–5.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Carpenter SR, Caraco NF et al. 1998. Nonpoint pollution of surface waters with phosphorus and nitrogen. Ecol Appl 8(3):559–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Collins SL, Knapp AK et al. 1998. Modulation of diversity by grazing and mowing in native tallgrass prairie. Science 280(5364):745–7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Condron LM, Goh KM. 1990. Nature and availability of residual phosphorus in long-term fertilized pasture soils in New Zealand. J Agric Sci (Cambridge) 114:1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Crawley MJ, Johnston AE et al. 2005. Determinants of species richness in the Park Grass Experiment. Am Nat 165:179–92.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. de Mazancourt C, Loreau M et al. 1998. Grazing optimization and nutrient cycling: when do herbivores enhance plant production? Ecology 79(7):2242–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Elser JJ, Bracken MES et al. 2007. Global analysis of nitrogen and phosphorus limitation of primary producers in freshwater, marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Ecol Lett 10:1135–42.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Elser JJ, Dobberfuhl DR et al. 1996. Organism size, life history and N:P stoichiometry. Towards a unified view of cellular and ecosystem processes. Bioscience 46:674–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Firbank LG, Perry JN et al. 2003. The implications of spring-sown genetically modified herbicide-tolerant crops for farmland biodiversity: a commentary on the Farm Scale Evaluations of Spring Sown Crops, Scientific Steering Committee.Google Scholar
  15. Frossard E, Condron LM et al. 2000. Processes governing phosphorus availability in temperate soils. J Environ Qual 29:15–23.Google Scholar
  16. Goh KM, Condron LM. 1989. Plant availability of phosphorus accumulated from long-term applications of superphosphate and effluent to irrigated pastures. N Z J Agric Res 32:45–51.Google Scholar
  17. Goldberg S, Sposito G. 1985. On the mechanism of specific phosphate adsorption by hydroxylated mineral surfaces: a review. Commun Soil Sci Plant Anal 16(8):801–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Halm BJ, Stewart JWB et al. 1972. The phosphorus cycle in a native grassland ecosystem. Isotopes and radiation in soil–plant relationships including forestry. Vienna: International Atomic Energy Agency. pp 571–85.Google Scholar
  19. Haygarth PM, Condron LM. 2004. Background and elevated phosphorus release from terrestrial environments. In: Valsami-Jones E, Ed. Phosphorus in environmental technology: principles and applications. London: IWA Publishing. pp 79–92.Google Scholar
  20. Haynes RJ, Williams PH. 1992. Long-term effect of superphosphate on accumulation of soil phosphorus and exchangeable cations on a grazed, irrigated pasture site. Plant Soil 142:123–33.Google Scholar
  21. Hiernaux P, Turner MD. 1996. The effect of clipping on growth and nutrient uptake of Sahelian annual rangelands. J Appl Ecol 33:387–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Janssens F, Peeters A et al. 1998. Relationship between soil chemical factors and grassland diversity. Plant Soil 202(1):69–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jiang Z, Sullivan WM. 2004. Nitrate uptake of seedling and mature Kentucky Bluegrass plants. Crop Sci 44:567–74.Google Scholar
  24. Johnson AH, Frizano J et al. 2003. Biogeochemical implications of labile phosphorus in forest soils determined by the Hedley fractionation procedure. Oecologia 135:487–99.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Johnston AE, Poulton PR. 1977. Yields on the Exhaustion Land and changes in the NPK content of soils due to cropping and manuring 1852–1975. Rothamsted Report for 1976, Part 2. pp 53–85.Google Scholar
  26. Krupa SV. 2003. Effects of atmospheric ammonia (NH3) on terrestrial vegetation: a review. Environ Pollut 124:179–221.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Loneragan JF, Grove TS et al. 1979. Phosphorus toxicity as a factor in zinc-phosphorus interactions in plants. Soil Sci Soc Am J 43:966–72.Google Scholar
  28. MacDuff JH, Jackson SB. 1992. Influx and efflux of nitrate and ammonium in Italian ryegrass and white clover roots: comparisons between the effects of darkness and defoliation. J Exp Bot 43:525–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Maron JL, Jefferies RL. 2001. Restoring enriched grasslands: effects of mowing on species richness, productivity, and nitrogen retention. Ecol Appl 11(4):1088–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Marrs RH. 1985. Techniques for reducing soil fertility for nature conservation purposes - a review in relation to research at Ropers Heath, Suffolk, England. Biol Conserv 34(4):307–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Marrs RH. 1993. Soil fertility and nature conservation in Europe—theoretical considerations and practical management solutions. Adv Ecol Res 24:241–300.Google Scholar
  32. Marrs RH, Snow CSR et al. 1998. Heathland and acid grassland creation on arable soils at Minsmere: identification of potential problems and a test of cropping to impoverish soils. Biol Conserv 85:69–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. McCollum RE. 1991. Build up and decline in soil phosphorus: 30-Year trends on a Typic Umprabuult. Agron J 83:77–85.Google Scholar
  34. McDowell RW, Monaghan RM. 2002. The potential for phosphorus loss in relation to nitrogen fertiliser application and cultivation. N Z J Agric Res 45:245–53.Google Scholar
  35. McDowell RW, Sharpley AN et al. 2001. Processes controlling soil phosphorus release to runoff and implications for agricultural management. Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst 59:269–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. McGill WB, Cole CV. 1981. Comparative aspects of cycling of organic C, N, S and P through soil organic matter. Geoderma 26:267–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. McGroddy ME, Daufresne T et al. 2004. Scaling of C:N:P stoichiometries in forests worldwide: implications of terrestrial Redfield-type ratios. Ecology 85(9):2390–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. McLauchlan K. 2006. The nature and longevity of agricultural impacts on soil carbon and nutrients: a review. Ecosystems 9:1364–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. McLauchlan KK, Hobbie SE et al. 2006. Conversion from agriculture to grassland builds soil organic matter on decadal timescales. Ecol Appl 16(1):143–53.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. McNaughton SJ, Chapin FS. 1985. Effects of phosphorus nutrition and defoliation on C4 graminoids from the Serengeti Plains. Ecology 66(5):1617–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Neubert MG, Caswell H. 1997. Alternatives to resilience for measuring the responses of ecological systems to perturbations. Ecology 78(3):653–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Newman EI. 1995. Phosphorus inputs to terrestrial ecosytems. J Ecol 83(4):713–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. O’Neill RV, DeAngelis DL et al. 1989. Multiple nutrient limitations in ecological models. Ecol Modell 46:147–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Olander LP, Vitousek PM. 2000. Regulation of soil phosphatase and chitinase activity by N and P availability. Biogeochemistry 49:175–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Parton WJ, Stewart JWB et al. 1988. Dynamics of C, N, P and S in grassland soils: a model. Biogeochemistry 5:109–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Perring MP, Hedin LO et al. 2008. Increased plant growth from nitrogen addition should conserve phosphorus in terrestrial ecosystems. PNAS 105:1971–6.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Pilkington MG, Caporn SJM et al. 2005. Effects of increased deposition of atmospheric nitrogen on an upland Calluna moor: N and P transformations. Environ Pollut 135:469–80.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Pywell RF, Bullock JM et al. 2007. Enhancing diversity of species poor grasslands: an experimental assessment of multiple constraints. J Appl Ecol 44:81–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Rajaniemi TK. 2003. Explaining productivity–diversity relationships in plants. Oikos 101:449–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Raynaud X, Leadley PW. 2004. Soil characteristics play a key role in modeling nutrient competition in plant communities. Ecology 85(8):2200–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Richter DD, Allen HL et al. 2006. Bioavailability of slowly cycling soil phosphorus: major restructuring of soil P fractions over four decades in an aggrading forest. Oecologia 150:259–71.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Ruess JO, Innis GS. 1977. A grassland nitrogen flow simulation model. Ecology 58:379–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Schlesinger WH. 1997. Biogeochemistry. An analysis of global change. San Diego: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  54. Shane MW, Lambers H. 2006. Systemic suppression of cluster-root formation and net P uptake rates in Grevillea crithmifolia at elevated P supply: a proteacean with resistance for developing symptoms of “P toxicity”. J Exp Bot 57(2):413–23.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Sharpley AN, Jones CA et al. 1984. A simplified soil and plant phosphorus model. II. Predictions of labile, organic, and sorbed phosphorus. Soil Sci Soc Am J 48:805–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Sharpley AN, McDowell RW et al. 2004. Amounts, forms, and solubility of phosphorus in soils receiving manure. Soil Sci Soc Am J 68:2048–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Smith P, Andren O et al. 2005. Carbon sequestration potential in European croplands has been overestimated. Glob Chang Biol 11:2153–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Stevens CJ, Dise NB et al. 2004. Impact of nitrogen deposition on the species richness of grasslands. Science 303:1876–9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Tallowin JRB, Smith REN. 2001. Restoration of a Cirsio-Molinietum fen meadow on an agriculturally improved pasture. Restor Ecol 9(2):167–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Tallowin JRB, Smith REN et al. 2002. Use of fertilizer nitrogen and potassium to reduce soil phosphorus availability. In: Frame J, Ed. Conservation Pays? Reconciling environmental benefits with profitable grassland systems, vol 36. Reading: British Grassland Society. pp 163–6.Google Scholar
  61. Thompson K, Parkinson JA et al. 1997. A comparative study of leaf nutrient concentrations in a regional herbaceous flora. New Phytol 136:679–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Tiessen H, Moir JO. 1993. Characterization of available P by sequential extraction. In: Carter MR, Ed. Soil sampling and methods of analysis. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press LLC. pp 75–86.Google Scholar
  63. Tiessen H, Stewart JWB et al. 1982. Cultivation effects on the amounts and concentrations of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus in grassland soils. Agron J 74:831–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Tiessen H, Stewart JWB et al. 1984. Pathways of phosphorus transformations in soils of differing pedogenesis. Soil Sci Soc Am J 48:853–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Tinker PB, Nye PH. 2000. Solute movement in the rhizosphere. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  66. Treseder KK, Vitousek PM. 2001. Effects of soil nutrient availability on investment in acquisition of N and P in Hawaiian rain forests. Ecology 82(4):946–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Vadas PA, Krogstad T et al. 2006. Modeling phosphorus transfer between labile and nonlabile soil pools: updating the EPIC model. Soil Sci Soc Am J 70:736–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Walker KJ, Stevens PA et al. 2004. The restoration and re-creation of species-rich lowland grassland on land formerly managed for intensive agriculture in the UK. Biol Conserv 119:1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Walker TW, Syers JK. 1976. The fate of phosphorus during pedogenesis. Geoderma 15:1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Wallace LL, Macko SA. 1993. Nutrient acquisition by clipped plants as a measure of competitive success: the effects of compensation. Funct Ecol 7:326–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Wassen MJ, Venterink HO et al. 2005. Endangered plants persist under phosphorus limitation. Nature 437:547–50.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  72. Xiong S, Nilsson C. 1999. The effects of plant litter on vegetation: a meta-analysis. J Ecol 87:984–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael P. Perring
    • 1
    • 4
  • Grant Edwards
    • 2
  • Claire de Mazancourt
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of BiologyImperial College LondonSilwood ParkUK
  2. 2.Agriculture and Life Sciences Division, Field Services CentreLincoln UniversityLincolnNew Zealand
  3. 3.Redpath MuseumMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  4. 4.School of Plant ScienceUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia

Personalised recommendations