Advertisement

Plant and Soil

, Volume 342, Issue 1–2, pp 183–194 | Cite as

Environmental factors influencing herb layer productivity in Central European oak forests: insights from soil and biomass analyses and a phytometer experiment

  • Irena AxmanováEmail author
  • David Zelený
  • Ching-Feng Li
  • Milan Chytrý
Regular Article

Abstract

Habitat productivity and vegetation biomass are important factors affecting species diversity and ecosystem function, but factors determining productivity are still insufficiently known, especially in the forest herb layer. These factors are difficult to identify because different methods often yield different results. We sampled the herb layer biomass and assessed soil nutrients, moisture and light availability in 100 m2 plots in Czech oak forests. Habitat productivity was estimated independently from nutrient content in the soil, herb layer biomass and using a bioassay experiment (growing phytometer plants of Raphanus sativus under standardised conditions in soil samples taken from forest plots). The generalised linear model for herb layer biomass showed it to increase with light, soil phosphorus and moisture availability, but only 10.7% of its variation was explained by these factors. The phytometer biomass increased mainly with soil pH and phosphorus availability; together with soil C/N ratio these factors explained 56.1% of the phytometer biomass variability. Combined evidence based on different approaches indicates that canopy shading and soil phosphorus tend to be the most important factors influencing the herb layer productivity of the studied oak forests.

Keywords

Bioassay experiment Biomass Czech Republic Quercus woodland Raphanus sativus Soil chemistry 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank the staff of the Botanical Garden of the Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, for providing greenhouse space for the phytometer experiment and to Marie Vymazalová for her technical help with the phytometer experiment. We are also grateful to Michal Hájek, Zdeňka Lososová, Zuzana Rozbrojová, and Lubomír Tichý and two anonymous referees for their comments and suggestions on this manuscript. This study was funded by the Ministry of Education of the Czech Republic (MSM0021622416) and the Czech Science Foundation (526/09/H025).

References

  1. Adkison GP, Gleeson SK (2004) Forest understory vegetation along a productivity gradient. J Torrey Bot Soc 131:32–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Akaike H (1973) Information theory as an extension of the maximum likelihood principle. In: Petrov BN, Csaki F (eds) Second International Symposium on Information Theory. Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, pp 267–281Google Scholar
  3. Al-Farray MM, Giller KE, Wheeler BD (1984) Phytometric estimation of fertility of waterlogged rich-fen peats using Epilobium hirsutum L. Plant Soil 81:283–289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Al-Mufti MM, Sydes CL, Furness SB, Grime JP, Band SR (1977) A quantitative analysis of shoot phenology and dominance in herbaceous vegetation. J Ecol 65:759–791CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bakker C, Van Bodegom PM, Nelissen HJM, Ernst WHO, Aerts R (2006) Plant responses to rising water tables and nutrient management in calcareous dune slacks. Plant Ecol 185:19–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barbier S, Gosselin F, Balandier P (2008) Influence of tree species on understory vegetation diversity and mechanisms involved – a critical review for temperate and boreal forests. Forest Ecol Manag 254:1–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Beltman B, Rip WJ, Bak A, Van Den Broek T (2005) Effect of different chloride concentrations on nutrient release in wetland soils: a phytometer assessment in the Botshol wetlands, The Netherlands. Wetl Ecol Manag 13:577–585CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Boerner REJ (1984) Foliar nutrient dynamics and nutrient use efficiency of four deciduous tree species in relation to site fertility. J Appl Ecol 21:1029–1040CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chambers JM, Hastie TJ (eds) (1992) Statistical models in S. Wadsworth & Brooks/Cole, Pacific GroveGoogle Scholar
  10. Churkina G, Running SW (1998) Contrasting climatic controls on the estimated productivity of global terrestrial biomes. Ecosystems 1:206–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chytrý M, Danihelka J, Horsák M, Kočí M, Kubešová S, Lososová Z, Otýpková Z, Tichý L, Martynenko VB, Baisheva EZ (2010) Modern analogues from the Southern Urals provide insights into biodiversity change in the early Holocene forests of Central Europe. J Biogeogr 37:767–780CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Clements FE, Goldsmith GW (1924) The phytometer method in ecology: the plant and community as instruments. The Carnegie Institution, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  13. Ellenberg H (1988) Vegetation ecology of Central Europe. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  14. Engelaar WMHG, Van Bruggen MW, Van der Hoek WPM, Huyser MAH, Blom CWPM (1993) Root porosities and radial oxygen losses of Rumex and Plantago species as influenced by soil pore diameter and soil aeration. New Phytol 125:565–574CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Falkengren-Grerup U, Mansson KF, Olsson MO (2000) Uptake capacity of amino acids by ten grasses and forbs in relation to soil acidity and nitrogen availability. Environ Exp Bot 44:207–219PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Finzi AC, Van Breemen N, Canham CD (1998) Canopy tree-soil interactions within temperate forests: species effects on soil carbon and nitrogen. Ecol Appl 8:440–446Google Scholar
  17. Frazer GW, Canham CD, Lertzman KP (1999) Gap Light Analyzer (GLA), Version 2.0: imaging software to extract canopy structure and gap light transmission indices from true-colour fisheye photographs, users manual and program documentation. Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, and the Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  18. Giesler R, Högberg M, Högberg P (1998) Soil chemistry and plants in Fennoscandian boreal forest as exemplified by a local gradient. Ecology 79:119–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gigon A, Rorison IH (1972) The response of some ecologically distinct plant species to nitrate- and ammonium-nitrogen. J Ecol 60:93–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. González-Hernandés MP, Silva-Pando FJ, Casal Jiménez M (1998) Production patterns of understory layers in several Galician (NW Spain) woodlands. Seasonality, net productivity and renewal rates. Forest Ecol Manag 109:251–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gough MW, Marrs RH (1990) A comparison of soil fertility between semi-natural and agricultural plant communities: implications for the creation of species-rich grassland on abandoned agricultural land. Biol Conserv 51:83–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Grime JP (1979) Plant strategies and vegetation processes. John Wiley, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  23. Grubbs FE (1969) Procedures for detecting outlying observations in samples. Technometrics 11:1–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Güsewell S (2004) N:P ratios in terrestrial plants: variation and functional significance. New Phytol 164:243–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Güsewell S, Koerselman W (2002) Variation in nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations of wetland plants. Perspect Plant Ecol 5:37–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hald AB, Nielsen AL, Debosz K, Badsberg JH (2003) Restoration of degraded low-lying grasslands: indicators of the environmental potential of botanical nature quality. Ecol Eng 21:1–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hejcman M, Klaudisová M, Schellberg J, Honsová D (2007) The Rengen Grassland Experiment: plant species composition after 64 years of fertilizer application. Agric Ecosyst Environ 122:259–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hofmeister J, Hošek J, Modrý M, Roleček J (2009) The influence of light and nutrient availability on herb layer species richness in oak-dominated forests in central Bohemia. Plant Ecol 205:57–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hutchinson TF, Boerner REJ, Iverson LR, Sutherland S, Sutherland EK (1999) Landscape patterns of understory composition and richness across a moisture and nitrogen mineralization gradient in Ohio (U.S.A.) Quercus forest. Plant Ecol 144:177–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ingestad T (1982) Relative addition rate and external concentration: driving variables used in plant nutrition research. Plant Cell Environ 5:443–453CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ingestad T, Agren GI (1991) The influence of plant nutrition on biomass allocation. Ecol Appl 1:168–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. ISSS-ISRIC-FAO (1998) World reference base for soil resources. FAO, RomaGoogle Scholar
  33. Janssen BH (1996) Nitrogen mineralization in relation to C/N ratio and decomposability of organic materials. Plant Soil 181:39–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Johnson JB, Omland KS (2004) Model selection in ecology and evolution. Trends Ecol Evol 19:101–108PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Koerselman W, Meuleman AFM (1996) The vegetation N:P ratio: a new tool to detect the nature of nutrient limitation. J Appl Ecol 33:1441–1450CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Köhler B, Ryser P, Güsewell S, Gigon A (2001) Nutrient availability and limitation in traditionally mown and in abandoned limestone grasslands: a bioassay experiment. Plant Soil 230:323–332CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kubát K, Hrouda L, Chrtek J Jr, Kaplan Z, Kirschner J, Štěpánek J (eds) (2002) Klíč ke květeně České republiky [Key to the flora of the Czech Republic]. Academia, PrahaGoogle Scholar
  38. Lieth H, Whittaker RH (1975) Primary productivity of the biosphere. Ecological studies, volume 14. Springer-Verlag, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  39. Marrs RH (1993) Soil fertility and nature conservation in Europe: theoretical considerations and practical management solutions. Adv Ecol Res 24:241–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. McCullagh P, Nelder P (1989) Generalized linear models. Chapman and Hall, LondonGoogle Scholar
  41. Mulder CPH, Keall SN (2001) Burrowing seabirds and reptiles: impacts on seeds, seedlings and soils in an island forest in New Zealand. Oecologia 127:350–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Näsholm T, Persson J (2001) Plant aquisition of organic nitrogen in boreal forests. Physiol Plantarum 111:419–426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Nobis M, Hunziker U (2005) Automatic thresholding for hemispherical canopy-photographs based on edge detection. Agric For Meteorol 128:243–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Olff H, Pegtel DM (1994) Characterisation of the type and extent of nutrient limitation in grassland vegetation using a bioassay with intact sods. Plant Soil 163:217–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Pendry CA, Proctor J (1996) The causes of altitudinal zonation of rain forests on Bukit Belalong, Brunei. J Ecol 84:407–418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Proctor J, Bruijnzeel LA, Baker AJM (1999) What causes the vegetation types on Mount Bloomfield, a coastal tropical mountain of the western Philippines? Global Ecol Biogeogr 8:347–354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. R Development Core Team (2009) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. URL www.R-project.org
  48. Roem WJ, Klees H, Berendse F (2002) Effects of nutrient addition and acidification on plant species diversity and seed germination in heathland. J Appl Ecol 39:937–948CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Rorison IH (1968) The response of phosphorus of some ecologically distinct plant species. I. Growth rates and phosphorus absorption. New Phytol 67:913–923CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Rowell DL (1988) Soil acidity and alkalinity. In: Wild A (ed) Russell’s soil conditions and plant growth, 11th edn. Longman, Harlow, pp 844–898Google Scholar
  51. Rozbrojová Z, Hájek M (2010) Can tissue element concentration patterns at the individual species level indicate the factors underlying vegetation gradients in wetlands? J Veg Sci 21:355–363CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Schuster B, Diekmann M (2005) Species density and environmental factors in deciduous forests of Northwest Germany. Forest Ecol Manag 206:197–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Strandberg B, Kristiansen SM, Tybirk K (2005) Dynamic oak-scrub to forest succession: effects of management on understorey vegetation, humus forms and soils. For Ecol Manag 211:318–328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. ter Braak CJF, Šmilauer P (2002) CANOCO reference manual and CanoDraw for Windows user’s guide. Software for Canonical Community Ordination (version 4.5). Biometris, Wageningen & České BudějoviceGoogle Scholar
  55. Tessier JT, Raynal DJ (2003) Use of nitrogen to phosphorus ratios in plant tissue as an indicator of nutrient limitation and nitrogen saturation. J Appl Ecol 40:523–534CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Tilman D (1982) Resource competition and community structure. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJGoogle Scholar
  57. Tilman D, Lehman CL, Thomson KT (1997) Plant diversity and ecosystem productivity: theoretical considerations. P Natl Acad Sci USA 94:1857–1861CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Tyler G (1996) Soil chemistry and plant distributions in rock habitats of southern Sweden. Nord J Bot 16:609–635CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Van der Ploeg RR, Böhm W, Kirkham MB (1999) On the origin of the theory of mineral nutrition of plants and the Law of the minimum. Soil Sci Soc Am J 63:1055–1062CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Van Duren IC, Pegtel DM (2000) Nutrient limitations in wet, drained and rewetted fen meadows: evaluation of methods and results. Plant Soil 220:35–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Wesche K, Nadrowski K, Retzer V (2007) Habitat engineering under dry conditions: the impact of pikas (Ochotona pallasi) on vegetation and site conditions in southern Mongolian steppes. J Veg Sci 18:665–674CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Wheeler BD, Shaw SC, Cook RED (1992) Phytometric assessment of the fertility of undrained rich-fen soils. J Appl Ecol 29:466–475CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Wild A (1988) Plant nutrients in soil: nitrogen. In: Wild A (ed) Russell’s soil conditions and plant growth, 11th edn. Longman, Harlow, pp 652–694Google Scholar
  64. Zavitkovski J (1976) Ground vegetation biomass, production, and efficiency of energy utilization in some northern Wisconsin forest ecosystems. Ecology 57:694–706CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Zbíral J (1995) Analýza rostlinného materiálu. Jednotné pracovní postupy [Analysis of plant material. Unified techniques]. Central Institute for Supervising and Testing in Agriculture, BrnoGoogle Scholar
  66. Zobel K, Liira J (1997) A scale-independent approach to the richness vs. biomass relationship in ground-layer plant communities. Oikos 80:325–332CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irena Axmanová
    • 1
    Email author
  • David Zelený
    • 1
  • Ching-Feng Li
    • 1
  • Milan Chytrý
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Botany and ZoologyMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic

Personalised recommendations