Sabine Güsewell's research while affiliated with ETH Zurich and other places

Publications (70)

Article
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Phenological observation networks have been implemented in many countries to monitor how the timing of plant seasonal life cycles varies in space and time. Data are used to model the responses of plant phenology to climatic factors and to predict changes associated with future climate warming. The quality of these predictions depends critically on...
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Background and aims Plants can develop various root traits which may contribute to their nutrient acquisition. We investigated the occurrence of five root traits among species of genus Carex to determine their frequency, mutual associations and dependence on taxonomy (subgenus) or habitat. Methods Root samples of 40 species were collected in their...
Article
Root structures secreting carboxylates and phosphatases are thought to enhance a plant's phosphorus (P) acquisition. But do closely related species with and without such structures really differ in root exudation, P mobilization, or ecological niche? We investigated this by comparing 23 European Carex species with and without 'dauciform roots' (DRs...
Article
The spring phenology of plants in temperate regions strongly responds to spring temperatures. Climate warming has caused substantial phenological advances in the past, but trends to be expected in the future are uncertain. A simple indicator is temperature sensitivity, the phenological advance statistically associated with a 1 °C warmer mean temper...
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AimsDauciform roots (DR) are formed by some Cyperaceae under phosphorus (P) deficiency. To advance our understanding of their physiological function, I ask: Is DR formation regulated by shoot P status or external P supply? How does it respond to nitrogen (N)? Do DR enhance root monoesterase, diesterase or phytase activities and ability to utilize o...
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The ability of some invasive plant species to produce biochemical compounds toxic to native species, called allelopathy, is thought to be one of the reasons for their success when introduced to a novel range, an idea known as the Novel Weapons Hypothesis. However, support for this hypothesis mainly comes from bioassays and experiments conducted und...
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Nutrient enrichment is a threat to botanical diversity in Europe, and its assessment is part of biodiversity monitoring schemes. In Switzerland, this is done by calculating the average nutrient (N) indicator value of the vegetation based on a country-wide systematic vegetation survey. However, it is questionable whether N values indicate eutrophica...
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Protected areas in the Alps are dissected by high-traffic roads for tourist access and transit. Road construction leaves disturbed areas with open soil, which may serve as starting points for the invasion of alien plants or ruderal lowland plants into the protected mountain habitats. In the 1960s, a transit road was widened in the Swiss National Pa...
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The enemy release hypothesis (ERH) suggests greater success of species in an invaded range due to release from natural enemies. The ERH assumes there will be more specialist enemies in the native range and that generalists will have an equal effect in both ranges. We tested these assumptions with the grass Brachypodium sylvaticum in the native rang...
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The enemy-release hypothesis (ERH) states that species become more successful in their introduced range than in their native range because they leave behind natural enemies in their native range and are thus "released" from enemy pressures in their introduced range. The ERH is popularly cited to explain the invasive properties of many species and i...
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We investigated whether local adaptation has been important in enabling the invasive apomictic species Erigeron annuus to extend its altitudinal range in the Swiss Alps. We first conducted a field survey along several major roads crossing the Swiss Alps to study the distribution and growth performance of E. annuus along an altitudinal gradient. We...
Article
• Exotic plant invasions can alter ecosystem processes, particularly if the invasive species are functionally different from native species. We investigated whether such alterations can be explained by differences in functional traits between native and invasive plants of the same functional group or by differences in functional group affiliation....
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1. Plant–soil feedbacks can influence the success of non-native plant invasions. We investigated if these feedbacks and the underlying invasion effects on soil microbes and nutrients depend on the species composition of the invaded vegetation, and whether these effects are related to differences in the invasibility of native plant communities. 2. W...
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Summary1. Different grass species dominate grasslands fertilized with nitrogen (N) or phosphorus (P), possibly due to the impact of N : P stoichiometry on competitive interactions. How species compete for nutrients, and whether the mechanisms are similar for N and P, is still not fully understood.2. We investigated whether the outcome of competitio...
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The altitudinal distribution of plants is restricted by various environmental factors, with climatic conditions being one of the primary constraints. Here, we investigate what limits the altitudinal range of the introduced species Erigeron annuus in the Swiss Alps. We planted offspring of E. annuus plants originating from different altitudes into t...
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Shifts from N limitation to P or K limitation in wetlands (e.g. due to mowing and high atmospheric N deposition) are reflected by increased N:P and N:K ratios of plant biomass and changes in species composition. So far, the implications of increased N:K ratios for wetland vegetation have hardly been investigated. We examined how the supply of N and...
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Question: Invasive alien plants can affect biomass production and rates of biogeochemical cycling. Do the direction and intensity of such effects depend upon the functional traits of native and alien species and upon the properties of the invaded habitat, with the same alien species having differing impacts in different habitats?Location: Lowlands...
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A cross-over fertilization experiment was carried out in Dutch floating fens to investigate effects on biomass production in the same and the following years. In total 16 fertilizer treatments were applied, combining four treatments in 1999 with four treatments in 2000 (addition of 20 g.m−2 N, 5 g.m−2 P, both elements and unfertilized control). The...
Article
1Nitrogen and phosphorus supply influences the rate of litter decomposition and nutrient dynamics during decomposition. Besides the total amount of N and P available to decomposers, their relative supply (N : P ratio) might be important, e.g. through an influence on the composition and activity of microbial communities.2We carried out two experimen...
Article
Parasite damage strongly affects dynamics of boreal forests. Damage levels may be affected by climate change, either directly or indirectly through changes in properties of host trees. We examined how herbivore and pathogen damage in Alnus viridis subsp. fruticosa (Rupr.) Nym. depend on leaf morphology and chemistry, tree size, and tree neighborhoo...
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In the case of the litter decomposition rates, the small differences between species may also be related to the site quality, which may explain why higher nutrient concentrations among invasive species did not generally translate into higher decomposition rates. At very infertile sites, initial rates of decomposition are often determined more by th...
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Question: Do severe winter flood events lift the nutrient limitation of biomass production in a river floodplain? How does this affect plant species richness? How long do the effects last? Location: Floodplain grassland on calcareous sandy loam near river Rhine in The Netherlands. Methods: Plots were fertilised with four treatments (control, N, P,...
Article
Güsewell S., Pohl M., Gander A. and Strehler C. 2007. Temporal changes in grazing intensity and herbage quality within a Swiss fen meadow. Bot. Helv. 117: 57 – 73. Grazing is a possible tool for conservation management in wetlands, but a frequent problem is spatial variation in grazing intensity, which may promote the degradation of the vegetation....
Article
Over a period of centuries, grazing cattle on a mountain pasture can produce strong heterogeneities in the distribution of plant species and soil nutrients. To understand how these patterns arise, we observed the activities of a herd of Scottish highland cattle on a subalpine pasture (alp) in southern Switzerland during two grazing seasons, and mod...
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It is known that convergence and divergence can occur in complex plant communities, but the relative importance of biotic and abiotic factors driving these processes is less clear. We addressed this issue in an experiment using a range of mixed stands of five species that are common in Swiss fens (Carex elata, C. flava, Lycopus europaeus, Lysimachi...
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The N:P ratio of leaf litter may determine if decomposability is N-limited (litter with low N:P ratio) or P-limited (litter with high N:P ratio). To test this hypothesis and to determine the threshold between N and P limitation, we studied relationships between litter N and P concentrations, litter mass loss and effects of fertilisation on litter m...
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Summary 1. Invasive alien plants tend to have a greater specific leaf area and more nutrient-rich tissues than the invaded native vegetation. To test whether these traits differ between introduced and native populations of the same species, we compared 20 European (introduced) and 22 American (native) populations of Solidago gigantea Aiton (Asterac...
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To investigate how the composition of wetland communities changes over time in response to altered light regimes, experimental communities of five Carex and four grass species were subjected to artificial shading (continuous or seasonal) in a three-year field experiment. Shoot number and size was measured after six weeks, and shoot biomass was harv...
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Jewell P.L., Güsewell S., Berry N.R., Käuferle D., Kreuzer M. and Edwards P.J. 2005. Vegetation patterns maintained by cattle grazing on a degraded mountain pasture. Bot. Helv. 115: 109–124. In southern Switzerland the use of mountain pastures for cattle has been in decline since the 19th century, promoting the dominance of unpalatable grasses and...
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Summary • Litter decomposition can be limited by nitrogen or phosphorus, but conditions under which either nutrient is limiting remain uncertain. We investigated whether this depends on nutrient limitation during plant growth, on N : P ratios of the litter, or on activities of C-, N- and P-mineralizing enzymes. • Nine herbaceous species were grown...
Article
Shifts from nitrogen (N)- to phosphorus (P)-limited growth due to high N deposition may alter the functioning of wetland vegetation. This experiment tested how N vs P deficiency affects the growth and nutrient use of wetland sedges. Five wetland Carex species were grown at nine N : P supply ratios (0.6-405) with two absolute levels of N and P. Biom...
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Gsewell S., Zuberbhler N. and Clerc C. 2005. Distribution and functional traits of Solidago gigantea in a Swiss lakeshore wetland. Bot. Helv. 115: 63–75.Alien plant species are of particular ecological concern when they invade native vegetation of high conservation value and alter its functioning.We mapped the area and cover of stands of invasive a...
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Summary • Nitrogen or phosphorus limits plant growth in many wetlands. If specific mechanisms reducing losses of the growth-limiting nutrient have been favoured by selection, the N and P resorption efficiency (RE) during leaf senescence (NRE, PRE: the fraction of N or P resorbed) might depend on the type of nutrient limitation. • The size, mass, an...
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The ‘resource balance hypothesis’ proposes that the species richness of grassland vegetation is potentially highest when the N:P ratio of plant tissues is 10–15 (co-limitation), so that species richness could be raised by fertilisation with N or P at sites with lower or higher N:P ratios, respectively. Here we use data from field surveys in Swiss,...
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The biomass production of wetland vegetation can be limited by nitrogen or phosphorus. Some species are most abundant in N-limited vegetation, and others in P-limited vegetation, possibly because growth-related traits of these species respond differently to N versus P supply. Two growth experiments were carried out to examine how various morphologi...
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Grazing by free-ranging cattle on Alpine pastures in southern Switzerland creates sharp contrasts in plant species composition between small camp areas, which are grazed intensely and receive most cattle excreta, and surrounding pasture dominated by Nardus stricta, which is only lightly grazed. We hypothesised that these contrasts are maintained by...
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Acknowledgements References Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) availability limit plant growth in most terrestrial ecosystems. This review examines how variation in the relative availability of N and P, as reflected by N : P ratios of plant biomass, influences vegetation composition and functioning. Plastic responses of plants to N and P supply cause...
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Pathogens and herbivores can severely reduce host fitness, potentially leading to altered succession rates and changes in plant community composition. Thus, to predict vegetation dynamics under climate change, it is necessary to understand how plant path- ogens and herbivores will respond. Pathogens and herbivores are predicted to increase under cl...
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Only by integrating ecological knowlegde can spatial planning become more sustainable. The case study identifies the kind of ecological knowledge necessary for a succesful integration. The main methodological issue appears to be the different spatial scales at which the two disciplines - ecology and planning - work. Methods available for grassland...
Article
. To assess whether winter mowing in wetlands fulfils the aim of preventing succession towards drier communities, 34 permanent quadrats (15 m2) were surveyed annually from 1984–1985 to 2000 within large mown and unmown (control) areas (several ha) in a calcareous lake shore fen (W Switzerland). Three trends were noticed: decrease of aquatic species...
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Changes in the relative availability of essential nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium can be associated with changes in the species composition of wetland vegetation, but responsible mechanisms are not always clear. This study examines how the relative supply of N and P influences the composition of mixtures of four herbaceous wet...
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Summary The effects of nutrient enrichment on wetland vegetation may depend on the responses of different plant species to nutrient supply over several years, in waterlogged or flooded soils, and under either nitrogen- or phosphorus-limited conditions. However, most growth experiments comparing species from differently productive sites have focused...
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Mowing experiments were carried out from1995 to 2001 in Swiss fen meadows toinvestigate whether the abundance of Phragmites australis is reduced by mowingin early summer in addition to mowing inautumn. Experimental plots of 100 m2were established in three fen meadows thatare mown every year in September; treatedplots received an additional cut in l...
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1. The decomposition of plant litter in wetlands is often limited by the availability of either nitrogen (N) or phosphorus (P) in litter or soil. The aim of our research is to test whether the type of nutrient limitation can be predicted from the litter chemistry (N concentration, P concentration, N:P ratio) and/or from the activities of three enzy...
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Alpine pastures are characterized by considerable spatial variation in the species richness and species composition of the vegetation. This paper examines how agricultural management and site factors influence the diversity of pasture vegetation in the north-eastern Swiss Alps, based on a survey of vegetation and soils in a total of 200 plots (1 m...
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The conservation or restoration of seminatural vegetation often involves measures that influence the availability of nutrients and consequently the plant species composition., The ability to predict effects of modified nutrient availability on species composition would therefore help to choose appropriate management strategies. The aim of this stud...
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Summary 1 Plant species richness is often used as a criterion in the assessment of ecological quality. Complete species inventories are time-consuming to establish, and the resulting infor- mation may be more detailed than needed. In this study we investigated how reliably species richness on Alpine pastures can be estimated from the presence or ab...
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Summary 1 Wetlands in Central European lowlands are mostly managed to prevent their succes- sion towards forest and to maintain open, species-rich wetland plant communities. While this was mostly done by mowing in the past, wetland managers increasingly con- sider grazing as an alternative form of management. Grazing by three Scottish Highland catt...
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1. Hay meadows in western Ireland were traditionally mown once a year in late summer with aftermath grazing. To assess how changes in mowing regime affect the plant species composition, productivity and vegetation structure, a long-term mowing experiment was carried out in an Arrhenatheretum meadow on a clayey limestone soil in County Galway, Irela...
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The use of nutrient concentrations in plant biomass as easily measured indicators of nutrient availability and limitation has been the subject of a controversial debate. In particular, it has been questioned whether nutrient concentrations are mainly species' traits or mainly determined by nutrient availability, and whether plant species have simil...
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Wetland vegetation is often affected by eutrophication or desiccation. The aim of this study was to examine how these factors had affected the vegetation in two wetlands of the Zürich region (Sackriet, 3.8 ha, and Wollwisli, 0.8 ha). We compared the present distribution of plant communities within both wetlands with the distribution mapped 20 years...
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Management is necessary for the conservation of limestone grasslands. However, the traditional management of hay-making every year in July is no longer profitable for farmers. Hence many species-rich grasslands have become abandoned. The aim of this study is (a) to investigate the consequences of abandonment (as compared with annual mowing) on the...
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1. Interspecific competition is known to be influenced by the availability of limiting resources. However, the relative influence of above- and below-ground resources on the outcome of competition is not well understood, due to a lack of experiments where these resources have been varied independently from each other. We therefore investigated the...
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A survey of recent publications shows that research on Phragmites australishas oftenapplied character because of the considerableecological and economic significance of the species.The main applications are water treatment, agriculture(food production or weed control) and natureconservation. In Europe, most research on natural reedstands has been m...
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Dynamics of common reed (Phragmites australisTrin.) in Central Europe have so far mostly beeninvestigated in connection with studies on reed`die-back' along lake shores. However, there hasrecently been increasing concern about reed expansionat terrestrial sites, such as fens and wet grasslands.In this paper we report on the results of fourseparate...
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1. Nutrient enrichment threatens plant species diversity in many wetlands. More frequent mowing is commonly recommended as a measure to enhance nutrient exports and thus to restore low-productive fen vegetation. While the effectiveness of the measure has repeatedly been verified in severely eutrophicated vegetation, it is still uncertain whether mo...
Article
Full-text available
1 Hay meadows in western Ireland were traditionally mown once a year in late summer with aftermath grazing. To assess how changes in mowing regime affect the plant species composition, productivity and vegetation structure, a long-term mowing experiment was carried out in an Arrhenatheretum meadow on a clayey limestone soil in County Galway, Irelan...
Article
. Common reed (Phragmites australis Trin.) has spread in fen meadows on the Swiss Plateau during the last decades. An increased dominance of this tall grass may reduce the plant species richness and displace rare or endangered species because of the additional shade. To investigate whether this has actually happened and whether shading by Phragmite...
Article
The abundance of Phragmites australis (Trin.) has increased in many fen meadows of the Swiss Plateau. The vegetation of 241 4-m2 plots was surveyed to determine how the abundance of Phragmites australis was related to site conditions and to the botanical conservation value. The aboveground biomass of P. australis (ABP) ranged from 0 g to 1270 g dry...

Citations

... Broadly speaking, there are two categories of observed climate data: aggregated meteorological data (e.g., temperature and precipitation data) and climate proxy data, which is typically based on phenology (e.g., start of the cherry blossom, tree rings, ice cores, and sediments). However, the relationship between observed phenological variables and the climate is not well understood, even when time series are dense and contemporary (Güsewell et al., 2017(Güsewell et al., , 2018. Satellite remote sensing systems can provide data from both categories (e.g., sea surface temperature or land cover) and at different levels of spatial and temporal aggregation (NASA, 2021). ...
... Leaf [Mn] of X. gracilis, M. riedlei and D. drummondii were indistinguishable from that of X. preissii, our negative reference. The low leaf [Mn] of Lepidosperma tetraquetrum was unexpected, since Cyperaceae, whether they produce dauciform roots or not (Güsewell and Schroth 2017) tend to release Data are means ± SE (n = 5-10). Different letters indicate statistically significant differences among species (P ≤ 0.05). ...
... Comparing a mycorrhizal Proteaceae species without cluster roots (Placospermum coriaceum) with three nonmycorrhizal ones that produce cluster roots also showed that the species with cluster roots produced more biomass at very low availability of P (94). In contrast, comparisons of carboxylate-releasing Cyperaceae species that do and do not produce dauciform roots have not shown an unambiguous advantage of a combination of structure and physiology (65,86), possibly because they have not been compared over the same wide range as Lupinus and Proteaceae species have (20). Alternatively, Cyperaceae species without dauciform roots may compensate for a lower P-acquisition capacity by a greater internal P-use efficiency (65) or express functionally similar root strategies, such as typical long root hairs (86). ...
... Phenological sensitivity (shifts in phenological date per unit of changes in environmental factors Shen et al., 2015;Thackeray et al., 2016;Du et al., 2019;Keenan et al., 2020)) is used to quantify phenology responses and vulnerabilities of different species and vegetation types under climate change (Cleland et al., 2012;Shen et al., 2015;Güsewell et al., 2017;Xie et al., 2022). By normalizing the response magnitudes, phenological sensitivity can minimize the uncertainties mentioned above, with implications for accurate predictions of plant phenology response to future climate change at regional and global scales (Ibáñez et al., 2010;Fraser et al., 2013;Martínez-Lüscher et al., 2016;Peters, 2019;Piao et al., 2019). ...
... Phosphorus-mining strategies include cluster roots in Proteaceae (Delgado et al. 2014;Purnell 1960;Shane and Lambers 2005), Fabaceae (Allsop and Stock 1993;Brundrett and Abbott 1991;Gardner et al. 1981;Lamont 1972) and a range of actinorhizal families (Hurd and Schwintzer 1996;Louis et al. 1990;Reddell et al. 1997), dauciform roots in many Cyperaceae (Güsewell 2017;Selivanov and Utemova 1969;Shane et al. 2006), capillaroid roots in Restionaceae and Anarthriaceae (Hayes et al. 2014;Lamont 1982), sand-binding roots in Haemodoraceae and a range of other families (Abrahão et al. 2014;Hayes et al. 2014;Smith et al. 2011), vellozioid roots in Velloziaceae (Abrahão et al. 2020;Teodoro et al. 2019), and carboxylate-releasing roots without obvious specialised structures, e.g., in Cicer arietinum (Fabaceae) (Neumann and Römheld 1999;Pang et al. 2018), Vicia faba (Fabaceae) (Li et al. 2013;Wen et al. 2019), Lotus corniculatus (Fabaceae) (Kidd et al. 2018) and Kennedia (Fabaceae) (Pang et al. 2010;Ryan et al. 2012), Artemisia (Asteraceae) and Potentilla (Rosaceae) species (Tian et al. 2021). The discovery of cluster roots in species or genera previously unknown to produce these specialised structures continues, e.g., in the Daviesia group (Mirbelioids; Fabaceae) Nge et al. 2020). ...
... The S content of F. antipyretica was within the range (0.6-10 g kg À1 ) mentioned by Markert (1992) and Kabata-Pendias (2001). The ratio of N to P in plant biomass is an indicator of whether the biomass production at a given site is limited by N or P at the community level (Gusewell et al., 1998). Biomass production is limited by phosphorus if the N/P ratio N16 and by nitrogen if N/P b14. ...
... As with wetlands in general, the area of wet grasslands in Europe has been declining as a result of agricultural intensification, drainage, and conversion to arable land, or abandonment (Joyce and Wade 1998;Tallowin and Jefferson 1999;Prach 2008;Joyce 2014). These changes in land use and management can result in less-diverse wet grassland habitats with changed soil microbial processes (Galatowitsch et al. 2000;Picek et al. 2000;Bollens et al. 2001;Š antrůčková et al. 2001;Brinson and Malvarez 2002). Thus, management regime can greatly affect the structure and functioning of wet grasslands, thereby determining the ecosystem services provided by these systems. ...
... Competition for resources also shapes the structure and diversity of plant communities Grime 1977;Tilman 1982;Edelkraut and Güsewell 2001 and repre- sents the second plant community filter Figure 1. This filter represents the simultaneous interactions of plants with their specific environment and any neigh- boring plants Zobel 1997; Zobel et al. 1998. ...
... Land abandonment might bring disastrous consequences for semi-natural communities such as Molinion caeruleae meadows [4,86,[108][109][110][111][112]. The unmanaged patches are subjected to secondary succession, leading to gradual encroachment of native and alien tall-growing macroforbs (e.g. ...