Combined effects of precipitation and nitrogen deposition on native and invasive winter annual production in California deserts

Combined effects of precipitation and nitrogen deposition on native and invasive winter annual... Primary production in deserts is limited by soil moisture and N availability, and thus is likely to be influenced by both anthropogenic N deposition and precipitation regimes altered as a consequence of climate change. Invasive annual grasses are particularly responsive to increases in N and water availabilities, which may result in competition with native forb communities. Additionally, conditions favoring increased invasive grass production in arid and semi-arid regions can increase fire risk, negatively impacting woody vegetation that is not adapted to fire. We conducted a seeded garden experiment and a 5-year field fertilization experiment to investigate how winter annual production is altered by increasing N supply under a range of water availabilities. The greatest production of invasive grasses and native forbs in the garden experiment occurred under the highest soil N (inorganic N after fertilization = 2.99 g m−2) and highest watering regime, indicating these species are limited by both water and N. A classification and regression tree (CART) analysis on the multi-year field fertilization study showed that winter annual biomass was primarily limited by November–December precipitation. Biomass exceeded the threshold capable of carrying fire when inorganic soil N availability was at least 3.2 g m−2 in piñon-juniper woodland. Due to water limitation in creosote bush scrub, biomass exceeded the fire threshold only under very wet conditions regardless of soil N status. The CART analyses also revealed that percent cover of invasive grasses and native forbs is primarily dependent on the timing and amount of precipitation and secondarily dependent on soil N and site-specific characteristics. In total, our results indicate that areas of high N deposition will be susceptible to grass invasion, particularly in wet years, potentially reducing native species cover and increasing the risk of fire. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Oecologia Springer Journals

Combined effects of precipitation and nitrogen deposition on native and invasive winter annual production in California deserts

Oecologia, Volume 162 (4) – Dec 5, 2009

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 by The Author(s)
Subject
Life Sciences; Plant Sciences ; Ecology
ISSN
0029-8549
eISSN
1432-1939
D.O.I.
10.1007/s00442-009-1516-5
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Primary production in deserts is limited by soil moisture and N availability, and thus is likely to be influenced by both anthropogenic N deposition and precipitation regimes altered as a consequence of climate change. Invasive annual grasses are particularly responsive to increases in N and water availabilities, which may result in competition with native forb communities. Additionally, conditions favoring increased invasive grass production in arid and semi-arid regions can increase fire risk, negatively impacting woody vegetation that is not adapted to fire. We conducted a seeded garden experiment and a 5-year field fertilization experiment to investigate how winter annual production is altered by increasing N supply under a range of water availabilities. The greatest production of invasive grasses and native forbs in the garden experiment occurred under the highest soil N (inorganic N after fertilization = 2.99 g m−2) and highest watering regime, indicating these species are limited by both water and N. A classification and regression tree (CART) analysis on the multi-year field fertilization study showed that winter annual biomass was primarily limited by November–December precipitation. Biomass exceeded the threshold capable of carrying fire when inorganic soil N availability was at least 3.2 g m−2 in piñon-juniper woodland. Due to water limitation in creosote bush scrub, biomass exceeded the fire threshold only under very wet conditions regardless of soil N status. The CART analyses also revealed that percent cover of invasive grasses and native forbs is primarily dependent on the timing and amount of precipitation and secondarily dependent on soil N and site-specific characteristics. In total, our results indicate that areas of high N deposition will be susceptible to grass invasion, particularly in wet years, potentially reducing native species cover and increasing the risk of fire.

Journal

OecologiaSpringer Journals

Published: Dec 5, 2009

References

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