Species distribution is often closely associated with soil nutrients in terrestrial ecosystem. In contrast to most manipulated N (nitrogen) experimental studies, there are few observation experiments examining the distribution of species or functional groups along a natural soil N gradient. Alpine meadows with higher soil spatial heterogeneity at fine scale, which have a large gradient in soil N gradient, provides an ideal system to examine the distribution of species or functional groups. Here we used redundancy analysis (RDA) to examine the relationships between soil and plant properties in northeast of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau over two years. The results showed the relative biomass of forbs increased, while those of legumes and grasses decreased with the soil N availability. This suggests that legumes and grasses had stronger tolerance to infertile soils than forbs, which may due to the N2-fixed for legumes and high nutrient use efficiency for grasses. Furthermore, the positive significant relationships between the percentage of legumes biomass and N: P (phosphorus) ratio were found in the whole community and non-legumes, confirming the presence of legumes improved the vegetation N status even for non-legumes.
Russian Journal of Ecology – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 5, 2016
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