Dissimilar response of plant and soil biota communities to long-term nutrient adition in grasslands

A. van der Wal, R.H.E.M. Geerts, H. Korevaar, A.J. Schouten, G.A.J.M. Jagers op Akkerhuis, M. Rutgers, C. Mulder

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    37 Citations (Scopus)


    The long-term effect of fertilizers on plant diversity and productivity is well known, but long-term effects on soil biota communities have received relatively little attention. Here, we used an exceptional long-lasting (>40 years) grassland fertilization experiment to investigate the long-term effect of Ca, N, PK, and NPK addition on the productivity and diversity of both vegetation and soil biota. Whereas plant diversity increased by liming and decreased by N and NPK, the diversity of nematodes, collembolans, mites, and enchytraeids increased by N, PK, or NPK. Fertilization with NPK and PK increased plant biomass and biomass of enchytraeids and collembolans. Biomass of nematodes and earthworms increased by liming. Our results suggest that soil diversity might be driven by plant productivity rather than by plant diversity. This may imply that the selection of measures for restoring or conserving plant diversity may decrease soil biota diversity. This needs to be tested in future experiments
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)663-667
    JournalBiology and Fertility of Soils
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • nitrogen enrichment
    • animal diversity
    • stoichiometry
    • invertebrates
    • biodiversity
    • biomass
    • litter

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