Soil inoculation steers restoration of terrestrial ecosystems

E.R.J. Wubs, W.H. van der Putten, M. Bosch, T.M. Bezemer

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterAcademicpeer-review

110 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Many natural ecosystems have been degraded because of
human activities1,2 and need to be restored so that biodiversity
is protected. However, restoration can take decades and restoration
activities are often unsuccessful3 because of abiotic
constraints (for example, eutrophication, acidification) and
unfavourable biotic conditions (for example, competition or
adverse soil community composition). A key question is what
manageable factors prevent transition from degraded to
restored ecosystems and what interventions are required for
successful restoration2,4. Experiments have shown that the
soil community is an important driver of plant community
development5–8, suggesting that manipulation of the soil
community is key to successful restoration of terrestrial
ecosystems3,9. Here we examine a large-scale, six-year-old
field experiment on ex-arable land and show that application
of soil inocula not only promotes ecosystem restoration, but
that different origins of soil inocula can steer the plant community
development towards different target communities,
varying from grassland to heathland vegetation. The impact
of soil inoculation on plant and soil community composition
was most pronounced when the topsoil layer was removed,
whereas effects were less strong, but still significant, when
the soil inocula were introduced into intact topsoil. Therefore,
soil inoculation is a powerful tool to both restore disturbed
terrestrial ecosystems and steer plant community development.
Original languageEnglish
Article number16107
JournalNature Plants
Volume2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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soil inoculation
inoculum
soil
topsoil
ecosystems
community development
ecological restoration
heathlands
arable soils
acidification
eutrophication
plant communities
grasslands
terrestrial ecosystems
vegetation

Cite this

Wubs, E.R.J. ; van der Putten, W.H. ; Bosch, M. ; Bezemer, T.M. / Soil inoculation steers restoration of terrestrial ecosystems. In: Nature Plants. 2016 ; Vol. 2.
@article{31e7435eca374df69693abe79eee63c7,
title = "Soil inoculation steers restoration of terrestrial ecosystems",
abstract = "Many natural ecosystems have been degraded because ofhuman activities1,2 and need to be restored so that biodiversityis protected. However, restoration can take decades and restorationactivities are often unsuccessful3 because of abioticconstraints (for example, eutrophication, acidification) andunfavourable biotic conditions (for example, competition oradverse soil community composition). A key question is whatmanageable factors prevent transition from degraded torestored ecosystems and what interventions are required forsuccessful restoration2,4. Experiments have shown that thesoil community is an important driver of plant communitydevelopment5–8, suggesting that manipulation of the soilcommunity is key to successful restoration of terrestrialecosystems3,9. Here we examine a large-scale, six-year-oldfield experiment on ex-arable land and show that applicationof soil inocula not only promotes ecosystem restoration, butthat different origins of soil inocula can steer the plant communitydevelopment towards different target communities,varying from grassland to heathland vegetation. The impactof soil inoculation on plant and soil community compositionwas most pronounced when the topsoil layer was removed,whereas effects were less strong, but still significant, whenthe soil inocula were introduced into intact topsoil. Therefore,soil inoculation is a powerful tool to both restore disturbedterrestrial ecosystems and steer plant community development.",
author = "E.R.J. Wubs and {van der Putten}, W.H. and M. Bosch and T.M. Bezemer",
year = "2016",
doi = "10.1038/nplants.2016.107",
language = "English",
volume = "2",
journal = "Nature Plants",
issn = "2055-026X",
publisher = "Nature Publishing Group",

}

Soil inoculation steers restoration of terrestrial ecosystems. / Wubs, E.R.J.; van der Putten, W.H.; Bosch, M.; Bezemer, T.M.

In: Nature Plants, Vol. 2, 16107, 2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Soil inoculation steers restoration of terrestrial ecosystems

AU - Wubs, E.R.J.

AU - van der Putten, W.H.

AU - Bosch, M.

AU - Bezemer, T.M.

PY - 2016

Y1 - 2016

N2 - Many natural ecosystems have been degraded because ofhuman activities1,2 and need to be restored so that biodiversityis protected. However, restoration can take decades and restorationactivities are often unsuccessful3 because of abioticconstraints (for example, eutrophication, acidification) andunfavourable biotic conditions (for example, competition oradverse soil community composition). A key question is whatmanageable factors prevent transition from degraded torestored ecosystems and what interventions are required forsuccessful restoration2,4. Experiments have shown that thesoil community is an important driver of plant communitydevelopment5–8, suggesting that manipulation of the soilcommunity is key to successful restoration of terrestrialecosystems3,9. Here we examine a large-scale, six-year-oldfield experiment on ex-arable land and show that applicationof soil inocula not only promotes ecosystem restoration, butthat different origins of soil inocula can steer the plant communitydevelopment towards different target communities,varying from grassland to heathland vegetation. The impactof soil inoculation on plant and soil community compositionwas most pronounced when the topsoil layer was removed,whereas effects were less strong, but still significant, whenthe soil inocula were introduced into intact topsoil. Therefore,soil inoculation is a powerful tool to both restore disturbedterrestrial ecosystems and steer plant community development.

AB - Many natural ecosystems have been degraded because ofhuman activities1,2 and need to be restored so that biodiversityis protected. However, restoration can take decades and restorationactivities are often unsuccessful3 because of abioticconstraints (for example, eutrophication, acidification) andunfavourable biotic conditions (for example, competition oradverse soil community composition). A key question is whatmanageable factors prevent transition from degraded torestored ecosystems and what interventions are required forsuccessful restoration2,4. Experiments have shown that thesoil community is an important driver of plant communitydevelopment5–8, suggesting that manipulation of the soilcommunity is key to successful restoration of terrestrialecosystems3,9. Here we examine a large-scale, six-year-oldfield experiment on ex-arable land and show that applicationof soil inocula not only promotes ecosystem restoration, butthat different origins of soil inocula can steer the plant communitydevelopment towards different target communities,varying from grassland to heathland vegetation. The impactof soil inoculation on plant and soil community compositionwas most pronounced when the topsoil layer was removed,whereas effects were less strong, but still significant, whenthe soil inocula were introduced into intact topsoil. Therefore,soil inoculation is a powerful tool to both restore disturbedterrestrial ecosystems and steer plant community development.

U2 - 10.1038/nplants.2016.107

DO - 10.1038/nplants.2016.107

M3 - Letter

VL - 2

JO - Nature Plants

JF - Nature Plants

SN - 2055-026X

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ER -