Effects of Elevated [CO2] and N Fertilization on Interspecific Interactions in Temperate Grassland Model Ecosystems

  • A. Lüscher
  • U. Aeschlimann
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 187)

19.5 Conclusions

Elevated [CO2] and N fertilization influenced markedly yield, species proportion and interspecific interactions in temperate grassland. These changes may significantly affect amount and quality of forage and ecosystem functioning.
  • Interspecific differences in the response to e[CO2] were stronger in the mixed sward (−2 % for L. perenne and +65 % for T. repens) than in the pure swards (+13 % for L. perenne and +19 % for T. repens), demonstrating that e[CO2] does affect not only the yield, but also the interspecific interactions and the species composition of mixed plant communities. Thus, studying the ecosystem response to e[CO2] needs experiments with mixed plant communities.

  • RY and RNY <0.5 for T. repens provides evidence that T. repens was adversely affected from competition with the grass, while the grass competed more successfully for resources (RY >0.5) or even clearly gained from synergistic effects (RY >1.0).

  • The extreme resource complementarity (RNYT of up to 1.9) at low N and the loss of resource complementarity (RYT and RNYT close to 1.0) at high N demonstrate that mineral N availability was the most important limiting factor for plant growth and interspecific interactions in the low N treatment of the Swiss FACE experiment. Thus, this FACE experiment with grasses and legumes provides a good tool to study effects of e[CO2] on the N cycle of grassland ecosystems under strongly limiting and non-limiting N availability.


White Clover Relative Yield Perennial Ryegrass Interspecific Interaction Lolium Perenne 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ainsworth EA, Davey PA, Hymus GJ, Osborne CP, Rogers A, Blum H, Nösberger J, Long SP (2003) Is stimulation of leaf photosynthesis by elevated carbon dioxide concentration maintained in the long term? A test with Lolium perenne grown for 10 years at two nitrogen fertilization levels under free air CO2 enrichment (FACE). Plant Cell Environ 26:705–714CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cain ML, Pacala SW, Silander JA Jr, Fortin MJ (1995) Neighbourhood models of clonal growth in the white clover Trifolium repens. Am Nat 145:888–917CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Campbell BD, Stafford Smith DM, Ash AJ, Fuhrer J, Gifford RM, Hiernaux P, Howden SM, Jones MB, Ludwig JA, Manderscheid R, Morgan JA, Newton PCD, Nösberger J, Owensby CE, Soussana JF, Tuba Z, ZuoZhong C (2000) A synthesis of recent global change research on pasture and rangeland production: Reduced uncertainties and their management implications. Agric Ecosyst Environ 82:39–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Clark H, Newton PCD, Bell CC, Glasgow EM (1995) The influence of elevated CO2 and simulated seasonal-changes in temperature on tissue turnover in pasture turves dominated by perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) and white clover (Trifolium repens). J Appl Ecol 32:128–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Connolly J (1997) Substitutive experiments and the evidence for competitive hierarchies in plant communities. Oikos 80:179–182Google Scholar
  6. Connolly J, Wayne P (2005) Assessing determinants of community biomass composition in two-species plant competition studies. Oecologia 142:450–457PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Daepp M, Suter D, Lüscher A, Almeida JPF, Isopp H, Hartwig UA, Blum H, Nösberger J (2000) Yield response of Lolium perenne swards to free air CO2 enrichment increased over six years in a high-N-input system. Global Change Biol 6:805–816CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Daepp M, Nösberger J, Lüscher A (2001) Nitrogen fertilization and developmental stage alter the response of Lolium perenne to elevated CO2. New Phytol 150:347–358CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Edwards GR, Clark H, Newton PCD (2001) The effects of elevated CO2 on seed production and seedling recruitment in a sheep-grazed pasture. Oecologia 127:383–394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Faurie O, Soussana JF, Sinoquet H (1996) Radiation interception, partitioning and use in grass-clover mixtures. Ann Bot 77:35–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hebeisen T, Lüscher A, Zanetti S, Fischer BU, Hartwig UA, Frehner M, Hendrey GR, Blum H, Nösberger J (1997) Growth response of Trifolium repens L. and Lolium perenne L. as monocultures and bi-species mixture to free air CO2 enrichment and management. Global Change Biol 3:149–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hooper DU, Dukes JS (2004) Overyielding among plant functional groups in a long-term experiment. Ecol Lett 7:95–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hunt R, Parson IT (1994) A computer program for deriving growth-functions in plant analysis. J Appl Ecol 11:297–307Google Scholar
  14. Jongen M, Jones MB, Hebeisen T, Blum H, Hendrey G (1995) The effects of elevated CO2 concentrations on the root-growth of Lolium perenne and Trifolium repens grown in a face system. Global Change Biol 1:361–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kessler W, Nösberger J (1994) Factors limiting white clover growth in grass/clover systems. Proc Gen Meet Eur Grassl Fed 15:525–538Google Scholar
  16. Lambers H, Poorter H (1992) Inherent variation in growth-rate between higher plants — a search for physiological causes and ecological consequences. Adv Ecol Res 23:187–261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lemaire G, Gastal F, Salette J (1989) Analysis of the effect of N nutrition on dry matter yield and optimum N content. Proc Int Grassl Congr 16:179–180Google Scholar
  18. Lötscher M, Nösberger J (1996) Influence of position and number of nodal roots on outgrowth of axillary buds and development of branches in Trifolium repens L. Ann Bot 78:459–465CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lötscher M, Nösberger J (1997) Branch and root formation in Trifolium repens is influenced by the light environment of unfolded leaves. Oecologia 111:499–504CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lüscher A, Hebeisen T, Zanetti S, Hartwig UA, Blum H, Hendrey GR, Nösberger J (1996) Differences between legumes and nonlegumes of permanent grassland in their responses to free-air carbon dioxide enrichment: its effect on competition in a multispecies mixture. In: Körner C, Bazzaz F (eds) Carbon dioxide, populations, and communities.Academic Press, San Diego, pp 287–300Google Scholar
  21. Lüscher A, Hendrey GR, Nösberger J (1998) Long-term responsiveness to free air CO2 enrichment of functional types, species and genotypes of plants from fertile permanent grassland. Oecologia 113:37–45Google Scholar
  22. Lüscher A, Hartwig UA, Suter D, Nösberger J (2000) Direct evidence that symbiotic N2 fixation in fertile grassland is an important trait for a strong response of plants to elevated atmospheric CO2. Global Change Biol 6:655–662CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lüscher A, Daepp M, Blum H, Hartwig UA, Nösberger J (2004) Fertile temperate grassland under elevated atmospheric CO2 — role of feed-back mechanisms and availability of growth resources. Eur J Agron 21:379–398CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lüscher A, Fuhrer J, Newton PCD (2005) Global atmospheric change and its effect on managed grassland systems. In: McGilloway DA (ed) Grassland: a global resource. Wageningen Academic, Wageningen, pp 251–264Google Scholar
  25. Ramseier D, Connolly J, Bazzaz FA (2005) Carbon dioxide regime, species identity and influence of species initial abundance as determinants of change in stand biomass composition in five-species communities: an investigation using a simplex design and RGRD analysis. J Ecol 93:502–511CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Robin C, Hay MJM, Newton PCD, Greer DH (1994) Effect of light quality (red far-red ratio) at the apical bud of the main stolon on morphogenesis of Trifolium repens L. Ann Bot 74:119–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rogers A, Fischer BU, Bryant J, Frehner M, Blum H, Raines CA, Long SP (1998) Acclimation of photosynthesis to elevated CO2 under low-nitrogen nutrition is affected by the capacity for assimilate utilization. Perennial ryegrass under free-air CO2 enrichment. Plant Physiol 118:683–689PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ross DJ, Newton PCD, Tate KR (2004) Elevated [CO2] effects on herbage production and soil carbon and nitrogen pools and mineralization in a species-rich, grazed pasture on a seasonally dry sand. Plant Soil 260:183–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ryle GJA, Powell CE (1992) The influence of elevated pCO2 and temperature on biomass production of continuously defoliated white clover. Plant Cell Environ 15:593–599CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. SAS Institute (1999) The SAS system for Windows ver 8.02. SAS Institute, Cary, N.C.Google Scholar
  31. Sattin M, Zuin MC, Sartorato I (1994) Light quality beneath field-grown maize, soybean and wheat canopies — red-far red variations. Physiol Plant 91:322–328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Schneider MK, Lüscher A, Richter M, Aeschlimann U, Hartwig UA, Blum H, Frossard E, Nösberger J (2004) Ten years of free-air CO2 enrichment altered the mobilization of N from soil in Lolium perenne L. swards. Global Change Biol 10:1377–1388CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Schwank O, Blum H, Nösberger J (1986) The influence of irradiance distribution on the growth of white clover (Trifolium repens L.) in differently managed canopies of permanent grassland. Ann Bot 57:273–281Google Scholar
  34. Schwinning S, Parsons AJ (1996) Analysis of the coexistence mechanisms for grasses and legumes in grazing systems. J Ecol 84:799–813CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sims PL, Risser PG (2000) Grasslands. In: Barbour MG, Billings WG (eds) North American terrestrial vegetation, Cambridge University Press, New York, pp 323–356Google Scholar
  36. Snaydon RW, Satorre EH (1989) Bivariate diagrams for plant competition data: modifications and interpretation. J Appl Ecol 26:1043–1057CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Soussana JF, Hartwig UA (1996) The effects of elevated CO2 on symbiotic N2 fixation: a link between the carbon and nitrogen cycles in grassland ecosystems. Plant Soil 187:321–332CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Soussana JF, Vertès F, Arregui MC (1995) The regulation of clover shoot growing points density and morphology during short-term clover decline in mixed swards. Eur J Agron 4:205–215Google Scholar
  39. Soussana JF, Casella E, Loiseau P (1996) Long-term effects of CO2 enrichment and temperature increase on a temperate grass sward. II. Plant nitrogen budgets and root fraction. Plant Soil 182:101–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Suter D, Nösberger J, Lüscher A (2001) Response of perennial ryegrass to free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) is related to the dynamics of sward structure during regrowth. Crop Sci 41:810–817CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Winkler L, Nösberger J (1985) Einfluss der Schnitthäufigkeit und N-Düngung auf die Bestandesstruktur und die vertikale Verteilung von Weissklee (Trifolium repens L.) in einer Dauerwiese. J Agron Crop Sci 155:43–50Google Scholar
  42. Woledge J, Davidson K, Dennis WD (1992) Growth and photosynthesis of tall and short cultivars of white clover with tall and short grasses. Grass Forage Sci 47:230–238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Zanetti S, Hartwig UA, Lüscher A, Hebeisen T, Frehner M, Fischer BU, Hendrey GR, Blum H, Nösberger J (1996) Stimulation of symbiotic N2 fixation in Trifolium repens L. under elevated atmospheric pCO2 in grassland ecosystems. Plant Physiol 112:575–583PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Zanetti S, Hartwig UA, Van Kessel C, Lüscher A, Hebeisen T, Frehner M, Fischer BU, Hendrey GR, Blum H, Nösberger J (1997) Does nitrogen nutrition restrict the CO2 response of fertile grassland lacking legumes? Oecologia 112:17–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Lüscher
    • 1
  • U. Aeschlimann
    • 2
  1. 1.Agroscope FAL ReckenholzZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Plant ScienceSwiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH)ZürichSwitzerlan

Personalised recommendations