Title: Soil phosphorus constrains biodiversity across European grasslands
Authors: Ceulemans, Tobias ×
Stevens, Carly J
Duchateau, Luc
Jacquemyn, Hans
Gowing, David J G
Merckx, Roel
Wallace, Hilary
Van Rooijen, Nils
Goethem, Thomas
Bobbink, Roland
Dorland, Edu
Gaudnik, Cassandre
Alard, Didier
Corcket, Emmanuel
Muller, Serge
Dise, Nancy B
Dupré, Cecilia
Diekmann, Martin
Honnay, Olivier #
Issue Date: Dec-2014
Publisher: Blackwell Science
Series Title: Global Change Biology vol:20 issue:12 pages:3814-3822
Abstract: Nutrient pollution presents a serious threat to biodiversity conservation. In terrestrial ecosystems, the deleterious effects of nitrogen pollution are increasingly understood and several mitigating environmental policies have been developed. Compared to nitrogen, the effects of increased phosphorus have received far less attention, although some studies have indicated that phosphorus pollution may be detrimental for biodiversity as well. Based on a dataset covering 501 grassland plots throughout Europe, we demonstrate that, independent of the level of atmospheric nitrogen deposition and soil acidity, plant species richness was consistently negatively related to soil phosphorus. We also identified thresholds in soil phosphorus above which biodiversity appears to remain at a constant low level. Our results indicate that nutrient management policies biased towards reducing nitrogen pollution will fail to preserve biodiversity. As soil phosphorus is known to be extremely persistent and we found no evidence for a critical threshold below which no environmental harm is expected, we suggest that agro-environmental schemes should include grasslands that are permanently free from phosphorus fertilization. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
ISSN: 1354-1013
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity Conservation Section
Division Soil and Water Management
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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