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Perturbation experiments in community plant species during recovery from agricultural abandonment in a semi-arid region of Central-Western Spain

AuthorsÁlvarez Díaz, Jimmy Edgard; Santa Regina, María del Carmen; Santa Regina, Ignacio
Ecosystem Functioning
Invasibility, Restoration
Sowing Experiment
Species Richness
Issue Date2016
PublisherScientific Research Publishing
CitationJournal of Environmental Protection 7: 1618-1644 (2016)
AbstractBackground: Can high diversity mixtures of later succession plant species be able to suppress early successional (arable weed) species than low diversity species mixtures? Can the removal of plant functional groups have important consequences on the system stability? Location: The study area was located at 850 m a.s.l., fifteen kilometers (15 km) to the west of Salamanca city, Spain, in a dehesa-like woodland. Methods: The field experiment was installed in Spring 1996 (May). The plots represented former agricultural lands cropped with (a rotation of) monocultures and abandoned right at the beginning of the experiment after the last crop was harvested in 1995. Before installing plots, the fields were harrowed and equalized. The treatments (NC-natural colonization, LD-low diversity seed mixture and HD-high diversity seed mixture) were randomly allocated to the plots in each block. The experiment was organised according to a block design with five replicate blocks. Within each block, four plots measuring 10 × 10 m were marked out and each of the three treatments was randomly assigned to one plot. All plots were separated by 2 m walkways. Results: The competitive ability of the sown species in different mixtures in LD, valued on the basis of their performance in HD, is a good predictor of their ability to suppress the weed crops species. This was also corroborated by the high relationship between the efficiency of the sown species in both treatments of species mixture (R2 = 0.51, F (1, 33) = 34.56, P < 0.001). Conclusions: The increase of colonizing species cover was significantly lower in LD, which again supported the increase of biomass in 1998, being also lower in HD. Therefore, this increase in the community is more prominent in LD treatments. The effect of sown species was not so important in this increase.
Description27 páginas, 4 tablas, 15 figuras
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/jep.2016.711133
Appears in Collections:(IRNASA) Artículos
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