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Mineral content in semiarid grassland systems affected by community structure and soil characteristics.

AuthorsVázquez de Aldana, Beatriz R. ; Pérez Corona, M. Esther ; García Ciudad, Antonia ; García Criado, Balbino
KeywordsAboveground biomass
Mediterranean ecosystems
Soil-plant relationships
Issue Date1996
CitationActa OEcologica, 17: 245-259 (1996)
AbstractMineral element concentrations in plants and their relationships with botanical composition and soil characteristics were analyzed over two consecutive years in herbage samples from semiarid grassland systems (central-western Spain) affected by a topographic gradient. There were not significant differences in the mineral concentration of the plant community between sampling years suggesting that factors other than those related to interannual climatic variation are more important in determining the mineral concentration of plant community in semiarid grasslands. A significant effect of slope position on aboveground biomass production, soil characteristics and plant tissue nutrient contents was found. As compared to the upper and middle zones, the lower zones of slope showed greater aboveground biomass production, a lower proportion of forbs, a higher proportion of grasses, higher concentrations of N, Ca, Mg and Na in botanical groups, and lower concentrations of P and K in botanical components. Stepwise multiple regression analysis showed that most of the variation in N, P, K, Ca, and Mg concentrations in the plant community along the slope can be explained by botanical composition and its specific mineral content. Several soil properties (organic matter, total N, total C, coarse sand) proved to be significantly correlated with the N, Ca, Mg, and Na concentrations of grasses, legumes and forbs, indicating an increase in plant tissue concentrations with increasing eutrophic status in soil from the upper to the lower zones of the slope. The P and K concentrations of legumes and forbs varied according to the phosphorus or potassium contents in soil, which decreased from the upper and middle to the lower zones. The results showed that the mineral concentrations of botanical components were dependent on soil characteristics in different ways.
DescriptionThis work was supported by the European Union project nº 8001-CT90-0021.
Publisher version (URL)http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/1146609X
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