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Plant diversity effects on forage quality, yield and revenues of semi-natural grasslands


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Schaub, Sergei; Finger, Robert; Leiber, Florian; Probst, Stefan; Kreuzer, Michael; Weigelt, Alexandra; Buchmann, Nina and Scherer-Lorenzen, Michael (2020) Plant diversity effects on forage quality, yield and revenues of semi-natural grasslands. nature communications, 11 (768), pp. 1-11.

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Online at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-14541-4


In agricultural settings, plant diversity is often associated with low biomass yield and forage quality, while biodiversity experiments typically find the opposite. We address this controversy by assessing, over 1 year, plant diversity effects on biomass yield, forage quality (i.e. nutritive values), quality-adjusted yield (biomass yield × forage quality), and revenues across different management intensities (extensive to intensive) on subplots of a large-scale grassland biodiversity experiment. Plant diversity substantially increased quality-adjusted yield and revenues. These findings hold for a wide range of management intensities, i.e., fertilization levels and cutting frequencies, in semi-natural grasslands. Plant diversity was an important production factor independent of management intensity, as it enhanced quality-adjusted yield and revenues similarly to increasing fertilization and cutting frequency. Consequently, maintaining and reestablishing plant diversity could be a way to sustainably manage temperate grasslands.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:grasslands, biodiversity, plant diversity, forage quality
Agrovoc keywords:
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Production systems > Pasture and forage crops
Environmental aspects > Biodiversity and ecosystem services
Research affiliation: Switzerland > ETHZ - Agrarwissenschaften
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Animal > Animal nutrition
Germany > Other organizations
Deposited By: Leiber, Dr. Florian
ID Code:38533
Deposited On:28 Oct 2020 12:59
Last Modified:28 Oct 2020 12:59
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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