Abiotic factors affect the recruitment and biomass of perennial grass and evergreen shrub seedlings in denuded areas of Patagonian Monte rangelands

Authors
Bosco, Tomas; Bertiller, Monica Beatriz; Carrera, Analía Lorena
Publication Year
2018
Language
English
Format
article
Status
Published version
Description
Assessing the ability of key species to cope with environmental stresses in disturbed areas is an important issue for recovery of degraded arid ecosystem. Our objective was to evaluate the effect of soil moisture, exposure to UV radiation, and presence/absence of litter with different chemistry on soil N, recruitment and biomass of seedlings of perennial grass (Poa ligularis and Nassella tenuis) and evergreen shrub species (Atriplex lampa and Larrea divaricata) in denuded areas. We carried out a microcosm experiment with soil blocks (28 cm depth) sowed with seeds of the target species, subjected to different levels of litter type (perennial grass-evergreen shrub mixture, evergreen shrub mixture, and no litter), UV radiation (near ambient and reduced UV), and soil water (high: 15–25% and low 5–15%). Periodically, during 6 months, we assessed soil-N (total and inorganic) at two depths and species seedling recruitment at microcosms. Additionally, emerged seedlings of each species were transplanted to individual pots containing soil and subjected to the same previous factors during 12 months. Then, all plants were harvested and biomass assessed. Only inorganic soil-N at the upper soil varied among treatments increasing with the presence of evergreen shrub litter, exposure to ambient UV, and high soil water. Inorganic soil-N, promoted by near ambient UV and high soil water, had a positive effect on recruitment of perennial grasses and A. lampa. Both litter types promoted the recruitment of perennial grasses. Evergreen shrub litter and high soil water promoted the recruitment of L. divaricata. Seedling biomass of perennial grasses increased with high soil water and reduced UV. Ambient UV had positive or null effects on biomass of evergreen shrub seedlings. High soil water increased biomass of L. divaricata seedlings. We concluded that soil water appeared as the most limiting factor for seedling recruitment of all species whereas inorganic soil N limited the recruitment of the small-seeded perennial grasses and A. lampa. Ambient UV had negative effects on seedling biomass of perennial grasses. These complex relationships among abiotic factors and seed and plant traits should be taken into account when planning management actions after disturbances.
Fil: Bosco, Tomas. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Centro Científico Tecnológico Conicet - Centro Nacional Patagónico. Instituto Patagónico para el Estudio de los Ecosistemas Continentales; Argentina. Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia "San Juan Bosco"; Argentina
Fil: Bertiller, Monica Beatriz. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Centro Científico Tecnológico Conicet - Centro Nacional Patagónico. Instituto Patagónico para el Estudio de los Ecosistemas Continentales; Argentina. Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia "San Juan Bosco"; Argentina
Fil: Carrera, Analía Lorena. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Centro Científico Tecnológico Conicet - Centro Nacional Patagónico. Instituto Patagónico para el Estudio de los Ecosistemas Continentales; Argentina. Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia "San Juan Bosco"; Argentina
Subject
ARID ENVIRONMENTS
LITTER QUALITY
SOIL N
SOIL WATER
UV RADIATION
VEGETATION RECOVERY
Ecología
Ciencias Biológicas
CIENCIAS NATURALES Y EXACTAS
Access level
Restricted access
License
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5/ar/
Repository
CONICET Digital (CONICET)
Institution
Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas
OAI Identifier
oai:ri.conicet.gov.ar:11336/88326