Soil biota of different size classes change the impact of soil compaction on a plant community
Article first published online: 30 MAR 2013
© 2013 International Association for Vegetation Science
Applied Vegetation Science
Volume 16, Issue 4, pages 650–657, October 2013
How to Cite
Beck, M. E., Wurst, S. (2013), Soil biota of different size classes change the impact of soil compaction on a plant community. Applied Vegetation Science, 16: 650–657. doi: 10.1111/avsc.12033
- Issue published online: 10 SEP 2013
- Article first published online: 30 MAR 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 6 FEB 2013
- Manuscript Received: 31 AUG 2012
- Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi;
- Global change;
- Invasive plant;
- Plant functional group;
Does a reduction in size class of soil biota aggravate the impacts of soil compaction on plant communities?
Controlled mesocosm study with a European ruderal plant community exposed to soil compaction and soil biota communities of different size classes.
We evaluated the individual and combined effects of soil compaction and soil biota communities of different size classes (<2000, <212, <20 μm, natural control) on the structure and productivity of a ruderal plant community, and the establishment of a neophyte (Lupinus polyphyllus) in a full-factorial mesocosm study.
Soil compaction reduced the productivity of the plant community, but the negative effect decreased in magnitude as the size class of the soil biota community was reduced. Consistently, shoot growth of the dominant grasses was most reduced by soil compaction when bigger soil biota were present; the shoot growth of forbs showed an opposite pattern. In contrast, legumes seem to profit from soil compaction independent of the size class of the soil biota community, and were detrimentally affected only in the natural control soil. Establishment of the neophyte L. polyphyllus was best under natural soil conditions and was not affected by soil compaction.
A reduction in soil biota size due to intensified management may change the impacts of soil compaction on plant communities. The results indicate that soil compaction has the most detrimental effect on primary productivity in soil communities where a range of size classes of soil biota is present and the functional complexity of the soil biota community is therefore high.