• Boreal region;
  • N:P ratio;
  • Nitrogen;
  • Norway;
  • Permanent plot;
  • Phosphorus;
  • Potassium;
  • Rich fen;
  • SØlendet Nature Reserve;
  • Wooded grassland
  • Lid & Lid (1994) for vascular plants and Frisvoll et al. (1995) for bryophytes. The terminology concerning mire ecology (e.g.‘rich fen’= fen vegetation including basiphilous species) follows the Scandinavian tradition (Sjörs 1983; Moen 1990)

Abstract. The nutrient status was studied in permanent plots of four plant communities, two rich-fen communities and two wooded grassland communities, all formerly used for haymaking. The concentrations of N, P and K in plant material of dominant and subdominant species (above- and below-ground) were measured in plots experimentally scythed annually or biennially for two decades, and in plots unscythed for four decades. Three of the communities had an N:P ratio of 14 or less, indicating N-limitation; the most fertile grassland community had particularly low values for the N:P ratio (6–12), as did a majority of the species, including all tall-herb species. A species-rich community of fen-margin vegetation in the lowest productive rich fen, had an N: P ratio of 17–19 in the above-ground biomass, which indicates P-limitation of nutrients. Molinia caerulea and Thalictrum alpinum were found to be the vascular plants with the highest N:P ratio, indicating P-limitation of nutrients. Calculations of N:K and K:P ratios indicated possible K-limitation in the rich-fen communities, especially for Thalictrum alpinum, the species with the highest N:K value. No expected change from N- to P-limited growth was found; in contrast, a reduction in the N:P ratio was found in the annually scythed plots of the rich fens, suggesting that reduced biomass production is mainly a result of disturbance by scything. As expected, a reduction in the concentration of K was detected in the scythed plots.