New publication from Schaub et al in Nature Communications: Plant diversity effects on forage quality, yield and revenues of semi-natural grasslands
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.
Schaub, S., R. Finger, F. Leiber, S. Probst, M. Kreuzer, A. Weigelt, et al. 2020b. Plant diversity effects on forage quality, yield and revenues of semi-natural grasslands. Nature Communications 11:768. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-14541-4