Impacts of species interactions on grass community productivity under contrasting management regimes

Laíse da Silveira Pontes, Vincent Maire, Frédérique Louault, Jean François Soussana, Pascal Carrère

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)


Productivity-diversity relationships are routinely described mainly in terms of species richness. However, these relationships can be affected by the functional strategy and physiological plasticity characterizing each species as they respond to environment and management changes. This study, therefore, aimed to analyze species interactions in grass communities presenting the same number of species (n = 6) but different growth strategies, and the impact on community productivity across several forms of field management (two different fertilizer application rates, i.e. 120 and 360 kg N ha -1 year -1, and two cutting frequencies, i.e. 3 and 6 cuts per year). For this purpose, we applied the tripartite partitioning method introduced for the analysis of biodiversity effects (BE). Grass species were cultivated on small plots (4.2 m 2) in both mixtures and monocultures. Different management regimes altered both net BE and its component effects: dominance and potential for complementarity. A higher cutting frequency significantly reduced net BE, via a reduction in dominance effect. We found that increased N supply could either increase or decrease complementary effect according to grass mixture composition, i.e. species strategy. Regardless of management intensity, net BE was in general significantly positive especially when including individual species-specific plasticity effects. We conclude that a combination of different grasses has a positive effect on community biomass. Furthermore, both the functional strategy and the functional plasticity of component species play an important role in the intensity of BE. Therefore, biological mechanisms leading to enhanced biomass in six-grass communities are as effective for productivity as management conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)761-771
Number of pages11
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


  • Complementarity effect
  • Dominance effect
  • Grass communities
  • Mixtures
  • Transgressive overyielding

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