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Data from: Are belowground clonal traits good predictors of ecosystem functioning in temperate grasslands?

Cite this dataset

Klimesova, Jitka et al. (2021). Data from: Are belowground clonal traits good predictors of ecosystem functioning in temperate grasslands? [Dataset]. Dryad.


Dataset contains data on biomass distribution, soil characteristics and trait data for 52 temperate grasslands. Data are presented at community level. Biomass distribution (aboveground biomass, rhizome biomass, and root biomass) and soil chemistry data are original. The trait data are from existing databases and are presented as averages for a community (not weighted by species abundance).


Field sampling

Field data were collected in two regions of the Czech Republic; ‘České Budějiovice’ (CB) and ‘Železné Hory’ (ZH). In the CB region, 30 semi-natural grasslands mown twice per growing season were sampled. In the ZH region, 22 semi-natural grasslands mown once per growing season were sampled. Data were collected before the (first) mowing at the peak of biomass production, at the end of May 2015 for CB and at the beginning of July 2017 for ZH. The studied grasslands are dominated by a mixture of grasses and forbs, and were neither grazed by domestic animals nor burned.

At each grassland, one 5 × 5 m plot was randomly selected, and species presence was recorded. Five subplots 0.2 × 0.2 m were established at plot corners and centre to collect aboveground biomass. In the same five subplots, after aboveground biomass removal, soil samples for analyses of belowground biomass and soil parameters were collected. Collection of soil samples for belowground biomass and soil parameters was slightly different in the two regions reflecting differences in aboveground plant size. In CB, the core size for belowground biomass sampling was 5 cm diameter × 12 cm depth, while in ZH was 8 cm diameter × 12 cm depth; dry biomass values (aboveground, root, rhizome) were then recalculated to g/m2.

Laboratory procedures

Aboveground biomass samples were dried at 80°C until they reached constant weight, and weighted. Belowground biomass and soil chemical parameters samples were frozen at -28°C and processed at a later stage. Belowground biomass was washed out from defrosted soil cores using 0.5 mm mesh sieve, and roots and rhizomes were manually sorted. Roots and rhizomes were dried at 80°C until they reached constant weight, then weighted. The five soil samples coming from each grassland plot were mixed to homogenize soil variability and analyzed at the Analytical Laboratory of the Faculty of Sciences University of South Bohemia, České Budějovice (CB samples) and at the Analytical Laboratory of the Institute of Botany, Třeboň (ZH samples). In both cases, the same analytical approach was used. For pH evaluation, 5 g samples were diluted by 50 ml of distilled water, then shaken by 150 spins/min for one hour, centrifuged by 4000 spins/min for 10 minutes. The incurred solution was filtered and pH was measured. Analyses of soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (TN) concentrations were done by LiquiTOC equipment and analyses of NH4, NO3 and PO4 by Flow Injection Analyzer (FIA, extraction of H2O).

Traits from databases

Canopy height and SLA were obtained from the LEDA database (Kleyer et al., 2008). Clonal traits were extracted from the CloPla database (Klimešová et al., 2017). In the data those traits are represented as community means.


Kleyer, M., Bekker, R. M., Knevel, I. C., Bakker, J. P., Thompson, K., Sonnenschein, P. ... Peco, B. (2008). The LEDA Traitbase: a database of life‐history traits of the Northwest European flora. Journal of Ecology, 96, 1266-1274.

Klimešová, J., Danihelka, J., Chrtek, J., de Bello, F., & Herben, T. (2017). CLO-PLA: a database of clonal and bud-bank traits of the Central European flora. Ecology, 98, 1179.


Czech Science Foundation, Award: 19‐13231S, 19‐14394Y, 20-08900S, 20-13637S, 20-02901S