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Data from: Multispecies for multifunctions: combining four complementary species enhances multifunctionality of sown grassland

Citation

Suter, Matthias; Huguenin-Elie, Olivier; Lüscher, Andreas (2021), Data from: Multispecies for multifunctions: combining four complementary species enhances multifunctionality of sown grassland, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.5dv41ns5d

Abstract

Assessing the overall performance of ecosystems requires a quantitative evaluation of multifunctionality. We investigated plant species diversity effects on individual functions and overall multifunctionality in a grassland experiment with sown monocultures and mixtures comprising four key grass and legume species. Nitrogen fertilisation rates were 50, 150, and 450 kg N ha-1 yr-1 (N50, N150, N450). Ten functions were measured representing forage production, N cycling, and forage quality, all being related to either productivity or environmental footprint. Multifunctionality was analysed by a novel approach using the mean log response ratio across functions. Over three experimental years, mixture effects benefited all forage production and N cycling functions, while sustaining high forage quality. Thus, mixture effects did not provoke any trade-off among the analysed functions. High N fertilisation rates generally diminished mixture benefits. Multifunctionality of four-species mixtures was considerably enhanced, and mixture overall performance was up to 1.9 (N50), 1.8 (N150), and 1.6 times (N450) higher than in averaged monocultures. Multifunctionality of four-species mixtures at N50 was at least as high as in grass monocultures at N450. Sown grass–legume mixtures combining few complementary species at low to moderate N fertilisation sustain high multifunctionality and are a ‘ready-to-use’ option for the sustainable intensification of agriculture.

Methods

Suter et al. 2021 Functional responses of ten functions from 78 plant communities

Data contains the functional responses of monocultures and of two- and four-species mixtures for ten functions at three nitrogen fertilisation levels, averaged across the three experimental years and scaled to range between 0 and 1 .
The functions "stability", "weed biomass", and "NO3 in soil solution" were first natural log transformed and then scaled to 0-1.