Study

Grassland compost amendments increase plant production without changing plant communities

  • Published source details Ryals R., Eviner V.T., Stein C., Suding K.N. & Silver W.L. (2016) Grassland compost amendments increase plant production without changing plant communities. Ecosphere, 7, e01270-n/a.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Other biodiversity: Add compost to the soil

Action Link
Mediterranean Farmland
  1. Other biodiversity: Add compost to the soil

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2008–2012 in two grazed grasslands in California, USA, found more plant biomass in plots with added compost. Sixteen species of rare plants were found only in plots with added compost. Plants: Before grazing, more plant biomass was found in plots with added compost, compared to plots without it (coastal prairie: 41% more; valley grassland: 71% more). Higher plant diversity was found in plots with added compost, compared to plots without it, in one of eight comparisons (coastal prairie, 2009: 7.5 vs 6 species/m2; Shannon evenness index). In the valley grassland, increases in the relative abundance of three grass species, and decreases in that of two forb and one bulb species, were found in plots with added compost, compared to plots without it. In the coastal prairie, sixteen rare species (<5% of observations) were found only in plots with added compost. The abundance of an invasive grass (medusahead Elymus caput-medusae) was lower in plots with added compost, in one of four comparisons (13% lower abundance in plots with compost), but that of an invasive forb (Carthamus lanatus) was no different. Methods: In December 2008, composted green waste (7 kg dry matter/m2, 129 g N/m2, C to N ratio of 11) was added to three plots at each of two sites (one valley grassland and one coastal prairie, both dominated by non-native annuals), but compost was not added to three control plots at each site. All plots (25 x 60 m plots) were in cattle-grazed paddocks (15 ha, rotationally grazed to 84 g standing/m2).

     

Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 18

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.


Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust