Loading...

The disturbance and seeding experiment aims to explore different questions that are highly relevant from a scientific, agricultural, and conservation perspective. On the one hand, it is about resilience, that being the resistance of the ecosystem to disturbances. Resilience is an important component of the stability of an ecosystem. Here we are studying how quickly the ecosystem ‘grassland’ with all its functions can return to its original state after a drastic disturbance, and how much resilience depends on the former diversity of the vegetation and the current land use. On the other hand, research is being conducted into the extent to which the species richness of a grassland can be increased by seeding in plant species that are not yet present and how strongly different ecosystem services are promoted as a result. This refers, for example, to the positive effects of certain species on yield and forage value, but also to other functions like pollination or carbon fixation. Seeding also allows us to assess the extent to which the current diversity of grasslands of different land uses is limited by the species’ restricted ability to disperse. At the same time, the experiment represents an attempt to make agricultural grassland potentially less vulnerable to climate and weather fluctuations, because the experimental increase in species could in turn also have a positive effect on the resilience of the system.


  • How does the resilience of the grassland ecosystem relate to plant diversity and land-use intensity?
  • How long do grassland areas with and without seeding need to fully recover their entire functionality?
  • How much is the current vegetation of the grasslands limited by lack of spread and lack of germination sites?
  • Which biotic, abiotic and land-use species filters influence the composition of grassland vegetation?
  • Does experimentally increased plant diversity have positive effects on key ecosystem functions such as resilience, nutrient cycling, and drought tolerance?

On the total of 73 grassland plots along the land use gradient in the three exploratories, a Seeding and Disturbance Experiment (SADE) has been set up, combining the use of regional (autochthonous) seeds and topsoil disturbance in a fully factorial way. Through the cooperation of numerous working groups of the Biodiversity Exploratories in the SADE experiment, numerous aboveground as well as belowground parameters and processes can be collected for joint analysis in the coming years.

Design

On each grassland plot, the experiment consists of four 7 m × 7 m subplots on which the factors ‘disturbance’ and ‘seeding’ are explored, including a control plot (Figure 1). In order to separate the individual effects, not only the combination but also the separate implementation of the treatment variants is necessary. Seeding is carried out with regionally sourced and regionally specific seed. The available vegetation surveys from the exploratories were taken as the basis for the species pool to be introduced. The same species mixture, consisting of grasses, herbs and legumes, is used on each area of a region. The species mixtures differ between the exploratories depending on the regional species pool and contain 47 to 66 plant species. Disturbance by tilling or harrowing the topsoil to a depth of 10 cm resets the current vegetation and creates open germination sites. Thus, the regeneration of the ecosystem can be observed with and without the introduction of additional plant species. Further information and initial results can be found in the publication Klaus et. al 2017 (doi: 10.1093/jpe/rtw062).

Seeding in the Hainich
Disturbance on the Alb
Design of the Seeding and Disturbance Experiment SADE

Working groups involved in SADE to date and in the future:

Botany, Uni Bern
ESCAPE II, Uni Münster
Crustfunction, Uni Rostock
RootHerb II, FU Berlin
SEBA-RS, FU Berlin
SCALEMIC, Uni Hohenheim
AntAphid, Uni Bayreuth
Microorganism, UFZ Halle
ForNit, Helmholtz Zentrum München


Doc
Freitag M., Klaus V. H., Bolliger R., Hamer U., Kleinebecker T., Prati D., Schäfer D., Hölzel N. (2021): Restoration of plant diversity in permanent grassland by seeding: Assessing the limiting factors along land-use gradients. Journal of Applied Ecology 58 (8), 1681-1692. doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.13883
More information:  doi.org
Doc
Grasslands soil seed banks: composition, diversity and its response to disturbance
Grünlandbodensamenbanken: Zusammensetzung, Artenvielfalt und der Einfluss von Störungen
Hoever C. J. (2016): Grasslands soil seed banks: composition, diversity and its response to disturbance. Master thesis, University Münster
Doc
Hölzel N., Klaus V. H. (2017): Zur Artenvielfalt im Grünland. Natur in NRW 2/2017, 35-39
More information:  www.lanuv.nrw.de
Doc
Störungs- und Ansaateffekte auf arbuskuläre Mykorrhizakolonisation entlang eines Landnutzungradienten
Kaminska A. (2018): Störungs- und Ansaateffekte auf arbuskuläre Mykorrhizakolonisation entlang eines Landnutzungradienten. Bachelor thesis, FU Berlin
Doc
Klaus V. H., Fischer M., Hamer U., Hölzel N., Kleinebecker T., Prati D., Schäfer D., Allan E. (2018): The Biodiversity Exploratories: a large-scale framework project for functional biodiversity research. European Grassland Federation 2018, Vol. 23, 610-612
More information:  www.europeangrassland.org
Doc
Einfluss von Ansaat und Störung auf die Pflanzendiversität landwirtschaftlich genutzter Grünländer
Knabe C. (2017): Einfluss von Ansaat und Störung auf die Pflanzendiversität landwirtschaftlich genutzter Grünländer. Bachelor tesis, University Münster
Doc
Untersuchungen zur Bodensamenbank im Grünland: Effekte experimenteller Oberbodenstörung
Mertens D. (2015): Untersuchungen zur Bodensamenbank im Grünland: Effekte experimenteller Oberbodenstörung. Bachelor thesis, University Münster
Doc
Resilience of grassland in the Biodiversity Exploratories
Reichling R. P. (2015): Resilience of grassland in the Biodiversity Exploratories. Bachelor thesis, University Münster
Doc
Diversity-stability relationships in temperate grasslands and forests of differing land-use intensities
Diversitäts-Stabilitäts-Beziehungen in temperaten Grünländern und Wäldern von unterschiedlicher Landnutzungsintensität
Schäfer D. (2018): Diversity-stability relationships in temperate grasslands and forests of differing land-use intensities. Dissertation, University Bern
Doc
Erholung von Ökosystemfunktionen nach experimenteller Störung in 73 Grünlandflächen mit unterschiedlicher Landnutzungsintensität, Artenvielfalt und Zusammensetzung der Pflanzengesellschaft
Schäfer D., Klaus V. H., Kleinebecker T., Boeddinghaus R. S., Hinderling J., Kandeler E., Marhan S., Nowak S., Sonnemann I., Wurst S., Fischer M., Hölzel N., Hamer U., Prati D. (2019): Recovery of ecosystem functions after experimental disturbance in 73 grasslands differing in land‐use intensity, plant species richness and community composition. Journal of Ecology 107 (6), 2635-2649. doi: 10.1111/1365-2745.13211
More information:  doi.org
Doc
Resilienz von arbuskulärer Mykorrhizakolonisierung in Grünländern gegen Störungs- und Einsaateffekte entlang eines Landnutzungsgradienten
Streuer I. (2018): Resilienz von arbuskulärer Mykorrhizakolonisierung in Grünländern gegen Störungs- und Einsaateffekte entlang eines Landnutzungsgradienten. Bachelor thesis, FU Berlin
Doc
Resilienz von arbuskulärer Mykorrhiza gegenüber Einsaat und Störung entlang eines Landnutzungsgradienten
Thurow H. (2018): Resilienz von arbuskulärer Mykorrhiza gegenüber Einsaat und Störung entlang eines Landnutzungsgradienten. Bachelor thesis, FU Berlin
Doc
Die Resilienz von arbuskulärer Mykorrhizakolonisierung gegenüber Störungs- und Einsaateffekten entlang eines Landnutzungsgradienten in Grasländern
Tolkmitt L.-T. (2018): Die Resilienz von arbuskulärer Mykorrhizakolonisierung gegenüber Störungs- und Einsaateffekten entlang eines Landnutzungsgradienten in Grasländern. Bachelor thesis, FU Berlin

Scientific assistants

Prof. Dr. Norbert Hölzel
Project manager
Prof. Dr. Norbert Hölzel
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Dr. habil. Ute Hamer
Project manager
Dr. habil. Ute Hamer
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Dr. Daniel Prati
Project manager
Dr. Daniel Prati
Universität Bern
Prof. Dr. Till Kleinebecker
Project manager
Prof. Dr. Till Kleinebecker
Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
Martin Freitag
Employee
Martin Freitag
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Judith Hinderling
Employee
Judith Hinderling
Universität Bern
Top