Interactions between individual plant species and soil nutrient status in shortgrass steppe
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The effect of plant community structure on nutrient cycling is fundamental to our understanding of ecosystem function. We examined the importance of plant species and plant cover (i.e., plant covered microsites vs. bare soil) on nutrient cycling in shortgrass steppe of northeastern Colorado. We tested the effects of both plant species and cover on soils in an area of undisturbed shortgrass steppe and an area that had undergone nitrogen and water additions from 1971 to 1974, resulting in significant shifts in plant species composition. Soils under plants had consistently higher C and N mineralization ...