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The temporal stability and maintenance mechanisms of alpine meadow communities under clipping and fertilization
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  • Ting Wang,
  • Chenglong Guo,
  • Silin Sang,
  • Yiting Liu,
  • Gang Liu,
  • Desheng Qi,
  • Zhihong Zhu
Ting Wang
Shaanxi Normal University College of Life Sciences
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Chenglong Guo
Shaanxi Normal University College of Life Sciences
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Silin Sang
Shaanxi Normal University College of Life Sciences
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Yiting Liu
Shaanxi Normal University College of Life Sciences
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Gang Liu
Shaanxi Normal University
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Desheng Qi
Qinghai Normal University
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Zhihong Zhu
Shaanxi Normal University
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Abstract

The effects of human disturbance on the stability of alpine meadow communities, their diversity–stability relationship, and the underlying mechanisms are still not fully understood. Here, we performed a 12-year-long (2007–2018) two-factor (2 × 3) controlled experiment on Kobresia humilis on the Tibetan Plateau. The manipulations included three clipping levels (no clipping, NC; moderate clipping, MC; heavy clipping, HC) and two fertilization levels (no fertilization, NF; fertilization, F). Our results revealed that the two clipping manipulations significantly increased the temporal stability of alpine meadow communities, whose significant increase was more pronounced under the MC than HC treatment. Moreover, asynchrony effects, portfolio effects, and facilitation interactions were all present in the communities under the six types of experimental treatment combinations. Additionally, a selection effect was detected in the compound communities, demonstrating characteristics that are common to different mechanisms. There were no significant differences in the effects of these mechanisms on community temporal stability between the NC–NF and MC–NF interactive communities. The portfolio effects predominated when clipping intensity was moderate under both fertilization and non-fertilization conditions. By contrast, in the compound communities, the selection effect predominated. In summary, we conclude that in meadow communities that undergo clipping and fertilization disturbances, facilitation interactions and weak interactions make a greater contribution toward maintaining their temporal stability.

Peer review status:IN REVISION

02 Feb 2021Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
03 Feb 2021Submission Checks Completed
03 Feb 2021Assigned to Editor
03 Feb 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
05 Mar 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
05 Mar 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
10 Apr 20211st Revision Received
10 Apr 2021Submission Checks Completed
10 Apr 2021Assigned to Editor
10 Apr 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
11 Apr 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
07 Jun 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor