Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Haymeadows are good for the environment say researchers

Date:
December 7, 2012
Source:
Lancaster University
Summary:
Traditional haymeadows are much better at supporting biodiversity and preventing water pollution than intensively farmed fields according to new research. This is because haymeadows lose five times less nitrogen from the soil, which is needed for plant growth. However, nitrogen becomes a pollutant if it leaches into rivers and contaminates the water supply.

Fieldwork.
Credit: Image courtesy of Lancaster University

Traditional haymeadows are much better at supporting biodiversity and preventing water pollution than intensively farmed fields according to research from Lancaster University.

This is because haymeadows lose five times less nitrogen from the soil, which is needed for plant growth. However, nitrogen becomes a pollutant if it leaches into rivers and contaminates the water supply.

The research was based on an analysis of 22 fields in the Yorkshire Dales and published in PLOS ONE under the title "Extensive management promotes plant and microbial nitrogen retention in temperate grassland" by Franciska de Vries, Helen Quirk, Carly Stevens, and Richard Bardgett from Lancaster Environment Centre, Jaap Bloem from Alterra, Wageningen University and Research Centre in The Netherlands and Roland Bol from Forschungszentrum Jόlich in Germany.

Lead researcher Dr Franciska de Vries of the Lancaster Environment Centre said: "Nitrogen that leaches from the soil with drainage water forms a threat for water quality and high levels in drinking water can threaten human health. It can also reduce species diversity in rivers and grasslands."

The researchers took a total of 162 intact columns of soil as part of a large scale field-observation and glasshouse experiment over several months.

Dr de Vries said: "We watered the columns of soil and measured how much leached out. We also looked at the microbial community which is important because microbes immobilise nitrogen in the soil.

"We show that traditionally managed haymeadows have lower leaching of nitrogen because the plant roots take up more nitrogen, but also because the microbial community in these hay meadows is dominated by fungi instead of bacteria."

Haymeadows with more fungi are better able to retain nitrogen and prevent it leaching away into the water.

"Haymeadows might support more biodiversity because their microbial communities can immobilise three times more added nitrogen into their biomass."

The project was funded by the EU 7th framework project Soilservice.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Lancaster University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Franciska T. de Vries, Jaap Bloem, Helen Quirk, Carly J. Stevens, Roland Bol, Richard D. Bardgett. Extensive Management Promotes Plant and Microbial Nitrogen Retention in Temperate Grassland. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (12): e51201 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051201

Cite This Page:

Lancaster University. "Haymeadows are good for the environment say researchers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121207094346.htm>.
Lancaster University. (2012, December 7). Haymeadows are good for the environment say researchers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121207094346.htm
Lancaster University. "Haymeadows are good for the environment say researchers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121207094346.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How to Make Single Serving Smoothies: Howdini Hacks

How to Make Single Serving Smoothies: Howdini Hacks

Howdini (July 24, 2014) — Smoothies are a great way to get in lots of healthy ingredients, plus they taste great! Howdini has a trick for making the perfect single-size smoothie that will save you time on cleanup too! All you need is a blender and a mason jar. Video provided by Howdini
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) — An 8-year-old boy is bitten in the leg by a shark while vacationing at a Florida beach. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) — The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tyrannosaur Pack-Hunting Theory Aided By New Footprints

Tyrannosaur Pack-Hunting Theory Aided By New Footprints

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — A new study claims a set of prehistoric T-Rex footprints supports the theory that the giant predators hunted in packs instead of alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins