We present a study of plant species diversity manipulation on abandoned arable fields and show that most diversity effects can be explained by a successional shift from annuals to perennial plant species. We tested the hypothesis that plant mixtures consisted of mid-successional plant species that were expected to occur on the site following secondary succession, and an increase in the initial plant species diversity at the beginning of secondary succession improves the amount of biomass produced. The main aim was to compare the aboveground biomass for the whole plant community and for different functional groups, using 7 years of field data at abandoned arable land in a semi-arid region of Central Western Spain. Significant differences were established for the treatment-year interaction, analysing the perennial-annual species ratio (P:A) in the HD and LD of sowing treatments. The differences were established at the start of the experiment, when the sown species were more effective in the HD-sowing treatment. There was a negative relationship among the productivity and mean richness of the natural colonization (NC) and the analysed sowing treatments (HD and LD). The coefficient of determination of this relationship was significant (R2 = 0.307, F(1, 13) = 5.75, P = 0. 032).
Part of the book: Forest Ecology and Conservation