Seasonal dynamics and compartmentation of nutrients in a grassland meadow in lowland England.
Nutrient compartmentation was studied in grassland consisting predominantly of Agrostis tenuis [=A. capillaris], Holcus lanatus and Anthoxanthum odoratum at 2 sites in Staffordshire. Total nutrients in above- and below-ground components of the vegetation were greatest during the growing season. The efficiency of nutrient cycling was limited by the accumulation of nutrients in surface litter; nutrient release in the 2nd yr was exploited by forbs, although Ca, Mg and Zn were retained in the litter. <6% of total ecosystem nutrients entered the vegetation, except for Ca and Zn which showed higher values. It was concluded that nutrients are poorly conserved and exploited in grassland meadows.