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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 47 No. 3, p. 915-928
     
    Received: Sept 15, 2006
    Published: May, 2007


    * Corresponding author(s): lesollen@ufl.edu
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doi:10.2135/cropsci2006.09.0581

Nutrient Cycling in Warm-Climate Grasslands

  1. J. C. B. Dubeuxa,
  2. L. E. Sollenberger *b,
  3. B. W. Mathewsc,
  4. J. M. Scholbergc and
  5. H. Q. Santosd
  1. a Dep. de Zootecnia/UFRPE, Av. Dom Manoel de Medeiros, S/N, Dois Irmãos, 52171-900, Recife-PE, Brazil
    b Agronomy Dep., Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0300
    c College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management, Univ. of Hawaii at Hilo, Hilo, HI 96720-4091
    d Dep. Agronômico–Cargill Fertilizantes, R. Bahia, 299, Área Verde, Alto Garças, MT, Brazil, 78770-000

Abstract

Nutrients cycle among pools within an ecosystem, and losses of nutrients to the environment accompany each transfer from pool to pool. Efficient recapture of nutrients by plants is critical in extensively managed grasslands if these swards are to persist. In intensively managed systems, the greatest contribution of efficient recapture of nutrients may be minimizing loss of nutrients to the environment and associated negative impacts. Regardless of management intensity, grassland management decisions should be informed by an understanding of the dynamics of nutrient cycling. A significant body of literature has emerged in recent years describing nutrient dynamics in warm-climate grasslands. In warm climates globally, grasslands are most often low-input production systems dominated by C4 grasses. These characteristics affect nutrient cycling, resulting in very different management challenges and opportunities than in higher input, C3–grass or legume-dominated, grasslands. This paper will focus on warm-climate grasslands. Within that context its objectives are (i) to describe the most prominent pools of C, N, P, and K, (ii) to discuss fluxes among nutrient pools, with emphasis on plant litter and animal excreta, iii) to describe the importance, management, and dynamics of soil organic matter, and (iv) to review the impact of grazing systems on nutrient cycling.

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Copyright © 2007. Crop Science Society of AmericaCrop Science Society of America