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Interactive effects of altitude and management on resistance and resilience of permanent grasslands to drought: combining agronomic, functional and ecophysiological approaches (GrassAlt)

English title Interactive effects of altitude and management on resistance and resilience of permanent grasslands to drought: combining agronomic, functional and ecophysiological approaches (GrassAlt)
Applicant Buttler Alexandre
Number 156282
Funding scheme Interdisciplinary projects
Research institution Laboratoire des systèmes écologiques EPFL - ENAC - IIE - ECOS
Institution of higher education Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research - WSL
Main discipline Ecology
Start/End 01.01.2015 - 31.12.2018
Approved amount 476'038.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Ecology
Agricultural and Forestry Sciences

Keywords (7)

Management; Swiss Jura; Altitudinal gradient; Drought; Grasslands; Plant traits; Fodder

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
La politique agricole encourage la production de lait et de viande à base d'herbe : depuis cette année 2014, la Confédération soutient financièrement les exploitations qui couvrent leurs besoins en fourrage. Le potentiel de production des herbages est cependant menacé par le changement climatique, plus particulièrement par les évènements extraordinaires (sécheresse sévère, très fortes pluies) qui seront de plus en plus fréquents à l'avenir. Le projet vise à étudier les effets de la sécheresse sur des pâturages situés le long d’un gradient altitudinal du Jura, en combinant l’altitude et le mode de gestion. La sécheresse est simulée au moyen de tunnels maraîchers (toits en plastique interceptant les pluies) qui permettent de « créer » une sécheresse au printemps ou en été, et à comparer ainsi leurs effets respectifs sur la performance de la végétation.
Lay summary

But du projet et objectifs

Le projet, de nature expérimentale, permet de tester l’impact de diverses sécheresses sur la performance des herbages de montagne selon deux intensités d'utilisation différentes (intervalles de 4 ou de 8 semaines entre les utilisations). Les scénarios de précipitations se basent sur les sécheresses qui seraient attendues dans un proche futur, dans la région étudiée et aux différentes altitudes.

Les objectifs du projet sont 1) de fournir des références agronomiques et des pistes pour une gestion adaptée des herbages en situation de sécheresse, afin d’anticiper les pertes de production herbagère et de trouver des solutions viables dans un contexte d’événements climatiques extrêmes, 2) d'identifier les mécanismes écologiques au niveau des plantes, de manière à comprendre ce qui fait la résistance et la résilience des communautés végétales soumises aux changements climatiques, afin d'appréhender les possibles conséquences sur leur fonctionnement et évolution à plus long terme, et 3) de mieux comprendre les mécanismes physiologiques associés à l’échelle de l’espèce. 

 

Contexte scientifique et social

Le projet est transdisciplinaire puisque qu’il allie à la fois des objectifs de sciences appliquée et fondamentale, en étudiant les aspects agronomiques et les mécanismes écologiques dans ces prairies sous contrainte climatique.

Le projet est mené conjointement par le Laboratoire des Systèmes Ecologique - ECOS (Institut Fédéral de Recherches WSL et Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) et l’Institut de recherche agronomique Agroscope.

 

 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 18.11.2014

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Nutrient limitations induced by drought affect forage N and P differently in two permanent grasslands
Meisser Marco, Vitra Amarante, Deléglise Claire, Dubois Sébastien, Probo Massimiliano, Mosimann Eric, Buttler Alexandre, Mariotte Pierre (2019), Nutrient limitations induced by drought affect forage N and P differently in two permanent grasslands, in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 280, 85-94.
Responses of plant leaf economic and hydraulic traits mediate the effects of early- and late-season drought on grassland productivity
Vitra Amarante, Deléglise Claire, Meisser Marco, Risch Anita C, Signarbieux Constant, Lamacque Lia, Delzon Sylvain, Buttler Alexandre, Mariotte Pierre (2019), Responses of plant leaf economic and hydraulic traits mediate the effects of early- and late-season drought on grassland productivity, in AoB PLANTS, 11(3), plz023.
Drought-induced decline of productivity in the dominant grassland species Lolium perenne L. depends on soil type and prevailing climatic conditions
Buttler Alexandre, Mariotte Pierre, Meisser Marco, Guillaume Thomas, Signarbieux Constant, Vitra Amarante, Preux Sara, Mercier Géraldine, Quezada Juan, Bragazza Luca, Gavazov Konstantin (2019), Drought-induced decline of productivity in the dominant grassland species Lolium perenne L. depends on soil type and prevailing climatic conditions, in Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 132, 47-57.
Linking soil's volatilome to microbes and plant roots highlights the importance of microbes as emitters of belowground volatile signals
Schenkel Denis, Deveau Aurélie, Niimi Jun, Mariotte Pierre, Vitra Amarante, Meisser Marco, Buttler Alexandre, Splivallo Richard (2018), Linking soil's volatilome to microbes and plant roots highlights the importance of microbes as emitters of belowground volatile signals, in Environmental Microbiology, 21(9), 3313-3327.
Impacts de la sécheresse sur le fonctionnement des systèmes herbagers - Auswirkungen von Trockenperioden auf die Futterproduktion von Graslandsystemen
Meisser Marco, Vitra Amarante, Stévenin Luc, Mosimann Eric, Mariotte Pierre, Buttler Alexandre (2018), Impacts de la sécheresse sur le fonctionnement des systèmes herbagers - Auswirkungen von Trockenperioden auf die Futterproduktion von Graslandsystemen, in Recherche Agronomique Suisse, 9(3), 82-91.
Impacts of spring and summer droughts on yield and forage quality of three grasslands
Meisser Marco, Deléglise Claire, Signarbieux Constant, Vitra Amarante, Mosimann Eric, Buttler Alexandre (2017), Impacts of spring and summer droughts on yield and forage quality of three grasslands, 26th EGF General Meeting on “The Multiple Roles of Grassland in the European Bioeconomy” Grassland S, volume 21, 900 pages: 792-795.
Herbaceous angiosperms are not more vulnerable to drought-induced embolism than angiosperm trees
Lens F. Picon-Cochard C. Delmas C.E.L. Signarbieux C. Buttler A. Cochard H. Jansen S (2016), Herbaceous angiosperms are not more vulnerable to drought-induced embolism than angiosperm trees, in Plant Physiology , 172, 661-667.
Drought-induced shifts in plants traits, yields and nutritive value under realistic grazing and mowing managements in a mountain grassland
Deléglise Claire, Meisser Marco, Spiegelberger Thomas, Mosimann Eric, Jeangros Bernard, Buttler Alexandre (2015), Drought-induced shifts in plants traits, yields and nutritive value under realistic grazing and mowing managements in a mountain grassland, in Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment , 213, 94-104.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Dr. Claire Deléglise, Agroscope Changins Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Marco Meisser, Agroscope Changins Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Dr. Pierre Mariotte, WSL Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
University of Vienna - Terrestrial ecology group Austria (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Dr. Sylvain Delzon, University of Bordeaux France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Prof. Richard Splivallo, Goethe University Frankfurt Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Dr. Constant Signarbieux, EPFL-ENAC-IIE Laboratory ECOS Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel

Abstract

Grassland ecosystems are challenged to meet the growing demand for ecosystem services and providing human goods. Grasslands are at the core of the Jura agriculture and justify financial support of the government, whose agricultural policy supports forage autonomy of herbivore herds. The expected increase in extreme climatic events will cause significant constraints on grassland systems that are particularly sensitive to drought. As a result, farmers must adapt grassland management, as well as their breeding objectives. Identifying potential interactive effects of different factors, such as altitude and management, with different water availability scenarios is therefore a major challenge to anticipate the performance of grasslands and the reliability of production at a regional scale under future climate variability. The current project will focus on the response of pastures to simulated spring and summer droughts along an altitudinal gradient and according to two management schemes. The objective of the project is twofold: i) provide agronomical references and management clues for forage production under altered precipitation regimes to anticipate potential yield losses and to adapt to future climate extremes, ii) identify ecological mechanisms that drive grassland responses to understand grassland resistance and resilience to drought events and predict their evolution under future climate. To achieve both applied and fundamental goals, agronomical monitoring will be combined with ecological approaches. A plant functional approach will be implemented to address changes in species and functional compositions of grasslands in response to altered environmental conditions. Moreover, relevant and innovative ecophysiological measurements will be developed to assess drought resistance mechanisms at the plant species level. Through the development of knowledge, the proposed project will significantly add in our understanding of the response of grassland communities to future climate variability, and will contribute to ecological theories. Further, the proposed project includes an effective integration of fundamental ecological principles into an agronomic issue, and will lead to the development of references directly relevant to agriculture.
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