Site: Konza Prairie LTER

Credit: Jill Haukos

Experiments at KNZ LTER have identified significant time lags between treatment initiation and sustained community effects. At a minimum, these times lags are 3-6 years for water and nutrient manipulations, but can be decades according to fire suppression and woody plant expansion studies. Decreases in plant diversity evident in the first few years after water and nutrient enrichment did not necessarily persist long term due to stochastic influences on community assembly. In streams, communities reassembled and ecosystem processes recovered over weeks to months following flood or drought. These observations represent a paradigm shift in understanding grassland assembly and spatial and temporal responses to changing external drivers.