Valorization of grassland management for the water supply in context with climate change
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Increasing frequencies of droughts in the vegetation period are challenging for the agricultural management of mountain grassland. To analyse the impact of drought on different gradients of agricultural intensity and envi-ronmental characteristics, three different grassland eco-systems (in terms of underlying climate and productivity) are investigated using small high precision lysimeters (Smart-Field-Lysimeter) in a common garden experiment at the LTER-site ‘Stubai Valley’, Austria. The simulated sequence of two drought periods intermitted by a recove-ry (rewetting) period after cutting showed with +11.4% (± 2.7) higher evapotranspiration for the vegetation type S (Stubai Valley, humid climate) than for the vegetation type M from the drier area ‘Matscher Valley’, Italy. However, the selected water spending strategy of the type S might be more vulnerable to drought events and the question, whether such types of plant communities will adapt to drought or to which extent physiological and morphological changes could play a role initially needs detailed analyses of plant soil interactions.