Dataset: Park Grass Species, Fertilizer and Lime Treatments 2010-2012

Citation:  Sarah Perryman, Jonathan Storkey (2022). Dataset: Park Grass Species, Fertilizer and Lime Treatments 2010-2012 Electronic Rothamsted Archive, Rothamsted Research 10.23637/rpg5-species_2010-2012-01
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Example of data derived from the dataset - plot 3a & 3b (no fertilizer or manure) 2012

Example of data derived from the dataset - plot 3a & 3b (no fertilizer or manure) 2012


The dataset contains the proportional biomass of botanical species of Park Grass hay experiment 2010-2012. They comprise the biomass of selected treatment plots to cover a range of the various treatments. Each survey was done annually just before the first cut. There are sixty-eight species in the dataset and are comprised of forbs, grasses, legumes, and tree saplings. The species composition in different plots reflect their fertiliser treatment and pH of the plot due to liming. Unfertilised control plots have the greatest species numbers (up to 33 species per plot, for plot 3a in 2010) and plots receiving nitrogen as ammonium sulphate have the lowest species number (down to one or two per plot), particularly where lime is not applied, due to the acidifying effects of the ammonium on the soil. Nitrogen applied as sodium nitrate also decreases species numbers. There some local extinctions and species invasions compared to the 10-year dataset 1991-2000, see Additional Information. Fertilizer and lime treatments are also provided in the dataset, as are common names of species.


In the three years from 2010 to 2012, six randomly located quadrats measuring 50cm x 25cm were located within each of the plots in early June, immediately before the first cut. The herbage was cut with scissors to ground level and plant material taken back to the laboratory where it was sorted into species. Samples were oven-dried at 80 ºC for 24 hours, after which dry mass was determined for each species. This compliments and follows the 10-year survey conducted by Imperial College (see Crawley et al., 2005 and dataset Note: In 2010 there are a number of 'unidentified species' but not in 2011/2012 - when sorting, there is always a pile of single leaves, small plants and stems that it is not possible to separate; this can vary by year and plot.

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  • Sarah Perryman: Data curator
  • Margaret Glendining: Data curator
  • Andrew Macdonald: Project leader
  • Richard Ostler: Project manager
  • Nathalie Castells: Data manager
  • Chris Hall: Data collector
  • Jonathan Storkey: Researcher
  • Andy Gregory: Project manager

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Creative Commons License This dataset is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence (4.0).

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Table Of Contents

The dataset comprises an Excel file, rpg5_species_2010-2012_01.xlsx, containing the Park Grass fertilizer and lime treatments, the botanical species proportional biomass, a species list with scientific and common names and phylogeny (forbs, grasses, legumes, and trees) 2010-2012. Frictionless CSV files are provided for users who prefer CSV over Excel files.

Sub-plot % individual species are derived from a survey conducted by Jonathan Storkey 2010-2012. Data supplied was checked by Andy Macdonald and Paul Poulton.

In accordance with the Joint Code of Practice for Research at Rothamsted, data processing in e-RA follow rigorous standard operating procedures to ensure the quality and correctness of data collected in the field through to depositing in the e-RA database. To ensure quality control during data inputting, the original data set complied by Jonathan Storkey was checked by two other scientists and any discrepancies were resolved and were independently back-checked against the original data sheets. The Frictionless dataset was compiled by Sarah Perryman and quality checked by Margaret Glendining.

This species survey was conducted Jonathan Storkey at Rothamsted Research. Further details can be found in the paper Storkey, J., Macdonald, A. J., Poulton, P. R., Scott, T., Kohler, I. H., Schnyder, H., Goulding, K. W. T. and Crawley, M. J. (2015) Grassland biodiversity bounces back from long-term nitrogen addition, Nature, 528, (7582), 401-4

Background history: Park Grass was initiated to investigate the ways of improving the yield of hay by the application of inorganic fertilizers and organic manure. With time, the soil became more acidic and in 1903 plots had been halved and the effects of lime tested. From 1965 a new liming regime was initiated with four sub-plots, three receiving lime to maintain soil pH (0-23cm depth) at pH 7, 6, and 5 on sub-plots a, b and c. Sub-plot d does not receive any lime. It soon became apparent that the different fertilizer treatments resulted in a dramatically different flora in what had originally been a uniform sward, with higher species diversity on the un-limed sub-plots and nil fertilizer plots and particularly low species numbers on the ammonium sulphate fertilizer plots.

There were intermittent investigations of the species from the 1860s and these are available from the following e-RA database datasets; PARKCOMP (Park Grass botanical surveys-complete separations of hay samples, selected years 1862-1976) and PARKPARTCOMP (Park Grass botanical surveys-partial separations of hay samples, selected years 1862-1976).

This dataset can be used in conjunction with Park Grass Hay Yields 1965-2018 in having the same format and structure and the previous species survey, Park Grass Species 1991-2000.

Species in the 1991-2000 dataset but extinct from this 2010-2012 one: Bellis perennis (Daisy), Cardamine pratensis (Cuckoo Flower), Filipendula ulmaria (Meaadosweet), Knautia arvensis (Field scabious), Linum catharticum (Fairy Flax), Ononis repens (Common Restharrow), Ophioglossum vulgatum (Adder's-tongue), Prunella vulgaris (Selfheal), Senecio jacobaea (Common Ragwort), Vicia sativa (Common Vetch).

Species present in this 2010-2012 dataset but not in the previous 1991-2000 dataset: Agrostis stolonifera (Creeping Bent Grass), Fraxinus excelsior (European Ash), Bryophyta (Mosses), Phleum pratense (Timothy Grass), Poa annua (Annual Meadow Grass).

  • The dataset Dataset: Park Grass Species, Fertilizer and Lime Treatments 2010-2012 is a published dataset from the e-RA Database. e-RA is part of the Rothamsted Long-Term Experiments - National Bioscience Research Infrastructure (RLTE-NBRI), which also covers maintenance of the Long-Term Experiments, the Rothamsted Sample Archive and Rothamsted's environmental monitoring activities including the weather stations and its role in the UK Environmental Change Network
  • The RLTE-NBRI is funded by UK Research and Innovation - Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (UKRI-BBSRC) under award BBS/E/RH/23NB0007 (2023-2028). The RLTE-NBRI is also supported by the Lawes Agricultural Trust. e-RA has been part of a National Capability since 2012, previous awards from the BBSRC were Grants BBS/E/C/00005189 (2012-2017) and BBS/E/C/000J0300 (2017-2022)
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