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Acta Prataculturae Sinica ›› 2022, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (9): 206-219.DOI: 10.11686/cyxb2021341

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Recent advances in understanding the ecosystem functioning of diverse forage mixtures

Ce YANG1,2(), Yu-xue ZHANG1,2, He ZHANG3, Chun-yan ZHENG1, Feng ZHU1()   

  1. 1.Center for Agricultural Resources Research,Institute of Genetic and Developmental Biology,Chinese Academy of Sciences,Hebei Key Laboratory of Soil Ecology,Key Laboratory of Agricultural Water Resources,Chinese Academy of Sciences,Shijiazhuang 050022,China
    2.University of Chinese Academy of Sciences,Beijing 100049,China
    3.College of Horticulture,Hebei Agricultural University,Baoding 071000,China
  • Received:2021-09-13 Revised:2021-12-13 Online:2022-09-20 Published:2022-08-12
  • Contact: Feng ZHU


Use of forage mixtures is one of the important planting practices in establishment of intensively managed artificial grasslands to enhance productivity and quality. Understanding the mechanisms underlying species interactions, and exploration of the ecosystem functions and services are essential to management for stable production and sustainability. Here, based on the recent advances in this topic, we discuss how mixed forage systems affect the outcome of interspecific complementarity and competition in above- and below-ground compartments. Next, we address the effects of mixed-species forage sowings on pasture productivity and quality, recourse utilization, biodiversity of soil food webs, and ecosystem stability. Finally, we emphasize the future challenges for selection of suitable plant species with synergistic properties. Longer-term studies are needed to conclusively demonstrate environmental and production benefits of high-diversity forages.

Key words: artificial grasslands, forage mixture, species interactions, ecosystem function