This English grasslands study, comparing alternative strategies for increasing productivity, showed that “increasing plant species richness levels were more effective than the imposed levels of increasing management intensity” [Weigelt 2009: 1701]. The management intensification strategy included synthetic fertilization and mowing, while the biodiversity strategy increased species richness from 1 to 16 species. The authors conclude that:
For permanent grasslands, which cover one third of the utilised agricultural area in Europe (Smit et al., 2008), highly diverse communities composed of complementary species and N2-ﬁxing legumes could provide an excellent agro-economic and ecological option for sustainable and highly productive grassland use [Weigelt 2009: 1704].
Weigelt, A., et al, 2009, Biodiversity for multifunctional grasslands: equal productivity in high-diversity low-input and low-diversity high-input systems, Biogeosciences 6:1695–1706, www.biogeosciences.net/6/1695/2009.