Universität Bonn

INRES Crop Science

The Rengen Grassland Experiment (RGE)


The RGE has been set up in 1941and is one of the oldest still running grassland experiments worldwide. Due to long-term fertilizer application, very different species rich plant communities have established and soil physic-chemical soil properties have developed. The RGE is a unique and prominent object in current research in natural scientific research. Due to its experimental design, the RGE also represents a historical phase of grassland intensification and hence is an object of considerable cultural value.

Present research concentrates on the question whether and how competitive ability of grassland species – induced by nutrient content in soil – can be explained by combination of plant functional traits (PFT). In this context, we understand soil nutrient content as a filter. The role of such a filter in resource use and competitive ability of species can be explained, mathematically expressed and simulated with the help of PFT.


Persons in charge

PD Dr. Jürgen Schellberg


1941 - today


Crop Science, INRES (Institute of Crop Science and Resource Conservation)  Bonn University

Cooperating partners

Department of Ecology, Czech University of Life Sciences
China Agricultural University, Beijing
INRA Toulouse, Frankreich
University of Bonn, INRES - Soil Science


Da Pontes, L.S., V. Maire, J. Schellberg, F. Louault, 2015. Grass strategies and grassland community responses to environmental drivers: a review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development 35, 1297-1318. DOI:10.1007/s13593-015-0314-1.

Reyes, J., J. Schellberg, S. Siebert, M. Elsaesser, J. Adam, F. Ewert, 2015. Improved estimation of nitrogen uptake in grasslands using the nitrogen dilution curve. Agronomy for Sustainable Development 35, 1561-1570. DOI:10.1007/s13593-015-0321-2.

Hejcman, M., L. Sochorová, V. Pavlu, J. Strobach, M. Diepolder, J. Schellberg, 2014. The Steinach Grassland Experiment: Soil chemical properties, sward height and plant species composition in three cut alluvial meadow after decades-long fertilizer application. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 184, 76-97.  DOI:10.1016/j.agee.2013.11.021

Schellberg, J.  and da S. Pontes, L. 2012: Plant functional traits and nutrient gradients on grassland (Invited review). Grass and Forage Science, available online. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2494.2012.00867.x

Hejcman, M., J. Schellberg, V. Pavlu, 2011. Competitive abiity of Rhinanthus minor L. in relation to productivity in the Rengen Grassland Experiment. Plant, Soil and Environment 57, 45-51.

Pavlu, V., J. Schellberg, M. Hejcman, 2011. Cutting frequency versus N application: Effect of twenty years management on Lolio-Cynosuretum grassland. Grass and Forage Science 66, 501-515.DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2494.2011.00807.x

Hejcman, M., J. SchellbergV. Pavlu, 2010. Dactylorhiza maculata, Platanthera bifolia and Listera ovata survive N application under P limitation. Acta Oecologia 36 (6), 684-688. DOI:10.1016/j.actao.2010.09.001

Hejcman, M., J. Szarkova, J. Schellberg, P. Tlustos, 2010b. The Rengen Grassland Experiment: relationship between soil and biomass chemical properties, the amount of applied elements and their uptake. Plant and Soil 333, 163-179.DOI:10.1007/s11104-010-0332-3.

Hejcman, M., M. Ceskova, J. Schellberg, S. Paetzold, 2010a. The Rengen Grassland Experiment: Effect of Soil Chemical Properties on Biomass Production, Plant Species Composition and Species Richness. Folia Geobotanica 45, 125-142. DOI:10.1007/s12224-010-9062-9

Ponsens, J., J. Hanson, J. Schellberg, B.M. Moeseler, 2010. Characterization of phenotypic diversity, yield and response to drought stress in a collection of Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana Kunth) accession. Field Crops Research 118, 57-72.DOI:10.1016/j.fcr.2010.04.008.

Hejcman, M., J. Szakova, J. Schellberg, P. Srek, P. Tlustos, J. Balik, 2010. The Rengen Grassland Experiment: bryophytes biomass and element concentrations after 65 years of fertilizer application. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 166, 653-662. DOI:10.1007/s10661-009-1030-6.

Chytry, M., M. Hejcman, S. Hennekens, J. Schellberg, 2009. Changes in vegetation types and Ellenberg indicator values after 65 years of fertilizer application: evidence from the Rengen Grassland Experiment, Germany. Applied Vegetation Science 12, 167-176.DOI:10.1111/j.1654-109X.2009.01011.x.

Hejcman, M., J. Szakova, J. Schellberg, P. Srek, P. Tlustos, 2009. The Rengen Grassland Experiment: soil contamination by trace elements (As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn) after 65 years of fertilizer application. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 83, 39-50. DOI:10.1007/s10705-008-9197-8..

Hejcman, M., M. Klaudisová, J. Schellberg, D. Horsova, 2007. The Rengen Grassland Experiment: Plant species composition after 64 years of fertiliser application. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 122, 259-266.doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2006.12.036.

Schellberg, J., B.M. Möseler, W. Kühbauch, I. Rademacher, 1999. Long-term effects of fertilizer on soil nutrient concentration, yield, forage quality and floristic composition of a hay meadow in the Eifel mountains, Germany. Grass and Forage Science 54, 195-207. DOI:10.1046/j.1365-2494.1999.00166.x.

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