Innovative farmers are adopting agro-ecological approaches to producing beef which they believe are better for biodiversity and soils. Lisa Norton (UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology) and colleagues investigated the validity of these claims by comparing their grassland to those across the wider countryside surveyed as part of the national GB Countryside Survey. Public concerns about the environmental impacts of meat production add to the … Continue reading Can pasture-fed livestock farming practices improve the ecological condition of grasslands?
Authors Erin Rowland-Schaefer and Elizabeth Bach describe their latest Data Article presenting a visual record of the long fire history of Nachusa Grasslands, a tallgrass prairie restoration site in Illinois, USA. Fire has played a significant role in the development and management of tallgrass prairie ecosystems since before European colonization. While historically, fire was used by Indigenous communities to manage the movements of bison, today, … Continue reading Mapping 35 years of prescribed fire history
Originally posted and adapted from a RSPB Centre for Conservation Science and Vogelbescherming Nederland blog. Insufficient reproduction as a consequence of predation is a major determinant of population decline in ground-nesting birds. Malcolm Burgess and colleagues discuss their latest study on the effectiveness of using electric fences as a preventative measure. A common driver of the decline of ground-nesting meadow birds, especially waders, is insufficient … Continue reading Electric fencing safeguards declining wader populations
Ruth Starr-Keddle describes her latest research with the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership to further the knowledge base on upland hay meadows and investigate the success of seed addition of key indicator species for restoring the landscape. Over the last 50 years there have been substantial declines in botanical diversity of traditionally managed species-rich upland hay meadows (conforming to the UK National … Continue reading Evaluating the success of upland hay meadow restoration using green hay transfer
Biodiversity is most rapidly declining on grasslands of all the terrestrial biomes, and large-scale interventions are much needed to restore these landscapes. In their latest Practice Insights, Caleb Roberts and colleagues showcase long-term efforts in successfully restoring the Loess Canyons, USA, using fire as tool. Find out more about the story behind the cover of our latest issue. Imagining the Great Plains of the United … Continue reading Behind the cover 3:2 – Fire protects grasslands from woody species and benefits the birds that call this landscape home
In a six year experimental field study, N’Dri and colleagues demonstrate how burning during the annual long dry season can be managed to maintain a target density of trees, with implications for use in the other humid savannas. Fires in humid savannas are set by humans for different management purposes. In the Guinean savannas of West Africa, successive annual fires are common, with stakeholders generally … Continue reading The response of sub-adult savanna trees to six successive annual fires in the Guinean savannas of West Africa.
Fires are common in many ecosystems world-wide, and are frequently used as a management tool. Using South African carnivores as their focal community, Laura C. Gigliotti and colleagues explore the relative changes in carnivore intensity of use in post-fire landscapes associated with hypothesized changes in prey availability and top-down suppression. Prescribed burning is a common form of habitat management and assessing wildlife responses to burning is … Continue reading Community-level responses of African carnivores to prescribed burning
Elizabeth Bach and Bill Kleiman share their latest findings from monitoring long-term ecosystem restoration on The Nature Conservancy’s Nachusa Grassland preserve. The challenges facing our planet can feel overwhelming and paralyzing. Climate is changing, biodiversity is declining, people are struggling to be in community with one another. However, there are signs of hope. The United Nations declared 2021-2030 as the Decade on Restoration, upholding ecosystem … Continue reading Twenty years of tallgrass prairie restoration in northern Illinois, USA
When dealing with highly invasive plants in fragile ecosystems, managers need effective management tools to prioritize their time and efforts. In their recently published Data Article, Gerst and colleagues describe a new tool by the USA National Phenology Network to help invasive buffelgrass managers efficiently schedule herbicide treatment efforts. The Sonoran Desert, which covers the southern half of the Arizona, southeastern California, and large portions … Continue reading Protecting an iconic desert one pixel at a time
In disturbance-adapted ecosystems, the removal of disturbance can lead to losses of diversity and sometimes irreversible changes in community composition. In their latest research, Michaels and colleagues identify the thresholds at which changes occur and explore the reversibility of these shifts in a vernal pool ecosystem in Northern California. If you head out in search of one of California’s famous vernal pools, you’ll have to … Continue reading Reintroducing Grazing in California’s Vernal Pools—Can we reverse the effects of past management?