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?
Sarah Archibald describes her team’s latest research seeking to better understand emergent herbaceous communities in organic coffee agroforestry systems by identifying their taxonomic and functional diversity as well as their management by interviewing farmers in Costa Rica. Coffee agroecosystems range in management and diversity, from monocultures with chemical inputs to biologically complex multi-strata agroforestry systems. With the demand for organic coffee expected to increase by … Continue reading From the ground up: Understanding coffee agroforestry systems
New research by Lauren Brzozowski and colleagues develops our understanding of how plant preference gradients mediate herbivore behaviour, and how this can ultimately help us manage crop damage from insect pests. Associate Editor, Ian Kaplan collaborates with Christie Shee to introduce our new Journal of Applied Ecology Editor’s Choice article, Attack and aggregation of a major squash pest: Parsing the role of plant chemistry and … Continue reading Editor’s Choice 57:08 – The mechanisms underlying crop colonisation, aggregation and damage in an insect pest
We’re excited to announce Ségolène Humann‐Guilleminot as the winner of this year’s Southwood Prize, celebrating the best paper by an early career researcher in the 2019 (56th) volume of Journal of Applied Ecology. Ségolène’s winning paper is ‘A nation‐wide survey of neonicotinoid insecticides in agricultural land with implications for agri‐environment schemes’. About the research From ten years of being marketed in the mid-1990s, neonicotinoid insecticides … Continue reading Southwood Prize 2019: early career researcher winner announced
New research by Néstor Pérez‐Méndez et al. highlights the economic implications of declining pollinator species. Here the authors summarise their work. Recent expansion and intensification of agriculture to meet growing food demands is among the main drivers of the alarming loss of insect diversity worldwide. This decline can lead to a marked degradation of the ecosystem services that insects provide, such as pollination or regulation of crop … Continue reading Loss of bumblebees is a loss to farmers
Meredith Root-Bernstein raises the question of how we define overgrazing and highlights the recent findings of Oliva et al. in their article, Remotely sensed primary productivity shows that domestic and native herbivores combined are overgrazing Patagonia. Can large wild herbivores live together with domestic livestock? This question is important to answer if we are going to reconcile the conservation of herbivore populations across large areas … Continue reading Guanacos can coexist with commercial livestock in Patagonia
Recently Michael MacDonald examined the impact agri-environmental schemes have had in the UK and, in particular, Wales. Now Associate Editor Peter Manning highlights the need to focus on evidence of these schemes’ effects when considering agricultural policy reform. There is now overwhelming evidence that agricultural intensification has proven disastrous for wildlife, and that policies encouraging intensification are a key driver in this process. In Europe … Continue reading Do wildlife-friendly farming subsidy schemes deliver their expected benefits?
Issue 56:1 of Journal of Applied Ecology turns its focus to innovative developments in sustainable food production with the Spotlight, Landscape‐level design for managing biodiversity in agroecosystems. Associate Editor, Tomas Pärt and colleagues from The Landscape Ecology Network group at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences summarize the importance of this new collection of work. How should we use and manage agricultural landscapes for sustainable … Continue reading Spotlight: Managing biodiversity and ecosystem services in farmland landscapes
Our series of posts on the Special Feature, Functional traits in agroecology rounds up with a post from one of the series’ editors, Adam Martin. We’ve always thought “commentary” articles – particularly those that outline a vision for a future field of research – to be an interesting enigma in science. On one hand, many commentary-type articles have been undoubtedly influential and can be pointed … Continue reading Functional traits in agroecology: advancing description and prediction in agroecosystems
Continuing our Special Feature series, Functional traits in agroecology, Marney Isaac comments on her paper, Farmer perception and utilization of leaf functional traits in managing agroecosystems. Using leaf functional traits to understand plant response to environmental change is well-established for research in a wide number of natural ecosystems, and now being more widely applied to agroecosystems. Yet, little is known about if, or how, farm managers … Continue reading Functional traits represent a key nexus between scientific and local knowledge