Livestock grazing promotes ecosystem multifunctionality of a coastal salt marsh

Each year, Journal of Applied Ecology awards the Southwood Prize to the best paper in the journal by an author at the start of their career. In this post, Pei Zhang (Sichuan University) discusses her shortlisted paper which aimed to evaluate the ecological effects of livestock grazing and tidal flooding on salt marshes in the high and middle marsh zones of the Yangtze River Estuary, China. As … Continue reading Livestock grazing promotes ecosystem multifunctionality of a coastal salt marsh

Beneficial arthropod abundance assessed by sweep-netting is negatively associated with landscape-wide insecticide use

In a new study, Bakker, Bianchi and van der Werf assess how the use of insecticides and semi-natural landscapes impact beneficial arthropods in the Netherlands. Beneficial arthropods, like predators, parasitoids and pollinators, provide important ecosystem services such as biological pest control and pollination, and are therefore vital for ecosystem health and global food production. However, concerns have risen on the widespread decline of arthropods — … Continue reading Beneficial arthropod abundance assessed by sweep-netting is negatively associated with landscape-wide insecticide use

Bird-friendly agriculture: finding the right balance to benefit birds and farmers

Promoting birds in agroecosystems is contentious. In their latest research, Olivia Smith and colleagues demonstrate how farmers can use landscape and farm diversification practices to harness ecosystem services from birds while reducing negative trade offs. Birds play many roles in human societies, including as consumers of crops and pests, carriers of pathogens and beloved icons. Consider, for example, the nearly globally distributed barn swallow. The … Continue reading Bird-friendly agriculture: finding the right balance to benefit birds and farmers

Una mayor cobertura forestal y matrices menos contrastantes mejoran el servicio de remoción de carroña por insectos carroñeros en paisajes tropicales

This post is also available in English (here) and Portuguese (here). Animales muertos es algo que mucha gente prefiere evitar: son visualmente desagradable, huelen realmente… simplemente son espantosos. Sin embargo, los animales involucrados en la descomposición de la carroña juegan un papel clave en la funcionalidad del ecosistema. Animales carroñeros (como buitres, algunos mamíferos o insectos) previene la acumulación de cadáveres, facilitan la distribución y … Continue reading Una mayor cobertura forestal y matrices menos contrastantes mejoran el servicio de remoción de carroña por insectos carroñeros en paisajes tropicales

Maior cobertura florestal e matrizes menos contrastantes melhoram o serviço de remoção de carniça por insetos necrófagos em paisagens tropicais

This post is also available in English (here) and Spanish (here). Carniça é algo que as pessoas evitam: é algo visualmente desagradável, cheira muito mal… é simplesmente horrível. Entretanto, os animais envolvidos na decomposição da carniça tem um papel chave na funcionalidade do ecossistema. Animais necrófagos (i.e., que se alimentam de carniça) como os urubús, alguns mamíferos e insetos, previnem a acumulação de carcaças, facilitam … Continue reading Maior cobertura florestal e matrizes menos contrastantes melhoram o serviço de remoção de carniça por insetos necrófagos em paisagens tropicais

Higher forest cover and less contrasting matrices improve carrion removal service by scavenger insects in tropical landscapes

This post is also available in Spanish (here) and Portuguese (here) In their latest research, Alvarado-Montero et al. assess the impact of landscape structure and matrix contrast on carrion removal by scavenger insects, an often overlooked but crucial ecosystem service which is important for nutrient cycling and disease control. Carrion is something that many people choose to avoid. However, animals involved in carrion decomposition play … Continue reading Higher forest cover and less contrasting matrices improve carrion removal service by scavenger insects in tropical landscapes

Identifying plant species mixes that promote multiple ecosystem services in agro-ecosystems

In their latest research, Windsor et al. demonstrate the importance of considering multiple ecosystem services and disservices when designing plant mixes for field margin management. Plants in field margins serve a multifunctional role, supporting a range of important ecological processes and ecosystem services. Management schemes to date, however, have focused on individual ecological processes/services (i.e., pollination or natural pest control). Indeed, Countryside Stewardship Grants to … Continue reading Identifying plant species mixes that promote multiple ecosystem services in agro-ecosystems

Semi-natural grassland strips promote agricultural biodiversity depending on species characteristics

New research by Maas and colleagues shows how the interplay between species-specific traits, functions, and services can inform more targeted, sustainable management of agricultural biodiversity. Agricultural biodiversity is declining worldwide, and its conservation does not work through one-size-fits-all solutions. Species respond differently to agricultural developments and new management measures, depending on their individual characteristics – which has major implications for the management of species-specific functions … Continue reading Semi-natural grassland strips promote agricultural biodiversity depending on species characteristics

Control de plagas a cambio de ayuda para anidar

This post is also available in English here En su última investigación, García y colaboradores evidencian que instalar cajas nido para aves insectívoras es una estrategia efectiva para incrementar el control de plagas en los cultivos de manzano de sidra de Asturias (España). Demostramos experimentalmente que los agricultores se benefician del incremento de control de plagas realizado por las aves insectívoras que anidan en sus … Continue reading Control de plagas a cambio de ayuda para anidar

Enhancing ecosystem services in apple orchards

This post is also available in Spanish here Sustainable agriculture can be achieved through farming systems that preserve ecosystem services. In their latest research, García and colleagues test the effectiveness of nest boxes in increasing pest control in cider apple orchards. Cider is an iconic product in the Asturias region of northern Spain, and cider apple growing is a key component of the region’s agricultural … Continue reading Enhancing ecosystem services in apple orchards