Editor’s Choice 56:2 – A trait-based approach for forest ecosystem management

The Editor’s Choice for issue 56:2 is written by Associate Editor, Alex Fajardo.  The selected article, Maintaining ecosystem properties after loss of ash in Great Britain by Louise Hill et al, focuses on the importance of using plant functional traits to predict potential changes to an ecosystem, following the loss of a key species. In their study, Maintaining ecosystem properties after loss of ash in Great … Continue reading Editor’s Choice 56:2 – A trait-based approach for forest ecosystem management

Managing sites with ash dieback to conserve functional traits

Adopting a technique generally used in the social sciences but rarely in ecology, Louise Hill (University of Oxford) et al. provide a new summary for land managers looking to predict and manage the effects of ash dieback. Their work was recently published in Journal of Applied Ecology: Maintaining ecosystem properties after loss of ash in Great Britain. Ash dieback, an invasive disease of ash trees, is … Continue reading Managing sites with ash dieback to conserve functional traits

Crop functional traits can help to predict the effects of organic farming on soil carbon sequestration

Focusing on functional traits of crop residues and their connection to soil carbon storage, Pablo Garcia Palacios comments on recent article, Crop traits drive soil carbon sequestration under organic farming. Soil organic carbon is a major agricultural resource for two different reasons. First, it is a measurable component of soil organic matter, which has a key influence on the capacity of soils to retain moisture and … Continue reading Crop functional traits can help to predict the effects of organic farming on soil carbon sequestration

Functional traits in agroecology: advancing description and prediction in agroecosystems

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

Functional traits represent a key nexus between scientific and local knowledge

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

Finding evidence for land restoration strategies

Restoration has never been more important, with almost a third of the world’s land surface degraded. But what exactly is restoration? And how do we know if it works? Madelon Lohbeck continues our Special Feature series on Functional traits in agroecology. Read the full article, Trait-based approaches for guiding the restoration of degraded agricultural landscapes in East Africa. More than 1.5 billion of the world’s poorest … Continue reading Finding evidence for land restoration strategies

Leveraging functional diversity in farm fields for sustainability

The latest issue of Journal of Applied Ecology includes a Special Feature, Functional traits in agroecology. To accompany the feature, we’re introducing a series of blog posts from the authors themselves. The first of these comes from Jennifer Blesh and discusses her article, Functional traits in cover crop mixtures: Biological nitrogen fixation and multifunctionality. Global climate, energy, and water crises pose immense challenges for agricultural systems. … Continue reading Leveraging functional diversity in farm fields for sustainability

Taxonomic and functional diversity in Mediterranean pastures: Insights on the biodiversity – productivity trade-off

In this post Victor Rolo discusses his recent paper ‘Taxonomic and functional diversity in Mediterranean pastures: Insights on the biodiversity – productivity trade-off ‘ There is a shepherds’ saying in Spain that goes: “below a shrub, you can raise a lamb”. But, if that were true, why is the presence of semi-natural features perceived as a negative element for herbage productivity in grasslands? The answer … Continue reading Taxonomic and functional diversity in Mediterranean pastures: Insights on the biodiversity – productivity trade-off