Hedging against biodiversity loss

Research recently published in Journal of Applied Ecology shows how hedgerows and road verges can host more plant species than corresponding woodland and grassland. Lead author, Thomas Vanneste and Associate Editor, Pieter De Frenne highlight what this means for managers and policymakers. Hedgerows and road verges are important habitats across the globe. Road verges cover an estimated 270,000 km² (0.2 %) of the earth’s land … Continue reading Hedging against biodiversity loss

Are flowers enough for preserving pollinators?

Research from Buckles and Harmon-Threatt explores how prairie management strategies can affect pollinator communities both directly and indirectly, highlighting why we shouldn’t ignore what’s happening below ground. Associate Editor, Guadalupe Peralta elaborates. A Spanish version of this post is available here. Most efforts to preserve pollinators are focused on maintaining or increasing the range of flowering plants available. The reason behind this is clear: flowers … Continue reading Are flowers enough for preserving pollinators?

The context dependencies of how spillover from remnant grasslands enhances plant diversity in restorations

New research from Sperry et al. provides insights into prairie restoration practice. Associate Editor, Lars Brudvig explains more. Grasslands, including North American prairies, are widely restored through seed sowing onto abandoned agricultural lands. This approach to restoration holds great promise for promoting grassland biodiversity, yet restored prairies typically harbor fewer plant species than remnants without a history of agriculture, and plant diversity tends to decline … Continue reading The context dependencies of how spillover from remnant grasslands enhances plant diversity in restorations

Cover stories: recovering beauty

Our August cover image by Guiyao Zhou (East China Normal University) shows how livestock grazing activities potentially alter many ecosystem functions such as carbon sequestration. But these effects can be markedly regulated by the associated global change factors (e.g., warming, nitrogen addition and drought). Here Guiyao shares the story behind the cover image and the grassland ecosystem work it represents.  These photos were taken in Wayan mountain, a very beautiful alpine meadow … Continue reading Cover stories: recovering beauty

Cover stories: red deer for grassland conservation

Our latest cover photo, taken by Marcus Meißner shows a red deer stag amidst an area of common broom the Grafenwöhr military training area (GTA), Germany. Besides disturbances caused by military training activities and mechanical land management, grazing by wild red deer contributes to maintaining open habitats on GTA. Friederike Riesch, lead author of the corresponding article, Grazing by wild red deer: Management options for … Continue reading Cover stories: red deer for grassland conservation

Editor’s Choice 56:6 -Wild and free: red deer grazing for conservation

Issue 56:6’s Editor’s Choice article demonstrates how a ‘hands-off’ approach and grazing by wild ungulates can be just as effective as livestock when it comes to managing grassland biomass – given the specific contexts are considered. Annabel Smith and Jana Eccard share highlights from the research by Friederike Riesch and colleagues, Grazing by wild red deer: Management options for the conservation of semi‐natural open habitats. … Continue reading Editor’s Choice 56:6 -Wild and free: red deer grazing for conservation

Traditional management systems maintain phylogenetically distinct rare species in semi-natural grasslands

Based on their research in Japan, Kei Uchida and colleagues, highlight why traditional land-use practices need to be upheld if we are to support biodiversity and rare species in semi-natural grasslands. We live in an era of rapidly changing land use. Semi-natural grasslands on the margins of agricultural lands were previously maintained by traditional extensive management practices. But, more recently, a decline in traditional land-use … Continue reading Traditional management systems maintain phylogenetically distinct rare species in semi-natural grasslands

U.S. policy-based management improves grassland bird nest survival – although finer-scale habitat has superior predictive ability

In a recent study, Justin Shew and colleagues found nest survival improved with policy-based management and establishing native grasses but conclude finer-scale details often have superior predictive ability from a multi-scale perspective. Read more about their findings here. A video summary of their work is also available. Grassland and farmland bird populations have been declining around the world and these declines are primarily attributed to … Continue reading U.S. policy-based management improves grassland bird nest survival – although finer-scale habitat has superior predictive ability

Grazers and fire management: conservation from a ‘systems’ perspective

How do grazing herbivores like hippos affect the influence of fire? Following a recently published article, Izak Smit demonstrates the need for interdependence between herbivore and fire management. Grazing animals and fire are in direct competition – both of them consume grass. Previous continental-scale studies suggest that grazing animals have the competitive advantage in drier and more nutritious landscapes, whilst fires dominate in wetter and … Continue reading Grazers and fire management: conservation from a ‘systems’ perspective

Issue 55:4

From stressed trees in cities to the recovery of coral in the deep ocean, here are some highlights from our latest issue: Applying ecology to inform plant disease management policy and avoid regulator-grower conflict Our Editor’s Choice for this issue How could the EU’s LIFE funds enhance conservation in Natura 2000? Prioritisation exercises to better-distribute funds in the EU Warming, insect pests and water stress … Continue reading Issue 55:4