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

Reintroducing Grazing in California’s Vernal Pools—Can we reverse the effects of past management?

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?

Strategies for global rangeland stewardship: the equilibrium-non-equilibrium debate

The rangeland equilibrium-non-equilibrium debate produced several important advances in our understanding of rangeland systems. But, in their recent Review, Briske et al. ask if, collectively, these advances are still insufficient to inform the stewardship strategies necessary to sustain global rangelands? Here they provide a summary of their work. The rangeland equilibrium-non-equilibrium debate of the late 20th Century questioned the appropriate ecological model governing the function … Continue reading Strategies for global rangeland stewardship: the equilibrium-non-equilibrium debate

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?

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

Vegetation change in the uplands is slow, slow, slow

Using results from a long-term experiment at Glen Finglas in Scotland, Robin Pakeman and colleagues show that even substantial changes in grazing management take many years to play out, so forecasting change in the uplands is difficult. Here Robin explains more about their work. We set up the Glen Finglas experiment in 2002 to look at how changes to the European Common Agricultural Policy, specifically … Continue reading Vegetation change in the uplands is slow, slow, slow

Guanacos can coexist with commercial livestock in Patagonia

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

Conservation grazing on saltmarsh: are agri-environment schemes helping?

Following a recently published Research Article, Jennifer Smart explores this question and considers ways we can continue to work with the farming community to achieve conservation goals. Jennifer worked on this post with the British Ecological Society Policy team. In contemporary landscapes, grazing by domesticated cattle and sheep has become an increasingly important aspect of grassland management. This is largely because natural processes such as … Continue reading Conservation grazing on saltmarsh: are agri-environment schemes helping?

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

Einsatz von Rotwild zur Erhaltung ökologisch wertvollen Grasslands

Kommentare zu einem neuen Artikel von Frederike Riesch et al. Von Jana Eccard und Annabel Smith. An version of this post is available in English here. Ökologisch wertvolles Offenland ist in Mitteleuropa oft durch historisch gewachsene Landnutzungsformen entstanden. Offene und Halboffene Flächen beinhalten zahlreiche seltene, streng geschützte Lebensraumtypen und sind Rückzugsräume für viele gefährdete Arten. Durch den Verlust solcher Landnutzungsformen wird heutzutage ein aktives Management zum … Continue reading Einsatz von Rotwild zur Erhaltung ökologisch wertvollen Grasslands