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
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
The Editor’s Choice for issue 55:2 is written by Associate Editor, Jörg Müller. The selected article is Livestock activity increases exotic plant richness, but wildlife increases native richness, with stronger effects under low productivity by David J. Eldridge et al. Browsing and grazing by wild ungulates and livestock affect the vegetation layer in complex ways, creating many management conflicts in silviculture, restoration and conservation. However, certain types of herbivory … Continue reading Editor’s Choice 55:2 – How does grazing by wild ungulates and livestock affect plant richness?
Issue 54:3’s Editor’s Choice is written by Associate Editor, Jennifer Firn. The article chosen by the Editors is Fire-induced negative nutritional outcomes for cattle when sharing habitat with native ungulates in an African savanna by Wilfred O. Odadi and colleagues. Ecological science is increasingly being applied to understand species interactions and to identify thresholds of degradation in more traditional agricultural landscapes (Scherr & McNeely 2008). This … Continue reading Editor’s Choice 54:3 – Prescribing burns to increase forage for cattle: are managers ‘biting off more than they can chew’?
In this post, Adam Frew discusses his paper ‘Increased root herbivory under elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations is reversed by silicon-based plant defences‘ As the global climate changes the global population continues to rise, we are faced with the daunting challenge of achieving sustainable crop production to meet the increasing demand for food. Professor John Beddington in 2009, UK chief scientist at the time, highlighted … Continue reading Climate change and food security
In this post Julie Kray, Agricultural Science Research Technician, USDA-ARS & Lauren Porensky, Ecologist, USDA-ARS discuss the recent paper ‘Thresholds and gradients in a semi-arid grassland: long-term grazing treatments induce slow, continuous and reversible vegetation change’ How do we strike a balance between an economically sustainable amount of grazing, and an ecologically sustainable amount? This is the central challenge in managing grazed landscapes around the … Continue reading Northern mixed-grass prairie bounces back, but slowly: reflections on a 33 year long grazing experiment
In this post Associate Editor David Moreno Mateos discusses a paper he handled by Gillis Horner and colleagues ‘Recruitment of a keystone tree species must concurrently manage flooding and browsing’ It’s true, land management keeps getting complicated, especially when it gets to restoring sites. But the fact is that studies keep showing that we’re not that good at restoring ecosystems, essentially restored ecosystems tend not … Continue reading Restoring Australian floodplains? Add water, reduce browsing, and lower salt*
In this post Gillis Horner, Shaun Cunningham, James Thomson, Patrick Baker and Ralph Mac Nally discuss their recent paper ‘Recruitment of a keystone tree species must concurrently manage flooding and browsing’ Floodplain forests are threatened by the three-pronged attack of land-use change, river regulation and climate change. Establishing new seedlings – a fundamental component of any strategy to sustain these vital forests – depends mainly … Continue reading A simple recipe for regenerating floodplain forests: add water and exclude browsers
In this post Senior Editor Phil Stephens discusses a paper he recently handled by Angela Brennan and colleagues ‘Managing more than the mean: using quantile regression to identify factors related to large elk groups’ Recently, a colleague and friend left his UK university job and returned to his native Australia. As I gaze out of my window at the inky darkness of the northern afternoon, … Continue reading What does the mean mean anyway?
In this post Associate Editor mentee Lander Baeten discusses a paper he handled by Beth Atkinson and colleagues ‘A comparison of clearfelling and gradual thinning of plantations for the restoration of insect herbivores and woodland plants’ Since the pioneering work of George Peterken in the 1970s, numerous studies have shown that many forest plant species are extremely slow to re-establish once lost from the ecosystem. … Continue reading Restoration methods of conifer plantations on ancient forest sites