Climate change and food security

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

Applying fertilizer? Don’t forget about pollination

In this post Stijn van Gils discusses his paper with Wim van der Putten and David Kleijn. ‘Can above-ground ecosystem services compensate for reduced fertilizer input and soil organic matter in annual crops?’ You can also read this post in Dutch. Farmers often try to increase yield directly through ploughing, and the addition of fertilizers and agro-chemicals. Yield, however, is also affected by ecological interactions, … Continue reading Applying fertilizer? Don’t forget about pollination

Northern mixed-grass prairie bounces back, but slowly: reflections on a 33 year long grazing experiment

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

Restoring Australian floodplains? Add water, reduce browsing, and lower salt*

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*

The science of healthy ecosystems

This blog post is part of the blog series ‘Authors in Asia’, to accompany the recent Virtual Issue in Journal of Applied Ecology. You can read other posts in this series here.  This post features two manuscripts which look at the science of healthy ecosystems. First, Fei-Hai Yu discusses his paper ‘Understanding the effects of a new grazing policy: the impact of seasonal grazing on … Continue reading The science of healthy ecosystems

A simple recipe for regenerating floodplain forests: add water and exclude browsers

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

Resilience: buzzword or quantifiable theory with management application?

In this post, David Angeler discusses a paper he recently handled by Kirsty Nash and colleagues “Herbivore cross-scale redundancy supports response diversity and promotes coral reef resilience” This paper will appear as part of a forthcoming special profile ‘Quantifying Resilience’ in Journal of Applied Ecology. We are living in a time of spurious certitude. The unprecedented transformation of the biosphere is shown by rapid changes … Continue reading Resilience: buzzword or quantifiable theory with management application?

When it comes to reforestation, impacts on seedling growth from competition, herbivory and land-use legacy may be as predictable as a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors

Species interactions are the foundations of ecological science. As early as pre-school, we begin building food webs and discussing the basic principles of species survival and interactions between living and non-living parts of an ecosystem. We know herbivores eat plants and prefer ‘tasty’ ones; plants compete for light, nutrients, water and space; and historical land management impacts on future actions. What we still don’t know … Continue reading When it comes to reforestation, impacts on seedling growth from competition, herbivory and land-use legacy may be as predictable as a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors