Innovative farmers are adopting agro-ecological approaches to producing beef which they believe are better for biodiversity and soils. Lisa Norton (UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology) and colleagues investigated the validity of these claims by comparing their grassland to those across the wider countryside surveyed as part of the national GB Countryside Survey. Public concerns about the environmental impacts of meat production add to the … Continue reading Can pasture-fed livestock farming practices improve the ecological condition of grasslands?
The latest issue of Journal of Applied Ecology features as Spotlight on Soil Biota. Here, Martín A. Nuñez (Senior Editor for the journal) and Nahuel Policelli discuss the merits of these papers, specially chosen and grouped together by our Editors. ‘Managing soil health’, ‘considering hidden herbivores’, ‘restoring mycorrhizal fungal diversity’, are just some of the examples that highlight an increase interest on recognizing belowground aspects … Continue reading Putting belowground biota in the Spotlight
In this post Nahuel Policelli discusses a recent paper by Timothy M. Bowles and colleagues ‘Ecological intensification and arbuscular mycorrhizas: a meta-analysis of tillage and cover crop effects‘ *Update: On 10 November, we added a Spanish translation of this post. Nahuel provided the translation to reach out to Spanish readers interested in this topic. Journal of Applied Ecology is dedicated to making papers more accessible … Continue reading Ecological intensification of agriculture: ideas that begin to take root – now with Spanish translation
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
In this post Associate Editor Paul Kardol discusses a paper he recently handled by Yuanhu Shao and colleagues ‘Subordinate plants sustain the complexity and stability of soil micro-food webs in natural bamboo forest ecosystems’ Is it the dominant plant species that rule the system? Some theories suggest so. But, the idea that only the dominants are important is too simplistic and there is increasing evidence … Continue reading The role of subordinate plant species in supporting soil food web stability
In this post Kirsty Lees discusses the recent paper from Alice Johnston and colleagues ‘Effects of agricultural management practices on earthworm populations and crop yield: validation and application of a mechanistic modelling approach’ Healthy soils are essential to the provision of ecosystem services; however, increasing intensification has resulted in soil degradation in many arable systems threatening water quality, carbon storage and ultimately food security. Any … Continue reading Engineering soil complexity
In this post Peter Manning discusses his recent paper ‘Simple measures of climate, soil properties and plant traits predict national-scale grassland soil carbon stocks‘ Soils contain more carbon than the atmosphere and vegetation combined, but the future of this reserve is uncertain – will it remain in the ground or be released into the atmosphere, potentially amplifying climate warming by several degrees in a worst … Continue reading What is the future of soil carbon stocks?