WorldWideScience

Sample records for grassland higher visual

  1. Specialist plant species harbour higher reproductive performances in recently restored calcareous grasslands than in reference habitats

    OpenAIRE

    Harzé, Mélanie; Mahy, Grégory; Bizoux, Jean-Philippe; Piqueray, Julien; Monty, Arnaud

    2015-01-01

    Background and aims_Calcareous grasslands are local biodiversity hotspots in temperate regions that suffered intensive fragmentation. Ecological restoration projects took place all over Europe. Their success has traditionally been assessed using a plant community approach. However, population ecology can also be useful to assess restoration success and to understand underlying mechanisms. Methods_We took advantage of three calcareous grassland sites in Southern Belgium, where reference p...

  2. Visual Literacy Practices in Higher Education

    OpenAIRE

    Schellenberg, Julia

    2015-01-01

    Joint Master Degree in Digital Library Learning (DILL) In our media-driven age visuals are increasingly frequent and prominently present in society and their importance and influence across academic disciplines is growing. This makes it essential to enable learners to become visually literate and justifies the need for teaching visual literacy competencies. Yet, there has been little research on visual literacy practices undertaken across academic subjects and institutions in h...

  3. Species-rich semi-natural grasslands have a higher resistance but a lower resilience than intensively managed agricultural grasslands in response to climate anomalies

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Keersmaecker, De Wanda; Rooijen, van Nils; Lhermitte, Stef; Tits, Laurent; Schaminée, Joop; Coppin, Pol; Honnay, Olivier; Somers, Ben

    2016-01-01

    The stable delivery of ecosystem services provided by grasslands is strongly dependent on the stability of grassland ecosystem functions such as biomass production. Biomass production is in turn strongly affected by the frequency and intensity of climate extremes. The aim of this study is to

  4. Comparative seed germination traits in alpine and subalpine grasslands: higher elevations are associated with warmer germination temperatures.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fernández-Pascual, E; Jiménez-Alfaro, B; Bueno, Á

    2017-01-01

    Seed germination traits in alpine grasslands are poorly understood, despite the sensitivity of these communities to climate change. We hypothesise that germination traits predict species occurrence along the alpine-subalpine elevation gradient. Phylogenetic comparative analyses were performed using fresh seeds of 22 species from alpine and subalpine grasslands (1600-2400 m) of the Cantabrian Mountains, Spain (43° N, 5° W). Laboratory experiments were conducted to characterise germinability, optimum germination temperature and effect of cold and warm stratification on dormancy breaking. Variability in these traits was reduced by phylogenetic principal component analysis (phyl.PCA). Phylogenetic generalised least squares regression (PGLS) was used to fit a model in which species average elevation was predicted from their position on the PCA axes. Most subalpine species germinated in snow-like conditions, whereas most alpine species needed accumulation of warm temperatures. Phylogenetic signal was low. PCA1 ordered species according to overall germinability, whilst PCA2 ordered them according to preference for warm or cold germination. PCA2 significantly predicted species occurrence in the alpine-subalpine gradient, as higher elevation species tended to have warmer germination preferences. Our results show that germination traits in high-mountain grasslands are closely linked to the alpine-subalpine gradient. Alpine species, especially those from stripped and wind-edge communities, prefer warmer germination niches, suggesting that summer emergence prevents frost damage during seedling establishment. In contrast, alpine snowfield and subalpine grassland plants have cold germination niches, indicating that winter emergence may occur under snow to avoid drought stress. © 2016 German Botanical Society and The Royal Botanical Society of the Netherlands.

  5. Experiences of Students with Visual Impairments in Canadian Higher Education

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reed, Maureen; Curtis, Kathryn

    2012-01-01

    Introduction: This article presents a study of the higher education experiences of students with visual impairments in Canada. Methods: Students with visual impairments and the staff members of disability programs were surveyed and interviewed regarding the students' experiences in entering higher education and completing their higher education…

  6. Visual data mining for developing competitive strategies in higher education

    OpenAIRE

    Ertek, Gürdal; Ertek, Gurdal

    2009-01-01

    Information visualization is the growing field of computer science that aims at visually mining data for knowledge discovery. In this paper, a data mining framework and a novel information visualization scheme is developed and applied to the domain of higher education. The presented framework consists of three main types of visual data analysis: Discovering general insights, carrying out competitive benchmarking, and planning for High School Relationship Management (HSRM). In this paper the f...

  7. Influence of olfactory and visual cover on nest site selection and nest success for grassland-nesting birds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fogarty, Dillon T; Elmore, R Dwayne; Fuhlendorf, Samuel D; Loss, Scott R

    2017-08-01

    Habitat selection by animals is influenced by and mitigates the effects of predation and environmental extremes. For birds, nest site selection is crucial to offspring production because nests are exposed to extreme weather and predation pressure. Predators that forage using olfaction often dominate nest predator communities; therefore, factors that influence olfactory detection (e.g., airflow and weather variables, including turbulence and moisture) should influence nest site selection and survival. However, few studies have assessed the importance of olfactory cover for habitat selection and survival. We assessed whether ground-nesting birds select nest sites based on visual and/or olfactory cover. Additionally, we assessed the importance of visual cover and airflow and weather variables associated with olfactory cover in influencing nest survival. In managed grasslands in Oklahoma, USA, we monitored nests of Northern Bobwhite ( Colinus virginianus ), Eastern Meadowlark ( Sturnella magna ), and Grasshopper Sparrow ( Ammodramus savannarum ) during 2015 and 2016. To assess nest site selection, we compared cover variables between nests and random points. To assess factors influencing nest survival, we used visual cover and olfactory-related measurements (i.e., airflow and weather variables) to model daily nest survival. For nest site selection, nest sites had greater overhead visual cover than random points, but no other significant differences were found. Weather variables hypothesized to influence olfactory detection, specifically precipitation and relative humidity, were the best predictors of and were positively related to daily nest survival. Selection for overhead cover likely contributed to mitigation of thermal extremes and possibly reduced detectability of nests. For daily nest survival, we hypothesize that major nest predators focused on prey other than the monitored species' nests during high moisture conditions, thus increasing nest survival on these

  8. Higher Level Visual Cortex Represents Retinotopic, Not Spatiotopic, Object Location

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kanwisher, Nancy

    2012-01-01

    The crux of vision is to identify objects and determine their locations in the environment. Although initial visual representations are necessarily retinotopic (eye centered), interaction with the real world requires spatiotopic (absolute) location information. We asked whether higher level human visual cortex—important for stable object recognition and action—contains information about retinotopic and/or spatiotopic object position. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging multivariate pattern analysis techniques, we found information about both object category and object location in each of the ventral, dorsal, and early visual regions tested, replicating previous reports. By manipulating fixation position and stimulus position, we then tested whether these location representations were retinotopic or spatiotopic. Crucially, all location information was purely retinotopic. This pattern persisted when location information was irrelevant to the task, and even when spatiotopic (not retinotopic) stimulus position was explicitly emphasized. We also conducted a “searchlight” analysis across our entire scanned volume to explore additional cortex but again found predominantly retinotopic representations. The lack of explicit spatiotopic representations suggests that spatiotopic object position may instead be computed indirectly and continually reconstructed with each eye movement. Thus, despite our subjective impression that visual information is spatiotopic, even in higher level visual cortex, object location continues to be represented in retinotopic coordinates. PMID:22190434

  9. Grassland Sustainability

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deborah U. Potter; Paulette L. Ford

    2004-01-01

    In this chapter we discuss grassland sustainability in the Southwest, grassland management for sustainability, national and local criteria and indicators of sustainable grassland ecosystems, and monitoring for sustainability at various scales. Ecological sustainability is defined as: [T]he maintenance or restoration of the composition, structure, and processes of...

  10. A higher-level classification of the Pannonian and western Pontic steppe grasslands (Central and Eastern Europe).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Willner, Wolfgang; Kuzemko, Anna; Dengler, Jürgen; Chytrý, Milan; Bauer, Norbert; Becker, Thomas; Biţă-Nicolae, Claudia; Botta-Dukát, Zoltán; Čarni, Andraž; Csiky, János; Igić, Ruzica; Kącki, Zygmunt; Korotchenko, Iryna; Kropf, Matthias; Krstivojević-Ćuk, Mirjana; Krstonošić, Daniel; Rédei, Tamás; Ruprecht, Eszter; Schratt-Ehrendorfer, Luise; Semenishchenkov, Yuri; Stančić, Zvjezdana; Vashenyak, Yulia; Vynokurov, Denys; Janišová, Monika

    2017-01-01

    What are the main floristic patterns in the Pannonian and western Pontic steppe grasslands? What are the diagnostic species of the major subdivisions of the class Festuco-Brometea (temperate Euro-Siberian dry and semi-dry grasslands)? Carpathian Basin (E Austria, SE Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, N Croatia and N Serbia), Ukraine, S Poland and the Bryansk region of W Russia. We applied a geographically stratified resampling to a large set of relevés containing at least one indicator species of steppe grasslands. The resulting data set of 17 993 relevés was classified using the TWINSPAN algorithm. We identified groups of clusters that corresponded to the class Festuco-Brometea . After excluding relevés not belonging to our target class, we applied a consensus of three fidelity measures, also taking into account external knowledge, to establish the diagnostic species of the orders of the class. The original TWINSPAN divisions were revised on the basis of these diagnostic species. The TWINSPAN classification revealed soil moisture as the most important environmental factor. Eight out of 16 TWINSPAN groups corresponded to Festuco-Brometea . A total of 80, 32 and 58 species were accepted as diagnostic for the orders Brometalia erecti , Festucetalia valesiacae and Stipo-Festucetalia pallentis , respectively. In the further subdivision of the orders, soil conditions, geographic distribution and altitude could be identified as factors driving the major floristic patterns. We propose the following classification of the Festuco-Brometea in our study area: (1) Brometalia erecti (semi-dry grasslands) with Scabioso ochroleucae-Poion angustifoliae (steppe meadows of the forest zone of E Europe) and Cirsio-Brachypodion pinnati (meadow steppes on deep soils in the forest-steppe zone of E Central and E Europe); (2) Festucetalia valesiacae (grass steppes) with Festucion valesiacae (grass steppes on less developed soils in the forest-steppe zone of E Central

  11. Increased vapor pressure deficit due to higher temperature leads to greater transpiration and faster mortality during drought for tree seedlings common to the forest-grassland ecotone.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Will, Rodney E; Wilson, Stuart M; Zou, Chris B; Hennessey, Thomas C

    2013-10-01

    Tree species growing along the forest-grassland ecotone are near the moisture limit of their range. Small increases in temperature can increase vapor pressure deficit (VPD) which may increase tree water use and potentially hasten mortality during severe drought. We tested a 40% increase in VPD due to an increase in growing temperature from 30 to 33°C (constant dewpoint 21°C) on seedlings of 10 tree species common to the forest-grassland ecotone in the southern Great Plains, USA. Measurement at 33 vs 30°C during reciprocal leaf gas exchange measurements, that is, measurement of all seedlings at both growing temperatures, increased transpiration for seedlings grown at 30°C by 40% and 20% for seedlings grown at 33°C. Higher initial transpiration of seedlings in the 33°C growing temperature treatment resulted in more negative xylem water potentials and fewer days until transpiration decreased after watering was withheld. The seedlings grown at 33°C died 13% (average 2 d) sooner than seedlings grown at 30°C during terminal drought. If temperature and severity of droughts increase in the future, the forest-grassland ecotone could shift because low seedling survival rate may not sufficiently support forest regeneration and migration. © 2013 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2013 New Phytologist Trust.

  12. DATA VISUALIZATION TECHNOLOGIES IN TEACHING ENGLISH AT HIGHER EDUCATIONAL ESTABLISHMENTS

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bogdana Saliuk

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available The article discusses the use of data visualization technologies such as infographics and mind map in teaching foreign languages, particularly English, to students of non-special faculties of the higher educational establishments (programmers, psychologists, engineers, musicians etc. The expediency of introduction of these technologies that will help to relief students’ perception of grammatical or lexical material as well as to optimize the educational process and interest in further study of English is noted. Infographics is used for the activation of lexical units, the assimilation of grammatical phenomena, the simulation of real-life situations to develop skills of monologue and dialogue speech, as well as for training in the use of lexical and grammatical material. The practice of English language teaching to students of non-special faculties illustrates the fact that they better perceive English phrasal verbs, thematic vocabulary, grammar, idioms through visualization. At the same time it helps to save time on the explanation of linguistic material in favor of speech activity. Mind map is also useful in the study of lexical and grammatical material in different stages – from the introduction of new themes to its repetition and generalization. Implementing mind map into the educational process the teacher can build the system of communicative exercises, the analysis of professional texts, group, individual and independent work of students.

  13. Higher-order aberrations and visual acuity after LASEK.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Urgancioglu, Berrak; Bilgihan, Kamil; Ozturk, Sertac

    2008-08-01

    To determine ocular higher-order aberrations (HOAs) in eyes with supernormal vision after myopic astigmatic laser subepithelial keratomileusis (LASEK) and to compare the findings with those in eyes with natural supernormal vision. Ocular HOAs were measured after LASEK in 20 eyes of 12 myopic astigmatic patients with postoperative uncorrected visual acuity (UCVA) of >20/16 (group 1). Patients who were included in the study had no visual symptoms like glare, halo or double vision. The measurements were taken 8.3 +/- 3 months after LASEK surgery. In group 2 ocular HOAs were examined in 20 eyes of 10 subjects with natural UCVA of >20/16 as a control. Measurements were taken across a pupil with a diameter of 4.0 mm and 6.0 mm. Root-mean-square (RMS) values of HOAs, Z(3)-1, Z(3)1, Z(4)0, Z(5)-1, Z(5)1 and Z(6)0 were analyzed. The mean RMS values for each order were higher in group 1 when compared with group 2 at 4.0 mm and 6.0 mm pupil diameters. There was no statistically significant difference between groups in spherical and coma aberrations (P > 0.05). Mean RMS values for total HOAs were 0.187 +/- 0.09 microm at 4.0 mm and 0.438 +/- 0.178 microm at 6.0 mm pupil in group 1 and 0.120 +/- 0.049 microm at 4.0 mm and 0.344 +/- 0.083 microm at 6.0 mm pupil in group 2. The difference between groups in total HOAs was statistically significant at 4.0 mm and 6.0 mm pupil diameters (P < 0.05). Ocular HOAs exist in eyes with supernormal vision. After LASEK, the amount of HOAs of the eye increases under both mesopic and photopic conditions. However the amount of HOA increase does not seem to be consistent with visual symptoms.

  14. asking questions for higher order thinking in visual literacy

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    thinking skills in the English visual literacy (VL) learning classroom. .... out that the use of assessment in the classroom as a tool to promote greater learner ..... tions on technical knowledge and critical language awareness were not asked.

  15. Funding Sources for Visually Impaired Students in Higher Education.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Traber, M.

    1987-01-01

    Financial aid sources available to visually handicapped students for postsecondary educational, vocational, or technical programs are outlined. Sources include national and state blindness agencies, colleges and universities, state vocational rehabilitation agencies, and the federal government. (Author/JDD)

  16. Higher Order Spike Synchrony in Prefrontal Cortex during visual memory

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gordon ePipa

    2011-06-01

    Full Text Available Precise temporal synchrony of spike firing has been postulated as an important neuronal mechanism for signal integration and the induction of plasticity in neocortex. As prefrontal cortex plays an important role in organizing memory and executive functions, the convergence of multiple visual pathways onto PFC predicts that neurons should preferentially synchronize their spiking when stimulus information is processed. Furthermore, synchronous spike firing should intensify if memory processes require the induction of neuronal plasticity, even if this is only for short-term. Here we show with multiple simultaneously recorded units in ventral prefrontal cortex that neurons participate in 3 ms precise synchronous discharges distributed across multiple sites separated by at least 500 µm. The frequency of synchronous firing is modulated by behavioral performance and is specific for the memorized visual stimuli. In particular, during the memory period in which activity is not stimulus driven, larger groups of up to 7 sites exhibit performance dependent modulation of their spike synchronization.

  17. Effect of higher frequency on the classification of steady-state visual evoked potentials

    Science.gov (United States)

    Won, Dong-Ok; Hwang, Han-Jeong; Dähne, Sven; Müller, Klaus-Robert; Lee, Seong-Whan

    2016-02-01

    Objective. Most existing brain-computer interface (BCI) designs based on steady-state visual evoked potentials (SSVEPs) primarily use low frequency visual stimuli (e.g., visual fatigue and no stimulus-related seizures. The fundamental objective of this study was to investigate the effect of stimulation frequency and duty-cycle on the usability of an SSVEP-based BCI system. Approach. We developed an SSVEP-based BCI speller using multiple LEDs flickering with low frequencies (6-14.9 Hz) with a duty-cycle of 50%, or higher frequencies (26-34.7 Hz) with duty-cycles of 50%, 60%, and 70%. The four different experimental conditions were tested with 26 subjects in order to investigate the impact of stimulation frequency and duty-cycle on performance and visual fatigue, and evaluated with a questionnaire survey. Resting state alpha powers were utilized to interpret our results from the neurophysiological point of view. Main results. The stimulation method employing higher frequencies not only showed less visual fatigue, but it also showed higher and more stable classification performance compared to that employing relatively lower frequencies. Different duty-cycles in the higher frequency stimulation conditions did not significantly affect visual fatigue, but a duty-cycle of 50% was a better choice with respect to performance. The performance of the higher frequency stimulation method was also less susceptible to resting state alpha powers, while that of the lower frequency stimulation method was negatively correlated with alpha powers. Significance. These results suggest that the use of higher frequency visual stimuli is more beneficial for performance improvement and stability as time passes when developing practical SSVEP-based BCI applications.

  18. Visual Acuity does not Moderate Effect Sizes of Higher-Level Cognitive Tasks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Houston, James R.; Bennett, Ilana J.; Allen, Philip A.; Madden, David J.

    2016-01-01

    Background Declining visual capacities in older adults have been posited as a driving force behind adult age differences in higher-order cognitive functions (e.g., the “common cause” hypothesis of Lindenberger & Baltes, 1994). McGowan, Patterson and Jordan (2013) also found that a surprisingly large number of published cognitive aging studies failed to include adequate measures of visual acuity. However, a recent meta-analysis of three studies (LaFleur & Salthouse, 2014) failed to find evidence that visual acuity moderated or mediated age differences in higher-level cognitive processes. In order to provide a more extensive test of whether visual acuity moderates age differences in higher-level cognitive processes, we conducted a more extensive meta-analysis of topic. Methods Using results from 456 studies, we calculated effect sizes for the main effect of age across four cognitive domains (attention, executive function, memory, and perception/language) separately for five levels of visual acuity criteria (no criteria, undisclosed criteria, self-reported acuity, 20/80-20/31, and 20/30 or better). Results As expected, age had a significant effect on each cognitive domain. However, these age effects did not further differ as a function of visual acuity criteria. Conclusion The current meta-analytic, cross-sectional results suggest that visual acuity is not significantly related to age group differences in higher-level cognitive performance—thereby replicating LaFleur and Salthouse (2014). Further efforts are needed to determine whether other measures of visual functioning (e.g. contrast sensitivity, luminance) affect age differences in cognitive functioning. PMID:27070044

  19. The essence of student visual-spatial literacy and higher order thinking skills in undergraduate biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Milner-Bolotin, Marina; Nashon, Samson Madera

    2012-02-01

    Science, engineering and mathematics-related disciplines have relied heavily on a researcher's ability to visualize phenomena under study and being able to link and superimpose various abstract and concrete representations including visual, spatial, and temporal. The spatial representations are especially important in all branches of biology (in developmental biology time becomes an important dimension), where 3D and often 4D representations are crucial for understanding the phenomena. By the time biology students get to undergraduate education, they are supposed to have acquired visual-spatial thinking skills, yet it has been documented that very few undergraduates and a small percentage of graduate students have had a chance to develop these skills to a sufficient degree. The current paper discusses the literature that highlights the essence of visual-spatial thinking and the development of visual-spatial literacy, considers the application of the visual-spatial thinking to biology education, and proposes how modern technology can help to promote visual-spatial literacy and higher order thinking among undergraduate students of biology.

  20. Higher integrity of the motor and visual pathways in long-term video game players.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Yang; Du, Guijin; Yang, Yongxin; Qin, Wen; Li, Xiaodong; Zhang, Quan

    2015-01-01

    Long term video game players (VGPs) exhibit superior visual and motor skills compared with non-video game control subjects (NVGCs). However, the neural basis underlying the enhanced behavioral performance remains largely unknown. To clarify this issue, the present study compared the whiter matter integrity within the corticospinal tracts (CST), the superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF), the inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF), and the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus (IFOF) between the VGPs and the NVGCs using diffusion tensor imaging. Compared with the NVGCs, voxel-wise comparisons revealed significantly higher fractional anisotropy (FA) values in some regions within the left CST, left SLF, bilateral ILF, and IFOF in VGPs. Furthermore, higher FA values in the left CST at the level of cerebral peduncle predicted a faster response in visual attention tasks. These results suggest that higher white matter integrity in the motor and higher-tier visual pathways is associated with long-term video game playing, which may contribute to the understanding on how video game play influences motor and visual performance.

  1. Supporting the Teaching of the Visual Literacies in the Earth and Life Sciences in Higher Education

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paxton, Moragh; Frith, Vera; Kelly-Laubscher, Roisin; Muna, Natashia; van der Merwe, Mathilde

    2017-01-01

    Internationally, there has been increasing emphasis on the teaching of the academic literacies, particularly reading and writing, in higher education institutions. However, recent research is highlighting the need for more explicit teaching of multimodal forms of communication, such as the visual literacies, in undergraduate courses in a wide…

  2. A Probabilistic Model of Visual Working Memory: Incorporating Higher Order Regularities into Working Memory Capacity Estimates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brady, Timothy F.; Tenenbaum, Joshua B.

    2013-01-01

    When remembering a real-world scene, people encode both detailed information about specific objects and higher order information like the overall gist of the scene. However, formal models of change detection, like those used to estimate visual working memory capacity, assume observers encode only a simple memory representation that includes no…

  3. The experiences of severely visually impaired students in higher music education

    OpenAIRE

    Ball, Natalie

    2017-01-01

    The aim of this research was to investigate the experiences of severely visually impaired students in higher music education. Higher education should be accessible to all and therefore policies must be created and implemented to ensure this. The experiences of students with impairments best show where barriers exist for such students and how they can be removed. This studied is based on the social model of disability and the emancipatory research paradigm which is linked to critical pedagogy....

  4. Ecological transition in Arizona's subalpine and montane grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Michael R. White

    2000-01-01

    Important components of Southwest forest ecosystem are subalpine and montane grassland communities, Grassland communities provide habitat diversity for wildlife, forage for domestic livestock and wildlife, and contribute to the visual quality of an area. The objectives of this research were to determine if: 1) vegetation attributes and soil-surface cover variables of...

  5. Visualization and processing of higher order descriptors for multi-valued data

    CERN Document Server

    Schultz, Thomas

    2015-01-01

    Modern imaging techniques and computational simulations yield complex multi-valued data that require higher-order mathematical descriptors. This book addresses topics of importance when dealing with such data, including frameworks for image processing, visualization, and statistical analysis of higher-order descriptors. It also provides examples of the successful use of higher-order descriptors in specific applications and a glimpse of the next generation of diffusion MRI. To do so, it combines contributions on new developments, current challenges in this area, and state-of-the-art surveys.   Compared to the increasing importance of higher-order descriptors in a range of applications, tools for analysis and processing are still relatively hard to come by. Even though application areas such as medical imaging, fluid dynamics, and structural mechanics are very different in nature they face many shared challenges. This book provides an interdisciplinary perspective on this topic with contributions from key rese...

  6. Higher-order neural processing tunes motion neurons to visual ecology in three species of hawkmoths.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stöckl, A L; O'Carroll, D; Warrant, E J

    2017-06-28

    To sample information optimally, sensory systems must adapt to the ecological demands of each animal species. These adaptations can occur peripherally, in the anatomical structures of sensory organs and their receptors; and centrally, as higher-order neural processing in the brain. While a rich body of investigations has focused on peripheral adaptations, our understanding is sparse when it comes to central mechanisms. We quantified how peripheral adaptations in the eyes, and central adaptations in the wide-field motion vision system, set the trade-off between resolution and sensitivity in three species of hawkmoths active at very different light levels: nocturnal Deilephila elpenor, crepuscular Manduca sexta , and diurnal Macroglossum stellatarum. Using optical measurements and physiological recordings from the photoreceptors and wide-field motion neurons in the lobula complex, we demonstrate that all three species use spatial and temporal summation to improve visual performance in dim light. The diurnal Macroglossum relies least on summation, but can only see at brighter intensities. Manduca, with large sensitive eyes, relies less on neural summation than the smaller eyed Deilephila , but both species attain similar visual performance at nocturnal light levels. Our results reveal how the visual systems of these three hawkmoth species are intimately matched to their visual ecologies. © 2017 The Author(s).

  7. Higher order visual input to the mushroom bodies in the bee, Bombus impatiens.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paulk, Angelique C; Gronenberg, Wulfila

    2008-11-01

    To produce appropriate behaviors based on biologically relevant associations, sensory pathways conveying different modalities are integrated by higher-order central brain structures, such as insect mushroom bodies. To address this function of sensory integration, we characterized the structure and response of optic lobe (OL) neurons projecting to the calyces of the mushroom bodies in bees. Bees are well known for their visual learning and memory capabilities and their brains possess major direct visual input from the optic lobes to the mushroom bodies. To functionally characterize these visual inputs to the mushroom bodies, we recorded intracellularly from neurons in bumblebees (Apidae: Bombus impatiens) and a single neuron in a honeybee (Apidae: Apis mellifera) while presenting color and motion stimuli. All of the mushroom body input neurons were color sensitive while a subset was motion sensitive. Additionally, most of the mushroom body input neurons would respond to the first, but not to subsequent, presentations of repeated stimuli. In general, the medulla or lobula neurons projecting to the calyx signaled specific chromatic, temporal, and motion features of the visual world to the mushroom bodies, which included sensory information required for the biologically relevant associations bees form during foraging tasks.

  8. Effects of grassland management on the emission of methane from grassland on peat soils

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Van Dasselaar, A. [Dept. of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, Wageningen Agricultural Univ. (Netherlands); Oenema, O. [NMI, Wageningen (Netherlands)

    1995-11-01

    Net methane (CH{sub 4}) emissions from managed grassland on peat soils in the Netherlands have been monitored with vented closed flux chambers in the period January - June 1994. Net CH{sub 4} emissions from two intensively managed grasslands were low, in general less than 0.1 mg CH{sub 4} m{sup -2} d{sup -l}. On these sites, the effect of management was negligibly small. CH{sub 4} emission from three extensively managed grasslands in a nature preserve ranged from 0 to 185 mg CH{sub 4} m{sup -2} d{sup -l}. The results presented here indicate that CH{sub 4} emissions are 2-3 orders of magnitude higher on extensively managed grasslands than on intensively managed grasslands. 2 figs., 6 refs.

  9. Satellite-based assessment of grassland yields

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grant, K.; Siegmund, R.; Wagner, M.; Hartmann, S.

    2015-04-01

    Cutting date and frequency are important parameters determining grassland yields in addition to the effects of weather, soil conditions, plant composition and fertilisation. Because accurate and area-wide data of grassland yields are currently not available, cutting frequency can be used to estimate yields. In this project, a method to detect cutting dates via surface changes in radar images is developed. The combination of this method with a grassland yield model will result in more reliable and regional-wide numbers of grassland yields. For the test-phase of the monitoring project, a study area situated southeast of Munich, Germany, was chosen due to its high density of managed grassland. For determining grassland cutting robust amplitude change detection techniques are used evaluating radar amplitude or backscatter statistics before and after the cutting event. CosmoSkyMed and Sentinel-1A data were analysed. All detected cuts were verified according to in-situ measurements recorded in a GIS database. Although the SAR systems had various acquisition geometries, the amount of detected grassland cut was quite similar. Of 154 tested grassland plots, covering in total 436 ha, 116 and 111 cuts were detected using CosmoSkyMed and Sentinel-1A radar data, respectively. Further improvement of radar data processes as well as additional analyses with higher sample number and wider land surface coverage will follow for optimisation of the method and for validation and generalisation of the results of this feasibility study. The automation of this method will than allow for an area-wide and cost efficient cutting date detection service improving grassland yield models.

  10. The California Valley grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keeley, J.E.; Schoenherr, Allan A.

    1990-01-01

    Grasslands are distributed throughout California from Oregon to Baja California Norte and from the coast to the desert (Brown 1982) (Figure 1). This review will focus on the dominant formation in cismontane California, a community referred to as Valley Grassland (Munz 1959). Today, Valley Grassland is dominated by non-native annual grasses in genera such as Avena (wild oat), Bromus (brome grass), and Hordeum (barley), and is often referred to as the California annual grassland. On localized sites, native perennial bunchgrasses such as Stipa pultra (purple needle grass) may dominate and such sites are interpreted to be remnants of the pristine valley grassland. In northwestern California a floristically distinct formation of the Valley Grassland, known as Coast Prairie (Munz 1959) or Northern Coastal Grassland (Holland and Keil 1989) is recognized. The dominant grasses include many native perennial bunchgrasses in genera such as Agrostis, Calamagrostis, Danthonia, Deschampsia, Festuca, Koeleria and Poa (Heady et al. 1977). Non-native annuals do not dominate, but on some sites non-native perennials like Anthoxanthum odoratum may colonize the native grassland (Foin and Hektner 1986). Elevationally, California's grasslands extend from sea level to at leas 1500 m. The upper boundary is vague because montane grassland formations are commonly referred to as meadows; a community which Munz (1959) does not recognize. Holland and Keil (1989) describe the montane meadow as an azonal community; that is, a community restricted not so much to a particular climatic zone but rather controlled by substrate characteristics. They consider poor soil-drainage an over-riding factor in the development of montane meadows and, in contrast to grasslands, meadows often remain green through the summer drought. Floristically, meadows are composed of graminoids; Cyperaceae, Juncaceae, and rhizomatous grasses such as Agropyron (wheat grass). Some bunchgrasses, such as Muhlenbergia rigens, are

  11. Habitat associations of migrating and overwintering grassland birds in Southern Texas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Igl, Lawrence D.; Ballard, Bart M.

    1999-01-01

    We report on the habitat associations of 21 species of grassland birds overwintering in or migrating through southern Texas, during 1991-1992 and 1992-1993. Ninety percent of our grassland bird observations were made during winter and spring, and only 10% occurred during fall. Grassland species made up a high proportion of the total bird densities in grassland and shrub-grassland habitats, but much lower proportions in the habitats with more woody vegetation. Fewer grassland species were observed in grassland and woodland than in brushland, parkland, and shrub-grassland habitats. Grassland birds generally were found in higher densities in habitats that had woody canopy coverage of < 30%; densities of grassland birds were highest in shrub-grassland habitat and lowest in woodland habitat. Species that are grassland specialists on their breeding grounds tended to be more habitat specific during the nonbreeding season compared to shrub-grassland specialists, which were more general in their nonbreeding-habitat usage. Nonetheless, our data demonstrate that grassland birds occur in a variety of habitats during the nonbreeding season and seem to occupy a broader range of habitats than previously described.

  12. High School Teachers' Perspectives on Supporting Students with Visual Impairments toward Higher Education: Access, Barriers, and Success

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reed, Maureen; Curtis, Kathryn

    2011-01-01

    The objective of the study presented here was to understand the experiences of teachers in assisting students with visual impairments in making the transition to higher education. The teachers reported barriers in high school that affect students' access to and success in higher education. Furthermore, institutions of higher education provided…

  13. Deep Learning Predicts Correlation between a Functional Signature of Higher Visual Areas and Sparse Firing of Neurons

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chengxu Zhuang

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available Visual information in the visual cortex is processed in a hierarchical manner. Recent studies show that higher visual areas, such as V2, V3, and V4, respond more vigorously to images with naturalistic higher-order statistics than to images lacking them. This property is a functional signature of higher areas, as it is much weaker or even absent in the primary visual cortex (V1. However, the mechanism underlying this signature remains elusive. We studied this problem using computational models. In several typical hierarchical visual models including the AlexNet, VggNet, and SHMAX, this signature was found to be prominent in higher layers but much weaker in lower layers. By changing both the model structure and experimental settings, we found that the signature strongly correlated with sparse firing of units in higher layers but not with any other factors, including model structure, training algorithm (supervised or unsupervised, receptive field size, and property of training stimuli. The results suggest an important role of sparse neuronal activity underlying this special feature of higher visual areas.

  14. Influence of density on the seasonal utilization of broad grassland ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    We monitored seasonal use of grassland types by white rhinos at two sites within the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park (HiP). Thirty-two rhinos were removed from one site to reduce rhino density. Seasonal use of grassland types was similar at both sites, but differed to what a previous study reported. This was likely due to higher food ...

  15. In-service teacher education: asking questions for higher order thinking in visual literacy

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Visvaganthie Moodley

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available The kinds of questions teachers ask may thwart or promote learner high-order thinking; teachers themselves must have expertise in questioning skills to promote higher order cognition among learners. Drawing on experiential knowledge of assessment, and as an English-teaching professional development programme (PDP facilitator, I demonstrate that within the framework of a carefully structured subject-specific PDP, teachers can be taught how to enhance thinking skills in the English visual literacy (VL learning classroom. Guided by an earlier taxonomy of cognition, and using qualitative methodology, the paper analyses data obtained from: (i observation notes and examination equivalents of 40 teachers from various public schools in Gauteng who were engaged in the Advanced Certificate in Education (ACE, English specialization programme; and (ii a case study of three teachers by means of semi-structured interviews, and a study of their lesson plans and worksheets.The paper examines, specifically, teachers' choice of texts and questions asked, for English second-language learners for the teaching of VL. It concludes by suggesting that if teachers themselves are first engaged in the cognitive processes they wish learners to acquire, they are better positioned to promote higher order among their learners.

  16. Soil acidification and liming in grassland production and grassland soil fertility in Slovenia

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    Jure ČOP

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available This paper reviews the evidences on grassland soil acidity and liming in relation to soil processes and herbage production. There is also an outline of the present state of soil acidity and acidity-related traits – contents of organic matter (OM, phosphorus (P and potassium (K in Slovene grassland. In grassland, soil acidification is an ongoing process under humid climate conditions. It is mainly driven by leaching of nutrients, net loss of cations due to retention in livestock products, use of physiologically acid fertilizers, acid rain and N2 fixation. This process is reduced by strong pH buffering capacity of the soil and by physiologically basic fertilizers. Acid grassland soils in Slovenia are widely distributed in spite of the fact that 44% of the total land has developed from a carbonate parent material. Of the 1713 grassland soil samples analysed during 2005-2007 45% were regarded as acid ones (pH < 5.5; in KCl, 57% as soils with very low P status (˂ 6 mg P2O5/100 g soil and 22% as soils with very low K status (˂ 10 mg K2O/100 soil. Increased content of soil organic matter was identified for alpine pastures (˃ 10 % OM in 44% of samples, mainly as a result of low decomposition rate. Liming of acid grassland soils did not always reflect in a higher herbage yield. The cause for this inefficiency is plant composition of grassland. Thus, many grassland plants with relatively high production potential have adapted to acid soil conditions. To illustrate the inconsistent liming effect three researches are reviewed. In the first two researches liming along with fertilizer application did not increase the yield comparing to the fertilized control while in the third research the increase amounted 26 %. Liming improves considerably botanical composition of the acid grassland (e.g. sward where Common Bent – Agrostis tenuis Sibth. – prevails and thus indirectly affects palatability and nutritive value of herbage. Grassland liming has a weak

  17. fMRI neurofeedback of higher visual areas and perceptual biases.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Habes, I; Rushton, S; Johnston, S J; Sokunbi, M O; Barawi, K; Brosnan, M; Daly, T; Ihssen, N; Linden, D E J

    2016-05-01

    The self-regulation of brain activation via neurofeedback training offers a method to study the relationship between brain areas and perception in a more direct manner than the conventional mapping of brain responses to different types of stimuli. The current proof-of-concept study aimed to demonstrate that healthy volunteers can self-regulate activity in the parahippocampal place area (PPA) over the fusiform face area (FFA). Both areas are involved in higher order visual processing and are activated during the imagery of scenes and faces respectively. Participants (N=9) were required to upregulate PPA relative to FFA activity, and all succeeded at the task, with imagery of scenes being the most commonly reported mental strategy. A control group (N=8) underwent the same imagery and testing procedure, albeit without neurofeedback, in a mock MR scanner to account for any non-specific training effects. The upregulation of PPA activity occurred concurrently with activation of prefrontal and parietal areas, which have been associated with ideation and mental image generation. We tested whether successful upregulation of the PPA relative to FFA had consequences on perception by assessing bistable perception of faces and houses in a binocular rivalry task (before and after the scanning sessions) and categorisation of faces and scenes presented in transparent composite images (during scanning, interleaved with the self-regulation blocks). Contrary to our expectations, upregulation of the PPA did not alter the duration of face or house perception in the rivalry task and response speed and accuracy in the categorisation task. This conclusion was supported by the results of another control experiment (N=10 healthy participants) that involved intensive exposure to category-specific stimuli and did not show any behavioural or perceptual changes. We conclude that differential self-regulation of higher visual areas can be achieved, but that perceptual biases under conditions of

  18. The effectiveness of educational podcasts for teaching music and visual arts in higher education

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    Cheung On Tam

    2012-02-01

    Full Text Available Podcasting is now being used frequently in the higher education sector. Although research has been conducted into the use of podcasting in teaching business, engineering, sciences and languages, little has been done on its use in arts learning. This paper reports on a study that investigated the effectiveness of using podcasts to learn music and visual arts in a teacher-education institution. A total of 128 Year-One to Year-Four students completed a survey and 24 students attended focus-group interviews and gave their feedback on the effectiveness of using podcasts in learning. Generally speaking, the students found the podcasts useful and viewed podcasting as a method which could be used to supplement face-to-face teaching. Results of the study indicated that demonstration of procedures or skills was the most effective type of podcast while reproduction of lecture materials was the least effective. The students suggested that the teachers needed to increase the relevance of the podcast content to what was taught during lessons. The paper concludes with a discussion of the production of effective podcasts and directions for future studies.

  19. Fourth meeting entitled “Visualization and Processing of Tensors and Higher Order Descriptors for Multi-Valued Data”

    CERN Document Server

    Vilanova, Anna; Burgeth, Bernhard; Visualization and Processing of Tensors and Higher Order Descriptors for Multi-Valued Data

    2014-01-01

    Arising from the fourth Dagstuhl conference entitled Visualization and Processing of Tensors and Higher Order Descriptors for Multi-Valued Data (2011), this book offers a broad and vivid view of current work in this emerging field. Topics covered range from applications of the analysis of tensor fields to research on their mathematical and analytical properties. Part I, Tensor Data Visualization, surveys techniques for visualization of tensors and tensor fields in engineering, discusses the current state of the art and challenges, and examines tensor invariants and glyph design, including an overview of common glyphs. The second Part, Representation and Processing of Higher-order Descriptors, describes a matrix representation of local phase, outlines mathematical morphological operations techniques, extended for use in vector images, and generalizes erosion to the space of diffusion weighted MRI. Part III, Higher Order Tensors and Riemannian-Finsler Geometry, offers powerful mathematical language to model and...

  20. Higher dietary diversity is related to better visual and auditory sustained attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shiraseb, Farideh; Siassi, Fereydoun; Qorbani, Mostafa; Sotoudeh, Gity; Rostami, Reza; Narmaki, Elham; Yavari, Parvaneh; Aghasi, Mohadeseh; Shaibu, Osman Mohammed

    2016-04-01

    Attention is a complex cognitive function that is necessary for learning, for following social norms of behaviour and for effective performance of responsibilities and duties. It is especially important in sensitive occupations requiring sustained attention. Improvement of dietary diversity (DD) is recognised as an important factor in health promotion, but its association with sustained attention is unknown. The aim of this study was to determine the association between auditory and visual sustained attention and DD. A cross-sectional study was carried out on 400 women aged 20-50 years who attended sports clubs at Tehran Municipality. Sustained attention was evaluated on the basis of the Integrated Visual and Auditory Continuous Performance Test using Integrated Visual and Auditory software. A single 24-h dietary recall questionnaire was used for DD assessment. Dietary diversity scores (DDS) were determined using the FAO guidelines. The mean visual and auditory sustained attention scores were 40·2 (sd 35·2) and 42·5 (sd 38), respectively. The mean DDS was 4·7 (sd 1·5). After adjusting for age, education years, physical activity, energy intake and BMI, mean visual and auditory sustained attention showed a significant increase as the quartiles of DDS increased (P=0·001). In addition, the mean subscales of attention, including auditory consistency and vigilance, visual persistence, visual and auditory focus, speed, comprehension and full attention, increased significantly with increasing DDS (Pvisual and auditory sustained attention.

  1. Distinguishing Intensity Levels of Grassland Fertilization Using Vegetation Indices

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    Jens L. Hollberg

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Monitoring the reaction of grassland canopies on fertilizer application is of major importance to enable a well-adjusted management supporting a sustainable production of the grass crop. Up to date, grassland managers estimate the nutrient status and growth dynamics of grasslands by costly and time-consuming field surveys, which only provide low temporal and spatial data density. Grassland mapping using remotely-sensed Vegetation Indices (VIs has the potential to contribute to solving these problems. In this study, we explored the potential of VIs for distinguishing five differently-fertilized grassland communities. Therefore, we collected spectral signatures of these communities in a long-term fertilization experiment (since 1941 in Germany throughout the growing seasons 2012–2014. Fifteen VIs were calculated and their seasonal developments investigated. Welch tests revealed that the accuracy of VIs for distinguishing these grassland communities varies throughout the growing season. Thus, the selection of the most promising single VI for grassland mapping was dependent on the date of the spectra acquisition. A random forests classification using all calculated VIs reduced variations in classification accuracy within the growing season and provided a higher overall precision of classification. Thus, we recommend a careful selection of VIs for grassland mapping or the utilization of temporally-stable methods, i.e., including a set of VIs in the random forests algorithm.

  2. Creating an Image for Black Higher Education: A Visual Examination of the United Negro College Fund's Publicity, 1944-1960

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gasman, Marybeth; Epstein, Edward

    2004-01-01

    In this article, the authors use visual communications as a way to illuminate race relations and higher education from 1944 to 1960. They analyze photographs, and also draw on the history of graphic design to discuss the style of the publications in which they are placed. The pieces that they analyze are historical-drawn from the papers of the…

  3. Experiences of visually impaired students in higher education: Bodily perspectives on inclusive education.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lourens, Heidi; Swartz, Leslie

    Although previous literature sheds light on the experiences of visually impaired students on tertiary grounds, these studies failed to provide an embodied understanding of their lives. In-depth interviews with 15 visually impaired students at one university demonstrated the ways in which they experienced their disability and the built environment in their bodies. At the same time, lost, fearful, shameful and aching bodies revealed prevailing gaps in provision for disabled students. Through this research it becomes clear how the environment is acutely felt within fleshly worlds, while bodies do not fail to tell of disabling societal structures. Based on the bodily stories, we thus make recommendations to improve the lives of visually impaired students on tertiary campuses.

  4. Higher Brain Functions Served by the Lowly Rodent Primary Visual Cortex

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gavornik, Jeffrey P.; Bear, Mark F.

    2014-01-01

    It has been more than 50 years since the first description of ocular dominance plasticity--the profound modification of primary visual cortex (V1) following temporary monocular deprivation. This discovery immediately attracted the intense interest of neurobiologists focused on the general question of how experience and deprivation modify the brain…

  5. Parallel neural pathways in higher visual centers of the Drosophila brain that mediate wavelength-specific behavior

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hideo eOtsuna

    2014-02-01

    Full Text Available Compared with connections between the retinae and primary visual centers, relatively less is known in both mammals and insects about the functional segregation of neural pathways connecting primary and higher centers of the visual processing cascade. Here, using the Drosophila visual system as a model, we demonstrate two levels of parallel computation in the pathways that connect primary visual centers of the optic lobe to computational circuits embedded within deeper centers in the central brain. We show that a seemingly simple achromatic behavior, namely phototaxis, is under the control of several independent pathways, each of which is responsible for navigation towards unique wavelengths. Silencing just one pathway is enough to disturb phototaxis towards one characteristic monochromatic source, whereas phototactic behavior towards white light is not affected. The response spectrum of each demonstrable pathway is different from that of individual photoreceptors, suggesting subtractive computations. A choice assay between two colors showed that these pathways are responsible for navigation towards, but not for the detection itself of, the monochromatic light. The present study provides novel insights about how visual information is separated and processed in parallel to achieve robust control of an innate behavior.

  6. Effects of temperature and precipitation on grassland bird nesting success as mediated by patch size.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zuckerberg, Benjamin; Ribic, Christine A; McCauley, Lisa A

    2018-02-06

    Grassland birds are declining faster than any other bird guild across North America. Shrinking ranges and population declines are attributed to widespread habitat loss and increasingly fragmented landscapes of agriculture and other land uses that are misaligned with grassland bird conservation. Concurrent with habitat loss and degradation, temperate grasslands have been disproportionally affected by climate change relative to most other terrestrial biomes. Distributions of grassland birds often correlate with gradients in climate, but few researchers have explored the consequences of weather on the demography of grassland birds inhabiting a range of grassland fragments. To do so, we modeled the effects of temperature and precipitation on nesting success rates of 12 grassland bird species inhabiting a range of grassland patches across North America (21,000 nests from 81 individual studies). Higher amounts of precipitation in the preceding year were associated with higher nesting success, but wetter conditions during the active breeding season reduced nesting success. Extremely cold or hot conditions during the early breeding season were associated with lower rates of nesting success. The direct and indirect influence of temperature and precipitation on nesting success was moderated by grassland patch size. The positive effects of precipitation in the preceding year on nesting success were strongest in relatively small grassland patches and had little effect in large patches. Conversely, warm temperatures reduced nesting success in small grassland patches but increased nesting success in large patches. Mechanisms underlying these differences may be patch-size-induced variation in microclimates and predator activity. Although the exact cause is unclear, large grassland patches, the most common metric of grassland conservation, appears to moderate the effects of weather on grassland-bird demography and could be an effective component of climate-change adaptation.

  7. Higher levels of depression are associated with reduced global bias in visual processing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Fockert, Jan W; Cooper, Andrew

    2014-04-01

    Negative moods have been associated with a tendency to prioritise local details in visual processing. The current study investigated the relation between depression and visual processing using the Navon task, a standard task of local and global processing. In the Navon task, global stimuli are presented that are made up of many local parts, and the participants are instructed to report the identity of either a global or a local target shape. Participants with a low self-reported level of depression showed evidence of the expected global processing bias, and were significantly faster at responding to the global, compared with the local level. By contrast, no such difference was observed in participants with high levels of depression. The reduction of the global bias associated with high levels of depression was only observed in the overall speed of responses to global (versus local) targets, and not in the level of interference produced by the global (versus local) distractors. These results are in line with recent findings of a dissociation between local/global processing bias and interference from local/global distractors, and support the claim that depression is associated with a reduction in the tendency to prioritise global-level processing.

  8. Grassland biodiversity can pay.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Binder, Seth; Isbell, Forest; Polasky, Stephen; Catford, Jane A; Tilman, David

    2018-04-10

    The biodiversity-ecosystem functioning (BEF) literature provides strong evidence of the biophysical basis for the potential profitability of greater diversity but does not address questions of optimal management. BEF studies typically focus on the ecosystem outputs produced by randomly assembled communities that only differ in their biodiversity levels, measured by indices such as species richness. Landholders, however, do not randomly select species to plant; they choose particular species that collectively maximize profits. As such, their interest is not in comparing the average performance of randomly assembled communities at each level of biodiversity but rather comparing the best-performing communities at each diversity level. Assessing the best-performing mixture requires detailed accounting of species' identities and relative abundances. It also requires accounting for the financial cost of individual species' seeds, and the economic value of changes in the quality, quantity, and variability of the species' collective output-something that existing multifunctionality indices fail to do. This study presents an assessment approach that integrates the relevant factors into a single, coherent framework. It uses ecological production functions to inform an economic model consistent with the utility-maximizing decisions of a potentially risk-averse private landowner. We demonstrate the salience and applicability of the framework using data from an experimental grassland to estimate production relationships for hay and carbon storage. For that case, our results suggest that even a risk-neutral, profit-maximizing landowner would favor a highly diverse mix of species, with optimal species richness falling between the low levels currently found in commercial grasslands and the high levels found in natural grasslands.

  9. In-Service Teacher Education: Asking Questions for Higher Order Thinking in Visual Literacy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moodley, Visvaganthie

    2013-01-01

    The kinds of questions teachers ask may thwart or promote learner high-order thinking; teachers themselves must have expertise in questioning skills to promote higher order cognition among learners. Drawing on experiential knowledge of assessment, and as an English-teaching professional development programme (PDP) facilitator, I demonstrate that…

  10. Higher Dimensional Spacetimes for Visualizing and Modeling Subluminal, Luminal and Superluminal Flight

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Froning, H. David; Meholic, Gregory V.

    2010-01-01

    This paper briefly explores higher dimensional spacetimes that extend Meholic's visualizable, fluidic views of: subluminal-luminal-superluminal flight; gravity, inertia, light quanta, and electromagnetism from 2-D to 3-D representations. Although 3-D representations have the potential to better model features of Meholic's most fundamental entities (Transluminal Energy Quantum) and of the zero-point quantum vacuum that pervades all space, the more complex 3-D representations loose some of the clarity of Meholic's 2-D representations of subluminal and superlumimal realms. So, much new work would be needed to replace Meholic's 2-D views of reality with 3-D ones.

  11. [Vegetation index estimation by chlorophyll content of grassland based on spectral analysis].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xiao, Han; Chen, Xiu-Wan; Yang, Zhen-Yu; Li, Huai-Yu; Zhu, Han

    2014-11-01

    Comparing the methods of existing remote sensing research on the estimation of chlorophyll content, the present paper confirms that the vegetation index is one of the most practical and popular research methods. In recent years, the increasingly serious problem of grassland degradation. This paper, firstly, analyzes the measured reflectance spectral curve and its first derivative curve in the grasslands of Songpan, Sichuan and Gongger, Inner Mongolia, conducts correlation analysis between these two spectral curves and chlorophyll content, and finds out the regulation between REP (red edge position) and grassland chlorophyll content, that is, the higher the chlorophyll content is, the higher the REIP (red-edge inflection point) value would be. Then, this paper constructs GCI (grassland chlorophyll index) and selects the most suitable band for retrieval. Finally, this paper calculates the GCI by the use of satellite hyperspectral image, conducts the verification and accuracy analysis of the calculation results compared with chlorophyll content data collected from field of twice experiments. The result shows that for grassland chlorophyll content, GCI has stronger sensitivity than other indices of chlorophyll, and has higher estimation accuracy. GCI is the first proposed to estimate the grassland chlorophyll content, and has wide application potential for the remote sensing retrieval of grassland chlorophyll content. In addition, the grassland chlorophyll content estimation method based on remote sensing retrieval in this paper provides new research ideas for other vegetation biochemical parameters' estimation, vegetation growth status' evaluation and grassland ecological environment change's monitoring.

  12. Effects of Grazing Abandoned Grassland on Herbage Production and Utilization, and Sheep Preference and Performance

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Håvard Steinshamn

    2018-05-01

    Full Text Available Large areas of farmland are abandoned in Norway, which for various reasons are regarded as undesirable. Loss of farmland may have negative implications for biodiversity and ecosystem function and food production potential. The objectives of this study were to assess forage mass production and utilization, botanical composition, lamb performance, and grazing distribution pattern when reintroducing livestock grazing to an abandoned grassland. The study area was located in Central Norway, unmanaged for 12 years. Sheep grazed the area for 10 weeks in 2013 and 4 weeks in spring and autumn, respectively, in 2014 and 2015. During the summer of 2014 and 2015, the area was subjected to the following replicated treatments: (1 No grazing, (2 grazing with heifers, and (3 grazing with ewes and their offspring. The stocking rate was similar in the grazed treatments. Forage biomass production and animal intake were estimated using grazing exclosure cages and botanical composition by visual assessment. Effect on lamb performance was evaluated by live weight gain and slaughter traits in sheep subjected to three treatments: (1 Common farm procedure with summer range pasturing, (2 spring grazing period extended by 1 month on the abandoned grassland before summer range pasturing, and (3 spring and summer grazing on the abandoned grassland. Grazing distribution patterns were studied using GPS position collars on ewes. Total annual biomass production was on average 72% higher with summer grazing than without. Annual consumption and utilization was on average 218 g DM/m2 and 70% when summer grazed, and 25 g DM/m2 and 18% without grazing, respectively. Botanical composition did not differ between treatments. Live weight gain was higher in lambs subjected to an extended spring grazing period (255 g/d compared to common farm practice (228 g/d and spring and summer grazing on the abandoned grassland (203 g/d, and carcass value was 14% higher in lambs on extended spring

  13. Effects of wind turbines on upland nesting birds in Conservation Reserve Program grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leddy, K.L.; Higgins, K.F.; Naugle, D.E.

    1999-01-01

    Grassland passerines were surveyed during summer 1995 on the Buffalo Ridge Wind Resource Area in southwestern Minnesota to determine the relative influence of wind turbines on overall densities of upland nesting birds in Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) grasslands. Birds were surveyed along 40 m fixed width transects that were placed along wind turbine strings within three CRP fields and in three CRP fields without turbines. Conservation Reserve Program grasslands without turbines and areas located 180 m from turbines supported higher densities (261.0-312.5 males/100 ha) of grassland birds than areas within 80 m of turbines (58.2-128.0 males/100 ha). Human disturbance, turbine noise, and physical movements of turbines during operation may have disturbed nesting birds. We recommend that wind turbines be placed within cropland habitats that support lower densities of grassland passerines than those found in CRP grasslands.

  14. Energy analysis of various grassland utilisation systems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jozef Ržonca

    2005-01-01

    Full Text Available In 2003 and 2004 was carried out the energy analysis of the different types of permanent grassland utilization on the Hrubý Jeseník locality. There were estimated values of the particular entrances of additional energy. Energy entrances moved according to the pratotechnologies from 2.17 GJ. ha–1 to 22.70 GJ.ha–1. The biggest share on energy entrances had fertilizers. It was 84.93% by the nitrogen fertilisation. The most energy benefit of brutto and nettoenergy was marked by the low intensive utilisation (33.40 GJ.ha–1 NEL and 32.40 GJ.ha–1 NEV on average. The highest value of energy efficiency (13.23% was marked by the low intensive utilization of permanent grassland. By using of higher doses of industrial fertilizers has energy efficiency decreased. From view of energy benefit and intensiveness on energy entrances it appears the most available utilisation of permanent grassland with three cuts per year (first cut on May 31st at the latest, every next after 60 days or two cuts per year (first cut on July 15th, next cuts after 90 days.

  15. Does Evapotranspiration Increase When Forests are converted to Grasslands?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Varcoe, Robert; Sterling, Shannon

    2017-04-01

    The conversion of forests to grasslands (FGC) is a widespread land cover change (LCC) and is also among the most commonly studied changes with respect to its impact on ET; such research employs a variety of experimental approaches, including, paired catchment (PC), Budyko and land surface models (LSM), and measurement methods, including the catchment water balance (CWB), eddy covariance (EC) and remote sensing (RS). Until recently, there has been consensus in the scientific literature that rates of ET decrease when a forest is converted to grassland; however, this consensus has recently come into question. Williams (2012) applied the Budyko framework to a global network of eddy covariance measurements with the results that grasslands have a 9% greater evaporative index than forests. In addition, HadGEM2, a recent Hadley Centre LSM, produced increased ET in the northern Amazon Basin after simulating global scale tropical deforestation (Brovkin et al., 2015). Here we present an analysis of available estimates of how ET rates change with FGC to increase our understanding of the forest - grassland-ET paradigm. We used two datasets to investigate the impacts land cover change on ET. I compiled a dataset of change in ET with land cover change (ΔETLCC) using published experiments that compare forest and grassland ET under conditions controlled for meteorological and landscape influences. Using the ΔETLCC dataset, we show that, in all cases, forest ET is higher than grassland under controlled conditions. Results suggest that the eddy covariance method measures smaller changes in ET when forests are converted to grasslands, though more data are needed for this result to be statistically significant. Finally, GETA2.0, a new global dataset of annual ET, projects that forest ET is greater than grassland, except at high latitudes and areas where orography influences precipitation (P). The data included in this study represent the data available on forest and grassland ET

  16. Grassland birds wintering at U.S. Navy facilities in southern Texas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Woodin, Marc C.; Skoruppa, Mary Kay; Bryan, Pearce D.; Ruddy, Amanda J.; Hickman, Graham C.

    2010-01-01

    during 2003–2008 in the same transects used for bird surveys and included five measures of ground cover, plus estimates of plant species richness, vegetation density (visual obstruction) at two different heights, and shrub numbers. These data, plus seasonal rainfall, were then used to evaluate components of variation in native and exotic grasslands. Relations between total bird numbers and bird species richness with environmental variation in native and exotic grasslands were compared. To compare diversity of arthropods in native and exotic grasslands, insects and arachnids were collected using three different methodologies (standardized sweep-net, random sweep-net, and pitfall traps) during four seasons, (2005–2006), at Naval Air Station–Corpus Christi, Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Waldron, and Naval Air Station–Kingsville. To compare seed abundance and diversity between native and exotic grasslands, seeds were collected for two winters (2004–2006) at Naval Air Station–Corpus Christi and Naval Air Station–Kingsville. To evaluate effects of management on grassland vertebrates, abundance and diversity of birds and small mammals were estimated and compared in exotic grasses subjected to mowing, burning, or no active management (control) for one full year (2008–2009).Observations were made of 1,044 birds of 30 species in grassland transects during five winters. The Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) was the most common bird, which, with 644 detections, accounted for 63 percent of all individuals identified to species. Meadowlarks (Sturnella spp.) and Le Conte’s Sparrows (Ammodramus leconteii) were the second (10 percent) and third (7 percent) most abundant bird species, respectively. Six of the seven most abundant species detected in grasslands were grassland species, and their numbers accounted for 87 percent of all birds, but 20 of the 30 species (67 percent) that used grasslands were not grassland species. Seven species observed in grassland

  17. Effects of nitrogen fertilization and grazing on the emission of nitrous oxide from grassland

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Velthof, G.L.; Brader, A.B.; Oenema, O. [NMI, Dept. of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, Wageningen Agricultural Univ. (Netherlands)

    1995-11-01

    In the Netherlands, managed grasslands are potentially a large source of nitrous oxide (N{sub 2}O), because of the large nitrogen (N) input and the relatively high ground water levels. To provide insight into the major factors that contribute to N{sub 2}O emission from grassland and to provide quantitative N{sub 2}O emission rates, a monitoring study was carried out on four sites, during March 1992 to March 1994. Fluxes of N{sub 2}O increased after N fertilizer application and grazing, especially during wet conditions. Fluxes were higher from peat soils than from sand and clay soils. Fluxes were low during the winter periods. Total N{sub 2}O losses were 2 to 4.5 times higher on grassland fertilized with 160-460 kg N ha{sup -1} yr{sup -1} than on unfertilized grassland. Losses from grazed grasslands were 1.5 to 3.5 times higher than losses from mown grassland. This study shows that management practice of grassland and soil type are major factors controlling N{sub 2}O emission from grasslands. 2 figs., 3 refs.

  18. Higher-order aberrations and best-corrected visual acuity in Native American children with a high prevalence of astigmatism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Joseph M; Harvey, Erin M; Schwiegerling, Jim

    2015-08-01

    To determine whether higher-order aberrations (HOAs) in children from a highly astigmatic population differ from population norms and whether HOAs are associated with astigmatism and reduced best-corrected visual acuity. Subjects were 218 Tohono O'odham Native American children 5-9 years of age. Noncycloplegic HOA measurements were obtained with a handheld Shack-Hartmann sensor (SHS). Signed (z06s to z14s) and unsigned (z06u to z14u) wavefront aberration Zernike coefficients Z(3,-3) to Z(4,4) were rescaled for a 4 mm diameter pupil and compared to adult population norms. Cycloplegic refraction and best-corrected logMAR letter visual acuity (BCVA) were also measured. Regression analyses assessed the contribution of astigmatism (J0) and HOAs to BCVA. The mean root-mean-square (RMS) HOA of 0.191 ± 0.072 μm was significantly greater than population norms (0.100 ± 0.044 μm). All unsigned HOA coefficients (z06u to z14u) and all signed coefficients except z09s, z10s, and z11s were significantly larger than population norms. Decreased BCVA was associated with astigmatism (J0) and spherical aberration (z12u) but not RMS coma, with the effect of J0 about 4 times as great as z12u. Tohono O'odham children show elevated HOAs compared to population norms. Astigmatism and unsigned spherical aberration are associated with decreased acuity, but the effects of spherical aberration are minimal and not clinically significant. Copyright © 2015 American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  19. Holistic face categorization in higher-level cortical visual areas of the normal and prosopagnosic brain: towards a non-hierarchical view of face perception

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bruno Rossion

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available How a visual stimulus is initially categorized as a face in a network of human brain areas remains largely unclear. Hierarchical neuro-computational models of face perception assume that the visual stimulus is first decomposed in local parts in lower order visual areas. These parts would then be combined into a global representation in higher order face-sensitive areas of the occipito-temporal cortex. Here we tested this view in fMRI with visual stimuli that are categorized as faces based on their global configuration rather than their local parts (2-tones Mooney figures and Arcimboldo’s facelike paintings. Compared to the same inverted visual stimuli that are not categorized as faces, these stimuli activated the right middle fusiform gyrus (Fusiform face area, FFA and superior temporal sulcus (pSTS, with no significant activation in the posteriorly located inferior occipital gyrus (i.e., no occipital face area, OFA. This observation is strengthened by behavioral and neural evidence for normal face categorization of these stimuli in a brain-damaged prosopagnosic patient (PS whose intact right middle fusiform gyrus and superior temporal sulcus are devoid of any potential face-sensitive inputs from the lesioned right inferior occipital cortex. Together, these observations indicate that face-preferential activation may emerge in higher order visual areas of the right hemisphere without any face-preferential inputs from lower order visual areas, supporting a non-hierarchical view of face perception in the visual cortex.

  20. Grassland carbon sequestration and emissions following cultivation in a mixed crop rotation

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Acharya, Bharat Sharma; Rasmussen, Jim; Eriksen, Jørgen

    2012-01-01

    Grasslands are potential carbon sinks to reduce unprecedented increase in atmospheric CO2. Effect of age (1–4-year-old) and management (slurry, grazing multispecies mixture) of a grass phase mixed crop rotation on carbon sequestration and emissions upon cultivation was compared with 17-year...... biomass was highest in 4-year-old grassland, but all 1–4-year-old grasslands were in between the pea field (0.81 ± 0.094 g kg−1 soil) and the 17-year-old grassland (3.17 ± 0.22 g kg−1 soil). Grazed grasslands had significantly higher root biomass than cut grasslands. There was no significant difference...... in the CO2 emissions within 1–4-year-old grasslands. Only the 17-year-old grassland showed markedly higher CO2 emissions (4.9 ± 1.1 g CO2 kg−1 soil). Differences in aboveground and root biomass did not affect CO2 emissions, and slurry application did not either. The substantial increase in root biomass...

  1. Classification of Grassland Successional Stages Using Airborne Hyperspectral Imagery

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Thomas Möckel

    2014-08-01

    Full Text Available Plant communities differ in their species composition, and, thus, also in their functional trait composition, at different stages in the succession from arable fields to grazed grassland. We examine whether aerial hyperspectral (414–2501 nm remote sensing can be used to discriminate between grazed vegetation belonging to different grassland successional stages. Vascular plant species were recorded in 104.1 m2 plots on the island of Öland (Sweden and the functional properties of the plant species recorded in the plots were characterized in terms of the ground-cover of grasses, specific leaf area and Ellenberg indicator values. Plots were assigned to three different grassland age-classes, representing 5–15, 16–50 and >50 years of grazing management. Partial least squares discriminant analysis models were used to compare classifications based on aerial hyperspectral data with the age-class classification. The remote sensing data successfully classified the plots into age-classes: the overall classification accuracy was higher for a model based on a pre-selected set of wavebands (85%, Kappa statistic value = 0.77 than one using the full set of wavebands (77%, Kappa statistic value = 0.65. Our results show that nutrient availability and grass cover differences between grassland age-classes are detectable by spectral imaging. These techniques may potentially be used for mapping the spatial distribution of grassland habitats at different successional stages.

  2. Protecting Mongolia's grassland steppes | CRDI - Centre de ...

    International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Digital Library (Canada)

    ... windy grassland region is severely damaged, desertification can quickly set in. ... to marketing to the sound use of (grassland) resources," explains Ykhanbai, who ... is going to require improvement in the skills of researchers, adds Ykhanbai.

  3. The cortical eye proprioceptive signal modulates neural activity in higher-order visual cortex as predicted by the variation in visual sensitivity

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Balslev, Daniela; Siebner, Hartwig R; Paulson, Olaf B

    2012-01-01

    target when the right eye was rotated leftwards as compared with when it was rotated rightwards. This effect was larger after S1(EYE)-rTMS than after rTMS of a control area in the motor cortex. The neural response to retinally identical stimuli in this area could be predicted from the changes in visual......Whereas the links between eye movements and the shifts in visual attention are well established, less is known about how eye position affects the prioritization of visual space. It was recently observed that visual sensitivity varies with the direction of gaze and the level of excitability...... in the eye proprioceptive representation in human left somatosensory cortex (S1(EYE)), so that after 1Hz repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) over S1(EYE), targets presented nearer the center of the orbit are detected more accurately. Here we used whole-brain functional magnetic resonance...

  4. Appreciation of grassland functions by European stakeholders

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Pol, van den A.; Golinski, P.; Hennessy, D.; Huyghe, C.; Parente, G.; Peyraud, J.L.

    2014-01-01

    In order to promote sustainable and competitive ruminant production systems, the European Multisward project was aimed at improving farmer trust in grassland and grassland mixtures. A questionnaire on grassland functions was submitted in eight languages, in order to better understand the importance

  5. Plutonium in a grassland ecosystem

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Little, C.A.

    1976-01-01

    This study was concerned with plutonium contamination of grassland at the U.S. Energy Research and Development Administration Rocky Flats plant northwest of Denver, Colorado. Of interest were: the definition of major plutonium-containing ecosystem compartments; the relative amounts in those compartments; how those values related to studies done in other geogrphical areas; whether or not the predominant isotopes, 238 Pu and 239 Pu, behaved differently; and what mechanisms might have allowed for the observed patterns of contamination. Samples of soil, litter, vegetation, arthropods, and small mammals were collected for plutonium analysis and mass determination from each of two macroplots. Small aliquots (5 g or less) were analyzed by a rapid liquid scintillation technique and by alpha spectrometry. Of the compartments sampled, greater than 99% of the total plutonium was contained in the soil. The concentrations of plutonium in soil were significantly inversely correlated with distance from the contamination source, depth of the sample, and particle size of the sieved soil samples. The soil data suggested that the distribution of contamination largely resulted from physical transport processes. A mechanism of agglomerated submicron plutonium oxide particles and larger (1-500 μm) host soil particles was proposed. Concentrations of Pu in litter and vegetation were inversely correlated to distance from the source and directly correlated to soil concentrations at the same location. Comparatively high concentration ratios of vegetation to soil suggested wind resuspension of contamination as an important transport mechanism. Arthropod and small mammal samples were highly skewed, kurtotic, and quite variable, having coefficients of variation (standard deviation/mean) as high as 600%. Bone Pu concentrations were lower than other tissues. Hide, GI, and lung were generally not higher in Pu than kidney, liver and muscle

  6. Differentiating climate- and human-induced drivers of grassland degradation in the Liao River Basin, China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    He, Chunyang; Tian, Jie; Gao, Bin; Zhao, Yuanyuan

    2015-01-01

    Quantitatively distinguishing grassland degradation due to climatic variations from that due to human activities is of great significance to effectively governing degraded grassland and realizing sustainable utilization. The objective of this study was to differentiate these two types of drivers in the Liao River Basin during 1999-2009 using the residual trend (RESTREND) method and to evaluate the applicability of the method in semiarid and semihumid regions. The relationship between the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and each climatic factor was first determined. Then, the primary driver of grassland degradation was identified by calculating the change trend of the normalized residuals between the observed and the predicted NDVI assuming that climate change was the only driver. We found that the RESTREND method can be used to quantitatively and effectively differentiate climate and human drivers of grassland degradation. We also found that the grassland degradation in the Liao River Basin was driven by both natural processes and human activities. The driving factors of grassland degradation varied greatly across the study area, which included regions having different precipitation and altitude. The degradation in the Horqin Sandy Land, with lower altitude, was driven mainly by human activities, whereas that in the Kungl Prairie, with higher altitude and lower precipitation, was caused primarily by climate change. Therefore, the drivers of degradation and local conditions should be considered in an appropriate strategy for grassland management to promote the sustainability of grasslands in the Liao River Basin.

  7. Variation in soil organic carbon within highland grasslands of Langtang National Park, Nepal

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Keshab Shrestha

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available Grassland also plays important role in food security. The estimated grassland area in Nepal is about 1.75 million ha. Most of the grassland in Nepal is located in higher elevation above, 2000 meter. The aim of this research is to observe difference in SOC of grassland in different altitude. Soil samples were collected from grasslands of altitude: 1500- 2000m, 2001- 2500m, 2501-3000m, 3001- 3500m and 3501- 4000m. The soil samples were collected at successive depths in each grassland i.e. 0 – 10 cm, 10 – 20 cm and 20 – 30 cm. The maximum SOC was found in grassland at altitude 3001 m- 3500m. The lowest was SOC was found in grassland at altitude 3051m – 4000m. Correlation analysis between altitude and SOC shows that SOC is positively correlated with altitude with correlation coefficient 0.850 (significant at P<0.05 level. But SOC decreases sharply in treeline with negative correlation (Significant at P<0.05.International Journal of Environment Vol.5(3 2016, pp.57-65

  8. Monitoring in South African grasslands

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Mentis, MT

    1984-12-01

    Full Text Available The main purpose of this document is to propose how ecological monitoring might be developed in the Grassland Biome of South Africa. Monitoring is defined as the maintenance of regular surveillance to test the null hypothesis of no change...

  9. Radioecological sensitivity of permanent grasslands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Besson, Benoit

    2009-01-01

    The project 'SENSIB' of the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) aims at characterizing and classifying parameters with significant impact on the transfer of radioactive contaminants in the environment. This thesis is focused on permanent grassland areas. Its objectives are the analysis of the activity variations of two artificial radionuclides ( 137 Cs and 90 Sr) in the chain from soil to dairy products as well as the categorization of ecological and anthropogenic parameters, which determine the sensitivity of the studied area. For this study, in situ sampling is carried out in 15 farms in 3 different French regions (Charente, Puy-de-Dome and Jura). The sampling sites are chosen according to their natural variations (geology, altitude and climate) and the soil types. Additionally to the radiologic measurements, geographic, soil and vegetation data as well as data concerning cattle-rearing and cheese manufacturing processes are gathered. From the soil to the grass vegetation, 137 Cs transfer factors vary between 3 x 10-3 and 148 x 10-3 Bq kg-1 (dry weight) per Bq kg-1 (dry weight) (N = 73). Theses transfer factors are significantly higher in the Puy-de-Dome region than in the Jura region. The 137 Cs transfer factor from cattle feed to milk varies from 5.9 x 10-3 to 258 x 10-3 Bq kg-1 (fresh weight) per Bq kg-1 (dry weight) (N = 28). Statistically, it is higher in the Charente region. Finally, the 90 Sr transfer factor from milk to cheese ranges from 3.9 to 12.1. The studied site with the highest factor is the Jura (N = 25). The link between milk and dairy products is the stage with the most 137 Cs and 90 Sr transfers. A nonlinear approach based on a discretization method of the transfer factor with multiple comparison tests admits a classification of the sensitivity factors from soil to grass vegetation. We can determine 20 factors interfering in the 137 Cs transfer into the vegetation, for instance, the clay rate of the soils or a marker

  10. [Community structure and diversity of soil arthropods in naturally restored sandy grasslands after grazing].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Ren-tao; Zhao, Ha-lin; Zhao, Xue-yong

    2010-11-01

    Taking the Naiman Desertification Research Station under Chinese Academy of Sciences as a base, an investigation was conducted on the community structure of soil arthropods in the naturally restored sandy grasslands after different intensity grazing disturbance, with the effects of vegetation and soil on this community structure approached. In the non-grazing grassland, soil arthropods were rich in species and more in individuals, and had the highest diversity. In the restored grassland after light grazing, soil arthropods had the lowest evenness and diversity. In the restored grassland after moderate grazing, the individuals of soil arthropods were lesser but the major groups were more, and the evenness and diversity were higher. In the restored grassland after heavy grazing, the individuals of soil arthropods were more but the major groups were lesser, and the diversity was higher. Plant individuals' number, vegetation height and coverage, and soil alkalinity were the main factors affecting the soil arthropod community in naturally restored grasslands after different intensity grazing disturbance. It was implied that after 12-year exclosure of grassland, soil arthropod community could be recovered to some degree, while grazing disturbance had long-term negative effects on the arthropod community.

  11. Research on the Mechanism of Cross Regional Grassland Ecological Compensation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Ran; Ma, Jun

    2018-01-01

    In recent years, grassland environmental damage has become serious, and grassland resources protection task has become heavy, grassland ecological compensation has become an effective way to solve this problem; but the current grassland ecological compensation standards were low, the effect is poor. The fundamental reason is the model of administrative division destroys the integrity of grassland. Based on the analysis of the status quo of grassland compensation, this paper tries to protect the grassland integrity, breaks the administrative division restriction, implements the space regulation, constructs the framework of cross-regional grassland ecological compensation mechanism, describes its operation process. It provides new way to realize the sustainable development of the grassland environment.

  12. Developing an Inclusive Learning Environment for Students with Visual Impairment in Higher Education: Progressive Mutual Accommodation and Learner Experiences in the United Kingdom

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hewett, Rachel; Douglas, Graeme; McLinden, Michael; Keil, Sue

    2017-01-01

    Drawing on the findings of a unique longitudinal qualitative study, this article investigates the experiences of 32 young people with visual impairment (VI) in higher education (HE) in the United Kingdom (UK) to explore how well they were able to participate on their courses. We propose and apply a Bioecological Model of Inclusive HE to interpret…

  13. Traditional cattle grazing in a mosaic alkali landscape: effects on grassland biodiversity along a moisture gradient.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Péter Török

    Full Text Available Extensively managed pastures are of crucial importance in sustaining biodiversity both in local- and landscape-level. Thus, re-introduction of traditional grazing management is a crucial issue in grassland conservation actions worldwide. Traditional grazing with robust cattle breeds in low stocking rates is considered to be especially useful to mimic natural grazing regimes, but well documented case-studies are surprisingly rare on this topic. Our goal was to evaluate the effectiveness of traditional Hungarian Grey cattle grazing as a conservation action in a mosaic alkali landscape. We asked the following questions: (i How does cattle grazing affect species composition and diversity of the grasslands? (ii What are the effects of grazing on short-lived and perennial noxious species? (iii Are there distinct effects of grazing in dry-, mesophilous- and wet grassland types? Vegetation of fenced and grazed plots in a 200-ha sized habitat complex (secondary dry grasslands and pristine mesophilous- and wet alkali grasslands was sampled from 2006-2009 in East-Hungary. We found higher diversity scores in grazed plots compared to fenced ones in mesophilous- and wet grasslands. Higher cover of noxious species was typical in fenced plots compared to their grazed counterparts in the last year in every studied grassland type. We found an increasing effect of grazing from the dry- towards the wet grassland types. The year-to-year differences also followed similar pattern: the site-dependent effects were the lowest in the dry grassland and an increasing effect was detected along the moisture gradient. We found that extensive Hungarian Grey cattle grazing is an effective tool to suppress noxious species and to create a mosaic vegetation structure, which enables to maintain high species richness in the landscape. Hungarian Grey cattle can feed in open habitats along long moisture gradient, thus in highly mosaic landscapes this breed can be the most suitable

  14. Prairie dog decline reduces the supply of ecosystem services and leads to desertification of semiarid grasslands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lourdes Martínez-Estévez

    Full Text Available Anthropogenic impacts on North American grasslands, a highly endangered ecosystem, have led to declines of prairie dogs, a keystone species, over 98% of their historical range. While impacts of this loss on maintenance of grassland biodiversity have been widely documented, much less is known about the consequences on the supply of ecosystem services. Here we assessed the effect of prairie dogs in the supply of five ecosystem services by comparing grasslands currently occupied by prairie dogs, grasslands devoid of prairie dogs, and areas that used to be occupied by prairie dogs that are currently dominated by mesquite scrub. Groundwater recharge, regulation of soil erosion, regulation of soil productive potential, soil carbon storage and forage availability were consistently quantitatively or qualitatively higher in prairie dog grasslands relative to grasslands or mesquite scrub. Our findings indicate a severe loss of ecosystem services associated to the absence of prairie dogs. These findings suggest that contrary to a much publicize perception, especially in the US, prairie dogs are fundamental in maintaining grasslands and their decline have strong negative impacts in human well - being through the loss of ecosystem services.

  15. Effects of Government Grassland Conservation Policy on Household Livelihoods and Dependence on Local Grasslands: Evidence from Inner Mongolia, China

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Du, Bingzhen; Zhen, Lin; Yan, Huimin; Groot, de Dolf

    2016-01-01

    Grassland degradation intensifies human-environment conflicts and adversely affects local residents’ livelihoods. To reduce grassland degradation in Inner Mongolia, China, the government has enforced (since 1998) a series of grassland conservation and management policies that restrict the use of

  16. Indirect Effects of Energy Development in Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Duquette, Cameron Albert

    Grassland landscapes in North America are undergoing rapid industrialization due to energy development facilitated by the growing popularity of fracking and horizontal drilling technology. Each year over 3 million hectares are lost from grassland and shrubland habitats to well infrastructure. Direct footprints from energy infrastructure cause impacts to vegetation cover, available cattle forage, carbon sequestration potential, and usable space for wildlife. However, legacy effects from well construction and noise pollution, light pollution, and altered viewsheds have the potential to impact areas beyond this direct footprint, causing additive and persistent changes to nearby grassland function. While these additional areas may be small on a well pad basis, they may have substantial cumulative impacts over time. To investigate these effects via a diversity of mechanisms, we studied the seasonal habitat selection of northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus, hereafter bobwhite) in an energy-producing landscape to evaluate space use patterns relative to energy infrastructure. Habitat selection was modeled in the breeding and nonbreeding season using resource Utilization functions (RUFs). We then investigated patterns of vegetation, arthropod, and soil characteristics surrounding well pads to assess small scale environmental gradients extending away from drilling pads via a combination of multivariate and univariate techniques (i.e., Nonmetric dimensional scaling and ANOVA). We found minimal avoidance of energy structures by quail, suggesting a tolerance of moderate development levels. All small-scale effects studied except for soil moisture were impacted at the pad itself (P < 0.01). Off-pad impacts to arthropod abundance and biomass were spatially limited to areas close to pads, while vegetation cover was typically lower than the surrounding habitat beyond 10 m of pads. Soil surface temperature was higher at distances close to well pads, and soil moisture was not

  17. Perceptions of visual communication design education in higher education in Ireland: A multi-case study from the design industry, institutes and graduates perspectives

    OpenAIRE

    DOWLING, FIONA

    2018-01-01

    APPROVED ?Use your own vision and mentality in order to form design decisions + Don?t believe your professor? Annelys de Vet ? (Kiosoglou & Frank, Ed. 2013., p 34). The aim of the study was to evaluate and construct an explanation behind the currency that higher education degrees in design enjoy in Ireland. The Visual Communication (VC) design discipline at Bachelors (BA) level accounted for the greatest cohort of students leaving design HE in Ireland in the 1990s. This grap...

  18. Distinct GABAergic targets of feedforward and feedback connections between lower and higher areas of rat visual cortex.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gonchar, Yuri; Burkhalter, Andreas

    2003-11-26

    Processing of visual information is performed in different cortical areas that are interconnected by feedforward (FF) and feedback (FB) pathways. Although FF and FB inputs are excitatory, their influences on pyramidal neurons also depend on the outputs of GABAergic neurons, which receive FF and FB inputs. Rat visual cortex contains at least three different families of GABAergic neurons that express parvalbumin (PV), calretinin (CR), and somatostatin (SOM) (Gonchar and Burkhalter, 1997). To examine whether pathway-specific inhibition (Shao and Burkhalter, 1996) is attributable to distinct connections with GABAergic neurons, we traced FF and FB inputs to PV, CR, and SOM neurons in layers 1-2/3 of area 17 and the secondary lateromedial area in rat visual cortex. We found that in layer 2/3 maximally 2% of FF and FB inputs go to CR and SOM neurons. This contrasts with 12-13% of FF and FB inputs onto layer 2/3 PV neurons. Unlike inputs to layer 2/3, connections to layer 1, which contains CR but lacks SOM and PV somata, are pathway-specific: 21% of FB inputs go to CR neurons, whereas FF inputs to layer 1 and its CR neurons are absent. These findings suggest that FF and FB influences on layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons mainly involve disynaptic connections via PV neurons that control the spike outputs to axons and proximal dendrites. Unlike FF input, FB input in addition makes a disynaptic link via CR neurons, which may influence the excitability of distal pyramidal cell dendrites in layer 1.

  19. Changes in productivity of grassland with ageing

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hoogerkamp, M.

    1984-01-01

    The productivity of grassland may change greatly with ageing. Frequently, a productive ley period, occurring in the first time after (re)seeding, is followed by a period in which productivity decreases. Under conditions favourable to grassland this may be temporary. A production level

  20. Effects of forest expansion on mountain grassland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Guidi, Claudia; Magid, Jakob; Rodeghiero, Mirco

    2014-01-01

    Background and aims. Grassland abandonment followed by forest succession is the dominant land-use change in the European Alps. We studied the impact of current forest expansion on mountain grassland on changes in physical soil organic carbon (SOC) fractions along a land-use and management gradient......, focusing on changes in aggregate stability and particulate organic matter (POM). Methods. Four successional stages were investigated: managed grassland, two transitional phases in which grassland abandonment led to colonization by Picea abies (L.) Karst., and old mixed forest dominated by Fagus sylvatica L....... Results. The dimension of aggregates assessed by aggregate size fractionation tended to increase, whereas SOC allocation to stable aggregates assessed by sizedensity fractionation decreased following conversion of grassland to forest (e.g. from 81 to 59 % in the 0–5 cm layer). The amount of SOC stored...

  1. Promoting English oral communication and higher-order thinking in Taiwanese ESL students through the use of knowledge visualization techniques.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Ya-Huei; Liao, Hung-Chang

    2014-06-01

    The study examined whether the students using concept mapping in a Freshman English course would improve English oral communication proficiency, higher-order thinking, and perception of abilities. A quasi-experimental design, lasting for 12 weeks, was administered to an experimental group (21 students) and a control group (20 students). The experimental group had significantly better performance on all measures. Concept mapping was effective in improving college students' English oral communication, higher-order thinking, and perception of abilities development.

  2. Direct effects of cattle on grassland birds in Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bleho, Barbara I; Koper, Nicola; Machtans, Craig S

    2014-06-01

    Effects of grazing on grassland birds are generally thought to be indirect, through alteration of vegetation structure; however, livestock can also affect nest survival directly through trampling and other disturbances (e.g., livestock-induced abandonment). We extracted data on nest fates from 18 grazing studies conducted in Canada. We used these data to assess rates of nest destruction by cattle among 9 ecoregions and between seasonal and rotational grazing systems. Overall, few nests were destroyed by cattle (average 1.5% of 9132 nests). Nest destruction was positively correlated with grazing pressure (i.e., stocking rate or grazing intensity), but nest survival was higher in more heavily grazed areas for some species. Because rates of destruction of grassland bird nests by cattle are low in Canada, management efforts to reduce such destruction may not be of ecological or economic value in Canada. © 2014 Society for Conservation Biology.

  3. Soil Respiration in Semiarid Temperate Grasslands under Various Land Management.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zhen Wang

    Full Text Available Soil respiration, a major component of the global carbon cycle, is significantly influenced by land management practices. Grasslands are potentially a major sink for carbon, but can also be a source. Here, we investigated the potential effect of land management (grazing, clipping, and ungrazed enclosures on soil respiration in the semiarid grassland of northern China. Our results showed the mean soil respiration was significantly higher under enclosures (2.17 μmol.m(-2.s(-1 and clipping (2.06 μmol.m(-2.s(-1 than under grazing (1.65 μmol.m-(2.s(-1 over the three growing seasons. The high rates of soil respiration under enclosure and clipping were associated with the higher belowground net primary productivity (BNPP. Our analyses indicated that soil respiration was primarily related to BNPP under grazing, to soil water content under clipping. Using structural equation models, we found that soil water content, aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP and BNPP regulated soil respiration, with soil water content as the predominant factor. Our findings highlight that management-induced changes in abiotic (soil temperature and soil water content and biotic (ANPP and BNPP factors regulate soil respiration in the semiarid temperate grassland of northern China.

  4. Soil Respiration in Semiarid Temperate Grasslands under Various Land Management.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Zhen; Ji, Lei; Hou, Xiangyang; Schellenberg, Michael P

    2016-01-01

    Soil respiration, a major component of the global carbon cycle, is significantly influenced by land management practices. Grasslands are potentially a major sink for carbon, but can also be a source. Here, we investigated the potential effect of land management (grazing, clipping, and ungrazed enclosures) on soil respiration in the semiarid grassland of northern China. Our results showed the mean soil respiration was significantly higher under enclosures (2.17 μmol.m(-2).s(-1)) and clipping (2.06 μmol.m(-2).s(-1)) than under grazing (1.65 μmol.m-(2).s(-1)) over the three growing seasons. The high rates of soil respiration under enclosure and clipping were associated with the higher belowground net primary productivity (BNPP). Our analyses indicated that soil respiration was primarily related to BNPP under grazing, to soil water content under clipping. Using structural equation models, we found that soil water content, aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) and BNPP regulated soil respiration, with soil water content as the predominant factor. Our findings highlight that management-induced changes in abiotic (soil temperature and soil water content) and biotic (ANPP and BNPP) factors regulate soil respiration in the semiarid temperate grassland of northern China.

  5. Variability of annual CO2 exchange from Dutch grasslands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Jacobs, C.M.J.; Jacobs, A.F.G.; Bosveld, F.C.; Hendriks, D.M.D.; Hensen, A.; Kroon, P.; Moors, E.J.; Nol, L.; Schrier-Uijl, A.P.; Veenendaal, E.M.

    2007-01-01

    An intercomparison is made of the Net Ecosystem Exchange of CO2, NEE, for eight Dutch grassland sites: four natural grasslands, two production grasslands and two meteorological stations within a rotational grassland region. At all sites the NEE was determined during at least 10 months per site,

  6. Relationships between botanical and chemical composition of forages: a multivariate approach to grasslands in the Western Italian Alps.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ravetto Enri, Simone; Renna, Manuela; Probo, Massimiliano; Lussiana, Carola; Battaglini, Luca M; Lonati, Michele; Lombardi, Giampiero

    2017-03-01

    Plant composition of species-rich mountain grasslands can affect the sensorial and chemical attributes of dairy and meat products, with implications for human health. A multivariate approach was used to analyse the complex relationships between vegetation characteristics (botanical composition and plant community variables) and chemical composition (proximate constituents and fatty acid profile) in mesophilic and dry vegetation ecological groups, comprising six different semi-natural grassland types in the Western Italian Alps. Mesophilic and dry grasslands were comparable in terms of phenology, biodiversity indices and proportion of botanical families. The content of total fatty acids and that of the most abundant fatty acids (alpha-linolenic, linoleic and palmitic acids) were mainly associated to nutrient-rich plant species, belonging to the mesophilic grassland ecological group. Mesophilic grasslands showed also higher values of crude protein, lower values of fibre content and they were related to higher pastoral values of vegetation compared to dry grasslands. The proximate composition and fatty acid profile appeared mainly single species dependent rather than botanical family dependent. These findings highlight that forage from mesophilic grasslands can provide higher nutritive value for ruminants and may be associated to ruminant-derived food products with a healthier fatty acid profile. © 2016 Society of Chemical Industry. © 2016 Society of Chemical Industry.

  7. Striking a balance: socioeconomic development and conservation in grassland through community-based zoning.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Craig Leisher

    Full Text Available The goal of preserving nature is often in conflict with economic development and the aspirations of the rural poor. Nowhere is this more striking than in native grasslands, which have been extensively converted until a mere fraction of their original extent remains. This is not surprising; grasslands flourish in places coveted by humans, primed for agriculture, plantations, and settlements that nearly always trump conservation efforts. The Umgano grassland conservation and poverty reduction project in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa uses community-based spatial planning to balance the conversion of its lower-conservation value grasslands to a timber plantation, while conserving higher-value grasslands for heritage purposes and managed livestock grazing. Ten years after project launch, we measured the ecological and socioeconomic impacts of the project using Normalized Differential Vegetation Index remote sensing data and over 500 household interviews, as compared with similar non-conserved areas. Zoned management of the Umgano area had resulted in between 9% and 17% greater average peak production in the grassland areas compared to control sites. There was also a 21% gain in incomes for the roughly one hundred people employed by the forestry efforts, when compared to others in their village. Community-based spatial zoning is an overlooked tool for balancing conservation and development but may require, as we found in Umgano, certain critical factors including strong local leadership, an accountable financial management mechanism to distribute income, outside technical expertise for the zoning design, and community support.

  8. Description of the Grassland Biome Project

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Mentis, MT

    1982-10-01

    Full Text Available The objectives, organization and research programme of the Grassland Biome Project are described against a background of the biome's ecological characteristics and environmental problems. Four principal research topics wil 1 be focused upon: (i...

  9. Soil disturbance as a grassland restoration measure

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Schnoor, Tim; Bruun, Hans Henrik; Olsson, Pål Axel

    2015-01-01

    Soil disturbance is recognized as an important driver of biodiversity in dry grasslands, and can therefore be implemented as a restoration measure. However, because community re-assembly following disturbance includes stochastic processes, a focus only on species richness or establishment success...... to experimental disturbance treatments (ploughing or rotavation), and the vegetation was surveyed during four subsequent years of succession. Treated plots were compared with control plots representing untreated grassland, as well as nearby plots characterized by plant communities representing the restoration...

  10. [Diversity and distribution of grasshoppers (Orthoptera: Acridoidea) in grasslands of the Southern Pampas region, Argentina].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mariottini, Yanina; De Wysiecki, María Laura; Lange, Carlos Ernesto

    2013-03-01

    In Argentina, the grasslands of Pampas region comprise approximately 15% of the country. As in other grasslands of the world, grasshoppers are among the most important native herbivores. Their economic importance has been recognized in Argentina since the mid to late nineteenth century, since outbreaks of different species have become recurrent phenomena. Therefore, the main objective of this work was to study their diversity and distribution in grasslands of the Southern Pampas region (Laprida county, Buenos Aires province), as one of the most affected areas. The study was conducted during five seasons (2005-10). Sampling sites were represented by the most common plant communities in this area, classified in four categories: native grasslands, disturbed grasslands, implanted pastures and halophilous grasslands. The samplings were conducted from mid-spring to early autumn, with five or six samples per season. We estimated the following population descriptors: species richness (S), eveness (E), dominance (J), and diversity index (H'). In order to evaluate the similitude of the grasshopper communities present in the different plant communities, we used qualitative and quantitative coefficients of similitude. A total of 22 species of grasshoppers were collected, of which 21 belong to the family Acrididae. The subfamily Melanoplinae was the most diverse with eight species. The largest species richness was recorded in native grasslands (18). The different communities of grasshoppers had similar indices of evenness and dominance (p>0.05). Considering all plant communities, the average value of Shannon-Wiener index was 1.58+/-0.075. There was a positive correlation between evenness index and species richness (pgrasshoppers species richness, and diversity of grasshoppers. According to the qualitative indices applied, the similitude between different grasshopper communities was higher than 60%. In general, the species that had a higher frequency of occurrence showed greater

  11. Vegetation in clear-cuts depends on previous land use: a century-old grassland legacy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jonason, Dennis; Ibbe, Mathias; Milberg, Per; Tunér, Albert; Westerberg, Lars; Bergman, Karl-Olof

    2014-01-01

    Plant species richness in central and northern European seminatural grasslands is often more closely linked to past than present habitat configuration, which is indicative of an extinction debt. In this study, we investigate whether signs of historical grassland management can be found in clear-cuts after at least 80 years as coniferous production forest by comparing floras between clear-cuts with a history as meadow and as forest in the 1870s in Sweden. Study sites were selected using old land-use maps and data on present-day clear-cuts. Species traits reflecting high capacities for dispersal and persistence were used to explain any possible links between the plants and the historical land use. Clear-cuts that were formerly meadow had, on average, 36% higher species richness and 35% higher richness of grassland indicator species, as well as a larger overall seed mass and lower anemochory, compared to clear-cuts with history as forest. We suggest that the plants in former meadows never disappeared after afforestation but survived as remnant populations. Many contemporary forests in Sweden were managed as grasslands in the 1800s. As conservation of remaining grassland fragments will not be enough to reduce the existing extinction debts of the flora, these young forests offer opportunities for grassland restoration at large scales. Our study supports the concept of remnant populations and highlights the importance of considering historical land use for understanding the distribution of grassland plant species in fragmented landscapes, as well as for policy-making and conservation. PMID:25540690

  12. Higher order optical aberrations and visual acuity in a randomized controlled trial comparing transepithelial versus epithelium-off corneal crosslinking for progressive keratoconus

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Godefrooij DA

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available Daniel A Godefrooij, Mustapha El Kandoussi, Nienke Soeters, Robert PL Wisse Utrecht Cornea Research Group, Department of Ophthalmology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands Purpose: The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of transepithelial crosslinking (trans-CXL versus epithelium-off crosslinking (epi-off CXL for progressive keratoconus with respect to the development of higher order aberrations (HOAs and their effects on visual acuity.Materials and methods: A total of 61 patients were randomized and examined preoperatively and 1, 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively in an academic referral center. Total corneal HOAs were compared between the two treatment groups using mixed linear modeling. Types of HOAs (coma, trefoil, and spherical aberration that differed between groups were entered in a multivariable analysis to test their effect on uncorrected distance visual acuity (UDVA and corrected distance visual acuity (CDVA.Results: The epi-off CXL group had more flattening in maximal keratometry compared to the trans-CXL group (P=0.02. UDVA did not differ significantly between the groups (P=0.59; however, CDVA was significantly more improved in the trans-CXL group (P=0.02. Horizontal trefoil improved more in the epi-off group compared to the trans-CXL group (P=0.04, whereas the other HOAs were virtually unchanged in both groups. Differences in changes in HOAs between the two groups had no effect on either UCVA (P=0.76 or CDVA (P=0.96.Conclusion: Although HOAs are clinically relevant determinants of vision quality in keratoconus patients, the change in total HOAs post treatment did not differ between the trans-CXL and epi-off CXL groups. Only horizontal trefoil differed significantly post treatment between the trans-CXL and epi-off CXL groups. However, this difference did not independently affect either UDVA or CDVA. Trans-CXL provides no benefit over epi-off CXL regarding visual relevant HOAs. Keywords

  13. Shift in soil microbial communities with shrub encroachment in Inner Mongolia grasslands, China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shen, H.; Li, H.; Zhang, J.; Hu, H.; Chen, L.; Zhu, Y.; Fang, J.

    2017-12-01

    The ongoing expansion of shrub encroachment into grasslands represents a unique form of land cover change. How this process affects soil microbial communities is poorly understood. In this study, we aim to assess the effects of shrub encroachment on soil microbial biomass, abundance and composition by comparing data between shrub patches and neighboring herb patches in shrub-encroached grasslands (SEGs) in Inner Mongolia, China. Fourteen SEG sites from two ecosystem types (typical and desert grasslands) were investigated. The phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) method was used to analyze the composition and biomass of the soil microbial community. Our results showed that the top-soil microbial biomass and abundances of gram-negative bacteria, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, and actinomycetes were significantly higher in shrub patches than in herb patches in both typical and desert grasslands (P fungi to bacteria ratio was significantly higher in shrub patches than in herb patches in desert grassland (P soil microbial communities, which makes the microbial communities toward a fresh organic carbon-based structure. This study highlights the importance of edaphic and climate factors in microbial community shifts in SEGs.

  14. [Edge influence of soil moisture at farmland-grassland boundary in agriculture-pasturage ecotone of northern China].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Hong-lai; Zhang, Wei-hua; Wang, Kun; Zhao, Na

    2009-03-01

    In the agriculture-pasturage ecotone of Northern China, a typical zone with linear boundary of cropland and grassland was chosen to investigate its soil moisture regime, and the moving split-window technique was adopted to study the edge influence of soil moisture at the boundary. The results showed that the edge influence was 10 m, from 6 m within grassland and 4 m within cropland, and was categorized as the acute change type boundary. Accordingly, the farmland-grassland landscape boundary could be divided into three functional zones, i.e., grassland zone, farmland zone, and compositional ecotone zone. Soil moisture content varied abruptly in the ecotone zone, but presented linear distribution in both grassland zone and farmland zone. The average soil moisture content in grassland was about 1 g x g(-1) higher than that in farmland, which was mainly caused by the decreased capillary moisture capacity of farmland. Owing to the different vegetation cover, farmland and grassland had different transpiration and evaporation, which led to the diverse soil moisture regime, making soil water potential changed and water movement from one ecosystem to another possible.

  15. Plutonium in a grassland ecosystem

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Little, C.A.

    1976-08-01

    A study was made of plutonium contamination of grassland at the Rocky Flats plant northwest of Denver, Colorado. Of interest were: the definition of major plutonium-containing ecosystem compartments; the relative amounts in those compartments; how those values related to studies done in other geographical areas; whether or not the predominant isotopes, 238 Pu and 239 Pu, behaved differently; and what mechanisms might have allowed for the observed patterns of contamination. Samples of soil, litter, vegetation, arthropods, and small mammals were collected for Pu analysis and mass determination from each of two macroplots. Small aliquots (5 g or less) were analyzed by a rapid liquid scintillation technique and by alpha spectrometry. Of the compartments sampled, greater than 99 percent of the total plutonium was contained in the soil and the concentrations were significantly inversely correlated with distance from the contamination source, depth of the sample, and particle size of the sieved soil samples. The soil data suggested that the distribution of contamination largely resulted from physical transport processes

  16. The Effects of Timing of Grazing on Plant and Arthropod Communities in High-Elevation Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davis, Stacy C.; Burkle, Laura A.; Cross, Wyatt F.; Cutting, Kyle A.

    2014-01-01

    Livestock grazing can be used as a key management tool for maintaining healthy ecosystems. However, the effectiveness of using grazing to modify habitat for species of conservation concern depends on how the grazing regime is implemented. Timing of grazing is one grazing regime component that is less understood than grazing intensity and grazer identity, but is predicted to have important implications for plant and higher trophic level responses. We experimentally assessed how timing of cattle grazing affected plant and arthropod communities in high-elevation grasslands of southwest Montana to better evaluate its use as a tool for multi-trophic level management. We manipulated timing of grazing, with one grazing treatment beginning in mid-June and the other in mid-July, in two experiments conducted in different grassland habitat types (i.e., wet meadow and upland) in 2011 and 2012. In the upland grassland experiment, we found that both early and late grazing treatments reduced forb biomass, whereas graminoid biomass was only reduced with late grazing. Grazing earlier in the growing season versus later did not result in greater recovery of graminoid or forb biomass as expected. In addition, the density of the most ubiquitous grassland arthropod order (Hemiptera) was reduced by both grazing treatments in upland grasslands. A comparison of end-of-season plant responses to grazing in upland versus wet meadow grasslands revealed that grazing reduced graminoid biomass in the wet meadow and forb biomass in the upland, irrespective of timing of grazing. Both grazing treatments also reduced end-of-season total arthropod and Hemiptera densities and Hemiptera biomass in both grassland habitat types. Our results indicate that both early and late season herbivory affect many plant and arthropod characteristics in a similar manner, but grazing earlier may negatively impact species of conservation concern requiring forage earlier in the growing season. PMID:25338008

  17. Grassland to shrubland state transitions enhance carbon sequestration in the northern Chihuahuan Desert.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Petrie, M D; Collins, S L; Swann, A M; Ford, P L; Litvak, M E

    2015-03-01

    The replacement of native C4 -dominated grassland by C3 -dominated shrubland is considered an ecological state transition where different ecological communities can exist under similar environmental conditions. These state transitions are occurring globally, and may be exacerbated by climate change. One consequence of the global increase in woody vegetation may be enhanced ecosystem carbon sequestration, although the responses of arid and semiarid ecosystems may be highly variable. During a drier than average period from 2007 to 2011 in the northern Chihuahuan Desert, we found established shrubland to sequester 49 g C m(-2) yr(-1) on average, while nearby native C4 grassland was a net source of 31 g C m(-2) yr(-1) over this same period. Differences in C exchange between these ecosystems were pronounced--grassland had similar productivity compared to shrubland but experienced higher C efflux via ecosystem respiration, while shrubland was a consistent C sink because of a longer growing season and lower ecosystem respiration. At daily timescales, rates of carbon exchange were more sensitive to soil moisture variation in grassland than shrubland, such that grassland had a net uptake of C when wet but lost C when dry. Thus, even under unfavorable, drier than average climate conditions, the state transition from grassland to shrubland resulted in a substantial increase in terrestrial C sequestration. These results illustrate the inherent tradeoffs in quantifying ecosystem services that result from ecological state transitions, such as shrub encroachment. In this case, the deleterious changes to ecosystem services often linked to grassland to shrubland state transitions may at least be partially offset by increased ecosystem carbon sequestration. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  18. Preliminary Research on Grassland Fine-classification Based on MODIS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hu, Z W; Zhang, S; Yu, X Y; Wang, X S

    2014-01-01

    Grassland ecosystem is important for climatic regulation, maintaining the soil and water. Research on the grassland monitoring method could provide effective reference for grassland resource investigation. In this study, we used the vegetation index method for grassland classification. There are several types of climate in China. Therefore, we need to use China's Main Climate Zone Maps and divide the study region into four climate zones. Based on grassland classification system of the first nation-wide grass resource survey in China, we established a new grassland classification system which is only suitable for this research. We used MODIS images as the basic data resources, and use the expert classifier method to perform grassland classification. Based on the 1:1,000,000 Grassland Resource Map of China, we obtained the basic distribution of all the grassland types and selected 20 samples evenly distributed in each type, then used NDVI/EVI product to summarize different spectral features of different grassland types. Finally, we introduced other classification auxiliary data, such as elevation, accumulate temperature (AT), humidity index (HI) and rainfall. China's nation-wide grassland classification map is resulted by merging the grassland in different climate zone. The overall classification accuracy is 60.4%. The result indicated that expert classifier is proper for national wide grassland classification, but the classification accuracy need to be improved

  19. Some Insights on Grassland Health Assessment Based on Remote Sensing

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dandan Xu

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Grassland ecosystem is one of the largest ecosystems, which naturally occurs on all continents excluding Antarctica and provides both ecological and economic functions. The deterioration of natural grassland has been attracting many grassland researchers to monitor the grassland condition and dynamics for decades. Remote sensing techniques, which are advanced in dealing with the scale constraints of ecological research and provide temporal information, become a powerful approach of grassland ecosystem monitoring. So far, grassland health monitoring studies have mostly focused on different areas, for example, productivity evaluation, classification, vegetation dynamics, livestock carrying capacity, grazing intensity, natural disaster detecting, fire, climate change, coverage assessment and soil erosion. However, the grassland ecosystem is a complex system which is formed by soil, vegetation, wildlife and atmosphere. Thus, it is time to consider the grassland ecosystem as an entity synthetically and establish an integrated grassland health monitoring system to combine different aspects of the complex grassland ecosystem. In this review, current grassland health monitoring methods, including rangeland health assessment, ecosystem health assessment and grassland monitoring by remote sensing from different aspects, are discussed along with the future directions of grassland health assessment.

  20. Some insights on grassland health assessment based on remote sensing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, Dandan; Guo, Xulin

    2015-01-29

    Grassland ecosystem is one of the largest ecosystems, which naturally occurs on all continents excluding Antarctica and provides both ecological and economic functions. The deterioration of natural grassland has been attracting many grassland researchers to monitor the grassland condition and dynamics for decades. Remote sensing techniques, which are advanced in dealing with the scale constraints of ecological research and provide temporal information, become a powerful approach of grassland ecosystem monitoring. So far, grassland health monitoring studies have mostly focused on different areas, for example, productivity evaluation, classification, vegetation dynamics, livestock carrying capacity, grazing intensity, natural disaster detecting, fire, climate change, coverage assessment and soil erosion. However, the grassland ecosystem is a complex system which is formed by soil, vegetation, wildlife and atmosphere. Thus, it is time to consider the grassland ecosystem as an entity synthetically and establish an integrated grassland health monitoring system to combine different aspects of the complex grassland ecosystem. In this review, current grassland health monitoring methods, including rangeland health assessment, ecosystem health assessment and grassland monitoring by remote sensing from different aspects, are discussed along with the future directions of grassland health assessment.

  1. Hemiptera community and species responses to grassland sward islets

    OpenAIRE

    Helden, Alvin J.; Dittrich, Alex D. K.

    2016-01-01

    Sward islet is a term that has been used to describe a patch of longer vegetation in a pasture produced by a reduction in cattle grazing around their dung. They are known to affect the abundance and distribution of grassland arthropods. Hemiptera, like other groups, are found in higher densities within islets than the surrounding sward. Does this modify the community composition or is there just a density effect? Evidence from a paired (islets, non-islets) study at an Irish cattle-grazed site...

  2. Importance and functions of European grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carlier, L; De Vliegher, A; Van Cleemput, O; Boeckx, P

    2005-01-01

    The European agricultural policy is not simple and needs to accommodate also social and environmental requirements. Grassland will continue to be an important form of land use in Europe, but with increased diversity in management objectives and systems used. Besides its role as basic nutrient for herbivores and ruminants grasslands have opportunities for adding value by exploiting positive health characteristics in animal products from grassland and through the delivery of environmental benefits. In fact grasslands contribute to a high degree to the struggle against erosion and to the regularizing of water regimes, to the purification of fertilizers and pesticides and to biodiversity. Finally they have aesthetic role and recreational function as far as they provide public access that other agricultural uses do not allow. But even for grassland it is very difficult to create a good frame for its different tasks (1) the provision of forage for livestock, (2) protection and conservation of soil and water resources, (3) furnishing a habitat for wildlife, both flora and fauna and (4) contribution to the attractiveness of the landscape. Nevertheless it is the only crop, able to fulfil so many tasks and to fit so many requirements.

  3. [Research progress and trend on grassland agroecology].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ren, Jizhou; Li, Xianglin; Hou, Fujiang

    2002-08-01

    The connotation, progress, research frontiers and developmental trend of grassland agroecology are discussed in this paper. The interface theory, structure and function, coupling and discordance, and health assessment of grassland agroecosystems were recognized as the four research frontiers of the discipline. There exist three primary interfaces in a grassland agroecosystem, i.e., vegetation-site, grassland-animal and production-management. Research into a series of the ecological processes that occurred at these interfaces is the key to revealing the features of the system behavior. There are four sections in a grassland agroecosystem, i.e., pre-plant, plant, animal and post-biotic sections. System coupling and discordance are the two important concepts to describe interactions among the production sections. System coupling among the sections can lead to system improvement by exerting the potential of system capacity. Health of an ecosystem is a reflection of its structure and function, and health assessment is a measurement of its orderliness and service value.

  4. Evaporation from Pinus caribaea plantations on former grassland soils under maritime tropical conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Waterloo, M. J.; Bruijnzeel, L. A.; Vugts, H. F.; Rawaqa, T. T.

    1999-07-01

    Wet canopy and dry canopy evaporation from young and mature plantations of Pinus caribaea on former grassland soils under maritime tropical conditions in southwestern Viti Levu, Fiji, were determined using micrometeorological and hydrological techniques. Modeled annual evaporation totals (ET) of 1926 and 1717 mm were derived for the 6- and the 15-year-old stands, respectively. Transpiration made up 72% and 70% of annual ET, and modeled rainfall interception by the trees and litter layer was 20-22% and 8-9% in the young and the mature stands respectively. Monthly ET was related to forest leaf area index and was much higher than that for the kind of tall fire-climax Pennisetum polystachyon grassland replaced by the forests. Grassland reforestation resulted in a maximum decrease in annual water yield of 1180 mm on a plot basis, although it is argued that a reduction of (at least) 500-700 mm would be more realistic at the catchment scale. The impact of reforesting grassland on the water resources in southwest Viti Levu is enhanced by its location in a maritime, seasonal climate in the outer tropics, which favors a larger difference between annual forest and grassland evaporation totals than do equatorial regions.

  5. FLORISTIC CHANGES ALONG THE TOPOGRAPHICAL GRADIENT IN MONTANE GRASSLANDS IN MONTI PICENTINI (CAMPANIA, SW ITALY

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. CUTINI

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Populations of xerotolerant species (Achnatherum calamagrostis, Stipa crassiculmis subsp. picentina, are scattered along a wide altitudinal gradient on slopes at mid- and high elevation in Monti Picentini, a subcoastal mesozoic limestone ridge in Tyrrhenian Southern Italy. Their stands are widespread in grasslands of mostly secondary origin. At lower altitudes these grasslands replace former deciduous forest communities dominated by oaks or beech, while at higher altitudes they reach the summits, where they apparently merge into the remnants of the still partially grazed, zonal climatogenic, grasslands ranging above the local tree-line. Nevertheless primary stands of these grasslands are to be found around the many clusters of highly dynamic sites of the montane and sub-alpine levels, scattered around screes and rocky outcrops of the prevalently dolomitic morphology of the slopes. This virtual continuity of non arboreal communities across more than 1000 metres of the local topographical gradient, where azonal, relic stands of Pinus nigra s.l. are transitional between the grasslands and the surrounding zonal broadleaved forest vegetation, stresses patterns of the coenological changes between Festuco-Brometea and Elyno-Seslerietea along the catena, which suggest fragmentary persistence of a paleozonation.

  6. FLORISTIC CHANGES ALONG THE TOPOGRAPHICAL GRADIENT IN MONTANE GRASSLANDS IN MONTI PICENTINI (CAMPANIA, SW ITALY

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    F. SPADA

    2010-04-01

    Full Text Available Populations of xerotolerant species (Achnatherum calamagrostis, Stipa crassiculmis subsp. picentina, are scattered along a wide altitudinal gradient on slopes at mid- and high elevation in Monti Picentini, a subcoastal mesozoic limestone ridge in Tyrrhenian Southern Italy. Their stands are widespread in grasslands of mostly secondary origin. At lower altitudes these grasslands replace former deciduous forest communities dominated by oaks or beech, while at higher altitudes they reach the summits, where they apparently merge into the remnants of the still partially grazed, zonal climatogenic, grasslands ranging above the local tree-line. Nevertheless primary stands of these grasslands are to be found around the many clusters of highly dynamic sites of the montane and sub-alpine levels, scattered around screes and rocky outcrops of the prevalently dolomitic morphology of the slopes. This virtual continuity of non arboreal communities across more than 1000 metres of the local topographical gradient, where azonal, relic stands of Pinus nigra s.l. are transitional between the grasslands and the surrounding zonal broadleaved forest vegetation, stresses patterns of the coenological changes between Festuco-Brometea and Elyno-Seslerietea along the catena, which suggest fragmentary persistence of a paleozonation.

  7. Breeding Biology of Grassland Birds in Western New York: Conservation and Management Implications

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christopher J. Norment

    2010-12-01

    Full Text Available Declining grassland breeding bird populations have led to increased efforts to assess habitat quality, typically by estimating density or relative abundance. Because some grassland habitats may function as ecological traps, a more appropriate metric for determining quality may be breeding success. Between 1994 and 2003 we gathered data on the nest fates of Eastern Meadowlarks (Sturnella magna, Bobolinks (Dolichonyx oryzivorous, and Savannah Sparrows (Passerculus sandwichensis in a series of fallow fields and pastures/hayfields in western New York State. We calculated daily survival probabilities using the Mayfield method, and used the logistic-exposure method to model effects of predictor variables on nest success. Nest survival probabilities were 0.464 for Eastern Meadowlarks (n = 26, 0.483 for Bobolinks (n = 91, and 0.585 for Savannah Sparrows (n = 152. Fledge dates for first clutches ranged between 14 June and 23 July. Only one obligate grassland bird nest was parasitized by Brown-headed Cowbirds (Molothrus ater, for an overall brood parasitism rate of 0.004. Logistic-exposure models indicated that daily nest survival probabilities were higher in pastures/hayfields than in fallow fields. Our results, and those from other studies in the Northeast, suggest that properly managed cool season grassland habitats in the region may not act as ecological traps, and that obligate grassland birds in the region may have greater nest survival probabilities, and lower rates of Brown-headed Cowbird parasitism, than in many parts of the Midwest.

  8. Woody plant encroachment of grasslands: a comparison of terrestrial and wetland settings.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saintilan, Neil; Rogers, Kerrylee

    2015-02-01

    A global trend of woody plant encroachment of terrestrial grasslands is co-incident with woody plant encroachment of wetland in freshwater and saline intertidal settings. There are several arguments for considering tree encroachment of wetlands in the context of woody shrub encroachment of grassland biomes. In both cases, delimitation of woody shrubs at regional scales is set by temperature thresholds for poleward extent, and by aridity within temperature limits. Latitudinal expansion has been observed for terrestrial woody shrubs and mangroves, following recent warming, but most expansion and thickening has been due to the occupation of previously water-limited grassland/saltmarsh environments. Increases in atmospheric CO₂, may facilitate the recruitment of trees in terrestrial and wetland settings. Improved water relations, a mechanism that would predict higher soil moisture in grasslands and saltmarshes, and also an enhanced capacity to survive arid conditions, reinforces local mechanisms of change. The expansion of woody shrubs and mangroves provides a negative feedback on elevated atmospheric CO₂ by increasing carbon sequestration in grassland and saltmarsh, and is a significant carbon sink globally. These broad-scale vegetation shifts may represent a new stable state, reinforced by positive feedbacks between global change drivers and endogenic mechanisms of persistence in the landscape.

  9. Future productivity and phenology changes in European grasslands for different warming levels: implications for grassland management and carbon balance

    OpenAIRE

    Chang, Jinfeng; Ciais, Philippe; Viovy, Nicolas; Soussana, Jean-Fran?ois; Klumpp, Katja; Sultan, Benjamin

    2017-01-01

    Background Europe has warmed more than the global average (land and ocean) since pre-industrial times, and is also projected to continue to warm faster than the global average in the twenty-first century. According to the climate models ensemble projections for various climate scenarios, annual mean temperature of Europe for 2071?2100 is predicted to be 1?5.5??C higher than that for 1971?2000. Climate change and elevated CO2 concentration are anticipated to affect grassland management and liv...

  10. Combining social policy and scientific knowledge with stakeholder participation can benefit on salted grassland production in Northeast China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Deli; Yang, Zhiming; Wang, Ling; Sun, Wei

    2015-04-01

    that integrated social policy and scientific knowledge with stakeholder participation; that is, the stakeholder had higher animal production without accelerating grassland salinization during the three experimental years. Furthermore, this case study suggested that the perception and participation of stakeholders play an important role in grassland management adapted to environmental changes, and it is possible for grassland management to effectively integrate society and science.

  11. Distinguishing Intensity Levels of Grassland Fertilization Using Vegetation Indices

    OpenAIRE

    Jens L. Hollberg; Jürgen Schellberg

    2017-01-01

    Monitoring the reaction of grassland canopies on fertilizer application is of major importance to enable a well-adjusted management supporting a sustainable production of the grass crop. Up to date, grassland managers estimate the nutrient status and growth dynamics of grasslands by costly and time-consuming field surveys, which only provide low temporal and spatial data density. Grassland mapping using remotely-sensed Vegetation Indices (VIs) has the potential to contribute to solving these ...

  12. Bird communities and biomass yields in potential bioenergy grasslands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Peter J Blank

    Full Text Available Demand for bioenergy is increasing, but the ecological consequences of bioenergy crop production on working lands remain unresolved. Corn is currently a dominant bioenergy crop, but perennial grasslands could produce renewable bioenergy resources and enhance biodiversity. Grassland bird populations have declined in recent decades and may particularly benefit from perennial grasslands grown for bioenergy. We asked how breeding bird community assemblages, vegetation characteristics, and biomass yields varied among three types of potential bioenergy grassland fields (grass monocultures, grass-dominated fields, and forb-dominated fields, and assessed tradeoffs between grassland biomass production and bird habitat. We also compared the bird communities in grassland fields to nearby cornfields. Cornfields had few birds compared to perennial grassland fields. Ten bird Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN were observed in perennial grassland fields. Bird species richness and total bird density increased with forb cover and were greater in forb-dominated fields than grass monocultures. SGCN density declined with increasing vertical vegetation density, indicating that tall, dense grassland fields managed for maximum biomass yield would be of lesser value to imperiled grassland bird species. The proportion of grassland habitat within 1 km of study sites was positively associated with bird species richness and the density of total birds and SGCNs, suggesting that grassland bioenergy fields may be more beneficial for grassland birds if they are established near other grassland parcels. Predicted total bird density peaked below maximum biomass yields and predicted SGCN density was negatively related to biomass yields. Our results indicate that perennial grassland fields could produce bioenergy feedstocks while providing bird habitat. Bioenergy grasslands promote agricultural multifunctionality and conservation of biodiversity in working landscapes.

  13. Conservation Reserve Program mitigates grassland loss in the lesser prairie-chicken range of Kansas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haukos, David A.; Spencer, David; Hagen, Christian A.; Daniels, Melinda D.; Goodin, Doug

    2017-01-01

    Since the beginning of the 20th century, the overall occupied range of the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) has declined by 84% commensurate with population trends. Much of this decline has been attributed to the loss and fragmentation of native grasslands throughout the lesser prairie-chicken range. However, quantification of changes in land cover in the distribution of the lesser prairie-chicken is lacking. Our objectives were to (1) document changes in the areal extent and connectivity of grasslands in the identified lesser prairie-chicken range in Kansas, USA, (>60% of extant lesser prairie-chicken population) from the 1950s to 2013 using remotely sensed data and (2) assess the potential of the Conservation Reserve Program (U.S. Department of Agriculture Program converting cropland to permanent cover; CRP) to mitigate grassland loss. Digital land cover maps were generated on a decadal time step through spectral classification of LANDSAT images and visual analysis of aerial photographs (1950s and 1960s). Landscape composition and configuration were assessed using FRAGSTATS to compute a variety of landscape metrics measuring changes in the amount of grassland present as well as changes in the size and configuration of grassland patches. With the exception of a single regional portion of the range, nearly all of the grassland converted to cropland in the lesser prairie-chicken range of Kansas occurred prior to the 1950s. Prior to the implementation of CRP, the amount of grassland decreased 3.6% between the 1950s and 1985 from 18,455 km2 to 17,788 km2. Since 1985, the overall amount of grassland in the lesser prairie-chicken range has increased 11.9% to 19,898 km2 due to implementation of CRP, although the area of grassland decreased between 1994 and 2013 as CRP contracts were not renewed by landowners. Since 1986 grassland in Kansas became more connected and less fragmented in response to the CRP. While the CRP has been successful in

  14. Conservation Reserve Program mitigates grassland loss in the lesser prairie-chicken range of Kansas

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David Spencer

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Since the beginning of the 20th century, the overall occupied range of the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus has declined by 84% commensurate with population trends. Much of this decline has been attributed to the loss and fragmentation of native grasslands throughout the lesser prairie-chicken range. However, quantification of changes in land cover in the distribution of the lesser prairie-chicken is lacking. Our objectives were to (1 document changes in the areal extent and connectivity of grasslands in the identified lesser prairie-chicken range in Kansas, USA, (>60% of extant lesser prairie-chicken population from the 1950s to 2013 using remotely sensed data and (2 assess the potential of the Conservation Reserve Program (U.S. Department of Agriculture Program converting cropland to permanent cover; CRP to mitigate grassland loss. Digital land cover maps were generated on a decadal time step through spectral classification of LANDSAT images and visual analysis of aerial photographs (1950s and 1960s. Landscape composition and configuration were assessed using FRAGSTATS to compute a variety of landscape metrics measuring changes in the amount of grassland present as well as changes in the size and configuration of grassland patches. With the exception of a single regional portion of the range, nearly all of the grassland converted to cropland in the lesser prairie-chicken range of Kansas occurred prior to the 1950s. Prior to the implementation of CRP, the amount of grassland decreased 3.6% between the 1950s and 1985 from 18,455 km2 to 17,788 km2. Since 1985, the overall amount of grassland in the lesser prairie-chicken range has increased 11.9% to 19,898 km2 due to implementation of CRP, although the area of grassland decreased between 1994 and 2013 as CRP contracts were not renewed by landowners. Since 1986 grassland in Kansas became more connected and less fragmented in response to the CRP. While the CRP has been successful

  15. Estimating N2O processes during grassland renewal and grassland conversion to maize cropping using N2O isotopocules

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buchen, Caroline; Well, Reinhard; Flessa, Heinz; Fuß, Roland; Helfrich, Mirjam; Lewicka-Szczebak, Dominika

    2017-04-01

    . Investigations were carried out over a study period of one year following grassland renewal and grassland conversion to maize cropping on two different soil sites (Plaggic Anthrosol and Histic Gleysol) near Oldenburg, Lower Saxony Germany. Our observations indicate heterotrophic bacterial denitrification and/or nitrifier denitrification as the main source of N2O production, with a significant contribution of N2O reduction to N2 rather than nitrification (i.e. hydroxylamine oxidation) and fungal denitrification throughout the entire study period. A tendency to a higher contribution of N2O reduction to N2 was observed for the often water-saturated Histic Gleysol, while lower N2O reduction was found for the Plaggic Anthrosol. For two samples, we attempt to validate our results from the isotopocule mapping approach with a parallel 15N labelling study at the field scale (Buchen et al., 2016), as conditions of soil moisture, nitrate availability and N2O flux were similar. References: Buchen, C., Lewicka-Szczebak, D., Fuß, R., Helfrich, M., Flessa, H., Well, R., 2016. Fluxes of N2 and N2O and contributing processes in summer after grassland renewal and grassland conversion to maize cropping on a Plaggic Anthrosol and a Histic Gleysol. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 101, 6-19.

  16. Grassland ecology and diversity (Ecologia y diversidad de pastizales)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laurie B. Abbott

    2006-01-01

    Grasslands of the Chihuahuan Desert region are ecologically and economically important. These grasslands are valued for their rangeland, wildlife, watershed, and recreation resources. Biological diversity also raises the value of grassland communities. The potential for multiple uses within the region increases as the diversity of the resource base increases. In order...

  17. Appreciation of the functions of grasslands by Irish stakeholders

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hennessy, D.; Pol-van Dasselaar, van den A.

    2014-01-01

    The European project MultiSward studied the appreciation of different functions of grasslands by European stakeholders. This paper describes the importance of grasslands for stakeholders in Ireland. Ireland currently has approximately 4.6 million ha of grassland, which is 90% of the total utilized

  18. Predation drives nesting success in moist highland grasslands: the ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    By focusing on process-oriented data rather than inventory-type data, this study provides a robust understanding of the effects of agricultural management on grassland bird reproductive output in the moist highland grasslands (MHGs) of South Africa. Four-hundred and four nests of 12 grassland-breeding bird species were ...

  19. Population ecology of rodents of maize fields and grassland in central Ethiopia

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bekel'e, Afework; Leirs, Herwig

    1997-01-01

    of A.dembeensis reached high values in the grassland. Breeding was seasonal and related to rainfall periods: extended rainy seasons resulting in longer periods with breeding females and higher litter sizes and, consequently, population size increases. These observations suggest that rodent population...

  20. COENOLOGICAL SHIFT FOLLOWING FERTILIZATION IN MEDITERRANEAN GRASSLAND

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    ALESSANDRO SERAFINI SAULI

    2006-05-01

    Full Text Available In Rome both meadows of CentraI-European affinity and Mediterranean dry grasslands are presento We studied a site (Parco Regionale Urbano de] Pineto in Rome with very diverse vegetation, where species belonging to both coenologica] groups oceur. Wc fertilized a grassland with a combination of phosphorus (P and nitrogen (N. After fertilization diagDostie species of Helianthemetea guttati (Thcrophytes dccrease while species of MolinioArrhenatheretea (Hemicriptophytes increase. In a climate as that of Rome, transition between Mediterranean (with summer drought and Central European (without summer drought, nutrients availability modulates the distribution of vegetation Classes with respectively Mediterranean or Central-Europe affinities.

  1. Sustaining the grassland sea: Regional perspectives on identifying, protecting and restoring the Sky Island region's most intact grassland valley landscapes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gitanjali S. Bodner; Peter Warren; David Gori; Karla Sartor; Steven Bassett

    2013-01-01

    Grasslands of the Sky Islands region once covered over 13 million acres in southeastern Arizona and adjacent portions of New Mexico, Sonora, and Chihuahua. Attempts to evaluate current ecological conditions suggest that approximately two thirds of these remain as intact or restorable grassland habitat. These grasslands provide watershed services such as flood control...

  2. Grasslands feeling the heat: The effects of elevated temperatures on a subtropical grassland

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rowan D. Buhrmann

    2016-12-01

    Conclusions: OTCs can simulate realistic increases of air temperature in subtropical grasslands. Graminoids and shrubs appear to benefit from elevated temperatures whilst forbs decrease in abundance, possibly through competition and/or direct physiological effects.

  3. Looking above the prairie: localized and upward acute vision in a native grassland bird.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tyrrell, Luke P; Moore, Bret A; Loftis, Christopher; Fernández-Juricic, Esteban

    2013-12-02

    Visual systems of open habitat vertebrates are predicted to have a band of acute vision across the retina (visual streak) and wide visual coverage to gather information along the horizon. We tested whether the eastern meadowlark (Sturnella magna) had this visual configuration given that it inhabits open grasslands. Contrary to our expectations, the meadowlark retina has a localized spot of acute vision (fovea) and relatively narrow visual coverage. The fovea projects above rather than towards the horizon with the head at rest, and individuals modify their body posture in tall grass to maintain a similar foveal projection. Meadowlarks have relatively large binocular fields and can see their bill tips, which may help with their probe-foraging technique. Overall, meadowlark vision does not fit the profile of vertebrates living in open habitats. The binocular field may control foraging while the fovea may be used for detecting and tracking aerial stimuli (predators, conspecifics).

  4. On the stability of mixed grasslands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schulte, R.P.O.

    2001-01-01

    Recent years have seen a renewed interest in the use of white clover (Trifolium repens) in grasslands, as a more sustainable alternative to fertiliser nitrogen inputs. However, mixtures of grasses and white clover have frequently been associated with unstable and hence unreliable herbage

  5. Purpose and Need for a Grassland Assessment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deborah M. Finch; Cathy W. Dahms

    2004-01-01

    This report is volume 1 of an ecological assessment of grassland ecosystems in the Southwestern United States, and it is one of a series of planned publications addressing major ecosystems of the Southwest. The first assessment, General Technical Report RM-GTR- 295, An Assessment of Forest Ecosystem Health in the Southwest (by Dahms and Geils, technical editors,...

  6. [Spatiotemporal characteristics of MODIS NDVI in Hulunber Grassland].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Hong-Bin; Yang, Gui-Xia; Wu, Wen-Bin; Li, Gang; Chen, Bao-Rui; Xin, Xiao-Ping

    2009-11-01

    Time-series MODIS NDVI datasets from 2000 to 2008 were used to study the spatial change trend, fluctuation degree, and occurrence time of the annual NDVImax of four typical grassland types, i.e., lowland meadow, temperate steppe, temperate meadow steppe, and upland meadow, in Hulunber Grassland. In 2000-2008, the vegetation in Hulunber Grassland presented an obvious deterioration trend. The mean annual NDVImax of the four grassland types had a great fluctuation, especially in temperate steppe where the maximum change in the mean value of annual NDVImax approximated to 50%. As for the area change of different grade grasslands, the areas with NDVImax between 0.4 and 1 accounted for about 91% of the total grassland area, which suggested the good vegetation coverage in the Grassland. However, though the areas with NDVImax values in (0.4, 0.8) showed an increasing trend, the areas with NDVImax values in (0.2, 0.4) and (0.8, 1) decreased greatly in the study period. Overall, the deteriorating grassland took up about 66.25% of the total area, and the restoring grassland took the rest. There was about 62.85% of the grassland whose NDVImax occurred between the 193rd day and the 225th day in each year, indicating that this period was the most important vegetation growth season in Hulunber Grassland.

  7. Three-dimensional inversion recovery manganese-enhanced MRI of mouse brain using super-resolution reconstruction to visualize nuclei involved in higher brain function.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Poole, Dana S; Plenge, Esben; Poot, Dirk H J; Lakke, Egbert A J F; Niessen, Wiro J; Meijering, Erik; van der Weerd, Louise

    2014-07-01

    The visualization of activity in mouse brain using inversion recovery spin echo (IR-SE) manganese-enhanced MRI (MEMRI) provides unique contrast, but suffers from poor resolution in the slice-encoding direction. Super-resolution reconstruction (SRR) is a resolution-enhancing post-processing technique in which multiple low-resolution slice stacks are combined into a single volume of high isotropic resolution using computational methods. In this study, we investigated, first, whether SRR can improve the three-dimensional resolution of IR-SE MEMRI in the slice selection direction, whilst maintaining or improving the contrast-to-noise ratio of the two-dimensional slice stacks. Second, the contrast-to-noise ratio of SRR IR-SE MEMRI was compared with a conventional three-dimensional gradient echo (GE) acquisition. Quantitative experiments were performed on a phantom containing compartments of various manganese concentrations. The results showed that, with comparable scan times, the signal-to-noise ratio of three-dimensional GE acquisition is higher than that of SRR IR-SE MEMRI. However, the contrast-to-noise ratio between different compartments can be superior with SRR IR-SE MEMRI, depending on the chosen inversion time. In vivo experiments were performed in mice receiving manganese using an implanted osmotic pump. The results showed that SRR works well as a resolution-enhancing technique in IR-SE MEMRI experiments. In addition, the SRR image also shows a number of brain structures that are more clearly discernible from the surrounding tissues than in three-dimensional GE acquisition, including a number of nuclei with specific higher brain functions, such as memory, stress, anxiety and reward behavior. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  8. Mixed artificial grasslands with more roots improved mine soil infiltration capacity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Gao-Lin; Yang, Zheng; Cui, Zeng; Liu, Yu; Fang, Nu-Fang; Shi, Zhi-Hua

    2016-04-01

    Soil water is one of the critical limiting factors in achieving sustainable revegetation. Soil infiltration capacity plays a vital role in determining the inputs from precipitation and enhancing water storage, which are important for the maintenance and survival of vegetation patches in arid and semi-arid areas. Our study investigated the effects of different artificial grasslands on soil physical properties and soil infiltration capacity. The artificial grasslands were Medicago sativa, Astragalus adsurgens, Agropyron mongolicum, Lespedeza davurica, Bromus inermis, Hedysarum scoparium, A. mongolicum + Artemisia desertorum, A. adsurgens + A. desertorum and M. sativa + B. inermis. The soil infiltration capacity index (SICI), which was based on the average infiltration rate of stage I (AIRSI) and the average infiltration rate of stage III (AIRS III), was higher (indicating that the infiltration capacity was greater) under the artificial grasslands than that of the bare soil. The SICI of the A. adsurgens + A. desertorum grassland had the highest value (1.48) and bare soil (-0.59) had the lowest value. It was evident that artificial grassland could improve soil infiltration capacity. We also used principal component analysis (PCA) to determine that the main factors that affected SICI were the soil water content at a depth of 20 cm (SWC20), the below-ground root biomasses at depths of 10 and 30 cm (BGB10, BGB30), the capillary porosity at a depth of 10 cm (CP10) and the non-capillary porosity at a depth of 20 cm (NCP20). Our study suggests that the use of Legume-poaceae mixtures and Legume-shrub mixtures to create grasslands provided an effective ecological restoration approach to improve soil infiltration properties due to their greater root biomasses. Furthermore, soil water content, below-ground root biomass, soil capillary porosity and soil non-capillary porosity were the main factors that affect the soil infiltration capacity.

  9. Density and success of bird nests relative to grazing on western Montana grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fondell, Thomas F.; Ball, I.J.

    2004-01-01

    Grassland birds are declining at a faster rate than any other group of North American bird species. Livestock grazing is the primary economic use of grasslands in the western United States, but the effects of this use on distribution and productivity of grassland birds are unclear. We examined nest density and success of ground-nesting birds on grazed and ungrazed grasslands in western Montana. In comparison to grazed plots, ungrazed plots had reduced forb cover, increased litter cover, increased litter depth, and increased visual obstruction readings (VOR) of vegetation. Nest density among 10 of 11 common bird species was most strongly correlated with VOR of plots, and greatest nest density for each species occurred where mean VOR of the plot was similar to mean VOR at nests. Additionally, all bird species were relatively consistent in their choice of VOR at nests despite substantial differences in VOR among plots. We suggest that birds selected plots based in part on availability of suitable nest sites and that variation in nest density relative to grazing reflected the effect of grazing on availability of nest sites. Nest success was similar between grazed plots and ungrazed plots for two species but was lower for nests on grazed plots than on ungrazed plots for two other species because of increased rates of predation, trampling, or parasitism by brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater). Other species nested almost exclusively on ungrazed plots (six species) or grazed plots (one species), precluding evaluation of the effects of grazing on nest success. We demonstrate that each species in a diverse suite of ground-nesting birds preferentially used certain habitats for nesting and that grazing altered availability of preferred nesting habitats through changes in vegetation structure and plant species composition. We also show that grazing directly or indirectly predisposed some bird species to increased nesting mortality. Management alternatives that avoid

  10. Direct or Directed: Orchestrating a More Harmonious Approach to Teaching Technology within an Art & Design Higher Education Curriculum with Special Reference to Visual Communications Courses

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marshall, Lindsey; Meachem, Lester

    2007-01-01

    In this scoping study we have investigated the integration of subject-specific software into the structure of visual communications courses. There is a view that the response within visual communications courses to the rapid developments in technology has been linked to necessity rather than by design. Through perceptions of staff with day-to-day…

  11. Regional Variation in the Temperature Sensitivity of Soil Organic Matter Decomposition in China's Forests and Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Y.; He, N.; Zhu, J.; Yu, G.; Xu, L.; Niu, S.; Sun, X.; Wen, X.

    2017-12-01

    How to assess the temperature sensitivity (Q10) of soil organic matter (SOM) decomposition and its regional variation with high accuracy is one of the largest uncertainties in determining the intensity and direction of the global carbon (C) cycle in response to climate change. In this study, we collected a series of soils from 22 forest sites and 30 grassland sites across China to explore regional variation in Q10 and its underlying mechanisms. We conducted a novel incubation experiment with periodically changing temperature (5-30 °C), while continuously measuring soil microbial respiration rates. The results showed that Q10 varied significantly across different ecosystems, ranging from 1.16 to 3.19 (mean 1.63). Q10 was ordered as follows: alpine grasslands (2.01) > temperate grasslands (1.81) > tropical forests (1.59) > temperate forests (1.55) > subtropical forests (1.52). The Q10 of grasslands (1.90) was significantly higher than that of forests (1.54). Furthermore, Q10 significantly increased with increasing altitude and decreased with increasing longitude. Environmental variables and substrate properties together explained 52% of total variation in Q10 across all sites. Overall, pH and soil electrical conductivity primarily explained spatial variation in Q10. The general negative relationships between Q10 and substrate quality among all ecosystem types supported the C quality temperature (CQT) hypothesis at a large scale, which indicated that soils with low quality should have higher temperature sensitivity. Furthermore, alpine grasslands, which had the highest Q10, were predicted to be more sensitive to climate change under the scenario of global warming.

  12. Study on Climate and Grassland Fire in HulunBuir, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Meifang Liu

    2017-03-01

    Full Text Available Grassland fire is one of the most important disturbance factors of the natural ecosystem. Climate factors influence the occurrence and development of grassland fire. An analysis of the climate conditions of fire occurrence can form the basis for a study of the temporal and spatial variability of grassland fire. The purpose of this paper is to study the effects of monthly time scale climate factors on the occurrence of grassland fire in HulunBuir, located in the northeast of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in China. Based on the logistic regression method, we used the moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS active fire data products named thermal anomalies/fire daily L3 Global 1km (MOD14A1 (Terra and MYD14A1 (Aqua and associated climate data for HulunBuir from 2000 to 2010, and established the model of grassland fire climate index. The results showed that monthly maximum temperature, monthly sunshine hours and monthly average wind speed were all positively correlated with the fire climate index; monthly precipitation, monthly average temperature, monthly average relative humidity, monthly minimum relative humidity and the number of days with monthly precipitation greater than or equal to 5 mm were all negatively correlated with the fire climate index. We used the active fire data from 2011 to 2014 to validate the fire climate index during this time period, and the validation result was good (Pearson’s correlation coefficient was 0.578, which showed that the fire climate index model was suitable for analyzing the occurrence of grassland fire in HulunBuir. Analyses were conducted on the temporal and spatial distribution of the fire climate index from January to December in the years 2011–2014; it could be seen that from March to May and from September to October, the fire climate index was higher, and that the fire climate index of the other months is relatively low. The zones with higher fire climate index are mainly

  13. Variations of Near Surface Energy Balance Caused by Land Cover Changes in the Semiarid Grassland Area of China

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Qun’ou Jiang

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available This study applies the Dynamics of Land System (DLS model to simulating the land cover under the designed scenarios and then analyzes the effects of land cover conversion on energy flux in the semiarid grassland area of China with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF model. The results indicate that the grassland will show a steadily upgrowing trend under the coordinated environmental sustainability (CES scenario. Compared to the CES scenario, the rate of increase in grassland cover is lower, while the rate of increase in urban land cover will be higher under the rapid economic growth (REG scenario. Although the conversion from cropland to grassland will reduce the energy flux, the expansion of urban area and decreasing of forestry area will bring about more energy flux. As a whole, the energy flux of near surface will obviously not change under the CES scenario, and the climate therefore will not be possible to be influenced greatly by land cover change. The energy flux under the REG scenario is higher than that under the CES scenario. Those research conclusions can offer valuable information for the land use planning and climate change adaptation in the semiarid grassland area of China.

  14. SOWING GRASSLANDS – EFFICIENT SOLUTION FOR ZOOTEHNICAL PRODUCTION

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    VALENTINA OFELIA ROBESCU

    2008-05-01

    Full Text Available Recruitment is critical for the maintenance of plant populations and community diversity, but sexual regeneration is considered to be infrequent in climatically harsh habitats such as sub alpine grasslands. For this reasons it is very important to improve the grassland. In this paper we study the interaction among milk production, fertilizations and flower composition in sub alpine grasslands. The agrochemical indicators are important because they influence the pasture value and at the final the milk production.

  15. Effects of grassland management on the emission of methane from grassland on peat soils

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Oenema, O. [Department of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, Wageningen Agricultural University, Wageningen (Netherlands)

    1995-12-31

    The aim of the project on the title subject is to provide insight into the major controlling factors that contribute to the net exchange rates of methane (CH4) between grassland and atmosphere, and to provide quantitative net CH4 emission rates. Net CH4 emissions have been monitored with vented closed flux chambers on both intensively managed grasslands and grasslands in a nature preserve on peat soil in the Netherlands. Net CH4 emissions from intensively managed grasslands (Zegveld, Netherlands) were low in the period January-December 1994, in general in the range of -0.2 to 0.2 mg CH4 m{sup -2} d{sup -1}. Only in the relatively warm summer of 1994, consumption of atmospheric CH4 of about 0.4 mg m{sup -2} d{sup -1} was measured. Effects of ground water level in the range of 30-60 cm below surface were very small. There were also no clear effects of nitrogen fertilization and grazing versus mowing on CH4 emission from the soil. Net CH4 emissions from three extensively managed grasslands in a nature preserve (Nieuwkoopse Plassen area in the Netherlands) ranged from 0-215 mg CH4 m{sup -2} d{sup -1} in the period January 1994-June 1995. Differences between the three sites were quite large, as were the spatial variations at each of the sites. The results presented here indicate that a shift of intensively managed peat grasslands into more natural ecosystems will significantly increase the contribution of Dutch peat soils to the total CH4 emission. refs.

  16. Topographic and Bioclimatic Determinants of the Occurrence of Forest and Grassland in Tropical Montane Forest-Grassland Mosaics of the Western Ghats, India.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Arundhati Das

    Full Text Available The objective of this analysis was to identify topographic and bioclimatic factors that predict occurrence of forest and grassland patches within tropical montane forest-grassland mosaics. We further investigated whether interactions between topography and bioclimate are important in determining vegetation pattern, and assessed the role of spatial scale in determining the relative importance of specific topographic features. Finally, we assessed the role of elevation in determining the relative importance of diverse explanatory factors. The study area consists of the central and southern regions of the Western Ghats of Southern India, a global biodiversity hotspot. Random forests were used to assess prediction accuracy and predictor importance. Conditional inference classification trees were used to interpret predictor effects and examine potential interactions between predictors. GLMs were used to confirm predictor importance and assess the strength of interaction terms. Overall, topographic and bioclimatic predictors classified vegetation pattern with approximately 70% accuracy. Prediction accuracy was higher for grassland than forest, and for mosaics at higher elevations. Elevation was the most important predictor, with mosaics above 2000 m dominated largely by grassland. Relative topographic position measured at a local scale (within a 300 m neighbourhood was another important predictor of vegetation pattern. In high elevation mosaics, northness and concave land surface curvature were important predictors of forest occurrence. Important bioclimatic predictors were: dry quarter precipitation, annual temperature range and the interaction between the two. The results indicate complex interactions between topography and bioclimate and among topographic variables. Elevation and topography have a strong influence on vegetation pattern in these mosaics. There were marked regional differences in the roles of various topographic and bioclimatic

  17. Topographic and Bioclimatic Determinants of the Occurrence of Forest and Grassland in Tropical Montane Forest-Grassland Mosaics of the Western Ghats, India.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Das, Arundhati; Nagendra, Harini; Anand, Madhur; Bunyan, Milind

    2015-01-01

    The objective of this analysis was to identify topographic and bioclimatic factors that predict occurrence of forest and grassland patches within tropical montane forest-grassland mosaics. We further investigated whether interactions between topography and bioclimate are important in determining vegetation pattern, and assessed the role of spatial scale in determining the relative importance of specific topographic features. Finally, we assessed the role of elevation in determining the relative importance of diverse explanatory factors. The study area consists of the central and southern regions of the Western Ghats of Southern India, a global biodiversity hotspot. Random forests were used to assess prediction accuracy and predictor importance. Conditional inference classification trees were used to interpret predictor effects and examine potential interactions between predictors. GLMs were used to confirm predictor importance and assess the strength of interaction terms. Overall, topographic and bioclimatic predictors classified vegetation pattern with approximately 70% accuracy. Prediction accuracy was higher for grassland than forest, and for mosaics at higher elevations. Elevation was the most important predictor, with mosaics above 2000 m dominated largely by grassland. Relative topographic position measured at a local scale (within a 300 m neighbourhood) was another important predictor of vegetation pattern. In high elevation mosaics, northness and concave land surface curvature were important predictors of forest occurrence. Important bioclimatic predictors were: dry quarter precipitation, annual temperature range and the interaction between the two. The results indicate complex interactions between topography and bioclimate and among topographic variables. Elevation and topography have a strong influence on vegetation pattern in these mosaics. There were marked regional differences in the roles of various topographic and bioclimatic predictors across the

  18. Prescribed burning supports grassland biodiversity - A multi-species study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Valkó, Orsolya; Deák, Balázs; Magura, Tibor; Török, Péter; Kelemen, András; Tóth, Katalin; Horváth, Roland; Nagy, Dávid; Debnár, Zsuzsanna; Zsigrai, György; Kapocsi, István; Tóthmérész, Béla

    2017-04-01

    During ancient times, fire was an important factor shaping European landscapes. Nowadays, prescribed burning can be one of the most effective conservation tools for the management of open landscapes, controlling dominant species, reducing accumulated litter or decreasing wildfire risk. In a prescribed burning experiment, we studied the effects of fire on dry alkaline grasslands. We tested whether autumn prescribed burning can be an alternative conservation measure in these grasslands. We selected six sites in Hungary: in three sites, prescribed burning was applied in November 2011, while three sites remained unburnt. We studied the effects of fire on soil characteristics, plant biomass and on the vegetation and arthropod assemblages (isopods, spiders, ground beetles and rove beetles). Soluble salt content increased significantly in the burnt sites, but soil pH, organic matter, potassium and phosphorous did not change. We found that prescribed fire had several positive effects from the nature conservation viewpoint. Diversity and the number of flowering shoots were higher, and the cover of the dominant grass was lower in the burnt sites. Graminoid biomass was lower, while total, green and forb biomass were higher in the burnt plots compared to the control ones. Our findings suggest that prescribed burning fire did not harm arthropods; species-level analyses showed that out of the most abundant invertebrate species, the abundance of ten was not affected, one decreased and one increased after burning. Our findings highlight that mosaic prescribed fire is a viable management tool in open landscapes, because it supports plant diversity and does not threaten arthropods.

  19. Potential for carbon sequestration and mitigation of climate change by irrigation of grasslands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Olsson, Alexander; Campana, Pietro Elia; Lind, Mårten; Yan, Jinyue

    2014-01-01

    Highlights: • A generic method for climate change mitigation feasibility of PVWPS is developed. • Restoration of degraded lands in China has large climate change mitigation potential. • PV produces excess electricity included in the mitigation potential of the system. • The benefit is higher than if the PV were to produce electricity for the grid only. - Abstract: The climate change mitigation potential of irrigation powered by a photovoltaic water pumping system (PVWPS) to restore degraded grasslands has been investigated using the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2006 Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories for Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use. The purpose of this study is to develop a generic and simple method to estimate the climate change mitigation benefit of a PVWPS. The possibility to develop carbon credits for the carbon offset markets has also been studied comparing carbon sequestration in grasslands to other carbon sequestration projects. The soil carbon sequestration following irrigation of the grassland is calculated as an annual increase in the soil organic carbon pool. The PVWPS can also generate an excess of electricity when irrigation is not needed and the emissions reductions due to substitution of grid electricity give additional climate change mitigation potential. The results from this study show that the carbon sequestration and emissions reductions benefits per land area using a PVWPS for irrigating grasslands are comparable to other carbon sequestration options such as switching to no-till practice. Soil carbon in irrigated grasslands is increased with over 60% relative to severely degraded grasslands and if nitrogen fixing species are introduced the increase in soil organic carbon can be almost 80%. Renewable electricity generation by the PVWPS will further increase the mitigation benefit of the system with 70–90%. When applying the methodology developed in this paper to a case in Qinghai, China

  20. Mapping Plant Functional Groups in Subalpine Grassland of the Greater Caucasus

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anja Magiera

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available Plant functional groups—in our case grass, herbs, and legumes—and their spatial distribution can provide information on key ecosystem functions such as species richness, nitrogen fixation, and erosion control. Knowledge about the spatial distribution of plant functional groups provides valuable information for grassland management. This study described and mapped the distribution of grass, herb, and legume coverage of the subalpine grassland in the high-mountain Kazbegi region, Greater Caucasus, Georgia. To test the applicability of new sensors, we compared the predictive power of simulated hyperspectral canopy reflectance, simulated multispectral reflectance, simulated vegetation indices, and topographic variables for modeling plant functional groups. The tested grassland showed characteristic differences in species richness; in grass, herb, and legume coverage; and in connected structural properties such as yield. Grass (Hordeum brevisubulatum was dominant in biomass-rich hay meadows. Herb-rich grassland featured the highest species richness and evenness, whereas legume-rich grassland was accompanied by a high coverage of open soil and showed dominance of a single species, Astragalus captiosus. The best model fits were achieved with a combination of reflectance, vegetation indices, and topographic variables as predictors. Random forest models for grass, herb, and legume coverage explained 36%, 25%, and 37% of the respective variance, and their root mean square errors varied between 12–15%. Hyperspectral and multispectral reflectance as predictors resulted in similar models. Because multispectral data are more easily available and often have a higher spatial resolution, we suggest using multispectral parameters enhanced by vegetation indices and topographic parameters for modeling grass, herb, and legume coverage. However, overall model fits were merely moderate, and further testing, including stronger gradients and the addition of

  1. Grassland Growth in Response to Climate Variability in the Upper Indus Basin, Pakistan

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sawaid Abbas

    2015-08-01

    Full Text Available Grasslands in the upper Indus basin provide a resource base for nomadic livestock grazing which is one of the major traditional livelihood practices in the area. The study presents climate patterns, grassland phenology, productivity and spatio-temporal climate controls on grassland growth using satellite data over the upper Indus basin of the Himalayan region, Pakistan. Phenology and productivity metrics of the grasses were estimated using a combination of derivative and threshold methods applied on fitted seasonal vegetation indices data over the period of 2001–2011. Satellite based rainfall and land surface temperature data are considered as representative explanatory variables to climate variability. The results showed distinct phenology and productivity patterns across four bioclimatic regions: (i humid subtropical region (HSR—late start and early end of season with short length of season and low productivity (ii temperate region (TR—early start and late end of season with higher length of season and moderate productivity (iii sub alpine region (SAR—late start and late end of season with very high length of season and the most productive grasses, and (iv alpine region (AR—late start and early end of season with small length of season and least productive grasses. Grassland productivity is constrained by temperature in the alpine region and by rainfall in the humid sub-tropical region. Spring temperature, winter and summer rainfall has shown significant and varied impact on phenology across different altitudes. The productivity is being influenced by summer and annual rainfall in humid subtropical regions, spring temperature in alpine and sub-alpine regions and both temperature and rainfall are contributing in temperate regions. The results revealing a strong relationship between grassland dynamics and climate variability put forth strong signals for drawing more scientific management of rangelands in the area.

  2. Looking beyond rare species as umbrella species: Northern Bobwhites (Colinus virginianus) and conservation of grassland and shrubland birds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crosby, Andrew D.; Elmore, R.D.; Leslie,, David M.; Will, Rodney E.

    2015-01-01

    Changes in land use and land cover throughout the eastern half of North America have caused substantial declines in populations of birds that rely on grassland and shrubland vegetation types, including socially and economically important game birds such as the Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus; hereafter bobwhites). As much attention is focused on habitat management and restoration for bobwhites, they may act as an umbrella species for other bird species with similar habitat requirements. We quantified the relationship of bobwhites to the overall bird community and evaluated the potential for bobwhites to act as an umbrella species for grassland and shrubland birds. We monitored bobwhite presence and bird community composition within 31 sample units on selected private lands in the south-central United States from 2009 to 2011. Bobwhites were strongly associated with other grassland and shrubland birds and were a significant positive predictor for 9 species. Seven of these, including Bell's Vireo (Vireo bell), Dicksissel (Spiza americana), and Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum), are listed as species of conservation concern. Species richness and occupancy probability of grassland and shrubland birds were higher relative to the overall bird community in sample units occupied by bobwhites. Our results show that bobwhites can act as an umbrella species for grassland and shrubland birds, although the specific species in any given situation will depend on region and management objectives. These results suggest that efficiency in conservation funding can be increased by using public interest in popular game species to leverage resources to meet multiple conservation objectives.

  3. Wet Grasslands as a Green Infrastructure for Ecological Sustainability: Wader Conservation in Southern Sweden as a Case Study

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael Manton

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available Biosphere Reserves aim at being role models for biodiversity conservation. This study focuses on the unsuccessful conservation of waders (Charadrii on wet grasslands in the Kristianstad Vattenrike Biosphere Reserve (KVBR in southern Sweden. Predation on nests and young has been proposed as one reason contributing to the decline of waders. We explored this hypothesis by comparing two landscapes, one with declining (KVBR and one with stable (Östergötland wader populations on managed wet grasslands in southern Sweden. Specifically, we tested three predictions linked to predation on wader nests and young, namely that (1 the relative abundance of avian predators and waders; (2 the avian predator abundance; and (3 the predation rate on artificial wader nests, should all be higher in declining versus stable populations. All predictions were clearly supported. Nevertheless, predation may not be the ultimate factor causing wader population declines. We discuss the cumulative effects of landscape change linked to increased food resources for predators, reduced wet grassland patch size and quality. Holistic analyses of multiple wet grassland landscapes as social-ecological systems as case studies, including processes such as predation and other factors affecting waders, is a promising avenue towards collaborative learning for wet grasslands as a functional green infrastructure. However, if governance and management approaches can be improved is questionable without considerable investment in both ecological and social systems.

  4. Aggregation and C dynamics along an elevation gradient in carbonate-containing grassland soils of the Alps

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garcia-Franco, Noelia; Wiesmeier, Martin; Kiese, Ralf; Dannenmann, Michael; Wolf, Benjamin; Zistl-Schlingmann, Marcus; Kögel-Knabner, Ingrid

    2017-04-01

    C sequestration in mountainous grassland soils is regulated by physical, chemical and biological soil process. An improved knowledge of the relationship between these stabilization mechanisms is decisive to recommend the best management practices for climate change mitigation. In this regard, the identification of a successful indicator of soil structural improvement and C sequestration in mountainous grassland soils is necessary. Alpine and pre-alpine grassland soils in Bavaria represent a good example for mountainous grassland soils faced with climate change. We sampled grassland soils of the northern limestone alps in Bavaria along an elevation gradient from 550 to 1300 m above sea level. We analyzed C dynamics by a comparative analysis of the distribution of C according to aggregate size classes: large-macroaggregates (> 2000 µm), small-macroaggregates (250-2000 µm), microaggregates (63-250 µm), silt plus clay particles (soil. Our preliminary results showed higher C content and changed water-stable aggregate distribution in the high elevation sites compared to lower elevations. Magnesium carbonate seem to play an important role in stabilizing macroaggregates formed from fresh OM. In addition, the isolation of occluded microaggregates within macroaggregates will help us to improve our understanding on the effects of climate change on soil structure and on the sensitivity of different C stabilization mechanisms present in mountainous soils.

  5. Nearly Increased Dry-season Flows after Reforesting Degraded Fire-climax Grassland in the Philippines

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Meerveld, I. H. J.; Zhang, J.; Bruijnzeel, L. A.; Tripoli, R.; Quiñones, C. M. O.

    2017-12-01

    After decades of logging and shifting cultivation, vast tracts in tropical SE Asia have turned to fire-climax grassland. Whilst the hydrological functioning of Imperata grasslands has been studied little, the general perception is they are major contributors to downstream flooding and siltation. As such, Imperata grasslands are targeted widely for reforestation in the expectation to improve regional hydrology. Yet, numerous small catchment studies within and outside the tropics have typically shown decreased annual water yield after reforestation of grass- or cropland, with the bulk of the decrease observed during times of baseflow. Yet, it is theoretically possible that the higher water use of the planted trees is compensated by improved soil infiltration capacity after reforestation which should lead to higher baseflows, the so-called infiltration trade-off. To examine a rare claim of increased baseflow after reforesting an Imperata grassland in northern Leyte (Philippines) we compared a 3.2 ha degraded headwater catchment under Imperata with a nearby 8.7 ha catchment under 23-year-old reforestation. Both catchments were underlain by mafic rock, had perennial flow and were demonstrably watertight, thus allowing comparisons to be made. Grassland saturated soil hydraulic conductivity (Ksat) decreased from 10 mm h-1 at the surface to 2.9 mm h-1 at 20-40 cm depth and <1 mm h-1 below 60 cm, suggesting not only possibly frequent overland flow but also perched groundwater conditions at 20 cm depth. By contrast, Ksat of the forest soil decreased from 370 mm h-1 in the top 5 cm via 60 mm h-1 at 20 cm, with lower values found only deeper in the profile (7.3 and 2.6 mm h-1 at 60 and 90 cm, respectively). Thus, stormflows Qq for the reforestation were smaller and less `flashy' compared to the grassland catchment. Depending on how the annual reduction in catchment-wide infiltration (assumed equal to the difference in total Qq between catchments) was estimated, the trade

  6. More than a century of Grain for Green Program is expected to restore soil carbon stock on alpine grassland revealed by field {sup 13}C pulse labeling

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Li, Qi; Chen, Dongdong; Zhao, Liang [Key Laboratory of Adaptation and Evolution of Plateau Biota, Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xining 810008, Qinghai (China); Yang, Xue [Department of Education of Qinghai Province, Xining 810008, Qinghai (China); Xu, Shixiao [Key Laboratory of Adaptation and Evolution of Plateau Biota, Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xining 810008, Qinghai (China); Zhao, Xinquan, E-mail: xqzhao@nwipb.cas.cn [Key Laboratory of Adaptation and Evolution of Plateau Biota, Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xining 810008, Qinghai (China); Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu 10041, Sichuan (China)

    2016-04-15

    Anthropogenic changes in land use/cover have altered the vegetation, soil, and carbon (C) cycling on the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau (QTP) over the last ~ 50 years. As a result, the Grain for Green Program (GfGP) has been widely implemented over the last 10 years to mitigate the impacts of cultivation. To quantify the effects of the GfGP on C partitioning and turnover rates at the ecosystem scale, an in situ {sup 13}C pulse labeling experiment was conducted on natural and GfGP grasslands in an agro-pastoral ecotone in the Lake Qinghai region on the QTP. We found that there were significant differences in the C stocks of all the considered pools in both the natural and GfGP grasslands, with higher CO{sub 2} uptake rates in the GfGP grassland than that in the natural grassland. Partitioning of photoassimilate (% of recovered {sup 13}C) in C pools of both grasslands was similar 25 days after labeling, except in the roots of the 0–15 and 5–15 cm soil layer. Soil organic C (SOC) sequestration rate in the GfGP grassland was 11.59 ± 1.89 g C m{sup −2} yr{sup −1} significantly greater than that in the natural grassland. The results confirmed that the GfGP is an efficient approach for grassland restoration and C sequestration. However, it will take more than a century (119.19 ± 20.26 yr) to restore the SOC stock from the current cropland baseline level to the approximate level of natural grassland. We suggest that additional measures are needed in the selection of suitable plant species for vegetation restoration, and in reasonable grazing management. - Highlights: • Grain for Green Project initiated in 1999 converts cropland to grassland/shrubland. • Impact of Grain for Green on carbon cycling on Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau is unknown. • Effects on carbon partitioning and turnover were accessed by {sup 13}CO{sub 2} pulse labeling. • Different mass of {sup 13}C in excess, similar {sup 13}C partitioning are shown in grasslands. • Soil organic carbon of

  7. More than a century of Grain for Green Program is expected to restore soil carbon stock on alpine grassland revealed by field "1"3C pulse labeling

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Li, Qi; Chen, Dongdong; Zhao, Liang; Yang, Xue; Xu, Shixiao; Zhao, Xinquan

    2016-01-01

    Anthropogenic changes in land use/cover have altered the vegetation, soil, and carbon (C) cycling on the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau (QTP) over the last ~ 50 years. As a result, the Grain for Green Program (GfGP) has been widely implemented over the last 10 years to mitigate the impacts of cultivation. To quantify the effects of the GfGP on C partitioning and turnover rates at the ecosystem scale, an in situ "1"3C pulse labeling experiment was conducted on natural and GfGP grasslands in an agro-pastoral ecotone in the Lake Qinghai region on the QTP. We found that there were significant differences in the C stocks of all the considered pools in both the natural and GfGP grasslands, with higher CO_2 uptake rates in the GfGP grassland than that in the natural grassland. Partitioning of photoassimilate (% of recovered "1"3C) in C pools of both grasslands was similar 25 days after labeling, except in the roots of the 0–15 and 5–15 cm soil layer. Soil organic C (SOC) sequestration rate in the GfGP grassland was 11.59 ± 1.89 g C m"−"2 yr"−"1 significantly greater than that in the natural grassland. The results confirmed that the GfGP is an efficient approach for grassland restoration and C sequestration. However, it will take more than a century (119.19 ± 20.26 yr) to restore the SOC stock from the current cropland baseline level to the approximate level of natural grassland. We suggest that additional measures are needed in the selection of suitable plant species for vegetation restoration, and in reasonable grazing management. - Highlights: • Grain for Green Project initiated in 1999 converts cropland to grassland/shrubland. • Impact of Grain for Green on carbon cycling on Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau is unknown. • Effects on carbon partitioning and turnover were accessed by "1"3CO_2 pulse labeling. • Different mass of "1"3C in excess, similar "1"3C partitioning are shown in grasslands. • Soil organic carbon of cropland will be restored to natural

  8. Cattle slurry on grassland - application methods and nitrogen use efficiency

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Lalor, S.T.J.

    2014-01-01

    Cattle slurry represents a significant resource on grassland-based farming systems. The objective of this thesis was to investigate and devise cattle slurry application methods and strategies that can be implemented on grassland farms to improve the efficiency with which nitrogen (N) in

  9. Availability and immobilization of 137Cs in subtropical high mountain forest and grassland soils

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Chiu, C.-Y.; Wang, C.-J.; Huang, C.-C.

    2008-01-01

    To understand the behavior of 137 Cs in undisturbed soils after nuclear fallout deposition between the 1940s and 1980s, we investigated the speciation of 137 Cs in soils in forest and its adjacent grassland from a volcano and subalpine area in Taiwan. We performed sequential extraction of 137 Cs (i.e., fractions readily exchangeable, bound to microbial biomass, bound to Fe-Mn oxides, bound to organic matter, persistently bound and residual). For both the forest and grassland soils, 137 Cs was mainly present in the persistently bound (31-41%) and residual (22-62%) fractions. The proportions of 137 Cs labile fractions - bound to exchangeable sites, microbial biomass, Mn-Fe oxides, and organic matter - were lower than those of the recalcitrant fractions. The labile fractions in the forest soils were also higher than those in the grassland soils, especially in the volcanic soil. The results suggest that the labile form of 137 Cs was mostly transferred to the persistently bound and resistant fractions after long-term deposition of fallout. The readily exchangeable 137 Cs fraction was higher in soils with higher organic matter content or minor amounts of 2:1 silicate clay minerals

  10. Grassland communities of traditional orchards in the Western Carpathians (Slovakia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hubert Zarnovican

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available Traditional orchards are a valuable feature of the rural landscape and they are specific for regions with scattered settlement such as the Myjava hilly land and White Carpathians. Here, the permanent species-rich grasslands beneath trees were regularly managed in the traditional manner until some were replaced in the 1970’s and 80’s by intensively managed orchards, some of which were abandoned in the early 1990’s. Our 2011–2015 phytosociological research followed the standard Braun-Blanquet approach. We classified 178 phytosociological relevés recorded in orchard meadows (156 relevés, former intensively managed orchards (16 relevés, and two relevés from a semi-intensively grazed orchard. Traditionally managed orchard meadows were classified in the following five units: (i Pastinaco sativae-Arrhenatheretum elatioris – thermophilous variant, (ii Pastinaco sativae-Arrhenatheretum elatioris – transitional variant to Alchemillo-Arrhenatheretum elatioris, (iii Ranunculo bulbosi-Arrhenatheretum elatioris, (iv Onobrychido viciifoliae-Brometum erecti, and (v Brachypodio pinnati-Molinietum arundinaceae. Formerly intensively managed large-scale orchards were classified as Pastinaco sativae-Arrhenatheretum elatioris association and the semi-intensively grazed orchard as Lolio perennis-Cynosuretum cristati association. The species composition varies considerably due to tree-shading and different management treatments applied in the orchards, so the relevés of the delimited syntaxonomic units are not typical and have transitional character. Moisture, soil nutrients, and soil reaction were identified as the main environmental gradients influencing species composition. We tested four management treatments in direct gradient analysis and found that abandonment has the strongest effect on species composition. Comparison of grassland vegetation in the studied traditional orchards with that described in Germany reveals differences in species

  11. Modeled Changes in Potential Grassland Productivity and in Grass-Fed Ruminant Livestock Density in Europe over 1961-2010.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chang, Jinfeng; Viovy, Nicolas; Vuichard, Nicolas; Ciais, Philippe; Campioli, Matteo; Klumpp, Katja; Martin, Raphaël; Leip, Adrian; Soussana, Jean-François

    2015-01-01

    About 25% of European livestock intake is based on permanent and sown grasslands. To fulfill rising demand for animal products, an intensification of livestock production may lead to an increased consumption of crop and compound feeds. In order to preserve an economically and environmentally sustainable agriculture, a more forage based livestock alimentation may be an advantage. However, besides management, grassland productivity is highly vulnerable to climate (i.e., temperature, precipitation, CO2 concentration), and spatial information about European grassland productivity in response to climate change is scarce. The process-based vegetation model ORCHIDEE-GM, containing an explicit representation of grassland management (i.e., herbage mowing and grazing), is used here to estimate changes in potential productivity and potential grass-fed ruminant livestock density across European grasslands over the period 1961-2010. Here "potential grass-fed ruminant livestock density" denotes the maximum density of livestock that can be supported by grassland productivity in each 25 km × 25 km grid cell. In reality, livestock density could be higher than potential (e.g., if additional feed is supplied to animals) or lower (e.g., in response to economic factors, pedo-climatic and biotic conditions ignored by the model, or policy decisions that can for instance reduce livestock numbers). When compared to agricultural statistics (Eurostat and FAOstat), ORCHIDEE-GM gave a good reproduction of the regional gradients of annual grassland productivity and ruminant livestock density. The model however tends to systematically overestimate the absolute values of productivity in most regions, suggesting that most grid cells remain below their potential grassland productivity due to possible nutrient and biotic limitations on plant growth. When ORCHIDEE-GM was run for the period 1961-2010 with variable climate and rising CO2, an increase of potential annual production (over 3%) per decade

  12. Effects of Government Grassland Conservation Policy on Household Livelihoods and Dependence on Local Grasslands: Evidence from Inner Mongolia, China

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bingzhen Du

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available Grassland degradation intensifies human-environment conflicts and adversely affects local residents’ livelihoods. To reduce grassland degradation in Inner Mongolia, China, the government has enforced (since 1998 a series of grassland conservation and management policies that restrict the use of grasslands. To ease the impact on the residents’ livelihoods, the national and regional governments have offered a series of top-down arrangements to stimulate sustainable use of the grasslands. Simultaneously, local households spontaneously developed bottom-up countermeasures. To determine the effects of these processes, we interviewed members of 135 households using a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods. We analyzed the effects on household dependence on local grasslands and on perceptions of the future of grassland use. Our findings show that the implementation of the grassland conservation policies significantly affected household livelihoods, which in turn affected household use of natural assets (primarily the land, their agricultural assets (farming and grazing activities and their financial assets (income and consumption, resulting in fundamental transformation of their lifestyles. The households developed adaptation measures to account for the dependence of their livelihood on local ecosystems by initializing strategies, such as seeking off-farm work, leasing pasture land, increasing purchases of fodder for stall-fed animals and altering their diet and fuel consumption to compensate for their changing livelihoods.

  13. Responses of nocturnal rodents to shrub encroachment in Banni grasslands, Gujarat, India

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jayadevan, A.

    2016-12-01

    Shrub encroachment is one of the greatest threats to grasslands globally. These woodlands can strongly influence the behaviour of small mammals adapted to more open habitats, which rely on high visibility for early detection of predators. In semi-arid grasslands, rodents are considered keystone species. Although shrub encroachment is known to negatively affect rodent assemblages, its impact on the foraging behaviour of rodents, which is known to vary in response to risky situations, is unknown. Understanding whether shrub encroachment alters such antipredator behaviour is important as antipredator behaviour can alter the distribution, abundance and ultimately, survival of prey species. In this study, I explored the effects of shrub encroachment on the foraging behaviour of nocturnal rodent communities in the Banni grasslands, India. I examined foraging behaviour, quantified using the giving-up density (GUD) framework and the number of rodent crossings around food patches, in two habitats that differed in the extent of shrub encroachment. Under the GUD framework, the amount of food left behind by a forager in a food patch reflects the costs of feeding at the patch. Higher GUDs imply higher foraging costs. I also investigated how removal of an invasive woody plant, Prosopis juliflora would affect foraging behaviour of nocturnal rodents. High shrub encroachment was associated with higher foraging costs (higher GUDs) and lower activity than the sparsely wooded habitat, likely due to low visibility in the densely wooded habitat. The dense habitat also supported a higher richness and relative abundance of generalist rodents than the sparse habitat, likely due to the increased heterogeneity of the habitat. The tree removal experiment revealed that rodents had lower GUDs (i.e., low foraging costs) after the event of tree cutting. This may be due to the reduction of cover in the habitat, leading to higher visibility and lower predation risk. My results suggest that shrub

  14. Optimising stocking rate and grazing management to enhance environmental and production outcomes for native temperate grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Badgery, Warwick; Zhang, Yingjun; Huang, Ding; Broadfoot, Kim; Kemp, David; Mitchell, David

    2015-04-01

    Stocking rate and grazing management can be altered to enhance the sustainable production of grasslands but the relative influence of each has not often been determined for native temperate grasslands. Grazing management can range from seasonal rests through to intensive rotational grazing involving >30 paddocks. In large scale grazing, it can be difficult to segregate the influence of grazing pressure from the timing of utilisation. Moreover, relative grazing pressure can change between years as seasonal conditions influence grassland production compared to the relative constant requirements of animals. This paper reports on two studies in temperate native grasslands of northern China and south eastern Australia that examined stocking rate and regionally relevant grazing management strategies. In China, the grazing experiment involved combinations of a rest, moderate or heavy grazing pressure of sheep in spring, then moderate or heavy grazing in summer and autumn. Moderate grazing pressure at 50% of the current district average, resulted in the better balance between maintaining productive and diverse grasslands, a profitable livestock system, and mitigation of greenhouse gases through increased soil carbon, methane uptake by the soil, and efficient methane emissions per unit of weight gain. Spring rests best maintained a desirable grassland composition, but had few other benefits and reduced livestock productivity due to lower feed quality from grazing later in the season. In Australia, the grazing experiment compared continuous grazing to flexible 4- and 20-paddock rotational grazing systems with sheep. Stocking rates were adjusted between systems biannually based on the average herbage mass of the grassland. No treatment degraded the perennial pasture composition, but ground cover was maintained at higher levels in the 20-paddock system even though this treatment had a higher stocking rate. Overall there was little difference in livestock production (e.g. kg

  15. Abundance and potential metabolic activity of methanogens in well-aerated forest and grassland soils of an alpine region.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hofmann, Katrin; Praeg, Nadine; Mutschlechner, Mira; Wagner, Andreas O; Illmer, Paul

    2016-02-01

    Although methanogens were recently discovered to occur in aerated soils, alpine regions have not been extensively studied for their presence so far. Here, the abundance of archaea and the methanogenic guilds Methanosarcinales, Methanococcales, Methanobacteriales, Methanomicrobiales and Methanocella spp. was studied at 16 coniferous forest and 14 grassland sites located at the montane and subalpine belts of the Northern Limestone Alps (calcareous) and the Austrian Central Alps (siliceous) using quantitative real-time PCR. Abundance of archaea, methanogens and the methanogenic potentials were significantly higher in grasslands than in forests. Furthermore, methanogenic potentials of calcareous soils were higher due to pH. Methanococcales, Methanomicrobiales and Methanocella spp. were detected in all collected samples, which indicates that they are autochthonous, while Methanobacteriales were absent from 4 out of 16 forest soils. Methanosarcinales were absent from 10 out of 16 forest soils and 2 out of 14 grassland soils. Nevertheless, together with Methanococcales they represented the majority of the 16S rRNA gene copies quantified from the grassland soils. Contrarily, forest soils were clearly dominated by Methanococcales. Our results indicate a higher diversity of methanogens in well-aerated soils than previously believed and that pH mainly influences their abundances and activities. © FEMS 2015. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  16. Biodiversity of Soil Microbial Communities Following Woody Plant Invasion of Grassland: An Assessment Using Molecular Methods

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kantola, I. B.; Gentry, T. J.; Filley, T. R.; Boutton, T. W.

    2012-12-01

    significantly different between remnant grasslands and all woody plant community types. Phylum-level classification of the 16S bacterial sequences showed that five phyla (Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Gemmatiomonadetes) represented 85-91% of classifiable sequences in all landscape elements. The relative abundances of Acidobacteria were significantly higher (p<0.05) in grassland samples (29.5%) than in all wooded landscape elements (17.1-25.6%), while the relative abundances of Actinobacteria was lower in grasslands (8.8%) than wooded areas (16.1-19.7%). Phylum-level classification of fungal sequences showed that four phyla accounted for 61.8 to 86.3% of identified sequences. Ascomycota was the most common phylum in all samples (55.8-62.1%), with significant contributions from Basidiomycota, Chytridiomycota, and Blastocladiomycota. The largest change in fungal community composition at the phylum level was observed in the Chytridiomycota, which declined from 4.0% in the grasslands to 0.8-1.4% in the wooded landscape elements. These significant changes in microbial community composition that occur following grassland to woodland conversion may have important implications for key biogeochemical processes that influence ecosystem structure and function in this region.

  17. Supporting biodiversity by prescribed burning in grasslands - A multi-taxa approach.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Valkó, Orsolya; Deák, Balázs; Magura, Tibor; Török, Péter; Kelemen, András; Tóth, Katalin; Horváth, Roland; Nagy, Dávid D; Debnár, Zsuzsanna; Zsigrai, György; Kapocsi, István; Tóthmérész, Béla

    2016-12-01

    There are contrasting opinions on the use of prescribed burning management in European grasslands. On the one hand, prescribed burning can be effectively used for the management of open landscapes, controlling dominant species, reducing accumulated litter or decreasing wildfire risk. On the other hand burning can have a detrimental impact on grassland biodiversity by supporting competitor grasses and by threatening several rare and endangered species, especially arthropods. We studied the effects of prescribed burning in alkaline grasslands of high conservation interest. Our aim was to test whether dormant-season prescribed burning can be an alternative conservation measure in these grasslands. We selected six sites in East-Hungary: in three sites, a prescribed fire was applied in November 2011, while three sites remained unburnt. We studied the effects of burning on soil characteristics, plant biomass and on the composition of vegetation and arthropod assemblages (isopods, spiders, ground beetles and rove beetles). Soil pH, organic matter, potassium and phosphorous did not change, but soluble salt content increased significantly in the burnt sites. Prescribed burning had several positive effects from the nature conservation viewpoint. Shannon diversity and the number of flowering shoots were higher, and the cover of the dominant grass Festuca pseudovina was lower in the burnt sites. Graminoid biomass was lower, while total, green and forb biomass were higher in the burnt plots compared to the control. The key finding of our study was that prescribed burning did not decrease the abundance and diversity of arthropod taxa. Species-level analyses showed that out of the most abundant invertebrate species, 10 were not affected, 1 was negatively and 1 was positively affected by burning. Moreover, our results suggest that prescribed burning leaving unburnt patches can be a viable management tool in open landscapes, because it supports plant diversity and does not threaten

  18. Modeling of Alpine Grassland Cover Based on Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Technology and Multi-Factor Methods: A Case Study in the East of Tibetan Plateau, China

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Baoping Meng

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available Grassland cover and its temporal changes are key parameters in the estimation and monitoring of ecosystems and their functions, especially via remote sensing. However, the most suitable model for estimating grassland cover and the differences between models has rarely been studied in alpine meadow grasslands. In this study, field measurements of grassland cover in Gannan Prefecture, from 2014 to 2016, were acquired using unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV technology. Single-factor parametric and multi-factor parametric/non-parametric cover inversion models were then constructed based on 14 factors related to grassland cover, and the dynamic variation of the annual maximum cover was analyzed. The results show that (1 nine out of 14 factors (longitude, latitude, elevation, the concentrations of clay and sand in the surface and bottom soils, temperature, precipitation, enhanced vegetation index (EVI and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI exert a significant effect on grassland cover in the study area. The logarithmic model based on EVI presents the best performance, with an R2 and RMSE of 0.52 and 16.96%, respectively. Single-factor grassland cover inversion models account for only 1–49% of the variation in cover during the growth season. (2 The optimum grassland cover inversion model is the artificial neural network (BP-ANN, with an R2 and RMSE of 0.72 and 13.38%, and SDs of 0.062% and 1.615%, respectively. Both the accuracy and the stability of the BP-ANN model are higher than those of the single-factor parametric models and multi-factor parametric/non-parametric models. (3 The annual maximum cover in Gannan Prefecture presents an increasing trend over 60.60% of the entire study area, while 36.54% is presently stable and 2.86% exhibits a decreasing trend.

  19. Organic vs. conventional grassland management: do (15)N and (13)C isotopic signatures of hay and soil samples differ?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klaus, Valentin H; Hölzel, Norbert; Prati, Daniel; Schmitt, Barbara; Schöning, Ingo; Schrumpf, Marion; Fischer, Markus; Kleinebecker, Till

    2013-01-01

    Distinguishing organic and conventional products is a major issue of food security and authenticity. Previous studies successfully used stable isotopes to separate organic and conventional products, but up to now, this approach was not tested for organic grassland hay and soil. Moreover, isotopic abundances could be a powerful tool to elucidate differences in ecosystem functioning and driving mechanisms of element cycling in organic and conventional management systems. Here, we studied the δ(15)N and δ(13)C isotopic composition of soil and hay samples of 21 organic and 34 conventional grasslands in two German regions. We also used Δδ(15)N (δ(15)N plant - δ(15)N soil) to characterize nitrogen dynamics. In order to detect temporal trends, isotopic abundances in organic grasslands were related to the time since certification. Furthermore, discriminant analysis was used to test whether the respective management type can be deduced from observed isotopic abundances. Isotopic analyses revealed no significant differences in δ(13)C in hay and δ(15)N in both soil and hay between management types, but showed that δ(13)C abundances were significantly lower in soil of organic compared to conventional grasslands. Δδ(15)N values implied that management types did not substantially differ in nitrogen cycling. Only δ(13)C in soil and hay showed significant negative relationships with the time since certification. Thus, our result suggest that organic grasslands suffered less from drought stress compared to conventional grasslands most likely due to a benefit of higher plant species richness, as previously shown by manipulative biodiversity experiments. Finally, it was possible to correctly classify about two third of the samples according to their management using isotopic abundances in soil and hay. However, as more than half of the organic samples were incorrectly classified, we infer that more research is needed to improve this approach before it can be efficiently

  20. Organic vs. Conventional Grassland Management: Do 15N and 13C Isotopic Signatures of Hay and Soil Samples Differ?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klaus, Valentin H.; Hölzel, Norbert; Prati, Daniel; Schmitt, Barbara; Schöning, Ingo; Schrumpf, Marion; Fischer, Markus; Kleinebecker, Till

    2013-01-01

    Distinguishing organic and conventional products is a major issue of food security and authenticity. Previous studies successfully used stable isotopes to separate organic and conventional products, but up to now, this approach was not tested for organic grassland hay and soil. Moreover, isotopic abundances could be a powerful tool to elucidate differences in ecosystem functioning and driving mechanisms of element cycling in organic and conventional management systems. Here, we studied the δ15N and δ13C isotopic composition of soil and hay samples of 21 organic and 34 conventional grasslands in two German regions. We also used Δδ15N (δ15N plant - δ15N soil) to characterize nitrogen dynamics. In order to detect temporal trends, isotopic abundances in organic grasslands were related to the time since certification. Furthermore, discriminant analysis was used to test whether the respective management type can be deduced from observed isotopic abundances. Isotopic analyses revealed no significant differences in δ13C in hay and δ15N in both soil and hay between management types, but showed that δ13C abundances were significantly lower in soil of organic compared to conventional grasslands. Δδ15N values implied that management types did not substantially differ in nitrogen cycling. Only δ13C in soil and hay showed significant negative relationships with the time since certification. Thus, our result suggest that organic grasslands suffered less from drought stress compared to conventional grasslands most likely due to a benefit of higher plant species richness, as previously shown by manipulative biodiversity experiments. Finally, it was possible to correctly classify about two third of the samples according to their management using isotopic abundances in soil and hay. However, as more than half of the organic samples were incorrectly classified, we infer that more research is needed to improve this approach before it can be efficiently used in practice

  1. Plant effects on soil carbon storage and turnover in montane beech (Nothofagus) forest and adjacent tussock grassland in New Zealand

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tate, K.R.; Scott, N.A.; Ross, D.J.; Parshotam, A.; Claydon, J.J.

    2000-01-01

    Land cover is a critical factor that influences, and is influenced by, atmospheric chemistry and potential climate changes. As considerable uncertainty exists about the effects of differences in land cover on below-ground carbon (C) storage, we have compared soil C contents and turnover at adjacent, unmanaged, indigenous forest (Nothofagus solandri var. cliffortiodes) and grassland (Chionochloa pallens) sites near the timberline in the same climo-edaphic environment in Craigieburn Forest Park, Canterbury, New Zealand. Total soil profile C was 13% higher in the grassland than in the forest ( 19.9 v. 16.7 kg/m 2 ), and based on bomb 14 C measurements, the differences mainly resulted from more recalcitrant soil C in the grassland (5.3 v. 3.0 kg/m 2 ). Estimated annual net primary production was about 0.4 kg C/m 2 for the forest and 0.5 kg C/m 2 for the grassland; estimated annual root production was about 0.2 and 0.4 kg C/m 2 , respectively. In situ soil surface CO 2 -C production was similar in the grassland and the forest. The accumulation of recalcitrant soil C was unrelated to differences in mineral weathering or soil texture, but was apparently enhanced by greater soil water retention in the grassland ecosystem. Thus, contrary to model (ROTHC) predictions, this soil C fraction could be expected to respond to the effects of climate change on precipitation patterns. Overall, our results suggest that the different patterns of soil C accumulation in these ecosystems have resulted from differences in plant C inputs, soil aluminium, and soil physical characteristics, rather than from differences in soil mineral weathering or texture. Copyright (2000) CSIRO Australia

  2. The role of grasslands in food security and climate change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Mara, F P

    2012-11-01

    Grasslands are a major part of the global ecosystem, covering 37 % of the earth's terrestrial area. For a variety of reasons, mostly related to overgrazing and the resulting problems of soil erosion and weed encroachment, many of the world's natural grasslands are in poor condition and showing signs of degradation. This review examines their contribution to global food supply and to combating climate change. Grasslands make a significant contribution to food security through providing part of the feed requirements of ruminants used for meat and milk production. Globally, this is more important in food energy terms than pig meat and poultry meat. Grasslands are considered to have the potential to play a key role in greenhouse gas mitigation, particularly in terms of global carbon storage and further carbon sequestration. It is estimated that grazing land management and pasture improvement (e.g. through managing grazing intensity, improved productivity, etc) have a global technical mitigation potential of almost 1·5 Gt CO(2) equivalent in 2030, with additional mitigation possible from restoration of degraded lands. Milk and meat production from grassland systems in temperate regions has similar emissions of carbon dioxide per kilogram of product as mixed farming systems in temperate regions, and, if carbon sinks in grasslands are taken into account, grassland-based production systems can be as efficient as high-input systems from a greenhouse gas perspective. Grasslands are important for global food supply, contributing to ruminant milk and meat production. Extra food will need to come from the world's existing agricultural land base (including grasslands) as the total area of agricultural land has remained static since 1991. Ruminants are efficient converters of grass into humanly edible energy and protein and grassland-based food production can produce food with a comparable carbon footprint as mixed systems. Grasslands are a very important store of carbon, and

  3. The conversion of grasslands to forests in Southern South America: Shifting evapotranspiration, stream flow and groundwater dynamics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jobbagy, E. G.; Nosetto, M. D.; Pineiro, G.; Farley, K. A.; Palmer, S. M.; Jackson, R. B.

    2005-12-01

    Vegetation changes, particularly those involving transitions between tree- and grass-dominated systems, often modify evaporation as a result of plant-mediated shifts in moisture access and demand. The establishment of tree plantations (fast growing eucalypts and pines) on native grasslands is emerging as a major land-use change, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere, where cheap land and labor, public subsidies, and prospective C sequestration rewards provide converging incentives. What are the hydrological consequences of grassland afforestation? How are crucial ecosystem services such as fresh water supply and hydrological regulation being affected? We explore these questions focusing on a) evapotranspiration, b) stream flow, and c) groundwater recharge-discharge patterns across a network of paired stands and small watershed occupied by native grassland and tree plantation in Argentina and Uruguay. Radiometric information obtained from Landsat satellite images was used to estimate daily evapotranspiration in >100 tree plantations and grasslands stands in the humid plains of the Uruguay River (mean annual precipitation, MAP= 1350 mm). In spite of their lower albedo, tree plantations were 0.5 C° cooler than grasslands. Energy balance calculations suggested 80% higher evapotranspiration in afforested plots with relative differences becoming larger during dry periods. Seasonal stream flow measurements in twelve paired watershed (50-500 Ha) in the hills of Comechingones (MAP= 800 mm) and Minas (MAP= 1200 mm) showed declining water yields following afforestation. Preliminary data in Cordoba showed four-fold reductions of base flow in the dry season and two-fold reductions of peak flow after storms. A network of twenty paired grassland-plantation stands covering a broad range of sediment textures in the Pampas (MAP= 1000 mm, typical groundwater depth= 1-5 m) showed increased groundwater salinity in afforested stands (plantation:grassland salinity ratio = 1.2, 10, and

  4. Spherical aberration and other higher-order aberrations in the human eye : from summary wave-front analysis data to optical variables relevant to visual perception

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Jansonius, Nomdo M.

    Wave-front analysis data from the human eye are commonly presented using the aberration coefficient c(4)(0) (primary spherical aberration) together with an overall measure of all higher-order aberrations. If groups of subjects are compared, however, the relevance of an observed difference cannot

  5. Improving the Use of Technology Enhanced Learning Environments in Higher Education in the UK: A Qualitative Visualization of Students' Views

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kennedy, Mark; Dunn, Thomas J.

    2018-01-01

    In recent years, the use of Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) has risen exponentially throughout higher education in the UK. Whilst TEL is an umbrella term for a range of technologies, evidence suggests that in the UK, TEL is usually delivered via the medium of Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) for the provision of lecture materials and…

  6. Grassland degradation caused by tourism activities in Hulunbuir, Inner Mongolia, China

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Le, C; Ikazaki, K; Siriguleng; Kosaki, T; Kadono, A

    2014-01-01

    The recent increase in the number of tourists has raised serious concerns about grassland degradation by tourism activities in Inner Mongolia. Thus, we evaluated the effects of tourism activities on the vegetation and soil in Hulunbuir grassland. We identified all the plant species, measured the number and height of plant and plant coverage rate, and calculated species diversity, estimated above-ground biomass in use plot and non-use plot. We also measured soil hardness, and collected soil samples for physical and chemical analysis in both plots. The obtained results were as follows: a) the height of the dominant plants, plant coverage rate, species diversity, and above-ground biomass were significantly lower in use plot than in non-use plot, b) Carex duriuscula C.A.Mey., indicator plant for soil degradation, was dominant in use plot, c) soil hardness was significantly higher in use plot than in non-use plot, and spatial dependence of soil hardness was only found in the use plot, d) CEC, TC, TN and pH in the topsoil were significantly lower in use plot than non-use plot. On the basis of the results, we concluded that the tourism activities can be another major cause of the grassland degradation in Inner Mongolia

  7. No evidence of complementary water use along a plant species richness gradient in temperate experimental grasslands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dörte Bachmann

    Full Text Available Niche complementarity in resource use has been proposed as a key mechanism to explain the positive effects of increasing plant species richness on ecosystem processes, in particular on primary productivity. Since hardly any information is available for niche complementarity in water use, we tested the effects of plant diversity on spatial and temporal complementarity in water uptake in experimental grasslands by using stable water isotopes. We hypothesized that water uptake from deeper soil depths increases in more diverse compared to low diverse plant species mixtures. We labeled soil water in 8 cm (with 18O and 28 cm depth (with ²H three times during the 2011 growing season in 40 temperate grassland communities of varying species richness (2, 4, 8 and 16 species and functional group number and composition (legumes, grasses, tall herbs, small herbs. Stable isotope analyses of xylem and soil water allowed identifying the preferential depth of water uptake. Higher enrichment in 18O of xylem water than in ²H suggested that the main water uptake was in the upper soil layer. Furthermore, our results revealed no differences in root water uptake among communities with different species richness, different number of functional groups or with time. Thus, our results do not support the hypothesis of increased complementarity in water use in more diverse than in less diverse communities of temperate grassland species.

  8. Grazing reduces soil greenhouse gas fluxes in global grasslands: a meta-analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tang, Shiming; Tian, Dashuan; Niu, Shuli

    2017-04-01

    Grazing causes a worldwide degradation in grassland and likely alters soil greenhouse gas fluxes (GHGs). However, the general patterns of grazing-induced changes in grassland soil GHGs and the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Thus, we synthesized 63 independent experiments in global grasslands that examined grazing impacts on soil GHGs (CO2, CH4 and N2O). We found that grazing with light or moderate intensity did not significantly influence soil GHGs, but consistently depressed them under heavy grazing, reducing CO2 emission by 10.55%, CH4 uptake by 19.24% and N2O emission by 28.04%. The reduction in soil CO2 was mainly due to decreased activity in roots and microbes (soil respiration per unit root and microbial biomass), which was suppressed by less water availability due to higher soil temperature induced by lower community cover under heavy grazing. N2O emission decreased with grazing-caused decline in soil total N. The inhibitory effect on methanotroph activities by water stress is responsible for the decreased CH4 uptake. Furthermore, grazing duration and precipitation also influenced the direction and magnitude of responses in GHGs fluxes. Overall, our results indicate that the reduction in soil CO2 and N2O emission under heavy grazing is partially compensated by the decrease in CH4 uptake, which is mainly regulated by variations in soil moisture.

  9. Grassland degradation caused by tourism activities in Hulunbuir, Inner Mongolia, China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Le, C.; Ikazaki, K.; Siriguleng; Kadono, A.; Kosaki, T.

    2014-02-01

    The recent increase in the number of tourists has raised serious concerns about grassland degradation by tourism activities in Inner Mongolia. Thus, we evaluated the effects of tourism activities on the vegetation and soil in Hulunbuir grassland. We identified all the plant species, measured the number and height of plant and plant coverage rate, and calculated species diversity, estimated above-ground biomass in use plot and non-use plot. We also measured soil hardness, and collected soil samples for physical and chemical analysis in both plots. The obtained results were as follows: a) the height of the dominant plants, plant coverage rate, species diversity, and above-ground biomass were significantly lower in use plot than in non-use plot, b) Carex duriuscula C.A.Mey., indicator plant for soil degradation, was dominant in use plot, c) soil hardness was significantly higher in use plot than in non-use plot, and spatial dependence of soil hardness was only found in the use plot, d) CEC, TC, TN and pH in the topsoil were significantly lower in use plot than non-use plot. On the basis of the results, we concluded that the tourism activities can be another major cause of the grassland degradation in Inner Mongolia.

  10. [Tourism function zoning of Jinyintan Grassland Scenic Area in Qinghai Province based on ecological sensitivity analysis].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhong, Lin-sheng; Tang, Cheng-cai; Guo, Hua

    2010-07-01

    Based on the statistical data of natural ecology and social economy in Jinyintan Grassland Scenic Area in Qinghai Province in 2008, an evaluation index system for the ecological sensitivity of this area was established from the aspects of protected area rank, vegetation type, slope, and land use type. The ecological sensitivity of the sub-areas with higher tourism value and ecological function in the area was evaluated, and the tourism function zoning of these sub-areas was made by the technology of GIS and according to the analysis of eco-environmental characteristics and ecological sensitivity of each sensitive sub-area. It was suggested that the Jinyintan Grassland Scenic Area could be divided into three ecological sensitivity sub-areas (high, moderate, and low), three tourism functional sub-areas (restricted development ecotourism, moderate development ecotourism, and mass tourism), and six tourism functional sub-areas (wetland protection, primitive ecological sightseeing, agriculture and pasture tourism, grassland tourism, town tourism, and rural tourism).

  11. P1-9: Relationship between Color Shifts in Land's Two-Color Method and Higher- and Lower-Level Visual Information

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Saki Iwaida

    2012-10-01

    Full Text Available Land's two-color method gives rise to apparent full-color perception, even though only two colors (e.g., red and gray are used. Previous studies indicate that chromatic adaptation, color memory, and inductive effects contribute to the shifts of color perception from real to illusory colors (e.g., Kuriki, 2006 Vision Research 46 3055–3066. This paper investigates the relationship between the color shifts induced by Land images and the skewness of the luminance histogram. In Experiment 1, several Land images are created based on a yellow ball, and the magnitude of the color shifts of the images are measured. The results of Experiment 1 show a significant correlation between the magnitude of the color shifts and skewness, suggesting that skewness is critical for the color shifts. In Experiment 2, we test the hypothesis that color shifts depends on just skewness; the color shifts should be invariant even if the Land images are scrambled. However, the results of Experiment 2 demonstrate that scrambled Land images exhibit less intense color shifts, suggesting that color shifts are determined by the object's overall shape or surface gloss, not just skewness. Taken together, we conclude that both low-level visual processes, such as those associated with luminance histogram skew, and high-level cognitive functions, such as object interpretation or understanding of surface gloss, are involved in the color shift of Land images.

  12. A new framework for evaluating the impacts of drought on net primary productivity of grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lei, Tianjie; Wu, Jianjun; Li, Xiaohan; Geng, Guangpo; Shao, Changliang; Zhou, Hongkui; Wang, Qianfeng; Liu, Leizhen

    2015-12-01

    This paper presented a valuable framework for evaluating the impacts of droughts (single factor) on grassland ecosystems. This framework was defined as the quantitative magnitude of drought impact that unacceptable short-term and long-term effects on ecosystems may experience relative to the reference standard. Long-term effects on ecosystems may occur relative to the reference standard. Net primary productivity (NPP) was selected as the response indicator of drought to assess the quantitative impact of drought on Inner Mongolia grassland based on the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) and BIOME-BGC model. The framework consists of six main steps: 1) clearly defining drought scenarios, such as moderate, severe and extreme drought; 2) selecting an appropriate indicator of drought impact; 3) selecting an appropriate ecosystem model and verifying its capabilities, calibrating the bias and assessing the uncertainty; 4) assigning a level of unacceptable impact of drought on the indicator; 5) determining the response of the indicator to drought and normal weather state under global-change; and 6) investigating the unacceptable impact of drought at different spatial scales. We found NPP losses assessed using the new framework were more sensitive to drought and had higher precision than the long-term average method. Moreover, the total and average losses of NPP are different in different grassland types during the drought years from 1961-2009. NPP loss was significantly increased along a gradient of increasing drought levels. Meanwhile, NPP loss variation under the same drought level was different in different grassland types. The operational framework was particularly suited for integrative assessing the effects of different drought events and long-term droughts at multiple spatial scales, which provided essential insights for sciences and societies that must develop coping strategies for ecosystems for such events. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  13. Soil respiration and organic carbon dynamics with grassland conversions to woodlands in temperate china.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wei Wang

    Full Text Available Soils are the largest terrestrial carbon store and soil respiration is the second-largest flux in ecosystem carbon cycling. Across China's temperate region, climatic changes and human activities have frequently caused the transformation of grasslands to woodlands. However, the effect of this transition on soil respiration and soil organic carbon (SOC dynamics remains uncertain in this area. In this study, we measured in situ soil respiration and SOC storage over a two-year period (Jan. 2007-Dec. 2008 from five characteristic vegetation types in a forest-steppe ecotone of temperate China, including grassland (GR, shrubland (SH, as well as in evergreen coniferous (EC, deciduous coniferous (DC and deciduous broadleaved forest (DB, to evaluate the changes of soil respiration and SOC storage with grassland conversions to diverse types of woodlands. Annual soil respiration increased by 3%, 6%, 14%, and 22% after the conversion from GR to EC, SH, DC, and DB, respectively. The variation in soil respiration among different vegetation types could be well explained by SOC and soil total nitrogen content. Despite higher soil respiration in woodlands, SOC storage and residence time increased in the upper 20 cm of soil. Our results suggest that the differences in soil environmental conditions, especially soil substrate availability, influenced the level of annual soil respiration produced by different vegetation types. Moreover, shifts from grassland to woody plant dominance resulted in increased SOC storage. Given the widespread increase in woody plant abundance caused by climate change and large-scale afforestation programs, the soils are expected to accumulate and store increased amounts of organic carbon in temperate areas of China.

  14. The effects of tree establishment on water and salt dynamics in naturally salt-affected grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nosetto, Marcelo D; Jobbágy, Esteban G; Tóth, Tibor; Di Bella, Carlos M

    2007-07-01

    Plants, by influencing water fluxes across the ecosystem-vadose zone-aquifer continuum, can leave an imprint on salt accumulation and distribution patterns. We explored how the conversion of native grasslands to oak plantations affected the abundance and distribution of salts on soils and groundwater through changes in the water balance in naturally salt-affected landscapes of Hortobagy (Hungary), a region where artificial drainage performed approximately 150 years ago lowered the water table (from -2 to -5 m) decoupling it from the surface ecosystem. Paired soil sampling and detailed soil conductivity transects revealed consistently different salt distribution patterns between grasslands and plantations, with shallow salinity losses and deep salinity gains accompanying tree establishment. Salts accumulated in the upper soil layers during pre-drainage times have remained in drained grasslands but have been flushed away under tree plantations (65 and 83% loss of chloride and sodium, respectively, in the 0 to -0.5 m depth range) as a result of a five- to 25-fold increase in infiltration rates detected under plantations. At greater depth, closer to the current water table level, the salt balance was reversed, with tree plantations gaining 2.5 kg sodium chloride m(-2) down to 6 m depth, resulting from groundwater uptake and salt exclusion by tree roots in the capillary fringe. Diurnal water table fluctuations, detected in a plantation stand but not in the neighbouring grasslands, together with salt mass balances suggest that trees consumed approximately 380 mm groundwater per year, re-establishing the discharge regime and leading to higher salt accumulation rates than those interrupted by regional drainage practices more than a century ago. The strong influences of vegetation changes on water dynamics can have cascading consequences on salt accumulation and distribution, and a broad ecohydrological perspective that explicitly considers vegetation-groundwater links is

  15. Seedling responses to water pulses in shrubs with contrasting histories of grassland encroachment.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Steven R Woods

    Full Text Available Woody plant encroachment into grasslands has occurred worldwide, but it is unclear why some tree and shrub species have been markedly more successful than others. For example, Prosopis velutina has proliferated in many grasslands of the Sonoran Desert in North America over the past century, while other shrub species with similar growth form and life history, such as Acacia greggii, have not. We conducted a glasshouse experiment to assess whether differences in early seedling development could help explain why one species and not the other came to dominate many Sonoran Desert grasslands. We established eight watering treatments mimicking a range of natural precipitation patterns and harvested seedlings 16 or 17 days after germination. A. greggii had nearly 7 times more seed mass than P. velutina, but P. velutina emerged earlier (by 3.0±0.3 d and grew faster (by 8.7±0.5 mg d⁻¹. Shoot mass at harvest was higher in A. greggii (99±6 mg seedling⁻¹ than in P. velutina (74±2 mg seedling⁻¹, but there was no significant difference in root mass (54±3 and 49±2 mg seedling⁻¹, respectively. Taproot elongation was differentially sensitive to water supply: under the highest initial watering pulse, taproots were 52±19 mm longer in P. velutina than in A. greggii. Enhanced taproot elongation under favorable rainfall conditions could give nascent P. velutina seedlings growth and survivorship advantages by helping reduce competition with grasses and maintain contact with soil water during drought. Conversely, A. greggii's greater investment in mass per seed appeared to provide little return in early seedling growth. We suggest that such differences in recruitment traits and their sensitivities to environmental conditions may help explain ecological differences between species that are highly similar as adults and help identify pivotal drivers of shrub encroachment into grasslands.

  16. The community ecology of barley/cereal yellow dwarf viruses in Western US grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Power, Alison G; Borer, Elizabeth T; Hosseini, Parviez; Mitchell, Charles E; Seabloom, Eric W

    2011-08-01

    Research on plant viruses in natural ecosystems has been increasing rapidly over the past decade. This paper reviews recent research on the barley and cereal yellow dwarf viruses (B/CYDVs) in grasslands of the western US, beginning with the evidence that the disease caused by these viruses facilitated the invasion of western US grasslands by European annual grasses. Observational and experimental studies of B/CYDVs were carried out along a latitudinal gradient (33.8-48.8°N) from southern California to southern Canada. The prevalence and community composition of B/CYDVs were assessed over a variety of scales and under a range of biotic and abiotic conditions. The findings indicate that both biotic and abiotic factors are important influences on virus ecology and epidemiology. Introduced annual grasses are high-quality hosts that amplify both virus and vector populations in this system, but our research suggests that endemic perennial grasses are critically important for sustaining virus populations in contemporary grasslands largely composed of introduced species. Experiments indicated that increased phosphorus supply to hosts resulted in greater host biomass and higher virus prevalence. Using experimental exclosures, it was found that the presence of grazing vertebrate herbivores increased the abundance of annual grasses, resulting in increased virus prevalence. The results of these studies suggest that patterns of B/CYDV prevalence and coinfection in western US grasslands are strongly shaped by the interactions of host plants, vectors, vertebrate herbivores, and abiotic drivers including nutrients. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  17. An assessment of rehabilitation success in an African grassland using ants as bioindicators

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Samantha-Leigh Jamison

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available Many studies that evaluate rehabilitation make use of invertebrate bioindicators. Invertebrates, especially ants, make useful indicators as they are sensitive to environmental change. We compared ant assemblages in rehabilitated and control sites in the Rietvlei Nature Reserve, a protected area important for grassland conservation in South Africa. Pitfall traps were used to sample ant assemblages at six control sites and six rehabilitated sites. In addition, environmental and vegetation surveys were conducted at each site. We found that the ant assemblages differed significantly between the control and rehabilitated sites, although there was considerable overlap; the control sites supported a greater species density and higher abundance of ants than the rehabilitated sites. In total, 36 ant species were collected (control sites: 34 species; rehabilitated sites: 26 species. The environmental survey revealed that percentages of bare ground and coarse sand, as well as soil pH, differed significantly between the control and rehabilitated sites. The control and rehabilitated sites also supported significantly different plant assemblages. Three indicator ant species were identified for the control sites: Crematogaster rectinota, Crematogaster amita and Monomorium fastidium. No indicator species were identified for the rehabilitated sites. These results suggest that recovery from the previous agricultural use of the area is still incomplete and highlights the lack of research examining the success of rehabilitation in the grassland biome. Conservation implications: The present study illustrates the need for further research on rehabilitation techniques utilised in the grassland biome. This is of value as the remainder of South African grasslands are considered critically endangered.

  18. Measurement of grassland evaporation using a surface-layer ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Measurement of grassland evaporation using a surface-layer scintillometer. ... Water SA. Journal Home · ABOUT THIS JOURNAL · Advanced Search ... of soil heat flux and net irradiance, evaporation rates were calculated as a residual of the ...

  19. Ecological mechanisms underlying arthropod species diversity in grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Joern, Anthony; Laws, Angela N

    2013-01-01

    Arthropods are an important component of grassland systems, contributing significantly to biodiversity and ecosystem structure and function. Climate, fire, and grazing by large herbivores are important drivers in grasslands worldwide. Arthropod responses to these drivers are highly variable and clear patterns are difficult to find, but responses are largely indirect with respect to changes in resources, species interactions, habitat structure, and habitat heterogeneity resulting from interactions among fire, grazing, and climate. Here, we review these ecological mechanisms influencing grassland arthropod diversity. We summarize hypotheses describing species diversity at local and regional scales and then discuss specific factors that may affect arthropod diversity in grassland systems. These factors include direct and indirect effects of grazing, fire, and climate, species interactions, above- and belowground interactions, and landscape-level effects.

  20. Soil Organic Carbon Responses to Forest Expansion on Mountain Grasslands

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Guidi, Claudia

    . Changes in labile soil C were assessed by carbohydrate and thermal analyses of soil samples and fractions. Forest expansion on mountain grasslands caused a decrease in SOC stocks within the mineral soil. The SOC accumulation within the organic layers following forest establishment could not fully...... and thermally labile to resistant components decreased from grassland to forest successional stages, and corresponded to decreased SOC protection within stable aggregates. This PhD thesis showed that mineral SOC stocks and physically protected SOC fractions decreased following forest expansion on mountain......Grassland abandonment followed by progressive forest expansion is the dominant land-use change in the European Alps. Contrasting trends in soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks have been reported for mountainous regions following forest expansion on grasslands. Moreover, its effects on SOC properties...

  1. Impact intensities of climatic changes on grassland ecosystems in ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    DR. NJ TONUKARI

    2012-03-22

    Mar 22, 2012 ... Construction of the impact intensity model of climatic changes on grassland ecosystem ... the temperature and rainfall (Sun and Mu, 2011). Thus, the study ... of the equation, the study transformed the measurement unit Mu of.

  2. Biodiversity in temperate European grasslands: origin and conservation.

    OpenAIRE

    Pärtel, Meelis; Bruun, Hans Henrik; Sammul, Marek

    2005-01-01

    Northern Europe is in the forest zone, but wild megaherbivores have maintained grass-dominated vegetation here for the last 1.8 million years. Continuity of the grassland biome through glacialinterglacial cycles and connection to steppe vegetation has resulted in the evolution, immigration, and survival of a large number of grassland species. During the last millennia the effect of wild ungulates has been replaced by domestic grazers and hay making, and the persistence of grasslan...

  3. Methods for evaluation of the invasibility of grasslands

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Strandberg, M. T.; Strandberg, B.; Erneberg, M.

    The number of non-native plant species in Danish dry acidic grasslands was positively correlated with the cover of disturbance in the form of molehills, anthills, mouseholes and erosion due trampling or digging by large herbivores/livestock. Natural disturbance in acidic grassland ecosystems...... not grazed by livestock therefore is important for the occurrence of non-native species, and probably also for the occurrence of a high native floristic diversity....

  4. PV water pumping systems for grassland and farmland conservation

    OpenAIRE

    Campana, Pietro Elia

    2013-01-01

    Grassland degradation is considered as one of the worst environmental and economic problems in China because of the negative impacts on water and food security. The application of the photovoltaic water pumping (PVWP) technology for irrigation is an innovative and sustainable solution to curb the progress of grassland desertification and to promote the conservation of farmland in remote areas. The combination of PVWP with water saving irrigation techniques and the sustainable management of th...

  5. Conservation reserve program: benefit for grassland birds in the northern plains

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reynolds, R.E.; Shaffer, T.L.; Sauer, J.R.; Peterjohn, B.G.

    1994-01-01

    cropland in some counties has been converted primarily to grass. In North Dakota, nearly 3 million acres have been enrolled. Over 90 percent of the CRP plantings in North Dakota are grass and grass-legume mix composed primarily of wheatgrass (Agropyron spp.), smooth brome (Bromus inermis), alfalfa (Medicago saliva) and sweetclover (Melilotus spp.). Mixes of these species have been reported to attract high densities of nesting ducks (Duebbert and Kantrud 1974). According to the CRP provisions, the land must remain idle for the 10-year contract period, with the exception of emergency provisions for haying or grazing. CRP appears to have great potential for benefiting many species of grassland-nesting birds. There have been efforts to document the importance of the CRP to migratory birds in the Upper Great Plains of the U.S. Kantrud (1993) studied duck nest success in CRP cover and concluded that nest success was higher than in planted cover on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs). Johnson and Schwartz (1993a) measured the use of CRP fields by nonwaterfowl birds and reported that several species have responded positively by colonizing CRP fields. They concluded that CRP has the potential to help reverse the population declines of several species. We investigated the importance of CRP to upland-nesting ducks and certain other grassland-nesting birds. For ducks, we compared nest success in CRP cover with nest success in planted cover on WPAs in the same period (1992-93) and with that of an earlier period (1980-84). For nonwaterfowl, we used BBS data to compare the trends in populations of certain species found in CRP, for the periods 1966-86 (pre-CRP cover establishment) and 1987-92 (post-CRP cover establishment) in North Dakota.

  6. The Eurasian Dry Grassland Group (EDGG in 2016–2017

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Venn Stephen

    2018-06-01

    Full Text Available This report summarizes the activities and achievements of the Eurasian Dry Grassland Group (EDGG from mid-2016 through to the end of 2017. During this period, the 13th Eurasian Grassland Conference took place in Sighişoara, Romania, and the 14th conference was held in Riga, Latvia. The 10th EDGG Field Workshop on Biodiversity patterns across a precipitation gradient in the Central Apennine mountains was conducted in the Central Apennines, Italy, this time in addition to multi-scale sampling of vascular plants, bryophytes and lichens, also including one animal group (leaf hoppers. Apart from the quarterly issues of its own electronic journal (Bulletin of the Eurasian Dry Grassland Group, EDGG also finalised five grassland-related Special Features/Issues during the past 1.5 years in the following international journals: Applied Vegetation Science, Biodiversity and Conservation, Phytocoenologia, Tuexenia and Hacquetia. Beyond that, EDGG facilitated various national and supra-national vegetationplot databases of grasslands and established its own specialised database for standardised multi-scale plot data of Palaearctic grasslands (GrassPlot.

  7. Impacts of Future Grassland Changes on Surface Climate in Mongolia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fan Zhang

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Climate change caused by land use/cover change (LUCC is becoming a hot topic in current global change, especially the changes caused by the grassland degradation. In this paper, based on the baseline underlying surface data of 1993, the predicted underlying surface data which can be derived through overlaying the grassland degradation information to the map of baseline underlying surface, and the atmospheric forcing data of RCP 6.0 from CMIP5, climatological changes caused by future grassland changes for the years 2010–2020 and 2040–2050 with the Weather Research Forecast model (WRF are simulated. The model-based analysis shows that future grassland degradation will significantly result in regional climate change. The grassland degradation in future could lead to an increasing trend of temperature in most areas and corresponding change range of the annual average temperature of −0.1°C–0.4°C, and it will cause a decreasing trend of precipitation and corresponding change range of the annual average precipitation of 10 mm–50 mm. This study identifies lines of evidence for effects of future grassland degradation on regional climate in Mongolia which provides meaningful decision-making information for the development and strategy plan making in Mongolia.

  8. Grassland bird productivity in warm season grass fields in southwest Wisconsin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Byers, Carolyn M.; Ribic, Christine; Sample, David W.; Dadisman, John D.; Guttery, Michael

    2017-01-01

    Surrogate grasslands established through federal set-aside programs, such as U.S. Department of Agriculture's Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), provide important habitat for grassland birds. Warm season grass CRP fields as a group have the potential for providing a continuum of habitat structure for breeding birds, depending on how the fields are managed and their floristic composition. We studied the nesting activity of four obligate grassland bird species, Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus), Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna), Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum), and Henslow's Sparrow (A. henslowii), in relation to vegetative composition and fire management in warm season CRP fields in southwest Wisconsin during 2009–2011. Intraspecific variation in apparent nest density was related to the number of years since the field was burned. Apparent Grasshopper Sparrow nest density was highest in the breeding season immediately following spring burns, apparent Henslow's Sparrow nest density was highest 1 y post burn, and apparent Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark nest densities were higher in post fire years one to three. Grasshopper Sparrow nest density was highest on sites with more diverse vegetation, specifically prairie forbs, and on sites with shorter less dense vegetation. Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark, and Henslow's Sparrow apparent nest densities were higher on sites with deeper litter; litter was the vegetative component that was most affected by spring burns. Overall nest success was 0.487 for Bobolink (22 d nesting period), 0.478 for Eastern Meadowlark (25 d nesting period), 0.507 for Grasshopper Sparrow (22 d nesting period), and 0.151 for Henslow's Sparrow (21 d nesting period). The major nest predators were grassland-associated species: thirteen-lined ground squirrel (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus), striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis), milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum), American badger (Taxidea taxus), and western fox snake (Elaphe vulpina). Overall

  9. Precipitation alters interactions in a grassland ecological community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deguines, Nicolas; Brashares, Justin S; Prugh, Laura R

    2017-03-01

    Climate change is transforming precipitation regimes world-wide. Changes in precipitation regimes are known to have powerful effects on plant productivity, but the consequences of these shifts for the dynamics of ecological communities are poorly understood. This knowledge gap hinders our ability to anticipate and mitigate the impacts of climate change on biodiversity. Precipitation may affect fauna through direct effects on physiology, behaviour or demography, through plant-mediated indirect effects, or by modifying interactions among species. In this paper, we examined the response of a semi-arid ecological community to a fivefold change in precipitation over 7 years. We examined the effects of precipitation on the dynamics of a grassland ecosystem in central California from 2007 to 2013. We conducted vegetation surveys, pitfall trapping of invertebrates, visual surveys of lizards and capture-mark-recapture surveys of rodents on 30 plots each year. We used structural equation modelling to evaluate the direct, indirect and modifying effects of precipitation on plants, ants, beetles, orthopterans, kangaroo rats, ground squirrels and lizards. We found pervasive effects of precipitation on the ecological community. Although precipitation increased plant biomass, direct effects on fauna were often stronger than plant-mediated effects. In addition, precipitation altered the sign or strength of consumer-resource and facilitative interactions among the faunal community such that negative or neutral interactions became positive or vice versa with increasing precipitation. These findings indicate that precipitation influences ecological communities in multiple ways beyond its recognized effects on primary productivity. Stochastic variation in precipitation may weaken the average strength of biotic interactions over time, thereby increasing ecosystem stability and resilience to climate change. © 2016 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology © 2016 British Ecological

  10. The Effects of Land-Use Change from Grassland to Miscanthus x giganteus on Soil N2O Emissions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael Williams

    2013-09-01

    Full Text Available A one year field trial was carried out on three adjacent unfertilised plots; an 18 year old grassland, a 14 year old established Miscanthus crop, and a 7 month old newly planted Miscanthus crop. Measurements of N2O, soil temperature, water filled pore space (WFPS, and inorganic nitrogen concentrations, were made every one to two weeks. Soil temperature, WFPS and NO3− and NH4+ concentrations were all found to be significantly affected by land use. Temporal crop effects were also observed in soil inorganic nitrogen dynamics, due in part to C4 litter incorporation into the soil under Miscanthus. Nonetheless, soil N2O fluxes were not significantly affected by land use. Cumulative yearly N2O fluxes were relatively low, 216 ± 163, 613 ± 294, and 377 ± 132 g·N·ha−1·yr−1 from the grassland, newly planted Miscanthus, and established Miscanthus plots respectively, and fell within the range commonly observed for unfertilised grasslands dominated by perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne. Higher mean cumulative fluxes were measured in the newly planted Miscanthus, which may be linked to a possible unobserved increase immediately after establishment. However, these differences were not statistically significant. Based on the results of this experiment, land-use change from grassland to Miscanthus will have a neutral impact on medium to long-term N2O emissions.

  11. Varying responses of vegetation activity to climate changes on the Tibetan Plateau grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cong, Nan; Shen, Miaogen; Yang, Wei; Yang, Zhiyong; Zhang, Gengxin; Piao, Shilong

    2017-08-01

    Vegetation activity on the Tibetan Plateau grassland has been substantially enhanced as a result of climate change, as revealed by satellite observations of vegetation greenness (i.e., the normalized difference vegetation index, NDVI). However, little is known about the temporal variations in the relationships between NDVI and temperature and precipitation, and understanding this is essential for predicting how future climate change would affect vegetation activity. Using NDVI data and meteorological records from 1982 to 2011, we found that the inter-annual partial correlation coefficient between growing season (May-September) NDVI and temperature (R NDVI-T ) in a 15-year moving window for alpine meadow showed little change, likely caused by the increasing R NDVI-T in spring (May-June) and autumn (September) and decreasing R NDVI-T in summer (July-August). Growing season R NDVI-T for alpine steppe increased slightly, mainly due to increasing R NDVI-T in spring and autumn. The partial correlation coefficient between growing season NDVI and precipitation (R NDVI-P ) for alpine meadow increased slightly, mainly in spring and summer, and R NDVI-P for alpine steppe increased, mainly in spring. Moreover, R NDVI-T for the growing season was significantly higher in those 15-year windows with more precipitation for alpine steppe. R NDVI-P for the growing season was significantly higher in those 15-year windows with higher temperature, and this tendency was stronger for alpine meadow than for alpine steppe. These results indicate that the impact of warming on vegetation activity of Tibetan Plateau grassland is more positive (or less negative) during periods with more precipitation and that the impact of increasing precipitation is more positive (or less negative) during periods with higher temperature. Such positive effects of the interactions between temperature and precipitation indicate that the projected warmer and wetter future climate will enhance vegetation activity

  12. Improvement of native grassland by legumes introduction and tillage techniques

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Syamsu Bahar

    1999-10-01

    Full Text Available A factorial design using three species of legumes (Siratro, Centro and Stylo and three different of tillage techniques (no-tillage, minimum tillage and total tillage was applied in this experiment. The results showed that there was no interaction between species and tillage techniques. There was significant reductions on bulk density from 1.23±0.03 g/cm3 (no-tillage to 1.07±0.02 g/cm3 (minimum tillage and 1.05±0.03 g/cm3 (total tillage. Also reductions on penetration resistance from 17.47±3.84 kg/cm2 (no-tillage to 3.31±0.43 kg/cm2 (minimum tillage and 3.19±0.45 kg/cm2 (total tillage. Otherwise significant increasing on aeration porosity from 12.80±0.80% vol. (no-tillage to 21.70±0.95% vol. (minimum tillage and 20.70±0.35% vol. (total tillage. Total tillage gives increased dry matter yield. Also both total tillage and minimum tillage give yields with a higher percentage of legumes compared with no-tillage. It was concluded that total tillage and minimum tillage could be used for improving native grassland.

  13. Neural responses to visual food stimuli after a normal vs. higher protein breakfast in breakfast-skipping teens: a pilot fMRI study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leidy, Heather J; Lepping, Rebecca J; Savage, Cary R; Harris, Corey T

    2011-10-01

    This functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) pilot study identified whether breakfast consumption would alter the neural activity in brain regions associated with food motivation and reward in overweight "breakfast skipping" (BS) adolescent girls and examined whether increased protein at breakfast would lead to additional alterations. Ten girls (Age: 15 ± 1 years; BMI percentile 93 ± 1%; BS 5 ± 1×/week) completed 3 testing days. Following the BS day, the participants were provided with, in randomized order, normal protein (NP; 18 ± 1 g protein) or higher protein (HP; 50 ± 1 g protein) breakfast meals to consume at home for 6 days. On day 7 of each pattern, the participants came to the laboratory to consume their respective breakfast followed by appetite questionnaires and an fMRI brain scan to identify brain activation responses to viewing food vs. nonfood images prior to lunch. Breakfast consumption led to enduring (i.e., 3-h post breakfast) reductions in neural activation in the hippocampus, amygdala, cingulate, and parahippocampus vs. BS. HP led to enduring reductions in insula and middle prefrontal cortex activation vs. NP. Hippocampal, amygdala, cingulate, and insular activations were correlated with appetite and inversely correlated with satiety. In summary, the addition of breakfast led to alterations in brain activation in regions previously associated with food motivation and reward with additional alterations following the higher-protein breakfast. These data suggest that increased dietary protein at breakfast might be a beneficial strategy to reduce reward-driven eating behavior in overweight teen girls. Due to the small sample size, caution is warranted when interpreting these preliminary findings.

  14. Measuring denitrification after grassland renewal and grassland conversion to cropland by using the 15N gas-flux method

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buchen, Caroline; Eschenbach, Wolfram; Flessa, Heinz; Giesemann, Anette; Lewicka-Szczebak, Dominika; Well, Reinhard

    2015-04-01

    Denitrification, the reduction of oxidized forms of inorganic N to N2O and N2 is an important pathway of gaseous nitrogen losses. Measuring denitrification, especially the reduction of N2O to N2, expressed in the product ratio (N2O/(N2O + N2)), is rather difficult and hence rarely performed under field conditions. But using the 15N gas-flux method allows determining N transformation processes in their natural environment. In order to develop effective climate mitigation strategies understanding the N2O source is essential. We used the 15N gas-flux method to determine N2O and N2 emissions following grassland renewal and conversion techniques. Therefore we selected three different treatments: control (C), mechanical grassland renovation (GR) (autumn 2013) and grassland conversion to maize (GM) (spring 2014) from field plot trials on two different sites (Histic Gleysoil and Plaggic Anthrosol) near Oldenburg, Lower Saxony, Germany. We applied 15N labeled KNO3- (60 atom. % 15N) at a rate equivalent to common farming practices (150 kg N*ha-1) using needle injection of fertilizer solution in three different depths (10 cm, 15 cm, 20 cm) for homogeneous soil labeling up to 30 cm in microplots. During the first 10 days after application (May 2014) gas flux measurements from closed chambers were performed every second day and then weekly following a period of 8 weeks. Gas samples were analyzed for δ15N of N2 and N2O by IRMS according to Lewicka-Szczebak et al. (2013). Concentration and 15N enrichment of NO3- in soil water was determined on weekly samples using the SPIN-MAS technique (Stange et al. 2007). Fluxes of N2 and N2O evolved from the 15N labeled soil nitrogen pool were calculated using the equations of Spott et al. (2006). Peak events of N2 and N2O emissions occurred during the first 10 days of measurement, showing differences in soil types, as well as treatment variations. N2 fluxes up to 178 g*ha-1*day-1 and N2O fluxes up to 280 g*ha-1*day-1 were measured on the

  15. Land use change and ecosystem service provision in Pampas and Campos grasslands of southern South America

    Science.gov (United States)

    Modernel, P.; Rossing, W. A. H.; Corbeels, M.; Dogliotti, S.; Picasso, V.; Tittonell, P.

    2016-11-01

    . We discuss how changing grazing regimes to higher forage allowance can contribute to greater meat production and enhancing ecosystem services from native grasslands. This would require working with farmers on changing their management strategies and creating enabling economic conditions.

  16. Carbohydrates and thermal analysis reflects changes in soil organic matter stability after forest expansion on abandoned grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guidi, Claudia; Vesterdal, Lars; Cannella, David; Leifeld, Jens; Gianelle, Damiano; Rodeghiero, Mirco

    2014-05-01

    , estimated as the peak height of the 1st exotherm, was higher in the abandoned grassland compared with managed grassland and old forest in 0-5 cm depth. Moreover, thermally labile compounds were higher in early-stage than in old forest in 0-5 cm depth. A highly significant correlation was found between thermally labile compounds and carbohydrate content in soil (P = 0.008, r = 0.725). The obtained results suggest that both thermally-labile compounds and carbohydrates are more abundant soon after grassland abandonment, which can lead to lower OM stability. The combination of chemical and thermal analysis of OM can thus provide useful insights on organic matter composition and stability.

  17. Application of Multi-Source Remote Sensing Image in Yunnan Province Grassland Resources Investigation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, J.; Wen, G.; Li, D.

    2018-04-01

    Trough mastering background information of Yunnan province grassland resources utilization and ecological conditions to improves grassland elaborating management capacity, it carried out grassland resource investigation work by Yunnan province agriculture department in 2017. The traditional grassland resource investigation method is ground based investigation, which is time-consuming and inefficient, especially not suitable for large scale and hard-to-reach areas. While remote sensing is low cost, wide range and efficient, which can reflect grassland resources present situation objectively. It has become indispensable grassland monitoring technology and data sources and it has got more and more recognition and application in grassland resources monitoring research. This paper researches application of multi-source remote sensing image in Yunnan province grassland resources investigation. First of all, it extracts grassland resources thematic information and conducts field investigation through BJ-2 high space resolution image segmentation. Secondly, it classifies grassland types and evaluates grassland degradation degree through high resolution characteristics of Landsat 8 image. Thirdly, it obtained grass yield model and quality classification through high resolution and wide scanning width characteristics of MODIS images and sample investigate data. Finally, it performs grassland field qualitative analysis through UAV remote sensing image. According to project area implementation, it proves that multi-source remote sensing data can be applied to the grassland resources investigation in Yunnan province and it is indispensable method.

  18. [Effect of prescribed burning on grassland nitrogen gross mineralization and nitrification].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Yuzhong; Zhu, Tingcheng; Li, Jiandong; Zhou, Daowei

    2003-02-01

    The seasonal dynamics of nitrogen gross mineralization, nitrification, and mineral nitrogen consumption rates in burned and unburned Leymus chinensis grasslands were studied with 15N pool dilution technique. The results indicated that the gross mineralization and nitrification rates in burned area were higher than those in unburned area in April and May, and lower than those in unburned area in September. NH4(+)-N consumption rates were higher than unburned area in April and May, and lower in September. NO3(-)-N consumption rates were higher than control in April and May, and lower than control in July and September. The NH4(+)-N concentrations were higher in burned area in April, May and July, and no difference in September. NO3(-)-N concentrations were no difference between burned and unburned areas in April and May, and higher in burned areas in July and September.

  19. Functional Trait Changes, Productivity Shifts and Vegetation Stability in Mountain Grasslands during a Short-Term Warming.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Debouk, Haifa; de Bello, Francesco; Sebastià, Maria-Teresa

    2015-01-01

    Plant functional traits underlie vegetation responses to environmental changes such as global warming, and consequently influence ecosystem processes. While most of the existing studies focus on the effect of warming only on species diversity and productivity, we further investigated (i) how the structure of community plant functional traits in temperate grasslands respond to experimental warming, and (ii) whether species and functional diversity contribute to a greater stability of grasslands, in terms of vegetation composition and productivity. Intact vegetation turves were extracted from temperate subalpine grassland (highland) in the Eastern Pyrenees and transplanted into a warm continental, experimental site in Lleida, in Western Catalonia (lowland). The impacts of simulated warming on plant production and diversity, functional trait structure, and vegetation compositional stability were assessed. We observed an increase in biomass and a reduction in species and functional diversity under short-term warming. The functional structure of the grassland communities changed significantly, in terms of functional diversity and community-weighted means (CWM) for several traits. Acquisitive and fast-growing species with higher SLA, early flowering, erect growth habit, and rhizomatous strategy became dominant in the lowland. Productivity was significantly positively related to species, and to a lower extent, functional diversity, but productivity and stability after warming were more dependent on trait composition (CWM) than on diversity. The turves with more acquisitive species before warming changed less in composition after warming. Results suggest that (i) the short-term warming can lead to the dominance of acquisitive fast growing species over conservative species, thus reducing species richness, and (ii) the functional traits structure in grassland communities had a greater influence on the productivity and stability of the community under short-term warming

  20. Functional Trait Changes, Productivity Shifts and Vegetation Stability in Mountain Grasslands during a Short-Term Warming.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Haifa Debouk

    Full Text Available Plant functional traits underlie vegetation responses to environmental changes such as global warming, and consequently influence ecosystem processes. While most of the existing studies focus on the effect of warming only on species diversity and productivity, we further investigated (i how the structure of community plant functional traits in temperate grasslands respond to experimental warming, and (ii whether species and functional diversity contribute to a greater stability of grasslands, in terms of vegetation composition and productivity. Intact vegetation turves were extracted from temperate subalpine grassland (highland in the Eastern Pyrenees and transplanted into a warm continental, experimental site in Lleida, in Western Catalonia (lowland. The impacts of simulated warming on plant production and diversity, functional trait structure, and vegetation compositional stability were assessed. We observed an increase in biomass and a reduction in species and functional diversity under short-term warming. The functional structure of the grassland communities changed significantly, in terms of functional diversity and community-weighted means (CWM for several traits. Acquisitive and fast-growing species with higher SLA, early flowering, erect growth habit, and rhizomatous strategy became dominant in the lowland. Productivity was significantly positively related to species, and to a lower extent, functional diversity, but productivity and stability after warming were more dependent on trait composition (CWM than on diversity. The turves with more acquisitive species before warming changed less in composition after warming. Results suggest that (i the short-term warming can lead to the dominance of acquisitive fast growing species over conservative species, thus reducing species richness, and (ii the functional traits structure in grassland communities had a greater influence on the productivity and stability of the community under short

  1. Incorporating grassland management in a global vegetation model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chang, Jinfeng; Viovy, Nicolas; Vuichard, Nicolas; Ciais, Philippe; Wang, Tao; Cozic, Anne; Lardy, Romain; Graux, Anne-Isabelle; Klumpp, Katja; Martin, Raphael; Soussana, Jean-François

    2013-04-01

    Grassland is a widespread vegetation type, covering nearly one-fifth of the world's land surface (24 million km2), and playing a significant role in the global carbon (C) cycle. Most of grasslands in Europe are cultivated to feed animals, either directly by grazing or indirectly by grass harvest (cutting). A better understanding of the C fluxes from grassland ecosystems in response to climate and management requires not only field experiments but also the aid of simulation models. ORCHIDEE process-based ecosystem model designed for large-scale applications treats grasslands as being unmanaged, where C / water fluxes are only subject to atmospheric CO2 and climate changes. Our study describes how management of grasslands is included in the ORCHIDEE, and how management affects modeled grassland-atmosphere CO2 fluxes. The new model, ORCHIDEE-GM (Grassland Management) is capable with a management module inspired from a grassland model (PaSim, version 5.0), of accounting for two grassland management practices (cutting and grazing). The evaluation of the results of ORCHIDEE-GM compared with those of ORCHIDEE at 11 European sites equipped with eddy covariance and biometric measurements, show that ORCHIDEE-GM can capture realistically the cut-induced seasonal variation in biometric variables (LAI: Leaf Area Index; AGB: Aboveground Biomass) and in CO2 fluxes (GPP: Gross Primary Productivity; TER: Total Ecosystem Respiration; and NEE: Net Ecosystem Exchange). But improvements at grazing sites are only marginal in ORCHIDEE-GM, which relates to the difficulty in accounting for continuous grazing disturbance and its induced complex animal-vegetation interactions. Both NEE and GPP on monthly to annual timescales can be better simulated in ORCHIDEE-GM than in ORCHIDEE without management. At some sites, the model-observation misfit in ORCHIDEE-GM is found to be more related to ill-constrained parameter values than to model structure. Additionally, ORCHIDEE-GM is able to simulate

  2. Ecology and Conservation of Steppes and Semi-Natural Grasslands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Valkó Orsolya

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available Palaearctic grasslands encompass a diverse variety of habitats, many of high nature value and vulnerability. The main challenges are climate-change, land-use change, agricultural intensification and abandonment. Many measures are in place to address these challenges, through restoration and appropriate management, though more work is necessary. We present eight studies from China/Germany, Greece, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine. The papers cover a wide range of grassland and steppe habitats and cover vegetation ecology, syntaxonomy and zoology. We also conducted a systematic search on steppe and grassland diversity. The greatest number of studies was from China, followed by Germany and England. We conclude that the amount of research being carried out on Eurasian grasslands is inadequate considering their high levels of biodiversity and vulnerability. We hope to encourage readers to address current major challenges, such as how to manage grasslands for the benefit of diverse taxa, to ensure that conservation initiatives concentrate on sites where there is good potential for success and for the generation of realistic and viable conservation strategies.

  3. Grassland ecology and population growth: striking a balance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hou, D; Duan, C; Zhang, D

    2000-06-01

    Degradation of forest and grasslands in western China attributes to the soil erosion and desertification in the country. Researchers have established that the primary reason for the degradation of grasslands is overgrazing, which in turn is caused by a number of factors, including over-population and over-reliance on animal husbandry. In addition, the existing administrative system has also proved ineffective in ensuring sustainable development. On contrary, many local governments even encourage exploitative development of grassland; thus, localities opened up grassland for growing crops in an effort to increase income. According to estimates, degraded grassland accounts for more than one-third of utilizable acreage and another one-third suffers from a profusion of rats and pests. To redress the situation, central government should implement strategies in achieving sustainable development, such as providing banking and tax incentives for the development of the secondary and tertiary industries, and supporting education and training of youths from herding areas. Moreover, government should increase spending on infrastructural construction and ecological preservation. Finally, the family planning program needs to be enforced to control population growth and improve the quality of peoples¿ lives.

  4. Prescribed burning to affect a state transition in a shrub-encroached desert grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prescribed burning is a commonly advocated and historical practice for control of woody species encroachment into grasslands on all continents. However, desert grasslands of the southwestern United States often lack needed herbaceous fuel loads for effective prescriptions, dominant perennial gramin...

  5. Carbon fluxes from an urban tropical grassland

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ng, B.J.L.; Hutyra, L.R.; Nguyen, H.; Cobb, A.R.; Kai, F.M.; Harvey, C.; Gandois, L.

    2015-01-01

    Turfgrass covers a large fraction of the urbanized landscape, but the carbon exchange of urban lawns is poorly understood. We used eddy covariance and flux chambers in a grassland field manipulative experiment to quantify the carbon mass balance in a Singapore tropical turfgrass. We also assessed how management and variations in environmental factors influenced CO 2 respiration. Standing aboveground turfgrass biomass was 80 gC m −2 , with a mean ecosystem respiration of 7.9 ± 1.1 μmol m −2  s −1 . The contribution of autotrophic respiration was 49–76% of total ecosystem respiration. Both chamber and eddy covariance measurements suggest the system was in approximate carbon balance. While we did not observe a significant relationship between the respiration rates and soil temperature or moisture, daytime fluxes increased during the rainy interval, indicating strong overall moisture sensitivity. Turfgrass biomass is small, but given its abundance across the urban landscape, it significantly influences diurnal CO 2 concentrations. - Highlights: • We measured urban turfgrass CO 2 respiration rates and soil characteristics. • Mean observed ecosystem respiration was 7.9 ± 1.1 μmol m −2  s −1 . • Soil temperature and moisture were largely insignificant drivers of observed flux. - We found a Singapore urban turfgrass to be approximately carbon neutral, with a mean ecosystem respiration of 7.9 ± 1.1 μmol m −2  s −1

  6. Linking snake habitat use to nest predation risk in grassland birds: the dangers of shrub cover.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klug, Page E; Jackrel, Sara L; With, Kimberly A

    2010-03-01

    Extremes in rangeland management, varying from too-frequent fire and intensive grazing to the suppression of both, threaten rangeland ecosystems worldwide. Intensive fire and grazing denude and homogenize vegetation whereas their suppression increases woody cover. Although habitat loss is implicated in grassland bird declines, degradation through intensive management or neglect also decreases breeding habitat and may reduce nesting success through increased rates of nest predation. Snakes are important nest predators, but little is known about how habitat use in snakes relates to predation risk for grassland birds nesting within tallgrass prairie subjected to different grazing and fire frequencies. We evaluated nest survival in the context of habitat used by nesting songbirds and two bird-eating snakes, the eastern yellowbelly racer Coluber constrictor flaviventris and Great Plains ratsnake Pantherophis emoryi. Daily nest survival rates decreased with increasing shrub cover and decreasing vegetation height, which characterize grasslands that have been neglected or intensively managed, respectively. Discriminant function analysis revealed that snake habitats were characterized by higher shrub cover, whereas successful nests were more likely to occur in areas with tall grass and forbs but reduced shrub cover. Because snakes often use shrub habitat, birds nesting in areas with increased shrub cover may be at higher risk of nest predation by snakes in addition to other predators known to use shrub habitat (e.g., mid-sized carnivores and avian predators). Depredated nests also occurred outside the discriminant space of the snakes, indicating that other predators (e.g., ground squirrels Spermophilus spp. and bullsnakes Pituophis catenifer) may be important in areas with denuded cover. Targeted removal of shrubs may increase nest success by minimizing the activity of nest predators attracted to shrub cover.

  7. Biomass production in experimental grasslands of different species richness during three years of climate warming

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Boeck, H. J.; Lemmens, C. M. H. M.; Zavalloni, C.; Gielen, B.; Malchair, S.; Carnol, M.; Merckx, R.; van den Berge, J.; Ceulemans, R.; Nijs, I.

    2008-04-01

    Here we report on the single and combined impacts of climate warming and species richness on the biomass production in experimental grassland communities. Projections of a future warmer climate have stimulated studies on the response of terrestrial ecosystems to this global change. Experiments have likewise addressed the importance of species numbers for ecosystem functioning. There is, however, little knowledge on the interplay between warming and species richness. During three years, we grew experimental plant communities containing one, three or nine grassland species in 12 sunlit, climate-controlled chambers in Wilrijk, Belgium. Half of these chambers were exposed to ambient air temperatures (unheated), while the other half were warmed by 3°C (heated). Equal amounts of water were added to heated and unheated communities, so that warming would imply drier soils if evapotranspiration was higher. Biomass production was decreased due to warming, both aboveground (-29%) and belowground (-25%), as negative impacts of increased heat and drought stress in summer prevailed. Complementarity effects, likely mostly through both increased aboveground spatial complementarity and facilitative effects of legumes, led to higher shoot and root biomass in multi-species communities, regardless of the induced warming. Surprisingly, warming suppressed productivity the most in 9-species communities, which may be attributed to negative impacts of intense interspecific competition for resources under conditions of high abiotic stress. Our results suggest that warming and the associated soil drying could reduce primary production in many temperate grasslands, and that this will not necessarily be mitigated by efforts to maintain or increase species richness.

  8. Assessing the Effects of Grassland Management on Forage Production and Environmental Quality to Identify Paths to Ecological Intensification in Mountain Grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loucougaray, Grégory; Dobremez, Laurent; Gos, Pierre; Pauthenet, Yves; Nettier, Baptiste; Lavorel, Sandra

    2015-11-01

    Ecological intensification in grasslands can be regarded as a process for increasing forage production while maintaining high levels of ecosystem functions and biodiversity. In the mountain Vercors massif, where dairy cattle farming is the main component of agriculture, how to achieve forage autonomy at farm level while sustaining environmental quality for tourism and local dairy products has recently stimulated local debate. As specific management is one of the main drivers of ecosystem functioning, we assessed the response of forage production and environmental quality at grassland scale across a wide range of management practices. We aimed to determine which components of management can be harnessed to better match forage production and environmental quality. We sampled the vegetation of 51 grasslands stratified across 13 grassland types. We assessed each grassland for agronomic and environmental properties, measuring forage production, forage quality, and indices based on the abundance of particular plant species such as timing flexibility, apiarian potential, and aromatic plants. Our results revealed an expected trade-off between forage production and environmental quality, notably by stressing the contrasts between sown and permanent grasslands. However, strong within-type variability in both production and environmental quality as well as in flexibility of timing of use suggests possible ways to improve this trade-off at grassland and farm scales. As achieving forage autonomy relies on increasing both forage production and grassland resilience, our results highlight the critical role of the ratio between sown and permanent grasslands as a major path for ecological intensification in mountain grasslands.

  9. Modeling effects of conservation grassland losses on amphibian habitat

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mushet, David M.; Neau, Jordan L.; Euliss, Ned H.

    2014-01-01

    Amphibians provide many ecosystem services valued by society. However, populations have declined globally with most declines linked to habitat change. Wetlands and surrounding terrestrial grasslands form habitat for amphibians in the North American Prairie Pothole Region (PPR). Wetland drainage and grassland conversion have destroyed or degraded much amphibian habitat in the PPR. However, conservation grasslands can provide alternate habitat. In the United States, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is the largest program maintaining grasslands on agricultural lands. We used an ecosystem services model (InVEST) parameterized for the PPR to quantify amphibian habitat over a six-year period (2007–2012). We then quantified changes in availability of amphibian habitat under various land-cover scenarios representing incremental losses (10%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%) of CRP grasslands from 2012 levels. The area of optimal amphibian habitat in the four PPR ecoregions modeled (i.e., Northern Glaciated Plains, Northwestern Glaciated Plains, Lake Agassiz Plain, Des Moines Lobe) declined by approximately 22%, from 3.8 million ha in 2007 to 2.9 million ha in 2012. These losses were driven by the conversion of CRP grasslands to croplands, primarily for corn and soybean production. Our modeling identified an additional 0.8 million ha (26%) of optimal amphibian habitat that would be lost if remaining CRP lands are returned to crop production. An economic climate favoring commodity production over conservation has resulted in substantial losses of amphibian habitat across the PPR that will likely continue into the future. Other regions of the world face similar challenges to maintaining amphibian habitats.

  10. Tools for Management for Grassland Ecosystem Sustainability: Thinking "Outside the Box"

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gerald J. Gottfried

    2004-01-01

    Grassland ecosystem management is dynamic and has adapted to the development of new tools and ideas. Our ancestors were indirectly managing grasslands when they learned to move livestock to take advantage of better water and greener forage. One could argue that even their hunting of grassland wildlife, especially the use of fire to drive animals to waiting hunters, had...

  11. Resilience and stability of the grasslands of the Transkei | B | African ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    In spite of very high stocking rates the grasslands of Transkei still have in many areas a high cover and many climax species. The concepts of resilience and stability are used in an attempt to explain dynamics of the grasslands. Keywords: resiliences|stabilities|grasslands|Transkei|stocking rates|basal covers|grass ...

  12. Evapotranspiration and soil moisture dynamics in a temperate grassland ecosystem in Inner Mongolia China

    Science.gov (United States)

    L. Hao; Ge Sun; Yongqiang Liu; G. S. Zhou; J. H.   Wan;  L. B. Zhang; J. L. Niu; Y. H. Sang;  J. J He

    2015-01-01

    Precipitation, evapotranspiration (ET), and soil moisture are the key controls for the productivity and functioning of temperate grassland ecosystems in Inner Mongolia, northern China. Quantifying the soil moisture dynamics and water balances in the grasslands is essential to sustainable grassland management under global climate change. We...

  13. Voluntary intake and in vivo digestibility of forages from semi-natural grasslands in dairy cows

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bruinenberg, M.H.; Valk, H.; Struik, P.C.

    2003-01-01

    To study in vivo digestibility of forages from semi-natural grasslands two experiments were carried out. In the first experiment lactating dairy cows were offered three different silage-based diets. Silage originated from intensively managed grassland (IM), extensively managed species-poor grassland

  14. Forest and grassland carbon in North America: A short course for land managers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chris Swanston; Michael J. Furniss; Kristen Schmitt; Jeffrey Guntle; Maria Janowiak; Sarah Hines

    2012-01-01

    This multimedia short-course presents a range of information on the science, management and policy of forest and grassland carbon. Forests and grasslands worldwide play a critical role in storing carbon and sequestering greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. The U.S. Forest Service, which manages 193 million acres of forests and grasslands, emphasizes the need for...

  15. Resuspension and redistribution of radionuclides during grassland and forest fires in the Chernobyl exclusion zone: part II. Modeling the transport process

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Yoschenko, V.I.; Kashparov, V.A.; Levchuk, S.E.; Glukhovskiy, A.S.; Khomutinin, Yu.V.; Protsak, V.P.; Lundin, S.M.; Tschiersch, J.

    2006-01-01

    To predict parameters of radionuclide resuspension, transport and deposition during forest and grassland fires, several model modules were developed and adapted. Experimental data of controlled burning of prepared experimental plots in the Chernobyl exclusion zone have been used to evaluate the prognostic power of the models. The predicted trajectories and elevations of the plume match with those visually observed during the fire experiments in the grassland and forest sites. Experimentally determined parameters could be successfully used for the calculation of the initial plume parameters which provide the tools for the description of various fire scenarios and enable prognostic calculations. In summary, the model predicts a release of some per mille from the radionuclide inventory of the fuel material by the grassland fires. During the forest fire, up to 4% of 137 Cs and 9 Sr and up to 1% of the Pu isotopes can be released from the forest litter according to the model calculations. However, these results depend on the parameters of the fire events. In general, the modeling results are in good accordance with the experimental data. Therefore, the considered models were successfully validated and can be recommended for the assessment of the resuspension and redistribution of radionuclides during grassland and forest fires in contaminated territories

  16. Evaluating productivity-biodiversity relationship and spectral diversity in prairie grasslands under different fire management treatments using in-situ and remote sensing hyperspectral data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gholizadeh, H.; Gamon, J. A.; Zygielbaum, A. I.; Schweiger, A. K.; Cavender-Bares, J.; Yang, Y.; Knops, J. M. H.

    2017-12-01

    Grasslands cover as much as 25% of the Earth's surface and account for approximately 20% of overall terrestrial productivity and contribute to global biodiversity. To optimize the status of grasslands and to counteract their degradation, different management practices have been adopted. Fire has been shown to be an important management practice in the maintenance of grasslands. Our main goals were 1) to evaluate the productivity-biodiversity relationship in grasslands under fire treatment, and 2) to evaluate the capability of hyperspectral remote sensing in estimating biodiversity using spectral data (i.e. spectral diversity). We used above-ground biomass (as a surrogate for productivity), species richness (SR; as a surrogate for biodiversity), and airborne hyperspectral data from a natural grassland with fire treatment (20 plots), and a natural grassland without fire treatment (21 plots), all located at the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve in Central Minnesota, USA. The productivity-biodiversity relationship for the fire treatment plots showed a hump-shaped model with adjusted R2=0.37, whereas the relationship for the non-burned plots were non-significant. The relationship between SR and spectral diversity (SD) were positive linear for both treatments; however, the relationship for plots with fire treatment was higher (adjusted R2 = 0.34 vs. 0.19). It is assumed that post-fire foliar nutrients increase soil nitrogen and phosphorus which facilitate post-fire growth and induce higher above-ground biomass and chlorophyll content in plants. Overall, the results of this study showed that management practices affect the productivity-biodiversity relationship and illustrated the effect of fire treatment on remote sensing of biodiversity.

  17. Effects of haying on breeding birds in CRP grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Igl, Lawrence D.; Johnson, Douglas H.

    2016-01-01

    The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is a voluntary program that is available to agricultural producers to help protect environmentally sensitive or highly erodible land. Management disturbances of CRP grasslands generally are not allowed unless authorized to provide relief to livestock producers during severe drought or a similar natural disaster (i.e., emergency haying and grazing) or to improve the quality and performance of the CRP cover (i.e., managed haying and grazing). Although CRP grasslands may not be hayed or grazed during the primary bird-nesting season, these disturbances may have short-term (1 yr after disturbance) and long-term (≥2 yr after disturbance) effects on grassland bird populations. We assessed the effects of haying on 20 grassland bird species in 483 CRP grasslands in 9 counties of 4 states in the northern Great Plains, USA between 1993 and 2008. We compared breeding bird densities (as determined by total-area counts) in idle and hayed fields to evaluate changes 1, 2, 3, and 4 years after haying. Haying of CRP grasslands had either positive or negative effects on grassland birds, depending on the species, the county, and the number of years after the initial disturbance. Some species (e.g., horned lark [Eremophila alpestris], bobolink [Dolichonyx oryzivorus]) responded positively after haying, and others (e.g., song sparrow [Melospiza melodia]) responded negatively. The responses of some species changed direction as the fields recovered from haying. For example, densities for common yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas), sedge wren (Cistothorus platensis), and clay-colored sparrow (Spizella pallida) declined the first year after haying but increased in the subsequent 3 years. Ten species showed treatment × county interactions, indicating that the effects of haying varied geographically. This long-term evaluation on the effects of haying on breeding birds provides important information on the strength and direction of changes in

  18. Sudden changes in environmental conditions do not increase invasion risk in grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruprecht, Eszter; Fenesi, Annamária; Nijs, Ivan

    2013-02-01

    After direct habitat transformation, biological invasions are considered to be the second most important threat to biodiversity. A better understanding of the factors affecting invasion success in new areas is crucial, and may provide insight into potential control actions. We hypothesized that invasion risk increases in habitats undergoing a sudden change in the disturbance regime or environmental conditions. For testing this assumption we initiated a seed sowing experiment while introducing two novel treatments, mowing twice and fertilizer application, in two grassland sites (one dryer and one mesic) in Romania. The seeds of two invasive species, Solidago canadensis and Rudbeckia laciniata, and two resident natives of similar seed sizes, life-forms and strategies were sowed in treated and control plots, and seed germination, seedling establishment and growth were followed during four months. Contrary to our expectations, there was no difference in the treatment effects on seed germination and seedling establishment between species, while there was on seedling vigour of the larger seeded species in the dryer grassland site, where the native had a higher performance especially in increased nutrient conditions. Indifferently from applied treatments, invasive species had greater cumulative germination in the mesic site, while natives were far more successful in seedling establishment in the drier site. At the same time, seed size was found to be a very important factor explaining germination and establishment success, with large seeded species outperforming small seeded species in any circumstances. Our results call the attention upon management interventions in mesic, productive grassland sites opening colonization windows for the recruitment of those invasive species of which ecological requirements correspond to local environmental conditions.

  19. MONITORING PHENOLOGY OF FLOODPLAIN GRASSLAND AND HERBACEOUS VEGETATION WITH UAV IMAGERY

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    W. K. van Iersel

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available River restoration projects, which aim at improved flood safety and increased ecological value, have resulted in more heterogeneous vegetation. However, they also resulted in increasing hydraulic roughness, which leads to higher flood water levels during peak discharges. Due to allowance of vegetation development and succession, both ecological and hydraulic characteristics of the floodplain change more rapidly over time. Monitoring of floodplain vegetation has become essential to document and evaluate the changing floodplain characteristics and associated functioning. Extraction of characteristics of low vegetation using single-epoch remote sensing data, however, remains challenging. The aim of this study was to (1 evaluate the performance of multi-temporal, high-spatial-resolution UAV imagery for extracting temporal vegetation height profiles of grassland and herbaceous vegetation in floodplains and (2 to assess the relation between height development and NDVI changes. Vegetation height was measured six times during one year in 28 field plots within a single floodplain. UAV true-colour and false-colour imagery of the floodplain were recorded coincidently with each field survey. We found that: (1 the vertical accuracy of UAV normalized digital surface models (nDSMs is sufficiently high to obtain temporal height profiles of low vegetation over a growing season, (2 vegetation height can be estimated from the time series of nDSMs, with the highest accuracy found for combined imagery from February and November (RMSE = 29-42 cm, (3 temporal relations between NDVI and observed vegetation height show different hysteresis behaviour for grassland and herbaceous vegetation. These results show the high potential of using UAV imagery for increasing grassland and herbaceous vegetation classification accuracy.

  20. Grassland Npp Monitoring Based on Multi-Source Remote Sensing Data Fusion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cai, Y. R.; Zheng, J. H.; Du, M. J.; Mu, C.; Peng, J.

    2018-04-01

    Vegetation is an important part of the terrestrial ecosystem. It plays an important role in the energy and material exchange of the ground-atmosphere system and is a key part of the global carbon cycle process.Climate change has an important influence on the carbon cycle of terrestrial ecosystems. Net Primary Productivity (Net Primary Productivity)is an important parameter for evaluating global terrestrial ecosystems. For the Xinjiang region, the study of grassland NPP has gradually become a hot issue in the ecological environment.Increasing the estimation accuracy of NPP is of great significance to the development of the ecosystem in Xinjiang. Based on the third-generation GIMMS AVHRR NDVI global vegetation dataset and the MODIS NDVI (MOD13A3) collected each month by the United States Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA),combining the advantages of different remotely sensed datasets, this paper obtained the maximum synthesis fusion for New normalized vegetation index (NDVI) time series in 2006-2015.Analysis of Net Primary Productivity of Grassland Vegetation in Xinjiang Using Improved CASA Model The method described in this article proves the feasibility of applying data processing, and the accuracy of the NPP calculation using the fusion processed NDVI has been greatly improved. The results show that: (1) The NPP calculated from the new normalized vegetation index (NDVI) obtained from the fusion of GIMMS AVHRR NDVI and MODIS NDVI is significantly higher than the NPP calculated from these two raw data; (2) The grassland NPP in Xinjiang Interannual changes show an overall increase trend; interannual changes in NPP have a certain relationship with precipitation.

  1. Combining multiple ecosystem productivity measurements to constrain carbon uptake estimates in semiarid grasslands and shrublands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maurer, G. E.; Krofcheck, D. J.; Collins, S. L.; Litvak, M. E.

    2016-12-01

    Recent observational and modeling studies have indicated that semiarid ecosystems are more dynamic contributors to the global carbon budget than once thought. Semiarid carbon fluxes, however, are generally small, with high interannual and spatial variability, which suggests that validating their global significance may depend on examining multiple productivity measures and their associated uncertainties and inconsistencies. We examined ecosystem productivity from eddy covariance (NEE), harvest (NPP), and terrestrial biome models (NEPm) at two very similar grassland sites and one creosote shrubland site in the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge of central New Mexico, USA. Our goal was to assess site and methodological correspondence in annual carbon uptake, patterns of interannual variability, and measurement uncertainty. One grassland site was a perennial carbon source losing 30 g C m-2 per year on average, while the other two sites were carbon sources or sinks depending on the year, with average net uptake of 5 and 25 g C m-2 per year at the grassland and shrubland site, respectively. Uncertainty values for cumulative annual NEE overlapped between the three sites in most years. When combined, aboveground and belowground annual NPP measurements were 15% higher than annual NEE values and did not confirm a loss of carbon at any site in any year. Despite differences in mean site carbon balance, year-to-year changes in cumulative annual NEE and NPP were similar at all sites with years 2010 and 2013 being favorable for carbon uptake and 2011 and 2012 being unfavorable at all sites. Modeled NEPm data for a number of nearby grid cells reproduced only a fraction of the observed range in carbon uptake and its interannual variability. These three sites are highly similar in location and climate and multiple carbon flux measurements confirm the high interannual variability in carbon flux. The exact magnitude of these fluxes, however, remains difficult to discern.

  2. Elevated atmospheric CO2 in a semi-natural grassland: Root dynamics, decomposition and soil C balances

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sindhoej, Erik

    2001-01-01

    This thesis focuses on how elevated atmospheric CO 2 affects a semi-natural grassland, with emphasis on root growth, decomposition and the subsequent long-term effects on soil C balances. Parts of a semi-natural grassland in Central Sweden were enclosed in open-top chambers and exposed to ambient and elevated levels of CO 2 (+350 μmol mol -1 ) from 1995 to 2000, while chamberless rings were used for controls. Root dynamics were observed with minirhizotrons while root biomass and production were studied with soil cores and ingrowth cores. Roots collected from ingrowth cores were incubated under controlled conditions for 160 days to measure root decomposition rates. Treatment-induced differences in microclimate, C input and root decomposability were entered into the ICBM soil C balance model for 30-year projections of soil C balances for the three treatments. Elevated CO 2 chambers had higher biomass production both above and below ground compared to ambient, however the root response increased over the years while the shoot response decreased. Plants grown under elevated CO 2 had greater water-use efficiency compared to ambient, which was shown in higher soil moisture and greater biomass production during slightly dry years. Elevated CO 2 chambers showed higher root appearance rates in spring and higher disappearance rates during autumn and winter. Roots from plants grown under elevated CO 2 decomposed more rapidly. The decreased input and the drier conditions in the ambient chambers were projected to lead to a 1.7% decrease in soil C over 30 years. Under elevated CO 2 , however, the increased input compensated for the higher root decomposability and moister soil conditions and lead only to a projected 1.3% decrease in soil C. This work shows that six years of elevated CO 2 exposure had extensive effects on this semi-natural grassland. The CO 2 response of the grassland was dependent on weather conditions and production increased most when under slight water stress

  3. Modeled Changes in Potential Grassland Productivity and in Grass-Fed Ruminant Livestock Density in Europe over 1961–2010

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chang, Jinfeng; Viovy, Nicolas; Vuichard, Nicolas; Ciais, Philippe; Campioli, Matteo; Klumpp, Katja; Martin, Raphaël; Leip, Adrian; Soussana, Jean-François

    2015-01-01

    About 25% of European livestock intake is based on permanent and sown grasslands. To fulfill rising demand for animal products, an intensification of livestock production may lead to an increased consumption of crop and compound feeds. In order to preserve an economically and environmentally sustainable agriculture, a more forage based livestock alimentation may be an advantage. However, besides management, grassland productivity is highly vulnerable to climate (i.e., temperature, precipitation, CO2 concentration), and spatial information about European grassland productivity in response to climate change is scarce. The process-based vegetation model ORCHIDEE-GM, containing an explicit representation of grassland management (i.e., herbage mowing and grazing), is used here to estimate changes in potential productivity and potential grass-fed ruminant livestock density across European grasslands over the period 1961–2010. Here “potential grass-fed ruminant livestock density” denotes the maximum density of livestock that can be supported by grassland productivity in each 25 km × 25 km grid cell. In reality, livestock density could be higher than potential (e.g., if additional feed is supplied to animals) or lower (e.g., in response to economic factors, pedo-climatic and biotic conditions ignored by the model, or policy decisions that can for instance reduce livestock numbers). When compared to agricultural statistics (Eurostat and FAOstat), ORCHIDEE-GM gave a good reproduction of the regional gradients of annual grassland productivity and ruminant livestock density. The model however tends to systematically overestimate the absolute values of productivity in most regions, suggesting that most grid cells remain below their potential grassland productivity due to possible nutrient and biotic limitations on plant growth. When ORCHIDEE-GM was run for the period 1961–2010 with variable climate and rising CO2, an increase of potential annual production (over 3

  4. Modeled Changes in Potential Grassland Productivity and in Grass-Fed Ruminant Livestock Density in Europe over 1961-2010.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jinfeng Chang

    Full Text Available About 25% of European livestock intake is based on permanent and sown grasslands. To fulfill rising demand for animal products, an intensification of livestock production may lead to an increased consumption of crop and compound feeds. In order to preserve an economically and environmentally sustainable agriculture, a more forage based livestock alimentation may be an advantage. However, besides management, grassland productivity is highly vulnerable to climate (i.e., temperature, precipitation, CO2 concentration, and spatial information about European grassland productivity in response to climate change is scarce. The process-based vegetation model ORCHIDEE-GM, containing an explicit representation of grassland management (i.e., herbage mowing and grazing, is used here to estimate changes in potential productivity and potential grass-fed ruminant livestock density across European grasslands over the period 1961-2010. Here "potential grass-fed ruminant livestock density" denotes the maximum density of livestock that can be supported by grassland productivity in each 25 km × 25 km grid cell. In reality, livestock density could be higher than potential (e.g., if additional feed is supplied to animals or lower (e.g., in response to economic factors, pedo-climatic and biotic conditions ignored by the model, or policy decisions that can for instance reduce livestock numbers. When compared to agricultural statistics (Eurostat and FAOstat, ORCHIDEE-GM gave a good reproduction of the regional gradients of annual grassland productivity and ruminant livestock density. The model however tends to systematically overestimate the absolute values of productivity in most regions, suggesting that most grid cells remain below their potential grassland productivity due to possible nutrient and biotic limitations on plant growth. When ORCHIDEE-GM was run for the period 1961-2010 with variable climate and rising CO2, an increase of potential annual production (over

  5. A Simulation Model of Mesophytic Perennial Grasslands Un Modelo de Simulación de Pradera Perenne Mesofítica

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Giorgio Castellaro G

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available Grasslands are complex ecosystems and their processes are affected by soil, meteorological, and management variables. In this context, dynamic simulation models are useful to understand these processes and to design grassland use strategies. The aim of this study was to develop and validate a simulation model of perennial pasture growth based on soil and climate variables. A first approach considered that soil fertility levels were adequate; therefore, soil water availability and phytomass level were the main variables affecting pasture growth. The subroutines considered were water balance, pasture growth, and root biomass dynamics. The hypotheses regarding the functioning of the system were formulated as a group of equations which were solved numerically with a program written in Visual Basic®. Model validation was performed by statistical comparison between simulated DM and DM obtained from experiments conducted in Valdivia (39°47' S., 73°15' W; 9 m a.s.l.. In these experiments we measured DM accumulation on naturalized grassland and ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.-white clover (Trifolium repens L. pastures under frequent defoliation. Soil data, temperature, solar radiation, and rainfall were obtained from a meteorological station located in Valdivia. The coefficient of determination between simulated values and those measured in the experiments were higher in the DM accumulation (R² = 98% simulations. When pasture was subjected to frequent defoliation, the degree of fit of the model was lower (R² = 60%; however, the model was able to predict the trend in the data.Los pastizales son ecosistemas complejos y sus procesos se ven afectados por variables edáficas, meteorológicas y de manejo. En este contexto, los modelos dinámicos de simulación son utiles para la comprensión de estos procesos y disenar estrategias de utilización de las praderas. El objetivo de este trabajo fue elaborar y validar un modelo de simulación de crecimiento de

  6. DYNAMICS OF CARBON SEQUESTRATION IN ABANDONED GRASSLANDS OF NORTHEASTERN MEXICO

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    José Israel Yerena Yamallel

    2014-04-01

    Full Text Available Livestock activities due to the improper handling of the load capacity, suffer from low productivity in their grasslands, which are abandoned giving rise to the appearance of species considered invasive and undesirable for producers, without knowing the qualities of these as mitigating of climate change. The objective of the present study was to estimate the carbon content in tamaulipan thornscrub and three abandoned grasslands with a time of abandonment of 10, 20 and 30 years. For the estimation of the carbon content was used a systematic sampling design, in each area were established four sampling sites of 1,600 m2. The primary scrub is the system that resulted in the largest value of carbon content of 14.25 Mg ha-1, followed by the grasslands of 30, 20 and 10 years with 8.03, 7.33 and 4.13 Mg ha-1 respectively. It was concluded that recovering the initial state of the primary scrub take many years, as can be seen in the grasslands system 30 years reaching only 56% of what it had in reserves of primary scrub.

  7. Quantitative ecological relationships in the alpine grassland of ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    A survey, based on 56 000 points at 102 sampling sites in the Tsehlanyane valley of the Oxbow (Madibamatso) Dam catchment in the alpine grassland of Lesotho, indicates that the area is generally in good condition. Physiographic and floristic criteria were measured and the association between pairs of criteria statistically ...

  8. Crude protein changes on grassland along a degradation gradient ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Evapotranspiration was determined by quantifying the soil-water balance equation with the aid of runoff plots and soil-water content measurements. Crude protein ... The study shows that it is important to keep grassland in optimal condition to utilize limited soil water for sustainable plant and therefore animal production.

  9. Intensification of grassland and forage use: driving forces and constraints

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Oenema, O.; Klein, de C.; Alfaro, M.

    2014-01-01

    The increasing demand for safe and nutritional dairy and beef products in a globalising world, together with the needs to increase resource use efficiency and to protect biodiversity, provide strong incentives for intensification of grassland and forage use. This paper addresses the question: 'Does

  10. Achieving grassland production and quality that matches animal needs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Pol, van den A.; Busqué, Juan; Golinski, P.; Noorkõiv, Katrin; O'Donovan, Michael; Peratoner, Giovanni; Reheul, D.

    2016-01-01

    Permanent grasslands are exploited by grazing animals or as meadows depending on different
    constraints. Grazing is the most common use in large parts of Europe, especially in the northwest of
    Europe. However, certain areas are less suitable for grazing. In the Alps e.g. meadows are the

  11. Achieving grassland production and quality that matching animal needs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Pol, van den A.; Busqué, Juan; Golinski, P.; Noorkõiv, Katrin; O'Donovan, Michael; Peratoner, Giovanni; Reheul, D.

    2016-01-01

    Permanent grasslands are exploited by grazing animals or as meadows depending on different constraints. Grazing is the most common use in large parts of Europe, especially in the northwest of Europe. However, certain areas are less suitable for grazing. In the Alps e.g. meadows are the most relevant

  12. Avian diversity in the Naliya Grassland, Abdasa Taluka, Kachchh, India

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sandeep B Munjpara

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available Naliya Grassland is one of the significant grasslands of Gujarat. In this study the importance of the Naliya Grassland has been explored with special reference to avian diversity. Field work for the study was carried out throughout the year of 2007 on a monthly basis covering three distinct seasons to explore avian diversity. A total of 177 species belonging to 54 families were recorded wherein most species belonged to the family Accipitridae (20 species followed by Alaudidae (11 species. Of the total families, five were represented by more than seven species, 18 families by 3-7 species and 31 families by one or two species respectively. Among the species observed, 16 species ware globally threatened (three Critically Endangered, four Endangered and nine Near Threatened. Most of the species were chiefly terrestrial (68.2%, about 23.9% species were freshwater dependant and 7.9% utilized mixed habitats. Maximum species richness was recorded in the monsoons and minimum in summer. Constant turnover and fluctuation in species richness occurred because of seasonal immigration and emigration. Maximum emigration took place during February and March and maximum immigration occurred during June and July. Many water dependant birds attracted to the flooded grassland during the monsoons explained the high species richness during this season. In winter, the area was inhabited by resident species as well as many migratory species.

  13. Evaluation of SPOT imagery for the estimation of grassland biomass

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dusseux, P.; Hubert-Moy, L.; Corpetti, T.; Vertès, F.

    2015-06-01

    In many regions, a decrease in grasslands and change in their management, which are associated with agricultural intensification, have been observed in the last half-century. Such changes in agricultural practices have caused negative environmental effects that include water pollution, soil degradation and biodiversity loss. Moreover, climate-driven changes in grassland productivity could have serious consequences for the profitability of agriculture. The aim of this study was to assess the ability of remotely sensed data with high spatial resolution to estimate grassland biomass in agricultural areas. A vegetation index, namely the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), and two biophysical variables, the Leaf Area Index (LAI) and the fraction of Vegetation Cover (fCOVER) were computed using five SPOT images acquired during the growing season. In parallel, ground-based information on grassland growth was collected to calculate biomass values. The analysis of the relationship between the variables derived from the remotely sensed data and the biomass observed in the field shows that LAI outperforms NDVI and fCOVER to estimate biomass (R2 values of 0.68 against 0.30 and 0.50, respectively). The squared Pearson correlation coefficient between observed and estimated biomass using LAI derived from SPOT images reached 0.73. Biomass maps generated from remotely sensed data were then used to estimate grass reserves at the farm scale in the perspective of operational monitoring and forecasting.

  14. Homogenization of the soil surface following fire in semiarid grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carleton S. White

    2011-01-01

    Semiarid grasslands accumulate soil beneath plant "islands" that are raised above bare interspaces. This fine-scale variation in microtopographic relief is plant-induced and is increased with shrub establishment. Research found that fire-induced water repellency enhanced local-scale soil erosion that reduced variation in microtopographic relief, suggesting...

  15. Relationship between soil chemical factors and grassland diversity

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Janssens, F; Peeters, A; Tallowin, JRB; Bakker, JP; Bekker, RM; Fillat, F; Oomes, MJM

    Many studies carried out during these last few years have focused on the factors influencing plant diversity in species-rich grasslands. This is due to the fact that these ecosystems, among the most diversified in temperate climates, are extremely threatened; in some areas, they have almost

  16. Transformation of a savanna grassland by drought and grazing | O ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The relative effects of drought and heavy grazing on the floristic composition, population size and and structure, and basal cover of an African savanna grassland were differentiated by comparing changes over eight years over eight years, which included a severe drought year, across a gradient of grazing history. Drought ...

  17. Controlling nitrous oxide emissions from grassland livestock production systems

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Oenema, O.; Gebauer, G.; Rodriguez, M.; Sapek, A.; Jarvis, S.C.; Corré, W.J.; Yamulki, S.

    1998-01-01

    There is growing awareness that grassland livestock production systems are major sources of nitrous oxide (N2O). Controlling these emissions requires a thorough understanding of all sources and controlling factors at the farm level. This paper examines the various controlling factors and proposes

  18. Effects of large herbivores on grassland arthropod diversity

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van Klink, R.; van der Plas, F.; van Noordwijk, C. G. E. (Toos); WallisDeVries, M. F.; Olff, H.

    Both arthropods and large grazing herbivores are important components and drivers of biodiversity in grassland ecosystems, but a synthesis of how arthropod diversity is affected by large herbivores has been largely missing. To fill this gap, we conducted a literature search, which yielded 141

  19. Potassium cycling and losses in grassland systems : a review

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kayser, M; Isselstein, J

    Cycling of potassium in grassland systems has received relatively little attention in research and practice in recent years. Balanced nutrient systems require consideration of nutrients other than nitrogen (N). Potassium (K) is needed in large amounts and is closely related to N nutrition. In

  20. The effect of grassland management on enchytraeids (Oligochaeta) communities

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Maraldo, Kristine; Schmelz, Rüdiger; Christensen, Bent Tolstrup

    2012-01-01

    Enchytraeids (small white earthworms between 3 to 35 mm) are important regulators of nitrogen turnover in grasslands, as their activities accelerate the decomposition and nutrient recycling processes. In this study, the effect of management on species composition, abundance and biomass of the enc...... biomass and density of the grazed plots are due to compaction by grazing animals....

  1. Effect of burn area on invertebrate recolonization in grasslands in ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Our study examined the short-term response of grassland invertebrate communities to fire in the South African Drakensberg, in relation to distance from the edge of a burn. We aimed to establish which species survive fire and the dynamics of the post-fire recolonization process, and thereby contribute to establishing the ...

  2. Organic matter dynamics and N mineralization in grassland soils

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hassink, J.

    1995-01-01


    The aims of this study are i) to improve our understanding of the interactions between soil texturelsoil structure, soil organic matter, soil biota and mineralization in grassland soils, ii) to develop a procedure that yields soil organic matter fractions that can be determined directly

  3. Vegetation diversity of salt-rich grasslands in Southeast Europe

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Eliáš, P. Jr.; Sopotlieva, D.; Dítě, D.; Hájková, Petra; Apostolova, I.; Senko, D.; Melečková, Z.; Hájek, Michal

    2013-01-01

    Roč. 16, č. 3 (2013), s. 521-537 ISSN 1402-2001 R&D Projects: GA ČR GA206/09/0329 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z60050516 Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : salt marshes * vegetation survey * grasslands Subject RIV: EF - Botanics Impact factor: 2.416, year: 2013

  4. Developing a savanna burning emissions abatement methodology for tussock grasslands in high rainfall regions of northern Australia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jeremy Russell-Smith

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available Fire-prone tropical savanna and grassland systems are a significant source of atmospheric emissions of greenhouse gases.  In recent years, substantial research has been directed towards developing accounting methodologies for savanna burning emissions to be applied in Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, as well as for commercial carbon trading purposes.  That work has focused on woody savanna systems.  Here, we extend the methodological approach to include tussock grasslands and associated Melaleuca-dominated open woodlands (<10% foliage cover in higher rainfall (>1,000 mm/annum regions of northern Australia.  Field assessments under dry season conditions focused on deriving fuel accumulation, fire patchiness and combustion relationships for key fuel types: fine fuels − grass and litter; coarse woody fuels − twigs <6 mm diameter; heavy woody fuels − >6 mm diameter; and shrubs.  In contrast with previous savanna burning assessments, fire treatments undertaken under early dry season burning conditions resulted in negligible patchiness and very substantial consumption of fine fuels.  In effect, burning in the early dry season provides no benefits in greenhouse gas emissions and emissions reductions in tussock grasslands can be achieved only through reducing the extent of burning.  The practical implications of reduced burning in higher rainfall northern Australian grassland systems are discussed, indicating that there are significant constraints, including infrastructural, cultural and woody thickening issues.  Similar opportunities and constraints are observed in other international contexts, but especially project implementation challenges associated with legislative, political and governance issues.

  5. Long-term nutrient fertilization and the carbon balance of permanent grassland: any evidence for sustainable intensification?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fornara, Dario A.; Wasson, Elizabeth-Anne; Christie, Peter; Watson, Catherine J.

    2016-09-01

    Sustainable grassland intensification aims to increase plant yields while maintaining the ability of soil to act as a sink rather than sources of atmospheric CO2. High biomass yields from managed grasslands, however, can be only maintained through long-term nutrient fertilization, which can significantly affect soil carbon (C) storage and cycling. Key questions remain about (1) how long-term inorganic vs. organic fertilization influences soil C stocks, and (2) how soil C gains (or losses) contribute to the long-term C balance of managed grasslands. Using 43 years of data from a permanent grassland experiment, we show that soils not only act as significant C sinks but have not yet reached C saturation. Even unfertilized control soils showed C sequestration rates of 0.35 Mg C ha-1 yr-1 (i.e. 35 g C m-2 yr-1; 0-15 cm depth) between 1970 and 2013. High application rates of liquid manure (i.e. cattle slurry) further increased soil C sequestration to 0.86 Mg C ha-1 yr-1 (i.e. 86 g C m-2 yr-1) and a key cause of this C accrual was greater C inputs from cattle slurry. However, average coefficients of slurry-C retention in soils suggest that 85 % of C added yearly through liquid manure is lost possibly via CO2 fluxes and organic C leaching. Inorganically fertilized soils (i.e. NPK) had the lowest C-gain efficiency (i.e. unit of C gained per unit of N added) and lowest C sequestration (similar to control soils). Soils receiving cattle slurry showed higher C-gain and N-retention efficiencies compared to soils receiving NPK or pig slurry. We estimate that net rates of CO2-sequestration in the top 15 cm of the soil can offset 9-25 % of GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions from intensive management. However, because of multiple GHG sources associated with livestock farming, the net C balance of these grasslands remains positive (9-12 Mg CO2-equivalent ha-1 yr-1), thus contributing to climate change. Further C-gain efficiencies (e.g. reduced enteric fermentation and use of feed

  6. Managed grassland alters soil N dynamics and N2O emissions in temperate steppe.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, Lijun; Xu, Xingliang; Tang, Xuejuan; Xin, Xiaoping; Ye, Liming; Yang, Guixia; Tang, Huajun; Lv, Shijie; Xu, Dawei; Zhang, Zhao

    2018-04-01

    Reclamation of degraded grasslands as managed grasslands has been increasingly accelerated in recent years in China. Land use change affects soil nitrogen (N) dynamics and nitrous oxide (N 2 O) emissions. However, it remains unclear how large-scale grassland reclamation will impact the grassland ecosystem as a whole. Here, we investigated the effects of the conversion from native to managed grasslands on soil N dynamics and N2O emissions by field experiments in Hulunber in northern China. Soil (0-10cm), nitrate (NO 3 - ), ammonium (NH 4 + ), and microbial N were measured in plots in a temperate steppe (Leymus chinensis grassland) and two managed grasslands (Medicago sativa and Bromus inermis grasslands) in 2011 and 2012. The results showed conversion of L. chinensis grassland to M. sativa or B. inermis grasslands decreased concentrations of NO 3 - -N, but did not change NH 4 + -N. Soil microbial N was slightly decreased by the conversion of L. chinensis grassland to M. sativa, but increased by the conversion to B. inermis. The conversion of L. chinensis grassland to M. sativa (i.e., a legume grass) increased N 2 O emissions by 26.2%, while the conversion to the B. inermis (i.e., a non-legume grass) reduced N 2 O emissions by 33.1%. The conversion from native to managed grasslands caused large created variations in soil NO 3 - -N and NH 4 + -N concentrations. Net N mineralization rates did not change significantly in growing season or vegetation type, but to net nitrification rate. These results provide evidence on how reclamation may impact the grassland ecosystem in terms of N dynamics and N 2 O emissions. Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  7. Effect of sulfate fertilization on soil biota in grassland columns

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ikoyi, Israel; Donohue, John; Fowler, Andrew; Schmalenberger, Achim

    2017-04-01

    Sulfur (S) is an important macronutrient element in plant nutrition as a component of protein, enzymes, enzyme cofactors as well as being the major constituent of the amino acids cysteine and methionine. Organically bound S is the predominant form of S in the soil constituting up to 95% of S in agricultural soils. The most important form of S in terms of plant nutrition is inorganic sulfate which forms only about 5% of the total soil S content. Air pollution was the major source of S (as SO2) for plants, with up to 80% of the S obtained from this source. However, common effects of S limitation on crops such as chlorosis, yield reduction, and decrease in crop quality are becoming increasingly evident as atmospheric S supply has decreased in recent years. Recent research has shown that organically-bound S in soils is also plant-bioavailable, likely due to interconversion of organic S forms to inorganic sulfate by soil microbes. In this study, soil columns were setup in a greenhouse using moderate S (equivalent to Wisconsin S soil availability index of below 30) soils. The columns were planted with Lolium perenne and fertilized with 0 (control), 5 (low), 10 (medium) and 20 (high) kg/ha sulfate S alongside a full complement of other nutrients. Results after 14 weeks of management show a significant decrease (Pbacterial abundance of heterotrophs and aromatic sulfonate-utilizing bacteria upon S fertilization. In addition, soil from the top 20 cm of the column had significantly higher sulfatase activity compared to the bottom 20 cm. The medium and high S treatments had significantly higher grass dry matter yield compared to the control and low S treatments. All S treatments significantly shifted the bacterial community structure compared to the control. Overall, our preliminary results suggest that applying 5 kg/ ha S had similar effects on the soil biota as the control while the application of medium and high S had similar effects on most parameters. Moreover, this study

  8. Soil Seed Bank and Plant Community Development in Passive Restoration of Degraded Sandy Grasslands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Renhui Miao

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available To evaluate the efficacy of passive restoration on soil seed bank and vegetation recovery, we measured the species composition and density of the soil seed bank, as well as the species composition, density, coverage, and height of the extant vegetation in sites passively restored for 0, 4, 7, and 12 years (S0, S4, S7, and S12 in a degraded grassland in desert land. Compared with S0, three more species in the soil seed bank at depths of 0–30 cm and one more plant species in the community was detected in S12. Seed density within the topsoil (0–5 cm was five times higher in S12 than that in S0. Plant densities in S7 and S12 were triple and quadruple than that in S0. Plant coverage was increased by 1.5 times (S4, double (S7, and triple (S12 compared with S0. Sørensen’s index of similarity in species composition between the soil seed bank and the plant community were high (0.43–0.63, but it was lower in short-term restoration sites (S4 and S7 than that in no and long-term restoration sites (S0 and S12. The soil seed bank recovered more slowly than the plant community under passive restoration. Passive restoration is a useful method to recover the soil seed bank and vegetation in degraded grasslands.

  9. Root Characteristics of Perennial Warm-Season Grasslands Managed for Grazing and Biomass Production

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rattan Lal

    2013-07-01

    Full Text Available Minirhizotrons were used to study root growth characteristics in recently established fields dominated by perennial C4-grasses that were managed either for cattle grazing or biomass production for bioenergy in Virginia, USA. Measurements over a 13-month period showed that grazing resulted in smaller total root volumes and root diameters. Under biomass management, root volume was 40% higher (49 vs. 35 mm3 and diameters were 20% larger (0.29 vs. 0.24 mm compared to grazing. While total root length did not differ between grazed and biomass treatments, root distribution was shallower under grazed areas, with 50% of total root length in the top 7 cm of soil, compared to 41% in ungrazed exclosures. These changes (i.e., longer roots and greater root volume in the top 10 cm of soil under grazing but the reverse at 17–28 cm soil depths were likely caused by a shift in plant species composition as grazing reduced C4 grass biomass and allowed invasion of annual unsown species. The data suggest that management of perennial C4 grasslands for either grazing or biomass production can affect root growth in different ways and this, in turn, may have implications for the subsequent carbon sequestration potential of these grasslands.

  10. Combined Use of Multi-Temporal Optical and Radar Satellite Images for Grassland Monitoring

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pauline Dusseux

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available The aim of this study was to assess the ability of optical images, SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar images and the combination of both types of data to discriminate between grasslands and crops in agricultural areas where cloud cover is very high most of the time, which restricts the use of visible and near-infrared satellite data. We compared the performances of variables extracted from four optical and five SAR satellite images with high/very high spatial resolutions acquired during the growing season. A vegetation index, namely the NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, and two biophysical variables, the LAI (Leaf Area Index and the fCOVER (fraction of Vegetation Cover were computed using optical time series and polarization (HH, VV, HV, VH. The polarization ratio and polarimetric decomposition (Freeman–Durden and Cloude–Pottier were calculated using SAR time series. Then, variables derived from optical, SAR and both types of remotely-sensed data were successively classified using the Support Vector Machine (SVM technique. The results show that the classification accuracy of SAR variables is higher than those using optical data (0.98 compared to 0.81. They also highlight that the combination of optical and SAR time series data is of prime interest to discriminate grasslands from crops, allowing an improved classification accuracy.

  11. Estimating carbon dioxide fluxes from temperate mountain grasslands using broad-band vegetation indices

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    G. Wohlfahrt

    2010-02-01

    Full Text Available The broad-band normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI and the simple ratio (SR were calculated from measurements of reflectance of photosynthetically active and short-wave radiation at two temperate mountain grasslands in Austria and related to the net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE measured concurrently by means of the eddy covariance method. There was no significant statistical difference between the relationships of midday mean NEE with narrow- and broad-band NDVI and SR, measured during and calculated for that same time window, respectively. The skill of broad-band NDVI and SR in predicting CO2 fluxes was higher for metrics dominated by gross photosynthesis and lowest for ecosystem respiration, with NEE in between. A method based on a simple light response model whose parameters were parameterised based on broad-band NDVI allowed to improve predictions of daily NEE and is suggested to hold promise for filling gaps in the NEE time series. Relationships of CO2 flux metrics with broad-band NDVI and SR however generally differed between the two studied grassland sites indicting an influence of additional factors not yet accounted for.

  12. Grassland Fire and Cattle Grazing Regulate Reptile and Amphibian Assembly Among Patches

    Science.gov (United States)

    Larson, Danelle M.

    2014-12-01

    Fire and grazing are common management schemes of grasslands globally and are potential drivers of reptilian and amphibian (herpetofauna) metacommunity dynamics. Few studies have assessed the impacts of fire and cattle grazing on herpetofauna assemblages in grasslands. A patch-burn grazing study at Osage Prairie, MO, USA in 2011-2012 created landscape patches with treatments of grazing, fire, and such legacies. Response variables were measured before and after the application of treatments, and I used robust-design occupancy modeling to estimate patch occupancy and detection rate within patches, and recolonization and extinction (i.e., dispersal) across patches. I conducted redundancy analysis and a permuted multivariate analysis of variance to determine if patch type and the associated environmental factors explained herpetofauna assemblage. Estimates for reptiles indicate that occupancy was seasonally constant in Control patches ( ψ ~ 0.5), but declined to ψ ~ 0.15 in patches following the applications of fire and grazing. Local extinctions for reptiles were higher in patches with fire or light grazing ( ɛ ~ 0.7) compared to the controls. For the riparian herpetofaunal community, patch type and grass height were important predictors of abundance; further, the turtles, lizards, snakes, and adult amphibians used different patch types. The aquatic amphibian community was predicted by watershed and in-stream characteristics, irrespective of fire or grazing. The varying responses from taxonomic groups demonstrate habitat partitioning across multiple patch types undergoing fire, cattle grazing, and legacy effects. Prairies will need an array of patch types to accommodate multiple herpetofauna species.

  13. Species Diversity and Botanical Composition of Permanent Grassland as a Response to Different Grazing Management Practices

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marie Štýbnarová

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available The effects of different levels of grazing utilization (two, three and four grazing cycles per year and mineral fertilization (nil-fertilization; N100P30K60 on the botanical composition of permanent grasslands were studied in the locality of Rapotín (Czech Republic, 332 m a.s.l. from 2003–2010. The vegetation of the experimental pasture was classified as Cynosurion. It was found that moderate treatment (three grazing cycles per year without mineral fertilization showed the highest value of diversity index (DI = 6.08, and maximum dominance of legumes (Dmax = 9.1%, particularly Trifolium repens. The highest dominance of grasses (Dmax = 77.7%, mainly Dactylis glomerata and Elytrigia repens, was achieved with the fertilized treatment utilized in two grazing cycles per year. Based on RDA results, tested management treatments explained 26% of species composition variability, where effect of number of grazing cycles per year was five-times higher than effect of fertilization. We recommend grassland utilization in three grazing cycles per year as the most suitable way from the objective of both species diversity and botanical composition of pastures in similar site conditions. Pasture fertilization should be more controlled by careful consideration of individual pasture goals, actual nutrient status of the soil and possible environmental risks.

  14. Initial Soil Organic Matter Content Influences the Storage and Turnover of Litter-, Root- and Soil Carbon in Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, L.; Xu, S.; Li, P.; Sayer, E. J.

    2017-12-01

    Grassland degradation is a worldwide problem that often leads to substantial loss of soil organic matter (SOM). Understanding how SOM content influences the stabilization of plant carbon (C) to form soil C is important to evaluate the potential of degraded grasslands to sequester additional C. We conducted a greenhouse experiment using C3 soils with six levels of SOM content and planted the C4 grass Cleistogenes squarrosa and/or added its litter to investigate how SOM content regulates the storage of new soil C derived from litter and roots, the decomposition of extant soil C, and the formation of soil aggregates. We found that microbial biomass carbon (MBC) increased with SOM content, and increased the mineralization of litter C. Both litter addition and planted treatments increased the amount of new C inputs to soil. However, litter addition had no significant impacts on the mineralization of extant soil C, but the presence of living roots significantly accelerated it. Thus, by the end of the experiment, soil C content was significantly higher in the litter addition treatments, but was not affected by planted treatments. The soil macroaggregate fraction increased with SOM content and was positively related to MBC. Overall, our study suggests that as SOM content increases, plant growth and soil microbes become more active, which allows microbes to process more plant-derived C and increases new soil C formation. The interactions between SOM content and plant C inputs should be considered when evaluating soil C turnover in degraded grasslands.

  15. Inadequate thermal refuge constrains landscape habitability for a grassland bird species.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tomecek, John M; Pierce, Brian L; Reyna, Kelly S; Peterson, Markus J

    2017-01-01

    Ecologists have long recognized the influence that environmental conditions have on abundance and range extent of animal species. We used the northern bobwhite ( Colinus virginianus ; hereafter bobwhite) as a model species for studying how microclimates serve as refuge against severe weather conditions. This species serves as an indicator or umbrella species for other sensitive ground-nesting, grassland obligate species. We conducted a mensurative field experiment in the rolling plains of Texas, USA, a semi-arid ecosystem on the southwestern periphery of bobwhite range, to determine whether native bunch grasses, apparently suitable for bobwhite nesting, could reduce ambient temperature below levels harmful for eggs. During the nesting season, we compared temperature and relative humidity readings at daily heat maxima (i.e., the 3 h during each day with highest temperatures) during the nesting season over the course of two years at 63 suitable nest sites paired with 63 random locations ( n = 126) using two sensors at ∼10 and ∼60 cm above ground level. Mean temperature at nest height was 2.3% cooler at nest sites (35.99 °C ± 0.07 SE) compared to random locations (36.81 °C ± 0.07 SE); at ambient height, nest sites were slightly cooler (32.78 °C ± 0.06 SE) than random location (32.99 °C ± 0.06 SE). Mean relative humidity at nest sites was greater at nest height (34.53% ± 0.112 SE) and ambient height (36.22% ± 0.10 SE) compared to random locations at nest (33.35% ± 0.12 SE) and ambient height (35.75% ± 0.10 SE). Based on these results, cover at sites that appear visually suitable for nesting by bobwhites and other ground nesting birds provided adequate thermal refuge in the rolling plains by maintaining cooler, moister microclimates than surrounding non-nesting locations. Post-hoc analyses of data revealed that habitat conditions surrounding suitable nest sites strongly influenced thermal suitability of the substrate. Given that eggs of bobwhites and

  16. Inadequate thermal refuge constrains landscape habitability for a grassland bird species

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    John M. Tomecek

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available Ecologists have long recognized the influence that environmental conditions have on abundance and range extent of animal species. We used the northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus; hereafter bobwhite as a model species for studying how microclimates serve as refuge against severe weather conditions. This species serves as an indicator or umbrella species for other sensitive ground-nesting, grassland obligate species. We conducted a mensurative field experiment in the rolling plains of Texas, USA, a semi-arid ecosystem on the southwestern periphery of bobwhite range, to determine whether native bunch grasses, apparently suitable for bobwhite nesting, could reduce ambient temperature below levels harmful for eggs. During the nesting season, we compared temperature and relative humidity readings at daily heat maxima (i.e., the 3 h during each day with highest temperatures during the nesting season over the course of two years at 63 suitable nest sites paired with 63 random locations (n = 126 using two sensors at ∼10 and ∼60 cm above ground level. Mean temperature at nest height was 2.3% cooler at nest sites (35.99 °C ± 0.07 SE compared to random locations (36.81 °C ± 0.07 SE; at ambient height, nest sites were slightly cooler (32.78 °C ± 0.06 SE than random location (32.99 °C ± 0.06 SE. Mean relative humidity at nest sites was greater at nest height (34.53% ± 0.112 SE and ambient height (36.22% ± 0.10 SE compared to random locations at nest (33.35% ± 0.12 SE and ambient height (35.75% ± 0.10 SE. Based on these results, cover at sites that appear visually suitable for nesting by bobwhites and other ground nesting birds provided adequate thermal refuge in the rolling plains by maintaining cooler, moister microclimates than surrounding non-nesting locations. Post-hoc analyses of data revealed that habitat conditions surrounding suitable nest sites strongly influenced thermal suitability of the substrate. Given that eggs of bobwhites

  17. Semi-arid grassland bird responses to patch-burn grazing and drought

    Science.gov (United States)

    Skagen, Susan K.; Augustine, David J.; Derner, Justin D.

    2018-01-01

    As grassland birds of central North America experience steep population declines with changes in land use, management of remaining tracts becomes increasingly important for population viability. The integrated use of fire and grazing may enhance vegetation heterogeneity and diversity in breeding birds, but the subsequent effects on reproduction are unknown. We examined the influence of patch-burn grazing management in shortgrass steppe in eastern Colorado on habitat use and reproductive success of 3 grassland bird species, horned lark (Eremophila alpestris), lark bunting (Calamospiza melanocorys), and McCown’s longspur (Rhynchophanes mccownii), at several spatial scales during 2011 and 2012. Although no simple direct relationship to patch-burn grazing treatment existed, habitat selection depended on precipitation- and management-induced vegetation conditions and spatial scale. All species selected taller-than-expected vegetation at the nest site, whereas at the territory scale, horned larks and McCown’s longspurs selected areas with low vegetation height and sparse cover of tall plants (taller than the dominant shortgrasses). Buntings nested primarily in unburned grassland under average rainfall. Larks and longspurs shifted activity from patch burns during average precipitation (2011) to unburned pastures during drought (2012). Daily survival rate (DSR) of nests varied with time in season, species, weather, and vegetation structure. Daily survival rate of McCown’s longspur nests did not vary with foliar cover of relatively tall vegetation at the nest under average precipitation but declined with increasing cover during drought. At the 200-m scale, increasing cover of shortgrasses, rather than taller plant species, improved DSR of larks and longspurs. These birds experience tradeoffs in the selection of habitat at different spatial scales: tall structure at nests may reduce visual detection by predators and provide protection from sun, wind, and rain, yet

  18. Soil-vegetation relationships in hyperseasonal cerrado, seasonal cerrado, and wet grassland in Emas National Park (central Brazil)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amorim, Priscilla Kobayashi; Batalha, Marco Antônio

    2007-11-01

    In South America, the largest savanna region is the Brazilian cerrado, in which there are few areas that become waterlogged in the rainy season. However, we found a small cerrado area in which the soil is poorly drained and becomes waterlogged at the end of the rainy season, allowing the appearance of a hyperseasonal cerrado. We investigated the soil-vegetation relationships in three vegetation forms: hyperseasonal cerrado, seasonal cerrado, and wet grassland. We collected vegetation and soil samples in these three vegetation forms and submitted obtained data to a canonical correspondence analysis. Our results showed a distinction among hyperseasonal cerrado, seasonal cerrado and wet grassland, which presented different floristic compositions and species abundances. The edaphic variables best related to the hyperseasonal and seasonal cerrados were sand, base saturation, pH, and magnesium. The wet grassland was related to higher concentrations of clay, organic matter, aluminium saturation, aluminium, phosphorus, and potassium. Although it is not possible to infer causal relationships based on our results, we hypothesize that the duration of waterlogging in the hyperseasonal cerrado may not be long enough to alter most of its soil characteristics, such as organic matter, phosphorus, and potassium, but may be long enough to alter some, such as pH and base saturation, as the soils under both cerrados were more similar to one another than to the soil under the wet grassland. Since waterlogging may alter soil characteristics and since these characteristics were enough to explain the plant community variation, we may conclude that water excess—permanent or seasonal—is one of the main factors to distinguish the three vegetation forms, which presented different floristic compositions and species abundances.

  19. Balancing forest-regeneration probabilities and maintenance costs in dry grasslands of high conservation priority

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bolliger, Janine; Edwards, Thomas C.; Eggenberg, Stefan; Ismail, Sascha; Seidl, Irmi; Kienast, Felix

    2011-01-01

    Abandonment of agricultural land has resulted in forest regeneration in species-rich dry grasslands across European mountain regions and threatens conservation efforts in this vegetation type. To support national conservation strategies, we used a site-selection algorithm (MARXAN) to find optimum sets of floristic regions (reporting units) that contain grasslands of high conservation priority. We sought optimum sets that would accommodate 136 important dry-grassland species and that would minimize forest regeneration and costs of management needed to forestall predicted forest regeneration. We did not consider other conservation elements of dry grasslands, such as animal species richness, cultural heritage, and changes due to climate change. Optimal sets that included 95–100% of the dry grassland species encompassed an average of 56–59 floristic regions (standard deviation, SD 5). This is about 15% of approximately 400 floristic regions that contain dry-grassland sites and translates to 4800–5300 ha of dry grassland out of a total of approximately 23,000 ha for the entire study area. Projected costs to manage the grasslands in these optimum sets ranged from CHF (Swiss francs) 5.2 to 6.0 million/year. This is only 15–20% of the current total estimated cost of approximately CHF30–45 million/year required if all dry grasslands were to be protected. The grasslands of the optimal sets may be viewed as core sites in a national conservation strategy.

  20. Grassland futures in Great Britain - Productivity assessment and scenarios for land use change opportunities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Qi, Aiming; Holland, Robert A; Taylor, Gail; Richter, Goetz M

    2018-09-01

    To optimise trade-offs provided by future changes in grassland use intensity, spatially and temporally explicit estimates of respective grassland productivities are required at the systems level. Here, we benchmark the potential national availability of grassland biomass, identify optimal strategies for its management, and investigate the relative importance of intensification over reversion (prioritising productivity versus environmental ecosystem services). Process-conservative meta-models for different grasslands were used to calculate the baseline dry matter yields (DMY; 1961-1990) at 1km 2 resolution for the whole UK. The effects of climate change, rising atmospheric [CO 2 ] and technological progress on baseline DMYs were used to estimate future grassland productivities (up to 2050) for low and medium CO 2 emission scenarios of UKCP09. UK benchmark productivities of 12.5, 8.7 and 2.8t/ha on temporary, permanent and rough-grazing grassland, respectively, accounted for productivity gains by 2010. By 2050, productivities under medium emission scenario are predicted to increase to 15.5 and 9.8t/ha on temporary and permanent grassland, respectively, but not on rough grassland. Based on surveyed grassland distributions for Great Britain in 2010 the annual availability of grassland biomass is likely to rise from 64 to 72milliontonnes by 2050. Assuming optimal N application could close existing productivity gaps of ca. 40% a range of management options could deliver additional 21∗10 6 tonnes of biomass available for bioenergy. Scenarios of changes in grassland use intensity demonstrated considerable scope for maintaining or further increasing grassland production and sparing some grassland for the provision of environmental ecosystem services. Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  1. Terrestrial ecology. Comprehensive study of the grassland biome

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Anon.

    1976-01-01

    Terrestrial ecology and grassland biome studies are designed to characterize the biota of the Hanford Reservation, elucidate seasonal dynamics of plant productivity, decomposition and mineral behavior patterns of important plant communities, and, to study the response of these communities to important natural environmental stresses, such as weather, wildfire and man-induced alterations of communities (influenced by grazing cattle and severe mechanical disturbance of the soil, such as affected by plowing or burial of waste materials or construction activities). A detailed account of the important findings of a 5-yr study is currently being prepared by the terrestrial ecology section staff for publication as a contribution to the International Biological Program Grassland Biome project

  2. Herbivores and nutrients control grassland plant diversity via light limitation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Borer, Elizabeth T.; Seabloom, Eric W.; Gruner, Daniel S.; Harpole, W. Stanley; Hillebrand, Helmut; Lind, Eric M.; Alder, Peter B.; Alberti, Juan; Anderson, T. Michael; Bakker, Jonathan D.; Biederman, Lori; Blumenthal, Dana; Brown, Cynthia S.; Brudvig, Lars A.; Buckley, Yvonne M.; Cadotte, Marc; Chu, Cheng-Jin; Cleland, Elsa E.; Crawley, Michael J.; Daleo, Pedro; Damschen, Ellen Ingman; Davies, Kendi F.; DeCrappeo, Nicole M.; Du, Guozhen; Firn, Jennifer; Hautier, Yann; Heckman, Robert W.; Hector, Andy; HilleRisLambers, Janneke; Iribarne, Oscar; Klein, Julia A.; Knops, Johannes M.H.; La Pierre, Kimberly J.; Leakey, Andrew D.B.; Li, Wei; MacDougall, Andrew S.; McCulley, Rebecca L.; Melbourne, Brett A.; Mitchell, Charles E.; Moore, Joslin L.; Mortensen, Brent; O'Halloran, Lydia R.; Orrock, John L.; Pascual, Jesús; Prober, Suzanne M.; Pyke, David A.; Risch, Anita C.; Schuetz, Martin; Smith, Melinda D.; Stevens, Carly J.; Sullivan, Lauren L.; Williams, Ryan J.; Wragg, Peter D.; Wright, Justin P.; Yang, Louie H.

    2014-01-01

    Human alterations to nutrient cycles and herbivore communities are affecting global biodiversity dramatically. Ecological theory predicts these changes should be strongly counteractive: nutrient addition drives plant species loss through intensified competition for light, whereas herbivores prevent competitive exclusion by increasing ground-level light, particularly in productive systems. Here we use experimental data spanning a globally relevant range of conditions to test the hypothesis that herbaceous plant species losses caused by eutrophication may be offset by increased light availability due to herbivory. This experiment, replicated in 40 grasslands on 6 continents, demonstrates that nutrients and herbivores can serve as counteracting forces to control local plant diversity through light limitation, independent of site productivity, soil nitrogen, herbivore type and climate. Nutrient addition consistently reduced local diversity through light limitation, and herbivory rescued diversity at sites where it alleviated light limitation. Thus, species loss from anthropogenic eutrophication can be ameliorated in grasslands where herbivory increases ground-level light.

  3. The biological transport of radionuclides in grassland and freshwater ecosystems

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rudge, S.A.

    1989-12-01

    This thesis examines the biological transport of radionuclides through terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, with particular reference to radiocaesium. The semi-natural grassland habitat was located at Drigg, W. Cumbria, contaminated primarily by radioactive fallout, from several sources over the past decade. Advantage was made of the deposition of radionuclides from the Chernobyl reactor incident, which occurred during the early stages of the investigation. The study examined the distribution of radiocaesium for the major components of the grassland ecosystem, within the soil-plant-invertebrate-small mammal food chain. Data concerning temporal fluctuation of radionuclide transfer factors between food chain components are presented. The final section examines the spatial distribution of radiocaesium in sediment and the freshwater eel (Anguilla anguilla) in a small stream contaminated by radioactive effluent. The relationship between activity levels in eels and the sediments in which they rest and forage was investigated. Factors influencing uptake of radiocaesium in freshwater fish were also examined. (author)

  4. Acidification of sandy grasslands - consequences for plant diversity

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Olsson, Pål Axel; Mårtensson, Linda-Maria; Bruun, Hans Henrik

    2009-01-01

    soil; a number of nationally red-listed species showed a similar pattern. Plant species diversity and number of red-listed species increased with slope. Where the topsoil had been acidified, limestone was rarely present above a depth of 30 cm. The presence of limestone restricts the availability......Questions: (1) Does soil acidification in calcareous sandy grasslands lead to loss of plant diversity? (2) What is the relationship between the soil content of lime and the plant availability of mineral nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in sandy grasslands? Location: Sandy glaciofluvial deposits......). Environmental variables were recorded at each plot, and soil samples were analysed for exchangeable P and N, as well as limestone content and pH. Data were analysed with regression analysis and canonical correspondence analysis. Results: Plant species richness was highest on weakly acid to slightly alkaline...

  5. Species interactions reverse grassland responses to changing climate.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suttle, K B; Thomsen, Meredith A; Power, Mary E

    2007-02-02

    Predictions of ecological response to climate change are based largely on direct climatic effects on species. We show that, in a California grassland, species interactions strongly influence responses to changing climate, overturning direct climatic effects within 5 years. We manipulated the seasonality and intensity of rainfall over large, replicate plots in accordance with projections of leading climate models and examined responses across several trophic levels. Changes in seasonal water availability had pronounced effects on individual species, but as precipitation regimes were sustained across years, feedbacks and species interactions overrode autecological responses to water and reversed community trajectories. Conditions that sharply increased production and diversity through 2 years caused simplification of the food web and deep reductions in consumer abundance after 5 years. Changes in these natural grassland communities suggest a prominent role for species interactions in ecosystem response to climate change.

  6. Composition, phenology and restoration of campo rupestre mountain grasslands - Brazil

    OpenAIRE

    Le Stradic, Soizig

    2012-01-01

    Global environmental changes, especially land-use changes, have profound effects on both ecosystem functioning and biodiversity, having already altered many ecosystem services. These losses emphasize the need to preserve what remains; however when conservation programs are not sufficient, restoring areas that have been destroyed or disturbed can improve conservation efforts and mitigate damages. This work focuses on campos rupestres, Neotropical grasslands found at altitudes, which are part o...

  7. Carbon dynamics in an Imperata grassland in Northeast India

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Amrabati Thokchom

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Carbon stocks and soil CO2 flux were assessed in an Imperata cylindrica grassland of Manipur, Northeast India. Carbon stocks in the vegetative components were estimated to be 11.17 t C/ha and soil organic carbon stocks were 55.94 t C/ha to a depth of 30 cm. The rates of carbon accumulation in above-ground and below-ground biomass were estimated to be 11.85 t C/ha/yr and 11.71 t C/ha/yr, respectively. Annual soil CO2 flux was evaluated as 6.95 t C/ha and was highly influenced by soil moisture, soil temperature and soil organic carbon as well as by C stocks in above-ground biomass. Our study on the carbon budget of the grassland ecosystem revealed that annually 23.56 t C/ha was captured by the vegetation through photosynthesis, and 6.95 t C/ha was returned to the atmosphere through roots and microbial respiration, with a net balance of 16.61 t C/ha/yr being retained in the grassland ecosystem. Thus the present Imperata grassland exhibited a high capacity to remove atmospheric CO2 and to induce high C stocks in the soil provided it is protected from burning and overgrazing.Keywords: Above-ground biomass, below-ground biomass, carbon stocks, carbon storage, net primary productivity, soil CO2 flux.DOI: 10.17138/TGFT(419-28  

  8. Carbon balance of renovated grasslands: input- or output-driven?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Choncubhair, Órlaith Ní; Osborne, Bruce; Lanigan, Gary

    2015-04-01

    Temperate grasslands constitute over 30% of the Earth's naturally-occurring biomes and make an important contribution towards the partial mitigation of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions by terrestrial ecosystems. In permanent temperate grasslands, biomass production and sward quality can deteriorate over time and periodic renovation activities, involving soil tillage and reseeding, are commonly carried out to halt this decline. Long-term cultivation of agricultural land has been associated with soil aggregate degradation and reduced soil carbon storage. However, the impact of these single tillage disturbances on C cycling in grasslands is less clear. This study evaluated gaseous and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) losses following a single tillage event by subjecting grassland lysimeters with contrasting soil drainage characteristics to simulated conventional inversion or minimum tillage. Field-scale CO2 emissions after conventional tillage were also quantified and empirically modelled over short- and medium-term timeframes to delineate the ecosystem response to environmental variables. Soil moisture was the limiting determinant of ecosystem carbon release following conventional tillage. Freshly-tilled soils were associated with reduced water retention and increased sensitivity to soil moisture, which was particularly pronounced following rewetting events. Significantly elevated but ephemeral CO2 effluxes were detected in the hours following inversion ploughing, however tillage disturbance did not generate significantly enhanced C emission rates in the medium term. Equally, DOC losses were not significantly amplified by conventional tillage compared with conservative minimum tillage and were predominantly controlled by soil drainage across tillage regimes. Our results suggest that a net ecosystem source of 120 to 210 g C m-2 over an approximately two-month period was most likely a consequence of reduced productivity and C input rather than enhanced soil CO2

  9. Making Grasslands Sustainable in Mongolia: Herders' Livelihoods and Climate Change

    OpenAIRE

    Asian Development Bank (ADB)

    2014-01-01

    The threats posed by climate change have significant impacts on Mongolia’s grassland ecosystems and herders’ livelihoods. This publication discusses the auses of climate change and its impacts on livelihoods and ecosystems for herders and the general public. It explains how good pasture management and livestock roductivity are important for increasing incomes and provides information on adaptation practices. It also identifies sustainable management practices that can increase communities’ re...

  10. Math for visualization, visualizing math

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wijk, van J.J.; Hart, G.; Sarhangi, R.

    2013-01-01

    I present an overview of our work in visualization, and reflect on the role of mathematics therein. First, mathematics can be used as a tool to produce visualizations, which is illustrated with examples from information visualization, flow visualization, and cartography. Second, mathematics itself

  11. Visual art and visual perception

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Koenderink, Jan J.

    2015-01-01

    Visual art and visual perception ‘Visual art’ has become a minor cul-de-sac orthogonal to THE ART of the museum directors and billionaire collectors. THE ART is conceptual, instead of visual. Among its cherished items are the tins of artist’s shit (Piero Manzoni, 1961, Merda d’Artista) “worth their

  12. Plant diversity moderates drought stress in grasslands: Implications from a large real-world study on "1"3C natural abundances

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Klaus, Valentin H.; Hölzel, Norbert; Prati, Daniel; Schmitt, Barbara; Schöning, Ingo; Schrumpf, Marion; Solly, Emily F.; Hänsel, Falk; Fischer, Markus; Kleinebecker, Till

    2016-01-01

    Land-use change and intensification play a key role in the current biodiversity crisis. The resulting species loss can have severe effects on ecosystem functions and services, thereby increasing ecosystem vulnerability to climate change. We explored whether land-use intensification (i.e. fertilization intensity), plant diversity and other potentially confounding environmental factors may be significantly related to water use (i.e. drought stress) of grassland plants. Drought stress was assessed using δ"1"3C abundances in aboveground plant biomass of 150 grassland plots across a gradient of land-use intensity. Under water shortage, plants are forced to increasingly take up the heavier "1"3C due to closing stomata leading to an enrichment of "1"3C in biomass. Plants were sampled at the community level and for single species, which belong to three different functional groups (one grass, one herb, two legumes). Results show that plant diversity was significantly related to the δ"1"3C signal in community, grass and legume biomass indicating that drought stress was lower under higher diversity, although this relation was not significant for the herb species under study. Fertilization, in turn, mostly increased drought stress as indicated by more positive δ"1"3C values. This effect was mostly indirect by decreasing plant diversity. In line with these results, we found similar patterns in the δ"1"3C signal of the organic matter in the topsoil, indicating a long history of these processes. Our study provided strong indication for a positive biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationship with reduced drought stress at higher plant diversity. However, it also underlined a negative reinforcing situation: as land-use intensification decreases plant diversity in grasslands, this might subsequently increases drought sensitivity. Vice-versa, enhancing plant diversity in species-poor agricultural grasslands may moderate negative effects of future climate change. - Highlights

  13. Plant diversity moderates drought stress in grasslands: Implications from a large real-world study on {sup 13}C natural abundances

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Klaus, Valentin H., E-mail: v.klaus@uni-muenster.de [Münster University, Institute for Landscape Ecology, Heisenbergstr. 2, 48149 Münster (Germany); Hölzel, Norbert [Münster University, Institute for Landscape Ecology, Heisenbergstr. 2, 48149 Münster (Germany); Prati, Daniel; Schmitt, Barbara [University of Bern, Institute of Plant Sciences, Altenbergrain 21, 3013 Bern (Switzerland); Schöning, Ingo; Schrumpf, Marion; Solly, Emily F. [Max-Planck-Institute for Biogeochemistry, Hans-Knöll-Str. 10, 07745 Jena (Germany); Hänsel, Falk [University Marburg, Environmental Informatics, Faculty of Geography, Deutschhausstr. 12, 35037 Marburg (Germany); Fischer, Markus [University of Bern, Institute of Plant Sciences, Altenbergrain 21, 3013 Bern (Switzerland); Kleinebecker, Till [Münster University, Institute for Landscape Ecology, Heisenbergstr. 2, 48149 Münster (Germany)

    2016-10-01

    Land-use change and intensification play a key role in the current biodiversity crisis. The resulting species loss can have severe effects on ecosystem functions and services, thereby increasing ecosystem vulnerability to climate change. We explored whether land-use intensification (i.e. fertilization intensity), plant diversity and other potentially confounding environmental factors may be significantly related to water use (i.e. drought stress) of grassland plants. Drought stress was assessed using δ{sup 13}C abundances in aboveground plant biomass of 150 grassland plots across a gradient of land-use intensity. Under water shortage, plants are forced to increasingly take up the heavier {sup 13}C due to closing stomata leading to an enrichment of {sup 13}C in biomass. Plants were sampled at the community level and for single species, which belong to three different functional groups (one grass, one herb, two legumes). Results show that plant diversity was significantly related to the δ{sup 13}C signal in community, grass and legume biomass indicating that drought stress was lower under higher diversity, although this relation was not significant for the herb species under study. Fertilization, in turn, mostly increased drought stress as indicated by more positive δ{sup 13}C values. This effect was mostly indirect by decreasing plant diversity. In line with these results, we found similar patterns in the δ{sup 13}C signal of the organic matter in the topsoil, indicating a long history of these processes. Our study provided strong indication for a positive biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationship with reduced drought stress at higher plant diversity. However, it also underlined a negative reinforcing situation: as land-use intensification decreases plant diversity in grasslands, this might subsequently increases drought sensitivity. Vice-versa, enhancing plant diversity in species-poor agricultural grasslands may moderate negative effects of future

  14. Hierarchical traits distances explain grassland Fabaceae species' ecological niches distances

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fort, Florian; Jouany, Claire; Cruz, Pablo

    2015-01-01

    Fabaceae species play a key role in ecosystem functioning through their capacity to fix atmospheric nitrogen via their symbiosis with Rhizobium bacteria. To increase benefits of using Fabaceae in agricultural systems, it is necessary to find ways to evaluate species or genotypes having potential adaptations to sub-optimal growth conditions. We evaluated the relevance of phylogenetic distance, absolute trait distance and hierarchical trait distance for comparing the adaptation of 13 grassland Fabaceae species to different habitats, i.e., ecological niches. We measured a wide range of functional traits (root traits, leaf traits, and whole plant traits) in these species. Species phylogenetic and ecological distances were assessed from a species-level phylogenetic tree and species' ecological indicator values, respectively. We demonstrated that differences in ecological niches between grassland Fabaceae species were related more to their hierarchical trait distances than to their phylogenetic distances. We showed that grassland Fabaceae functional traits tend to converge among species with the same ecological requirements. Species with acquisitive root strategies (thin roots, shallow root systems) are competitive species adapted to non-stressful meadows, while conservative ones (coarse roots, deep root systems) are able to tolerate stressful continental climates. In contrast, acquisitive species appeared to be able to tolerate low soil-P availability, while conservative ones need high P availability. Finally we highlight that traits converge along the ecological gradient, providing the assumption that species with similar root-trait values are better able to coexist, regardless of their phylogenetic distance. PMID:25741353

  15. Hierarchical traits distances explain grassland Fabaceae species’ ecological niches distances

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Florian eFort

    2015-02-01

    Full Text Available Fabaceae species play a key role in ecosystem functioning through their capacity to fix atmospheric nitrogen via their symbiosis with Rhizobium bacteria. To increase benefits of using Fabaceae in agricultural systems, it is necessary to find ways to evaluate species or genotypes having potential adaptations to sub-optimal growth conditions. We evaluated the relevance of phylogenetic distance, absolute trait distance and hierarchical trait distance for comparing the adaptation of 13 grassland Fabaceae species to different habitats, i.e. ecological niches. We measured a wide range of functional traits (root traits, leaf traits and whole plant traits in these species. Species phylogenetic and ecological distances were assessed from a species-level phylogenetic tree and species’ ecological indicator values, respectively. We demonstrated that differences in ecological niches between grassland Fabaceae species were related more to their hierarchical trait distances than to their phylogenetic distances. We showed that grassland Fabaceae functional traits tend to converge among species with the same ecological requirements. Species with acquisitive root strategies (thin roots, shallow root systems are competitive species adapted to non-stressful meadows, while conservative ones (coarse roots, deep root systems are able to tolerate stressful continental climates. In contrast, acquisitive species appeared to be able to tolerate low soil-P availability, while conservative ones need high P availability. Finally we highlight that traits converge along the ecological gradient, providing the assumption that species with similar root-trait values are better able to coexist, regardless of their phylogenetic distance.

  16. Impacts of climate and management on water balance and nitrogen leaching from montane grassland soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fu, Jin; Gasche, Rainer; Wang, Na; Lu, Haiyan; Butterbach-Bahl, Klaus; Kiese, Ralf

    2017-04-01

    The impacts of climate and management on the water balance and nutrient leaching of montane grasslands have rarely been investigated, though such ecosystems may represent a major source for ground and surface water nitrates. In this study nitrogen (nitrate, ammonium, dissolved organic nitrogen) and dissolved organic carbon leaching as well as water balance components (precipitation, evapotranspiration, and groundwater recharge) were quantified (2012-2014) by means of replicated (N=3 per site/ treatment) measurements of weighable grassland lysimeters (1 m2 area, 1.2 m soil depth) at three sites (E860: 860 m a.s.l., E770: 770 m a.s.l. and E600: 600 m a.s.l.) in the pre-alpine region of S-Germany. Two grassland management strategies were investigated: a) intensive management with 5 cuts per year and cattle slurry application rates of 280 kg N ha-1 yr-1, and b) extensive management with 3 cuts per year and cattle slurry application rates of 56 kg N ha-1 yr-1. Our results show that at E600, the site with highest air temperature (8.6 °C) and lowest precipitation (981.9 mm), evapotranspiration losses were 100.7 mm higher as at the E860 site, i.e. the site with lowest mean annual air temperature (6.5 °C) and highest precipitation (1359.3 mm). On the other hand groundwater recharge was substantial lower at E600 (-440.9 mm) as compared to E860. Compared to climate, impacts of grassland management on water balance components were negligible. However, intensive management significantly increased mean total nitrogen leaching rates across sites as compared to extensive management from 2.6 kg N ha-1 year-1 (range: 0.5-6.0 kg N ha-1 year-1) to 4.8 kg N ha-1 year-1 (range: 0.9-12.9 kg N ha-1 year-1). N leaching losses were dominated by nitrate (64.7 %) and equally less by ammonium (14.6 %) and DON (20.7 %). The rather low rates of N leaching (0.8 - 6.9 % of total applied N) suggest a highly efficient nitrogen uptake by plants as measured by plant total N content at harvest

  17. Seasonal variation in carbon dioxide exchange over a Mediterranean annual grassland in California

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Xu, L; Baldocchi, D

    2004-05-01

    well-accepted view that annual production of grass is linearly correlated to precipitation, the large difference in GPP between the two seasons were not caused by the annual precipitation. Instead, a shorter growing season, due to late start of the rainy season, was mainly responsible for the lower GPP in the second season. Furthermore, relatively higher R{sub eco} during the non-growing season occurred after a late spring rain. Thus, for this Mediterranean grassland, the timing of rain events had more impact than the total amount of precipitation on ecosystem GPP and NEE. This is because its growing season is in the cool and wet season when carbon uptake and respiration are usually limited by low temperature and sometimes frost, not by soil moisture.

  18. Evaluation of semiarid grassland degradation in North China from multiple perspectives

    Science.gov (United States)

    Han, D.; Wang, G.; Xue, B. L.; Xu, X.

    2017-12-01

    There has been increasing interest in grassland ecosystem degradation resulting from intensive human activity and climate change, especially in arid and semiarid regions. Species composition, grassland desertification, and aboveground biomass (AGB) are used as indicators of grassland degradation in this study. We comprehensively analyzed variations in these three indicators in semiarid grassland in North China, on multiple time scales, based on MODIS products and field sampling datasets. Since 1984, species composition has become simpler and species indicative of grassland degradation, such as Potentilla acaulis and Artemisia frigida, have become dominant. These changes indicate that serious grassland degradation has occurred since 1984. Grassland degradation was also analyzed on shorter time scales. Analyses of interannual variations during 2005-2015 showed that desertification decreased and average AGB in the growth season increased over the study area, indicating that grassland was recovering. Analyses of spatial variations showed that the position of slightly desertified grassland shifted and formed a band in the west, where the lowest AGB in the growth season was recorded but tendency ratio of AGB increased from 2005 to 2015. Climatic factors had critical effects on grassland degradation, as identified by the three indicators on different time scales. The simpler species composition resulted from the increase in average temperature and decrease in average precipitation over the past 30 years. For nearly a decade, an increase in precipitation and decreases in temperature and potential evapotranspiration reduced desertification and increased AGB in the growth season overall. Consequently, there has distinct difference in grassland degradation between analysis results on above two time scales, indicating multiple perspectives should be considered to accurately assess the state and characteristics of grassland degradation.

  19. Exacerbated grassland degradation and desertification in Central Asia during 2000-2014.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Geli; Biradar, Chandrashekhar M; Xiao, Xiangming; Dong, Jinwei; Zhou, Yuting; Qin, Yuanwei; Zhang, Yao; Liu, Fang; Ding, Mingjun; Thomas, Richard J

    2018-03-01

    Grassland degradation and desertification is a complex process, including both state conversion (e.g., grasslands to deserts) and gradual within-state change (e.g., greenness dynamics). Existing studies hardly separated the two components and analyzed it as a whole based on time series vegetation index data, which cannot provide a clear and comprehensive picture for grassland degradation and desertification. Here we propose an integrated assessment strategy, by considering both state conversion and within-state change of grasslands, to investigate grassland degradation and desertification process in Central Asia. First, annual maps of grasslands and sparsely vegetated land were generated to track the state conversions between them. The results showed increasing grasslands were converted to sparsely vegetated lands from 2000 to 2014, with the desertification region concentrating in the latitude range of 43-48° N. A frequency analysis of grassland vs. sparsely vegetated land classification in the last 15 yr allowed a recognition of persistent desert zone (PDZ), persistent grassland zone (PGZ), and transitional zone (TZ). The TZ was identified in southern Kazakhstan as one hotspot that was unstable and vulnerable to desertification. Furthermore, the trend analysis of Enhanced Vegetation Index during thermal growing season (EVI TGS ) was investigated in individual zones using linear regression and Mann-Kendall approaches. An overall degradation across the area was found; moreover, the second desertification hotspot was identified in northern Kazakhstan with significant decreasing in EVI TGS , which was located in PGZ. Finally, attribution analyses of grassland degradation and desertification were conducted by considering precipitation, temperature, and three different drought indices. We found persistent droughts were the main factor for grassland degradation and desertification in Central Asia. Considering both state conversion and gradual within-state change

  20. Trichoderma Biofertilizer Links to Altered Soil Chemistry, Altered Microbial Communities, and Improved Grassland Biomass

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fengge Zhang

    2018-04-01

    Full Text Available In grasslands, forage and livestock production results in soil nutrient deficits as grasslands typically receive no nutrient inputs, leading to a loss of grassland biomass. The application of mature compost has been shown to effectively increase grassland nutrient availability. However, research on fertilization regime influence and potential microbial ecological regulation mechanisms are rarely conducted in grassland soil. We conducted a two-year experiment in meadow steppe grasslands, focusing on above- and belowground consequences of organic or Trichoderma biofertilizer applications and potential soil microbial ecological mechanisms underlying soil chemistry and microbial community responses. Grassland biomass significantly (p = 0.019 increased following amendment with 9,000 kg ha−1 of Trichoderma biofertilizer (composted cattle manure + inoculum compared with other assessed organic or biofertilizer rates, except for BOF3000 (fertilized with 3,000 kg ha−1 biofertilizer. This rate of Trichoderma biofertilizer treatment increased soil antifungal compounds that may suppress pathogenic fungi, potentially partially responsible for improved grassland biomass. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling (NMDS revealed soil chemistry and fungal communities were all separated by different fertilization regime. Trichoderma biofertilizer (9,000 kg ha−1 increased relative abundances of Archaeorhizomyces and Trichoderma while decreasing Ophiosphaerella. Trichoderma can improve grassland biomass, while Ophiosphaerella has the opposite effect as it may secrete metabolites causing grass necrosis. Correlations between soil properties and microbial genera showed plant-available phosphorus may influence grassland biomass by increasing Archaeorhizomyces and Trichoderma while reducing Ophiosphaerella. According to our structural equation modeling (SEM, Trichoderma abundance was the primary contributor to aboveground grassland biomass. Our results suggest Trichoderma

  1. Impacts of tree rows on grassland birds and potential nest predators: a removal experiment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ellison, Kevin S; Ribic, Christine A; Sample, David W; Fawcett, Megan J; Dadisman, John D

    2013-01-01

    Globally, grasslands and the wildlife that inhabit them are widely imperiled. Encroachment by shrubs and trees has widely impacted grasslands in the past 150 years. In North America, most grassland birds avoid nesting near woody vegetation. Because woody vegetation fragments grasslands and potential nest predator diversity and abundance is often greater along wooded edge and grassland transitions, we measured the impacts of removing rows of trees and shrubs that intersected grasslands on potential nest predators and the three most abundant grassland bird species (Henslow's sparrow [Ammodramus henslowii], Eastern meadowlark [Sturnella magna], and bobolink [Dolichonyx oryzivorus]) at sites in Wisconsin, U.S.A. We monitored 3 control and 3 treatment sites, for 1 yr prior to and 3 yr after tree row removal at the treatment sites. Grassland bird densities increased (2-4 times for bobolink and Henslow's sparrow) and nesting densities increased (all 3 species) in the removal areas compared to control areas. After removals, Henslow's sparrows nested within ≤50 m of the treatment area, where they did not occur when tree rows were present. Most dramatically, activity by woodland-associated predators nearly ceased (nine-fold decrease for raccoon [Procyon lotor]) at the removals and grassland predators increased (up to 27 times activity for thirteen-lined ground squirrel [Ictidomys tridecemlineatus]). Nest success did not increase, likely reflecting the increase in grassland predators. However, more nests were attempted by all 3 species (175 versus 116) and the number of successful nests for bobolinks and Henslow's sparrows increased. Because of gains in habitat, increased use by birds, greater production of young, and the effective removal of woodland-associated predators, tree row removal, where appropriate based on the predator community, can be a beneficial management action for conserving grassland birds and improving fragmented and degraded grassland ecosystems.

  2. Impacts of tree rows on grassland birds and potential nest predators: a removal experiment.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kevin S Ellison

    Full Text Available Globally, grasslands and the wildlife that inhabit them are widely imperiled. Encroachment by shrubs and trees has widely impacted grasslands in the past 150 years. In North America, most grassland birds avoid nesting near woody vegetation. Because woody vegetation fragments grasslands and potential nest predator diversity and abundance is often greater along wooded edge and grassland transitions, we measured the impacts of removing rows of trees and shrubs that intersected grasslands on potential nest predators and the three most abundant grassland bird species (Henslow's sparrow [Ammodramus henslowii], Eastern meadowlark [Sturnella magna], and bobolink [Dolichonyx oryzivorus] at sites in Wisconsin, U.S.A. We monitored 3 control and 3 treatment sites, for 1 yr prior to and 3 yr after tree row removal at the treatment sites. Grassland bird densities increased (2-4 times for bobolink and Henslow's sparrow and nesting densities increased (all 3 species in the removal areas compared to control areas. After removals, Henslow's sparrows nested within ≤50 m of the treatment area, where they did not occur when tree rows were present. Most dramatically, activity by woodland-associated predators nearly ceased (nine-fold decrease for raccoon [Procyon lotor] at the removals and grassland predators increased (up to 27 times activity for thirteen-lined ground squirrel [Ictidomys tridecemlineatus]. Nest success did not increase, likely reflecting the increase in grassland predators. However, more nests were attempted by all 3 species (175 versus 116 and the number of successful nests for bobolinks and Henslow's sparrows increased. Because of gains in habitat, increased use by birds, greater production of young, and the effective removal of woodland-associated predators, tree row removal, where appropriate based on the predator community, can be a beneficial management action for conserving grassland birds and improving fragmented and degraded grassland

  3. The influence of boundary features on grassland-edge communities of Alta Murgia

    OpenAIRE

    Cassano, Stefania; Alignier, Audrey; Forte, Luigi; Labadessa, Rocco; Mairota, Paola

    2016-01-01

    Many studies suggest the importance of boundary features on plant community dynamics. Our aim was to investigate the influence of boundary features on edge plant assemblages in semi-natural dry grasslands. For this purpose we selected 16 grassland edges in the central portion of the Natura 2000 site Murgia Alta, in southeastern Italy. These sites were selected according to a combination of boundary features, i.e. the adjoining land use type (road or cereal crop), slope (grassland tilted towar...

  4. Trichoderma Biofertilizer Links to Altered Soil Chemistry, Altered Microbial Communities, and Improved Grassland Biomass.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Fengge; Huo, Yunqian; Cobb, Adam B; Luo, Gongwen; Zhou, Jiqiong; Yang, Gaowen; Wilson, Gail W T; Zhang, Yingjun

    2018-01-01

    In grasslands, forage and livestock production results in soil nutrient deficits as grasslands typically receive no nutrient inputs, leading to a loss of grassland biomass. The application of mature compost has been shown to effectively increase grassland nutrient availability. However, research on fertilization regime influence and potential microbial ecological regulation mechanisms are rarely conducted in grassland soil. We conducted a two-year experiment in meadow steppe grasslands, focusing on above- and belowground consequences of organic or Trichoderma biofertilizer applications and potential soil microbial ecological mechanisms underlying soil chemistry and microbial community responses. Grassland biomass significantly ( p = 0.019) increased following amendment with 9,000 kg ha -1 of Trichoderma biofertilizer (composted cattle manure + inoculum) compared with other assessed organic or biofertilizer rates, except for BOF3000 (fertilized with 3,000 kg ha -1 biofertilizer). This rate of Trichoderma biofertilizer treatment increased soil antifungal compounds that may suppress pathogenic fungi, potentially partially responsible for improved grassland biomass. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) revealed soil chemistry and fungal communities were all separated by different fertilization regime. Trichoderma biofertilizer (9,000 kg ha -1 ) increased relative abundances of Archaeorhizomyces and Trichoderma while decreasing Ophiosphaerella . Trichoderma can improve grassland biomass, while Ophiosphaerella has the opposite effect as it may secrete metabolites causing grass necrosis. Correlations between soil properties and microbial genera showed plant-available phosphorus may influence grassland biomass by increasing Archaeorhizomyces and Trichoderma while reducing Ophiosphaerella . According to our structural equation modeling (SEM), Trichoderma abundance was the primary contributor to aboveground grassland biomass. Our results suggest Trichoderma

  5. Flow visualization

    CERN Document Server

    Merzkirch, Wolfgang

    1974-01-01

    Flow Visualization describes the most widely used methods for visualizing flows. Flow visualization evaluates certain properties of a flow field directly accessible to visual perception. Organized into five chapters, this book first presents the methods that create a visible flow pattern that could be investigated by visual inspection, such as simple dye and density-sensitive visualization methods. It then deals with the application of electron beams and streaming birefringence. Optical methods for compressible flows, hydraulic analogy, and high-speed photography are discussed in other cha

  6. Potential nitrogen critical loads for northern Great Plains grassland vegetation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Symstad, Amy J.; Smith, Anine T.; Newton, Wesley E.; Knapp, Alan K.

    2015-01-01

    nitrogen concentration. To determine critical loads for the NGP plant communities in our experiment, we followed the NPS’s precautionary principle in assuming that it is better to be cautious than to let harm occur to the environment. Thus, the critical loads we derived are the lowest nitrogen level that any of our data suggest has a measureable effect on any of the response variables measured.Badlands sparse vegetation, a low-productivity plant community that is an important part of the scenery at Badlands National Park and provides habitat for rare plant species, was the most sensitive of the three vegetation types. More aspects of this vegetation type responded to nitrogen addition, and at lower levels, than at the other two sites. Our data suggest that nitrogen deposition levels of 4- 6 kg N/ha/yr may increase biomass production, and consequently the amount of dead plant material on the ground in this plant community. Slightly higher critical loads are suggested for the two more productive vegetation types more characteristic of most NGP grasslands: 6-10 kg N/ha/yr for biomass production, grass tissue nitrogen concentration, or non-native species (especially annual brome grasses) cover. Highly variable results among years, as well as inconsistent responses to an increasing dose of nitrogen within sites, complicated the derivation of critical loads in this experiment, however. A less precautionary approach to deriving critical loads yielded higher values of 10-38 kg N/ha/yr.

  7. Long-term reactions of plants and macroinvertebrates to extreme floods in floodplain grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ilg, Christiane; Dziock, Frank; Foeckler, Francis; Follner, Klaus; Gerisch, Michael; Glaeser, Judith; Rink, Anke; Schanowski, Arno; Scholz, Mathias; Deichner, Oskar; Henle, Klaus

    2008-09-01

    Extreme summertime flood events are expected to become more frequent in European rivers due to climate change. In temperate areas, where winter floods are common, extreme floods occurring in summer, a period of high physiological activity, may seriously impact floodplain ecosystems. Here we report on the effects of the 2002 extreme summer flood on flora and fauna of the riverine grasslands of the Middle Elbe (Germany), comparing pre- and post-flooding data collected by identical methods. Plants, mollusks, and carabid beetles differed considerably in their response in terms of abundance and diversity. Plants and mollusks, displaying morphological and behavioral adaptations to flooding, showed higher survival rates than the carabid beetles, the adaptation strategies of which were mainly linked to life history. Our results illustrate the complexity of responses of floodplain organisms to extreme flood events. They demonstrate that the efficiency of resistance and resilience strategies is widely dependent on the mode of adaptation.

  8. Higher Education

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Kunle Amuwo: Higher Education Transformation: A Paradigm Shilt in South Africa? ... ty of such skills, especially at the middle management levels within the higher ... istics and virtues of differentiation and diversity. .... may be forced to close shop for lack of capacity to attract ..... necessarily lead to racial and gender equity,.

  9. Visual field

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... your visual field. How the Test is Performed Confrontation visual field exam. This is a quick and ... to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A. ...

  10. Temperate grassland songbird species accumulate incrementally along a gradient of primary productivity.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    William L Harrower

    Full Text Available Global analyses of bird communities along elevation gradients suggest that bird diversity on arid mountains is primarily limited by water availability, not temperature or altitude. However, the mechanism by which water availability, and subsequently primary productivity, increases bird diversity is still unclear. Here we evaluate two possible mechanisms from species-energy theory. The more individuals hypothesis proposes that a higher availability of resources increases the total number of individuals that can be supported, and therefore the greater number of species that will be sampled. By contrast, the more specialization hypothesis proposes that increasing resource availability will permit specialists to exploit otherwise rare resources, thus increasing total diversity. We used 5 years of surveys of grassland songbird communities along an elevational gradient in British Columbia, Canada, to distinguish between these hypotheses. Vegetation changed markedly in composition along the gradient and contrary to the expectations of the more specialization hypothesis, bird community composition was remarkably constant. However, both total abundance and species richness of birds increased with increasing water availability to plants. When we used rarefaction to correct species richness for differences in total abundance, much of the increase in bird diversity was lost, consistent with the expectations of the more individuals hypothesis. Furthermore, high species richness was associated with reductions in territory size of common bird species, rather than the fine-scale spatial partitioning of the landscape. This suggests that bird diversity increases when greater resource availability allows higher densities rather than greater habitat specialization. These results help explain a pervasive global pattern in bird diversity on arid mountains, and suggest that in such landscapes conservation of grassland birds is strongly linked to climate and hydrology.

  11. Short-Term Effects of Changing Precipitation Patterns on Shrub-Steppe Grasslands: Seasonal Watering Is More Important than Frequency of Watering Events.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Densmore-McCulloch, Justine A; Thompson, Donald L; Fraser, Lauchlan H

    2016-01-01

    Climate change is expected to alter precipitation patterns. Droughts may become longer and more frequent, and the timing and intensity of precipitation may change. We tested how shifting precipitation patterns, both seasonally and by frequency of events, affects soil nitrogen availability, plant biomass and diversity in a shrub-steppe temperate grassland along a natural productivity gradient in Lac du Bois Grasslands Protected Area near Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. We manipulated seasonal watering patterns by either exclusively watering in the spring or the fall. To simulate spring precipitation we restricted precipitation inputs in the fall, then added 50% more water than the long term average in the spring, and vice-versa for the fall precipitation treatment. Overall, the amount of precipitation remained roughly the same. We manipulated the frequency of rainfall events by either applying water weekly (frequent) or monthly (intensive). After 2 years, changes in the seasonality of watering had greater effects on plant biomass and diversity than changes in the frequency of watering. Fall watering reduced biomass and increased species diversity, while spring watering had little effect. The reduction in biomass in fall watered treatments was due to a decline in grasses, but not forbs. Plant available N, measured by Plant Root Simulator (PRS)-probes, increased from spring to summer to fall, and was higher in fall watered treatments compared to spring watered treatments when measured in the fall. The only effect observed due to frequency of watering events was greater extractable soil N in monthly applied treatments compared to weekly watering treatments. Understanding the effects of changing precipitation patterns on grasslands will allow improved grassland conservation and management in the face of global climatic change, and here we show that if precipitation is more abundant in the fall, compared to the spring, grassland primary productivity will likely be

  12. Impact of land use change on soil organic matter dynamics in subalpine grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meyer, Stefanie; Leifeld, Jens; Bahn, Michael; Fuhrer, Jürg

    2010-05-01

    Information regarding the response of soil organic matter (SOM) in soils to past and expected future land use changes in the European Alps is scarce. Understanding this response requires knowledge of size and residence times of SOM fractions with distinct stabilities. In order to quantify differences between types of land use in the amount, distribution and turnover rates of soil organic carbon (SOC) in subalpine grassland soils, we used soil aggregate and SOM density fractionation in combination with 14C dating. Samples were taken along gradients of different types of land use from meadow (M) to pasture (P) and to abandoned grassland (A) in the Stubai Valley and in the Matsch Valley. Sampling sites in both areas were located at equal altitude (1880 m and 1820 m, respectively) with the same parent material and soil type, but the Matsch Valley receives 400-500 mm less annual rainfall. SOC stocks in the top 10 cm were 2.47 ± 0.32 (M), 2.75 ± 0.32 (P), and 2.50 ± 0.31 kg C/m2 (A) in the Stubai Valley and 2.25 ± 0.14 (M), 3.45 ± 0.22 (P), 3.16 ± 0.27 kg C/m2(A) in the Matsch Valley. Three aggregate size classes were separated by wet sieving: 2 mm. The light floating fraction (wPOM, ρ >1 g/cm3) was included in the analysis. Free (f-) and occluded particulate organic matter (oPOM) were isolated from each aggregate size class (ρ >1.6 g/cm3). At both locations, more than 80% of SOC was stored in small (0.25-2 mm) and large (>2 mm) macroaggregates, but no trend in relation to the different types of land use could be detected. The fraction of C in fPOM and in oPOM in all aggregate size classes was highest for soil from abandoned grasslands. The bulk soil of the abandoned site in the Stubai Valley showed a significantly higher share of fPOM-C and oPOM-C and a higher amount of wPOM-C as compared to the soil from managed grassland, whereas in the Matsch Valley pasture soil had a significantly higher wPOM-C content. At both sites, 13C natural abundance analyses revealed

  13. Higher Education

    Science.gov (United States)

    & Development (LDRD) National Security Education Center (NSEC) Office of Science Programs Richard P Databases National Security Education Center (NSEC) Center for Nonlinear Studies Engineering Institute Scholarships STEM Education Programs Teachers (K-12) Students (K-12) Higher Education Regional Education

  14. Flower resource and land management drives hoverfly communities and bee abundance in seminatural and agricultural grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lucas, Andrew; Bull, James C; de Vere, Natasha; Neyland, Penelope J; Forman, Dan W

    2017-10-01

    Pollination is a key ecosystem service, and appropriate management, particularly in agricultural systems, is essential to maintain a diversity of pollinator guilds. However, management recommendations frequently focus on maintaining plant communities, with the assumption that associated invertebrate populations will be sustained. We tested whether plant community, flower resources, and soil moisture would influence hoverfly (Syrphidae) abundance and species richness in floristically-rich seminatural and floristically impoverished agricultural grassland communities in Wales (U.K.) and compared these to two Hymenoptera genera, Bombus, and Lasioglossum . Interactions between environmental variables were tested using generalized linear modeling, and hoverfly community composition examined using canonical correspondence analysis. There was no difference in hoverfly abundance, species richness, or bee abundance, between grassland types. There was a positive association between hoverfly abundance, species richness, and flower abundance in unimproved grasslands. However, this was not evident in agriculturally improved grassland, possibly reflecting intrinsically low flower resource in these habitats, or the presence of plant species with low or relatively inaccessible nectar resources. There was no association between soil moisture content and hoverfly abundance or species richness. Hoverfly community composition was influenced by agricultural improvement and the amount of flower resource. Hoverfly species with semiaquatic larvae were associated with both seminatural and agricultural wet grasslands, possibly because of localized larval habitat. Despite the absence of differences in hoverfly abundance and species richness, distinct hoverfly communities are associated with marshy grasslands, agriculturally improved marshy grasslands, and unimproved dry grasslands, but not with improved dry grasslands. Grassland plant community cannot be used as a proxy for pollinator

  15. Leaf trait response to nutrients and herbivore exclusion across a globally replicated grassland experiment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Firn, Jennifer

    2017-04-01

    Leaf trait response to nutrients and herbivore exclusion across a globally replicated grassland experiment Jennifer Firn1, James McGree2, Eric Lind3, Elizabeth Borer3, Eric Seabloom3, Lauren Sullivan3, Kimberly Lapierre4 and the Nutrient Network 1Queensland University of Technology (QUT), School of Earth, Environmental and Biological Sciences, Science and Engineering Faculty, Brisbane, QLD, 4001 Australia 2Queensland University of Technology (QUT), School of Mathematical Sciences, Science and Engineering Faculty, Brisbane, QLD, 4001 Australia 3Universtiy of Minnesota, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, 1479 Gortner Avenue, 140 Gortner Laboratory, St. Paul, MN 55108 USA 4Department of integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720 USA Functional trait research has developed with the aim of finding general patterns in how the function of plant assemblages changes with respect to different land-uses. Most studies have compared sites within and across regions with variations in land-use history, but not necessarily with standardized treatments in an experimental framework. The trends that have emerged from this research is that characteristics of leaf traits such as specific leaf area (SLA) correlate with carbon acquisition strategies known to influence ecosystem functioning. SLA has been found to represent a plant's investment in growing light-capturing area per dry mass content. Species with a relatively high SLA tend to have a higher rate of return on the resources invested into making tissue (cheaper leaves in terms of energy and resources needed to produce them) when compared to species with a lower SLA (more expensive leaves to produce). Few studies have examined quantitatively measured traits in an experimental framework. The Nutrient Network experiment, globally distributed experiment, presents a unique opportunity to examine the response of functional traits across grassland ecosystems characterised by a diverse range of

  16. Dinitrogen emissions as an overlooked component of the N balance of montane grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zistl-Schlingmann, M.; Feng, J.; Ralf, K.; Stephan, R.; Dannenmann, M.

    2017-12-01

    The aim of the SUSALPS project (www.susalps.de), formed by several Universities (Bayreuth, TUM) governmental research organizations (KIT, HMGU, Bavarian State Research Centre for Agriculture) and private industry (WWL) is to improve our knowledge on the effects of current and future climate and management on ecosystem functions performed by grasslands. SUSALPS experimental work quantifies impacts of climate and land management changes on plant and microbial diversity, nutrient use efficiencies, biomass production and quality, soil carbon and nitrogen storage and turnover, greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient leaching at several sites covering different elevations and thus, climatic conditions. Numerous studies have been conducted on the dynamics and annual budget of NOx, NH3 and especially N2O emissions, since it is a potent greenhouse gas. The emissions and its role in the N budget remain unclear for the inert and environmentally harmless N2, mainly due to the lack of reliable measurement techniques. The helium incubation technique developed by Butterbach-Bahl, Willibald & Papen (2002) allows us to conduct reliable N2 measurements with intact soil cores and thus field like conditions in the lab. In our studies, we investigated N2 and N2O fluxes and calculated the N2/(N2O+ N2) ratio from grassland ecosystems in southern Germany. A space-for-time approach was used to simulate climate change via the translocation of intact soil cores along an altitudinal gradient. Both climate change and fertilization events were investigated on their influence on gaseous N losses from the plant-soil system. Peak emissions, which occurred subsequently to fertilization events revealed a loss of almost 50% of the applied N via N-gas-emissions. The cumulative annual N-gas-emissions have additionally shown around six fold higher N losses via N2 compared to NH3, contributing about 80% of all gaseous N losses from the ecosystem. This led us to the conclusion, that N2 is an overlooked key

  17. Data visualization

    CERN Document Server

    Azzam, Tarek

    2013-01-01

    Do you communicate data and information to stakeholders? In Part 1, we introduce recent developments in the quantitative and qualitative data visualization field and provide a historical perspective on data visualization, its potential role in evaluation practice, and future directions. Part 2 delivers concrete suggestions for optimally using data visualization in evaluation, as well as suggestions for best practices in data visualization design. It focuses on specific quantitative and qualitative data visualization approaches that include data dashboards, graphic recording, and geographic information systems (GIS). Readers will get a step-by-step process for designing an effective data dashboard system for programs and organizations, and various suggestions to improve their utility.

  18. Visual Literacy and Visual Thinking.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hortin, John A.

    It is proposed that visual literacy be defined as the ability to understand (read) and use (write) images and to think and learn in terms of images. This definition includes three basic principles: (1) visuals are a language and thus analogous to verbal language; (2) a visually literate person should be able to understand (read) images and use…

  19. Visual Literacy and Visual Culture.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Messaris, Paul

    Familiarity with specific images or sets of images plays a role in a culture's visual heritage. Two questions can be asked about this type of visual literacy: Is this a type of knowledge that is worth building into the formal educational curriculum of our schools? What are the educational implications of visual literacy? There is a three-part…

  20. Machine Learning to Assess Grassland Productivity in Southeastern Arizona

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ponce-Campos, G. E.; Heilman, P.; Armendariz, G.; Moser, E.; Archer, V.; Vaughan, R.

    2015-12-01

    We present preliminary results of machine learning (ML) techniques modeling the combined effects of climate, management, and inherent potential on productivity of grazed semi-arid grasslands in southeastern Arizona. Our goal is to support public land managers determine if agency management policies are meeting objectives and where to focus attention. Monitoring in the field is becoming more and more limited in space and time. Remotely sensed data cover the entire allotments and go back in time, but do not consider the key issue of species composition. By estimating expected vegetative production as a function of site potential and climatic inputs, management skill can be assessed through time, across individual allotments, and between allotments. Here we present the use of Random Forest (RF) as the main ML technique, in this case for the purpose of regression. Our response variable is the maximum annual NDVI, a surrogate for grassland productivity, as generated by the Google Earth Engine cloud computing platform based on Landsat 5, 7, and 8 datasets. PRISM 33-year normal precipitation (1980-2013) was resampled to the Landsat scale. In addition, the GRIDMET climate dataset was the source for the calculation of the annual SPEI (Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index), a drought index. We also included information about landscape position, aspect, streams, ponds, roads and fire disturbances as part of the modeling process. Our results show that in terms of variable importance, the 33-year normal precipitation, along with SPEI, are the most important features affecting grasslands productivity within the study area. The RF approach was compared to a linear regression model with the same variables. The linear model resulted in an r2 = 0.41, whereas RF showed a significant improvement with an r2 = 0.79. We continue refining the model by comparison with aerial photography and to include grazing intensity and infrastructure from units/allotments to assess the

  1. Land-use intensification causes multitrophic homogenization of grassland communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gossner, Martin M; Lewinsohn, Thomas M; Kahl, Tiemo; Grassein, Fabrice; Boch, Steffen; Prati, Daniel; Birkhofer, Klaus; Renner, Swen C; Sikorski, Johannes; Wubet, Tesfaye; Arndt, Hartmut; Baumgartner, Vanessa; Blaser, Stefan; Blüthgen, Nico; Börschig, Carmen; Buscot, Francois; Diekötter, Tim; Jorge, Leonardo Ré; Jung, Kirsten; Keyel, Alexander C; Klein, Alexandra-Maria; Klemmer, Sandra; Krauss, Jochen; Lange, Markus; Müller, Jörg; Overmann, Jörg; Pašalić, Esther; Penone, Caterina; Perović, David J; Purschke, Oliver; Schall, Peter; Socher, Stephanie A; Sonnemann, Ilja; Tschapka, Marco; Tscharntke, Teja; Türke, Manfred; Venter, Paul Christiaan; Weiner, Christiane N; Werner, Michael; Wolters, Volkmar; Wurst, Susanne; Westphal, Catrin; Fischer, Markus; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Allan, Eric

    2016-12-08

    Land-use intensification is a major driver of biodiversity loss. Alongside reductions in local species diversity, biotic homogenization at larger spatial scales is of great concern for conservation. Biotic homogenization means a decrease in β-diversity (the compositional dissimilarity between sites). Most studies have investigated losses in local (α)-diversity and neglected biodiversity loss at larger spatial scales. Studies addressing β-diversity have focused on single or a few organism groups (for example, ref. 4), and it is thus unknown whether land-use intensification homogenizes communities at different trophic levels, above- and belowground. Here we show that even moderate increases in local land-use intensity (LUI) cause biotic homogenization across microbial, plant and animal groups, both above- and belowground, and that this is largely independent of changes in α-diversity. We analysed a unique grassland biodiversity dataset, with abundances of more than 4,000 species belonging to 12 trophic groups. LUI, and, in particular, high mowing intensity, had consistent effects on β-diversity across groups, causing a homogenization of soil microbial, fungal pathogen, plant and arthropod communities. These effects were nonlinear and the strongest declines in β-diversity occurred in the transition from extensively managed to intermediate intensity grassland. LUI tended to reduce local α-diversity in aboveground groups, whereas the α-diversity increased in belowground groups. Correlations between the β-diversity of different groups, particularly between plants and their consumers, became weaker at high LUI. This suggests a loss of specialist species and is further evidence for biotic homogenization. The consistently negative effects of LUI on landscape-scale biodiversity underscore the high value of extensively managed grasslands for conserving multitrophic biodiversity and ecosystem service provision. Indeed, biotic homogenization rather than local diversity

  2. Response of predominant soil bacteria to grassland succession as monitored by ribosomal RNA analyses

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Felske, A.

    1999-01-01

    The research described in this thesis was aimed to provide insight into the effects of grassland succession on the composition of the soil bacteria community in the Drentse A agricultural research area. The Drentse A meadows represent grassland succession at different stages. Since 30 years

  3. Modelling the carbon cycle of grassland in the Netherlands under various management strategies and environmental conditions.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Pol-van Dasselaar, van den A.; Lantinga, E.A.

    1995-01-01

    A simulation model of the grassland carbon cycle (CCGRASS) was developed to evaluate the long-term effects of different management strategies and various environmental conditions on carbon sequestration in a loam soil under permanent grassland in the Netherlands. The model predicted that the rate of

  4. Temporal dynamics of soil nematode communities in a grassland plant diversity experiment.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Viketoft, M.; Sohlenius, B.; Bostrom, S.; Palmborg, C.; Bengtsson, J.; Berg, M.P.; Kuss-Danell, K.

    2011-01-01

    We report here on an 8-year study examining links between plant and nematode communities in a grassland plant diversity experiment, located in the north of Sweden on previous agricultural soil. The examined plots contained 1, 4 and 12 common grassland plant species from three functional groups;

  5. The Impact of Ecological Construction Programs on Grassland Conservation in Inner Mongolia, China

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Liu, Min; Dries, Liesbeth; Heijman, Wim; Huang, Jikun; Zhu, Xueqin; Hu, Yuanning; Chen, Haibin

    2018-01-01

    A series of Ecological Construction Programs have been initiated to protect the condition of grasslands in China during recent decades. However, grassland degradation is still severe, and conditions have not been restored as intended. This paper aims to empirically examine the effectiveness of these

  6. 78 FR 19444 - Pawnee National Grassland, Colorado; Oil and Gas Leasing Analysis Environmental Impact Statement

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-04-01

    ... Leasing Analysis on the Pawnee National Grassland (PNG), was signed. That decision determined which Lands... National Grassland. Much of the PNG's federal mineral estate made available per the 1997 ROD has already... [36 CFR 228.102(e)]. Accordingly, the PNG finds it is necessary to disclose the potential effects of...

  7. Long-term after-effects of fertilisation on restoration of calcareous grasslands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Smits, N.A.C.; Bobbink, R.; Willems, J.H.

    2008-01-01

    Question: What are the long-term implications of former fertilisation for the ecological restoration of calcareous grasslands? Location: Gerendal, Limburg, The Netherlands. Methods: In 1970, ten permanent plots were established in just abandoned agricultural calcareous grassland under a regime of

  8. 77 FR 75119 - Dakota Prairie Grasslands, North Dakota; Oil and Gas Development Supplemental Environmental...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-12-19

    ... DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Dakota Prairie Grasslands, North Dakota; Oil and Gas... to prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement. SUMMARY: In June of 2003, the Dakota... Dakota Prairie Grasslands Land and Resource Management Plan, based on the 2001 Northern Great Plains...

  9. Efficacy of exclosures in conserving local shrub biodiversity in xeric sandy grassland, Inner Mongolia, China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feng-Rui Li; Zhi-Yu Zhou; Li-Ya Zhao; Ai-Sheng Zhang; Ling-Fen Kang

    2007-01-01

    This study investigated the abundance and frequency of occurrence of all shrub species present in the standing vegetation at four sites, including a 5-year exclosure (protected grassland) and three adjacent unprotected grazing sites that had been subjected to different levels of degradation (light, moderate and severe), in xeric sandy grassland of Inner Mongolia for...

  10. Grassland simulation with the LPJmL model : version 3.4.018

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Boons-Prins, E.R.

    2010-01-01

    One third of the land surface is covered with natural and cultivated grasslands. Most of these grasslands are intensively or extensively exploited by humans to feed animals. With growing wealth, causing an increase of meat consumption, there is a need to better understand the processes that

  11. Balance matters : N:P stoichiometry and plant diversity in grassland ecosystems

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Fujita, Y.

    2010-01-01

    Eutrophication of Nitrogen (N) and Phosphorus (P) is threatening the functioning and biodiversity of grassland ecosystems. A well known effect of eutrophication on grasslands is an increase of above-ground productivity, which intensifies light competition and allows only a few competitive species to

  12. Spatial probability models of fire in the desert grasslands of the southwestern USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fire is an important driver of ecological processes in semiarid environments; however, the role of fire in desert grasslands of the Southwestern US is controversial and the regional fire distribution is largely unknown. We characterized the spatial distribution of fire in the desert grassland region...

  13. Root biomass and carbon storage in differently managed multispecies temporary grasslands

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Eriksen, Jørgen; Mortensen, Tine Bloch; Søegaard, Karen

    2012-01-01

    Species-rich grasslands may potentially increase carbon (C) storage in soil, and an experiment was established to investigate C storage in highly productive temporary multi-species grasslands. Plots were established with three mixtures: (1) a herb mixture containing salad burnet (Sanguisorba minor...

  14. Vascular plants and a brief history of the Kiowa and Rita Blanca National Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Donald L. Hazlett; Michael H. Schiebout; Paulette L. Ford

    2009-01-01

    Administered by the USDA Forest Service, the Kiowa and Rita Blanca National Grasslands occupy 230,000 acres of public land extending from northeastern New Mexico into the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas. A mosaic of topographic features including canyons, plateaus, rolling grasslands and outcrops supports a diverse flora. Eight hundred twenty six (826) species of...

  15. Spatial patterns of grasses and shrubs in an arid grassland environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    In the Chihuahuan Desert of Mexico and New Mexico, shrub invasion is a common problem, and once-abundant grassland ecosystems are being replaced by shrub-dominated habitat. The spatial arrangement of grasses and shrubs in these arid grasslands can provide better insight into community dynamics and c...

  16. Linear objects impact on grassland degradation in the typical steppe region of China

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Li, Suying; Verburg, Peter H.; Lv, Shihai; Gao, Shangyu; Wu, Jingle

    2011-01-01

    Despite growing recognition of the issue of grassland degradation, few regional estimates of linear object impacts on grassland degradation [1]. We presented a methodology for evaluating regional impacts on steppe degradation from linear objects which were two uppermost types, rivers and roads, in

  17. Secondary succession after fire in Imperata grasslands of East Kalimantan Indonesia

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Yassir, I.; Kamp, van der J.; Buurman, P.

    2010-01-01

    Regeneration of grassland areas is becoming increasingly important, not only to create new secondary forest and recover the original biodiversity, but also recover for agriculture. We studied an early succession in Imperata grasslands in East Kalimantan, Indonesia, using plots that last burned 3

  18. Potential of endozoochorous seed dispersal by sheep in calcareous grasslands: correlations with seed traits.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kuiters, A.T.; Huiskes, H.P.J.

    2010-01-01

    Questions: What is the potential of sheep to serve as seed dispersers via ingestion and defecation in calcareous grasslands? Is the presence of viable seeds from dung correlated with specific seed traits? Location: Calcareous grasslands, South Limburg, the Netherlands/Belgium. Methods: Dung samples

  19. Organic matter dynamics and N mineralization in grassland soils

    OpenAIRE

    Hassink, J.

    1995-01-01


    The aims of this study are i) to improve our understanding of the interactions between soil texturelsoil structure, soil organic matter, soil biota and mineralization in grassland soils, ii) to develop a procedure that yields soil organic matter fractions that can be determined directly and can be used in soil organic matter models, iii) to develop a model that predicts the long-term dynamics of soil organic matter, iv) to develop a simple model that can be used by farmers and advi...

  20. Higher Education.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hendrickson, Robert M.

    This chapter reports 1982 cases involving aspects of higher education. Interesting cases noted dealt with the federal government's authority to regulate state employees' retirement and raised the questions of whether Title IX covers employment, whether financial aid makes a college a program under Title IX, and whether sex segregated mortality…

  1. Effect of short-term versus long-term grassland management and seasonal variation in organic and conventional dairy farming on the composition of bulk tank milk

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Adler, S A; Jensen, Søren Krogh; Govasmark, E

    2013-01-01

    Bulk tank milk from 28 dairy farms was sampled every second month for 2 yr to assess the effects of grassland management, production system and season on milk fatty acid (FA) composition, concentrations of fat-soluble vitamins, Se, and milk sensory quality. Grassland management varied in terms of...... feeding periods had potential health benefits due to FA composition. In contrast, the higher milk-fat proportions of saturated FA in milk from ORG farms may be perceived as negative for human health.......:0 and C18:1 cis-9 associated with higher forage proportion and differences in concentrations of FA in concentrates. Compared with the outdoor-feeding periods, the indoor feeding periods yielded milk fat with higher proportions of most short-chain and medium-chain FA and lower proportions of most C18-FA....... In conclusion, grassland management had minor effects on milk composition, and differences between ORG farms and CON farms may be explained by differences in concentrate intake and concentrate FA concentrations. Milk produced on ORG farms versus CON farms and milk produced during the outdoor versus indoor...

  2. Measurements and modeling of surface-atmosphere exchange of microorganisms in Mediterranean grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carotenuto, Federico; Georgiadis, Teodoro; Gioli, Beniamino; Leyronas, Christel; Morris, Cindy E.; Nardino, Marianna; Wohlfahrt, Georg; Miglietta, Franco

    2017-12-01

    Microbial aerosols (mainly composed of bacterial and fungal cells) may constitute up to 74 % of the total aerosol volume. These biological aerosols are not only relevant to the dispersion of pathogens, but they also have geochemical implications. Some bacteria and fungi may, in fact, serve as cloud condensation or ice nuclei, potentially affecting cloud formation and precipitation and are active at higher temperatures compared to their inorganic counterparts. Simulations of the impact of microbial aerosols on climate are still hindered by the lack of information regarding their emissions from ground sources. This present work tackles this knowledge gap by (i) applying a rigorous micrometeorological approach to the estimation of microbial net fluxes above a Mediterranean grassland and (ii) developing a deterministic model (the PLAnET model) to estimate these emissions on the basis of a few meteorological parameters that are easy to obtain. The grassland is characterized by an abundance of positive net microbial fluxes and the model proves to be a promising tool capable of capturing the day-to-day variability in microbial fluxes with a relatively small bias and sufficient accuracy. PLAnET is still in its infancy and will benefit from future campaigns extending the available training dataset as well as the inclusion of ever more complex and critical phenomena triggering the emission of microbial aerosol (such as rainfall). The model itself is also adaptable as an emission module for dispersion and chemical transport models, allowing further exploration of the impact of land-cover-driven microbial aerosols on the atmosphere and climate.

  3. Post-fire redistribution of soil carbon and nitrogen at a grassland-shrubland ecotone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Guan; Li, Junran; Ravi, Sujith; Dukes, David; Gonzales, Howell B.; Sankey, Joel B.

    2018-01-01

    The rapid conversion of grasslands into shrublands has been observed in many arid and semiarid regions worldwide. Studies have shown that fire can provide certain forms of reversibility for shrub-grass transition due to resource homogenization and shrub mortality, especially in the early stages of shrub encroachment. Field-level post-fire soil resource redistribution has rarely been tested. Here we used prescribed fire in a shrubland-grassland transition zone in the northern Chihuahuan Desert to test the hypothesis that fire facilitates the remobilization of nutrient-enriched soil from shrub microsites to grass and bare microsites and thereby reduces the spatial heterogeneity of soil resources. Results show that the shrub microsites had the lowest water content compared to grass and bare microsites after fire, even when rain events occurred. Significant differences of total soil carbon (TC) and total soil nitrogen (TN) among the three microsites disappeared one year after the fire. The spatial autocorrelation distance increased from 1~2 m, approximately the mean size of an individual shrub canopy, to over 5 m one year after the fire for TC and TN. Patches of high soil C and N decomposed one year after the prescribed fire. Overall, fire stimulates the transfer of soil C and N from shrub microsites to nutrient-depleted grass and bare microsites. Such a redistribution of soil C and N, coupled with the reduced soil water content under the shrub canopies, suggests that fire might influence the competition between shrubs and grasses, leading to a higher grass, compared to shrub, coverage in this ecotone.

  4. Mapping spatio-temporal variation of grassland quantity and quality using MERIS data and the PROSAIL model

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Si, Y.; Schlerf, M.; Zurita-Milla, R.; Skidmore, A.K.; Wang, T.

    2012-01-01

    Accurate estimates of the quantity and quality of grasslands, as they vary in space and time and from regional to global scales, furthers our understanding of grassland ecosystems. The Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) is a promising sensor for measuring and monitoring grasslands due to

  5. 78 FR 65609 - Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland; Wyoming; Thunder Basin...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-11-01

    ... National Grassland; Wyoming; Thunder Basin National Grassland Prairie Dog Amendment Environmental Impact... Cooperating Agencies. No changes to the Proposed Action or Purpose of and Need for Action have been made... alternatives will be analyzed in the Thunder Basin National Grassland Prairie Dog Amendment EIS. The EIS will...

  6. Effect of degradation intensity on grassland ecosystem services in the alpine region of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, China.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lu Wen

    Full Text Available The deterioration of alpine grassland has great impact on ecosystem services in the alpine region of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. However, the effect of grassland degradation on ecosystem services and the consequence of grassland deterioration on economic loss still remains a mystery. So, in this study, we assessed four types of ecosystem services following the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment classification, along a degradation gradient. Five sites of alpine grassland at different levels of degradation were investigated in Guoluo Prefecture of Qinghai Province, China. The species composition, aboveground biomass, soil total organic carbon (TOC, and soil total nitrogen (TN were tested to evaluate major ecological services of the alpine grassland. We estimated the value of primary production, carbon storage, nitrogen recycling, and plant diversity. The results show the ecosystem services of alpine grassland varied along the degradation gradient. The ecosystem services of degraded grassland (moderate, heavy and severe were all significantly lower than non-degraded grassland. Interestingly, the lightly degraded grassland provided more economic benefit from carbon maintenance and nutrient sequestration compared to non-degraded. Due to the destruction of the alpine grassland, the economic loss associated with decrease of biomass in 2008 was $198/ha. Until 2008, the economic loss caused by carbon emissions and nitrogen loss on severely degraded grassland was up to $8 033/ha and $13 315/ha, respectively. Urgent actions are required to maintain or promote the ecosystem services of alpine grassland in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.

  7. Effect of degradation intensity on grassland ecosystem services in the alpine region of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wen, Lu; Dong, Shikui; Li, Yuanyuan; Li, Xiaoyan; Shi, Jianjun; Wang, Yanlong; Liu, Demei; Ma, Yushou

    2013-01-01

    The deterioration of alpine grassland has great impact on ecosystem services in the alpine region of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. However, the effect of grassland degradation on ecosystem services and the consequence of grassland deterioration on economic loss still remains a mystery. So, in this study, we assessed four types of ecosystem services following the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment classification, along a degradation gradient. Five sites of alpine grassland at different levels of degradation were investigated in Guoluo Prefecture of Qinghai Province, China. The species composition, aboveground biomass, soil total organic carbon (TOC), and soil total nitrogen (TN) were tested to evaluate major ecological services of the alpine grassland. We estimated the value of primary production, carbon storage, nitrogen recycling, and plant diversity. The results show the ecosystem services of alpine grassland varied along the degradation gradient. The ecosystem services of degraded grassland (moderate, heavy and severe) were all significantly lower than non-degraded grassland. Interestingly, the lightly degraded grassland provided more economic benefit from carbon maintenance and nutrient sequestration compared to non-degraded. Due to the destruction of the alpine grassland, the economic loss associated with decrease of biomass in 2008 was $198/ha. Until 2008, the economic loss caused by carbon emissions and nitrogen loss on severely degraded grassland was up to $8 033/ha and $13 315/ha, respectively. Urgent actions are required to maintain or promote the ecosystem services of alpine grassland in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.

  8. Grasslands of Mexico: A perspective on their conservation (Los pastizales del norte de Mexico: Una perspectiva para su conservacion)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patricia Manzano; Rurik List

    2006-01-01

    Grasslands are areas dominated by grasses and herbs with few or no trees. Grasslands receive too much rain for a desert environment and too little for a forest. Temperate North American grasslands, especially, have undergone changes on a continental level. Their high productivity and fertility, added to their level topography and lack of trees, make them ideal sites...

  9. The role of above-ground competition and nitrogen vs. phosphorus enrichment in seedling survival of common European plant species of semi-natural grasslands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tobias Ceulemans

    Full Text Available Anthropogenic activities have severely altered fluxes of nitrogen and phosphorus in ecosystems worldwide. In grasslands, subsequent negative effects are commonly attributed to competitive exclusion of plant species following increased above-ground biomass production. However, some studies have shown that this does not fully account for nutrient enrichment effects, questioning whether lowering competition by reducing grassland productivity through mowing or herbivory can mitigate the environmental impact of nutrient pollution. Furthermore, few studies so far discriminate between nitrogen and phosphorus pollution. We performed a full factorial experiment in greenhouse mesocosms combining nitrogen and phosphorus addition with two clipping regimes designed to relax above-ground competition. Next, we studied the survival and growth of seedlings of eight common European grassland species and found that five out of eight species showed higher survival under the clipping regime with the lowest above-ground competition. Phosphorus addition negatively affected seven plant species and nitrogen addition negatively affected four plant species. Importantly, the negative effects of nutrient addition and higher above-ground competition were independent of each other for all but one species. Our results suggest that at any given level of soil nutrients, relaxation of above-ground competition allows for higher seedling survival in grasslands. At the same time, even at low levels of above-ground competition, nutrient enrichment negatively affects survival as compared to nutrient-poor conditions. Therefore, although maintaining low above-ground competition appears essential for species' recruitment, for instance through mowing or herbivory, these management efforts are likely to be insufficient and we conclude that environmental policies aimed to reduce both excess nitrogen and particularly phosphorus inputs are also necessary.

  10. Comparing the effect of naturally restored forest and grassland on carbon sequestration and its vertical distribution in the Chinese Loess Plateau.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jie Wei

    Full Text Available Vegetation restoration has been conducted in the Chinese Loess Plateau (CLP since the 1950s, and large areas of farmland have been converted to forest and grassland, which largely results in SOC change. However, there has been little comparative research on SOC sequestration and distribution between secondary forest and restored grassland. Therefore, we selected typical secondary forest (SF-1 and SF-2 and restored grassland (RG-1 and RG-2 sites and determined the SOC storage. Moreover, to illustrate the factors resulting in possible variance in SOC sequestration, we measured the soil δ(13C value. The average SOC content was 6.8, 9.9, 17.9 and 20.4 g kg(-1 at sites SF-1, SF-2, RG-1 and RG-2, respectively. Compared with 0-100 cm depth, the percentage of SOC content in the top 20 cm was 55.1%, 55.3%, 23.1%, and 30.6% at sites SF-1, SF-2, RG-1 and RG-2, suggesting a higher SOC content in shallow layers in secondary forest and in deeper layers in restored grassland. The variation of soil δ(13C values with depth in this study might be attributed to the mixing of new and old carbon and kinetic fractionation during the decomposition of SOM by microbes, whereas the impact of the Suess effect (the decline of (13C atmospheric CO(2 values with the burning of fossil fuel since the Industrial Revolution was minimal. The soil δ(13C value increased sharply in the top 20 cm, which then increased slightly in deeper layers in secondary forest, indicating a main carbon source of surface litter. However the soil δ(13C values exhibited slow increases in the whole profile in the restored grasslands, suggesting that the contribution of roots to soil carbon in deeper layers played an important role. We suggest that naturally restored grassland would be a more effective vegetation type for SOC sequestration due to higher carbon input from roots in the CLP.

  11. Traffic Visualization

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Picozzi, Matteo; Verdezoto, Nervo; Pouke, Matti

    2013-01-01

    In this paper, we present a space-time visualization to provide city's decision-makers the ability to analyse and uncover important "city events" in an understandable manner for city planning activities. An interactive Web mashup visualization is presented that integrates several visualization...... techniques to give a rapid overview of traffic data. We illustrate our approach as a case study for traffic visualization systems, using datasets from the city of Oulu that can be extended to other city planning activities. We also report the feedback of real users (traffic management employees, traffic police...

  12. Visualization Laboratory

    Data.gov (United States)

    Federal Laboratory Consortium — FUNCTION: Evaluates and improves the operational effectiveness of existing and emerging electronic warfare systems. By analyzing and visualizing simulation results...

  13. Distributed Visualization

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — Distributed Visualization allows anyone, anywhere, to see any simulation, at any time. Development focuses on algorithms, software, data formats, data systems and...

  14. Nitrogen acquisition by plants and microorganisms in a temperate grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Qianyuan; Qiao, Na; Xu, Xingliang; Xin, Xiaoping; Han, Jessie Yc; Tian, Yuqiang; Ouyang, Hua; Kuzyakov, Yakov

    2016-03-10

    Nitrogen (N) limitation is common in most terrestrial ecosystems, often leading to strong competition between microorganisms and plants. The mechanisms of niche differentiation to reduce this competition remain unclear. Short-term (15)N experiments with NH4(+), NO3(-), and glycine were conducted in July, August and September in a temperate grassland to evaluate the chemical, spatial and temporal niche differentiation by competition between plants and microorganisms for N. Microorganisms preferred NH4(+) and NO3(-), while plants preferred NO3(-). Both plants and microorganisms acquired more N in August and September than in July. The soil depth had no significant effects on microbial uptake, but significantly affected plant N uptake. Plants acquired 67% of their N from the 0-5 cm soil layer and 33% from the 5-15 cm layer. The amount of N taken up by microorganisms was at least seven times than plants. Although microorganisms efficiently compete for N with plants, the competition is alleviated through chemical partitioning mainly in deeper soil layer. In the upper soil layer, neither chemical nor temporal niche separation is realized leading to strong competition between plants and microorganisms that modifies N dynamics in grasslands.

  15. BETA DIVERSITY AND COMMUNITY DIFFERENTIATION IN DRY PERENNIAL SAND GRASSLANDS

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E. KOVACS-LANG

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available The spatial variability of species composition was studied in perennial sand grasslands in Hungary at multiple scales. Three sites were compared along an aridity gradient. Existing differences in climate along this ca. 200 km gradient correspond to regional climate changes predicted for the next 20-30 years. Six stands of Festucetum vaginatae grasslands were selected at each site within 400 x 1200 m areas for representing the coarse-scale within-site heterogeneity. Fine-scale compositional heterogeneity of vegetation within stands was sampled by recording the presence of species along 52 m long circular belt transects of 1040 units of 5 cm x 5 cm contiguous microquadrats. This sampling design enabled us to study the patterns of species combinations at a wide range of scales. The highest variability of plant species combinations appeared at very fine scales, between 10 cm and 25 cm. Differences in beta diversity along the gradient were scale-dependent. We found a decreasing trend of beta diversity with increasing aridity at fine scale, and on the contrary, an increasing trend at landscape scale. We conclude that the major trend of the vegetation differentiation due to aridity is the decrease of compositional variability at fine-scale accompanied by a coarse-scale diversification.

  16. Weathering controls on mechanisms of carbon storage in grassland soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Masiello, C.A.; Chadwick, O.A.; Southon, J.; Torn, M.S.; Harden, J.W.

    2004-01-01

    On a sequence of soils developed under similar vegetation, temperature, and precipitation conditions, but with variations in mineralogical properties, we use organic carbon and 14C inventories to examine mineral protection of soil organic carbon. In these soils, 14C data indicate that the creation of slow-cycling carbon can be modeled as occurring through reaction of organic ligands with Al3+ and Fe3+ cations in the upper horizons, followed by sorption to amorphous inorganic Al compounds at depth. Only one of these processes, the chelation Al3+ and Fe3+ by organic ligands, is linked to large carbon stocks. Organic ligands stabilized by this process traverse the soil column as dissolved organic carbon (both from surface horizons and root exudates). At our moist grassland site, this chelation and transport process is very strongly correlated with the storage and long-term stabilization of soil organic carbon. Our 14C results show that the mechanisms of organic carbon transport and storage at this site follow a classic model previously believed to only be significant in a single soil order (Spodosols), and closely related to the presence of forests. The presence of this process in the grassland Alfisol, Inceptisol, and Mollisol soils of this chronosequence suggests that this process is a more significant control on organic carbon storage than previously thought. Copyright 2004 by the American Geophysical Union.

  17. Soil organic carbon stock and distribution in cultivated land converted to grassland in a subtropical region of China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, J H; Li, F C; Wang, Y; Xiong, D H

    2014-02-01

    Land-use change from one type to another affects soil carbon (C) stocks which is associated with fluxes of CO2 to the atmosphere. The 10-years converted land selected from previously cultivated land in hilly areas of Sichuan, China was studied to understand the effects of land-use conversion on soil organic casrbon (SOC) sequestration under landscape position influences in a subtropical region of China. The SOC concentrations of the surface soil were greater (P\\0.001) for converted soils than those for cultivated soils but lower (P\\0.001) than those for original uncultivated soils. The SOC inventories (1.90–1.95 kg m-2) in the 0–15 cm surface soils were similar among upper, middle, and lower slope positions on the converted land, while the SOC inventories (1.41–1.65 kg m-2) in this soil layer tended to increase from upper to lower slope positions on the cultivated slope. On the whole, SOC inventories in this soil layer significantly increased following the conversion from cultivated land to grassland (P\\0.001). In the upper slope positions, converted soils (especially in 0–5 cm surface soil) exhibited a higher C/N ratio than cultivated soils (P = 0.012), implying that strong SOC sequestration characteristics exist in upper slope areas where severe soil erosion occurred before land conversion. It is suggested that landscape position impacts on the SOC spatial distribution become insignificant after the conversion of cultivated land to grassland, which is conducive to the immobilization of organic C. We speculate that the conversion of cultivated land to grassland would markedly increase SOC stocks in soil and would especially improve the potential for SOC sequestration in the surface soil over a moderate period of time (10 years).

  18. On the ecology of the cursorial spider Odo bruchi (Araneae: Zoridae in a grassland natural reserve from central Argentina

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gabriel Pompozzi

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available The “Ernesto Tornquist” Provincial Park (ETPP is located inside the Ventania system (Argentina and was created to protect one of the last relicts of pampean grasslands. Even though many studies have looked at the vertebrate faunal diversity, biology, and conservation in this Park, few studies have been dedicated to arthropods. Among these, spiders have been used as ecological indicators to evaluate nature conservation status, nevertheless, basic information on their distribution and ecology is necessary for their use as indicator taxa in this region. Thus the goal of this study was to present the phenology and demography of the spider Odo bruchi, a cursorial spider present in the ETPP. For this, spiders were sampled bimonthly using pitfall traps between September 2009-2010 (first year, and March 2011-2012 (second year. A total of 10 traps were placed every 10m along a transect of 100m parallel to the longest axis of a grassland slope with native vegetation. Traps were filled with 1 500mL of ethylene glycol, that were examined and refilled every 60 day period. We collected a total of 799 specimens in two years. Juveniles were the most abundant reaching 47.8% of the total, while males corresponded to 27.8% and females 24.4%. We found significant differences in the mean abundance of O. bruchi: the abundance during spring-summer (Nov-Dec-Jan-Feb was significantly higher than the other periods of the two years period. Moreover, we found an even abundance distribution throughout the year in the entire study. This work represents one of the first contributions to the ecology of this spider family in the area. Also, our results comprise relevant information to encourage future studies on this spider species as a bio-indicator of the conservation status of pampean grasslands.

  19. Visual Impairment

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... site Sitio para adolescentes Body Mind Sexual Health Food & Fitness Diseases & Conditions Infections Drugs & Alcohol School & Jobs Sports Expert Answers (Q&A) Staying Safe Videos for Educators Search English Español Visual Impairment KidsHealth / For Teens / Visual Impairment What's in ...

  20. Visual attention

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Evans, K.K.; Horowitz, T.S.; Howe, P.; Pedersini, R.; Reijnen, E.; Pinto, Y.; Wolfe, J.M.

    2011-01-01

    A typical visual scene we encounter in everyday life is complex and filled with a huge amount of perceptual information. The term, ‘visual attention’ describes a set of mechanisms that limit some processing to a subset of incoming stimuli. Attentional mechanisms shape what we see and what we can act

  1. Visual Education

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Buhl, Mie; Flensborg, Ingelise

    2010-01-01

    The intrinsic breadth of various types of images creates new possibilities and challenges for visual education. The digital media have moved the boundaries between images and other kinds of modalities (e.g. writing, speech and sound) and have augmented the possibilities for integrating the functi......The intrinsic breadth of various types of images creates new possibilities and challenges for visual education. The digital media have moved the boundaries between images and other kinds of modalities (e.g. writing, speech and sound) and have augmented the possibilities for integrating...... to emerge in the interlocutory space of a global visual repertoire and diverse local interpretations. The two perspectives represent challenges for future visual education which require visual competences, not only within the arts but also within the subjects of natural sciences, social sciences, languages...

  2. Facilitation by a Spiny Shrub on a Rhizomatous Clonal Herbaceous in Thicketization-Grassland in Northern China: Increased Soil Resources or Shelter from Herbivores

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Saixiyala

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available The formation of fertility islands by shrubs increases soil resources heterogeneity in thicketization-grasslands. Clonal plants, especially rhizomatous or stoloniferous clonal plants, can form large clonal networks and use heterogeneously distributed resources effectively. In addition, shrubs, especially spiny shrubs, may also provide herbaceous plants with protection from herbivores, acting as ‘shelters’. The interaction between pre-dominated clonal herbaceous plants and encroaching shrubs remains unclear in thicketization-grassland under grazing pressure. We hypothesized that clonal herbaceous plants can be facilitated by encroached shrubs as a ‘shelter from herbivores’ and/or as an ‘increased soil resources’ under grazing pressure. To test this hypothesis, a total of 60 quadrats were chosen in a thicket-grassland in northern China that was previously dominated by Leymus chinensis and was encroached upon by the spiny leguminous plant Caragana intermedia. The soil and plant traits beneath and outside the shrub canopies were sampled, investigated and contrasted with an enclosure. The soil organic matter, soil total nitrogen and soil water content were significantly higher in the soil beneath the shrub canopies than in the soil outside the canopies. L. chinensis beneath the shrub canopies had significantly higher plant height, single shoot biomass, leaf length and width than outside the shrub canopies. There were no significantly differences between plant growth in enclosure and outside the shrub canopies. These results suggested that under grazing pressure in a grassland undergoing thicketization, the growth of the rhizomatous clonal herbaceous plant L. chinensis was facilitated by the spiny shrub C. intermedia as a ‘shelter from herbivores’ more than through ‘increased soil resources’. We propose that future studies should focus on the community- and ecosystem-level impacts of plant clonality.

  3. Diversidad y distribución de acridios (Orthoptera: Acridoidea en pastizales del sur de la región pampeana, Argentina Diversity and distribution of grasshoppers (Orthoptera: Acridoidea in grasslands of the Southern Pampas region, Argentina

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yanina Mariottini

    2013-03-01

    species of grasshoppers were collected, of which 21 belong to the family Acrididae. The subfamily Melanoplinae was the most diverse with eight species. The largest species richness was recorded in native grasslands (18. The different communities of grasshoppers had similar indices of evenness and dominance (p>0.05. Considering all plant communities, the average value of Shannon-Wiener index was 1.58±0.075. There was a positive correlation between evenness index and species richness (p<0.05. The diversity index H’ was different between plants communities (p<0.05, and it was higher in the disturbed grassland (1.75±0.096, p<0.05 than in the halophilous grasslands (1.34±0.12. Native and disturbed grasslands had a higher plant richness than halophilous grasslands and implanted pastures (p<0.05. There was a positive relationship between plant richness and grasshoppers species richness, and diversity of grasshoppers. According to the qualitative indices applied, the similitude between different grasshopper communities was higher than 60%. In general, the species that had a higher frequency of occurrence showed greater abundance and distribution. Covasacris pallidinota, Dichroplus elongatus, D. maculipennis, Borellia bruneri and B. pallid were the most widely distributed species, most of them (12 showed a restricted distribution and few (five an intermediate distribution.

  4. Understanding of Grassland Ecosystems under Climate Change and Economic Development Pressures in the Mongolia Plateau

    Science.gov (United States)

    Qi, J.; Chen, J.; Shan, P.; Pan, X.; Wei, Y.; Wang, M.; Xin, X.

    2011-12-01

    The land use and land cover change, especially in the form of grassland degradation, in the Mongolian Plateau, exhibited a unique spatio-temporal pattern that is a characteristic of a mixed stress from economic development and climate change of the region. The social dimension of the region played a key role in shaping the landscape and land use change, including the cultural clashes with economic development, conflicts between indigenous people and business ventures, and exogenous international influences. Various research projects have been conducted in the region to focus on physical degradation of grasslands and/or on economic development but there is a lack of understanding how the social and economic dimensions interact with grassland ecosystems and changes. In this talk, a synthesis report was made based on the most recent workshop held in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, of China, that specifically focused on climate change and grassland ecosystems. The report analyzed the degree of grassland degradation, its climate and social drivers, and coupling nature of economic development and conservation of traditional grassland values. The goal is to fully understand the socio-ecological-economic interactions that together shape the trajectory of the grassland ecosystems in the Mongolia Plateau.

  5. Impact of Climate Change on Temperate and Alpine Grasslands in China during 1982–2006

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xiangjin Shen

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Based on GIMMS NDVI and climate data from 1982 to 2006, this study analyzed the impact of climate change on grassland in China. During the growing season, there were significant effects of precipitation on the growth of all the grassland types (P<0.05, except for meadow vegetation. For the air temperatures, there existed asymmetrical effects of maximum temperature (Tmax and minimum temperature (Tmin on grassland vegetation, especially for the temperate grasslands and alpine steppe. The growing season NDVI correlated negatively with Tmax but positively with Tmin for temperate grasslands. Seasonally, these opposite effects were only observed in summer. For alpine steppe, the growing season NDVI correlated positively with Tmax but negatively with Tmin, and this pattern of asymmetrical responses was only obvious in spring and autumn. Under the background of global asymmetric warming, more attention should be paid to this asymmetric response of grassland vegetation to daytime and night-time warming, especially when we want to predict the productivity of China’s grasslands in the future.

  6. Are Agrofuels a conservation threat or opportunity for grassland birds in the United States?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robertson, Bruce A.; Rice, Robert A.; Ribic, Christine; Babcock, Bruce A.; Landis, Douglas A.; Herkert, James R.; Fletcher, Robert J.; Fontaine, Joseph J; Doran, Patrick J.; Schemske, Douglas W.

    2012-01-01

    In the United States, government-mandated growth in the production of crops dedicated to biofuel (agrofuels) is predicted to increase the demands on existing agricultural lands, potentially threatening the persistence of populations of grassland birds they support. We review recently published literature and datasets to (1) examine the ability of alternative agrofuel crops and their management regimes to provide habitat for grassland birds, (2) determine how crop placement in agricultural landscapes and agrofuel-related land-use change will affect grassland birds, and (3) identify critical research and policy-development needs associated with agrofuel production. We find that native perennial plants proposed as feedstock for agrofuel (switchgrass, Panicum virgatum, and mixed grass—forb prairie) have considerable potential to provide new habitat to a wide range of grassland birds, including rare and threatened species. However, industrialization of agrofuel production that maximizes biomass, homogenizes vegetation structure, and results in the cultivation of small fields within largely forested landscapes is likely to reduce species richness and/or abundance of grassland-dependent birds. Realizing the potential benefits of agrofuel production for grassland birds' conservation will require the development of new policies that encourage agricultural practices specifically targeting the needs of grassland specialists. The broad array of grower-incentive programs in existence may deliver new agrofuel policies effectively but will require coordination at a spatial scale broader than currently practiced, preferably within an adaptive-management framework.

  7. Grasslands and Croplands Have Different Microbial Biomass Carbon Levels per Unit of Soil Organic Carbon

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Terence P. McGonigle

    2017-07-01

    Full Text Available Primarily using cropped systems, previous studies have reported a positive linear relationship between microbial biomass carbon (MBC and soil organic carbon (SOC. We conducted a meta-analysis to explore this relationship separately for grasslands and croplands using available literature. Studies were limited to those using fumigation–extraction for MBC for field samples. Trials were noted separately where records were distinct in space or time. Grasslands were naturally occurring, restored, or seeded. Cropping systems were typical of the temperate zone. MBC had a positive linear response to increasing SOC that was significant in both grasslands (p < 0.001; r2 = 0.76 and croplands (p < 0.001; r2 = 0.48. However, MBC increased 2.5-fold more steeply per unit of increasing SOC for grassland soils, as compared to the corresponding response in cropland soils. Expressing MBC as a proportion of SOC across the regression overall, slopes corresponded to 2.7% for grasslands and 1.1% for croplands. The slope of the linear relationship for grasslands was significantly (p = 0.0013 steeper than for croplands. The difference between the two systems is possibly caused by a greater proportion of SOC in grasslands being active rather than passive, relative to that in croplands, with that active fraction promoting the formation of MBC.

  8. Priming of soil carbon decomposition in two Inner Mongolia grassland soils following sheep dung addition: a study using ¹³C natural abundance approach.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ma, Xiuzhi; Ambus, Per; Wang, Shiping; Wang, Yanfen; Wang, Chengjie

    2013-01-01

    To investigate the effect of sheep dung on soil carbon (C) sequestration, a 152 days incubation experiment was conducted with soils from two different Inner Mongolian grasslands, i.e. a Leymus chinensis dominated grassland representing the climax community (2.1% organic matter content) and a heavily degraded Artemisia frigida dominated community (1.3% organic matter content). Dung was collected from sheep either fed on L. chinensis (C3 plant with δ¹³C = -26.8‰; dung δ¹³C = -26.2‰) or Cleistogenes squarrosa (C₄ plant with δ¹³C = -14.6‰; dung δ¹³C = -15.7‰). Fresh C₃ and C₄ sheep dung was mixed with the two grassland soils and incubated under controlled conditions for analysis of ¹³C-CO₂ emissions. Soil samples were taken at days 17, 43, 86, 127 and 152 after sheep dung addition to detect the δ¹³C signal in soil and dung components. Analysis revealed that 16.9% and 16.6% of the sheep dung C had decomposed, of which 3.5% and 2.8% was sequestrated in the soils of L. chinensis and A. frigida grasslands, respectively, while the remaining decomposed sheep dung was emitted as CO₂. The cumulative amounts of C respired from dung treated soils during 152 days were 7-8 times higher than in the un-amended controls. In both grassland soils, ca. 60% of the evolved CO₂ originated from the decomposing sheep dung and 40% from the native soil C. Priming effects of soil C decomposition were observed in both soils, i.e. 1.4 g and 1.6 g additional soil C kg⁻¹ dry soil had been emitted as CO₂ for the L. chinensis and A. frigida soils, respectively. Hence, the net C losses from L. chinensis and A. frigida soils were 0.6 g and 0.9 g C kg⁻¹ soil, which was 2.6% and 7.0% of the total C in L. chinensis and A. frigida grasslands soils, respectively. Our results suggest that grazing of degraded Inner Mongolian pastures may cause a net soil C loss due to the positive priming effect, thereby accelerating soil deterioration.

  9. Evident elevation of atmospheric monoterpenes due to degradation-induced species changes in a semi-arid grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Hongjun; Wang, Xinming; Zhang, Yanli; Mu, Yujing; Han, Xingguo

    2016-01-15

    Biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) emitted from plants have substantial effects on atmospheric chemistry/physics and feedbacks on ecosystem function. The on-going climate change and anthropogenic disturbance have been confirmed to cause the evident degradation of grassland with shift of plant community, and hence BVOCs emissions were suspected to be altered due to the different BOVCs emission potentials of different species. In this study, we investigated BVOCs concentration above ground surface during growing season in a degraded semi-arid grassland (41°2' N-45°6' N, 113°5'-117°8') in Inner Mongolia. The observed monoterpenes' concentrations varied from 0.10 to 215.78 μg m(-3) (34.88 ± 9.73 μg m(-3) in average) across 41 sites. Compared to non-degraded grassland, concentrations of monoterpenes were about 180 times higher at the sites dominated by subshrub--Artemisia frigida, a preponderant species under drought stress and over-grazing. The biomass of A. frigida explained 51.39% of the variation of monoterpenes' concentrations. α-pinene, β-pinene and γ-terpinene dominated in the 10 determined monoterpenes, accounting for 37.72 ± 2.98%, 14.65 ± 2.55% and 10.50 ± 2.37% of the total monoterpenes concentration, respectively. Low isoprene concentrations (≤ 3.25 μg m(-3)) were found and sedge biomass contributed about 51.76% to their spatial variation. α-pinene and isoprene emissions at noon were as high as 515.53 ± 88.34 μg m(-2)h(-1) and 7606.19 ± 1073.94 μg m(-2) h(-1) in A. frigida- and sedge-dominated areas where their biomass were 236.90 g m(-2) and 72.37 g m(-2), respectively. Our results suggested that the expansion of A. frigida and sedge caused by over-grazing and climatic stresses may increase local ambient BVOCs concentration in grassland. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  10. Assessing the biophysical naturalness of grassland in eastern North Dakota with hyperspectral imagery

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, Qiang

    Over the past two decades, non-native species within grassland communities have quickly developed due to human migration and commerce. Invasive species like Smooth Brome grass (Bromus inermis) and Kentucky Blue Grass (Poa pratensis), seriously threaten conservation of native grasslands. This study aims to discriminate between native grasslands and planted hayfields and conservation areas dominated by introduced grasses using hyperspectral imagery. Hyperspectral imageries from the Hyperion sensor on EO-1 were acquired in late spring and late summer on 2009 and 2010. Field spectra for widely distributed species as well as smooth brome grass and Kentucky blue grass were collected from the study sites throughout the growing season. Imagery was processed with an unmixing algorithm to estimate fractional cover of green and dry vegetation and bare soil. As the spectrum is significantly different through growing season, spectral libraries for the most common species are then built for both the early growing season and late growing season. After testing multiple methods, the Adaptive Coherence Estimator (ACE) was used for spectral matching analysis between the imagery and spectral libraries. Due in part to spectral similarity among key species, the results of spectral matching analysis were not definitive. Additional indexes, "Level of Dominance" and "Band variance", were calculated to measure the predominance of spectral signatures in any area. A Texture co-occurrence analysis was also performed on both "Level of Dominance" and "Band variance" indexes to extract spatial characteristics. The results suggest that compared with disturbed area, native prairie tend to have generally lower "Level of Dominance" and "Band variance" as well as lower spatial dissimilarity. A final decision tree model was created to predict presence of native or introduced grassland. The model was more effective for identification of Mixed Native Grassland than for grassland dominated by a single

  11. Lesser prairie-chicken avoidance of trees in a grassland landscape

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lautenbach, Joseph M.; Plumb, Reid T.; Robinson, Samantha G.; Hagen, Christian A.; Haukos, David A.; Pitman, James C.

    2016-01-01

    Grasslands are among the most imperiled ecosystems in North America. Reasons that grasslands are threatened include conversion to row-crop agriculture, fragmentation, and changes in fire regimes. The reduction of fire processes in remaining prairies has resulted in tree encroachment and establishment in grasslands, further reducing grassland quantity and quality. Grassland birds have been experiencing precipitous population declines in recent decades, commensurate with landscape changes to grasslands. The lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus Ridgway) is a declining species of prairie grouse of conservation concern. We used second- and third-order habitat selection metrics to test if female lesser prairie-chickens avoid grasslands where trees were present. Our results indicated that female lesser prairie-chickens selected habitats avoiding the nearest trees by 283 m on average, nearly twice as far as would be expected at random. Lesser prairie-chickens were 40 times more likely to use habitats with tree densities of 0 trees ∙ ha− 1 than habitats with 5 trees ∙ ha− 1. Probability of use indicated that lesser prairie-chickens were 19 times more likely to use habitats 1000 m from the nearest tree when compared with using habitats 0 m from the nearest tree. Nest survival was not affected at densities 2 trees ∙ ha− 1. Avoidance of trees could be due to perceived increased predation risk, reduced habitat quality, or a combination of these potentially confounding factors. Preventing further establishment and expansion of trees in landscapes occupied by lesser prairie-chickens could contribute to the continued persistence of the species. Additionally, restoring grasslands through tree removal may facilitate conservation efforts for grassland species such as the lesser prairie-chicken by improving habitat quality and promoting expansion of occupied range.

  12. Effects of 10-Year Management Regimes on the Soil Seed Bank in Saline-Alkaline Grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ma, Hongyuan; Yang, Haoyu; Liang, Zhengwei; Ooi, Mark K. J.

    2015-01-01

    Background Management regimes for vegetation restoration of degraded grasslands can significantly affect the process of ecological succession. However, few studies have focused on variation in the soil seed bank during vegetation restoration under different management regimes, especially in saline-alkaline grassland habitats. Our aim was to provide insights into the ecological effects of grassland management regimes on soil seed bank composition and vegetation establishment in mown, fenced, transplanted and natural grassland sites, all dominated by the perennial rhizomatous grass Leymus chinensis. Methodology We studied species composition and diversity in both the soil seed bank and aboveground vegetation in differently managed grasslands in Northeast China. An NMDS (nonmetric multidimensional scaling) was used to evaluate the relationship between species composition, soil seed banks, aboveground vegetation and soil properties. Principal Findings Fenced and mown grassland sites had high density and species richness in both the soil seed bank and aboveground vegetation. The Transplanted treatment exhibited the highest vegetation growth and seed production of the target species L. chinensis. Seeds of L. chinensis in the soil occurred only in transplanted and natural grassland. Based on the NMDS analysis, the number of species in both the soil seed bank and aboveground vegetation were significantly related to soil Na+, Cl-, RSC (residual sodium carbonate), alkalinity, ESP (exchangeable sodium percentage) and AP (available phosphorus). Conclusions Soil seed bank composition and diversity in the saline-alkaline grassland were significantly affected by the management regimes implemented, and were also significantly related to the aboveground vegetation and several soil properties. Based on vegetative growth, reproductive output and maintenance of soil seed bank, the transplanting was identified as the most effective method for relatively rapid restoration of the target

  13. Do Visual Aids Really Matter?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kristine Fish

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Educational webcasts or video lectures as a teaching tool and a form of visual aid have become widely used with the rising prevalence of online and blended courses and with the increase of web-based video materials. Thus, research pertaining to factors enhancing the effectiveness of video lectures, such as number of visual aids, is critical. This study compared student evaluations before and after embedding additional visual aids throughout video lectures in an online course. Slide transitions occurred on average every 40 seconds for the pre-treatment group with approximately 600 visuals total, compared to slide transitions every 10 seconds for the post-treatment group with approximately 2,000 visuals total. All students received the same audio recordings. Research questions addressed are: (1 Are student perceptions of the effectiveness of examples used to illustrate concepts affected by number of visual aids? (2 Is the extent to which students feel engaged during the lectures affected by number of visual aids? (3 Are students’ perceived overall learning experiences affected by number of visual aids? Surprisingly, results indicate that for questions #1 and #3, student ratings of those who viewed videos with fewer visuals rated their experiences higher than students who viewed more visuals. There was no significant difference found for question #2. Conclusion: Although some visuals have been shown to enhance learning, too many visuals may be a deterrent to learning.

  14. Visual cognition

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cavanagh, Patrick

    2011-01-01

    Visual cognition, high-level vision, mid-level vision and top-down processing all refer to decision-based scene analyses that combine prior knowledge with retinal input to generate representations. The label “visual cognition” is little used at present, but research and experiments on mid- and high-level, inference-based vision have flourished, becoming in the 21st century a significant, if often understated part, of current vision research. How does visual cognition work? What are its moving parts? This paper reviews the origins and architecture of visual cognition and briefly describes some work in the areas of routines, attention, surfaces, objects, and events (motion, causality, and agency). Most vision scientists avoid being too explicit when presenting concepts about visual cognition, having learned that explicit models invite easy criticism. What we see in the literature is ample evidence for visual cognition, but few or only cautious attempts to detail how it might work. This is the great unfinished business of vision research: at some point we will be done with characterizing how the visual system measures the world and we will have to return to the question of how vision constructs models of objects, surfaces, scenes, and events. PMID:21329719

  15. Visual cognition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cavanagh, Patrick

    2011-07-01

    Visual cognition, high-level vision, mid-level vision and top-down processing all refer to decision-based scene analyses that combine prior knowledge with retinal input to generate representations. The label "visual cognition" is little used at present, but research and experiments on mid- and high-level, inference-based vision have flourished, becoming in the 21st century a significant, if often understated part, of current vision research. How does visual cognition work? What are its moving parts? This paper reviews the origins and architecture of visual cognition and briefly describes some work in the areas of routines, attention, surfaces, objects, and events (motion, causality, and agency). Most vision scientists avoid being too explicit when presenting concepts about visual cognition, having learned that explicit models invite easy criticism. What we see in the literature is ample evidence for visual cognition, but few or only cautious attempts to detail how it might work. This is the great unfinished business of vision research: at some point we will be done with characterizing how the visual system measures the world and we will have to return to the question of how vision constructs models of objects, surfaces, scenes, and events. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. Recent trends, drivers, and projections of carbon cycle processes in forests and grasslands of North America

    Science.gov (United States)

    Domke, G. M.; Williams, C. A.; Birdsey, R.; Pendall, E.

    2017-12-01

    In North America forest and grassland ecosystems play a major role in the carbon cycle. Here we present the latest trends and projections of United States and North American carbon cycle processes, stocks, and flows in the context of interactions with global scale budgets and climate change impacts in managed and unmanaged grassland and forest ecosystems. We describe recent trends in natural and anthropogenic disturbances in these ecosystems as well as the carbon dynamics associated with land use and land cover change. We also highlight carbon management science and tools for informing decisions and opportunities for improving carbon measurements, observations, and projections in forests and grasslands.

  17. Does plant diversity affect the water balance of established grassland systems?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leimer, Sophia; Bischoff, Sebastian; Blaser, Stefan; Boch, Steffen; Busch, Verena; Escher, Peter; Fischer, Markus; Kaupenjohann, Martin; Kerber, Katja; Klaus, Valentin; Michalzik, Beate; Prati, Daniel; Schäfer, Deborah; Schmitt, Barbara; Schöning, Ingo; Schwarz, Martin T.; Siemens, Jan; Thieme, Lisa; Wilcke, Wolfgang

    2017-04-01

    The water cycle drives nutrient cycles and plant productivity. The impact of land use on the water cycle has been extensively studied and there is experimental evidence that biodiversity modifies the water cycle in grasslands. However, the combined influences of land-use and associated biodiversity on the water cycle in established land-use systems are unclear. Therefore, we investigated how evapotranspiration (ETa), downward water flux (DF), and capillary rise (CR) in topsoil and subsoil are related to land-use and plant diversity in established, commercially managed grassland and compared these results to findings from experiments where plant diversity was manipulated. In three Central European regions ("Biodiversity Exploratories"), we studied 29 grassland plots (50 m x 50 m; 9-11 plots per region) from 2010 to 2015. The land-use types cover pasture, mown pasture, and meadow in at least triplicate per region. On each plot, we measured soil water contents, meteorological data (hourly resolution), cumulative precipitation (biweekly), plant species richness, the number of plants in the functional groups of grasses, herbs, and legumes (annually), and root biomass (once). Potential evapotranspiration (ETp) was calculated from meteorological data per plot. Missing data points of ETp and soil water contents were estimated with Bayesian hierarchical models. ETa, DF, and CR were calculated for two soil layers with a soil water balance model. The model is based on changes in soil water storage between subsequent observation dates and ETp, which was partitioned between soil layers according to root distribution. Water fluxes in annual resolution were statistically analyzed for land-use and biodiversity effects using repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA). Land-use type did not affect water fluxes. Species richness did not influence DF and CR. DF from topsoil was higher on plots with more grass species, which is opposite to the results from a manipulative

  18. Quantifying the pedo-ecohydrological structure and function of degraded, grassland ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brazier, Richard E.

    2015-04-01

    Grassland ecosystems cover significant areas of the terrestrial land mass, across a range of geoclimates, from arctic tundra, through temperate and semi-arid landscapes. In very few locations, such grasslands may be termed 'pristine' in that they remain undamaged by human activities and resilient to changing climates. In far more cases, grasslands are being degraded, often irreversibly so, with significant implications for a number of ecosystem services related to water resources, soil quality, nutrient cycles, and therefore both global food and water security. This paper draws upon empirical research that has been undertaken over the last decade to characterise a range of different grasslands in terms of soil properties, vegetation structure and geomorphology and to understand how these structures or patterns might interact or control how the grassland ecosystems function. Particular emphasis is placed upon quantifying fluxes of water, within and from grasslands, but also fluxes of sediment, via the processes of soil erosion and finally fluxes of the macronutrients Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Carbon from the landscape to surface waters. Data are presented from semi-arid grasslands, which are subject to severe encroachment by woody species, temperate upland grasslands that have been 'improved' via drainage to support grazing, temperate lowland grasslands, that are unimproved (Culm or Rhôs pastures) and finally intensively managed grasslands in temperate regions, that have been significantly modified via land management practices to improve productivity. It is hypothesised that, once degraded, the structure and function of these very diverse grassland ecosystems follows the same negative trajectory, resulting in depleted soil depths, nutrient storage capacities and therefore reduced plant growth and long-term carbon sequestration. Results demonstrate that similar, but highly complex and non-linear responses to perturbation of the ecosystem are observed, regardless of

  19. Effects of management practices on grassland birds: Grasshopper Sparrow

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dechant, Jill A.; Sondreal, Marriah L.; Johnson, Douglas H.; Igl, Lawrence D.; Goldade, Christopher M.; Nenneman, Melvin P.; Euliss, Betty R.

    1998-01-01

    Information on the habitat requirements and effects of habitat management on grassland birds were summarized from information in more than 5,500 published and unpublished papers. A range map is provided to indicate the relative densities of the species in North America, based on Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data. Although birds frequently are observed outside the breeding range indicated, the maps are intended to show areas where managers might concentrate their attention. It may be ineffectual to manage habitat at a site for a species that rarely occurs in an area. The species account begins with a brief capsule statement, which provides the fundamental components or keys to management for the species. A section on breeding range outlines the current breeding distribution of the species in North America, including areas that could not be mapped using BBS data. The suitable habitat section describes the breeding habitat and occasionally microhabitat characteristics of the species, especially those habitats that occur in the Great Plains. Details on habitat and microhabitat requirements often provide clues to how a species will respond to a particular management practice. A table near the end of the account complements the section on suitable habitat, and lists the specific habitat characteristics for the species by individual studies. A special section on prey habitat is included for those predatory species that have more specific prey requirements. The area requirements section provides details on territory and home range sizes, minimum area requirements, and the effects of patch size, edges, and other landscape and habitat features on abundance and productivity. It may be futile to manage a small block of suitable habitat for a species that has minimum area requirements that are larger than the area being managed. The Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) is an obligate brood parasite of many grassland birds. The section on cowbird brood parasitism summarizes rates

  20. Monitoring soil greenhouse gas emissions from managed grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Díaz-Pinés, Eugenio; Lu, Haiyan; Butterbach-Bahl, Klaus; Kiese, Ralf

    2014-05-01

    Grasslands in Central Europe are of enormous social, ecological and economical importance. They are intensively managed, but the influence of different common practices (i.e. fertilization, harvesting) on the total greenhouse gas budget of grasslands is not fully understood, yet. In addition, it is unknown how these ecosystems will react due to climate change. Increasing temperatures and changing precipitation will likely have an effect on productivity of grasslands and on bio-geo-chemical processes responsible for emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). In the frame of the TERENO Project (www.tereno.net), a long-term observatory has been implemented in the Ammer catchment, southern Germany. Acting as an in situ global change experiment, 36 big lysimeters (1 m2 section, 150 cm height) have been translocated along an altitudinal gradient, including three sites ranging from 600 to 860 meters above sea level. In addition, two treatments have been considered, corresponding to different management intensities. The overall aim of the pre-alpine TERENO observatory is improving our understanding of the consequences of climate change and management on productivity, greenhouse gas balance, soil nutritional status, nutrient leaching and hydrology of grasslands. Two of the sites are equipped with a fully automated measurement system in order to continuously and accurately monitor the soil-atmosphere greenhouse gas exchange. Thus, a stainless steel chamber (1 m2 section, 80 cm height) is controlled by a robotized system. The chamber is hanging on a metal structure which can move both vertically and horizontally, so that the chamber is able to be set onto each of the lysimeters placed on the field. Furthermore, the headspace of the chamber is connected with a gas tube to a Quantum Cascade Laser, which continuously measures CO2, CH4, N2O and H2O mixing ratios. The chamber acts as a static chamber and sets for 15 minutes onto each lysimeter

  1. Nocturnal activity of nesting shrubland and grassland passerines: Chapter 9

    Science.gov (United States)

    Slay, Christy M.; Ellison, Kevin S.; Ribic, Christine; Smith, Kimberly G.; Schmitz, Carolyn M.

    2013-01-01

    Nocturnal activity of nesting passerines is largely undocumented in field situations. We used video recordings to quantify sleep patterns of four shrubland and three grassland bird species during the nestling period. All species exhibited “back sleep” (bill tucked under scapular feathers); individuals woke frequently for vigils of their surroundings. Sleep-bout duration varied from 6 minutes (grasshopper sparrow) to 28 minutes (blue-winged warbler, field sparrow). Duration on nest varied from 6.4 hours (field sparrow) to 8.8 hours (indigo bunting). Adults woke 20–30 minutes before sunrise. First morning absence from the nest was short; nestlings were fed within 12 minutes of a parent’s departure. Further research is needed to understand energetic costs of sleep and behavioral adaptations to environmental pressures.

  2. Transient behavior of cadmium in a grassland arthropod food chain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Van Hook, R.I.; Yates, A.J.

    1975-01-01

    Biological assimilation and transport of cadmium were determined for an arthropod food chain in an east Tennessee grassland community. Laboratory experiments demonstrated that there were no significant differences (P greater than 0.05) in assimilation rates (17 percent assimilation per day) or biological half-lives (7 days) of 109 Cd either as soluble nitrate or insoluble oxide in crickets under identical conditions. Field experiments demonstrated that primary consumers (crickets) accumulated 109 Cd much more rapidly (uptake rate = 0.55 day -1 ) than did the spider predators (uptake rate = 0.08 day -1 ). Equilibrium concentrations in crickets were obtained in 9 days (0.04 ppM cadmium), while equilibrium was not reached in spiders during the 30-day study. Food-chain concentration of cadmium did not occur as crickets accumulated levels of cadmium 60 percent of that in their vegetation food sources and spiders accumulated only 70 percent of the cadmium present in the cricket tissues

  3. Experimental control of Spanish broom (Spartium junceum invading natural grasslands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cristina Sanhueza

    2012-12-01

    Full Text Available A group of legumes generically known as brooms are among the most successful shrubs invading grasslands in South America and otherregions. These species share a set of biological features that enhance their invasiveness, such as abundant and long-lasting seed banks,aggressive root systems and rapid growth, combined with their ability for re-sprouting after cutting or burning and for avoiding herbivores.They grow in dense stands that exclude native vegetation and are able to change ecological processes, increasing fire frequency and intensity,and fixing atmospheric nitrogen. The Spanish broom (Spartium junceum is a shrub native form the Mediterranean that was introduced intothe Argentine Pampas grasslands where it spreads over remnants of pristine ecosystems, threatening their biodiversity. This paper reports theresults obtained after an adaptive management strategy aimed at controlling this species in a nature reserve, and compares the efficiency ofdifferent mechanical and chemical control techniques in terms of the number of plants killed and the effects on surrounding vegetation andon the recruitment of broom seedlings. Control was implemented in two phases, the first included three treatments: i cut at the base of theplant, ii cut followed by the immediate application of Togar (Picloram 3% + Triclopyr 6%, at a 5% dilution in diesel oil on top of the cut stump, and iii foliar spraying with Togar. The follow-up treatments, implemented one year later, consisted of spraying the re-sprouts with Togar (5% in diesel oil or Glyphosate 36% (2% in water. The best option in terms of controlling Spanish broom was spraying the resprouts with Togar which gave 100% mortality of the treated plants, compared with values of 40% - 100% re-sprouting for the other optionstested. None of the methods was associated with an increase in seedling recruitment, nor with significant changes in the vegetation in the immediate vicinity of the controlled brooms.

  4. Surface temperature retrieval in a temperate grassland with multiresolution sensors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goetz, S. J.; Halthore, R. N.; Hall, F. G.; Markham, B. L.

    1995-12-01

    Radiometric surface temperatures retrieved at various spatial resolutions from aircraft and satellite measurements at the FIFE site in eastern Kansas were compared with near-surface temperature measurements to determine the accuracy of the retrieval techniques and consistency between the various sensors. Atmospheric characterizations based on local radiosonde profiles of temperature, pressure, and water vapor were used with the LOWTRAN-7 and MODTRAN atmospheric radiance models to correct measured thermal radiances of water and grassland targets for atmospheric attenuation. Comparison of retrieved surface temperatures from a helicopter-mounted modular multispectral radiometer (MMR) (˜5-m "pixel"), C-130 mounted thematic mapper simulator (TMS) (NS001, ˜20-m pixel), and the Landsat 5 thematic mapper (TM) (120-m pixel) was done. Differences between atmospherically corrected radiative temperatures and near-surface measurements ranged from less than 1°C to more than 8°C. Corrected temperatures from helicopter-MMR and NS001-TMS were in general agreement with near-surface infrared radiative thermometer (IRT) measurements collected from automated meteorological stations, with mean differences of 3.2°C and 1.7°C for grassland targets. Much better agreement (within 1°C) was found between the retrieved aircraft surface temperatures and near-surface measurements acquired with a hand-held mast equipped with a MMR and IRT. The NS001-TMS was also in good agreement with near-surface temperatures acquired over water targets. In contrast, the Landsat 5 TM systematically overestimated surface temperature in all cases. This result has been noted previously but not consistently. On the basis of the results reported here, surface measurements were used to provide a calibration of the TM thermal channel. Further evaluation of the in-flight radiometric calibration of the TM thermal channel is recommended.

  5. Modelling nitrous oxide emissions from grazed grassland systems

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wang Junye; Cardenas, Laura M.; Misselbrook, Tom H.; Cuttle, Steve; Thorman, Rachel E.; Li Changsheng

    2012-01-01

    Grazed grassland systems are an important component of the global carbon cycle and also influence global climate change through their emissions of nitrous oxide and methane. However, there are huge uncertainties and challenges in the development and parameterisation of process-based models for grazed grassland systems because of the wide diversity of vegetation and impacts of grazing animals. A process-based biogeochemistry model, DeNitrification-DeComposition (DNDC), has been modified to describe N 2 O emissions for the UK from regional conditions. This paper reports a new development of UK-DNDC in which the animal grazing practices were modified to track their contributions to the soil nitrogen (N) biogeochemistry. The new version of UK-DNDC was tested against datasets of N 2 O fluxes measured at three contrasting field sites. The results showed that the responses of the model to changes in grazing parameters were generally in agreement with observations, showing that N 2 O emissions increased as the grazing intensity increased. - Highlights: ► Parameterisation of grazing system using grazing intensity. ► Modification of UK D NDC for the UK soil and weather conditions. ► Validation of the UK D NDC against measured data of N 2 O emissions in three UK sites. ► Estimating influence of animal grazing practises on N 2 O emissions. - Grazing system was parameterised using grazing intensity and UK-DNDC model was modified and validated against measured data of N 2 O emissions in three UK sites.

  6. Grassland invader responses to realistic changes in native species richness.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rinella, Matthew J; Pokorny, Monica L; Rekaya, Romdhane

    2007-09-01

    The importance of species richness for repelling exotic plant invasions varies from ecosystem to ecosystem. Thus, in order to prioritize conservation objectives, it is critical to identify those ecosystems where decreasing richness will most greatly magnify invasion risks. Our goal was to determine if invasion risks greatly increase in response to common reductions in grassland species richness. We imposed treatments that mimic management-induced reductions in grassland species richness (i.e., removal of shallow- and/or deep-rooted forbs and/or grasses and/or cryptogam layers). Then we introduced and monitored the performance of a notorious invasive species (i.e., Centaurea maculosa). We found that, on a per-gram-of-biomass basis, each resident plant group similarly suppressed invader growth. Hence, with respect to preventing C. maculosa invasions, maintaining overall productivity is probably more important than maintaining the productivity of particular plant groups or species. But at the sites we studied, all plant groups may be needed to maintain overall productivity because removing forbs decreased overall productivity in two of three years. Alternatively, removing forbs increased productivity in another year, and this led us to posit that removing forbs may inflate the temporal productivity variance as opposed to greatly affecting time-averaged productivity. In either case, overall productivity responses to single plant group removals were inconsistent and fairly modest, and only when all plant groups were removed did C. maculosa growth increase substantially over a no-removal treatment. As such, it seems that intense disturbances (e.g., prolonged drought, overgrazing) that deplete multiple plant groups may often be a prerequisite for C. maculosa invasion.

  7. Estimation of nitrogen balance between the atmosphere and Lake Balaton and a semi natural grassland in Hungary

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kugler, Sz.; Horvath, L.; Machon, A.

    2008-01-01

    The paper summarises the results to determine the fluxes of different N-compounds within the atmosphere and an aquatic and a terrestrial ecosystems, in Hungary. In the exchange processes of N-compounds between atmosphere and various ecosystems the deposition dominates. The net deposition fluxes are -730, -1 270 and -1530 mg N m -2 yr -1 for water, grassland, and forest ecosystems, respectively. For water, the main source of nitrogen compounds is the wet deposition. Ammonia gas is close to the equilibrium between the water and the air. For grassland the dry flux of nitric acid and ammonia is also an important term beside the wet deposition. Dry deposition to terrestrial ecosystems is roughly two times higher than wet deposition. A total of 8-10% of the nitrates and NH x deposited to terrestrial ecosystems are re-emitted into the air in the form of nitrous oxide (N 2 O) greenhouse gas. - The paper summarises the results of works to determine the N-flux between atmosphere and terrestrial/aquatic ecosystems in Hungary

  8. Effects of short term and long term soil warming on ecosystem phenology of a sub-arctic grassland: an NDVI-based approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leblans, Niki; Sigurdsson, Bjarni D.; Janssens, Ivan A.

    2014-05-01

    Phenology has been defined as the study of the timing of recurring biological events and the causes of their timing with regard to abiotic and biotic factors. Ecosystem phenology, including the onset of the growing season and its senescence in autumn, plays an important role in the carbon, water and energy exchange between biosphere and atmosphere at higher latitudes. Factors that influence ecosystem phenology can therefore induce important climate-controlling feedback mechanisms. Global surface temperatures have been predicted to increase in the coming decades. Hence, a better understanding of the effect of temperature on ecosystem phenology is essential. Natural geothermal soil temperature gradients in Iceland offer a unique opportunity to study the soil temperature (Ts) dependence of ecosystem phenology and distinguish short-term (transient) warming effects (in recently established Ts gradients) from long-term (permanent) effects (in centuries-old Ts gradients). This research was performed in the framework of an international research project (ForHot; www.forhot.is). ForHot includes two natural grassland areas with gradients in Ts, dominated by Festuca sp., Agrostis sp.. The first warmed area was created in 2008, when an earthquake in S-Iceland caused geothermal systems to be shifted to previously cold soils. The second area is located about 3 km away from this newly warmed grassland. For this area, there are proofs that the natural soil warming has been continuous for at least 300 year. In the present study we focus on Ts elevation gradients of +0 to +10°C. The experiment consists of five transects with five temperature levels (+0,+1,+3,+5 and +10°C) in the two aforementioned grassland ecosystems (n=25 in each grassland). From April until November 2013, weekly measurements of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) were taken. In the short-term warmed grassland, the greening of the vegetation was 36 days advanced at +10°C Ts and the date of 50

  9. Visual cognition

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Pinker, S.

    1985-01-01

    This book consists of essays covering issues in visual cognition presenting experimental techniques from cognitive psychology, methods of modeling cognitive processes on computers from artificial intelligence, and methods of studying brain organization from neuropsychology. Topics considered include: parts of recognition; visual routines; upward direction; mental rotation, and discrimination of left and right turns in maps; individual differences in mental imagery, computational analysis and the neurological basis of mental imagery: componental analysis.

  10. Visual search, visual streams, and visual architectures.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Green, M

    1991-10-01

    Most psychological, physiological, and computational models of early vision suggest that retinal information is divided into a parallel set of feature modules. The dominant theories of visual search assume that these modules form a "blackboard" architecture: a set of independent representations that communicate only through a central processor. A review of research shows that blackboard-based theories, such as feature-integration theory, cannot easily explain the existing data. The experimental evidence is more consistent with a "network" architecture, which stresses that: (1) feature modules are directly connected to one another, (2) features and their locations are represented together, (3) feature detection and integration are not distinct processing stages, and (4) no executive control process, such as focal attention, is needed to integrate features. Attention is not a spotlight that synthesizes objects from raw features. Instead, it is better to conceptualize attention as an aperture which masks irrelevant visual information.

  11. Functional connectivity as a possible indicator of desertification in degraded grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vest, K. R.; Elmore, A. J.; Kaste, J. M.; Okin, G. S.

    2011-12-01

    Desertification of semi-arid grasslands impacts air quality, climate, biodiversity, and soil fertility. Desertification processes such as wind erosion lead to declining soil resources and sometimes local climate change. Desertification is irreversible; however, identifying when and where ecological changes are irreversible is problematic, requiring observations of a new ecological state, favoring the continued process of wind erosion and continued depletion of soil resources. Scientists hypothesize that an indicator of irreversibility in desertification might be "connected pathways". The connected pathway hypothesis requires that vegetation structure has changed from a grass to a shrub dominated system with increasing number and size of bare soil gaps. These bare soil gaps are functionally connected through the action of wind; therefore, functional connectivity of a landscape is related to the length and size of pathways through vegetation. This study used a combination of field measurements (total horizontal flux (Qtot) and vegetation structure) and landscape modeling to examine the difference in functional connectivity between grassland locations that were either degraded or relatively intact. At our field site, the degradation process was initiated by groundwater pumping, which adversely affects groundwater dependent grasses, providing a useful link to management seeking to limit the effects or extent of desertification. To analyze the functional connectivity of these locations in Owens Valley, we used circuit theory, a novel graph-based approach, which integrates all possible pathways to determine a "resistance distance" between any two points. Circuit theory uses current and resistance to represent movement of wind and the effect of vegetation and soil roughness on wind. Circuit theory was implemented using the open source software package, Circuitscape. To estimate landscape resistance, we performed a supervised classification on 1m aerial photographs. For

  12. Greenhouse gas balance of mountain dairy farms as affected by grassland carbon sequestration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salvador, Sara; Corazzin, Mirco; Romanzin, Alberto; Bovolenta, Stefano

    2017-07-01

    Recent studies on milk production have often focused on environmental impacts analysed using the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach. In grassland-based livestock systems, soil carbon sequestration might be a potential sink to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) balance. Nevertheless, there is no commonly shared methodology. In this work, the GHG emissions of small-scale mountain dairy farms were assessed using the LCA approach. Two functional units, kg of Fat and Protein Corrected Milk (FPCM) and Utilizable Agricultural Land (UAL), and two different emissions allocations methods, no allocation and physical allocation, which accounts for the co-product beef, were considered. Two groups of small-scale dairy farms were identified based on the Livestock Units (LU) reared: 30 LU (HLU). Before considering soil carbon sequestration in LCA, performing no allocation methods, LLU farms tended to have higher GHG emission than HLU farms per kg of FPCM (1.94 vs. 1.59 kg CO 2 -eq/kg FPCM, P ≤ 0.10), whereas the situation was reversed upon considering the m 2 of UAL as a functional unit (0.29 vs. 0.89 kg CO 2 -eq/m 2 , P ≤ 0.05). Conversely, considering physical allocation, the difference between the two groups became less noticeable. When the contribution from soil carbon sequestration was included in the LCA and no allocation method was performed, LLU farms registered higher values of GHG emission per kg of FPCM than HLU farms (1.38 vs. 1.10 kg CO 2 -eq/kg FPCM, P ≤ 0.05), and the situation was likewise reversed in this case upon considering the m 2 of UAL as a functional unit (0.22 vs. 0.73 kg CO 2 -eq/m 2 , P ≤ 0.05). To highlight how the presence of grasslands is crucial for the carbon footprint of small-scale farms, this study also applied a simulation for increasing the forage self-sufficiency of farms to 100%. In this case, an average reduction of GHG emission per kg of FPCM of farms was estimated both with no allocation and with physical allocation

  13. Fertilization and oversowing on natural grassland: effects on pasture characteristics and yearling steers performance

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eduardo Tonet Ferreira

    2011-09-01

    Full Text Available The objective of this study was to evaluate the vegetal and animal production of a natural pasture on a Mollisol soil in the region of Campanha, in RS. The experimental design consisted of complete randomized blocks with three replicates, which enables the comparison between natural unfertilized pastures with fertilized pastures and pastures fertilized and overseeded with Lolium multiflorum, Lotus corniculatus cv. São Gabriel and Trifolium repens cv. Lucero (NPO. Data were submitted to the analyses of variance considering seasons of the year as time repeated measurements. Aberddeen Angus calves of about nine months of age were used in continuous stocking with variable stocking rate in order to maintain forage offer at 13% of live weight. Data were collected between July 7th (2007 and May 3rd (2008, totaling 302 days. Fertilized and oversown pastures showed higher green forage mass mainly in the spring, as result of higher dry matter (DM accumulation rate. Average daily live-weight gain for fertilized pasture (0.581 kg/day was higher than for natural pasture (0.473 kg/day. Higher live-weight gains were obtained in the fall (0.869 kg/day. Stocking rate showed interaction with the seasons of the year, with higher stocking rates obtained in oversown pasture (701 kg of LW/ha and fertilized pasture (667 kg of LW/ha during the spring. Live-weight gain per hectare from natural pasture (224 kg LW/ha was lower than on fertilized (310 kg LW/ha and over-sown pasture (287 kg LW/ha. Forage mass, dry matter content, forage allowance and pasture height explained 61% of the average live weight gain. Despite the good performance of native grasslands in this region in its natural condition, the utilization of different inputs as fertilization and oversowing of winter cultivated species promoted positive differences in forage production and its distribution along the year and in animal yield.

  14. Object-based random forest classification of Landsat ETM+ and WorldView-2 satellite imagery for mapping lowland native grassland communities in Tasmania, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Melville, Bethany; Lucieer, Arko; Aryal, Jagannath

    2018-04-01

    This paper presents a random forest classification approach for identifying and mapping three types of lowland native grassland communities found in the Tasmanian Midlands region. Due to the high conservation priority assigned to these communities, there has been an increasing need to identify appropriate datasets that can be used to derive accurate and frequently updateable maps of community extent. Therefore, this paper proposes a method employing repeat classification and statistical significance testing as a means of identifying the most appropriate dataset for mapping these communities. Two datasets were acquired and analysed; a Landsat ETM+ scene, and a WorldView-2 scene, both from 2010. Training and validation data were randomly subset using a k-fold (k = 50) approach from a pre-existing field dataset. Poa labillardierei, Themeda triandra and lowland native grassland complex communities were identified in addition to dry woodland and agriculture. For each subset of randomly allocated points, a random forest model was trained based on each dataset, and then used to classify the corresponding imagery. Validation was performed using the reciprocal points from the independent subset that had not been used to train the model. Final training and classification accuracies were reported as per class means for each satellite dataset. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was undertaken to determine whether classification accuracy differed between the two datasets, as well as between classifications. Results showed mean class accuracies between 54% and 87%. Class accuracy only differed significantly between datasets for the dry woodland and Themeda grassland classes, with the WorldView-2 dataset showing higher mean classification accuracies. The results of this study indicate that remote sensing is a viable method for the identification of lowland native grassland communities in the Tasmanian Midlands, and that repeat classification and statistical significant testing can be

  15. Altered Plant Litter and Microbial Composition Lead to Topsoil Organic Carbon Loss Over a Shrub-encroachment Gradient in an Inner Mongolia Grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, L.; Li, H.; Shen, H.; Xu, Y.; Wang, Y.; Xing, A.; Fang, J.

    2017-12-01

    Over the past 150 years, shrub encroachment has occurred in arid and semi-arid ecosystems resulting from climate change and increased human disturbance. Previous studies have revealed that shrub encroachment has substantial effects on habitat heterogeneity, aboveground biomass and bulk carbon content of grasslands, thereby affecting the regional carbon balance. Soil organic carbon (SOC) is mainly derived from aboveground litter, root litter and root exudates and is metabolized by microorganisms. The quality and quantity of plant litter together with soil microbial biomass are important drivers of SOC accumulation. However, the mechanisms regulating soil carbon accumulation by the shrub encroachment remain unclear and molecular evidence is particularly lacking. We use the data of the chemical composition of plant tissues and SOC, and the soil microbial communities to identify the effects of shrub encroachment on SOC accumulation in the top layer along a gradient of natural shrub cover in the grasslands of Inner Mongolia. Our finding indicates that nitrogen-rich legume-shrub encroachment led to soil carbon accumulation in the shrub patch, with more extensive carbon loss observed in the grassy matrix, which resulted in an overall carbon loss. In the pure grassland, a higher abundance of cutin and suberin and a lower concentration of free lipids were detected, suggesting the preservation of recalcitrant polymers derived from herb inputs. In the shrub-encroached grasslands, the labile shrub leaves did not decompose alone but were mixed with herb litter to promote the degradation of SOC via the priming of microbial activities. The SOC remained unchanged in the shrub patches with the increasing shrub cover, which might have been caused by the replacement of prior carbon decompositions with the fresh input of shrub leaves. Similarly, the SOC decreased significantly with increasing shrub cover in the grassy matrix, which likely resulted from insufficient fresh plant inputs

  16. Evaporation from Pinus caribaea plantations on former grassland soils under maritime tropical conditions.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Waterloo, M.J.; Bruijnzeel, L.A.; Vugts, H.F.; Rawaqa, T.T.

    1999-01-01

    Wet canopy and dry canopy evaporation from young and mature plantations of Pinus caribaea on former grassland soils under maritime tropical conditions in southwestern Viti Levu, Fiji, were determined using micrometeorological and hydrological techniques. Modeled annual evaporation totals (ET) of

  17. Evaporation from Pinus caribaea plantations on former grassland soils under maritime tropical conditions

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Waterloo, M.J.; Bruijnzeel, L.A.; Vugts, H.F.; Rawaqa, T.T.

    1999-01-01

    Wet canopy and dry canopy evaporation from young and mature plantations of Pinus caribaea on former grassland soils under maritime tropical conditions in southwestern Viti Levu, Fiji, were determined using micrometeorological and hydrological techniques. Modeled annual evaporation totals (ET) of

  18. NPP Grassland: Beacon Hill, U.K., 1972-1993, R1

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This data set contains two ASCII text files, one providing productivity measurements for a chalk grassland on Beacon Hill, West Sussex, U.K. (50.92 N, -0.85 W) and...

  19. Soil communities promote temporal stability and species asynchrony in experimental grassland communities

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Pellkofer, Sarah; Van Der Heijden, Marcel G A; Schmid, Bernhard; Wagg, Cameron

    2016-01-01

    Background Over the past two decades many studies have demonstrated that plant species diversity promotes primary productivity and stability in grassland ecosystems. Additionally, soil community characteristics have also been shown to influence the productivity and composition of plant communities,

  20. Seasonal dynamics and vertical distribution of plant-feeding nematode communities in grasslands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Verschoor, B.C.; Goede, de R.G.M.; Hoop, de J.W.; Vries, de F.W.

    2001-01-01

    The vertical distribution and seasonal dynamics of plant- and fungal-feeding nematode taxa in permanent grasslands were investigated. Dolichodoridae, Paratylenchus, Pratylenchus, Tylenchidae and Aphelenchoides dominated the upper 10 cm soil and their numbers strongly decreased with depth. The

  1. Threshold responses to interacting global changes in a California grassland ecosystem

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Field, Christopher [Carnegie Inst. of Science, Stanford, CA (United States); Mooney, Harold [Stanford Univ., CA (United States); Vitousek, Peter [Stanford Univ., CA (United States)

    2015-02-02

    Building on the history and infrastructure of the Jasper Ridge Global Change Experiment, we conducted experiments to explore the potential for single and combined global changes to stimulate fundamental type changes in ecosystems that start the experiment as California annual grassland. Using a carefully orchestrated set of seedling introductions, followed by careful study and later removal, the grassland was poised to enable two major kinds of transitions that occur in real life and that have major implications for ecosystem structure, function, and services. These are transitions from grassland to shrubland/forest and grassland to thistle patch. The experiment took place in the context of 4 global change factors – warming, elevated CO2, N deposition, and increased precipitation – in a full-factorial array, present as all possible 1, 2, 3, and 4-factor combinations, with each combination replicated 8 times.

  2. Monitoring Grassland Tourist Season of Inner Mongolia, China Using Remote Sensing Data

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Quansheng Ge

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available Phenology-driven events, such as spring wildflower displays or fall tree colour, are generally appreciated by tourists for centuries around the world. Monitoring when tourist seasons occur using satellite data has been an area of growing research interest in recent decades. In this paper, a valid methodology for detecting the grassland tourist season using remote sensing data was presented. On average, the beginning, the best, and the end of grassland tourist season of Inner Mongolia, China, occur in late June (±30 days, early July (±30 days, and late July (±50 days, respectively. In south region, the grassland tourist season appeared relatively late. The length of the grassland tourist season is about 90 days with strong spatial trend. South areas exhibit longer tourist season.

  3. Plant species occurrence patterns in Eurasian grasslands reflect adaptation to nutrient ratios

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Roeling, Ineke S.; Ozinga, Wim A.; van Dijk, Jerry; Eppinga, Maarten B.; Wassen, Martin J.

    2018-01-01

    Previous studies of Eurasian grasslands have suggested that nutrient ratios, rather than absolute nutrient availabilities and associated productivity, may be driving plant species richness patterns. However, the underlying assumption that species occupy distinct niches along nutrient ratio gradients

  4. Spontaneous colonization of restored dry grasslands by target species: restoration proceeds beyond sowing regional seed mixtures

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Johanidesová, E.; Fajmon, K.; Jongepierová, I.; Prach, Karel

    2015-01-01

    Roč. 70, č. 4 (2015), s. 631-638 ISSN 0142-5242 Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : restoration * grasslands * spontaneous colonization Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour Impact factor: 1.617, year: 2015

  5. PCDD/F and Aromatic Emissions from Simulated Forest and Grassland Fires

    Science.gov (United States)

    Emissions of polychlorinated dibenzodioxin and polychlorinated dibenzofuran (PCDD/F) from simulated grassland and forest fires were quantitatively sampled to derive emission factors in support of PCDD/F inventory development. Grasses from Kentucky and Minnesota; forest shrubs fro...

  6. Strategic Grassland Bird Conservation throughout the annual cycle: Linking policy alternatives, landowner decisions, and biological population outcomes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Drum, Ryan G.; Ribic, Christine; Koch, Katie; Lonsdorf, Eric V.; Grant, Edward C.; Ahlering, Marissa; Barnhill, Laurel; Dailey, Thomas; Lor, Socheata; Mueller, Connie; Pavlacky, D.C.; Rideout, Catherine; Sample, David W.

    2015-01-01

    Grassland bird habitat has declined substantially in the United States. Remaining grasslands are increasingly fragmented, mostly privately owned, and vary greatly in terms of habitat quality and protection status. A coordinated strategic response for grassland bird conservation is difficult, largely due to the scope and complexity of the problem, further compounded by biological, sociological, and economic uncertainties. We describe the results from a collaborative Structured Decision Making (SDM) workshop focused on linking social and economic drivers of landscape change to grassland bird population outcomes. We identified and evaluated alternative strategies for grassland bird conservation using a series of rapid prototype models. We modeled change in grassland and agriculture cover in hypothetical landscapes resulting from different landowner decisions in response to alternative socio-economic conservation policy decisions. Resulting changes in land cover at all three stages of the annual cycle (breeding, wintering, and migration) were used to estimate changes in grassland bird populations. Our results suggest that successful grassland bird conservation may depend upon linkages with ecosystem services on working agricultural lands and grassland-based marketing campaigns to engage the public. With further development, spatial models that link landowner decisions with biological outcomes can be essential tools for making conservation policy decisions. A coordinated non-traditional partnership will likely be necessary to clearly understand and systematically respond to the many conservation challenges facing grassland birds.

  7. Strategic Grassland Bird Conservation throughout the Annual Cycle: Linking Policy Alternatives, Landowner Decisions, and Biological Population Outcomes.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ryan G Drum

    Full Text Available Grassland bird habitat has declined substantially in the United States. Remaining grasslands are increasingly fragmented, mostly privately owned, and vary greatly in terms of habitat quality and protection status. A coordinated strategic response for grassland bird conservation is difficult, largely due to the scope and complexity of the problem, further compounded by biological, sociological, and economic uncertainties. We describe the results from a collaborative Structured Decision Making (SDM workshop focused on linking social and economic drivers of landscape change to grassland bird population outcomes. We identified and evaluated alternative strategies for grassland bird conservation using a series of rapid prototype models. We modeled change in grassland and agriculture cover in hypothetical landscapes resulting from different landowner decisions in response to alternative socio-economic conservation policy decisions. Resulting changes in land cover at all three stages of the annual cycle (breeding, wintering, and migration were used to estimate changes in grassland bird populations. Our results suggest that successful grassland bird conservation may depend upon linkages with ecosystem services on working agricultural lands and grassland-based marketing campaigns to engage the public. With further development, spatial models that link landowner decisions with biological outcomes can be essential tools for making conservation policy decisions. A coordinated non-traditional partnership will likely be necessary to clearly understand and systematically respond to the many conservation challenges facing grassland birds.

  8. Visualizing water

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baart, F.; van Gils, A.; Hagenaars, G.; Donchyts, G.; Eisemann, E.; van Velzen, J. W.

    2016-12-01

    A compelling visualization is captivating, beautiful and narrative. Here we show how melding the skills of computer graphics, art, statistics, and environmental modeling can be used to generate innovative, attractive and very informative visualizations. We focus on the topic of visualizing forecasts and measurements of water (water level, waves, currents, density, and salinity). For the field of computer graphics and arts, water is an important topic because it occurs in many natural scenes. For environmental modeling and statistics, water is an important topic because the water is essential for transport, a healthy environment, fruitful agriculture, and a safe environment.The different disciplines take different approaches to visualizing water. In computer graphics, one focusses on creating water as realistic looking as possible. The focus on realistic perception (versus the focus on the physical balance pursued by environmental scientists) resulted in fascinating renderings, as seen in recent games and movies. Visualization techniques for statistical results have benefited from the advancement in design and journalism, resulting in enthralling infographics. The field of environmental modeling has absorbed advances in contemporary cartography as seen in the latest interactive data-driven maps. We systematically review the design emerging types of water visualizations. The examples that we analyze range from dynamically animated forecasts, interactive paintings, infographics, modern cartography to web-based photorealistic rendering. By characterizing the intended audience, the design choices, the scales (e.g. time, space), and the explorability we provide a set of guidelines and genres. The unique contributions of the different fields show how the innovations in the current state of the art of water visualization have benefited from inter-disciplinary collaborations.

  9. Extensive Management Promotes Plant and Microbial Nitrogen Retention in Temperate Grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Vries, Franciska T.; Bloem, Jaap; Quirk, Helen; Stevens, Carly J.; Bol, Roland; Bardgett, Richard D.

    2012-01-01

    Leaching losses of nitrogen (N) from soil and atmospheric N deposition have led to widespread changes in plant community and microbial community composition, but our knowledge of the factors that determine ecosystem N retention is limited. A common feature of extensively managed, species-rich grasslands is that they have fungal-dominated microbial communities, which might reduce soil N losses and increase ecosystem N retention, which is pivotal for pollution mitigation and sustainable food production. However, the mechanisms that underpin improved N retention in extensively managed, species-rich grasslands are unclear. We combined a landscape-scale field study and glasshouse experiment to test how grassland management affects plant and soil N retention. Specifically, we hypothesised that extensively managed, species-rich grasslands of high conservation value would have lower N loss and greater N retention than intensively managed, species-poor grasslands, and that this would be due to a greater immobilisation of N by a more fungal-dominated microbial community. In the field study, we found that extensively managed, species-rich grasslands had lower N leaching losses. Soil inorganic N availability decreased with increasing abundance of fungi relative to bacteria, although the best predictor of soil N leaching was the C/N ratio of aboveground plant biomass. In the associated glasshouse experiment we found that retention of added 15N was greater in extensively than in intensively managed grasslands, which was attributed to a combination of greater root uptake and microbial immobilisation of 15N in the former, and that microbial immobilisation increased with increasing biomass and abundance of fungi. These findings show that grassland management affects mechanisms of N retention in soil through changes in root and microbial uptake of N. Moreover, they support the notion that microbial communities might be the key to improved N retention through tightening linkages

  10. Energy production from grassland - Assessing the sustainability of different process chains under German conditions

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Roesch, Christine; Skarka, J.; Raab, K.; Stelzer, V.

    2009-01-01

    In many regions of Europe, grassland shapes the landscape and fulfils important functions in protecting nature, soil, and water. However, the traditional uses of grassland for forage production are vanishing with progress in breeding and structural adaptations in agriculture. On the other hand, the demand for biomass energy is rising due to political sustainability goals and financial measures to support renewable energy. Against this background, the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis investigated the applicability, economic efficiency, and sustainability of different techniques for energy production from grassland as well as from grassland converted into maize fields or short-rotation poplars under German conditions. The results show that despite relatively high energy prices and the financial support for bioenergy, the effects of energy production from grassland on employment in agriculture and farmers' income are modest. What is beneficial are savings in non-renewable energy, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and local provision of energy carriers. If grassland biomass (grass silage or hay) is used for energy purposes, this brings the further advantages of preserving biodiversity and the cultural landscape and protecting of soil and groundwater. Negative impacts on sustainable development result from an increase in emissions, which leads to acidification, eutrophication, and risks to human health. The overall evaluation indicates that short-rotation poplars are comparatively advantageous from the economic and ecological point of view. Therefore, a development plan for grassland is required to identify areas where grassland could be used as an energy resource or where it would be favourable to install energy plantations with fast-growing perennial plants

  11. Pollination biology in a tropical high-altitude grassland in Brazil: Interactions at the community level

    OpenAIRE

    Freitas, L; Sazima, M

    2006-01-01

    Surveys of local assemblages of plants and their pollinators are among the most useful ways to evaluate specialization in pollination and to discuss the patterns of plant-pollinator interactions among ecosystems. The high-altitude grasslands from southeastern Brazil constitute diminutive island-like formations surrounded by montane rainforests. We registered the floral traits of 124 species from the Serra da Bricaina grasslands (about 60% of the animal-pollinated species of this flora), and d...

  12. Farming for pests? Local and landscape-scale effects of grassland management on rabbit densities

    OpenAIRE

    Petrovan , Silviu O.; Barrio , Isabel C.; Ward , Alastair I.; Wheeler , Philip M.

    2010-01-01

    Abstract In recent decades in the UK, there has been an increasing trend in numbers of the European wild rabbit, a significant agricultural pest typically associated with grassland habitats. However, the relationship between rabbit abundance and grassland management, in particular grazing, has not been sufficiently explained. We studied rabbit densities in seven pasture-dominated sites in north-east England between autumn and spring in two consecutive years, and used generalised li...

  13. Responses of soil fungal community to the sandy grassland restoration in Horqin Sandy Land, northern China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Shao-Kun; Zuo, Xiao-An; Zhao, Xue-Yong; Li, Yu-Qiang; Zhou, Xin; Lv, Peng; Luo, Yong-Qing; Yun, Jian-Ying

    2016-01-01

    Sandy grassland restoration is a vital process including re-structure of soils, restoration of vegetation, and soil functioning in arid and semi-arid regions. Soil fungal community is a complex and critical component of soil functioning and ecological balance due to its roles in organic matter decomposition and nutrient cycling following sandy grassland restoration. In this study, soil fungal community and its relationship with environmental factors were examined along a habitat gradient of sandy grassland restoration: mobile dunes (MD), semi-fixed dunes (SFD), fixed dunes (FD), and grassland (G). It was found that species abundance, richness, and diversity of fungal community increased along with the sandy grassland restoration. The sequences analysis suggested that most of the fungal species (68.4 %) belonged to the phylum of Ascomycota. The three predominant fungal species were Pleospora herbarum, Wickerhamomyces anomalus, and Deconica Montana, accounting for more than one fourth of all the 38 species. Geranomyces variabilis was the subdominant species in MD, Pseudogymnoascus destructans and Mortierella alpine were the subdominant species in SFD, and P. destructans and Fungi incertae sedis were the dominant species in FD and G. The result from redundancy analysis (RDA) and stepwise regression analysis indicated that the vegetation characteristics and soil properties explain a significant proportion of the variation in the fungal community, and aboveground biomass and C:N ratio are the key factors to determine soil fungal community composition during sandy grassland restoration. It was suggested that the restoration of sandy grassland combined with vegetation and soil properties improved the soil fungal diversity. Also, the dominant species was found to be alternative following the restoration of sandy grassland ecosystems.

  14. Effect of soil properties and hydrology on Archaeal community composition in three temperate grasslands on peat

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Görres, Carolyn-Monika; Conrad, Ralf; Petersen, Søren O

    2013-01-01

    Grasslands established on drained peat soils are regarded as negligible methane (CH4) sources; however, they can still exhibit considerable soil CH4 dynamics. We investigated archaeal community composition in two different fen peat soils and one bog peat soil under permanent grassland in Denmark........ Overall, there seemed to be a significant coupling between peat type and archaeal community composition, with local hydrology modifying the strength of this coupling....

  15. Visual comparison for information visualization

    KAUST Repository

    Gleicher, M.; Albers, D.; Walker, R.; Jusufi, I.; Hansen, C. D.; Roberts, J. C.

    2011-01-01

    Data analysis often involves the comparison of complex objects. With the ever increasing amounts and complexity of data, the demand for systems to help with these comparisons is also growing. Increasingly, information visualization tools support such comparisons explicitly, beyond simply allowing a viewer to examine each object individually. In this paper, we argue that the design of information visualizations of complex objects can, and should, be studied in general, that is independently of what those objects are. As a first step in developing this general understanding of comparison, we propose a general taxonomy of visual designs for comparison that groups designs into three basic categories, which can be combined. To clarify the taxonomy and validate its completeness, we provide a survey of work in information visualization related to comparison. Although we find a great diversity of systems and approaches, we see that all designs are assembled from the building blocks of juxtaposition, superposition and explicit encodings. This initial exploration shows the power of our model, and suggests future challenges in developing a general understanding of comparative visualization and facilitating the development of more comparative visualization tools. © The Author(s) 2011.

  16. Visual comparison for information visualization

    KAUST Repository

    Gleicher, M.

    2011-09-07

    Data analysis often involves the comparison of complex objects. With the ever increasing amounts and complexity of data, the demand for systems to help with these comparisons is also growing. Increasingly, information visualization tools support such comparisons explicitly, beyond simply allowing a viewer to examine each object individually. In this paper, we argue that the design of information visualizations of complex objects can, and should, be studied in general, that is independently of what those objects are. As a first step in developing this general understanding of comparison, we propose a general taxonomy of visual designs for comparison that groups designs into three basic categories, which can be combined. To clarify the taxonomy and validate its completeness, we provide a survey of work in information visualization related to comparison. Although we find a great diversity of systems and approaches, we see that all designs are assembled from the building blocks of juxtaposition, superposition and explicit encodings. This initial exploration shows the power of our model, and suggests future challenges in developing a general understanding of comparative visualization and facilitating the development of more comparative visualization tools. © The Author(s) 2011.

  17. Intermediate Levels of Visual Processing

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Nakayama, Ken

    1998-01-01

    ...) surface representation, here we have shown that there is an intermediate level of visual processing, between the analysis of the image and higher order representations related to specific objects; (2...

  18. Early vision and visual attention

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gvozdenović Vasilije P.

    2003-01-01

    Full Text Available The question whether visual perception is spontaneous, sudden or is running through several phases, mediated by higher cognitive processes, was raised ever since the early work of Gestalt psychologists. In the early 1980s, Treisman proposed the feature integration theory of attention (FIT, based on the findings of neuroscience. Soon after publishing her theory a new scientific approach appeared investigating several visual perception phenomena. The most widely researched were the key constructs of FIT, like types of visual search and the role of the attention. The following review describes the main studies of early vision and visual attention.

  19. Grassland habitat restoration: lessons learnt from long term monitoring of Swanworth Quarry, UK, 1997–2014

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Barbara Maria Smith

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available Habitat restoration projects are often conducted when prior use or extraction of natural resources results in land degradation. The success of restoration programmes, however, is variable, and studies that provide evidence of long term outcomes are valuable for evaluation purposes. This study focused on the restoration of vegetation within a limestone quarry in Dorset, UK between 1997 and 2014. Using a randomised block design, the effect of seed mix and seed rate on the development of community assemblage was investigated in comparison to a nearby target calcareous grassland site. We hypothesised that seed mix composition and sowing rate would influence both the trajectory of the grassland assemblage and final community composition. We found that species composition (in relation to both richness and community assemblage was strongly influenced by time and to some extent by seed rate and seed mix. However, no treatments achieved strong resemblance to the calcareous grassland target vegetation; rather they resembled mesotrophic communities. We conclude that (as with previous studies there is no “quick fix” for the establishment of a grassland community; long-term monitoring provides useful information on the trajectory of community development; sowing gets you something (in our case mesotrophic grassland, but, it may not be the target vegetation (e.g., calcicolous grassland you want that is difficult to establish and regenerate; it is important to sow a diverse mix as subsequent recruitment opportunities are probably limited; post-establishment management should be explored further and carefully considered as part of a restoration project.

  20. Research priorities for grassland science: the need of long term integrated experiments networks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    G. Lemaire

    2007-07-01

    Full Text Available Grasslands have to be considered not only as a mean for providing foods for domestic herbivore but also as an important biome of terrestrial biosphere. This function of grasslands as an active component of our environment requires specific studies on the role and impact of this ecosystem on soil erosion and soil quality, quality and quantity of water resources, atmosphere composition and greenhouse gas emission or sequestration, biodiversity dynamics at different scales from field plot to landscape. All these functions have to be evaluated in conjunction with the function of providing animal products for increasing human population. So multifunctionality of grasslands become a new paradigm for grassland science. Environmental and biodiversity outputs require long term studies, being the long term retro-active processes within soil, vegetation and micro-organism communities in relation to changes in management programme. So grassland science needs to carry on long term integrated experimentation for studying all the environmental outputs and ecological services associated to grassland management systems.

  1. Increasing temperature reduces the coupling between available nitrogen and phosphorus in soils of Chinese grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Geng, Yan; Baumann, Frank; Song, Chao; Zhang, Mi; Shi, Yue; Kühn, Peter; Scholten, Thomas; He, Jin-Sheng

    2017-03-01

    Changes in climatic conditions along geographical gradients greatly affect soil nutrient cycling processes. Yet how climate regimes such as changes in temperature influence soil nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) concentrations and their stoichiometry is not well understood. This study investigated the spatial pattern and variability of soil N and P availability as well as their coupling relationships at two soil layers (0-10 and 10-20 cm) along a 4000-km climate transect in two grassland biomes of China, the Inner Mongolian temperate grasslands and the Tibetan alpine grasslands. Our results found that in both grasslands, from cold to warm sites the amounts of soil total N, total P and available P all decreased. By contrast, the amount of available N was positively related to mean annual temperature in the Tibetan grasslands. Meanwhile, with increasing temperature ratio of available N to P significantly increased but the linear relationship between them was considerably reduced. Thus, increasing temperature may not only induce a stoichiometric shift but also loose the coupling between available N and P. This N-P decoupling under warmer conditions was more evident in the Tibetan alpine grasslands where P limitation might become more widespread relative to N as temperatures continue to rise.

  2. Visual cognition

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Pinker, S.

    1985-01-01

    This collection of research papers on visual cognition first appeared as a special issue of Cognition: International Journal of Cognitive Science. The study of visual cognition has seen enormous progress in the past decade, bringing important advances in our understanding of shape perception, visual imagery, and mental maps. Many of these discoveries are the result of converging investigations in different areas, such as cognitive and perceptual psychology, artificial intelligence, and neuropsychology. This volume is intended to highlight a sample of work at the cutting edge of this research area for the benefit of students and researchers in a variety of disciplines. The tutorial introduction that begins the volume is designed to help the nonspecialist reader bridge the gap between the contemporary research reported here and earlier textbook introductions or literature reviews.

  3. Visualizing Transformation

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pedersen, Pia

    2012-01-01

    Transformation, defined as the step of extracting, arranging and simplifying data into visual form (M. Neurath, 1974), was developed in connection with ISOTYPE (International System Of TYpographic Picture Education) and might well be the most important legacy of Isotype to the field of graphic...... design. Recently transformation has attracted renewed interest because of the book The Transformer written by Robin Kinross and Marie Neurath. My on-going research project, summarized in this paper, identifies and depicts the essential principles of data visualization underlying the process...... of transformation with reference to Marie Neurath’s sketches on the Bilston Project. The material has been collected at the Otto and Marie Neurath Collection housed at the University of Reading, UK. By using data visualization as a research method to look directly into the process of transformation, the project...

  4. Assessment of wild boar rooting on ecological and pastoral values of alpine pyrenean grasslands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bueno, C. G.

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available Wild boar rooting is nowadays one of the main disturbances in Pyrenean alpine grasslands. Its consequences for the ecosystem are not perfectly understood yet despite alpine grasslands in the Pyrenees have an important economic role and a priority conservation interest. The ecosystem services of this habitat lay mainly on pastoral and ecological values that wild boar rooting seems to affect. In this study, we measured those ecological and pastoral values at different scales to improve our understanding of the reach of these disturbances in this sensitive ecosystem. At landscape and community scales we compare disturbed and undisturbed areas in pastoral, ecological and community maps of the study area by means of a geographic information system. At a local scale we compare ecological and pastoral values of different plant groups (based on species abundance, within and outside wild boar rootings. A preference for areas of high pastoral and intermediate ecological values was found for wild boar rooting at the landscape level. However at the community level, disturbances notably reduced pastoral and ecological values in all communities. At the local level, the ecological value of bulbs and the pastoral value of annual dicots increased within disturbances, suggesting that disturbances may favour functional group diversity. In sum, wild boar rooting affects Pyrenean alpine grasslands moderately, with higher affection to pastoral than ecological values at all levels, what should be considered for the management and preservation of these habitats since these disturbances are likely to increase.

    Las hozaduras de jabalí son una de las mayores perturbaciones actuales de los pastos supraforestales pirenaicos. Sus consecuencias para el ecosistema no están todavía perfectamente descritas, a pesar de ser uno de los hábitats de mayor interés de conservación y que juegan un importante papel en las economías locales. Los bienes y servicios que provee

  5. Efforts to improve and sustain the productive utilization of dry grasslands in Armenia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mezhunts, Bagrat; Navasardyan, Marine

    2014-05-01

    Armenia is a small mountainous country (29,743 km2) located in the South Caucasus. It lies in the sub-tropical zone and has a continental climate with hot summers (av. +250C) and cold winters (av. -60C). The average precipitation is 550 mm; in the dry-steppe zone it amounts to only 250 mm and with a rainy season in spring-early summer. Altitudinal variation (390-4,095 m) gives rise to a range of climatic zones (from semi-desert to alpine), soil types and plant communities. Besides, Armenia is situated on the crossroads of Caucasian - mesophyllous (humid) and Armeno-Iranian - xerophyllous (arid) floristic provinces, which has made it to a "biodiversity hotspot". Agriculture is important as a source of employment and for domestic food supply. The rural population (ca. 1.2 million) is largely dependent on livestock for their livelihood. The principal feed resource is extensive grasslands (60% of total agricultural lands), but past practices of uncontrolled grazing management has led to low grassland productivity and low proportion of valuable legume forages. Improvement of natural grasslands, enhancement of feed quality, prevention of soil erosion and re-establishment of vegetation cover are key socio-economic challenges and are needed to raise the livelihood of rural population in Armenia. This presentation focuses on present status and trends of dry pastureland degradation, exposed to intensive grazing, and on results from case studies to increase productivity and restore valuable forage species for sustainable use in agriculture. Three different conventional approaches have been applied in these studies including: fertilization with moderate doses of ammonium and potassium nitrate and superphosphate, over-sowing by local legume seeds and implementation of a 2-year rest period in overgrazed areas. From 1986 to 2007, the total yield (TY) in studied dry-steppe pastures decreased by 40%, while at the same time, the proportion of grasses in total yield decreased by 50

  6. Transfer of radioactive caesium from soil to vegetation and comparison with potassium in upland grasslands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Coughtrey, P.J.; Kirton, J.A.; Mitchell, N.G.; Morris, C.

    1989-01-01

    The distribution and transfer of caesium and potassium between soils and vegetation has been investigated by field sampling and experimental studies on soils and vegetation typical of upland grassland in north west England. Total 137 Cs content to a depth of 0.05 m below root matt ranged from 13 000 to 18 000 Bq m -2 . This caesium content derives from three sources: the Windscale accident of 1957, weapons-testing fallout which peaked in the early 1960s, and the Chernobyl accident in May 1986. From 2200 to 6200 Bq m -2 is attributed to the first two sources, and the remainder to Chernobyl. During accelerated growth of vegetation, on monoliths in glasshouse conditions over the winter of 1986/87, 137 Cs was transferred from soil and root matt to new growth, such that concentrations in fresh growth were similar to or higher than those observed in the field during December 1986. Removal of caesium by successive cuts resulted in up to 25% of the original estimated total being removed over a 240 day period. Increased concentrations coincided with the emergence of Carex sp. and Trichophorum caespitosum, as well

  7. Scale dependence of the diversity–stability relationship in a temperate grassland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Yunhai; He, Nianpeng; Loreau, Michel; Pan, Qingmin; Han, Xingguo

    2018-01-01

    A positive relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem stability has been reported in many ecosystems; however, it has yet to be determined whether and how spatial scale affects this relationship. Here, for the first time, we assessed the effects of alpha, beta and gamma diversity on ecosystem stability and the scale dependence of the slope of the diversity–stability relationship.By employing a long-term (33 years) dataset from a temperate grassland, northern China, we calculated the all possible spatial scales with the complete combination from the basic 1-m2 plots.Species richness was positively associated with ecosystem stability through species asynchrony and overyielding at all spatial scales (1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 m2). Both alpha and beta diversity were positively associated with gamma stability.Moreover, the slope of the diversity–area relationship was significantly higher than that of the stability–area relationship, resulting in a decline of the slope of the diversity–stability relationship with increasing area.Synthesis. With the positive species diversity effect on ecosystem stability from small to large spatial scales, our findings demonstrate the need to maintain a high biodiversity and biotic heterogeneity as insurance against the risks incurred by ecosystems in the face of global environmental changes. PMID:29725139

  8. Scale dependence of the diversity-stability relationship in a temperate grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Yunhai; He, Nianpeng; Loreau, Michel; Pan, Qingmin; Han, Xingguo

    2018-05-01

    A positive relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem stability has been reported in many ecosystems; however, it has yet to be determined whether and how spatial scale affects this relationship. Here, for the first time, we assessed the effects of alpha, beta and gamma diversity on ecosystem stability and the scale dependence of the slope of the diversity-stability relationship.By employing a long-term (33 years) dataset from a temperate grassland, northern China, we calculated the all possible spatial scales with the complete combination from the basic 1-m 2 plots.Species richness was positively associated with ecosystem stability through species asynchrony and overyielding at all spatial scales (1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 m 2 ). Both alpha and beta diversity were positively associated with gamma stability.Moreover, the slope of the diversity-area relationship was significantly higher than that of the stability-area relationship, resulting in a decline of the slope of the diversity-stability relationship with increasing area. Synthesis. With the positive species diversity effect on ecosystem stability from small to large spatial scales, our findings demonstrate the need to maintain a high biodiversity and biotic heterogeneity as insurance against the risks incurred by ecosystems in the face of global environmental changes.

  9. Arsenic stability and mobilization in soil at an amenity grassland overlying chemical waste (St. Helens, UK)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hartley, William [School of Biological and Earth Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Byrom Street, Liverpool L3 3AF (United Kingdom)], E-mail: w.hartley@ljmu.ac.uk; Dickinson, Nicholas M. [School of Biological and Earth Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Byrom Street, Liverpool L3 3AF (United Kingdom); Clemente, Rafael [Department of Soil and Water Conservation and Organic Waste Management, Centro de Edafologia y Biologia Aplicada del Segura, CSIC, Apartado 4195, 30080 Murcia (Spain); French, Christopher [School of Biological and Earth Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Byrom Street, Liverpool L3 3AF (United Kingdom); Piearce, Trevor G. [Biological Sciences Division, Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YQ (United Kingdom); Sparke, Shaun; Lepp, Nicholas W. [School of Biological and Earth Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Byrom Street, Liverpool L3 3AF (United Kingdom)

    2009-03-15

    A 6.6 ha grassland, established on a former chemical waste site adjacent to a residential area, contains arsenic (As) in surface soil at concentrations 200 times higher than UK Soil Guideline Values. The site is not recognized as statutory contaminated land, partly on the assumption that mobility of the metalloid presents a negligible threat to human health, groundwater and ecological receptors. Evidence for this is evaluated, based on studies of the effect of organic (green waste compost) and inorganic (iron oxides, lime and phosphate) amendments on As fractionation, mobility, plant uptake and earthworm communities. Arsenic mobility in soil was low but significantly related to dissolved organic matter and phosphate, with immobilization associated with iron oxides. Plant uptake was low and there was little apparent impact on earthworms. The existing vegetation cover reduces re-entrainment of dust-blown particulates and pathways of As exposure via this route. Minimizing risks to receptors requires avoidance of soil exposure, and no compost or phosphate application. - Stabilization of alkali industry waste requires careful management to minimise soil arsenic mobilization and dispersal to the wider environment.

  10. Divergence of ecosystem services in U.S. National Forests and Grasslands under a changing climate.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Duan, Kai; Sun, Ge; Sun, Shanlei; Caldwell, Peter V; Cohen, Erika C; McNulty, Steven G; Aldridge, Heather D; Zhang, Yang

    2016-04-21

    The 170 National Forests and Grasslands (NFs) in the conterminous United States are public lands that provide important ecosystem services such as clean water and timber supply to the American people. This study investigates the potential impacts of climate change on two key ecosystem functions (i.e., water yield and ecosystem productivity) using the most recent climate projections derived from 20 Global Climate Models (GCMs) of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5). We find that future climate change may result in a significant reduction in water yield but an increase in ecosystem productivity in NFs. On average, gross ecosystem productivity is projected to increase by 76 ~ 229 g C m(-2) yr(-1) (8% ~ 24%) while water yield is projected to decrease by 18 ~ 31 mm yr(-1) (4% ~ 7%) by 2100 as a result of the combination of increased air temperature (+1.8 ~ +5.2 °C) and precipitation (+17 ~ +51 mm yr(-1)). The notable divergence in ecosystem services of water supply and carbon sequestration is expected to intensify under higher greenhouse gas emission and associated climate change in the future, posing greater challenges to managing NFs for both ecosystem services.

  11. Coefficients of conservatism for the vascular flora of the Dakotas and adjacent grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    ,

    2001-01-01

    Floristic quality assessment can be used to identity natural areas, to facilitate comparisons among different sites, to provide long-term monitoring of natural area quality, and to evaluate habitat management and restoration efforts. To facilitate the use of floristic quality assessment in North Dakota, South Dakota (excluding the Black Hills), and adjacent grasslands, we developed a species list and assigned coefficients of conservatism (C values; range 0 to 10) to each plant species in the region's flora. The C values we assigned represented our collective knowledge of the patterns of occurrence of each plant species in the Dakotas and our confidence that a particular taxon is natural-area dependent. Because state boundaries usually do not follow ecological boundaries, the C values we assigned should be equally valid in nearby areas with the same vegetation types. Of the 1,584 taxa we recognized in this effort, 275 (17%) were determined to be nonnative to the region. We assigned C values of 4 or higher to 77% of our taxa, and the entire native flora had a mean C value (C) of 6.l. A floristic quality index (FQI) can be calculated to rank sites in order of their floristic quality. By applying the coefficients of conservatism supplied here and calculating C and FQI, an effective means of evaluating the quality of plant communities can be obtained. Additionally, by repeating plant surveys and calculations of C and FQI over time, temporal changes in floristic quality can be identified.

  12. Using Remotely Sensed Fluorescence and Soil Moisture to Better Understand the Seasonal Cycle of Tropical Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Dakota Carlysle

    Seasonal grasslands account for a large area of Earth's land cover. Annual and seasonal changes in these grasslands have profound impacts on Earth's carbon, energy, and water cycles. In tropical grasslands, growth is commonly water-limited and the landscape oscillates between highly productive and unproductive. As the monsoon begins, soils moisten providing dry grasses the water necessary to photosynthesize. However, along with the rain come clouds that obscure satellite products that are commonly used to study productivity in these areas. To navigate this issue, we used solar induced fluorescence (SIF) products from OCO-2 along with soil moisture products from the Soil Moisture Active Passive satellite (SMAP) to "see through" the clouds to monitor grassland productivity. To get a broader understanding of the vegetation dynamics, we used the Simple Biosphere Model (SiB4) to simulate the seasonal cycles of vegetation. In conjunction with SiB4, the remotely sensed SIF and soil moisture observations were utilized to paint a clearer picture of seasonal productivity in tropical grasslands. The remotely sensed data is not available for every place at one time or at every time for one place. Thus, the study was focused on a large area from 15° E to 35° W and from 8°S to 20°N in the African Sahel. Instead of studying productivity relative to time, we studied it relative to soil moisture. Through this investigation we found soil moisture thresholds for the emergence of grassland growth, near linear grassland growth, and maturity of grassland growth. We also found that SiB4 overestimates SIF by about a factor of two for nearly every value of soil moisture. On the whole, SiB4 does a surprisingly good job of predicting the response of seasonal growth in tropical grasslands to soil moisture. Future work will continue to integrate remotely sensed SIF & soil moisture with SiB4 to add to our growing knowledge of carbon, water, and energy cycling in tropical grasslands.

  13. Seasonal/Interannual Variations of Carbon Sequestration and Carbon Emission in a Warm-Season Perennial Grassland

    OpenAIRE

    Deepa Dhital; Tomoharu Inoue; Hiroshi Koizumi

    2014-01-01

    Carbon sequestration and carbon emission are processes of ecosystem carbon cycling that can be affected while land area converted to grassland resulting in increased soil carbon storage and below-ground respiration. Discerning the importance of carbon cycle in grassland, we aimed to estimate carbon sequestration in photosynthesis and carbon emission in respiration from soil, root, and microbes, for four consecutive years (2007–2010) in a warm-season perennial grassland, Japan. Soil carbon emi...

  14. Visual attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Evans, Karla K; Horowitz, Todd S; Howe, Piers; Pedersini, Roccardo; Reijnen, Ester; Pinto, Yair; Kuzmova, Yoana; Wolfe, Jeremy M

    2011-09-01

    A typical visual scene we encounter in everyday life is complex and filled with a huge amount of perceptual information. The term, 'visual attention' describes a set of mechanisms that limit some processing to a subset of incoming stimuli. Attentional mechanisms shape what we see and what we can act upon. They allow for concurrent selection of some (preferably, relevant) information and inhibition of other information. This selection permits the reduction of complexity and informational overload. Selection can be determined both by the 'bottom-up' saliency of information from the environment and by the 'top-down' state and goals of the perceiver. Attentional effects can take the form of modulating or enhancing the selected information. A central role for selective attention is to enable the 'binding' of selected information into unified and coherent representations of objects in the outside world. In the overview on visual attention presented here we review the mechanisms and consequences of selection and inhibition over space and time. We examine theoretical, behavioral and neurophysiologic work done on visual attention. We also discuss the relations between attention and other cognitive processes such as automaticity and awareness. WIREs Cogni Sci 2011 2 503-514 DOI: 10.1002/wcs.127 For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  15. Visualizing Series

    Science.gov (United States)

    Unal, Hasan

    2008-01-01

    The importance of visualisation and multiple representations in mathematics has been stressed, especially in a context of problem solving. Hanna and Sidoli comment that "Diagrams and other visual representations have long been welcomed as heuristic accompaniments to proof, where they not only facilitate the understanding of theorems and their…

  16. The role of soil moisture on the coevolution of soil and vegetation in mountain grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bertoldi, Giacomo; Claudia, Notarnicola; Brenner, Johannes; Castelli, Mariapina; Greifeneder, Felix; Niedrist, Georg; Seeber, Julia; Tappeiner, Ulrike

    2016-04-01

    One of the key variables controlling the organization of vegetation and the coevolution of soils and landforms is soil moisture content (SMC). For this reason, understanding the controls on the spatial and temporal patterns of SMC is essential to predict how perturbations in vegetation and climate will affect mountain ecosystem functioning. In this contribution, we focus on the dynamic of surface SMC of water-limited alpine grasslands in the Long Term Ecological Research area Mazia Valley in the European Alps. We analyze the impacts of different land managements (meadows versus pastures) and its relationships with climate and topography. The area has been equipped since 2009 with a network of more than 20 stations, measuring SMC and climatic variables and with two eddy-covariance stations, measuring surface fluxes over meadows and pastures. Monthly biomass production data have been collected and detailed soil and spatial soil moisture surveys are available. Moreover, high spatial resolution SMC maps have been derived from satellites Synthetic Aperture Radar Radar (SAR) images (Sentinel 1 and RADARSAT2 images). Both ground surveys and remote sensing observations show persistent landscape-level patterns. Meadows, in general located in flatter areas, tend to be wetter. This leads to higher vegetation productivity and to the development of soils with higher water holding capacity, thus to a positive feedback on SMC. In contrast, pastures, located on steeper slopes with lower vegetation density and higher soil erosion, tend to be drier, leading to a negative feedback on SMC and soil development. This co-evolution of land cover and SMC leads therefore to persistent spatial patterns. In order to understand quantitatively such linked interactions, a sensitivity analysis has been performed with the GEOtop hydrological model. Results show how both abiotic (mainly slope and elevation) and anthropogenic (irrigation and soil management) factors exert a significant control on

  17. Spatial models to predict ash pH and Electrical Conductivity distribution after a grassland fire in Lithuania

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pereira, Paulo; Cerda, Artemi; Misiūnė, Ieva

    2015-04-01

    Fire mineralizes the organic matter, increasing the pH level and the amount of dissolved ions (Pereira et al., 2014). The degree of mineralization depends among other factors on fire temperature, burned specie, moisture content, and contact time. The impact of wildland fires it is assessed using the fire severity, an index used in the absence of direct measures (e.g temperature), important to estimate the fire effects in the ecosystems. This impact is observed through the loss of soil organic matter, crown volume, twig diameter, ash colour, among others (Keeley et al., 2009). The effects of fire are highly variable, especially at short spatial scales (Pereira et al., in press), due the different fuel conditions (e.g. moisture, specie distribution, flammability, connectivity, arrangement, etc). This variability poses important challenges to identify the best spatial predictor and have the most accurate spatial visualization of the data. Considering this, the test of several interpolation methods it is assumed to be relevant to have the most reliable map. The aims of this work are I) study the ash pH and Electrical Conductivity (EC) after a grassland fire according to ash colour and II) test several interpolation methods in order to identify the best spatial predictor of pH and EC distribution. The study area is located near Vilnius at 54.42° N and 25.26°E and 154 ma.s.l. After the fire it was designed a plot with a 27 x 9 m space grid. Samples were taken every 3 meters for a total of 40 (Pereira et al., 2013). Ash color was classified according to Úbeda et al. (2009). Ash pH and EC laboratory analysis were carried out according to Pereira et al. (2014). Previous to data comparison and modelling, normality and homogeneity were assessed with the Shapiro-wilk and Levene test. pH data respected the normality and homogeneity, while EC only followed the Gaussian distribution and the homogeneity criteria after a logarithmic transformation. Data spatial correlation was

  18. Evaluating the Impacts of Grassland Conversions to Experimental Forest on Groundwater Recharge in the Nebraska Sand Hills

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adane, Zablon A.

    The Nebraska Sand Hills grasslands provide the greatest groundwater recharge rates in the High Plains Aquifer. However, the grasslands and their ecological services have become vulnerable to land use change and degradation. This study used a series of field data to investigate the effects of grassland conversions to forest on recharge rates in a century-old experimental forest in the Sand Hills. The results show that the impact of grassland conversion on recharge was dependent on the species and plantation density. Estimated recharge rates beneath the dense plantations represent reductions of 86-94% relative to the native grassland. Results of 1H Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectral analysis suggested that the surface soil organic carbon beneath pine plantations also contain up to 3 times the ratio of hydrophobic components than the native grasslands and may alter the soil hydraulic properties. This investigation further uncovered a previously overlooked feedback between the effect of soil organic carbon chemical shift generated by the ponderosa pine needle litter decomposition; namely that the alteration may have a link to reduced groundwater recharge rates. Thus, a global optimizer algorithm was used to estimate the effective soil hydraulic parameters from monthly soil moisture contents and recharge rates were then estimated through HYDRUS 1-D numerical modeling for grassland and pine forest soils. The impact of grassland conversion to pine was an overall reduction of groundwater recharge by nearly 100%. These outcomes highlight the significance of the grasslands for recharge, in the Sand Hills and the sustainability of the High Plains Aquifer.

  19. Effect of soil saturation on denitrification in a grassland soil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    L. M. Cardenas

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available Nitrous oxide (N2O is of major importance as a greenhouse gas and precursor of ozone (O3 destruction in the stratosphere mostly produced in soils. The soil-emitted N2O is generally predominantly derived from denitrification and, to a smaller extent, nitrification, both processes controlled by environmental factors and their interactions, and are influenced by agricultural management. Soil water content expressed as water-filled pore space (WFPS is a major controlling factor of emissions and its interaction with compaction, has not been studied at the micropore scale. A laboratory incubation was carried out at different saturation levels for a grassland soil and emissions of N2O and N2 were measured as well as the isotopocules of N2O. We found that flux variability was larger in the less saturated soils probably due to nutrient distribution heterogeneity created from soil cracks and consequently nutrient hot spots. The results agreed with denitrification as the main source of fluxes at the highest saturations, but nitrification could have occurred at the lower saturation, even though moisture was still high (71 % WFSP. The isotopocules data indicated isotopic similarities in the wettest treatments vs. the two drier ones. The results agreed with previous findings where it is clear there are two N pools with different dynamics: added N producing intense denitrification vs. soil N resulting in less isotopic fractionation.

  20. Plutonium in a grassland ecosystem. [Rocky Flats Plant

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Little, C.A.

    1976-08-01

    A study was made of plutonium contamination of grassland at the Rocky Flats plant northwest of Denver, Colorado. Of interest were: the definition of major plutonium-containing ecosystem compartments; the relative amounts in those compartments; how those values related to studies done in other geographical areas; whether or not the predominant isotopes, /sup 238/Pu and /sup 239/Pu, behaved differently; and what mechanisms might have allowed for the observed patterns of contamination. Samples of soil, litter, vegetation, arthropods, and small mammals were collected for Pu analysis and mass determination from each of two macroplots. Small aliquots (5 g or less) were analyzed by a rapid liquid scintillation technique and by alpha spectrometry. Of the compartments sampled, greater than 99 percent of the total plutonium was contained in the soil and the concentrations were significantly inversely correlated with distance from the contamination source, depth of the sample, and particle size of the sieved soil samples. The soil data suggested that the distribution of contamination largely resulted from physical transport processes.

  1. Metacommunity analysis of amoeboid protists in grassland soils.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fiore-Donno, Anna Maria; Weinert, Jan; Wubet, Tesfaye; Bonkowski, Michael

    2016-01-11

    This study reveals the diversity and distribution of two major ubiquitous groups of soil amoebae, the genus Acanthamoeba and the Myxomycetes (plasmodial slime-moulds) that are rarely, if ever, recovered in environmental sampling studies. We analyzed 150 grassland soil samples from three Biodiversity Exploratories study regions in Germany. We developed specific primers targeting the V2 variable region in the first part of the small subunit of the ribosomal RNA gene for high-throughput pyrotag sequencing. From ca. 1 million reads, applying very stringent filtering and clustering parameters to avoid overestimation of the diversity, we obtained 273 acanthamoebal and 338 myxomycete operational taxonomic units (OTUs, 96% similarity threshold). This number is consistent with the genetic diversity known in the two investigated lineages, but unequalled to date by any environmental sampling study. Only very few OTUs were identical to already known sequences. Strikingly different OTUs assemblages were found between the three German regions (PerMANOVA p.value = 0.001) and even between sites of the same region (multiple-site Simpson-based similarity indices <0.4), showing steep biogeographical gradients.

  2. Soil invertebrate fauna enhances grassland succession and diversity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    De Deyn, Gerlinde B; Raaijmakers, Ciska E; Zoomer, H Rik; Berg, Matty P; de Ruiter, Peter C; Verhoef, Herman A; Bezemer, T Martijn; van der Putten, Wim H

    2003-04-17

    One of the most important areas in ecology is to elucidate the factors that drive succession in ecosystems and thus influence the diversity of species in natural vegetation. Significant mechanisms in this process are known to be resource limitation and the effects of aboveground vertebrate herbivores. More recently, symbiotic and pathogenic soil microbes have been shown to exert a profound effect on the composition of vegetation and changes therein. However, the influence of invertebrate soil fauna on succession has so far received little attention. Here we report that invertebrate soil fauna might enhance both secondary succession and local plant species diversity. Soil fauna from a series of secondary grassland succession stages selectively suppress early successional dominant plant species, thereby enhancing the relative abundance of subordinate species and also that of species from later succession stages. Soil fauna from the mid-succession stage had the strongest effect. Our results clearly show that soil fauna strongly affects the composition of natural vegetation and we suggest that this knowledge might improve the restoration and conservation of plant species diversity.

  3. The nutritive value of Valjevac grassland - Zasavica reservation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Grdović Svetlana

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Valjevac pasture of Zasavica reservation with its area of 300 ha presents a significant area for grazing cattle. In order to evaluate its potential for livestock production, the botanical and chemical composition of hay in three different time periods was observed (spring, summer and autumn. The determined plants species confirmed the richness of Zasavica grasslands, as well as the presence of dry, moist and forest habitat plants. The analyzed plants mostly belong to the Poaceae, Fabaceae, Asteraceae and Plantaginaceae families. Chemical analysis determined that the protein content decreased (P<0.01 from April (17.22±0.40 % to October (10.30±0.16 %, and cellulose content increased (P<0.01 (from 19.07±0.38 % in April to 21.65±0.41 % in October. The calculated energy density of hay samples ranged from 0.425 Starch Units (SU in October, 0.443 SU in April to 0.448 SU in June. The Valjevac pasture with its numerous plant species is of great importance in upkeeping biodiversity and also presents a solid base for livestock production. The determined levels of manganese and copper point out to the need of copper supplementation especially during the late summer and autumn periods. [Projekat Ministarstva nauke Republike Srbije, br. III46002

  4. Microbial Enzyme Activity and Carbon Cycling in Grassland Soil Fractions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allison, S. D.; Jastrow, J. D.

    2004-12-01

    Extracellular enzymes are necessary to degrade complex organic compounds present in soils. Using physical fractionation procedures, we tested whether old soil carbon is spatially isolated from degradative enzymes across a prairie restoration chronosequence in Illinois, USA. We found that carbon-degrading enzymes were abundant in all soil fractions, including macroaggregates, microaggregates, and the clay fraction, which contains carbon with a mean residence time of ~200 years. The activities of two cellulose-degrading enzymes and a chitin-degrading enzyme were 2-10 times greater in organic matter fractions than in bulk soil, consistent with the rapid turnover of these fractions. Polyphenol oxidase activity was 3 times greater in the clay fraction than in the bulk soil, despite very slow carbon turnover in this fraction. Changes in enzyme activity across the restoration chronosequence were small once adjusted for increases in soil carbon concentration, although polyphenol oxidase activity per unit carbon declined by 50% in native prairie versus cultivated soil. These results are consistent with a `two-pool' model of enzyme and carbon turnover in grassland soils. In light organic matter fractions, enzyme production and carbon turnover both occur rapidly. However, in mineral-dominated fractions, both enzymes and their carbon substrates are immobilized on mineral surfaces, leading to slow turnover. Soil carbon accumulation in the clay fraction and across the prairie restoration chronosequence probably reflects increasing physical isolation of enzymes and substrates on the molecular scale, rather than the micron to millimeter scale.

  5. Seasonal methane dynamics in three temperate grasslands on peat

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Schäfer, Carolyn; Elsgaard, Lars; Hoffmann, Carl Christian

    2012-01-01

    Background and Aims Drained peatlands are considered to be insignificant CH4 sources, but the effect of drainage on CH4 dynamics has not been extensively studied. We investigated seasonal dynamics of CH4 in two fen peat soils and one bog peat soil under permanent grassland in Denmark. Methods Soil......, even though soil CH4 concentrations of up to 155 and 1000 μmol CH4 dm−3 were measured in one of the fen peats and in the bog peat, respectively. Significant CH4 concentrations were observed above the water table. Methane production assays confirmed the presence of viable methanogens in the upper parts...... of the bog peat soil. The aerenchymous plant Juncus effusus L. liberated CH4 from the peat at rates of up to 3.3 mg CH4 m−2 h−1. No CH4 dynamics were observed in the second fen peat which, in contrast to the other two sites, had high sulfate concentrations. Conclusions Peat type and the distribution...

  6. Land Surface Phenologies and Seasonalities of Croplands and Grasslands in the US Prairie Pothole Region Using Passive Microwave Data (2003-2015)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alemu, W. G.; Henebry, G. M.

    2017-12-01

    Grasslands and wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) have been converted to croplands in recent years. Crops cultivated in the PPR are also changing: spring wheat and alfalfa/hay are being switched to corn and soybean due to biofuel demand. According to the USDA Cropland Data Layer (CDL) from 2003 to 2015, spring wheat significantly decreased (r2 = 0.74), while corn and soybeans significantly increased (r2 = 0.86). We characterized land surface phenologies and land surface seasonalities across the PPR using the finer temporal (twice daily) but much lower spatial (25 km) resolution Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR: blended from AMSR-E and AMSR2) enhanced land surface parameters for 2003-2015 (DOY 91-330 annual cycles). We tracked the temporal development of these land surface parameters as a function of accumulated growing degree-days (AGDD) based on the AMSR retrieved air temperature data. Growing degree-days (GDD) revealed distinct seasonality typical to temperate grasslands and croplands. GDD peaks were 23°C and it peaks at 1700°C AGDD. Precipitable water vapor (V) displayed seasonality comparable to GDD. Vegetation optical depth (VOD) revealed distinct land surface phenologies for grasslands versus croplands. We explored the changing crop fractions within the 25 km AMSR pixels using the CDL. Crop-dominated sites VOD time series caught the early spring growth, ploughing, and crop growth dynamics. In contrast, the VOD time series at grass-dominated sites exhibited a lower but more extended amplitude throughout the non-frozen season. VODs peaked at 1.6 and 1.3 for croplands and grasslands, respectively. Croplands peaked about a month later than grasslands (2200 °C AGDD vs. 1600 °C AGDD). The other parameters available from the AMSR dataset—soil moisture (sm), and fractional open water (fw)—together with the AGDD time series constructed from the AMSR air temperature data revealed the passage of storm systems during the growing season. Soil

  7. Analysis of the production stability of mixed grasslands. II. A mathematical framework for the quantification of production stability of grassland ecosystems

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schulte, R.P.O.

    2003-01-01

    The analysis of the intrinsic properties and processes of ecosystems, which regulate the production stability of mixed grasslands, has been complicated by the environmental noise caused by stochastic weather fluctuations. A mathematical framework is presented to deduct the actual, the extrinsic and

  8. Changing patterns of basic household consumption in the Inner Mongolian grasslands: a case study of policy-oriented adoptive changes in the use of grasslands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Du, B.; Zhen, L.; Groot, de R.S.; Goulden, C.E.; Long, X.; Cao, X.; Wu, R.; Sun, C.

    2014-01-01

    Grassland ecosystems, as the basic natural resources in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, are becoming increasingly sensitive to human intervention, leading to deterioration in fragile ecosystems. The goal of this study was to describe the restoration policy-oriented adoptive changes to basic

  9. Drought and Carbon Cycling of Grassland Ecosystems under Global Change: A Review

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tianjie Lei

    2016-10-01

    Full Text Available In recent years, the increased intensity and duration of droughts have dramatically altered the structure and function of grassland ecosystems, which have been forced to adapt to this change in climate. Combinations of global change drivers such as elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration, warming, nitrogen (N deposition, grazing, and land-use change have influenced the impact that droughts have on grassland C cycling. This influence, to some extent, can modify the relationship between droughts and grassland carbon (C cycling in the multi-factor world. Unfortunately, prior reviews have been primarily anecdotal from the 1930s to the 2010s. We investigated the current state of the study on the interactive impacts of multiple factors under drought scenarios in grassland C cycling and provided scientific advice for dealing with droughts and managing grassland C cycling in a multi-factor world. Currently, adequate information is not available on the interaction between droughts and global change drivers, which would advance our understanding of grassland C cycling responses. It was determined that future experiments and models should specifically test how droughts regulate grassland C cycling under global changes. Previous multi-factor experiments of current and future global change conditions have studied various drought scenarios poorly, including changes in precipitation frequency and amplitude, timing, and interactions with other global change drivers. Multi-factor experiments have contributed to quantifying these potential changes and have provided important information on how water affects ecosystem processes under global change. There is an urgent need to establish a systematic framework that can assess ecosystem dynamic responses to droughts under current and future global change and human activity, with a focus on the combined effects of droughts, global change drivers, and the corresponding hierarchical responses of an ecosystem.

  10. Substantial adverse association of visual and vascular comorbidities on visual disability in multiple sclerosis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marrie, Ruth Ann; Cutter, Gary; Tyry, Tuula

    2011-12-01

    Visual comorbidities are common in multiple sclerosis (MS) but the impact of visual comorbidities on visual disability is unknown. We assessed the impact of visual and vascular comorbidities on severity of visual disability in MS. In 2006, we queried participants of the North American Research Committee on Multiple Sclerosis (NARCOMS) about cataracts, glaucoma, uveitis, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, heart disease, diabetes and peripheral vascular disease. We assessed visual disability using the Vision subscale of Performance Scales. Using Cox regression, we investigated whether visual or vascular comorbidities affected the time between MS symptom onset and the development of mild, moderate and severe visual disability. Of 8983 respondents, 1415 (15.9%) reported a visual comorbidity while 4745 (52.8%) reported a vascular comorbidity. The median (interquartile range) visual score was 1 (0-2). In a multivariable Cox model the risk of mild visual disability was higher among participants with vascular (hazard ratio [HR] 1.45; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.39-1.51) and visual comorbidities (HR 1.47; 95% CI: 1.37-1.59). Vascular and visual comorbidities were similarly associated with increased risks of moderate and severe visual disability. Visual and vascular comorbidities are associated with progression of visual disability in MS. Clinicians hearing reports of worsening visual symptoms in MS patients should consider visual comorbidities as contributing factors. Further study of these issues using objective, systematic neuro-ophthalmologic evaluations is warranted.

  11. Community-specific hydraulic conductance potential of soil water decomposed for two Alpine grasslands by small-scale lysimetry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frenck, Georg; Leitinger, Georg; Obojes, Nikolaus; Hofmann, Magdalena; Newesely, Christian; Deutschmann, Mario; Tappeiner, Ulrike; Tasser, Erich

    2018-02-01

    For central Europe in addition to rising temperatures an increasing variability in precipitation is predicted. This will increase the probability of drought periods in the Alps, where water supply has been sufficient in most areas so far. For Alpine grasslands, community-specific imprints on drought responses are poorly analyzed so far due to the sufficient natural water supply. In a replicated mesocosm experiment we compared evapotranspiration (ET) and biomass productivity of two differently drought-adapted Alpine grassland communities during two artificial drought periods divided by extreme precipitation events using high-precision small lysimeters. The drought-adapted vegetation type showed a high potential to utilize even scarce water resources. This is combined with a low potential to translate atmospheric deficits into higher water conductance and a lower biomass production as those measured for the non-drought-adapted type. The non-drought-adapted type, in contrast, showed high water conductance potential and a strong increase in ET rates when environmental conditions became less constraining. With high rates even at dry conditions, this community appears not to be optimized to save water and might experience drought effects earlier and probably more strongly. As a result, the water use efficiency of the drought-adapted plant community is with 2.6 gDW kg-1 of water much higher than that of the non-drought-adapted plant community (0.16 gDW kg-1). In summary, the vegetation's reaction to two covarying gradients of potential evapotranspiration and soil water content revealed a clear difference in vegetation development and between water-saving and water-spending strategies regarding evapotranspiration.

  12. Using Calibrated RGB Imagery from Low-Cost Uavs for Grassland Monitoring: Case Study at the Rengen Grassland Experiment (rge), Germany

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lussem, U.; Hollberg, J.; Menne, J.; Schellberg, J.; Bareth, G.

    2017-08-01

    Monitoring the spectral response of intensively managed grassland throughout the growing season allows optimizing fertilizer inputs by monitoring plant growth. For example, site-specific fertilizer application as part of precision agriculture (PA) management requires information within short time. But, this requires field-based measurements with hyper- or multispectral sensors, which may not be feasible on a day to day farming practice. Exploiting the information of RGB images from consumer grade cameras mounted on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) can offer cost-efficient as well as near-real time analysis of grasslands with high temporal and spatial resolution. The potential of RGB imagery-based vegetation indices (VI) from consumer grade cameras mounted on UAVs has been explored recently in several. However, for multitemporal analyses it is desirable to calibrate the digital numbers (DN) of RGB-images to physical units. In this study, we explored the comparability of the RGBVI from a consumer grade camera mounted on a low-cost UAV to well established vegetation indices from hyperspectral field measurements for applications in grassland. The study was conducted in 2014 on the Rengen Grassland Experiment (RGE) in Germany. Image DN values were calibrated into reflectance by using the Empirical Line Method (Smith & Milton 1999). Depending on sampling date and VI the correlation between the UAV-based RGBVI and VIs such as the NDVI resulted in varying R2 values from no correlation to up to 0.9. These results indicate, that calibrated RGB-based VIs have the potential to support or substitute hyperspectral field measurements to facilitate management decisions on grasslands.

  13. USING CALIBRATED RGB IMAGERY FROM LOW-COST UAVS FOR GRASSLAND MONITORING: CASE STUDY AT THE RENGEN GRASSLAND EXPERIMENT (RGE, GERMANY

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    U. Lussem

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available Monitoring the spectral response of intensively managed grassland throughout the growing season allows optimizing fertilizer inputs by monitoring plant growth. For example, site-specific fertilizer application as part of precision agriculture (PA management requires information within short time. But, this requires field-based measurements with hyper- or multispectral sensors, which may not be feasible on a day to day farming practice. Exploiting the information of RGB images from consumer grade cameras mounted on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV can offer cost-efficient as well as near-real time analysis of grasslands with high temporal and spatial resolution. The potential of RGB imagery-based vegetation indices (VI from consumer grade cameras mounted on UAVs has been explored recently in several. However, for multitemporal analyses it is desirable to calibrate the digital numbers (DN of RGB-images to physical units. In this study, we explored the comparability of the RGBVI from a consumer grade camera mounted on a low-cost UAV to well established vegetation indices from hyperspectral field measurements for applications in grassland. The study was conducted in 2014 on the Rengen Grassland Experiment (RGE in Germany. Image DN values were calibrated into reflectance by using the Empirical Line Method (Smith & Milton 1999. Depending on sampling date and VI the correlation between the UAV-based RGBVI and VIs such as the NDVI resulted in varying R2 values from no correlation to up to 0.9. These results indicate, that calibrated RGB-based VIs have the potential to support or substitute hyperspectral field measurements to facilitate management decisions on grasslands.

  14. Visual Storytelling

    OpenAIRE

    Ting-Hao; Huang; Ferraro, Francis; Mostafazadeh, Nasrin; Misra, Ishan; Agrawal, Aishwarya; Devlin, Jacob; Girshick, Ross; He, Xiaodong; Kohli, Pushmeet; Batra, Dhruv; Zitnick, C. Lawrence; Parikh, Devi; Vanderwende, Lucy; Galley, Michel

    2016-01-01

    We introduce the first dataset for sequential vision-to-language, and explore how this data may be used for the task of visual storytelling. The first release of this dataset, SIND v.1, includes 81,743 unique photos in 20,211 sequences, aligned to both descriptive (caption) and story language. We establish several strong baselines for the storytelling task, and motivate an automatic metric to benchmark progress. Modelling concrete description as well as figurative and social language, as prov...

  15. Flow visualization

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Weinstein, L.M.

    1991-01-01

    Flow visualization techniques are reviewed, with particular attention given to those applicable to liquid helium flows. Three techniques capable of obtaining qualitative and quantitative measurements of complex 3D flow fields are discussed including focusing schlieren, particle image volocimetry, and holocinematography (HCV). It is concluded that the HCV appears to be uniquely capable of obtaining full time-varying, 3D velocity field data, but is limited to the low speeds typical of liquid helium facilities. 8 refs

  16. Quantifying nitrous oxide emissions from Chinese grasslands with a process-based model

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    F. Zhang

    2010-06-01

    Full Text Available As one of the largest land cover types, grassland can potentially play an important role in the ecosystem services of natural resources in China. Nitrous oxide (N2O is a major greenhouse gas emitted from grasslands. Current N2O inventory at a regional or national level in China relies on the emission factor method, which is based on limited measurements. To improve the accuracy of the inventory by capturing the spatial variability of N2O emissions under the diverse climate, soil and management conditions across China, we adopted an approach by utilizing a process-based biogeochemical model, DeNitrification-DeComposition (DNDC, to quantify N2O emissions from Chinese grasslands. In the present study, DNDC was tested against datasets of N2O fluxes measured at eight grassland sites in China with encouraging results. The validated DNDC was then linked to a GIS database holding spatially differentiated information of climate, soil, vegetation and management at county-level for all the grasslands in the country. Daily weather data for 2000–2007 from 670 meteorological stations across the entire domain were employed to serve the simulations. The modelled results on a national scale showed a clear geographic pattern of N2O emissions. A high-emission strip showed up stretching from northeast to central China, which is consistent with the eastern boundary between the temperate grassland region and the major agricultural regions of China. The grasslands in the western mountain regions, however, emitted much less N2O. The regionally averaged rates of N2O emissions were 0.26, 0.14 and 0.38 kg nitrogen (N ha−1 y−1 for the temperate, montane and tropical/subtropical grasslands, respectively. The annual mean N2O emission from the total 337 million ha of grasslands in China was 76.5 ± 12.8 Gg N for the simulated years.

  17. A Satellite-Based Model for Simulating Ecosystem Respiration in the Tibetan and Inner Mongolian Grasslands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rong Ge

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available It is important to accurately evaluate ecosystem respiration (RE in the alpine grasslands of the Tibetan Plateau and the temperate grasslands of the Inner Mongolian Plateau, as it serves as a sensitivity indicator of regional and global carbon cycles. Here, we combined flux measurements taken between 2003 and 2013 from 16 grassland sites across northern China and the corresponding MODIS land surface temperature (LST, enhanced vegetation index (EVI, and land surface water index (LSWI to build a satellite-based model to estimate RE at a regional scale. First, the dependencies of both spatial and temporal variations of RE on these biotic and climatic factors were examined explicitly. We found that plant productivity and moisture, but not temperature, can best explain the spatial pattern of RE in northern China’s grasslands; while temperature plays a major role in regulating the temporal variability of RE in the alpine grasslands, and moisture is equally as important as temperature in the temperate grasslands. However, the moisture effect on RE and the explicit representation of spatial variation process are often lacking in most of the existing satellite-based RE models. On this basis, we developed a model by comprehensively considering moisture, temperature, and productivity effects on both temporal and spatial processes of RE, and then, we evaluated the model performance. Our results showed that the model well explained the observed RE in both the alpine (R2 = 0.79, RMSE = 0.77 g C m−2 day−1 and temperate grasslands (R2 = 0.75, RMSE = 0.60 g C m−2 day−1. The inclusion of the LSWI as the water-limiting factor substantially improved the model performance in arid and semi-arid ecosystems, and the spatialized basal respiration rate as an indicator for spatial variation largely determined the regional pattern of RE. Finally, the model accurately reproduced the seasonal and inter-annual variations and spatial variability of RE, and it avoided

  18. No Significant Changes in Topsoil Carbon in the Grasslands of Northern China Between the 1980s and 2000s

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, S.; Yang, Y.; Shen, H.; Hu, H.; Zhao, X.; Li, H.; Liu, T.; Fang, J.

    2017-12-01

    The grasslands of northern China store a large amount of soil organic carbon (SOC), and the small changes in SOC stock could significantly affect the regional C cycle. However, recent estimates of SOC changes in this region are highly controversial. In this study, we examined and mapped the changes in the SOC density (SOCD) in the upper 30 cm of the grasslands of northern China between the 1980s and 2000s, using an improved approach that integrates field-based measurements into machine learning algorithms (artificial neural network and random forest). The random forest-generated SOCD averaged 5.55 kg C m-2 in the 1980s and 5.53 kg C m-2 in the 2000s. The change ranged between -0.17 and 0.22 kg C m-2 at the 95% confidence level, suggesting that the overall SOCD did not change significantly during the study period. However, the change in SOCD exhibited large regional variability. The topsoil of the Inner Mongolian grasslands experienced a significant C loss (4.86 vs. 4.33 kg C m-2), whereas that of the Xinjiang grasslands exhibited an accumulation of C (5.55 vs. 6.46 kg C m-2). In addition, the topsoil C in the Tibetan alpine grasslands remained relatively stable (6.12 vs. 6.06 kg C m-2). A comparison of different grassland types indicated that SOCD exhibited significant decreases in typical steppe, whereas showed increases in mountain meadow, and were stable in the remaining grasslands (alpine meadow, alpine steppe, mountain steppe and desert steppe). Climate variables were shown to be the main determines of the change of SOCD. Increases in precipitation could lead to SOC increase in temperate grasslands and SOC loss in alpine grasslands, while climate warming is likely to cause SOC loss in temperate grasslands. Overall, our study shows that northern grasslands in China remained a neutral SOC sink between the 1980s and 2000s.

  19. Changes in plant species richness induce functional shifts in soil nematode communities in experimental grassland.

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    Nico Eisenhauer

    Full Text Available Changes in plant diversity may induce distinct changes in soil food web structure and accompanying soil feedbacks to plants. However, knowledge of the long-term consequences of plant community simplification for soil animal food webs and functioning is scarce. Nematodes, the most abundant and diverse soil Metazoa, represent the complexity of soil food webs as they comprise all major trophic groups and allow calculation of a number of functional indices.We studied the functional composition of nematode communities three and five years after establishment of a grassland plant diversity experiment (Jena Experiment. In response to plant community simplification common nematode species disappeared and pronounced functional shifts in community structure occurred. The relevance of the fungal energy channel was higher in spring 2007 than in autumn 2005, particularly in species-rich plant assemblages. This resulted in a significant positive relationship between plant species richness and the ratio of fungal-to-bacterial feeders. Moreover, the density of predators increased significantly with plant diversity after five years, pointing to increased soil food web complexity in species-rich plant assemblages. Remarkably, in complex plant communities the nematode community shifted in favour of microbivores and predators, thereby reducing the relative abundance of plant feeders after five years.The results suggest that species-poor plant assemblages may suffer from nematode communities detrimental to plants, whereas species-rich plant assemblages support a higher proportion of microbivorous nematodes stimulating nutrient cycling and hence plant performance; i.e. effects of nematodes on plants may switch from negative to positive. Overall, food web complexity is likely to decrease in response to plant community simplification and results of this study suggest that this results mainly from the loss of common species which likely alter plant-nematode interactions.

  20. Surface runoff and transport of sulfonamide antibiotics and tracers on manured grassland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burkhardt, Michael; Stamm, Christian; Waul, Christopher; Singer, Heinz; Müller, Stephan

    2005-01-01

    Despite their common use in animal production the environmental fate of the veterinary sulfonamide antibiotics after excretion is only poorly understood. We performed irrigation experiments to investigate the transport of these substances with surface runoff on grassland. Liquid manure from pigs treated with sulfadimidine was spiked with sulfadiazine, sulfathiazole, the herbicide atrazine (2-chloro-4-ethylamino-6-isopropylamino-1,3,5-triazine), and the conservative tracer bromide and spread onto eight plots. Four plots received the same amounts of the spiked substances in aqueous solution (controls). Apart from the application matrix we varied the time between application and irrigation. Manure increased the runoff volume up to six times compared with the controls. It seemed that manure enhanced the runoff by sealing the soil surface. On manured plots the relative antibiotic concentrations in runoff were higher than on the controls, reaching an average of 0.3% (sulfadiazine), 0.8% (sulfathiazole), and 1.4% (sulfadimidine) of the input concentrations after a 1-d contact time. The corresponding values on the controls were 0.16% for sulfadiazine and 0.08% for sulfathiazole. After 3 d, the maximum values on the manured plots were even higher, whereas they had fallen below the limit of quantification on the controls. As a consequence, the sulfonamide losses were 10 to 40 times larger on the manured plots. The relative mobility of the sulfonamides on the control plots followed the trend expected from their chromatographic separation but the opposite was found on the manured plots. Hence it is important to consider explicitly the physical and chemical effects of manure when assessing the environmental fate of sulfonamides.

  1. Grassland communities in the USA and expected trends associated with climate change

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David Paul Belesky

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available Grasslands, including managed grazinglands, represent one of the largest ecosystems on the planet. Managed grazinglands in particular tend to occupy marginal climatic and edaphic resource zones, thus exacerbating responses in net primary productivity relative to changes in system resources, including anthropogenic factors. Climate dynamism, as evident from the fossil record, appears to be a putative feature of our planet. Recent global trends in temperature and precipitation patterns seem to differ from long-term patterns and have been associated with human activities linked with increased greenhouse gas emissions; specifically CO2. Thus grasslands, with their diverse floristic components, and interaction with and dependence upon herbivores, have a remarkable ability to persist and sustain productivity in response to changing resource conditions. This resistance and resilience to change, including uncertain long-term weather conditions, establishes managed grasslands as an important means of protecting food security. We review responses of grassland communities across regions of the USA and consider the responses in productivity and system function with respect to climatic variation. Research is needed to identify plant resources and management technologies that strengthen our ability to capitalize upon physiological and anatomical features prevalent in grassland communities associated with varying growing conditions.

  2. Air quality and human health impacts of grasslands and shrublands in the United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gopalakrishnan, Varsha; Hirabayashi, Satoshi; Ziv, Guy; Bakshi, Bhavik R.

    2018-06-01

    Vegetation including canopy, grasslands, and shrublands can directly sequester pollutants onto the plant surface, resulting in an improvement in air quality. Until now, several studies have estimated the pollution removal capacity of canopy cover at the level of a county, but no such work exists for grasslands and shrublands. This work quantifies the air pollution removal capacity of grasslands and shrublands at the county-level in the United States and estimates the human health benefits associated with pollution removal using the i-Tree Eco model. Sequestration of pollutants is estimated based on the Leaf Area Index (LAI) obtained from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) derived dataset estimates of LAI and the percentage land cover obtained from the National Land Cover Database (NLCD) for the year 2010. Calculation of pollution removal capacity using local environmental data indicates that grasslands and shrublands remove a total of 6.42 million tonnes of air pollutants in the United States and the associated monetary benefits total 268 million. Human health impacts and associated monetary value due to pollution removal was observed to be significantly high in urban areas indicating that grasslands and shrublands are equally critical as canopy in improving air quality and human health in urban regions.

  3. Factors affecting the ozone sensitivity of temperate European grasslands: An overview

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bassin, S. [Agroscope FAL Reckenholz, Swiss Federal Research Station for Agroecology and Agriculture, Air Pollution/Climate Group, Reckenholzstrasse 191, CH-8046 Zurich (Switzerland)]. E-mail: seraina.bassin@fal.admin.ch; Volk, M. [Agroscope FAL Reckenholz, Swiss Federal Research Station for Agroecology and Agriculture, Air Pollution/Climate Group, Reckenholzstrasse 191, CH-8046 Zurich (Switzerland); Fuhrer, J. [Agroscope FAL Reckenholz, Swiss Federal Research Station for Agroecology and Agriculture, Air Pollution/Climate Group, Reckenholzstrasse 191, CH-8046 Zurich (Switzerland)

    2007-04-15

    This overview of experimentally induced effects of ozone aims to identify physiological and ecological principles, which can be used to classify the sensitivity to ozone of temperate grassland communities in Europe. The analysis of data from experiments with single plants, binary mixtures and multi-species communities illustrates the difficulties to relate individual responses to communities, and thus to identify grassland communities most at risk. Although there is increasing evidence that communities can be separated into broad classes of ozone sensitivity, the database from experiments under realistic conditions with representative systems is too small to draw firm conclusions. But it appears that risk assessments, based on results from individuals or immature mixtures exposed in chambers, are only applicable to intensively managed, productive grasslands, and that the risk of ozone damage for most of perennial grasslands with lower productivity tends to be less than previously expected. - An overview of experimentally induced ozone effects suggests that temperate grasslands could be separated into broad classes of ozone sensitivity based on physiological and ecological principles.

  4. Floristic composition, environmental variation and species distribution patterns in burned grassland in southern Brazil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Overbeck, G E; Müller, S C; Pillar, V D; Pfadenhauer, J

    2006-11-01

    In regularly burned grassland on Morro Santana, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil, we investigated differences in the floristic composition and their relation to soil properties, aspect and distance from the forest border. In 48 plots of 0.75 m2, we identified a total of 201 species from a local species pool of approximately 450 to 500 species. Most species occurred in low frequencies, showing clumpy distribution patterns in the studied area. Multivariate analysis showed that plots close to the forest edge clearly differed from plots in the open grassland concerning composition and structure. Plots exposed to the north differed from plots on the top of the hill both in the composition of species as well as in soil variables, mainly due to shallower soil in the former. No strong relation between soil properties and variation in vegetation composition could be detected at a finer scale. The studied grassland, as all grassland vegetation in southern Brazil, is very rich in species compared to other grassland formations worldwide. However, this high biodiversity and conservational value of Campos vegetation in general has so far not been recognized properly. Disturbance is essential to maintain this open vegetation type and its species richness. Fire should be considered as a management option in the absence of grazing.

  5. Habitat fragmentation effects on birds in grasslands and wetlands: A critique of our knowledge

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, D.H.

    2001-01-01

    Habitat fragmentation exacerbates the problem of habitat loss for grassland and wetland birds. Remaining patches of grasslands and wetlands may be too small, too isolated, and too influenced by edge effects to maintain viable populations of some breeding birds. Knowledge of the effects of fragmentation on bird populations is critically important for decisions about reserve design, grassland and wetland management, and implementation of cropland set-aside programs that benefit wildlife. In my review of research that has been conducted on habitat fragmentation, I found at least five common problems in the methodology used. The results of many studies are compromised by these problems: passive sampling (sampling larger areas in larger patches), confounding effects of habitat heterogeneity, consequences of inappropriate pooling of data from different species, artifacts associated with artificial nest data, and definition of actual habitat patches. As expected, some large-bodied birds with large territorial requirements, such as the northern harrier (Circus cyaneus), appear area sensitive. In addition, some small species of grassland birds favor patches of habitat far in excess of their territory size, including the Savannah (Passerculus sandwichensis), grasshopper (Ammodramus savannarum) and Henslow's (A. henslowii) sparrows, and the bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus). Other species may be area sensitive as well, but the data are ambiguous. Area sensitivity among wetland birds remains unknown since virtually no studies have been based on solid methodologies. We need further research on grassland bird response to habitat that distinguishes supportable conclusions from those that may be artifactual.

  6. Factors affecting the ozone sensitivity of temperate European grasslands: An overview

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bassin, S.; Volk, M.; Fuhrer, J.

    2007-01-01

    This overview of experimentally induced effects of ozone aims to identify physiological and ecological principles, which can be used to classify the sensitivity to ozone of temperate grassland communities in Europe. The analysis of data from experiments with single plants, binary mixtures and multi-species communities illustrates the difficulties to relate individual responses to communities, and thus to identify grassland communities most at risk. Although there is increasing evidence that communities can be separated into broad classes of ozone sensitivity, the database from experiments under realistic conditions with representative systems is too small to draw firm conclusions. But it appears that risk assessments, based on results from individuals or immature mixtures exposed in chambers, are only applicable to intensively managed, productive grasslands, and that the risk of ozone damage for most of perennial grasslands with lower productivity tends to be less than previously expected. - An overview of experimentally induced ozone effects suggests that temperate grasslands could be separated into broad classes of ozone sensitivity based on physiological and ecological principles

  7. DIVERSITY OF PLANT COMMUNITIES IN SECONDARY SUCCESSION OF IMPERATA GRASSLANDS IN SAMBOJA LESTARI, EAST KALIMANTAN, INDONESIA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ishak Yassir

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available Regeneration of  Imperata grassland areas is becoming increasingly important, both to create new secondary forest and to recover the original biodiversity. The diversity of  plant communities in secondary succession of  Imperata grasslands was studied using 45 subplots of  9 linear transects (10 m x 100 m. Data was collected and all stems over 10 cm dbh were identified, the Importance Values Index (IVI for all trees were calculated, saplings and seedlings were counted  and analysed, and soil samples were taken and analysed. Results showed that  after more than 10 years of  regeneration, 65 families were encountered consisting of  164 species, which were dominated by Vernonia arborea Buch.-Ham, Vitex pinnata L., Macaranga gigantea (Reichb.f. & Zoll. Muell.Arg., Symplocos crassipes C.B. Clarke, Artocarpus odoratissimus Miq., and Bridelia glauca Blume. The effects of  regeneration, from Imperata grassland to secondary forest, on soil were the strongest in the A-horizon where an increase in carbon, N content, and pH were observed. Our result shows that Imperata grasslands appear to be permanent because of  frequent fires and human interferences and so far few efforts have been made to promote sustainable rehabilitation. If  protected from fire and other disturbances, such as shifting cultivation, Imperata grassland will grow and develop into secondary forest.

  8. Association of wintering raptors with Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program grasslands in Pennsylvania

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, A.; Brittingham, M.; Grove, G.

    2010-01-01

    Conservation grasslands can provide valuable habitat resource for breeding songbirds, but their value for wintering raptors has received little attention. We hypothesized that increased availability of grassland habitat through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) has resulted in an increase or redistribution in numbers of four species of raptors in Pennsylvania since 2001. We tested this by analyzing winter raptor counts from volunteer surveys, conducted from 2001 to 2008, for Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis), Rough-legged Hawks (Buteo lagopus), Northern Harriers (Circus cyaneus), and American Kestrels (Falco sparverius). During that period, numbers of wintering Northern Harriers increased by more than 20% per year. Log-linear Poisson regression models show that all four species increased in the region of Pennsylvania that had the most and longest-established conservation grasslands. At the county scale (N= 67), Bayesian spatial models showed that spatial and temporal population trends of all four species were positively correlated with the amount of conservation grassland. This relationship was particularly strong for Northern Harriers, with numbers predicted to increase by 35.7% per year for each additional 1% of farmland enrolled in CREP. Our results suggest that conservation grasslands are likely the primary cause of the increase in numbers of wintering Northern Harriers in Pennsylvania since 2001. ?? 2010 The Authors. Journal of Field Ornithology ?? 2010 Association of Field Ornithologists.

  9. Assessment of Grassland Health Based on Spatial Information Technology in Changji Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang

    Science.gov (United States)

    Du, M. J.; Zheng, J. H.; Mu, C.

    2018-04-01

    Based on the "pressure-state-response" (PSR) model, comprehensively applied GIS and RS techniques, 20 evaluation indicators were selected based on pressure, state and response, the entropy weight method was used to determine the weight of each index and build a grassland health evaluation system in Changji Prefecture, Xinjiang. Based on this, evaluation and dynamic analysis of grassland health in Changji Prefecture from 2000 to 2016, using GIS/RS technology, the trend of grassland health status in Changji is analyzed and studied. The results show that: 1) Grassland with low health leveld, lower health level, sub-health level, health level and high health level accounts for 1.46 %,27.67 %,38.35 %,29.21 % and 3.31 % of the total area of Changji. Qitai County, Hutubi County, and Manas County are lower health levels, Jimsar County, Changji City, and Mulei County are at a relatively high level, and Fukang City has a healthy level of health. 2) The level of grassland health in Changji County decreased slightly during the 17 years, accounting for 38.42 % of the total area. The area of 23,87 % showed a stable trend, and the improved area accounted for 37.31 % of the vertical surface area.

  10. Changes of agrochemical properties of cambisol under grassland after abandonment

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ján Jančovič

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available On the grassland (association Lolio-Cynosuretum cristati R. 1937 with brown acidic soil (cambisol the basic agrochemical properties (pH, Cox, Nt, P, K was studied during the years 1986–2006. Various systems of management (fertilizing + cutting, liming, no management had different influences to the cambisol qualities, but had not so significant effect. The pH of the soil decreased after application of mineral fertilization and also in the period without anthropogenic interference. The balanced content of oxidizable carbon (Cox preserved during the experimental period. The total nitrogen content (Nt increased in the period of fertilization and the aftermath of fertilization. The content of phosphorus (P decreased significantly in the years of fertilization and this trend continued after the absence of fertilization too. The content of potassium (K decreased in the period of fertilization, except for a variant with PK nutrition. The content of potassium (K increased on the all variants in both sampling depths of almost 1.5-fold after a period without management. We found a significant effect of year and depth of soil sampling for most of soil parameters. Variants had not significant impact on all evaluated soil characteristics. Between the years there was relatively great variability at the available nutrients values (8–75 %. The available phosphorus had greatest variability (19–96 % and also potassium (18–82 %. Medium till small variability was characteristic for pH (9–14 %, Cox (17–19 % and Nt (8–16 %. The results are indicating that changes of management systems mean not automatically changes of soil features.

  11. Effects of wind-energy facilities on grassland bird distributions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shaffer, Jill A.; Buhl, Deb

    2016-01-01

    The contribution of renewable energy to meet worldwide demand continues to grow. Wind energy is one of the fastest growing renewable sectors, but new wind facilities are often placed in prime wildlife habitat. Long-term studies that incorporate a rigorous statistical design to evaluate the effects of wind facilities on wildlife are rare. We conducted a before-after-control-impact (BACI) assessment to determine if wind facilities placed in native mixed-grass prairies displaced breeding grassland birds. During 2003–2012, we monitored changes in bird density in 3 study areas in North Dakota and South Dakota (U.S.A.). We examined whether displacement or attraction occurred 1 year after construction (immediate effect) and the average displacement or attraction 2–5 years after construction (delayed effect). We tested for these effects overall and within distance bands of 100, 200, 300, and >300 m from turbines. We observed displacement for 7 of 9 species. One species was unaffected by wind facilities and one species exhibited attraction. Displacement and attraction generally occurred within 100 m and often extended up to 300 m. In a few instances, displacement extended beyond 300 m. Displacement and attraction occurred 1 year after construction and persisted at least 5 years. Our research provides a framework for applying a BACI design to displacement studies and highlights the erroneous conclusions that can be made without the benefit of adopting such a design. More broadly, species-specific behaviors can be used to inform management decisions about turbine placement and the potential impact to individual species. Additionally, the avoidance distance metrics we estimated can facilitate future development of models evaluating impacts of wind facilities under differing land-use scenarios.

  12. Burkholderia megalochromosomata sp. nov., isolated from grassland soil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baek, Inwoo; Seo, Boram; Lee, Imchang; Lee, Kihyun; Park, Sang-Cheol; Yi, Hana; Chun, Jongsik

    2015-03-01

    A Gram-stain negative, rod-shaped, non-spore-forming, obligate aerobic bacterial strain, JC2949(T), was isolated from grassland soil in Gwanak Mountain, Seoul, Republic of Korea. Phylogenetic analysis, based on 16S rRNA sequences, indicated that strain JC2949(T) belongs to the genus Burkholderia, showing highest sequence similarities with Burkholderia grimmiae R27(T) (98.8 %), Burkholderia cordobensis LMG 27620(T) (98.6 %), Burkholderia jiangsuensis MP-1T(T) (98.6 %), Burkholderia zhejiangensis OP-1(T) (98.5 %), Burkholderia humi LMG 22934(T) (97.5 %), Burkholderia terrestris LMG 22937(T) (97.3 %), Burkholderia telluris LMG 22936(T) (97.2 %) and Burkholderia glathei ATCC 29195(T) (97.0 %). The major fatty acids of strain JC2949(T) were C18 : 1ω7c, summed feature 3 (C16 : 1ω7c and/or C16 : 1ω6c) and C16 : 0. Its predominant polar lipids were phosphatidylethanolamine, diphosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylglycerol and an unknown amino phospholipid. The dominant isoprenoid quinone was ubiquinone Q-8. The pairwise average nucleotide identity values between strain JC2949(T) and the genomes of 30 other species of the genus Burkholderia ranged from 73.4-90.4 %, indicating that the isolate is a novel genomic species within this genus. Based on phenotypic and chemotaxonomic comparisons, it is clear that strain JC2949(T) represents a novel species of the genus Burkholderia. We propose the name for this novel species to be Burkholderia megalochromosomata sp. nov. The type strain is JC2949(T) ( = KACC 17925(T) = JCM 19905(T)). © 2015 IUMS.

  13. Restoration of species-rich grasslands on ex-arable land: Seed addition outweighs soil fertility reduction

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kardol, P.; Van der Wal, A.; Bezemer, T.M.; De Boer, W.; Duyts, H.; Holtkamp, R.; Van der Putten, W.H.

    2008-01-01

    A common practice in biodiversity conservation is restoration of former species-rich grassland on ex-arable land. Major constraints for grassland restoration are high soil fertility and limited dispersal ability of plant species to target sites. Usually, studies focus on soil fertility or on methods

  14. Effect of climate change on halophytic grasslands loss and its impact in the viability of Gopherus flavomarginatus

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jorge Luis Becerra-López

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available The decrease of the habitat is one of the main factors that affect the survival of G. flavomarginatus. This study assesses the halophytic grasslands loss over a period of 30 years in the distribution area of the Bolson tortoise and the effects of climate change on the habitat suitability of these grasslands and its possible impact on this tortoise. Grassland loss was assessed by an analysis of symmetric differences and the habitat suitability model was carried out by the method of overlapping layers raster. Our results showed a grassland loss of 63.7%; however, our current habitat suitability model points out that much of the grassland loss has occurred where the environmental conditions are suitable. These results suggest that anthropic activity is a main factor in the habitat disturbance in the study area. Likewise, the models for years 2050 and 2070 under the criteria RCP 2.6, RCP 4.5, RCP 6.0, suggest that anthropic activity will continue be the main cause of the grassland loss. Therefore, considering the association between the Bolson tortoise and grassland halophyte Hilaria mutica, which comprises around 60% of its diet, the viability of the Bolson tortoise depends largely on strategies aimed at protecting the soil that allow the presence of this grassland.

  15. The false promises of coal exploitation: How mining affects herdsmen well-being in the grassland ecosystems of Inner Mongolia

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dai, G.S.; Ulgiati, S.; Zhang, Y.S.; Yu, B.H.; Kang, M.Y.; Jin, Y.; Dong, X.B.; Zhang, X.S.

    2014-01-01

    The grasslands of Inner Mongolia are not only the source of the necessary resources for the survival and development of herdsmen, but also represent a significant green ecological barrier in North China. Coal-mining production is important in maintaining GDP growth in Inner Mongolia. However, over-exploitation has created serious problems, such as pollution of the environment and significant decreases in grassland ecosystem services, in addition to impacting the well-being of herdsmen and other humans. Based on questionnaires survey performed among 864 herdsmen addressing the relationship between coal exploitation in grasslands and human well-being in Xilinguole League in Inner Mongolia, we found that (1) coal resource exploitation in these grasslands does not benefit the herdsmen by increasing their income; (2) the rapid development of this resource has not obviously materially improved the life of the herdsmen; and (3) these activities have increased the risks that herdsman will have to endure in the future. Overall, coal resource exploitation in grasslands has more negative than positive effects on the well-being of herdsmen. We propose the conservation of coal resources and improvement of ecological compensation should be carried out without blindly pursuing economic growth, instead of focusing on economic development and structural adjustments. - Highlights: • Evaluation of the human well-being of the Xilinguole grassland, Inner Mongolia, China. • Impact of mining affects herdsmen well-being in grassland ecosystem. • Quantity of questionnaires survey. • Addressing the relationship between coal exploitation in grasslands and human well-being

  16. Does resource availability, resource heterogeneity or species turnover mediate changes in plant species richness in grazed grasslands?

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bakker, C; Blair, JM; Knapp, AK

    2003-01-01

    Grazing by large ungulates often increases plant species richness in grasslands of moderate to high productivity. In a mesic North American grassland with and without the presence of bison (Bos bison), a native ungulate grazer, three non-exclusive hypotheses for increased plant species richness in

  17. Evaluating effects of habitat loss and land-use continuity on ant species richness in seminatural grassland remnants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dauber, Jens; Bengtsson, Jan; Lenoir, Lisette

    2006-08-01

    Seminatural grasslands in Europe are susceptible to habitat destruction and fragmentation that result in negative effects on biodiversity because of increased isolation and area effects on extinction rate. However even small habitatpatches of seminatural grasslands might be of value for conservation and restoration of species richness in a landscape with a long history of management, which has been argued to lead to high species richness. We tested whether ant communities have been negatively affected by habitat loss and increased isolation of seminatural grasslands during the twentieth century. We examined species richness and community composition in seminatural grasslands of different size in a mosaic landscape in Central Sweden. Grasslands managed continuously over centuries harbored species-rich and ecologically diverse ant communities. Grassland remnant size had no effect on ant species richness. Small grassland remnants did not harbor a nested subset of the ant species of larger habitats. Community composition of ants was mainly affected by habitat conditions. Our results suggest that the abandonment of traditional land use and the encroachment of trees, rather than the effects of fragmentation, are important for species composition in seminatural grasslands. Our results highlight the importance of considering land-use continuity and dispersal ability of thefocal organisms when examining the effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on biodiversity. Landscape history should be considered in conservation programs focusing on effects of land-use change.

  18. Changes in vegetation types and Ellenberg indicator values after 65 years of fertilizer application in the Rengen Grassland Experiment, Germany

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Chytry, M.; Hejcman, M.; Hennekens, S.M.; Schellberg, J.

    2009-01-01

    Question: How does semi-natural grassland diversify after 65 years of differential application of Ca, N, P, and K fertilizers? Is fertilizer application adequately reflected by the Ellenberg indicator values (EIVs)? Location: Eifel Mountains, West Germany. Methods: The Rengen Grassland Experiment

  19. Effects of erosion from mounds of different termite genera on distinct functional grassland types in an African savannah

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Gosling, Cleo M.; Cromsigt, Joris P. G. M.; Mpanza, Nokukhanya; Olff, Han

    A key aspect of savannah vegetation heterogeneity is mosaics formed by two functional grassland types, bunch grasslands, and grazing lawns. We investigated the role of termites, important ecosystem engineers, in creating high-nutrient patches in the form of grazing lawns. Some of the ways termites

  20. Mapping grassland productivity with 250-m eMODIS NDVI and SSURGO database over the Greater Platte River Basin, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gu, Yingxin; Wylie, Bruce K.; Bliss, Norman B.

    2013-01-01

    This study assessed and described a relationship between satellite-derived growing season averaged Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and annual productivity for grasslands within the Greater Platte River Basin (GPRB) of the United States. We compared growing season averaged NDVI (GSN) with Soil Survey Geographic (SSURGO) database rangeland productivity and flux tower Gross Primary Productivity (GPP) for grassland areas. The GSN was calculated for each of nine years (2000–2008) using the 7-day composite 250-m eMODIS (expedited Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) NDVI data. Strong correlations exist between the nine-year mean GSN (MGSN) and SSURGO annual productivity for grasslands (R2 = 0.74 for approximately 8000 pixels randomly selected from eight homogeneous regions within the GPRB; R2 = 0.96 for the 14 cluster-averaged points). Results also reveal a strong correlation between GSN and flux tower growing season averaged GPP (R2 = 0.71). Finally, we developed an empirical equation to estimate grassland productivity based on the MGSN. Spatially explicit estimates of grassland productivity over the GPRB were generated, which improved the regional consistency of SSURGO grassland productivity data and can help scientists and land managers to better understand the actual biophysical and ecological characteristics of grassland systems in the GPRB. This final estimated grassland production map can also be used as an input for biogeochemical, ecological, and climate change models.

  1. Total soil C and N sequestration in a grassland following 10 years of free air CO2 enrichment

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kessel, van C.; Boots, B.; Graaff, de M.A.; Harris, D.; Blum, H.; Six, J.

    2006-01-01

    Soil C sequestration may mitigate rising levels of atmospheric CO2. However, it has yet to be determined whether net soil C sequestration occurs in N-rich grasslands exposed to long-term elevated CO2. This study examined whether N-fertilized grasslands exposed to elevated CO2 sequestered additional

  2. Base cation depletion, eutrophication and acidification of species-rich grasslands in response to long-term simulated nitrogen deposition

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Horswill, Paul [Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Alfred Denny Building, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN (United Kingdom)], E-mail: paul.horswill@naturalengland.org.uk; O' Sullivan, Odhran; Phoenix, Gareth K.; Lee, John A.; Leake, Jonathan R. [Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Alfred Denny Building, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN (United Kingdom)

    2008-09-15

    Pollutant nitrogen deposition effects on soil and foliar element concentrations were investigated in acidic and limestone grasslands, located in one of the most nitrogen and acid rain polluted regions of the UK, using plots treated for 8-10 years with 35-140 kg N ha{sup -2} y{sup -1} as NH{sub 4}NO{sub 3}. Historic data suggests both grasslands have acidified over the past 50 years. Nitrogen deposition treatments caused the grassland soils to lose 23-35% of their total available bases (Ca, Mg, K, and Na) and they became acidified by 0.2-0.4 pH units. Aluminium, iron and manganese were mobilised and taken up by limestone grassland forbs and were translocated down the acid grassland soil. Mineral nitrogen availability increased in both grasslands and many species showed foliar N enrichment. This study provides the first definitive evidence that nitrogen deposition depletes base cations from grassland soils. The resulting acidification, metal mobilisation and eutrophication are implicated in driving floristic changes. - Nitrogen deposition causes base cation depletion, acidification and eutrophication of semi-natural grassland soils.

  3. Using the theory of planned behavior to identify key beliefs underlying Brazilian cattle farmers' intention to use improved natural grassland

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Rossi Borges, Joao; Tauer, Loren Willian; Oude Lansink, Alfons

    2016-01-01

    In biome Pampa, Brazil, cattle farmers have managed the natural grasslands using practices that result in overgrazing, low productivity and low farm income. In addition, farmers in the region converted natural grasslands from beef production to more profitable activities, such as cash crops. This

  4. Application of satellite remote sensing for mapping wind erosion risk and dusk emission-deposition in Inner Mongolia grassland, China

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Reiche, M.; Funk, R.; Zhang, Z.; Hoffmann, C.; Reiche, J.; Wehrhan, M.; Li, Y.; Sommer, M.

    2012-01-01

    Intensive grazing leads to land degradation and desertification of grassland ecosystems followed by serious environmental and social problems. The Xilingol steppe grassland in Inner Mongolia, China, which has been a sink area for dust for centuries, is strongly affected by the negative effects of

  5. Fate of semi-natural grassland in England between 1960 and 2013: A test of national conservation policy

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lucy E. Ridding

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available It is well documented that significant losses in semi-natural grassland occurred across Europe during the second half of the twentieth century. However, comparatively few studies have investigated and quantified the fate of large numbers of individual grassland areas. This is important for understanding the causes of decline, and consequently establishing new policies to conserve and restore lost habitats. This study addresses this problem; GIS was used to compare historic survey data collected between 1960 and 1981 with two contemporary spatial datasets of habitats in England. The datasets included the Priority Habitats Inventory 2013 and the Land Cover Map 2007 and this was undertaken for different types of semi-natural grassland across England. Considerable decreases occurred across the different grassland types, with a loss of 47% of studied semi-natural grasslands sites in England over 32–53 years. Of this, the majority of grassland was lost to conversion to agriculturally-improved grassland or arable cultivation, 45% and 43% respectively. Changes to woodland and urban areas were also evident, but on a much smaller scale. Sites receiving statutory protection as a Site of Special Scientific Interest were found to have retained more grassland (91%, compared with non-protected sites (27%, thus highlighting the effectiveness of this aspect of current conservation policy in England, and the need for this to continue in the future.

  6. Faunal isotope records reveal trophic and nutrient dynamics in twentieth century Yellowstone grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fox-Dobbs, Kena; Nelson, Abigail A; Koch, Paul L; Leonard, Jennifer A

    2012-10-23

    Population sizes and movement patterns of ungulate grazers and their predators have fluctuated dramatically over the past few centuries, largely owing to overharvesting, land-use change and historic management. We used δ(13)C and δ(15)N values measured from bone collagen of historic and recent gray wolves and their potential primary prey from Yellowstone National Park to gain insight into the trophic dynamics and nutrient conditions of historic and modern grasslands. The diet of reintroduced wolves closely parallels that of the historic population. We suggest that a significant shift in faunal δ(15)N values over the past century reflects impacts of anthropogenic environmental changes on grassland ecosystems, including grazer-mediated shifts in grassland nitrogen cycle processes.

  7. Black-tailed prairie dogs, cattle, and the conservation of North America's arid grasslands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rodrigo Sierra-Corona

    Full Text Available Prairie dogs (Cynomys spp. have been eliminated from over 95% of their historic range in large part from direct eradication campaigns to reduce their purported competition with cattle for forage. Despite the longstanding importance of this issue to grassland management and conservation, the ecological interactions between cattle and prairie dogs have not been well examined. We address this issue through two complementary experiments to determine if cattle and prairie dogs form a mutualistic grazing association similar to that between prairie dogs and American bison. Our experimental results show that cattle preferentially graze along prairie dog colony edges and use their colony centers for resting, resembling the mutualistic relationship prairie dogs have with American bison. Our results also show that prairie dog colonies are not only an important component of the grassland mosaic for maintaining biodiversity, but also provide benefits to cattle, thereby challenging the long-standing view of prairie dogs as an undesirable pest species in grasslands.

  8. The impact of black wattle encroachment of indigenous grasslands on soil carbon, Eastern Cape, South Africa

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Oelofse, Myles; Birch-Thomsen, Torben; Magid, Jakob

    2016-01-01

    adverse environmental impacts in South Africa. Little is known about the effects of black wattle encroachment on soil carbon, therefore the aim of this study was to investigate the impact of black wattle encroachment of natural grassland on soil carbon stocks and dynamics. Focussing on two sites...... in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, the study analysed carbon stocks in soil and litter on a chronosequence of black wattle stands of varying ages (up to >50 years) and compared these with adjacent native grassland. The study found that woody encroachment of grassland at one site had an insignificant effect...... on soil and litter carbon stocks. The second site showed a clear decline in combined soil and litter carbon stocks following wattle encroachment. The lowest stock was in the oldest wattle stand, meaning that carbon stocks are still declining after 50 years of encroachment. The results from the two sites...

  9. Winter ecology of a subalpine grassland: Effects of snow removal on soil respiration, microbial structure and function.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gavazov, Konstantin; Ingrisch, Johannes; Hasibeder, Roland; Mills, Robert T E; Buttler, Alexandre; Gleixner, Gerd; Pumpanen, Jukka; Bahn, Michael

    2017-07-15

    Seasonal snow cover provides essential insulation for mountain ecosystems, but expected changes in precipitation patterns and snow cover duration due to global warming can influence the activity of soil microbial communities. In turn, these changes have the potential to create new dynamics of soil organic matter cycling. To assess the effects of experimental snow removal and advanced spring conditions on soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) dynamics, and on the biomass and structure of soil microbial communities, we performed an in situ study in a subalpine grassland in the Austrian Alps, in conjunction with soil incubations under controlled conditions. We found substantial winter C-mineralisation and high accumulation of inorganic and organic N in the topsoil, peaking at snowmelt. Soil microbial biomass doubled under the snow, paralleled by a fivefold increase in its C:N ratio, but no apparent change in its bacteria-dominated community structure. Snow removal led to a series of mild freeze-thaw cycles, which had minor effects on in situ soil CO 2 production and N mineralisation. Incubated soil under advanced spring conditions, however, revealed an impaired microbial metabolism shortly after snow removal, characterised by a limited capacity for C-mineralisation of both fresh plant-derived substrates and existing soil organic matter (SOM), leading to reduced priming effects. This effect was transient and the observed recovery in microbial respiration and SOM priming towards the end of the winter season indicated microbial resilience to short-lived freeze-thaw disturbance under field conditions. Bacteria showed a higher potential for uptake of plant-derived C substrates during this recovery phase. The observed temporary loss in microbial C-mineralisation capacity and the promotion of bacteria over fungi can likely impede winter SOM cycling in mountain grasslands under recurrent winter climate change events, with plausible implications for soil nutrient availability and

  10. A prospective, randomized, fellow eye comparison of WaveLight® Allegretto Wave® Eye-Q versus VISX CustomVue™ STAR S4 IR™ in laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK: analysis of visual outcomes and higher order aberrations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Moshirfar M

    2011-09-01

    Full Text Available Majid Moshirfar1, Brent S Betts2, Daniel S Churgin3, Maylon Hsu1, Marcus Neuffer1, Shameema Sikder4, Dane Church5, Mark D Mifflin11John A Moran Eye Center, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA; 2Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA; 3University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ, USA; 4Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA; 5Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond, VA, USAPurpose: To compare outcomes in visual acuity, refractive error, higher-order aberrations (HOAs, contrast sensitivity, and dry eye in patients undergoing laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK using wavefront (WF guided VISX CustomVue and WF optimized WaveLight Allegretto platforms.Methods: In this randomized, prospective, single-masked, fellow eye study, LASIK was performed on 44 eyes (22 patients, with one eye randomized to WaveLight Allegretto, and the fellow eye receiving VISX CustomVue. Postoperative outcome measures at 3 months included uncorrected distance visual acuity (UDVA, corrected distance visual acuity (CDVA, refractive error, root-mean-square (RMS value of total and grouped HOAs, contrast sensitivity, and Schirmers testing.Results: Mean values for UDVA (logMAR were -0.067 ± 0.087 and -0.073 ± 0.092 in the WF optimized and WF guided groups, respectively (P = 0.909. UDVA of 20/20 or better was achieved in 91% of eyes undergoing LASIK with both lasers while UDVA of 20/15 or better was achieved in 64% of eyes using the Allegretto platform, and 59% of eyes using VISX CustomVue (P = 1.000. In the WF optimized group, total HOA increased 4% (P = 0.012, coma increased 11% (P = 0.065, and spherical aberration increased 19% (P = 0.214, while trefoil decreased 5% (P = 0.490. In the WF guided group, total HOA RMS decreased 9% (P = 0.126, coma decreased 18% (P = 0.144, spherical aberration decreased 27% (P = 0.713 and trefoil

  11. Soil seed-bank composition reveals the land-use history of calcareous grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Karlík, Petr; Poschlod, Peter

    2014-07-01

    We compared soil seed banks and vegetation of recent (established on abandoned arable fields) and ancient (continuously managed as pastures at least since 1830) calcareous grasslands if there is any impact of former arable field use. The study was carried out in two regions of Southern Germany with well-preserved dry grassland vegetation: the western Jurassic mountains (Kaltes Feld) and the climatically drier eastern part of Southern Germany (Kallmünz). Total number of species in the seed bank was similar in both regions, but species composition partly differed, reflecting phytogeographical differences between the regions. The total number of emerged seedlings showed a large disparity (5457 compared to 2523 seedlings/m2 in Kaltes Feld and Kallmünz, respectively). Though there were differences in seed bank composition and size, we found a uniform pattern of plant traits (affiliation to phytosociological groups, Raunkiaer plant life-forms and seed longevity), which depended on the age of the grassland. The main conclusion is that seed banks in contemporary calcareous grasslands still reflect the history of former land use - in this case arable cultivation, even though it occurred a long time ago (up to 150 years). Indicators of former arable fields are germinable seeds of weeds which have persisted in the soil to the present. By contrast, weedy species are completely absent from the seed banks of ancient grasslands. Soil seed banks of recent grasslands may be of substantial conservation importance because they may store seeds of rare and endangered weed species such as Kickxia spuria, Silene noctiflora and Stachys annua, the majority of which have already gone extinct from the current vegetation of the study sites.

  12. Water relations in grassland and desert ecosystems exposed to elevated atmospheric CO2.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morgan, J A; Pataki, D E; Körner, C; Clark, H; Del Grosso, S J; Grünzweig, J M; Knapp, A K; Mosier, A R; Newton, P C D; Niklaus, P A; Nippert, J B; Nowak, R S; Parton, W J; Polley, H W; Shaw, M R

    2004-06-01

    Atmospheric CO2 enrichment may stimulate plant growth directly through (1) enhanced photosynthesis or indirectly, through (2) reduced plant water consumption and hence slower soil moisture depletion, or the combination of both. Herein we describe gas exchange, plant biomass and species responses of five native or semi-native temperate and Mediterranean grasslands and three semi-arid systems to CO2 enrichment, with an emphasis on water relations. Increasing CO2 led to decreased leaf conductance for water vapor, improved plant water status, altered seasonal evapotranspiration dynamics, and in most cases, periodic increases in soil water content. The extent, timing and duration of these responses varied among ecosystems, species and years. Across the grasslands of the Kansas tallgrass prairie, Colorado shortgrass steppe and Swiss calcareous grassland, increases in aboveground biomass from CO2 enrichment were relatively greater in dry years. In contrast, CO2-induced aboveground biomass increases in the Texas C3/C4 grassland and the New Zealand pasture seemed little or only marginally influenced by yearly variation in soil water, while plant growth in the Mojave Desert was stimulated by CO2 in a relatively wet year. Mediterranean grasslands sometimes failed to respond to CO2-related increased late-season water, whereas semiarid Negev grassland assemblages profited. Vegetative and reproductive responses to CO2 were highly varied among species and ecosystems, and did not generally follow any predictable pattern in regard to functional groups. Results suggest that the indirect effects of CO2 on plant and soil water relations may contribute substantially to experimentally induced CO2-effects, and also reflect local humidity conditions. For landscape scale predictions, this analysis calls for a clear distinction between biomass responses due to direct CO2 effects on photosynthesis and those indirect CO2 effects via soil moisture as documented here.

  13. Intensive management in grasslands causes diffuse water pollution at the farm scale.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peukert, Sabine; Griffith, Bruce A; Murray, Phillip J; Macleod, Christopher J A; Brazier, Richard E

    2014-11-01

    Arable land use is generally assumed to be the largest contributor to agricultural diffuse pollution. This study adds to the growing evidence that conventional temperate intensively managed lowland grasslands contribute significantly to soil erosion and diffuse pollution rates. This is the first grassland study to monitor hydrological characteristics and multiple pollutant fluxes (suspended sediment [SS] and the macronutrients: total oxidized nitrogen-N [TON], total phosphorus [TP], and total carbon [TC]) at high temporal resolution (monitoring up to every 15 min) over 1 yr. Monitoring was conducted across three fields (6.5-7.5 ha) on the North Wyke Farm Platform, UK. The estimated annual erosion rates (up to 527.4 kg ha), TP losses (up to 0.9 kg ha), and TC losses (up to 179 kg ha) were similar to or exceeded the losses reported for other grassland, mixed land-use, and arable sites. Annual yields of TON (up to 3 kg ha) were less than arable land-use fluxes and earlier grassland N studies, an important result as the study site is situated within a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone. The high-resolution monitoring allowed detailed "system's functioning" understanding of hydrological processes, mobilization- transport pathways of individual pollutants, and the changes of the relative importance of diffuse pollutants through flow conditions and time. Suspended sediment and TP concentrations frequently exceeded water quality guidelines recommended by the European Freshwater Fisheries Directive (25 mg L) and the European Water Framework Directive (0.04 mg soluble reactive P L), suggesting that intensively managed grasslands pose a significant threat to receiving surface waters. Such sediment and nutrient losses from intensively managed grasslands should be acknowledged in land management guidelines and advice for future compliance with surface water quality standards. Copyright © by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of

  14. Identifying priority areas for ecosystem service management in South African grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Egoh, Benis N; Reyers, Belinda; Rouget, Mathieu; Richardson, David M

    2011-06-01

    Grasslands provide many ecosystem services required to support human well-being and are home to a diverse fauna and flora. Degradation of grasslands due to agriculture and other forms of land use threaten biodiversity and ecosystem services. Various efforts are underway around the world to stem these declines. The Grassland Programme in South Africa is one such initiative and is aimed at safeguarding both biodiversity and ecosystem services. As part of this developing programme, we identified spatial priority areas for ecosystem services, tested the effect of different target levels of ecosystem services used to identify priority areas, and evaluated whether biodiversity priority areas can be aligned with those for ecosystem services. We mapped five ecosystem services (below ground carbon storage, surface water supply, water flow regulation, soil accumulation and soil retention) and identified priority areas for individual ecosystem services and for all five services at the scale of quaternary catchments. Planning for individual ecosystem services showed that, depending on the ecosystem service of interest, between 4% and 13% of the grassland biome was required to conserve at least 40% of the soil and water services. Thirty-four percent of the biome was needed to conserve 40% of the carbon service in the grassland. Priority areas identified for five ecosystem services under three target levels (20%, 40%, 60% of the total amount) showed that between 17% and 56% of the grassland biome was needed to conserve these ecosystem services. There was moderate to high overlap between priority areas selected for ecosystem services and already-identified terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity priority areas. This level of overlap coupled with low irreplaceability values obtained when planning for individual ecosystem services makes it possible to combine biodiversity and ecosystem services in one plan using systematic conservation planning. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All

  15. Early vision and visual attention

    OpenAIRE

    Gvozdenović Vasilije P.

    2003-01-01

    The question whether visual perception is spontaneous, sudden or is running through several phases, mediated by higher cognitive processes, was raised ever since the early work of Gestalt psychologists. In the early 1980s, Treisman proposed the feature integration theory of attention (FIT), based on the findings of neuroscience. Soon after publishing her theory a new scientific approach appeared investigating several visual perception phenomena. The most widely researched were the key constru...

  16. Spatial and temporal patterns of water availability in a grass-shrub ecotone and implications for grassland recovery in arid environments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Encroachment of woody shrubs into historic desert grasslands is a major problem throughout the world. Conversion of grasslands to shrub-dominated systems may result in significant alteration of biogeochemical processes and reduced resource availability in shrub interspaces, making grassland recover...

  17. Matrix matters: differences of grand skink metapopulation parameters in native tussock grasslands and exotic pasture grasslands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Konstanze Gebauer

    Full Text Available Modelling metapopulation dynamics is a potentially very powerful tool for conservation biologists. In recent years, scientists have broadened the range of variables incorporated into metapopulation modelling from using almost exclusively habitat patch size and isolation, to the inclusion of attributes of the matrix and habitat patch quality. We investigated the influence of habitat patch and matrix characteristics on the metapopulation parameters of a highly endangered lizard species, the New Zealand endemic grand skink (Oligosoma grande taking into account incomplete detectability. The predictive ability of the developed zxmetapopulation model was assessed through cross-validation of the data and with an independent data-set. Grand skinks occur on scattered rock-outcrops surrounded by indigenous tussock (bunch and pasture grasslands therefore implying a metapopulation structure. We found that the type of matrix surrounding the habitat patch was equally as important as the size of habitat patch for estimating occupancy, colonisation and extinction probabilities. Additionally, the type of matrix was more important than the physical distance between habitat patches for colonisation probabilities. Detection probability differed between habitat patches in the two matrix types and between habitat patches with different attributes such as habitat patch composition and abundance of vegetation on the outcrop. The developed metapopulation models can now be used for management decisions on area protection, monitoring, and the selection of translocation sites for the grand skink. Our study showed that it is important to incorporate not only habitat patch size and distance between habitat patches, but also those matrix type and habitat patch attributes which are vital in the ecology of the target species.

  18. [Effects of desertification on C and N storages in grassland ecosystem on Horqin sandy land].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhao, Ha-lin; Li, Yu-qiang; Zhou, Rui-lian

    2007-11-01

    Sandy grassland is widespread in northern China, where desertification is very common because of overgrazing and estrepement. However, little is known about the effects of desertification on grassland C and N storages in this region. A field survey was conducted on Horqin sandy grassland, and desertification gradients were established to evaluate the effects of desertification on C and N storages in soil, plant, and litter. The results showed that desertification had deep effects on the contents and storages of grassland C and N. The C and N contents and storages in the grassland decreased significantly with increasing desertification degree. Comparing with those in un-desertified grassland, the C and N contents in lightly, moderately, heavily, and severely desertified grasslands decreased by 56.06% and 48.72%, 78.43% and 74.36%, 88.95% and 84.62%, and 91.64% and 84.62% in 0-100 cm soil layer, and by 8.61% and 6.43%, 0.05% and 25.71%, 2.58% and 27.14%, and 8. 61% and 27. 86% in plant components, respectively. Relevantly, the C and N storages decreased by 50.95% and 43.38%, 75.19% and 71.04%, 86.76% and 81.48%, and 91.17% and 83.17% in plant underground components in 0-100 cm soil layer, and by 25.08% and 27.62%, 30.90% and 46.55%, 73.84% and 80.62%, and 90.89% and 87.31% in plant aboveground components, respectively. In 2000, the total area of desertified grassland in Horqin sandy land was 30152. 7 km2, and the C and N loss via desertification reached up to 107.53 and 9.97 Mt, respectively. Correlation analysis indicated that the decrease of soil C and N contents was mainly come from the decreased soil fine particles caused by wind erosion in the process of desertification, and the degradation of soil texture- and nutrient status led finally to the rapid decrease of C and N storages in plant biomass and litter.

  19. Asymmetric responses of primary productivity to precipitation extremes: A synthesis of grassland precipitation manipulation experiments

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Wilcox, K. R.; Shi, Z.; Gherardi, L. A.; Lemoine, N. P.; Koerner, S. E.; Hoover, D. L.; Bork, E.; Byrne, K. M.; Cahill, J.; Collins, S. L.; Evans, S.M.; Gilgen, Anna K.; Holub, Petr; Jiang, L.; Knapp, A. K.; LeCain, D.; Liang, J.; Garcia-Palacios, P.; Penuelas, J.; Pockman, W. T.; Smith, M. D.; Sun, S.; White, S. R.; Yahdjian, L.; Zhu, K.; Luo, Y.

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 23, č. 10 (2017), s. 4376-4385 ISSN 1354-1013 Institutional support: RVO:86652079 Keywords : net primary productivity * terrestrial ecosystems * temperate grassland * biomass allocation * plant-communities * tallgrass prairie * climate extremes * use efficiency * united-states * global-change * aboveground net primary productivity * belowground net primary productivity * biomass allocation * climate change * grasslands * meta-analysis * root biomass Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour OBOR OECD: Environmental sciences (social aspects to be 5.7) Impact factor: 8.502, year: 2016

  20. Greenhouse gas exchange in grasslands: impacts of climate, intensity of management and other factors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, K. A.

    2003-04-01

    Grasslands occupy some 40% of the terrestrial land surface. They are generally categorised as natural (occurring mainly in those regions where the rainfall is too low to support forest ecosystems), semi-natural (where management, mainly by grazing, has changed the vegetation composition), and artificial (where forests have been cleared to create new pasture land). The soils of the natural and semi-natural grasslands constitute a large reservoir of carbon, and make a substantial contribution to the soil sink for atmospheric CH_4. The conversion of much of the natural temperate grassland to arable agriculture, e.g. in North America and Europe, resulted in a considerable decrease in soil organic carbon, and its release to the atmosphere as CO_2 has made a substantial contribution to the total atmospheric concentration of this gas. The associated increase in cycling of soil N (released from the organic matter) will have contributed to N_2O emissions, and land disturbance and fertilisation has resulted in a depletion of the soil CH_4 sink. Conversion of tropical forests to pastures has also been a major source of CO_2, and these pastures show elevated emissions of N_2O for some years after conversion. Seasonally flooded tropical grasslands are a significant source of CH_4 emissions. Consideration of grassland ecosystems in their entirety, in relation to GHG exchange, necessitates the inclusion of CH_4 production by fauna - domesticated livestock and wild herbivores, as well as some species of termites - in the overall assessment. Stocking rates on pasture land have increased, and the total CH_4 emissions likewise. The relationship between animal production and CH_4 emissions is dependent on the nutritional quality of the vegetation, as well as on animal numbers. In both temperate and tropical regions, increased N inputs as synthetic fertilisers and manures (and increased N deposition) are producing possibly a more-than-linear response in terms of emissions of N_2O. In

  1. Herbage intake regulation and growth of rabbits raised on grasslands: back to basics and looking forward.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martin, G; Duprat, A; Goby, J-P; Theau, J-P; Roinsard, A; Descombes, M; Legendre, H; Gidenne, T

    2016-10-01

    Organic agriculture is developing worldwide, and organic rabbit production has developed within this context. It entails raising rabbits in moving cages or paddocks, which enables them to graze grasslands. As organic farmers currently lack basic technical information, the objective of this article is to characterize herbage intake, feed intake and the growth rate of rabbits raised on grasslands in different environmental and management contexts (weather conditions, grassland type and complete feed supplementation). Three experiments were performed with moving cages at an experimental station. From weaning, rabbits grazed a natural grassland, a tall fescue grassland and a sainfoin grassland in experiments 1, 2 and 3, respectively. Rabbit diets were supplemented with a complete pelleted feed limited to 69 g dry matter (DM)/rabbit per day in experiment 1 and 52 g DM/rabbit per day in experiments 2 and 3. Herbage allowance and fiber, DM and protein contents, as well as rabbit intake and live weight, were measured weekly. Mean herbage DM intake per rabbit per day differed significantly (P<0.001) between experiments. It was highest in experiment 1 (78.5 g DM/day) and was 43.9 and 51.2 g DM/day in experiments 2 and 3, respectively. Herbage allowance was the most significant determinant of herbage DM intake during grazing, followed by rabbit metabolic weight (live weight0.75) and herbage protein and fiber contents. Across experiments, a 10 g DM increase in herbage allowance and a 100 g increase in rabbit metabolic weight corresponded to a mean increase of 6.8 and 9.6 g of herbage DM intake, respectively. When including complete feed, daily mean DM intakes differed significantly among experiments (P<0.001), ranging from 96.1 g DM/rabbit per day in experiment 2 to 163.6 g DM/rabbit per day in experiment 1. Metabolic weight of rabbits raised on grasslands increased linearly over time in all three experiments, yielding daily mean growth rates of 26.2, 19.2 and 28.5 g/day in

  2. The response of soil biota to phosphate fertilization in grassland columns

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ikoyi, Israel; Winstanley, Henry; Fowler, Andrew; Schmalenberger, Achim

    2017-04-01

    -feeding nematodes, enrichment index were significantly higher in the control compared to the P treatments. In addition, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analysis showed that high and medium P significantly shifted the bacterial, fungal and Glomeromycota community structures compared to the control. The Next Generation Sequencing data revealed that the control had a significantly higher abundance of certain bacterial families when compared to the high P treatment (e.g. Bacillaceae, Paenibacillaceae, Nocardioidaceea, Micrococcaceae, Bradyrhizobiaceae) that have been associated with P mineralization in the past. Our results show that some of the parameters are more sensitive to P application though the effect on others may have been masked by the low P status of the soil. Results from this study suggest that a positive effect of a single inorganic P fertilizer application on plant growth in a soil is largely cancelled out by its negative effect on the soil microbiota. These findings support the hypothesis that soil microbiota play an important role in plant P supply in low P index soils. The findings from this study will be included in a mathematical model on biotic P cycling to better predict the effects of fertilizer application in grassland agriculture.

  3. Changes in grassland management and plant diversity in a marginal region of the Carpathian Mts. in 1999-2015.

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    Halada, Ľuboš; David, Stanislav; Hreško, Juraj; Klimantová, Alexandra; Bača, Andrej; Rusňák, Tomáš; Buraľ, Miroslav; Vadel, Ľuboš

    2017-12-31

    The political change from socialism to democracy in countries of Central and Eastern Europe at the end of the 20th century induced broad changes in agriculture mostly due to land ownership changes and strong reduction of subsidies to agriculture. This resulted in agricultural decline, including grassland abandonment, which influenced grassland biodiversity and conservation. Between 1999 and 2015 we studied the grasslands in the area depopulated in the early 1980's in the Poloniny National Park (NE Slovakia, Carpathian Mts.). The aim of the study was to examine influence of environmental factors and grassland management driven by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to plant community structure and taxonomical diversity. We identified altitude and soil properties as the main environmental factors: altitude determines climate gradient and probably also management intensity gradient and soil properties express soil fertility via A-horizon depth. We identified remarkable increase of proportion of managed grasslands from only 8% in 1999 to 40% in 2012-2015; other 7% of sampled grasslands were recently restored and prepared for future management. The average species richness in grasslands managed in 2012-2015 increased from 47.5 species per record in 1999 to 54.2 species in 2012-2015, the increase was found statistically significant. In 2012-2015, we observed statistically significant difference in the average species richness between managed (54.2) and abandoned grasslands (46.3). The agricultural subsidies of the CAP drive the grassland management in the study area. Therefore, we conclude that CAP enabled grassland biodiversity maintenance in significant part of the Poloniny National Park following start of its application in 2004 and above provided figures can be considered as indicators of the CAP effectiveness in our study area. However, the conservation of mountain meadows remains a challenge because of their poor accessibility. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All

  4. Small-scale barriers mitigate desertification processes and enhance plant recruitment in a degraded semiarid grassland

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    Fick, Stephen E; Decker, Cheryl E.; Duniway, Michael C.; Miller, Mark E.

    2016-01-01

    Anthropogenic desertification is a problem that plagues drylands globally; however, the factors which maintain degraded states are often unclear. In Canyonlands National Park on the Colorado Plateau of southeastern Utah, many degraded grasslands have not recovered structure and function >40 yr after release from livestock grazing pressure, necessitating active restoration. We hypothesized that multiple factors contribute to the persistent degraded state, including lack of seed availability, surficial soil-hydrological properties, and high levels of spatial connectivity (lack of perennial vegetation and other surface structure to retain water, litter, seed, and sediment). In combination with seeding and surface raking treatments, we tested the effect of small barrier structures (“ConMods”) designed to disrupt the loss of litter, seed and sediment in degraded soil patches within the park. Grass establishment was highest when all treatments (structures, seed addition, and soil disturbance) were combined, but only in the second year after installation, following favorable climatic conditions. We suggest that multiple limiting factors were ameliorated by treatments, including seed limitation and microsite availability, seed removal by harvester ants, and stressful abiotic conditions. Higher densities of grass seedlings on the north and east sides of barrier structures following the summer months suggest that structures may have functioned as artificial “nurse-plants”, sheltering seedlings from wind and radiation as well as accumulating wind-blown resources. Barrier structures increased the establishment of both native perennial grasses and exotic annuals, although there were species-specific differences in mortality related to spatial distribution of seedlings within barrier structures. The unique success of all treatments combined, and even then only under favorable climatic conditions and in certain soil patches, highlights that restoration success (and

  5. Invasion of the tropical earthworm Pontoscolex corethrurus (Rhinodrilidae, Oligochaeta in temperate grasslands

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    Diana Ortiz-Gamino

    2016-10-01

    Full Text Available The tropical earthworm Pontoscolex corethrurus (Rhinodrilidae, Oligochaeta presents a broad distribution (e.g., 56 countries from four continents. It is generally assumed that temperature appears to limit the success of tropical exotic species in temperate climates. However, the distribution range of this species could advance towards higher elevations (with lower temperatures where no tropical species currently occur. The aim of this study was to evaluate the soil and climatic variables that could be closely associated with the distribution of P. corethrurus in four sites along an altitudinal gradient in central Veracruz, Mexico. We predicted that the distribution of P. corethrurus would be more related to climate variables than edaphic parameters. Five sampling points (in the grassland were established at each of four sites along an altitudinal gradient: Laguna Verde (LV, La Concepción (LC, Naolinco (NA and Acatlán (AC at 11–55, 992–1,025, 1,550–1,619 y 1,772–1,800 masl, respectively. The climate ranged from tropical to temperate along the altitudinal gradient. Ten earthworm species (5 Neotropical, 4 Palearctic and 1 Nearctic were found along the gradient, belonging to three families (Rhinodrilidae, Megascolecide and Lumbricidae. Soil properties showed a significant association (positive for Ngrass, pH, permanent wilting point, organic matter and P; and negative for Total N, K and water-holding capacity with the abundance of the earthworm community. Also there seems to be a relationship between climate and earthworm distribution along the altitudinal gradient. P. corethrurus was recorded at tropical (LV and LC and temperate sites (NA along the altitudinal gradient. Our results reveal that soil fertility determines the abundance of earthworms and site (climate can act as a barrier to their migration. Further research is needed to determine the genetic structure and lineages of P. corethrurus along altitudinal gradients.

  6. Genetic Diversity and Spatial Genetic Structure of the Grassland Perennial Saxifraga granulata along Two River Systems.

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    Sascha van der Meer

    Full Text Available Due to changes in land use, the natural habitats of an increasing number of plant species have become more and more fragmented. In landscapes that consist of patches of suitable habitat, the frequency and extent of long-distance seed dispersal can be expected to be an important factor determining local genetic diversity and regional population structure of the remaining populations. In plant species that are restricted to riparian habitats, rivers can be expected to have a strong impact on the dynamics and spatial genetic structure of populations as they may enable long-distance seed dispersal and thus maintain gene flow between fragmented populations. In this study, we used polymorphic microsatellite markers to investigate the genetic diversity and the spatial genetic structure of 28 populations of Saxifraga granulata along two rivers in central Belgium. We hypothesized that rivers might be essential for gene flow among increasingly isolated populations of this species. Genetic diversity was high (HS = 0.68, which to a certain extent can be explained by the octoploid nature of S. granulata in the study area. Populations along the Dijle and Demer rivers were also highly differentiated (G"ST = 0.269 and 0.164 and DEST = 0.190 and 0.124, respectively and showed significant isolation-by-distance, indicating moderate levels of gene flow primarily between populations that are geographically close to each other. Along the river Demer population genetic diversity was higher upstream than downstream, suggesting that seed dispersal via the water was not the primary mode of dispersal. Overall, these results indicate that despite increasing fragmentation populations along both rivers were highly genetically diverse. The high ploidy level and longevity of S. granulata have most likely buffered negative effects of fragmentation on genetic diversity and the spatial genetic structure of populations in riparian grasslands.

  7. Nitrous oxide production and consumption by denitrification in a grassland: Effects of grazing and hydrology.

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    Hu, Jing; Inglett, Kanika S; Clark, Mark W; Inglett, Patrick W; Ramesh Reddy, K

    2015-11-01

    Denitrification is generally recognized as a major mechanism contributing to nitrous oxide (N2O) production, and is the only known biological process for N2O consumption. Understanding factors controlling N2O production and consumption during denitrification will provide insights into N2O emission variability, and potentially predict capacity of soils to serve as sinks or sources of N2O. This study investigated the effects of hydrology and grazing on N2O production and consumption in a grassland based agricultural watershed. A batch incubation study was conducted on soils (0-10 cm) collected along a hydrological gradient representing isolated wetland (Center), transient zone (Edge) and pasture upland (Upland), from both grazed and ungrazed areas. Production and consumption potentials of N2O were quantified on soils under four treatments, including (i) ambient condition, and amended with (ii) NO3(-), (iii) glucose-C, and (iv) NO3(-) +glucose-C. The impacts of grazing on N2O production and consumption were not observed. Soils in hydrologically distinct zones responded differently to N2O production and consumption. Under ambient conditions, both production and consumption rates of Edge soils were higher than those observed for Center and Upland soils. Results of amended incubations suggested NO3(-) was a key factor limiting N2O production and consumption rates in all hydrological zones. Over 5-d incubation with NO3(-) amendment, cumulative production and consumption of N2O for Center soils were 1.6 and 3.3 times higher than Edge soils, and 3.6 and 7.6 times higher than Upland soils, respectively. However, cumulative N2O net production for Edge soils was the highest, with 2 to 3 times higher than Upland and Center soils. Our results suggest that the transient areas between wetland and upland are likely to be "hot spots" of N2O emissions in this ecosystem. Wetlands within agricultural landscapes can potentially function to reduce both NO3(-) leaching and N2O emissions

  8. Auditory, visual and auditory-visual memory and sequencing performance in typically developing children.

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    Pillai, Roshni; Yathiraj, Asha

    2017-09-01

    The study evaluated whether there exists a difference/relation in the way four different memory skills (memory score, sequencing score, memory span, & sequencing span) are processed through the auditory modality, visual modality and combined modalities. Four memory skills were evaluated on 30 typically developing children aged 7 years and 8 years across three modality conditions (auditory, visual, & auditory-visual). Analogous auditory and visual stimuli were presented to evaluate the three modality conditions across the two age groups. The children obtained significantly higher memory scores through the auditory modality compared to the visual modality. Likewise, their memory scores were significantly higher through the auditory-visual modality condition than through the visual modality. However, no effect of modality was observed on the sequencing scores as well as for the memory and the sequencing span. A good agreement was seen between the different modality conditions that were studied (auditory, visual, & auditory-visual) for the different memory skills measures (memory scores, sequencing scores, memory span, & sequencing span). A relatively lower agreement was noted only between the auditory and visual modalities as well as between the visual and auditory-visual modality conditions for the memory scores, measured using Bland-Altman plots. The study highlights the efficacy of using analogous stimuli to assess the auditory, visual as well as combined modalities. The study supports the view that the performance of children on different memory skills was better through the auditory modality compared to the visual modality. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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