Managing ecosystem services: a grassland experiment

Great blog post from the Applied Ecologist’s Blog

The Applied Ecologist's blog

In this post Katherine Orford discusses her recent paper ‘Modest enhancements to conventional grassland diversity improve the provision of pollination services

You can also read a blog post from the Associate Editor who handled this paper, Peter Manning here: Pastures new for pollinators?

Grassland diversity

Species-rich grasslands were once widespread across Western Europe. However, post-war agricultural intensification has resulted in wide-scale conversion of these diverse grasslands into intensive and profitable systems for livestock rearing. Modern grassland management typically entails high fertiliser application rates and frequent defoliation by intensive grazing and cutting regimes. Such practices have resulted in significant declines in species diversity with swards often dominated by competitive commercial grasses species including Lolium perenne (perennial rye-grass) and Holcus lanatus (Yorkshire fog). It has been estimated that only 2% of grasslands have escaped agricultural intensification in the UK.

As the human population is forecast to rise from 7 billion today…

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