Browsing by Subject "PLANT-SPECIES RICHNESS"

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  • Ruiz-Benito, Paloma; Vacchiano, Giorgio; Lines, Emily R.; Reyer, Christopher P.O.; Ratcliffe, Sophia; Morin, Xavier; Hartig, Florian; Mäkelä, Annikki; Yousefpour, Rasoul; Chaves, Jimena E.; Palacios-Orueta, Alicia; Benito-Garzón, Marta; Morales-Molino, Cesar; Camarero, J. Julio; Jump, Alistair S.; Kattge, Jens; Lehtonen, Aleksi; Ibrom, Andreas; Owen, Harry J.F.; Zavala, Miguel A. (2020)
    Climate change is expected to cause major changes in forest ecosystems during the 21st century and beyond. To assess forest impacts from climate change, the existing empirical information must be structured, harmonised and assimilated into a form suitable to develop and test state-of-the-art forest and ecosystem models. The combination of empirical data collected at large spatial and long temporal scales with suitable modelling approaches is key to understand forest dynamics under climate change. To facilitate data and model integration, we identified major climate change impacts observed on European forest functioning and summarised the data available for monitoring and predicting such impacts. Our analysis of c. 120 forest-related databases (including information from remote sensing, vegetation inventories, dendroecology, palaeoecology, eddy-flux sites, common garden experiments and genetic techniques) and 50 databases of environmental drivers highlights a substantial degree of data availability and accessibility. However, some critical variables relevant to predicting European forest responses to climate change are only available at relatively short time frames (up to 10-20 years), including intra-specific trait variability, defoliation patterns, tree mortality and recruitment. Moreover, we identified data gaps or lack of data integration particularly in variables related to local adaptation and phenotypic plasticity, dispersal capabilities and physiological responses. Overall, we conclude that forest data availability across Europe is improving, but further efforts are needed to integrate, harmonise and interpret this data (i.e. making data useable for non-experts). Continuation of existing monitoring and networks schemes together with the establishments of new networks to address data gaps is crucial to rigorously predict climate change impacts on European forests.
  • Tiainen, Juha; Hyvönen, Terho; Hagner, Marleena; Huusela-Veistola, Erja; Louhi, Pauliina; Miettinen, Antti; Nieminen, Tiina M.; Palojärvi, Ansa; Seimola, Tuomas; Taimisto, Pauliina; Virkajärvi, Perttu (2020)
    Biodiversity degradation is a national and global problem which is interconnected with land use and climate change. All these are major unsolved questions and their interactions are only partly understood. Agriculture and especially cattle farming is under keen societal focus because of its significant role in soil carbon losses, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and biodiversity preservation. We reviewed the Finnish scientific literature to assess the impact of intensive contra extensive grass production on biodiversity using vascular plants, vertebrates, invertebrates and soil biota. Still a few decades ago, mixed farming was prevailing almost everywhere in Finland, but nowadays cereal production is essentially clustered in the southwest and milk and beef production in the northeast. This is reflected in the distribution of intensive (connected with cattle) and extensive grasslands (both types of farming). The bird community was most abundant and species rich in farmland which provides small fields in large blocks of farmland and many kinds of crops, including both intensive and extensive grasslands. Overall permanent grasslands with rather simply vegetation diversity can maintain a diverse community of spiders and leafhoppers, and act as overwintering habitat for polyphagous predators in field ecosystems. The ecological requirement of all species and species groups are probably never met at one site and consequently target should be in having differently managed areas at regional scale. For some of the taxa, ecosystem services could be indicated, but a research-based quantitative assessment is available only for carbon sequestration and weak impact of dung-beetles in diminishing GHG emissions from cow pats. Our review demonstrated that quite much is known about biodiversity in extensively managed grasslands, but very little in intensively managed grasslands. An important question is whether there is some threshold for the proportion of grasslands under which regional biodiversity will be reduced. Intensive production offers limited value to replace the high biodiversity value of semi-natural pastures.
  • Kärnä, Olli-Matti; Heino, Jani; Laamanen, Tiina; Jyrkänkallio-Mikkola, Jenny; Pajunen, Virpi; Soininen, Janne; Tolonen, Kimmo T.; Tukiainen, Helena; Hjort, Jan (2019)
    Context One approach to maintain the resilience of biotic communities is to protect the variability of abiotic characteristics of Earth's surface, i.e. geodiversity. In terrestrial environments, the relationship between geodiversity and biodiversity is well recognized. In streams, the abiotic properties of upstream catchments influence stream communities, but the relationships between catchment geodiversity and aquatic biodiversity have not been previously tested. Objectives The aim was to compare the effects of local environmental and catchment variables on stream biodiversity. We specifically explored the usefulness of catchment geodiversity in explaining the species richness on stream macroinvertebrate, diatom and bacterial communities. Methods We used 3 geodiversity variables, 2 land use variables and 4 local habitat variables to examine species richness variation across 88 stream sites in western Finland. We used boosted regression trees to explore the effects of geodiversity and other variables on biodiversity. Results We detected a clear effect of catchment geodiversity on species richness, although the traditional local habitat and land use variables were the strongest predictors. Especially soil-type richness appeared as an important factor for species richness. While variables related to stream size were the most important for macroinvertebrate richness and partly for bacterial richness, the importance of water chemistry and land use for diatom richness was notable. Conclusions In addition to traditional environmental variables, geodiversity may affect species richness variation in streams, for example through changes in water chemistry. Geodiversity information could be used as a proxy for predicting stream species richness and offers a supplementary tool for conservation efforts.
  • du Toit, Marie J.; Kotze, D. Johan; Cilliers, Sarel S. (2020)
    Sustainable urban nature conservation calls for a rethinking of conventional approaches. Traditionally, conservationists have not incorporated the history of the landscape in management strategies. This study shows that extant vegetation patterns are correlated to past landscapes indicating potential extinction debts. We calculated urban landscape measures for seven time periods (1938-2019) and correlated it to three vegetation sampling events (1995, 2012, 2019) using GLM models. We also tested whether urban vegetation was homogenizing. Our results indicated that urban vegetation in our study area is not currently homogenizing but that indigenous forb species richness is declining significantly. Furthermore, long-term studies are essential as the time lags identified for different vegetation sampling periods changed as well as the drivers best predicting these changes. Understanding these dynamics are critical to ensuring sustainable conservation of urban vegetation for future citizens.
  • Herzon, Irina; Raatikainen, Kaisa; Wehn, Solvi; Rusina, Solvita; Helm, Aveliina; Cousins, Sara; Rašomavičius, Valerius (2021)
    The European continent contains substantial areas of semi-natural habitats, mostly grasslands, which are among the most endangered habitats in Europe. Their continued existence depends on some form of human activity, for either production or conservation purposes, or both. We examined the share of semi-natural grasslands within the general grassland areas in boreal Europe. We reviewed research literature across the region to compile evidence on semi-natural grasslands and other semi-natural habitats, such as wooded pastures, in respect to a range of topics such as ecology, land-use change, socioeconomics, and production. We also explored drivers of the research agenda and outlined future research needs. Challenges are faced when defining and quantifying semi-natural habitats even across a restricted region. Agricultural development and other policies clearly impact the research agenda in various countries. There are recent signs of a shift from classical ecological studies toward more multidisciplinary and integrated research. To sufficiently address the threats faced by semi-natural habitats, political and research frameworks in the European Union should pay more attention to the social-ecological complexity inherent in their management and should support the engagement of various actors into participatory governance processes. This is in line with a full-farm approach implicit in high nature value farming systems.