2003, Verheijen et al. Grazing animals play an important role in maintaining the ecosystem by stimulating plants to grow. 2003) or to ecosystem multifunctionality (Soliveres et al. In SA, the supply is much greater since the inland grasslands occur in the main catchment areas of the region (Cadman et al. An ecosystem that starts with grasses as the primary producers can be called as a grassland ecosystem. 2012). Nkambule et al. Taken for granted as public benefits, ecosystem services lack a formal market and are traditionally absent from society’s balance sheet. Fire ecology is a scientific discipline concerned with natural processes involving fire in an ecosystem and the ecological effects, the interactions between fire and the abiotic and biotic components of an ecosystem, and the role as an ecosystem process. The role of rare species and high biodiversity for ES is thus unresolved and may be more related to stability and resilience of ES delivery than to process rates (e.g., Elmqvist et al. Plant Functional Diversity, Climate and Grazer Type Regulate Soil Activity in Natural Grasslands. Natural grasslands forming the grassland biomes are natural areas mainly created by processes related to climate, fire, and wildlife grazing (Parr et al. They occur in regions too … Many people love to watch wildlife on the discovery channel; Jungle safari at Savanna grassland is an ideal amusement for them to experience wildlife personally. Specifically, we examine the following: (1) the general demand for a selected number of ES that can be supplied from grassland, and the extent to which supply from grassland may meet societal demands (Table 1), (2) synergies and trade‐offs among grassland ES, (3) the role of biodiversity in generating these ES, and (4) how to use this knowledge to improve land‐use planning and enhance food security in the face of ongoing global change. 2011, Hönigová et al. This was done by constructing matrices describing correlations among the ES in each of the two case studies (Appendix S3: Table S1a–b). Wildfire has a reputation as a destructive force, but it often functions to maintain an ecosystem’s balance. Ubiquity. Livestock keeping plays an important role in the cultural–economic history of SA (Ainslie 2013). The intensity of water stress dictates whether the N status of temperate-type perennial grass swards is affected by drought. grazing animal. Covering twice the area suitable for crop production, the potential role of grasslands for global food security should be better recognized. It is well established that carbon sequestration increases when grassland management is intensified by increased nutrient inputs, especially nitrogen (e.g., Kätterer et al. Similarly, grasslands have received substantially less attention in the multiple ES framework compared to other production systems, such as forest (Gamfeldt et al. Trade‐offs associated with overgrazing could also be greatly reduced if grasslands are well managed. The soil in temperate grassland biome is especially fertile. However, grasslands have remained under‐appreciated in the framework of ES (Frélichová et al. 2013). Habitat. However, with diet changes toward lower cropland meat consumption in developed countries and increasing concern about mitigating climate change and developing sustainable agricultural production systems, grasslands have great potential to contribute to food security, along with other important benefits related to biodiversity and a range of ES (see, e.g., Bullock et al. Therefore, M and L demand, respectively, because there is still little real political commitment to climate change mitigation that would indicate high demand from society. 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Many are parts of agri‐environmental subsidy systems both for their biological and for their cultural value. Ruminant grazers are efficient converters of non‐edible plant biomass such as grass into human‐edible energy and nutrients (e.g., O'Mara 2012) and can do so without competing with humans for use of crops for foodstuffs. Grasses are often taken for granted but actually are the most important plant group. Role of Keystone Species in an Ecosystem Role of Keystone Species in an Ecosystem A keystone species helps define an entire ecosystem. The traditional herding system for cattle keeping is an integral part of social cohesion in rural landscapes (Salomon et al. In NE, it included mitigation of GHG emissions, wild foods and materials, medicinal plants, and hunting. Having a wealth of grasslands provides our ecosystem with sufficient clean water, helps prevent floods, and promotes the natural production of food crops and meats. The similarities among the bundles in SA and northwestern Europe suggest that there are generalities in ES relations among natural and semi‐natural grassland areas. This demand may increase if the agreements on the Paris climate meeting in 2015 are indeed translated into stricter and more effective policies for climate change mitigation by 2020 (European Commission 2018; it has, however, been questioned whether the Paris agreement will be effective in keeping climate change below +2°, e.g., Anderson 2015). However, the magnitude of this effect depends on grassland management practices, and their influence on the soil system. Demand for other services differed between regions, for example, wild food, materials, and medicinal plants being low in NE and high in SA compared to hunting and animal‐mediated pollination, which were higher in NE (Schulp et al. 1). Traditional management of grasslands in terms of hay‐making has played an important role as social cohesion among villagers and still does (Stenseke 2009). The grassland biome. Influence of Changes in Botanical Diversity and Quality of Wet Grasslands through Phenological Phases on Cow Milk Fatty Acid Composition. Grasses are well adapted to grow back after a fire. However, sedge and rush can also be found along with variable proportions of legumes, like clover, and other herbs. Greenhouse gas emission mitigation seemed unrelated to the three bundles. Grasslands (also called Greenswards) are areas where the vegetation is dominated by grasses and other herbaceous (non-woody) plants. Intensive grazing of grasslands opens up the bare soil which facilitates the growth of populations of burrowing animals such mice, jack-rabbits, prairie dogs, gophers etc. In NE, the decreasing quantity and quality of semi‐natural grasslands are linked to declines in biodiversity and related ES (Stoate et al. However, locally their role can be appreciated by stakeholders, both regional experts and local farmers (Lamarque et al. to provide food for domestic animals. The water regulation capacity of grasslands (mainly timing and magnitude of stream flow) depends on season in both NE (Hönigová et al. Grassland restorations are crucial for recovering this important but highly degraded ecosystem. 2011), as well as synergies and trade‐offs among ES (Bennett et al. When data were available and it was relevant, we also compared ES supply from grasslands with that from other ecosystems, including forest and cropland. The demands for water supply (quantity, quality, and flow regulation), livestock products, agricultural production‐related services, and recreation were generally high in both SA and NE. This is a critical knowledge gap because the global human population increasingly relies on grasslands to supply meat and dairy products. Drought Impacts, Coping Responses and Adaptation in the UK Outdoor Livestock Sector: Insights to Increase Drought Resilience. This ecosystem provides a large amount of energy to the environment. A case study in KwaZulu‐Natal, Modelling the influence of soil carbon on net greenhouse gas emissions from grazed pastures, Ecosystems and human well‐being. There are very few studies specially examining this for grasslands, but Mouillot et al. 2013). By integrating grasslands into agricultural production systems and land‐use decisions locally and regionally, their potential to contribute to functional landscapes and to food security and sustainable livelihoods can be greatly enhanced. Expected Changes to Alpine Pastures in Extent and Composition under Future Climate Conditions. 2013, Burrascano et al. 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Furthermore, grassland dairy and meat production systems may not necessarily have the large climate effects attributed to intensified meat production based on cropland (Soussana et al. Mine reclamation planning and management: Integrating natural habitats into post-mining land use. It almost goes without saying that grassland ecosystems are composed largely of wide swathes of grass rather than trees or shrubs – or, on the other hand, rather than bare desert soil. Grassland ecosystem plays an important role in the animal kingdom. If you do not receive an email within 10 minutes, your email address may not be registered, A grassland may also contain low shrubs and other plants, but its predominant feature is that it is a place where plenty of grass grows. Grassland ecosystems are key habitats for huge numbers of different animals including zebras, bison, lions and elephants. Research from SA catchment areas has contributed significantly to the understanding of hydrological processes (Nänni 1970a,b, Everson 2001). 2012). 2011). In addition, differences in digestibility are also attributed to fertilizer addition (ibid). Frequent burning maintained a stable grassland over four decades in the Drakensberg, South Africa. 2014), often invoking the concept of sustainable intensification, in terms of the increase of food production on existing cropland (e.g., Godfray et al. 2008, Soussana et al. 2017). Mixtures of trees and grasslands occur as savannas at transition zones with forests or where rainfall is marginal for trees. These issues have received far less attention than carbon sequestration (exceptions are, e.g., Smith et al. These authors also point out that the definition of meat quality depends on which criteria different market chains consider important (ibid). herd. Carbon, dubbed “the building block of life,” is the element … A cultural landscape containing grasslands can also be a tourist attraction in itself (e.g., South Downs National Park in England, the Swiss Alps, the SA Drakensberg grasslands) with the landscape potentially playing a significant role in a World Heritage context (Buckley et al. Grazing exclusion enhanced net ecosystem carbon uptake but decreased plant nutrient content in an alpine steppe. Many plants and animals live together in the grassland ecosystem. The delicate balance of plants and animals in grassland ecosystems maintains a high … 2010, Bullock et al. Spatial Heterogeneity of Vegetation Structure, Plant N Pools and Soil N Content in Relation to Grassland Management. There are many ecosystems where grasses are not present or if present only in limited quantities, for example, deserts and rain forests. If livestock density is kept below carrying capacity, it is possible to improve water regulation (Turpie et al. Grasslands occur naturally on all continents except Antarctica and are found in most ecoregions of the Earth. 2. Grasslands, because of their lower productivity, will probably not be able to fully substitute for cropland‐based meat production to meet projected trends of increased meat demand globally (Garnett 2011, Kellermann and Salhofer 2014). Land use and climate impacts of food in 2050 under different livestock futures, South African National Spatial Biodiversity Assessment 2004: technical Report. environment where an organism lives throughout the year or for shorter periods of time. The vast areas of SA grasslands are also important for biodiversity. 2010 for a balanced discussion). 2011). 2011, Lemaire et al. Delayed and immediate effects of habitat loss on the genetic diversity of the grassland plant Trifolium montanum. 2011, Garnett 2011). 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We identified three bundles of related ES from grasslands: water ES including fodder production, cultural ES connected to livestock production, and population‐based regulating services (e.g., pollination and biological control), which also linked to biodiversity. To understand the full potential for grasslands to deliver ES to society locally, regionally and globally, both ES supply (the capacity of an ecosystem to produce a service) and demand (the societal demand for a service) must be acknowledged (Lamarque et al. (2013) found evidence for this among alpine grassland plants. At the local scale, particular grass species may alter water supply by affecting infiltration rate and storage capacity through variation in water use efficiencies (Macleod and Ferrier 2011, Volaire et al. Landscape composition and configuration have scale-dependent effects on agricultural pest suppression. A third bundle consisted of the regulating services pollination and biological control, which are not directly linked to fodder and livestock production. Not only grasses, but … 2012), although in most cases the specific contribution from grasslands has not been examined. The aim of this paper is to highlight these impacts and their consequences for SOM dynamics and element cycling. This feeding behavior keeps the savanna a grassland and not a forest or woodland. Please note: The publisher is not responsible for the content or functionality of any supporting information supplied by the authors. 2013, see also Bullock et al. Grasslands can exist in a variety of climates, but they share several important characteristics: dry seasons or dry spells, and rolling terrain with prevailing winds. 2014). 2013, Schulp et al. The analysis was based on discussions and deliberations to provide a balanced and consensual judgment. 2012). 2010, Dlamini et al. To be honest, the present grassland ecosystem as such has developed in the Baltic Region and most parts of Europe as a symbiosis between nature and man – disturbances provided by haymaking or grazing prevented grasslands from being overgrown by trees and bushes, and from reaching their final transformation back into forests. 2011, SCAR 2011, Bommarco et al. 2009). 2011, Lavorel et al. 2014). 2012, Bommarco et al. 2011 for China, and Peri et al. Rangelands can include annual and perennial grasslands, shrub and dry woodlands, savannah, tundra, and desert. 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Thus, the actual political, as well as the general, demand for climate regulation from grasslands seems presently low in NE and almost nil in SA. A number of cultural ES that are connected to livestock production, for example, tourism and social coherence, formed a second bundle. Semi‐natural grasslands are the product of human management, require livestock grazing or hay‐cutting for their maintenance, and will generally be encroached by shrubs and trees if taken out of production (Queiroz et al. Over the past 200 years grassland ecosystems have been misunderstood, misclassified, underestimated, and left off the global conservation and climate agendas. However, these and several other trade‐offs can be modified or avoided by appropriate management practices, and these are important to identify. Our exploratory analysis identified three bundles of ES that were similar in the two areas (Fig. Much of this discussion has neglected the importance of grasslands and rangelands (but see, e.g., SCAR 2011, Foley et al. Erosion prevention by grassland vegetation is strongly coupled to other services relating to water supply and regulation, carbon sequestration, and soil fertility (e.g., Pilgrim et al. Grassland Ecosystem Guidelines viii Boxes, figures and tables Boxes Box 1. For grassland systems important ecosystem services are supply of nutrients, soil structure maintenance and water retention. 2016 for Patagonia). Fires, both natural and human-caused, are important factors shaping grasslands. Bellarby et al. group of animals. 2008), and improve cultural ES (Stenseke 2009, Hönigová et al. Natural and semi‐natural grasslands are important parts of the cultural landscape in Europe (Emanuelsson 2009). However, Lyons et al. Permanent grasslands can, if not overgrazed or mismanaged, contribute greatly to soil erosion prevention, both in NE (e.g., Souchère et al. Dairy farming on permanent grassland: Can it keep up? 2008). Fire is known to play an important role in the management of grassland ecosystem. However, such products are not considered important in Europe (Bullock et al. However, meat from livestock feeding exclusively on semi‐natural grasslands may not necessarily meet the quality and quantity demands from the meat industry but can be considered in alternative market chains (Bedoin and Kristensen 2013). Grasslands are also associated with other cultural services such as spiritual, aesthetical, and social coherence (Bullock et al. Any queries (other than missing content) should be directed to the corresponding author for the article. The similarities among the bundles in SA and NE suggest that there are generalities in ES relations among natural and semi‐natural grassland areas. Grassland ecosystems are very important for a wide variety of different reasons. A blueprint for a methodology to balance land-use in semi-natural areas. Jonsson et al. There are different types of grasslands: natural grasslands, sem Noun. The cultural role of grasslands has primarily been acknowledged when discussing the effects of intensification of agriculture globally, but the loss of cultural values is also an important negative aspect of abandonment of traditionally managed small‐scale farming in NE (Queiroz et al. 2013, Garnett et al. Under agricultural conditions, a clear effect of species richness on a site’s primary or secondary production has not yet been demonstrated. 2011), keep GHG emissions low (Soussana et al. 2010) and are related either because they are based on the same ecosystem processes or are influenced by similar management or environmental drivers, are termed bundles (Bennett et al. Increasing demand for multiple services like water and meat production, and an overall increased awareness of the ES supply potential of grasslands, could help to re‐invigorate the cultural role of grasslands and strengthen the synergy between the multiple ES they supply (Stenseke 2009).
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