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Tag Archive: grasslands

  1. Grasslands with diverse plant species have more carbon storage capacity

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    Grasslands’ carbon storage value now quantified

    Posted: 19 Apr 2017 06:15 AM PDT

    Grasslands that feature diverse plant species have more carbon storage capacity than less-diverse grasslands, largely because the former produce more biomass, the researchers say. They found that increasing the number of plant species from one to 10 had twice the value of increasing from one to two species, from the standpoint of carbon storage capacity.

    And the ability to measure the economic value of biodiversity for enhancing carbon storage could help in making decisions about land management, the paper published in the journal Science Advances concludes….

    Bruce A. Hungate, Edward B. Barbier, Amy W. Ando, Samuel P. Marks, Peter B. Reich, Natasja van Gestel, David Tilman, Johannes M. H. Knops, David U. Hooper, Bradley J. Butterfield, Bradley J. Cardinale. The economic value of grassland species for carbon storage. Science Advances, 2017; 3 (4): e1601880 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1601880

  2. Grasslands may be more sensitive to rising temperatures than precipitation

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    March 8, 2017 0 Comments Fangzhou Liu  Managing Editor of News  Stanford University full article here

    A team of Stanford and Columbia University researchers have found that U.S. grasslands may be more sensitive to atmospheric dryness than rainfall; their study suggests that scientists may have to look more to rising temperatures than precipitation in predicting plants’ response to global warming. Published on March 6 in Nature Geoscience, the researchers’ study examined 33 years of satellite data to understand grassland productivity in dry conditions. The timescale and quantity of data the team examined allows the study to inform predictive models of how environments will respond to droughts — which are likely to become more prevalent with rising temperatures around the globe.  …”U.S. grasslands are way more sensitive to vapor pressure deficit (VPD), which is important. Because VPD is so tightly linked to temperature, we can predict that it’s going to keep going up in the future.”…

    Sensitivity of grassland productivity to aridity controlled by stomatal and xylem regulation

    1. Konings, A. P. Williams & P. Gentine Nature Geoscience (2017) doi:10.1038/ngeo2903

    …We conclude that increases in vapour pressure deficit rather than changes in precipitation—both of which are expected impacts of climate change—will be a dominant influence on future grassland productivity.

  3. Grasslands hold potential for increased food production

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    Posted: 11 Jan 2017 06:34 AM PST  see full article here

    Managing grazing on grasslands in a more efficient way could significantly increase global milk and meat production or free up land for other uses.…”but to achieve this target in a sustainable manner, our study suggests that we should focus on making more efficient use of currently available land resources, instead of converting land from other uses.”…

    ….[the study] identified areas where additional biomass could potentially be extracted from the landscape, by comparing the current level of grazing intensity to the maximum levels supported in periods of minimum biomass supply, such as winter or dry periods…”reveals a certain potential to increase grazing intensity in some places, yet shows that the actual grassland area available for other purposes remains limited”…

    Tamara Fetzel, Petr Havlik, Mario Herrero, Karl-Heinz Erb. Seasonality constraints to livestock grazing intensity. Global Change Biology, 2017; DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13591

  4. Intensification of land use leads to the same species everywhere

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    Homogenization of species communities in our landscape documented; reducing ecosystem services
    November 30, 2016 Technical University of Munich (TUM)  ScienceDaily

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161130133911.htm

    In places where humans use grasslands more intensively, it is not only the species diversity which decreases — the landscape also becomes more monotonous, and ultimately only the same species remain everywhere. This results in nature no longer being able to provide its ‘services’, which range from soil formation for food production to pest control.….

    …What was unique in this case was that data from organisms in the ground such as from bacteria, fungi, and millipedes were also included….The findings showed that it did not matter whether grassland areas were used moderately or intensively by humans….

    It is only when as many species as possible are able to find the unique habitats they require across large areas that ‘ecosystem services’, which improve human well-being, can remain intact. Because ‘nature’s services’ help increase food production by improving soil formation, for example, but they also help keep pests in check.

    Gossner et al. Land-use intensification causes multitrophic homogenization of grassland communities. Nature, 2016; DOI: 10.1038/nature20575

  5. New WWF Report on Grasslands Loss in US Great Plains

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    The Plowprint Report: https://www.worldwildlife.org/projects/plowprint-report

    And summary news article:

    Goodbye Grasslands. Goodbye Birds. Goodbye Carbon Sink.

    America’s Great Plains are being plowed under at an alarming rate  Nov 30 2016

    Much attention has been given to the deforestation in the Amazon and the environmental impacts that go with it. But in 2014, the American Great Plains—an area stretching from Texas into Canada—actually lost more acreage of grasslands than Brazil lost to deforestation, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) says. In fact, said Martha Kauffman, WWF’s managing director of the Northern Great Plains program, “America’s Great Plains are being plowed under at an alarming rate.”….