PDF | Glossary Convention on biological diversity The Convention was first enacted in June , Finally, in Asia, grassland ecosystems cover a huge area. Geography of grassland ecosystems. Article (PDF Available) in Progress in Physical Geography 7(1) · March with 3, Reads. DOI: /. These Grassland Ecosystem Guidelines are the culmination of collaborative effort to compile and synthesize knowledge on grassland ecosystems for planners.
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The expansive upland grasslands at the Chestnut. Grove Natural Area (CGNA) make this location ideal for observing bird species that are not commonly seen in . The information in this Grassland Ecosystems Background Paper was developed by the Grassland, grassland ecosystems and the species they support. Grasslands are one of Earth's major biomes and the native vegetation of up to. 40 % of Earth's terrestrial surface. Grasslands occur on every continent.
About this Research Topic
The Grasslands Specialist Group has placed priority on improving the level of conservation and protection for temperate grasslands. Today these grasslands are considered the most altered terrestrial ecosystem on the planet and are recognized as the most endangered ecosystem on most continents. Only a small percentage 4. Temperate grasslands have been cradling the needs of humans for millennia however conversion for agriculture, fragmentation, development, and chronic overgrazing have severely degraded the natural ecosystem.
In response, the Grasslands Specialist Group launched the Temperate Grasslands Conservation Initiative TGCI in to develop a global strategy and regional approaches to improving the level of conservation and protection for this biome.
Kirk Olson has been selected to take over the role of Chair. Our Mission: To reverse the trend of biodiversity loss in the grasslands biome.
We will achieve this mission by 1 identifying and creating new protected areas that conserve and protect areas of special importance for biodiversity, ecosystem services and sustainable use, consistent with the principles as outlined in Aichi Target 11; and 2 encouraging the development of policies that prevent conversion of grassland for agriculture and maintain permeability across open grasslands as outlined in Aichi Targets 5, and Our Objectives: Raise awareness about the need for increased conservation and protection of temperate grasslands.
Develop improved communications and collaboration among government and non-government organizations, indigenous people, funding agencies and the public towards conservation of healthy grasslands.
Identify, research and pursue opportunities for landscape scale conservation and protection integrating conservation with sustainable use.
Collaborate with a range of stakeholders towards increased conservation and protection in the other more fragmented regions on both private and public land. Pursue closer relationships with other initiatives targeting drylands, traditional pastoralists and indigenous peoples and endangered wildlife, especially migratory species.
Here, we analysed how 5 years of progressive, size-selective exclusion of large, medium, and small vertebrates and invertebrates—a realistic scenario of human-induced defaunation—impacts the strength of relationships between above- and belowground communities and their abiotic environment hereafter ecosystem coupling and how this relates to ecosystem functionality in grasslands. Exclusion of all vertebrates results in the greatest level of ecosystem coupling, while the additional loss of invertebrates leads to poorly coupled ecosystems.
Consumer-driven changes in ecosystem functionality are positively related to changes in ecosystem coupling. Our results highlight the importance of invertebrate communities for maintaining ecological coupling and functioning in an increasingly defaunated world.
Introduction Rapid human-induced decline in global biodiversity across all trophic levels 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 reduces the ability of ecosystems to maintain key ecosystem functions 2 , 3 , 7. As species engage in numerous and often-hidden interactions with other species and their physicochemical environment 8 , a loss of ecological interaction may have far-reaching consequences for the functioning of ecosystems.
In fact, it has been proposed that ecological interactions may disappear well before species do 8.
An approach to investigate the consequences of losing interactions between multispecies communities and their environment is to analyse the degree of ecosystem coupling 9 , defined as the overall strength of correlation-based associations between above- and belowground plant, animal and microbial communities, and of these communities with their surrounding physicochemical environment 9.
Visually and analytically, ecosystem coupling can be represented as a network in which individual species are substituted with multispecies communities e. Under undisturbed conditions we would expect that the communities are more strongly connected with one another and their abiotic environment than under disturbed conditions 10 , 11 , The connections can result from both direct and indirect, positive or negative interactions, depending on the communities and the dominant mechanisms involved e.
A greater number of significant correlations, regardless of their sign, represents greater ecosystem coupling. Extirpation of vertebrates and invertebrates from ecosystems, i. However, only a few studies have investigated such responses in real-world ecosystems and under realistic scenarios of animal biodiversity loss 1 , 4 , 15 , Thus, relatively little is known about the consequences of defaunation for ecosystem coupling. Moreover, defaunation often operates in a size-selective, non-random manner, with larger species disappearing before smaller-sized species 4 , Although vertebrates have been progressively excluded in the size-selective order in which they are expected to disappear 18 , 19 , 20 , 21 , we are not aware of any study that has considered how the progressive, size-based loss of different vertebrates and invertebrates affects the strength of ecosystem coupling.
In addition, it is not known how defaunation-induced changes in ecosystem coupling may affect ecosystem functioning. Stronger interactions among communities and between communities and their environment should lead to greater ecosystem functionality due to more efficient transfer of nutrients and energy through the system 22 , 23 , which should result in a greater ability to withstand environmental stress 7. We carried out a 5-year field experiment in subalpine grasslands in which we progressively excluded large, medium and small mammalian vertebrates, and, ultimately, all aboveground-dwelling invertebrates with size-selective fences 24 , 25 Fig.
Large mammals are often assumed to drive trophic interactions via top—down effects and impact other communities and abiotic properties via predation, grazing, resource competition or facilitation 26 , 27 , 28 , We therefore predicted that the loss of large animals would reduce ecosystem coupling more than a subsequent loss of smaller animals. Expecting that stronger links between communities and between communities and their environment result in a more efficient flow of energy and matter through the ecosystem 22 , 23 , we also predicted a positive relationship between ecosystem coupling and functionality.
Nine exclosure setups were established in each of the two different vegetation types; short-grass and tall-grass vegetation. Data were collected on a total of 90 plots, from which we calculated ecosystem coupling and multifunctionality. The photo in the background shows two of our 18 exclosure setups in the field. Martijn L. Vandegehuchte created the animal and vegetation images for use in this paper.
The animal images were adapted from Vandegehuchte et al. Anita C. Risch took the background photo and created the design image, Pablo Hueso composed the Figure Full size image The field experiment encompassed 18 size-selective exclosure setups distributed across two clearly differentiated vegetation types in the Swiss National Park SNP; nine in short-grass, nine in tall-grass vegetation; Fig. Each exclosure setup contained four treatment plots that progressively excluded large, medium and small-sized mammals and aboveground-dwelling invertebrates 24 Fig.
The grasslands under study can be considered natural, as humans have not directly disturbed the ecological processes within the SNP since protection status IUCN category Ia We calculated how our treatments affected ecosystem coupling using correlations between multivariate components [principal component analyses PCA axes scores] that represent the structure and composition of ecological communities as well as correlations between these components and the physicochemical environment 9.
As such, ecosystem coupling is a measure of how communities not species respond to alterations of the ecosystem 9 as happens through eutrophication, climate warming or species loss 1 , 4 , 32 , Ecosystem coupling can then be compared against a null model where the average correlation strength absolute value of pairwise Spearman rank correlations does not differ from random 22 , 34 , The greater the mean of absolute correlations, the more tightly coupled the ecosystem is.Ann Assoc Am Geogr.
DCA was used to test for potential differences between the grassland and shrubland sites based on simultaneous analysis of all species of vertebrates  , . In addition to the independent effects of these factors, there are many interactions among grazing, fire, and climate that affect ecological patterns and processes in grasslands in ways that may differ from the independent effects of each driver alone.
Visually and analytically, ecosystem coupling can be represented as a network in which individual species are substituted with multispecies communities e. Restoring heterogeneity on rangelands: Am Nat.
During the rainy season, tropical grasslands receive between 50 and centimeters of rain.
Grasslands ecosystems emerge due to low levels of sporadic precipitation that is only substantial enough to support smaller plants. Xeric or desert grasslands are very sparse grasslands located in and on the outskirts of deserts.
The climate of the central North American grassland.