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Ceased grazing management changes the ecosystem services of semi-natural grasslands

Johansen L., Taugourdeau S., Hovstad K.A., Wehn S.. 2019. Ecosystems and People, 15 (1) : p. 192-203.

Understanding how drivers of change affect ecosystem services (ES) is of great importance. Indicators of ES can be developed based on biophysical measures and be used to investigate the service flow from ecosystems to socio-ecological systems. However, the ES concept is multivariate and the use of normalized composite indicators reduces complexity and facilitates communication between science and policy. The aim of this study is to analyze how land use change affects ES and species richness and how the effects are modified by environmental factors by using composite indicators based on biophysical indicators. Using multivariate and regression analyses, we analyze the effect of grazing management abandonment in semi-natural grasslands in Norway on six ES: nutrient cycling, pollination, forage quality, aesthetics and global and regional climate regulation in addition to species richness along soil and climate gradients. Nutrient cycling, forage quality, regional climate regulation, aesthetics and species richness are larger in managed compared to abandoned grasslands. There are trade-offs among ES as different management strategies provide various ES and these trade-offs vary along environmental gradients. Management policies that aim to conserve ES need to have conservation goals that are context dependent, should recognize ES trade-offs and be adapted to local conditions.

Mots-clés : mouton; conduite des herbages; terre abandonnée; biodiversité; services écosystémiques; pâturage; norvège

Thématique : Alimentation animale; Conservation de la nature et ressources foncières

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