3 Interest on grasslands can be expressed from : an agronomic perspective,a general environmental perspectivea more specific biodiversity perspectiveCombined perspectives are an expression of:Multifunctionality of grasslandsGoods and services provided by grasslands.
4 Agronomic perspective Artificial grasslands: almost exclusively with forage leguminosae. Mostlymown. 5 to 10 yearsTemporary grasslands: mixture of Grasses and Leguminosae.Mown or pastured Permanent grasslands, which include:Productive permanent grasslands (artificial grasslandsmore than 10 years old and natural grasslands 1500 UF/year)Less productive permanent grasslands (alpine meadows, hills, moors andheaths, dry and humid grasslands)
5 Overall, what do we see ?The environmental problems that are most difficult to solve persistProtecting nature and bio-diversity from land take and use120115forest landbuilt-up area110length ofroad network1051009590permanentgrassland851980199019941998Every day during , about 10 hectares of land (10 football pitches) were taken for motorway construction in the EU
6 Environmental perspective Erosion: runoff facilitation; mitigation of kinetic impact of rainDepending on practices, improvement of water qualityCarbon storage in soils (although counterbalanced bybovine emissions)Landscape
7 Biodiversity perspective Related habitats are considered in the Habitats Directive:grasslands habitat-types (both in plains and mountains).Several birds-species listed in the Bird Directive depend ondry, mesic and humid grasslands habitats-types.From 1981, the Council of Europe had identified grasslandhabitats-types as a priority for conservation in Europe,encouraging member countries to include such habitat-types inthe network of European Biogenetic Reserves.Grasslands (both humid, dry, mesic) are taken intoconsideration in action theme 8 of the Pan-EuropeanBiological and Landscape Diversity.Dry-grasslands are, with wetlands, forests and agroecosystemsamong the priority ecosystems taken into consideration atglobal level by the Convention on Biodiversity.
8 Some figures showing interest of non-intensively managed grasslands for biodiversity
9 microlepidoterae) recorded on a 9,5 ha of steppic 1080 different species of Butterflies (macro andmicrolepidoterae) recorded on a 9,5 ha of steppicgrassland in Austria (Kasy, 1979)63 plant species/m2 on the Slovak karst meadow (SlovakNational Biodiversity Report)588 of higher plant species and ferns are recorded - ofwhich 34% are considered as endangered - are recordedin drylands in Germany (Korneck and Sukopp, 1988)(about 3800 species at national level)an acre (4Ha) of old hay meadow can support about 2.25 millionspiders. Each spider would consume 2 insects a week for 6months.Grasslands are dominant habitat-types in 65% of Important PlantAreas in 7 Central and Eastern European countriesGrasslands are important reservoirs for Crop Wild Relative ofcultivated plants
10 Threatened Butterflies and dry/mesic grasslands Source: Council of Europe, Red Data Book on European Butterflies (Rhopalocera)Out of the 71 most threatened European Butterflies species (on a total of 576 European species), 51 % are linked to grasslands habitats, and more specifically, 34% to dry/mesic grasslands habitats.
11 Few different plant species grow in the field with In contrast, wildlife value of intensive agricultural grasslands is very much reduced because of two factors:Few different plant species grow in the field withconsequences on wild herbivores limited to thosewhich like eating the intensive grass species.Farming operations such as silaging or intensive and repeatedgrazing, remove the growing crop from the field in a very shorttime. Few species can survive this rapid change oralternatively complete their lifecycle within the available period.Ground nesting birds and certain butterfly species areparticularly vulnerable.Offwell Woodland & Wildlife Trust
12 Some examples of possible conflicts/synergies between different goods and services provided by grasslands
13 Biodiversity and Nitrogen Sponging up nitrogen pollution – but losing flowers‘Calcareous grasslands, one of Britain’s most diverseecosystems, act as a giant sponge for nitrogen pollution,saving us from some of its damaging effects‘In experiments we increased nitrogen pollution seven times for seven years, and still more than 70% of it was soaked up. So not much nitrogen is leached into streams or released back into theatmosphere as damaging nitrous oxide.But the cost of this service is lost plant diversity!‘Although nitrogen is usually a fertiliser, diverse chalkgrasslands need low soil fertility. The extra fertiliser allows justa few grasses and sedges to take over. The more nitrogenpollution falling on the grassland, the greater the impact.’(Gareth Phoenix, University of Sheffield)
15 Decreasing nitrate leaching when grasslands are highly diverse (Scherer-Lorenzen et al. 2003, Ecology) (Experiments with manipulation of plant diversityAlso confirmed by the BIODEPTH experimental project ((Loreau et al. 2001, Science) (BIODiversity and Ecosystem Processes in Terrestrial Herbaceous Ecosystems)
16 Other ecosystem processes that have been shown to decline with loss of plant diversity in grasslands (BIODEPTH, 2001)Plant productivity - reducing harvest yield, quality and insect herbivore abundancePlant community population changes -reducing the ability of plants to resist weeds and plant diseasesSoil invertebrate population changes- crucial for soil chemistry and energy recyclingMany of these relationships had generality across all eight of the field sites, exhibiting an effect of biodiversity despite different climate, soil and plant
17 Conservation strips have significant disadvantages for the farmer: There is a loss of yieldThey are a reservoir of weed seeds to contaminate theadjacent grass cropsConservation strips may need to be mowed or grazed in late summer. By this time a great many species will have benefited from these temporary habitats.The loss of production is minimal when compared to the wildlife benefit!Offwell Woodland & Wildlife Trust
18 Agricultural system Energetic efficiency versus role in green gaz effectsSource: Patrick de Verdière
19 Ecosystem accounts and evaluation of ecosystem health will have to take into consideration trades offbetween the different goods and services!
20 Characterisation of grasslands from various sources
21 Scoping study on grassland mapping prepared by JRC in collaboration with EEA(2002)
22 Main points raised:5 main grassland habitat-types are of interest from various biodiversity analysis (Birdlife, OECD, EUNIS Habitats, Annex I habitat-types)- Dry grasslands- Mesic grasslands,- Seasonally wet and wet grasslands,- Alpine and subalpine grasslands,- Sparsely wooded grasslands.In relation to agricultural issues, a further distinction should be between “improved grasslands” and “extensive grassland and pasture”, which is mostly relevant for mesic grasslandsThe majority of these grassland types are mapped in CORINE Land Cover type Natural grassland, except that the mesic grasslands are found more in Pastures.
23 Main points raised: Example for Mediterranean grasslands: Xeric grasslandsThey show a full phenologic stop during summer and a sort of second spring in autumn when geophytic species bloom. Vegetation development is very early and there is almost no winter vegetation rest.but their reflectance is highly influenced by the ground composition.Another problem is that they can be mixed with recently abandoned crops that are far less interesting.Mesic and wet grasslandsUnlike xeric grassland they have their maximum vegetation development in summer thanks to the water presence.They can easily be confused with annual crop, depending on the date of the image. Use of multidate images can be necessary to identify them.Dehesas and other grasslands in sparsely wooded landsExtensive Mediterranean wooded pastures: difficult to make the difference with intensively managed olive tree orchards, for example.
24 (LINKING PAN-EUROPEAN LANDCOVER CHANGE TO PRESSURES ON BIODIVERSITY ) Biopress project(LINKING PAN-EUROPEAN LANDCOVER CHANGE TO PRESSURES ON BIODIVERSITY )Many lessons to be learned from extensive experience brought within this projectIn particular use of NATURA 2000 data and CLC data for grassland analysis
25 Overview on potential data sources on grasslands in Europe Prepared by Jan Plesnik, AOPK/ETC-BD
26 Apart from Corine land cover 2000 (CLC2000) and NATURA 2000 database UNFCC Land use and land use changes : data on the their extent status and trends have started to be compiled in some European countries within land-use and land-use changes (LILUC) in the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol (cf. Watson et al. 2000).National grassland inventoriesCountrySourceYear(s)NoteBulgariaNational grassland mappingCzech RepublicNational habitat mappingEstoniaNational grassland inventoryHungaryLatvia2003LithuaniaPolandNational habitat inventoryRomaniaSlovakiaSloveniaSweden2001National semi-natural grassland inventoriesTurkeyUnder preparation
27 Conclusions For grassland-ecosystem accounts, many issues to take into account (characterisation of grasslands,various ecosystem services and potential trades-off)Several past or on-going projects of high relevanceto help defining a methodology (JRC scoping survey,BIOPRESS, BioHAB, MacMan, GREENGRASS,AlterNet..)Some countries (i.e France) interested in launching anational Millenium Ecosystem Assessment.Look for synergy!
28 Can we consider to organise next year a two-days workshop dedicated to grasslands accounts with experts involved in various aspects of grasslands assessments?